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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Toiling Tuesdays: An Evening of Stories – Live at The Black Dog

An Evening of Stories – Live at The Black Dog

FreeValley Publishing’s authors will be at The Black Dog in Snoqualmie, WA on January 23, 2014 6-7:30pm for a Meet the Author’s event. Our authors will read excerpts from their published works and give short commentary on different aspects of self-publishing. We will then be available to chat and sign books for you.
This is in league with local chap book makers who will also have works available that evening. Paul Green will play Jazz at 7:30 onward, so you can make it a complete entertainment outing. Come an see us!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Medical Mondays: Hospital Smartphone App with Personal Map

Have you ever gotten lost in a hospital?

Some of them are so large and convoluted, they would make for an excellent relay race location. Seriously, you can go round and round in them.

I propose a new app for smartphones that has maps for hospitals, where you can input your destination (surgery center for example) and they will direct you. Even better would be a holographic/HUD type display that projected outward from the phone to lead you in the right direction. Or perhaps hospitals could employ color coded floor lines (a la Ender's Game) for common destinations in their building.

Please make this happen!

Also, parking garages could use them. I'm tired of getting lost in those. Or if they could have directions to the nearest open spot, that would be great.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sarasota Specific Saturday: Amazing Sarasota Scavenger Hunt

The Amazing Scavenger Hunt: Sarasota Edition

Photo documentation of:
            Pregnant lady
            Arm wrestling a stranger
            Dancing with a stranger
            Sign spinner (extra point for costume)
            A photoboth
            An alligator
            Classic/exotic car
            Kissing under Unconditional Surrender
            public pillow fight
            headphone dance party
            fake picketing (your choice)
            poetry recitation
            donating money 
            acting out a Monty Python skit
To bring back:
            A geocache prize
            Fortune cookie


Friday, December 27, 2013

Foodie Fridays: Treat Yourself to Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Branch Tuscan Estate Balsamic Vinegar

No sugar added to the original balsamic, it is super delicious, thick, and bitter-sweet. I highly recommend this balsamic. The only shortcoming is the packaging as I didn't care for the cork style top.

To find this product and more like it, visit:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Toiling Tuesday: Maple Valley Writers December Workshop - Goals and Resolutions

Goals vs. Resolutions

Do you write out goals with deadlines in mind?
      Do you have daily goals? Weekly goals? Monthly goals?

Your goals should:

  • Be something you can control (not just "make lots of money" but "send out three query letters a month)
  • Inspire you
How to define these goals:
  • They should be measurable (not "be a better writer" but "write daily")
  • They should be attainable (not "be the number one writer" but "get an article published in the local newspaper")
  • They should be meaningful
Short term vs. long term measures of success
  • Do you want to measure success in terms of hours spent writing per day (or per week)?
  • Do you want to measure success in terms of pages produced or words produced per day (or week)?
  • Do you want to measure success in terms of queries submitted per week or month?
  • Do you want to measure success in terms of projects (articles, stories, or chapters) written per month or year?
What's your writer's bucket list?

Here is mine fantastical bucket list:
  1. Become rich and famous
  2. Write a book in every genre/type
  3. Publish my own anthology of poetry
  4. Write my autobiography
  5. Have one of my stories made into a movie
  6. Write a screenplay
  7. Write a one-hit wonder
  8. Be a top-selling, name-known author
  9. Be on talk shows about my books, as an author
  10. Sell a million copies of one of my own novels
  11. Be an inspiration to other authors
  12. Win an award
  13. Travel and do talks in other countries
Don't forget your support! The people who can support and motivate you along the way. 

Also, don't forget about what resources you will need to accomplish your goals!

Are you self-publishing? Take the author self-assessment worksheet to help you as you progress through your publishing experience:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Socializing Sundays: ACME After Dark Bowling

Bowling: Can be done in groups, as a date, double date, or in a league. If you catch them on a special, it can be less than a movie ticket in price.

Some alleys have a bar, restaurant, arcade etc. They are usually located near other shops.

