Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

beach-writer

Lots of people think authors live a glamorous life; sitting in a beach chair, toes in the sand, large floppy hat, cool beverage with little umbrella in the glass with a laptop or tablet on their lap, just tap, tap, tapping away on the keys until – BAM – 90,000 words later, a best-selling masterpiece appears. The next day someone slaps a gorgeous glossy cover on it and plasters it all over the Barnes & Noble front window.

bookstore-window

Then, after several hours of tap, tap, tapping, said author dons oversized dark glasses and some sparkly flip flop sandals, gets into their luxury sports car and dashes off to some posh restaurant for lunch with their editor, agent, and some movie producer from Hollywood to discuss the details of turning your latest masterpiece into a Hollywood blockbuster.

power-lunch

Spoiler alert – that NEVER happens. Oh sure, JK Rowling probably does that NOW, but not when she first started. Steven King is a household name and James Patterson’s name gets tossed around a lot on movie sets and such, but seriously, that didn’t happen overnight.

So, how did it happen? I’ll tell you – I have no idea. Believe me, I wish I did. I wish I knew what secret, besides hard work and perseverance would shoot me straight up that ladder to the beach chair in the sun because God knows I would love love to dig my toesies into some white sand right about now. Not to mention that little umbrella drink.

Here’s what I do know, those people spent many, many long days and sleepless nights fussing over the right words, the parts they deleted and maybe shouldn’t have, the opening scenes that should work but for some reason don’t, a reviewers harsh comment, hours of endless re-writing.

working-woman

In other words, they worked hard and they didn’t quit. They didn’t let disappointment ruin their vision.

And, despite how it seems to authors most days, they didn’t reach a certain level of fame alone. What? You’re saying others helped along the way? Absolutely. A lot of people probably helped and didn’t even know they helped. Strangers can help strangers. Readers can help writers. Here’s how:

helping-hand

Buy books, read books, talk about awesome books.

A great way to take it up a notch, is to leave a review. It’s easy, it’s free, it doesn’t take that long, and it goes a long way in helping authors’ careers. Here’s a few places where you can leave a review: https://www.goodreads.com/https://www.amazon.com/; or http://allreaders.com/.

Go to book signings if you can and BUY THE BOOK, even if you gift it to someone else.

Spread the word on social media. A “like,” a “share,” a comment, helps boost that author’s visibility. It seems trivial, but like election time, every vote matters. (Please don’t make this political people. God knows we don’t want to go there again.)

book-with-bowGift a book. A great way to help authors is to buy books for someone else. Especially in this day and age of electronic gadgets, almost everyone has an e-reader of some fashion. If not, you can download a free app to most smart phones. Heck, you can read books on your home computer. What better gift for a person who has everything or no longer wishes to “collect things?” Again, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive. Some e-books are less than a dollar. Gifting an e-book is super easy through Amazon or other on-line e-book retailers. All you need is the recipient’s e-mail address. What a lovely surprise for the recipient to open their e-mail and discover a gift! And it won’t clutter up a closet or shelf.

 

comment-boxHere’s how I’m going to help some authors this week: Every person who posts a comment on this blog between now and Friday, February 24th, will be gifted an e-book of my choice. Simply leave a comment and mention your favorite genre so I can choose an appropriate book for you from one of my favorite starving authors. Some of you I can wager a pretty good guess about genre, but others not so much. If I don’t already have your e-mail address, send me an e-mail at jansen.schmidt@yahoo.com so I can make sure your e-book arrives. (Caveat: I will only be gifting from Amazon so you’ll have to have a Kindle in order to participate. Sorry to those who prefer other e-reader methods.)

