Thursday, September 28, 2006

 

Sorry Ladies!

Our web server was having a problem today and we were down for two hours! Not Nice. I think everyone from ipower.com was down -- and what gets me is, I just checked our site after we went back up and we're down again... I'm truly sorry.

What do you do in these situations?

I haven't a clue, but if you know, maybe you can share your advice with us...

Thanks :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

 

Contests--I love them--from both sides!

When Angela and I started dreaming about WOW!, we absolutely knew we had to have a contest.

We enjoy entering contests, it follows a lot of other people do, too. Our favorite part definitely isn't learning that we didn't win (not even honorable mention...really! I mean, who reads the entries anyway?!). Well, that's how some people react, of course, we were much more gracious, weren't we?

Back to having a WOW! Contest, now that we're receiving entries, I've discovered there's a whole other component I hadn't thought of. That's where privileged people get to read the efforts of talented people. It never dawned on me that my writing might have brought a smile to someone's face...even if I DIDN'T WIN! Oh, my, there's that ugly attitude again.

It's easy to think your entry must have been uninspiring, at least; perhaps judged as exhibiting no imagination etc. That's why, not being a contest winner can have more meaning attached to it than it deserves.

Stick with me on this thought, please, because our contest is an enriching experience, and I want to share how. When reading someone's creative efforts and knowing how much I enjoyed it, makes me realize that my entries have entertained, even caused someone to think. But, above all, I earned their respect, because I was willing to put myself out there. And, if my writing didn't do all or, at least, part of that, then I'm sorry someone was having that bad a day.

But, there's more, she says: It can't be helped, when you dream up a Writing Prompt, you have something specific floating around in your mind. I've found the proof that writers are not mind-readers, I may never read an entry that even comes close to what I was thinking. That is great, because I can see my idea wasn't nearly as good as I thought...but, the prompt was perfect for getting other minds going.

From now on, I hope we will all feel better about our contest entries, whether we win or not. (You can tell by the lack of CAPITALIZATION that my attitude is already getting better.)

Be assured that we appreciate the entries submitted. We will be sad, like so many others, that we can't let everyone how great their story was, even if...

Now, you know why I love contests--from both sides!

Take care,

Beryl

Sunday, September 24, 2006

 

This collar is no fashion statement

My pretty little Designer Dog (we had no idea nine years ago that our little puppy would be a social climbing aid) has very sensitive skin. Despite all the efforts made, a scoundrel flea attacked and bit--at great cost to him and Abda. My four-legged friend has Advantage on him, not good news for the flea.

Our outing wasn't the 'walk in the park' I had hoped for. Dr. Moon, our vet, banned us from the park. (Actually, I'm still allowed, but I would feel too guilty going there without him.) Dr. Moon surveyed the damage where Abda had gone into a biting frenzy because of the itching during the two hours I was gone. Flea dermatitis is a sad condition to have.

He created a bald spot about the size of a half-dollar and it hurt just to see the glowing red on his fawn to silver left haunch. Now Abda is sporting a blue plastic collar with black padded trim for comfort. Comfort, they must be kidding, I haven't been comfortable since I put it on him...uh, Abda is actually taking this much better than I am.

Since I must stick with the title, I have to admit that he does carry this look off better than some dogs I've seen. Picture this transparent, medium blue cone (collar), framing his Shih-Poo sweet little face. His ears, little palm-tree of silky black hair, and those adorable dark Shih-Tze eyes, peering above the flowing black hair that covers the rest of his face, excepting his silvery beard...

Hey, I said the collar was no fashion statement, I didn't say Abda wasn't a gorgeous dog--that wins everyone's heart.

Misery must love company, I feel so much better now that I've shared the trauma of this past week. Actually, it is fun visiting with you. However, a word to the wise, protect against those pesky fleas; not everyone looks good in a plastic blue collar.

Take care,

Beryl

Thursday, September 21, 2006

 

To read or not to read, that is the question.

This month I have the privilege of doing a review on the book of my choice. Time constraints with deadlines and life have me reading books by authors we are interviewing. Then Angela suggested a BW (before WOW!) book that I read, reminding me that I had several things to say about it. Yeah, you’ll have to wait for the October issue to find out which book I choose. However, this did get me to thinking about all the choices we have in the wonderful world of books.