My assessment: You don't have to be good to have fun but as I like to say, "I'm not competitive, I just like to win."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Foodie Fridays: Raw Milk

Front Street Market
Here is a wonderful product available at your local Front Street Market in Issaquah. Why raw milk? Raw milk, though it has dangers associated, is beneficial in that it is still full of nutrients. When you buy homogenized milk from the store, it has been bleached and stripped of all its nutrients and then they are added back in afterwards. This kills any potential harmful substances but also any good substances in the milk. If you are into milk, I would suggest an alternative to the regular grocery store milk. Don't just go with the cheap milk, go with organic, or local, or raw. For one it is better for you and two it tastes better! However, raw milk is straight from the cow, therefore full of fat and I would not suggest consuming it in large quantities. Like any product that comes from a cow anyways, I would recommend buying a quality product, like this Raw Jersey Milk.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Medical Mondays: Allergy Testing

Needles, right?

Not quite.

I recently went through some allergy testing and it wasn't that bad.

Gasp! How can that be! Needles. Long, thick, prickly, itchiness.

You've got it wrong.

It's just a little prick, a scratch to just break the surface of the skin and then the substance you are testing for is injected on top of the scratch and permeates under the skin. Granted, if you are allergic, the skin will turn red and get itchy, but no more than a fire ant bite or mosquito bite. It's not that bad, honestly. Note, they even have some anti-itch cream they will give you.

That's the first test, the second test goes a little deeper and is a bit more intense but again it is only a mild prick of the skin and a little injection just under the skin. If you don't watch, it won't bother you much at all. For me, it's more the idea of what they are doing then how it actually feels:

Scariness of the doctor = actual pain/imagined pain X seeing needles X scary things your body doesn't normally do.

 So if you don't see the needles or what weird things they are doing to you, the scariness factor of the visit should go down. The imagined pain should go down as well if you won't watch because scary things look more painful than they really are and you might psych yourself up to higher degree of felt pain if you see what's going on. My technique is to let them do a few and get used to how it feels and my reaction and then see what they are doing so that the process is demystified for me.

How do you cope with needles?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Author Thursdays: Writers Who Influence Me

Writers who have influenced me significantly:

1. Orson Scott Card
2. Dr. Seuss
3. Shel Silverstein
4. Patricia Wrede
5. Stephenie Meyer/Fifty Shades author (For showing me anyone can write a hit novel and anything can be the next big thing)

Who are your great literary influences?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Toiling Tuesdays: Authoring, Marketing, Publishing, Selling is Hard Work

The Maple Valley Writers booth at the MAple Valley Holiday Craft Fair sold several copies of the books of the two featured authors: Becky A. Benson and Rachel Barnard. For more information on the authors, check out the brag corner on the Maple Valley Writers website. To purchase Becky A. Benson's novel, Three Short Years, click the link here. To purchase Rachel Barnard's novel Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams, click the link here.

We had fun and met many fascinating people with their own stories to tell. Perhaps you will see their books in the future. This post is dedicated to those writers out their in Maple Valley who have important stories of their own to capture and inspire us.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Socializing Sundays: Cute Story Spotlight

Congrats to my high school friend Christopher and his new fiancé. He proposed to her with a scavenger hunt! How awesome is that?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Socializing Sundays: How to Propose and Get the Girl's (or boy's) Attention

There are many ways to propose... Such as with movement and strangers a la flashmob. Or in a stereotypical stadium scoreboard/ring in the champagne/down on one knee.

But what do all - most - proposals have in common?


The ring!

I propose (see that pun there?) that the proposal utilize something other than a devalued piece of jewelry. Even ingots of gold are worth more than a cut diamond that loses value as soon as you take it off the 'lot'.

Here are a few of my ideas and why...

- A Pet

      Not just any pet but a shared kitty/doggy/tiger/etc. Psychologically speaking the more shared resources/investments you have, the more likely you are to stick with your relationship. We can't break up because it would negatively affect the kids! Insert your preferred pet as "kids" in that last sentence and voile!

- A Lasting Valued Resource

     Nothing says I love you like a lifetime supply of toilet paper! Just kidding but think of a shared resource you might need if you are to live with the person you are proposing to (until death do you part) or something that can be sold when times are tough such as gold/silver/platinum/bullets. We're looking for things that will always be in demand.

- Something Similar in Price to a Ring but Useful Sooner Than a Ring

    A ring is valueless until it is sold, right? It might add value over the long run or you might lose it at the beach or to a mugger. However, something like a car has instant gratification value and would get much more use over time than a silly old ring. I'm sure there are many 'things' that fall into this category.

Don't just submit to the diamond ring fads, ask your gal or guy what they really truly think signifies trust and passion and a lasting commitment to a relationship. I don't think the first thing I would say is a polished stone. You can fake jewelry (Cubic Zirconium galore) but you can't fake a car or a cat or a house in the Bahamas.