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Monday, January 28, 2013 72 comments

Re-introduce Myself BlogFest (& How *Not* To Go Fish)


Along with Elise Fallson (who did a Must-See VIDEO!) and C.M. Brown, I’m co-hosting Stephen Tremp’s Re-introduce Myself BlogFest, so here is me in 100 words – excluding this monologolistical nightmare of an intro.

(While not one of the Usual Suspects, some have, yes indeed, called me Kaiser Sourdough, but I, however, prefer to be known as Verbal [Diarrhea] Kint, which means squeezing me into a dress made of 100 words should make for an interesting experiment…)

Who am I?
Originally from Ireland, I’ve moved 50+ times.

I’m 43.
I’m not in the Witness Protection Program.

I’ve blogged for 18 months.
I worked in the Restaurant Industry for 15 years.

I’ve been a U.S. citizen and a writer for 10 years.

I’m happily married 9 years this week. J

We’ve been blessed with 3 boys.

I’ve finished 1 book.

What’s my blog theme?

It’s a moving, blob, er, blog that I hope adds a wee spice of humor to the odd-shaped days of the week.

No, dude, I have no idea. Something hits me and I then strive to write something positive. (They said to build a platform, but hang on a minute, I’m still trying to find the train station.)

So, instead of 100 words, you're offering a 121-word
snippet of you being me.

Huh? Excuse me… I don’t recall inviting you to this monologue. Shall I change it to a bi-logue?

You didn’t, but if you did, it would be-
Because I'm a Fail, yes. But, I’m just trying my best, you know, IWSG is only once a month, and it’s hard. There's 29 other days in the month... sometimes 30!!!

I know, but don’t cry for me Puerto Rico… 121 words is a nice number… it’s more than 100, but it kinda rolls off your tongue.

No it doesn't... You’re just saying that and I don't live in PR, I live in HI.

WARNING: This is *not* Providence, RI.

Both islands, what's the difference? They're both warm...

Really? Tell that to the folks in Rhode Island...

Dude, focus. I'm just trying to get you out of the 13-galloon trash can you keep falling into.
See! See!! I’m a Fail. I can’t even throw myself away…

Don't say that...  We all slighty like you… look, watch for the comments from your parents… you’ll see…

You think people will say nice things even though I busted through the 100-word max?

No. but at least you’re out of the trashcan. (Have you ever thought of recycling?)
And stop fishing....
Look, Papa, a compliment... I saw it... Oh, it's gone ;)
Thursday, January 24, 2013 12 comments

Guest Interview: Libby Heily (one tough gal :)