Way, way before television, when Abraham Lincoln was reading by the light of the fireplace, and then way, way before that, men/women cherished books and read with joy and satisfaction. When was the last time you watched television and had that feeling? I don’t mean to knock TV completely, it certainly has its place—and we all have personal preferences about that. Nevertheless, I have to say, sometimes when watching TV, I stop and think, if the writer for that program did what I’m doing...there would be no program to watch.

Of course, someone else could argue, if no one watched the program there would be no reason to write it. Another one of life’s paradoxes, and my answer to that paradox (and the title to this little piece) is to decide if I could write something better, and if I can, I need to do so; and, if not, I should relax and enjoy the fruitage of another writer’s labor...OR, READ A GOOD BOOK!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

 

Cookie Dough Comforters and Itchy Bed Bugs


When staying in a hotel, the comforter is the first thing that you should peel off the bed and throw into a corner. The unassuming background in six shades of beige and the colorful spray of roses and soft foliage may lull you into a doughy hibernation, but don’t let that distract you from the stiff fabric and the scratchy texture.

Two weeks ago at the Action Sports Retail (ASR) trade show in San Diego, I went to stay with my husband at the Embassy Suites. Upon entering the room, the first thing I noticed was the comforter lumped in the corner like some kind of cookie dough ball and my hubby resting atop two thin sheets in an ice cold room. He’s some kind of polar bear, I guess, whereas I am a dainty flower with poor circulation.
Soon he drifted off to sleep, above the covers, and I was shivering and hungry. So I went into the front room, threw on the TV, and gorged on some leftover chicken and fries, all the while snuggling under that lovely comforter I’d drug in from the other room. Long story short, I was itching like crazy the whole next day. Strange bumps appeared, like bug bights, and I remember seeing these same things before…when I stayed in another hotel room and ignored my husband’s requests to discard the comforter. It all makes sense…now.

Comforters are the least washed, if washed at all, item in a hotel room. To quote an ex-Janitor, “For your own good, sleep between the sheets! Those blankets and comforters are NEVER washed, (unless there is a pressing need, like a huge brown stain, or an outbreak of the Ebola virus).”
And an article from the Washington Post states, “While hotels changed the sheets daily, or as often as guests requested, some major chains cleaned the bedspreads only once every three months or instructed housekeepers to remove them only if they saw spots or soiling.”
Hmmm… that sounds remarkably similar to the ex-janitor’s testimony. I’m a believer now, but had to learn the hard way. Hope you all don’t have to!

Monday, September 18, 2006

 

What do you think of MySpace?

I finally started participating on myspace: http://www.myspace.com/wowwomenonwriting and it’s been great so far! I originally thought of it as just a meat market from all the bad press, but I’ve come to find out that there are a lot of great people out there. I’ve been on it for a little over a week, and the response has been amazing… I’ve met like-minded individuals, authors, and readers in such a short amount of time.

One of my friends referred to it as “her crack-pipe,” and I can see why. It’s addicting! I try not to stay on there too long, but long enough to read the bulletins and emails. There are also a number of book groups on there that you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise…and we know how important that is to authors. It’s like anything, I guess, you can choose to do with it what you will, and with anything there’s always going to be predators, because it is a microcosm or macrocosm (considering the number of people on there!) of the real world.

Give me a shout out if you’re on there ;)
Peace,
Angela

Friday, September 15, 2006

 

Follow-Up to AT&T Fire

Firefighter hurt at AT&T blaze in Anaheim
Roll-up door fell on firefighter; extent of injuries unknown.

ocregister

 

What do recipes, music, and poetry have in common?




Frank McCourt, the author of Angela’s Ashes and Teacher Man.

Last night I was watching Maria Hall-Brown’s show “Bookmark” on KOCE, and found myself enthralled with her program. It was just like a good book I couldn’t put down! Maria interviewed Pulitzer-Prize-winner Frank McCourt about his new memoir Teacher Man and his unconventional teaching techniques.

