What Next?

The last few years have been interesting for you. The kids have finally flown the nest, you may be without a significant other due to life changes, you’ve downsized, and the garden you used to tend has morphed into flower pots on the patio. You’re too young to live the rest of your life knitting in a rocking chair, or whittling in the garage, and you’re too old to wear the polka dot bikini or the thong to the beach – maybe Europe overlooks flesh that has a mind of its own, but in California, it doesn’t work!

So what to do with this new-found time? You don’t want to admit how much time you’re spending on the Internet playing solitaire or Words with Friends. Well, how about sharing some of that knowledge you’ve earned over the years? Non-profits need your skills. You can donate your time and your expertise to a number of different organizations, whatever your interest is – everything from pets to HIV to cancer to community gardens, you name it.  They want you. And admit it! It’s kind of nice to be needed again!

It doesn’t matter where you live; someone needs you and your talents. Hey, we’ve learned a lot over the years! I’ve sat on a lot of Executive Boards of different organizations and the majority of the people who sit on the boards are boomers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Younger people are dealing with children, jobs and all of the other things that just getting from day to day entails. Rarely do they have time to donate to a cause, no matter how worthy. There are only so many hours in a day and a person can be stretched just so far!

If children are your interest, check out the Boys and Girls Clubs. I recently took my granddaughter to a “ba yeah” class (read that ballet!) at one of their locations. The class was reasonable and excellent. They usually provide child care services, sports activities, and classes. Fundraisers help support them.

The Kiwanis club has been around for a long time and is usually very active in communities.   Soroptomist focuses on women and girls. Meetings, retreats, and fundraisers help them become self-sufficient, empowered, transformed, and able to attain their dreams. “Working Wardrobes,” one of their projects, helps women return to the work force by furnishing them with appropriate clothing.

I don’t have space to give a shout out to all of the wonderful non-profit organizations that exist, from the soup kitchens to the Humane Shelters. Whatever you’re interested in, trust me, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

Author’s Boomer Lit Recommendation: If you remember Woodstock, read Goodbye Emily by Michael Murphy!

Is the Muse upon You?

I don’t know about you, but I can definitely tell when the Muse is Upon Me. I picture this little bird sitting on my shoulder. No, it doesn’t actually whisper in my ear, but when the Muse is Upon Me, my mind is filled with ideas for books, blogs, columns, etc.

Take this morning, for example. I got up in the early morning hours to heed the call of nature. When I returned to my bed, the Muse was sitting on the bedstand. Yup, from 1:30 on the Muse had me in its grip. I couldn’t wait until it was a decent hour to get up. I don’t know if you call 4:00 a.m. decent, but figured the neighbors might call the police if the interior lights were going on and off a lot earlier than usual. And when I return email or post on facebook or twitter in the early morning hours, I’m invariably asked “Isn’t it… in California? What are you doing up?” I wonder if they understand that when the Muse is Upon Me, I can do nothing but honor it.

And for writers, I think it’s a bit tougher when the mind is spinning. If you’re a mechanic, you really can’t go into work until the shop opens, even if you’re thinking aboout how to fix that car that was brought in last night at closing time. If you sell shoes at Nordstrom’s, you can’t get into the store until it’s open for business and you’re ready to serve the customers.

Us writers, not so. It’s often just a few steps to our working area and that working area is probably open 24 hours a day. So if the Muse is Upon You at 2:00 a.m., there’s a good chance you’ll be honoring it. I have to admit that I’m not a very good middle-of-the-night writer, but I know that for a lot of writers, when it’s quiet and everyone’s in bed, that’s when they do their best work. For me, the Muse serves more as an idea-generating thing in the middle of the night. I really think some of my best ideas for columns, books, resolving plot dilemmas, etc., comes from the Muse in the middle of the night. That’s when the pen and paper next to the bed serve me well. I can jot down notes and flesh in the ideas in the morning, my creative time. Last night, for instance, I thought of the plot for the third and final book of the Teddy series, mentally wrote two colums for a newspaper I contribute to, two blogs and two submissions to the Huffington Post, where I’m also a columnist. Actually, the Muse and I had a pretty good night. The Must is usually very quiet in the afternoons. It must be tired or maybe by now it knows that I find afternoons to be the  best time for catching up on emails and reading trade items, rather than actively creating.

I sometimes wish my Muse was a real bird. Then, at least, I could put it in its cage, cover it with a towel, and tell it to be quiet. But no, when the Muse is Upon Me, there is definitely no way to quiet the cacophony of the mind. Muse – I need some sleep. Please, imagine you have a cage. Just for tonight!

