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Baby Eagles

Baby Eagles

Well, not yet. But they will soon. Each year a pair of Eagles nest near my house and today I took some pictures of the three babies. If you look closely, you can see just the beak and head of one on the far left, then the other two are clearly visible.

One of the adults took flight shortly after I got my camera out and I wanted to get a picture of it, but I was too slow. Last year, the pair only produced one offspring, so to see three this year was great.

They attract quite a lot of bird watchers from around the state, because I see photographers with cameras with huge lenses on tripods taking pictures all the time.

They will fly soon. Maybe another week or two and they’ll be gone until next year!

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Free today!

Free today!

http://amzn.to/RnxiDS

This is my second offering of Laid Out and Candle Lit for FREE. The Kindle edition will be a free download today, April 11, and the next two days…April 12 & 13.

Here are the results from the first time I offered a free download back in Febuary.

I recently did a free two day promotion for my first book, LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT, via Amazon’s KDP program and wanted to share the results. Here are the statistics.
During the two days, Laid Out was downloaded 7,050 times.
The week following the promotion, both books combined were downloaded 125 times at regular price. That’s 125 sales in six days. Not bad.
I also received over 20 combined (both books) reviews.
When you sign up for the program, you do so for 90 days and during that time you have the opportunity to offer your book for free or at a discounted rate for 5 days. You can do the days all at one time or split them up, or only use part of them. I used two days during Feb. I plan to use the other 3 days during April.
During the Feb. free promotion, I sent our massive emails to my contact lists, posted once a day on Facebook and Tweeted once during those two days and asked friends to share the post. Many did. I also did free advertising on several book sites like Snickslist, Free Kindle Fiction, Pixel of Ink, KindleBoards Free Book Promo, etc.
If you’re considering a KDP promotion, go to:

http://www.unearthlytales.com/does-kdp-select-work.html

There you will find a list of the free sites and instructions for posting. Paid sites are also listed.
Another helpful source is:

http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/content/maximizing-free-days-kindle-select-kdp-select

On this site, you’ll get information of how to make the program work for you.
Reasons for using the program:
1. GET YOUR BOOK ON KINDLES in different parts of the country. Mine was downloaded in every state as well as almost every foreign country.
2. MOVE BOOK UP IN RANKINGS***naturally the number of sales affects the rank, but Amazon gives weight to everything. So, if my book is only sold in Texas, my rank won’t be as high as another book with widespread sales, that’s why getting your book into many different areas helps. Just remember, Amazon updates rankings hourly, so although you may move up quickly, you can also plummet in the same amount of time!
3. MAKE SALES OF BACKLIST (The more books you have published, the higher your sales will be)**All who take advantage of your free offer are taken to your Amazon page to claim it, so your other books get exposure…just think, over 7,000 people looked at my page during those two days! Amazon updates your sales info every hour, so it’s exciting to see how many downloads are happening and where they’re being downloaded.
4. GAIN REVIEWS*** Amazon gives more power to certain reviews…another words, a 5 star from someone who has only reviewed a few things, will not help you as much as a 3 star from a top twenty reviewer on Amazon. Also, reviews from different states/countries move your book up faster than if all your reviews come from…let’s say the south, or a limited region.
5. NAME RECOGNITION…visits to your website***if readers like your work, they’ll visit your website. I saw a significant increase in visitors after my promotion.
The best part of all is the promotion is FREE. So, think of the advertising Amazon is giving you for nothing more than your promise to only sell your eBook on their site during those 90 days. Since most eBooks are bought on their site anyway, I’d say that’s a pretty good deal!

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Many of you know I’ve been working on a cookbook for a while now. Since it will only contain dessert recipes, I’ve baked over a hundred and photographed them. Because of all those sweets lying around, I’ve eaten the finished products and sadly gained an extra fifteen pounds. I decided to take a break from the book and try to lose the additional weight.

Once I made my mind up to commit to it, I researched the internet to find the best diet to lose the most weight in the shortest amount of time.

It took a while to sort through all of those offered. I read the reviews and visited their chat sites. The South Beach Diet was the winner. It guaranteed you’d lose 9-15 pounds in two weeks! The teaser on the back of the book claimed…It’s not low fat. It’s not low carb. It teaches you how to eat the right fat and the right carbs. Sounded good to me, so I decided to put it to the test.

For those of you not familiar with the plan, it’s divided into three phases. Phase one lasts two weeks and is fairly stringent. You can’t even eat fruit during those fourteen days.
Phase two allows you to add some foods back that you’ve been doing without.