Frank wanted to teach his creative writing students about poetry and prose, but they didn’t have any interest in the subject. So, one day a student of his was talking about making Marzipans, and Frank didn’t have any idea of what that was, so the student said he’d bring some in to share with the classroom.

The next day, the student brought in these beautiful little Marzipan layer cakes molded into ornamental shapes and placed into colorful paper cups. Frank asked him for the recipe, and as the student recited it, Frank McCourt had visions of poetry, not only from the words, but also from the structure.

If you take a close look at the formula of a recipe, it does have similar structure to a poem. For instance:



Classic Petit Fours
Cake

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 1/4 cup sugar (1 cup + 0.25 cup)
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp almond extract
• 2 cups pastry flour
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 6 egg whites

-------

for the complete recipe go to:
Marzipan Recipe


-------


Soon after that, students started bringing in various dishes from around the world. And since “eating in class” was forbidden, Frank McCourt suggested that they take their lunches out to the park across from the classroom. There they assembled underneath a shady tree and shared dishes from around the world. Students brought a variety of food, including some from Frank’s native Ireland. (One student brought a typical Irish 7-course meal: "a six-pack and a potato.")

The recipes flowed in, and the students read them aloud. One student suggested that the recipes be put to music, and after that, there were stringed instruments, horns, drums, and flute to accompany the reading of such delicious prose.

There was a break-through moment for Frank and for the class when a Chinese student read a traditional family recipe for Peking Duck in Mandarin. She’d brought her brother along with her to play a “strange stringed-instrument” while she read, and the sound was exquisite. So exquisite that the Principle came down from his office to ask, “What is all the racket?”
By that time, all the students had joined in with their cymbals, drums, flutes, toms, maracas and cowbells, while holding their recipe cards in song and dance, to conquer this thing called poetry!

-------

Anyway, I found the episode riveting. Thank you Maria Hall-Brown for providing such wonderful content to KOCE. I don’t know if all of you outside Orange County, CA get the show Bookmark, but it is wonderful and she’s an awesome interviewer. Check out
KOCE
for more info.



Peace,
Angela

Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

From the Homefront: Breaking News




What is that smell?

I was typing on my computer when I noticed a strange odor I couldn’t place…something chemical or plastic burning…to the point that it was almost overwhelming. For a moment I thought that my nose hairs had caught on fire! Luckily, they hadn’t.

I ventured into the kitchen and checked the oven, then the microwave, and then did a sniff test of everything around. The only strange smell that I could detect was coming from my cat’s litter box, which isn’t so strange when I come to think about it. The girl eats a lot of tuna and freshly cut turkey from a local Deli I go to. (Yes, she’s spoiled)

Well, an hour later, after I’d given up the quest of hunting for the strange smell, I decided to take a shower and hit the liquor store to grab my nightly essentials. As soon as I was walking out to my car, I heard the ghetto birds swarming overhead. For those of you who don’t know what “ghetto birds” are: they’re black helicopters that circle seedy neighborhoods looking for America’s most wanted, or news copters looking for a scoop. In this case it was the latter.

A block from my business/loft was a blockade of ten police cars, four fire trucks, and a street full of gawkers; myself included. The SBC now AT&T building a block from my pad was on fire! Fire crews had one of those huge ladders that extended from their vehicle to the top of the building, with smoke pouring out of the roof like a chimney. So I drove as close as I could, rolled down my window and reached into my glove box for my digital camera. Coughing from the rank smell, I pulled it out and turned the viewfinder on and snapped a shot. One terrible shot, and my camera blinked “full” and then “out of batteries.” I called my husband and said, “Honey, the SBC building is on fire! You got to get a shot of this!” I new he’d just gotten a new digital Sony camera that was tons better than my old HP that I’d gotten for Christmas four years ago, and although he was somewhat sleepy, he agreed.