You in turn can help the author of the book I gifted to you by posting a review and I strongly encourage you to do so. I’m acting on good faith here that you will leave a review. If you do not wish to write a review and post it on any or all of the sites I listed above, please let me know if the comments. (Caveat: If you absolutely hate the book I gift you, please do NOT leave a bad review. An honest review yes, but not a scathing one.) Remember, the purpose of this week’s blog is to help each other out. I’m helping readers, you’re helping writers.

trust-quote

That’s it. Easy peasy. You can pass the word to your friends if they want a free book all they have to do is leave a comment and their e-mail address. I’ll do the rest.

So, thanks in advance to all who post a comment and enjoy your books!

How do you help starving authors? Do you routinely leave reviews? Do you attend book signings? Do you have an e-reader?

Word of Day: Acroter

Fun fact about me: I have 3 e-readers but I prefer paper books.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2017. Photos courtesy Google Images.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It’s almost Christmas and who has time to write a blog post? I sure don’t.

xmas-meme

Today I’m checking in to say Merry Christmas and to thank all of my followers, subscribers, groupies, lurkers or whatever you call yourselves. I appreciate you and wish you the very best this holiday season.

Here’s a little silliness courtesy Jimmy Kimmel and YouTube. Whatever you do this holiday season, please do NOT give the gift of Kleenex or Pull-ups, especially to a boy child.

upset-child

Enjoy. And may you all receive wonderful gifts – like toothpaste – this year.

Peace out!

Have you ever been pranked? At Christmas? Have you ever pranked anyone? Your child? What was your worst holiday gift?

Word of the day: Rennet

Fun fact about me: I’ve never given a prank gift (but I love white elephant gifting.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, December 2016. Video courtesy YouTube (Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Read Full Post »

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

How many times have we shopped, found something extraordinary and thought, “This is perfect for so and so?” (Hand raised high.) When this happens to me, I usually make the purchase right then and there, depending on cost of course. More times than not, when Christmas rolls around, I already have a small stash of “perfect” gifts waiting to be wrapped and delivered.

On the other hand, how many times have you gone shopping for something specific only to be shut down, robbed of your shopping enjoyment because you can’t find the “perfect” thing you’re looking for. I know, I know, Murphy’s law and all that, but seriously, isn’t that such a let down? How hard can it be to find that one simple thing?

Christmas is an already stressed time of the year. Folks are strapped for cash, time flies by, your husband eats the cookies you baked for your boss’s holiday party. It’s stressful. Add to that the pressure of finding “the perfect gift,” and it’s down right painful.

Now finding the “perfect gift,” can be nothing short of euphoric when you see the happy smile on the face of the recipient you love. It’s a high that I personally find very satisfying. But hey, I’m a giver. I love giving, especially when it’s done right.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But how often have we found ourselves – settling? Buying something, spur of the moment, running out of time because it’s four o’clock on Christmas Eve and we still haven’t gotten anything for cousin Bob and he and his sleezy new girlfriend are coming over at six for drinks and we just know he’s going to bring us a gift so we have to get him something – (breathe) – and then we do the grab and go, dash home, wrap it up, present it to him in his stupid Christmas hat and goofy grin only to be rewarded for all of our trouble, angst and money with this:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Don’t do the cousin Bob routine.

gift cardHere’s what I suggest – stop trying to find the “perfect” thing. Think about who you’re buying for and why. If you’re simply buying because it’s Christmas and the season dictates that you buy a gift – don’t do it. Nine times out of ten the recipient won’t want the thing you’ve settled for anyway. Just suck it up and get a gift card.

I know, gift cards are a cop out, but let’s face it, who doesn’t like gift cards? I like gift cards. Let’s me pick out something I really want or at the very least, something I need but no one will ever buy it for me because it’s a practical everyday thing that’s – well – not “perfect.”