My turn to interview Libby Heily who recently released her debut novel, Tough Girl.
As it’s also Libby’s birthday month (she will be twenty-one for the 14th time), I’ll start with:
You’re thirty-five this month. Happy Birthday and what, if any non-writing goals do you look to achieve?
Thank you!!!!   Also, good question.  Thirty-five is my goal age.  I gave myself to thirty-five to learn the basic things in life: where I want to live, who I want to be, how to file my taxes, rent an apartment, buy a car, travel, etc.  Most of those things are what people just know or they figure it out at an early age, but I'm a slow learner.  More or less, I gave myself to 35 to learn to be comfortable in my own skin, my own life.  I'm happy to say that I'm just about there.
 How did the character of Tough Girl come about? Is she an alter ego?
I thought of Tough Girl while I was training for a marathon.  I was obsessed with the idea of siblings in a crime family and I kept anchoring all my ideas on the eldest child, a girl.  Stories about gangs or the mob tend to be very male focused.  I just could not get over the idea of a strong, young female living as a criminal in a gritty world.  Developing a tenacious character while completing ten to twenty mile runs just seemed the most pertinent thing to do.
 You describe yourself as a beer snob. So, Belgian or English ale?
Belgian.  Always go Belgian.  Unless you're talking brown ales, then English. 
 You mention being a sometime filmmaker; that you’ve studied acting, video producing and writing. Have you always been creative?
I don't know if I've always been creative, but I've definitely always been a dreamer.  Even as a kid, I tended to live half in this world and half in my imagination.  I would sometimes adopt characters and pretend to be them.  When I was in elementary school, I created a role for myself on The Golden Girls as Dorothy's granddaughter.  I spent hours pretending I was on that show. 
 A friend inherits $10,000 and gives you $5,000. You’re not allowed to donate or give it away directly to a charity, but you must use it to benefit others. How would you disperse the funds?
I'd go to a hospital, find a family who has a member that needs an operation but they have no idea how to pay for it.  I'd pay what I could of their hospital bills with that money.
 How long did Tough Girl take from conception to holding a copy in your grubby, little hands?
I should wash my hands more.  And they are quite small.  Wow, I can't believe you're telling people how ugly my hands are.  They're like Frodo's feet. Tough Girl took two years to write.  I rewrote the entire novel four times.  Four complete rewrites and many, many, many rounds of editing.
What’s next? Do you have a WIP or are you planning a break after the current blog tour?
I'm working on Bizarlington.  It's structured like Trainspotting and takes place in Arlington, Virginia.  And that's all I'm prepared to say at this time.  :)
 Cooking seems to be a fun distraction. If a few bluddies (blog buddies) came for an informal dinner, what’s on the menu?
Mexican Chicken Lasagna because it can feed an army and is quite tasty.  I would also make chocolate pecan pie.  Both of which are recipes I borrowed from an old roommate.  She was a terrific cook and never ate leftovers.  Best.  Roommate.  Ever.
 Why writing?
I love stories.  Writing is the most pure form of storytelling.  I liked filmmaking but the story is processed through the writer, director, producer, and technicians.  Same thing with playwriting and theater.  Writing is just me and the reader.  There are also no budgetary concerns.  Producing a play or film can be very expensive.
 Any advice to someone with a new blog or a first WIP?
Blog advice - make friends.  Visit other blogs and leave comments.  Learn.  Participate in blog hops.  The blogging community is amazing, but you have to participate.
WIP - Keep writing and grow a thick skin.  You need to get critiqued and you need to learn how to accept critiques without allowing them to destroy you.  This is a skill in and of itself.
Thanks Mark!!!!!  That was fun. 
Thanks Libby for being a sport and congrats on your birthday. All the best with Tough Girl.
For information, click Amazon here, Barnes and Noble here and Goodreads here.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 18 comments

Funniest video: Glad I'm not an Irish News Reporter :)


Ok, I never do this, but this is a *real* Irish news report from RTE News.

I've never cried so much in under a minute and my (un-urinated) hat goes off to Ms. McCarthy (below), who is an absolute trooper for not breaking down in complete laughter as she read her copy.

While most will enjoy this for the simple humor, you will cry (if not pee) with laughter if are Irish or understand the slang language.

This, my friends, (and Lord Jesus) *is* the FUNNIEST one minute video I have ever seen...

Monday, January 21, 2013 27 comments

Making The Case: Never Say No - To Yourself


 Have you seen this recent story about the lad who applied for an internship via an amazing cover letter?
It reminded me of an old problem I faced in 2005: How do I gain on-the-job experience (as a newspaper writer) when no one will hire me because I had no experience?

Let me go back…
In February 1992, I spent twelve hours freezing in a trendy (but thin) suit waiting for an interview for EuroDisney. Sitting for my very short (group!!) interview, I was told I wouldn’t be offered a position - I couldn’t speak French. My defrosting blood simmered and I wasn’t having any of that.

“Excuse me. I’ve lived in Holland and I can speak Dutch. I’ve lived in Spain and I learnt Spanish. I’m going to France and I *will* learn French.”

The interviewer looked at me, smiled, escorted the other six people out of the room, came back, looked at me again, shook her head, then some papers and said, “I have the perfect job for you.”
That’s how I became a deranged cowboy server in Buffalo Bill’sWild West show J

 About six months later, I was working the pre-show crowd at Buffalo Bill’s. This man, David, came up and asked weird, industry-type questions about how many people attended each show, how many staff we had on per shift, stuff like that. I thought he was a “mystery shopper,” so I was uber friendly, but didn’t reveal any of Mickey’s secrets.
Before he left, he apologized for not having a business card, but said, “Mark, I enjoyed our chat. If you ever want a job in England, I run a few pubs and restaurants. Give me a call.”