NINE INSPIRING BLOGGERS AWARD

Don’t think there’s anything better than being acknowledged by your fellow peers. Billy Ray Chitwood, author of Mama’s Madness and An Arizona Tragedy, among others, recently nominated me for Best Blogger Award. Thank you, Billy Ray, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his blog, Billy Ray Chitwood, http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com/blog—billy-ray-chitwood–writing.html. It’s absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend it!

Now comes the fun part. In addition to putting the logo on this post and naming people whose blogs inspire me, I have to list seven things people would be surprised to learn about me. So, for better or worse, here goes:

1.  I’m an avowed “word nerd.” Show me a word game and I’m there! Words With Friends and Wordsworth being my two favorite ones. I’ve even succumbed to playing Scrabble on facebook. Ask me what I do first thing in the morning. Yup, you’ve got it!

2.  I’m a closet Dulce de Leche ice cream lover. A little dish in bed at night while I’m reading, (or being a “word nerd),” is nirvana!

3.  I’m capable of dealing with about anything with the exception of three things: problems with toilets, computers, or cars. I drove my husband to the airport the other day in his car. I’d forgotten that you have to put your foot on the brake and push the start button at the same time. I panicked, debating whether to jump out of the car, horns honking, run into the busy terminal and try to find him, or alternatively, just have the car towed. Finally, I remembered how to start it. Not as if I’d never driven it before!

4.  I’m a puppy lover. At one time I had three puppies, one Brittany Spaniel and two boxers. I thought they were adorable. My husband not so much. Particularly when he planted an “azalea garden” with 30 beautiful azaleas. The puppies thought it was beautiful too. So beautiful, each one felt compelled to dig one up and greet him every time he came home.  He’d like me to say it was a mutual decision to give one of the puppies to a dear friend. I know I wouldn’t be responsible for what might happen if I ever volunteered at a humane shelter, therefore, I support them monetarily.

5. I’m a shoe “fashionista.” There’s just something about a fabulous pair of shoes…

6.  I’m a flower and candle junkie. I have to have bouquets of living things in the house throughout the year. Living in Southern California, I can usually come up with something, even if it’s a lot of orange or lemon branches in a big glass vase.  Every room must have candles – yes, even the bathrooms. There’s something about lit candles that makes the world a better place to be. A few years ago I was in a nightclub in Sacramento, California, where they had a wall of mirrors and glass with candles reflecting off of them.  A whole wall. Had to have it! “Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Tell me how we’re going to do it!” I said.  Now I have glass shelves backed by mirrors and candles on two walls. When it’s winter and the two walls have mirrored candlelight, it’s magical. Light them even when I’m by myself. Good for the soul!

7.  Lastly, I’m a closet introvert. Yeah, I know. I’ve entertained everyone from Governors to gardeners and enjoyed them all. But quiet time, looking out at the garden with a good book in hand, that’s when I’m happiest!

Now that you know all (well, maybe not all) of my secrets, it’s time to name a few people who write fabulous blogs and are are my choices for Best Bloggeer Award – in no certain order.

1.  Michelle Browne @ Sci-Fi Magpie http://scifimagpie.blogspot.com/

2.  Kirstin Pulioff @  The Literary Closet  http://www.kirstinpulioff.com/

3. Travis Luedke @ The NightLife (Adult Content) http://thenightlifeseries.blogspot.com/?zx=3df2bb5e9e98b142

4.  Thomas Rydder, Writer @ http://thomasrydder.wordpress.com/

5.  B.R. Snow, Welcome to the Official Site of Author, B.R. Snow @ http://www.brsnow.net/category/br-snow-books/

6.  Joss Landry @ Joss Landry Blog http://josslandry.com/blog/

7.  Jet Elway @ Jet http://jetelway.com/

8.  James J. Murray @ Prescription for Murder http://jamesjmurray.wordpress.com/

9.  Jenna Brooks @ Jenna Brook Blog http://jennabrooks.weebly.com/

They write about everything of interest from children to adult! Enjoy! They’re all terrific.

Authors & Discounted Books

I ran across an article this morning from the New York Times that I think is of huge interest to all of us who write. It deals with discounting books and the different venues.This seems to be a growing trend that was started by Amazon in their KDP Select program. There are other places to promote discounted and free books if you’re not a fan of Amazon’s exclusivity. Well worth a look-see!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/business/media/daily-deals-propel-older-e-books-to-popularity.html?ref=business