Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Your Golden Parachute

Today I am pleased to have as a guest, Mr. Tracy Farr. In addition to being an amazing jazz musician with the Stinky Creek Band, he is a humorist with more than a bit of wisdom within the words. Tracy shares his wit with the readers of WinnsboroToday.com every week in the Periodic Columns and Essays Department, (I'm Just a Guy) and he agreed to be my guest today with another new piece. So sit back, relax and enjoy:

You deserve a Golden Parachute, too
Ladies and gentlemen,

Are you tired of hearing about banks going under? Are you worried about whether or not your money is safe in your Home Town Bank? Are you wishing for just a small share of the $700 billion Congress is voting on to keep banking CEOs (who caused this mess in the first place) from losing their luxury cars and ocean-front homes?

If you are, then copy and paste the following letter, change it up however you like, send it to whomever you think will listen, and maybe YOU TOO can sew yourself a nice little Golden Parachute.

Dear Mr. President,
I recently made a mistake in my finances by purchasing too many non-essential items through my credit card, without having the money to pay for them. Yes, at the time I thought I desperately needed the 52 inch Plasma HD Flat Screen TV with the optional Dolby Surround Sound for my living room, but I realize now I could have settled for the 48 inch TV instead.

Needless to say, that, and a whole lot of other purchases just like it, has caused me and my family to be in dire need of financial assistance. Without your help, my kids will go without new shoes for the year, I'll have to drive my brand new Prius instead of my brand new Hummer because of gas prices, I will have to switch from the 275-channel cable service to the basic service, and my goats will have to eat the $10 feed instead of the better $25 feed.

With my spending down to uncomfortable levels, I feel this will cause undue stress on local businesses who rely on my spending habits. And if they fail, all of Main Street will fail -- and so goes the country.

Wall Street CEOs made bad financial decisions throughout the years, just like me, and you'll soon be bailing them out to the tune of $700 billion. All I need is a measly $20,000. That's like a drop in the bucket compared to $700 billion -- and not even a FULL drop. More like a 128th of a drop.

I know you will make the right decision and not let my poor family suffer unduly for the mistakes I've made. I'm not asking for a Golden Parachute, but a Silver one would sure help out.

Mr. President, with your assistance, I will learn from my mistakes and never, ever let it happen again -- cross my heart and hope to die; stick a needle in my eye.
The Daily Spittoon -- Your money is absolutely safe with us!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

To Swear or Not To Swear

It's not easy to decide how much colorful language to include in a book without it seeming gratutitious, and I always deferred to the characters and the story to decide. Some characters are more prone to swearing than others. But over at http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/ there is a discussion today about using swear words and it started me thinking about something I realized last night.

My husband and I went to a production of On Golden Pond at a community theatre here in East Texas. The director addressed the language issue before the show, noting that the original play has a fair amount of cursing. In an effort to be sensitive to this very conservative, very religious area, the director opted to take out much of the cursing. But he did leave in some words where, as he put it, "the story would have lacked something to take them out."

For the most part, you could not tell where the words had been removed, but in the few places where they were allowed, it really heightened the drama because they were in places where people very often to swear at each other. I thought the director did a great job of selecting what to cut and what to leave in.

Reflecting on that, I realized that I could be a little more selective as I get back to my work in progress. The central character is just going to have to get used to "Mommy" telling her she can no longer swear like a truck driver. :-)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Virtual Book Tour for Maryann Miller

If you are not totally sick of reading about me, there is a new entry at http://lumorgan.blogspot.com/ today. This is more of the interview, but gets into other areas besides writing and ministry. It also continues the excerpt from the first chapter of One Small Victory that was started yesterday.

LuAnn Morgan was a wonderful hostess for these past three days, and I hope to see her blog grow in popularity. She loves to read and is so gracious to authors. We need to support her.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another stop on the tour

Continuing my virtual book tour and today I am at http://lumorgan.blogspot.com/ Here I talk about how I got into Chaplaincy and a bit about what it is like to do hospital ministry. Also have a bit more of an excerpt from One Small Victory. Stop on by if you get a chance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two More Stops on the Blog Tour

Today, I've cloned myself and am at two places at the same time. Ah, the marvels of modern technology. :-)

The first stop is at the PlotLIne -- http://theplotline.wordpress.com -- where there is an interview with the central character from One Small Victory. Here she talks about the difficulties of losing her son and working undercover.

Over at Reading Frenzy -- http://lumorgan.blogspot.com/ there is an interview with me that touches on hospital ministry and how my work as a chaplain has helped me in writing my books, One Small Victory and Play It Again Sam.

