Saturday, June 26, 2010


I've tried a few online money making opportunities, but most of the time they're a lot of work for very little return, or require you to spend money up front that you will probably never recoup. I thankfully never got involved in any of those. I've been using Swagbucks for about a month, and have managed to acquire $30 worth of Amazon gift cards. They have a lot of other prizes that you can trade your points in for, but so far I've only been interested in the Amazon cards. When I tried to trade in points for another one last night, I got a message that you were only allowed to get 5 of the same prize in the same calendar month, so after the first I can get 2 more. Or I might save up my points for an iTunes gift card this time.

The way it works is, you go to the Swagbucks homepage to do your searching, rather than using Google or some other search engine. Just doing this normally, you'll randomly win some "swagbucks," usually 7 or 8, or sometimes as many as 50. There are also surveys that you can do; I seldom qualify for them, but if you do, they pay 50-200 "bucks" upon completion.

There are also special offers and "tasks" that you can perform. The special offers are the usual--Netflix, book clubs, credit card offers, insurance quotes, etc.--they pay very well, but I would only do those if it was actually something I was interested in. If I wasn't already a member of Netflix, I could sign up and get 850 Swagbucks, which would be almost enough for 2 $5 Amazon gift cards. The tasks (listed under "Special Offers/Wall 1") are mostly search-related, i.e., they give you a search term and you copy and paste what you believe is the most relevant search result, or you're choosing categories for a list of items.

I'm pretty good at the search ones, but not so great at the categorization; still, if I spend an hour or so at it over the weekend, I can end up with another hundred points or so. Voting in the Daily Poll gets you one point, as does visiting the survey page, even if there aren't any surveys for you to fill out. One thing I almost missed--on the Survey page, there's a section for Profiles, asking you questions on everything from automobiles to snack foods. The profiles are worth 50-100 points each. They take quite awhile to fill out, but they reward you fairly well.

On one hand, it seems kind of silly. After all, $5 isn't that much. But it's kind of hard for me to spend $9.99 or more for a Kindle ebook; $25 in gift card currency makes me feel rich! Swagbucks doesn't cost anything to use, you don't have to give them a credit card, there is really no downside that I can see.

Following any of the links in this post will get to you my referral page, and if you sign up, Swagbucks will give me the same amount of bucks that you win, up to a certain level. Pyramid marketing is where the money is!

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Friday, June 18, 2010


I read this article at Crazy Aunt Purl this morning, and was going to comment on it, but comments are off, so I thought I'd just write my own blog post instead. She talks about wanting to know the ending of a movie before she sees it, and about books, she says:

I flip to the last page in a particularly engaging mystery book. Yep, you heard me. I like to know how it ends because then I can go back and enjoy the unraveling of the story. After all, it's fiction, it's fantasy. Maybe it's because in real life I never know what will happen next. Or maybe I'm just wound too tightly. It doesn't bother me one bit but Lord it seems to freak other people out. The idea of the surprise ending is sacrosanct.

I'm going to mention some spoilers of my own, so you might not want to read this if you haven't seen The Phantom Menace, or read John Harvey's "Cold in Hand," Elizabeth George's "With No One as Witness," or the Harry Potter series.

I don't know if I've ever written about that topic before, but I'd be surprised if I haven't. While I'm reading a book I'll sometimes start to worry that the hero, the dog, the child, whatever, is going to die or be killed. I don't actually read the ending, but what I do do is kind of flip through the last pages and see if the dog, cat, hero, child, etc., is mentioned or, specifically, if they have dialog. If they do, then no worries, I can relax and enjoy the story.

The movie that I remember most clearly being shocked when the hero died is The Phantom Menace. I couldn't believe they killed Liam Neeson off! I was completely invested in that character and was completely stunned when he died. There are a couple of mystery books I can remember that killed off major characters very suddenly and surprisingly, one is the Elizabeth George's With No One as Witness, one of the "Thomas Lynley" mystery series. His wife was killed off, and she was pregnant. The relationship between Lynley and Helen was lovely, and I was looking forward to its unfolding. But she was murdered on her doorstep in a senseless killing.

I recently read a John Harvey book, "Cold in Hand," I believe it was. He was in the first months of a romantic relationship with a major character, another police officer, and she was killed in a shootout. That was another one that I just couldn't believe, I thought surely she would survive, but no. There again, I thought the domestic scenes were the most interesting, but I suppose I may be in the minority there. I don't know what the motivation of the writer was, but I found myself very disappointed.

I guess the other big one is the death of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. I knew how that one was going to turn out before I read the book, so I wasn't surprised.

I don't necessarily want to know how all the books I read turn out, but I also don't really mind "spoilers." I don't want to know all the details, of course, but in general I read for the enjoyment of the story, not for the outcome. I read a lot of mysteries, but usually I don't actually care "whodunit." I don't generally try to figure out the mystery, I just read the book. Because it's a story. It isn't true, someone made it up, so they can make it be anything they like. So it doesn't really matter. It's the story that's important. At least that's my opinion.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010


I wouldn't say I had the most productive of weekends, but it wasn't bad. Friday night I met some friends for dinner, which was fun. I don't do that often, but I always enjoy it. Barb was in town for a wedding, so I met her and Patti and Nancy at Cheeseburger in Paradise and ate way too much, but had a great time.