Months later, (this was pre-Internet, people) I discovered David was the Managing Director of a SEVEN HUNDRED-strong restaurant/pub chain.

I sent him a cover letter. (duh.)

He responded in about a week.

That’s how I landed in England for three years, (giving me the experience for my first job in the U.S.)

In 2004, I quit the Restaurant Industry after fifteen years to follow my dream of being a Writer – but no-one hired me.
I spent an interesting year working as a bank teller… and then saw an opening for a Staff Writer in a local newspaper.

All they wanted was two years’ experience and a degree in journalism.

I had neither.

I did, however, have fifty shades of enthusiasm in myself - plus my "cheeky monkey" playbook (where the slogan is: “Ah sure, there’s no harm in asking.”)
I spent, seriously, twenty-four hours (in a thirty-hour period) writing a cover letter for my new boss (she just didn’t know she was my soon-to-be employer.)

I emailed it off.

Within a day, Tammy wrote back offering me an interview and said my cover letter “was probably the best she had ever read.”

(I’d written along the lines of sure, I had neither experience nor degree, but I did have more passion to learn the craft than any applicant she might consider. All I needed was someone to crack that door open. I would take care of the rest. Here's her response.)
That’s how I ended up as a Staff Writer for the Hometown News in Melbourne, Florida (and later went to Haiti to report on a Melbourne-based charity.)

But let’s say you’re an unpublished writer with no interest in working for a paper? What’s the point of this post?
My point is to never deny your ability to achieve, earn and enjoy what you want from life.

My writing road has been rocky, (see the edits on my first article)...
...but, wow, am I happy knowing I am at least *on* the road - and not changing large bills for rolls of quarters whilst dreaming that I could have been a contender.
Today, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day.

Dr. King had a Dream... What's yours?

So, like that old U.S. Army slogan once said (sorta) ... Be all that you write to be.

Mail that cover letter.

Make that phone call.

Meet for that interview.

And, never say no – to yourself.

Friday, January 18, 2013 19 comments

Guest Posting at Cassie's (& more Sunset pics :)


Find me guest posting over with the indomitable Cassie Mae, where I’m one of many helping out a blogger buddy as she takes a break for some new baby business J

My little pony, er I mean post, delves into the meaning behind the first word in every musing I’ve written without the help of James Frey.

You can read about aloha here.

(I mean, apart from being a frequent guest star on Hawaii 5-0, what’s up with this aloha thing anyway?)

PS, as it’s Friday, and you may be cold, here are some sunset pictures that I hope will warm the cockles of your heart J
Dec. 28, 2012 @ My Private Beach (I Wish :)
Same Sunset, Barbers Point, HI. #happy :)

The Next Day, A Different Sunset: How Awesome is God :)

Searching For The Missing "Sun." :)

If The Beach Had To Be Crowded, I'm Glad It Was All Family :)


Tuesday, January 15, 2013 34 comments

Please allow me to "Re-introduce Myself"


(Whoo... what's with this weird, white background...)
OK, where was I... As you may remember like it was only last year, 2012 was an amazing 366 days (I'm trying not to say "year" more than once. Saying "year" multiple times - like I wrote "year" above -  can be bothersome to some.) 
Anyway, one of the positive things was that so many new writers joined the blogging community.
We visit other blogger’s sites and they visit us.
However, many new bloggers and the more established ones (like those folk who don't need hyperlinks to their sites :) ... well, often it turns out we don't really know much about each other, do we?
(Now, sometimes that isn't necessarily a bad thing, he cackled wildly, before running off to the beach in a grass skirt, coconut bra as he tried (valiantly) to shed the calorific residue of yet another plate of fresh spam.)
(Hang on, isn't "fresh Spam" an oxymoron?)
Mayhap, but please continue. 
OK, this Blogfest, which takes place JANUARY 28th is a cool opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to our ever-expanding circles of fun-fluence (and I don't mean that annoying Google thing, either... am I in your circle... do I have to plus myself in... why haven't you shared anything with me yet???:)
The Re-introduce Myself Blogfest was created by Stephen Tremp and will be co-hosted by Elise Fallson, C.M. Brown and me, the Beacon of Baldness.
So, go on, simply take a moment and tell us something interesting about yourself.
Legal... (I'm sure THE GOV. won't be too happy if you share that you once wore an insect's costume at a Halloween party.)
It can be about writing, blogging, or a hidden talent. Perhaps you're in the Witness Protection Program like me... oops...