Come on by if you have a chance and leave a comment.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Wonderful World of Promoting and Marketing

This past weekend was a busy one for me. Saturday I was at a street fair in a small town in Texas where several East Texas authors had a booth to promote our books. Unfortunately, we were off the main street of vendors, sandwiched between a booth selling Mexican food and one selling corn dogs and funnel cakes. Not exactly a prime position. Plus it was hot and humid, with little or no breeze. But we toughed it out and had a few nice conversations with people who enjoy books as much as we do. Even sold one or two.

Later that afternoon, I went to speak to a writing class at a community college about the benefits of book tours online. It saves gas. I don't have to dress up. I can reach thousands of people. Not to mention how much cooler I am in my air-conditioned office as I do this virtual book tour.

The downside is that I don't have easy access to a funnel cake, but, hey, one a year is plenty for me.

So today, my virtual tour starts up again. An excerpt of One Small Victory is here http://theplotline.wordpress.com/ Tomorrow I will be at the same blog for an interview, and will have a stop also at http://lumorgan.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Virtual Book Tour

After a day off to rest, do laundry and gas up my computer again, I am back on the virtual book tour. The stop for today is: http://beyondthebooks.wordpress.com/

This is another interview, but the nice thing about these interviews is that they are not all the same. On this one I get to talk a little bit about some early work, especially my y/a novel, Friends Forever. I'd written that one so long ago, I'd almost forgotten about it. But in talking to a friend this week, I was reminded that the subject matter is still relevant. It deals with the social dynamics of girls in middle school when popularity matters more than anything else. Except now, those dynamics are happening in elementary school. Pretty soon it will be in pre-school. Kinda sad.

Monday, September 15, 2008

On the Road Again

The good news for Northeast Texas is that the hurricane turned east just south of us, so there was no significant impact from Ike here. The Gulf coast is another matter, and my heart goes out to all the residents there who lost homes and are still stranded.

As life settles back to normal for me, the virtual tour is starting up again. Here is the stop for today: http://rebecca2007.wordpress.com/ This is another interview, with some insight into a part of the book not mentioned in previous interviews. If you get a chance, stop on by and leave a comment.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Crazy Day

In Texas, most of us are preparing in one way or another for Hurricane Ike. Where I live, the storm will probably hit as a tropical storm just to the west of us, so we may be in for some pretty severe weather with possible tornadoes. What fun. :-)

So I have spent part of the day trying to "batten down the hatches". That included transferring my horse to the back pasture where he has shelter, getting all the feed pans and small buckets put in the barn, clearing the front porch and deck of anything we don't want blown into the next county, and making sure we have our emergency supplies.

Needless to say, that has not left a lot of time for writing or keeping up with my virtual tour, or doing much else except keeping WinnsboroToday.com updated. But somehow I did manage to get everything done, and in the middle of it all the most amazing thing happened.

Well, maybe not THE most amazing thing to ever happen, but something so nice I couldn't let it go by unacknowledged.

Last week I went to a local quilting store where I was going to buy a second hand sewing machine. I am not an avid quilter, although I did enjoy making a quilt for my grandson when he graduated from high school a few years ago. I didn't own a sewing machine at the time, but a friend loaned me hers.

Now I have another grandson ready to graduate, and I want to make him a quilt. Problem is, my friend moved away and took her sewing machine with her. So I went to the quilting store to see if they had any second hand machines. A clerk at the store had an old Kenmore for sale, and I was thrilled to find one so quickly. When I went the next day to pick it up, however, it turned out that this old machine would not work with a quilting foot. A customer in the store heard me talking with the store owner who was pointing out this problem, and the customer said she had an older machine that she would just give me. She, the customer, was getting a brand new machine designed for quilting, and didn't need her old machine.

Actually, she had two machines and I could take my pick. So today, I went and picked up a Singer that is probably about 20 to 30 years old, but it is a good solid machine. I offered to pay for the machine and the woman said, "No." She hugged me and said she hoped that I could put the machine to good use.

I had to stop a moment or two to just savor the experience of being so gifted. What a generous lady. Not often that people will give a perfect stranger something like that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Virtual Book Tour

Chugging right along on my tour. Today I am at http://zensanity.blogspot.com/ for an interview. When I started this tour, working with Pump up Your Book promotions, I wondered if the interviews would get redundant after a while, but the blog hosts have been wonderful about asking different questions, so there is something fresh each time. Whew! I would hate to think they were all like having a canned response. Sort of what we sometimes get with political candidates. :-)

And I just can't let this important day pass without mentioning 9/11 and sending out good thoughts to people who are still feeling the pain of loss from that day. And in a way, that touches all of us, because we all lost something that day seven years ago.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Virtual Book Tour

Still going strong on the virtual book tour. Today's stop is a short review on BCF Reviews.