I got home around 9:00, but since I'd had a drink at dinner (only one!), I was falling asleep by 10:00, so I went ahead and went to bed. I didn't have anything in particular to do on Saturday, which was good since it rained like the end of the world. It cleared off in the early afternoon and I went out and ran a few errands and had a late lunch at Chipotlé, then came home and ended up going upstairs and taking a nap, then reading in bed for most of the evening.

So of course I was wide awake, and stayed up way too late watching streaming movies on Netflix, which I love. I watched "Monsters, Inc." and "Up," neither of which I had seen. "Up" hit a little too close to home, and made me cry, but I loved both of them.

I didn't get to bed until about 2:30, which normally would have been fine, but I had agreed to participate in a study that a university is going on interactions in groups in Second Life. My timeslot was 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. this morning, which wasn't too bad, but I could definitely have stayed in bed a while longer. But I didn't, I got up, washed my face, and signed on.

I can't really talk about it since the study is ongoing, but there are details here. I see that the study has been closed for now, but they may open it up again in July. They were paying $5,000 Linden (the Second Life virtual currency), which equates to about $20, so it was fun and worthwhile. It was a Victorian mystery that you had to solve by teamwork with 5 or 6 other people, then answer some survey questions afterwards. I found it a little hard to get into at first, but it was fun once it got going.

After the SL stuff, I boxed up some books to take to Half Price Books to sell. I've been doing that about every weekend; it doesn't pay much, but it gets some stuff out of the house and gives me a little extra pocket money. Last week I did pretty well, and got $25.00; this week I only got $6. But I always figure it's $6 I didn't have yesterday, and it cleared some space on the bookshelves.

I always check Amazon to see if any of the books are worth anything, and if they appear to be, I'll list them for sale there since I can normally get LOTS more for them there than at Half Price. But there's the hassle of packing them up and mailing them, of course, so it probably all balances out. Unless I run across one that's worth quite a bit. If I can sell a book for $50 or so--and I have--then it's obviously worth the packaging and the trip to the post office.

I remember when Liora was talking about selling books and using the proceeds to buy her Kindle. At the time, I thought I would never sell my books, but I've gotten out of that mindset. I have books that are 20 or 30 years old, or older, that I'll never look at again. With the internet, I don't really need reference books, and I'm finding I'm less and less inclined to want to purchase fiction books that I won't re-read. And I'm trying to practice non-attachment. It's going pretty well so far.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Are you busy?

This is something that has always bugged me: Someone calls, or IMs, or walks in my office and says, "Are you busy?" My answer is always, "I don't know, it depends. What do you need?" The right way to ask the question is, "Do you have time to help me with something?" or, "Are you too busy to help me with something?" I will almost always say, "sure, I can help you," or maybe, "I can help you in a few minutes once I finish what I'm in the middle of." But "Are you busy?" is just so irritating. I'm always busy doing something, and if I'm not, what does that say about me? "Nope, not doing a thing, just sitting here taking up space."

Someone asked me today, "are you at maximum capacity?" Here again, it depends. Why are you asking? Do you want to offload a client to me, or do you just want to talk something through? I can definitely talk, but I'm probably not willing to take on another client unless there's a really good reason for it. "Maximum capacity" is dependent on what you want me to do. Maybe I'm being too literal, but there are just certain things that set me off.

Another one is being asked to "like" all those Facebook pages like "if you can't afford a 20% tip, don't go out to dinner," or "I'll have a Diet Coke with my quarter-pounder, I'm on a diet." Why are people so freaking judgmental? I know they're just silly things, but frankly, who cares? If you want to publicize that you like it, fine, but why ask me to join you? And who has so much time to spend on Facebook during the day anyway? Rather than continue to be irritated every time I read one of those, I finally figured out all I had to do was hide the people who do it. My brain is now much calmer.

Now get off my lawn!

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Nice Saturday

Had a really nice, quiet, enjoyable day today. It started out taking Dinah to the vet, which wasn't exactly enjoyable (especially for her), but wasn't too bad. Bob left for the golf course around the same time as Dinah and I left for the vet; I brought Dinah home, then headed out again to run a few errands. Bob called me while I was at the post office standing in line. He said he was going to stop and pick up a sandwich and wanted to know if I wanted anything. I said no, that I was going to stop and get something to eat while I was out. A few minutes later he called back and said his brother had called and he had run out to where he was and help him do something with his car, so it was just as well!