Phase three is the one you should follow for the rest of your life in order to maintain the smaller you.

I won’t list the menus for phase one, but I will tell you, it had things on it I don’t like. Tomato juice…yuck. Jello…yuck. Egg substitute…yuck. Plus, the hardest thing for me was giving up my Diet Dr. Peppers. By day two, my caffeine withdrawal was so bad, I was ready to troll for street drugs!! Oh my Lord. It was awful, I was in agony, but I was determined to prove this diet WOULDN’T work.

Here’s the breakdown of my progress of weight loss:
Day two—1 ½ pounds
Day three-3 pounds
Day four-no change
Day five-no change
Day six- 1 pound
Day seven-no change
Day eight- 1 pound
Day nine-1/2 pound
Day ten- ½ pound
Day eleven-1 ½ pounds
Day twelve-Gained ½ pound
Day thirteen-no change
Day fourteen-no change

SO, that was a total of 9 pounds in 14 days. (I lost that ½ pound I gained on day 15) I moved on to phase two and during that time, I lost seven more pounds for a total of 16 pounds. I’m happy with that amount. I still loosely follow the plan…basically no bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, sugar….for the most part. I LOVE bread, so that’s my weakness and I do eat a biscuit or roll here and there, but the next day I’m back at it.
The author, Arthur Agatston, M.D. recommends staying on phase two until you lose the amount you want, and then move to phase three. I basically stay on phase two and cheat when I get the chance!!

This took place last August, and I’m happy to say, I’ve managed to keep the weight off. However, I’m back to working on the book again, so I weigh daily and the minute I gain 2 pounds, I’m back on the diet.

So, if you want to lose some extra pounds or just avoid gaining, or lose a few to give you some play room for all the Valentine candy, I recommend this diet. It really lives up to its promises.

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Ah, February. The month of love. Valentines Day and all that. At least it gives us a chance to eat chocolate without guilt. We’re supposed to, right? I mean, a guy gives you candy it’d just be rude not to eat and enjoy it. So go for it.

Along with Valentines, February has some other things going on as well. Did you know it’s International Expect Success Month? What about International Hoof-care month?

With all those arrows flying around from Cupid, it’s also National Condom Month. You can go to their website and learn statistics about Sexually transmitted infections and watch a condom video of how to properly get it on, before getting it on… as well as how they’re made. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/national-condom-month.html

Good news for Walmart…it’s Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month. And also good news for women like me as we celebrate Spunky Old Broads Month!

But the funniest one of all is this one: Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month. Yep, it’s time to rearrange the furniture and speaking of furniture, I’d like to share a picture of a table my husband and I just made. I’d seen a Camille Console in http://www.SoftSurroundings.com at $800.00 was waaay more than I could afford, so we built our version for around $125.00 and I love it!! Go to their site and type in Camille Console and then compare it to mine. I love mine just as much as thiers…for a lot less!
DSCN1510

As you can see from the photo, I’ve already pulled my sofa away from the wall.

That’s it for me. Enjoy some guilt free chocolate and don’t forget to use good condom sense!!

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Didn’t everyone already know Robin Roberts was gay? I guess it’s news when people announce it to the world.

Has anyone noticed in Jason Aldean’s song “HickTown” one of the lyrics says: Well you can see the neighbors butt crack nailing on his shingles. That sounds like the butt crack is actually doing the nailing. Man, now that would be worth watching.

With January first coming up…you need to get your black-eyed peas before WalMart runs out. Check out a great Black-eyed Pea Soup recipe at southernliving.com

News Flash…after two years, Pattiecake and Sugarpie have finally finished their cookbook, SWEET THANGS. They’ll be submitting it for publication soon. They are super excited. They already have the cover!

Happy New Year!!

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This is a game my Sunday school class played a few years ago. We took the word Christmas and each of us drew a letter and bought a gift that started with that letter. Now, if you have more than nine members in your class, you could use Christmas time, or Christmas season, or any other combination of greetings.

But I’m going to make suggestions for doing this for a spouse, love interest, or family member. You could give them a gift a day for the nine days prior to Christmas. It’s romantic and special.

Get creative.

C could be a deck of Cards, that you’ve pasted messages on…52 reasons I love you. (That’s also a good idea for Valentine’s Day and works for man or woman.) Of course, you can always go with Candy or Cash….but what about a China serving dish, or a Charm bracelet? What about a Cell phone, Camera, Computer, Cookbook, or something Cashmere?