I got to the liquor store, and the young brown-skinned clerk was just closing the door. “Did you see what’s going on out there?” I asked. “It really smells, doesn’t it?”
“No,” he said dryly, “I was just closing the door to keep you out.”
For a moment I’d almost forgotten my witty comebacks, but then quickly retorted, “Oh, I just thought you were trying to keep your smell in.” (Whatever that meant… not one of my best, I’ll admit.) I went to the back of the store and grabbed some water jugs and a bottle of cabernet and headed up to the counter.
“Didn’t your mom ever tell you that you shouldn’t leave the house with your hair wet?” he said.
“That’s a myth.”
“Yeah, it is.”

After some meaningless flirtation and a look at his recent tattoos, I headed back to the chaos. I asked my hubby if the shots had turned out, but he said that they didn’t. I wondered if he’d even remembered to take his camera out there? So I got on my Mac and tried searching the “breaking news” on this, but to no avail. I don’t know if it’ll be out tomorrow, because surely there was a bunch of press there. But the strange thing was, that as I was searching on the Orange County Register’s site, and found something that happened just three blocks away from me tonight! I don’t have a clue if these two incidents are involved with one another, but it sure is odd.

A big rig flipped over and caught on fire, killing at least one person just a couple hours before this incident with the AT&T fire had occurred! OC Reg: Few blocks away!

This location has been a constant place for disaster. The Metro Link crashed here a few years ago. A teenager died a block from here by crashing into the river basin, leaving nothing but a shrine behind, and I’m just glad I’m moving out in January! I don’t have a clue what this all means. I’m just putting together the puzzle pieces, seeing if they’ll fit, and trying to make some sense of it all… like we tend to do in our daily lives and adventures....

xxoo
Angel (surrounded by chaos, lol)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

 

It's a dirty job; but somebody has to do it!

There is so much happening. Assignments, interviews, and a multitude of other concerns seem to be commanding my attention. And, then I realize that I need to read BAKLAVA by Diana Abu-Jaber, because we'll be interviewing her.

Imagine that! I'm used to feeling guilty if I quit work and indulge in a good book. But, hey, now it's MY JOB!

Before that, I HAD to read A CIRCUS WITHOUT ELEPHANTS by Maralys Wills and KIRA, KIRA by Cynthia Kadohata, etc.

All of this has me appreciating what a blessed and rich life I'm leading. I don't have a lot of time to spend on regrets, but I wish I had been smarter in my younger age, and made more time for important things--like reading more good books.

Reading a good book produces a domino effect in the reader's life. You are pulled out of your life's story, to give your brain and emotions a charge, which in turn reduces stress and that's good for a body. When you set the book down and step back into the real world, you have a fresh perspective and, if you're anything like me, a spring in your step.

That's really powerful! Words on a page can do so much for the reader. And, in turn, this fuels the fire within to give your best, so your own writing can have the same effect on your readers. When that happens, the last domino lands on you with a resounding thud, and you grasp the fact that reading that good book...

Well, it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it! And, aren't we glad! So, after thoroughly checking out WOW! (then, you can move on to more good reading ;-D ), be sure to pick up a good book and do yourself and a hard working author a favor...

Enjoy!

Beryl

Saturday, September 02, 2006

 

Hi to all--glad we could all make it

This has been such an exciting, almost unbelievable experience for the WOW! gang: Angela, Jonathan (our expert web guy--dare we even admit we had a guy's help) and me. Meeting the fabulously wonderful people and having so much enthusiasm and support went beyond any dreams that we had.

We're looking forward to hearing from everyone as they turn through the WOW! pages...we want you to be as excited about the people and what they have to offer as we are.

All the articles not only give great direction but their personalities shine through. What we love about that is the ability for our readers to identify with various ones and then the advice comes alive.

We have a great start but the real life will come to WOW! through the interaction (comments, suggestions) from you, our readers--fellow writers, editors, agents, publishers and, of course, the main reason for all of our work: the loyal readers.

Angela and I stayed up talking on the phone so long that I’m embarrassed to tell you how late...just going over what's been accomplished and how we want to build on that.

So, stay with us as we grow and offer up some of the extraordinary and talented people and direction to better writing...and, of course, getting your work published. Everyone in the industry will be edified by comments from readers to know how to write or get the best work out there.

Thanks to everyone for being there and that includes you, the reader of the song my heart strings are playing now.

Take care,

Beryl