Yesterday I forgot to list one of the stops, so here is a link to that one. http://www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ Here I got to write a bit more about how the central character was developed. I always find it interesting to know how writers come up with the characters and the story.

The BookConnection is a nice site for authors and readers. It has interviews, reviews, and a whole lot more.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Virtual Book Tour

Day five of my virtual book tour. Or it could be day six, I don't know. I've lost track. I admire folks who can keep up with a jillion things at one time and make it look so easy. Me, I have to spit my gum out so I can type.

Anyway, the tour is continuing. Today I am back at http://www.thebookmuncher.blogspot.com The blog today is primarily an interview, and one of the nice things about the interviews I've done with blog hosts is that the questions have been varied enough that people won't get bored as they follow me from site to site.

Monday, September 08, 2008

"Blog Train Excursion"

Welcome to the Blog Train Scavenger Hunt, chugging from url to url. I hope you enjoy this brief stop at my blog. Somewhere on this page, you'll find a hidden word, plainly labeled, that is part of a famous saying...not too famous though, so you'll have to use some brain power to assemble all the words you find during your travels--there are 16, total.

The hunt will end on September 13th, so you'll need to forward your final entry to mizging2003@yaho..com by midnight on the 13th. All correct entries will be entered into a drawing, but you never know...you may be the only person who gets it right.

I am busy promoting One Small Victory and (secret word = man) man is it a time consuming experience, yet a necessary one. If readers don't know the book is available, they miss the opportunity to read about an incredible woman's adventure.

As soon as you find the secret word here, please get back on the train and visit http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com for your next word.

All of us participating in this hope you find our blogs worthy of a return visit. Thanks for joining the Blog Train and have a happy trip. Remember, you can be the winner of 16 wonderful downloads.

Virtual Book Tour

The tour started up again today after a weekend off. Today I am featured at

I got to post about a crazy booksigning event at a senior center. We writers must choose our audiences carefully. :-)

And don't forget the "Blog Train Excursion" starting today. This is a great chance to win a bunch of books. visit: http://mizging.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A fun Contest

A writer friend came up with this great idea for a new contest. It's called "Blog Train Excursion" and it's a scavenger hunt for words. Contestants will visit a series of blogs to find words to complete a famous quote and the winner will receive a virtual prize basket containing sixteen e-books, one of which is Play It Again, Sam. The contest starts Monday, Sept 8th at: http://mizging.blogspot.com

Have fun.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Virtual Book Tour

I am starting a virtual book tour this month to promote my new book, One Small Victory. This is a new twist on the standard author tour that used to take authors across the country to meet readers in bookstores and other venues. Publishers used to arrange the tours, especially for big name authors, and all the author had to do was show up. Of course, that was not as simple as it sounds. Even though I would love to have that kind of backing from my publisher, the thought of flying or driving hundreds of miles over a two or three week period is daunting. Some writer friends have shared their "tour nightmares" with me, and it didn't make it sound like much fun.

This virtual tour is not nearly as demanding on time, money, or wardrobe choices. I can sit here in my office in my usual jeans and tee-shirt and visit all the blogs that are hosting me. If you would like to follow me on this tour all month, you can access the full schedule on my Web site The sites I will be a guest on will have a variety of interviews, reviews, and other information about books and publishing. Here is a Link to the stop for today: Book Excerpts from Bestselling Authors - http://bookexcerpts.wordpress.com

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Health Care Fiasco

A growing health problem in the United States is people who cannot get medical care because they don't have a primary doctor for referrals. An article in the September AARP Bulletin addresses the shortage of primary care doctors and it doesn't bode well for the future.

It doesn't bode well for the present, either.

More and more people are finding that they may end up with a deadly condition because they could not get in to see a doctor in a timely manner. That happened to a woman in Sacramento who had a mole on her arm that was changing. She tried to see a dermatologist without the referral from a primary care doctor, but the ones she called said they couldn't see her for three to four months. This despite the fact that she had an issue of considerable concern.

When she finally got to see a doctor seven months after discovering the mole, she was diagnosed with melanoma, which has now spread to her lungs.

And I thought it was terrible that I couldn't get in to see a new primary care doctor for a month.

I wish the story of the woman in Sacramento was an isolated case, but unfortunately it is not. And I don't even know what would be a good first step toward solving this problem. I just hope that it has come to the attention of someone with a better mind than mine.