For the man in your life, it could be any Car accessory, Cooking tool for the grill, or that golf Club he’s been wanting.

Hotel reservations for a week-end get-away will work for H and both genders. What about a Hunting trip or if he or she has a certain Hobby, furnish supplies for that. I’ve always wanted a Brahmin Handbag…but I’m too cheap to buy one, so maybe someone on your list wishes for a certain brand, but won’t splurge for it. OR Hire Help for either doing the yard or cleaning the House. Man, I’d sure like a House cleaning service!!

R could be for any type of Reading material…a magazine subscription or a book by his favorite author. (Come on now…you knew I’d work books in here somehow) What about giving something Red…a Corvette would be nice. You could also do something Remote controlled, Roller skates, a Racquet for either Racquetball or tennis…or a membership to a Racquetball club.

I could be any of those i things…iPad, iPhone, ipod..or covers for them. Maybe a gift card to an Ice cream parlor, or tickets to an Island…or there’s always Intimate wear…that would please the giver as well as the receiver!!

Perhaps something Silk, Satin, Silver, or Sapphire for the letter S. One year my sister gave Silver letter openers she’d had made from the knives of our grandmother’s Silver…such a lovely keepsake! Maybe a Sled for the kids in your life..or practical Slippers..or an extravagant Shopping Spree…more for your money after the holidays! Something we gave two of our older grandkids was a bowling ball with carrying case. They loved them and at the time, bowling was one of their favorite Sports…so it would work for S.

T is a hard one…maybe something to do with Tennis, Trading cards, or Tunes.

Lots of possibilities for M. Merlot…Movies…MP3 player…Mug with asst. of tea, coffee, or chocolate. Anything Monogrammed and how about some of those cute personalized M&Ms?

Last on the list is the letter A. Consider some Artwork…either bought or done by a family member or child. Something Antique…and if it’s passed down from a family member, all the better. A handmade Afghan. And of course…another book by a favorite Author! Sorry, I couldn’t resist!!

I hope some of these suggestions have gotten you to thinking outside the box…and I hope you’ll soon be done with your shopping, if you’re not already.

Happy Holidays!!

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Okay, I should be good at suggestions for teacher gifts. I was a school secretary, after all, so that should make me somewhat of an expert. NOT. I will tell you what teachers don’t like…anything with apples on it. Usually because they have a closet full of that stuff. If they’ve been teaching for very long, the apple/teacher connection has been overdone.

What they do love are…gift certificates for restaurants, spa treatments, manicure and pedicure gift certificates, even movie passes.

If your teacher happens to be a coach, how about giving him.her tickets to a professional sporting event. I’m sure he or she has a favorite team, so find out which one it is and send them to a game. If you don’t want to do a sporting event, why not find out who one of their favorite musical personalities and search when that star will be performing close enough you could furnish tickets for their concert or club appearance. If the price is more than you want to spend, then get a co-worker to go in with you.

For male or females, find out if they collect any particular item and add to their collection. Perhaps they like antiques or old books. You can find many inexpensive collectibles at local antique malls.

Maybe they’ve been wanting to take a pottery or art class. Giving one lesson might be just the thing to get them going. Sometimes all they need is a little push.

Oh, and let’s not forget food items. I had a teacher who gave me tamales at Christmas and since I couldn’t make them, that was a great gift for me. Who doesn’t like baked or home cooked gifts? Be sure and include a copy of the recipe if it is one you choose to share.

And when in doubt…always remember, everyone loves cash!!

***SPECIAL NOTICE: I’ve been working on my website, so I hope you notice I have a new subscribe form in the left column. I’d sure love it if you subscribed. That way, when I add a new post, you’ll receive notice. AND, for all those who do subscribe between now and January 1, 2014, one lucky winner will receive a free copy of LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT and YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS…either in ebook format or trade paperback.

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Just today I was watching Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family show and they offered a great gift idea I’d never heard of. There is a website where you can go give an animal depicted in the manger scene…goat, sheep, donkey to families in need. One goat provides milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. You can give one animal or one of each. I think prices range from $75 up to $548, depending on the number of animals you give.

This would be a great way to honor someone on your gift list. You can give the animal/animals in honor or in memory of someone. AND, I understand the recipients can be in the United States as well as other countries.