After the post office, I went to Subway for lunch. I got there right in the middle of a huge rush--the guy in front of me was ordering five sandwiches and the group in front of him must have ordered six--but I wasn't in any particular hurry, so I didn't mind waiting--much. I have to admit I did get a little antsy. The guys working there were kind of slow; it always takes quite awhile there, because every sandwich is made to order, but sometimes it's faster than other times. And they apparently have a new policy of cutting the sandwiches in half and wrapping them separately, so that adds to the time.

This particular Subway also seems to always be playing particularly irritating music, usually a hard rock radio station, which, when combined with a shop full of people, three people working behind the counter, etc., makes for a somewhat noisy place. But I stuck it out, got my sandwich, and sat in a corner booth for awhile reading. It quieted down pretty quickly, thankfully.

After lunch I went to Target for groceries, and got home in the middle of the afternoon. Bob was upstairs watching golf or something; I put the groceries away and sat down to read for awhile, then decided that a nap sounded lovely. I went upstairs, read for a little while until my eyes closed and the book dropped from my hands, and ended up sleeping for, I think, around two hours.

Later, Bob grilled hamburgers outside, I made pasta salad, and we had a really nice, summery dinner. He doesn't usually get Saturdays off, so it was nice for both of us to get to do things that we liked to do during the day, then spend the evening together.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010


The last couple of nights I've been up until around 1:00 a.m. working on formatting Fallen Angel for various outlets. It's now at Amazon in Kindle format, Smashwords in about a dozen different formats, and Lulu as PDF, as well as PDF here at my site. Last night I added an excerpt. All of the editions are the same price, $1.99. This price will remain until the end of June, when it will go up to $2.99.

I've also been working on jewelry. I spent one evening sitting in front of the television watching the Food Channel and making earrings. I just need to photograph and post them. I'll try to do that tomorrow. That's the hardest part, actually, the most time-consuming part. I really enjoy actually making things.

Angel of Awakening

I get an "Angel of the Month" email from Innerlinks, the makers of Angel Cards. (To get your own Angel of the Month, sign up here.) I've chosen to see it as a sign, and use "Awakening" as my theme for the month of June.

Another motivator, or inspiration, was running across this sometime last week: 30 Days of Creativity. Sometimes I just need a push, and this month I'm pushing myself.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Fallen Angel

My NaNoWriMo novel, Fallen Angel, is available now in the Kindle store.

In addition to the Kindle, Kindle books can be read on the free Kindle app, available for Mac, PC, iPhone, Blackberry, and iPad.

If you don't have a Kindle, and don't want to use the Kindle app--maybe you would prefer to print it out rather than read it on the screen--I've made a PDF version available for the same price as the Kindle version ($1.99). To purchase the PDF version, just click on the "Buy Now" button below and you will be taken to the Paypal site to complete your purchase. As soon as I receive notification of payment, I'll email you the PDF, so watch for it in your email!

If you buy the book, and like it, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a positive review at the Amazon site. Thank you!


Five Star Review

Now this is what I call a feel good read!

I totally believe in guardian angels and the signs that we ask for when we need some guidance and help, so I could totally relate to this book. Sarah was a lovely main character and although she suffered some heartache in her life she didn't go on and on and on about it like some books that I have read, she just dealt with it in her own way without really bothering everyone else in her new life in Saratosa. Zach well, sorry but I just fell in love with him, he was just so adorable and such a believable guardian angel. I have never been to the USA but willa described this beautiful place in Florida so well I felt that I had been there.

I loved the story line, it was not complicated, it was just a story that could have happened to anyone. It was a totally believable storyline.

At first I thought it was too short a book, however when it finished...and I will say that the last few lines made me cry, I realised...yes that's where the book should end!

Thank you Willa for writing such a simple and beautiful story, I almost felt I was watching a movie as I could see all the characters so well.

I would recommend this book!

~Firedrake, on Amazon

Four Star Review

there is much to be found in this book. from angels that kick butt to angels that make your teenager look sane, you will definately find something to love here. but there is something missing to the story. while zach is amazing (can i have one? please?) and sarah is fun, there is something missing between the beginning and the end. it seems the story ended too soon (what happened to zach? what was with that council of angels? are yukemi and carmiel going to come back?) with many plot points left untied. all i can hope for is a sequel to solve those conundrums. but it is still a wonderful book, with all the right things to make you fall in love over and over again

~Amazon customer review

Mentioned in Friday Finds - Sweet Indie Deals at Indie Paranormal Book Reviews.

Five Star Review
An urban fantasy that starts off with the protagonist owning her own bookstore grabs my attention right away because that's one of my fantasies and that of most anyone who loves books. The descriptions were delicious -- life in a small Florida town, working in an independent bookstore (with resident feline) and encountering mysterious angels. The story flowed smoothly, and I enjoyed watching the protagonist gradually open to love and risk. A feel-good read that isn't overly sugary, which is sometimes a hard balance to achieve. I hope to see more by this author.

~Liora Hess, on Amazon


Fallen Angel is now also available at Barnes & Noble, Sony eReader, Smashwords and

Read an excerpt.

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