Feel free to keep your post short. This is meant to be a quick and fun Blogfest. Like Stephen, I’m keeping mine to under 100 words.
Cheers, and feel free to join the Linky List below... it won't bite and doesn't need to be fed Spam... I have nine more cans... anyone want one :)
Friday, January 11, 2013 26 comments

Elizabeth Seckman Guest Posts - HEALING SUMMER


If you’ve been following Elizabeth Seckman lately (please stop! She’s getting a crick in her neck…)

If, on the other hand, you’ve been to Liz’s blog lately, you’ll already know she’s busy with a Blog Tour for her new book, HEALING SUMMER

Liz challenged her Tour guides to come up with writing prompt and she would then flesh fiction it out.

So, here’s my bold prompt and Liz’s response officially begins with the italics.
“Serge was a Swahili snow shovel salesman and…”

Hah! I bet you thought this prompt would be like a noogie from a big brother, Mr. Koopmans, but just like a bald man has nothing to fear from a noogie… brain noogies don’t rub me the wrong way either.
Yes, I did just admit to being brainless…enjoy!
And please…cue the Scarecrow Mr. Wizard!!
“I could wile away the hours
Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.”

Show tunes aside, HEALING SUMMER takes place in Montana and as an honorary member of the Montanans FOR Global Warming, I know…Montana has plenty of snow. So, of course, Serge the Swahili snow shovel salesman gladly headed to the often white plains of Blue Sky Country.

Mark says, "I never knew I had a mountain named after me" :)
And Serge will be successful there. He’s a self-reliant go-getter. He’s a boot strap pulling entrepreneur with a truck load of shovels and a dream. He’ll help dig out the highest drift…clear the longest sidewalks. He might even have the gumption to tackle Old Baldy.

A man with a dream has no limits.
So keep dreaming Serge and shovel hardest when it gets the deepest.

Thanks for having me over…and trying to make me as loony as you…crazy man!

No, noooo, the pleasure is all mines. I’m well impressed you got anything down for Serge, let alone a poem… nice one, TwinnyJ
Here are the famous Liz’s Links:





Maybe Love, Not Time, Heals All Wounds

Ditched at the altar…biopsied for cancer…Mollie Hinkle is having a bona fide bitch of a summer. When life sucks so hard it takes your breath away, what's a girl to do? Pack a bag, grab a few friends, and leave the past and the worry in the rear view mirror. What wounds can’t be healed by a drive across the Heartland, where quarter flips at cross roads determine the route and the future? All roads lead to Craig, the second son and bad boy of the haughty Coulter line. Has fate brought her to the miniscule Montana town to find happily ever after or will it just break her heart?

HEALING SUMMER is the second book in the Coulter Men Series.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013 26 comments

Who's Your PADDY? "Got Green" Blog O'hop Version 2.O'


This is my version of the "ego wall." :)

I know many people are getting a wee little burnt out with BlogFests et al, but I have to

I can't help myself...

...host the 2.O' version of Got Green? Blog O'hop.

Last year's inaugural event was So. Much. Fun.

I was blown away by the support, so I hope we can build on that for this year.

But if we don't... I'm still getting dressed up as SIGGY :)

SIGGY in Key West, 1996 (& '97 :)

Info on the original Got Green? Blog O'hop is here (to be shure, to be shure)

All I'm doing right now is asking that you save the date - (the whales said they are quite fine now, but thank you for all the concern in the '80s and '90s.)

This year's Got Green? Blog O'hop will be on MARCH 15 only.

Linky List and Blog O'hop Button to follow, I promise :)

PS... anyone interested in participating in the Irish Yoga lessons need to begin exercising now :)

NO!!! Not another bloody blogfest!!!

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