The website is http://www.WorldVision.org/Gifts
The site also has gift items you may purchase, handmade by families who have received animals in the past. Such a great idea!!

On a much smaller scale, but still meaningful, is to consider giving a memory book. Have family members write special memories which involved the recipient and make them into a booklet. We did this for my parents on their 60th wedding anniversary. It was just as special to those of us who read the stories told by other relatives, as it was to add our own. It’s also a great way to preserve some family history.

I hope one of these gift ideas hits home with you.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

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I hope everyone had a great Turkey Day! I did. I gained the average three pounds articles claimed I should. Now, I just have to lose it in time to gain it back during Christmas!

Now for the December Observances. Other than Christmas, it’s a slim month in the awareness business. But, I did find at least one that I thought was pretty dang funny…Awareness Month of Awareness Months Month! How crazy is that?

Along with being aware of the months, it’s also National Tie Month and Write a Business Plan Month.

In the food department, it’s Quince and Watermelon Month. Gee, I thought watermelons would be celebrated in the summer. Add to those, Root Vegetables, Exotic Fruits, Tomato, and Winter Squash Month.

Moving to another subject, if I can make myself do it, I’m going to post some gift ideas you may want to consider for Christmas. I’m certainly not as good as Pinterest…and if you haven’t tried that site, you should…but be prepared to spend some time there. It’s addictive. Once you start looking at everything, you can’t stop! Anyway, here are my first suggestions:

For the hard to buy for child…why not buy tickets to the Children’s Theater in Dallas or your area. I did this for my daughter when she was about ten. I bought season tickets and we got to spend a Saturday mom and daughter day each month for several months…plus, we saw some great productions. The tickets aren’t as expensive as you think.

For a hard to buy for friend: If you have a friend who has lost a parent or loved one, why not give a gift of remembrance. I know every church I’ve ever been a member of, displays poinsettias at Christmas, where members can purchase one in honor of memory of someone. Remembering or honoring a loved one is such a special thing.

I hope you’ll check back for more gift ideas. If you have one you’d like to share, I’d be happy to hear from you.

Happy Holidays!!

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November is the month for writers to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which is an annual internet-based creative writing project challenging participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel between Nov. 1-30. I’ve never taken part in the exercise, but I admire authors who do…and succeed. I’m too slow to write that much in that amount of time.

It seems fitting since Thanksgiving takes place this month, we’d celebrate a lot of different foods. It’s Plum and Pomegranate Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month and Banana Pudding Lovers Month.

But, did you know November is also the month we celebrate Adopt a Senior Pet Month? Keep in mind, old dogs need homes too…even if you can’t teach them new tricks. Let’s not forget cats…however, there isn’t much difference in an adult cat and a senior cat. They pretty much just lie around all the time anyway.

It’s also Manatee Awareness Month, which is good, because I rarely give Manatees much thought. I guess that’s why they gave them a month for awareness. If you want to check out information about the Manatee, go to http://www.savethemanatee.org

Other things I seldom think about are sponges, so…November is World Sponge Month. Believe it or not, they have sponge conferences! Wow! I did not know that. The Ninth World Sponge Conference was held in Fremantle, Western Australia from November 4-8. Sorry I didn’t get this info out sooner. There might have been some of you who wanted soak up all that information. Oh well, there’s always next year.

On a more local level, I’ll segue into a book event I’m doing this Saturday, November 30th. I hope if you’re in the area, you’ll drop by for a visit!

THE BEN WHEELER BOOK FAIR

There will be 28 Texas authors — mostly from the Upper East Side of Texas — with children’s books, Christian humor, fantasy, literary fiction, historical fiction, horror, mystery, poetry, romance, and young adult fiction. Nonfiction authors include biography, children’s advocacy, memoir, music and culture, photography, and self-help.

A representative of Black Beauty Ranch will also be present to talk about and sell books about the nation’s largest animal sanctuary.

The book fair will be from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the restored Elwood Schoolhouse, 5475 FM 858 in downtown Ben Wheeler, which shares space with the Ben Wheeler Children’s Library.

It’s the same days as the 279 Artisans Trail which supports local artists. Organizers expect a good walk-in crowd to enjoy the restaurants, music venues, galleries, and retail shops along with special events in both Ben Wheeler and Edom. For more information, go to the book fair’s Facebook page, “Ben Wheeler Book Fair,” and check out www.benwheelertx.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~              HAVE A BLESSED THANKSGIVING           ~~~~~~~~~~

 

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