Come on people – ease up on the pressure – enjoy the season. Stop trying for perfection and give from the heart. Sometimes a dozen cookies or a sweet bread wrapped in pretty paper are more appreciated than that bottle of bath gel you picked up from an end cap at the grocery store on your way to the check out line. I’ve often given the gift of my time and taken a harried and stressed out friend out for lunch in lieu of a gift. You can offer to clean someone’s house, or pick up their dry cleaning, or mow their lawn, or rake their leaves, or some other act of kindness instead of buying some silly and usually cheap thing. Time is money – spend it wisely. To some folks time is more precious than money. Who wouldn’t want more time? Well maybe a lifer in Folsom Prison wouldn’t want more time, but you all know what I mean. Right?

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I’m not suggesting you stop giving gifts, I’m merely suggesting that if you can’t find that thing that’s “perfect” who whomever, try giving in another way. Make a home cooked meal and deliver it to your busiest friend on a busy weeknight so they can sit down and relax for a couple of hours with their family – maybe watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or A Charlie Brown Christmas or It’s A Wonderful Life. You’d be surprised how something so small and easy to do can go a long way.

Xmas quoteSo happy holidays my friends. Relax. Put some thought into your giving. Stay safe in your travels and kind in your hearts, words and deeds. That’s why I love you all.

What have you done to show your appreciation to a loved on in lieu of giving a gift? Have any giving tips to share? I’m always open to suggestions.

Fun fact about me: I love to bake, especially this time of the year.

Word of the Day: Qiviut

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, December 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images.

Read Full Post »

So autumn is finally in full swing in my neck of the woods. It was a long time coming, but finally the temperatures have dropped, the leaves are changing colors, the harvest is nearly over and we’ve had a fire in the woodstove. It is around this time of year that talk at my house turns to the holidays. Are the relatives visiting? Are we cooking or eating out? Are we exchanging gifts or buying something for the house?

I especially love this time of year because I love the seasonal foods associated with Fall and the rapidly approaching holidays. Most especially, I love me a good pot of yummy, hearty chili’s, stews and thick creamy soups. When I think soup, I think crockpot. Which in turn reminds me of a funny Christmas crock pot story.

Last year, my husband and I were discussing the annual exchange of holiday gifts and he said that he was going to get me a new crock pot. I frowned. Then I explained that girls want romantic personal gifts for the holidays, like perfume and diamond jewelry. He said that those things were very impractical, to which I responded, “Oh course they are! That’s what makes them special gifts.” The closer we got to Christmas the more I realized that the only thing I wanted was a new digital camera. So, when my husband asked me what I really wanted for Christmas, I told him, “I’d really like a new camera.”

About 2 weeks before Christmas my boss and I shared our annual Christmas lunch and gift exchange. Much to my surprise, she got me a digital camera. I was so excited! I’d gotten a gift that I really wanted and knew I’d use. At home that evening I joyously showed my hubby my new treasure and his face fell to the floor. (I think you see where this is going.) I immediately knew that he had already gotten me a camera and I told him not to take it back. I told him that I would return my boss’s gift instead, but he insisted that I keep her camera and he’d get me something else.

You guessed it. He got me a crockpot. He said he didn’t know what else to get me and since I had pitched such a fit about getting small kitchen appliances as holiday gifts, he decided I needed to be taught a lesson.

I’m gonna confess something – just between you and me – I LOVE my crockpot! I use it all the time, probably even more than the camera. So, in honor of the arrival of autumn and my love affair with my holiday crockpot, here’s one of my favorite recipes. I hope you like it as much as I do. It was my first experience using pumpkin for something other than pie.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Ingredients

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 lb. ground turkey

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (14.5 oz) can red kidney beans

2 cups ( 1 14.5 oz can) pumpkin puree

1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 Tbsp cumin

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cayenne pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Procedure

1. Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

2.  Saute the onion, bell peppers, green chiles and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Make room in the center of the skillet, add turkey, and brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and pumpkin. Season with chili powder, cumin, pepper, salt, and Cayenne. (It is at this point when I put the mixture into the crockpot on low for several hours.)

3.  Reduce heat and simmer at least 20 minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro. If preferred, serve topped with Cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite autumn tradition? Do you decorate your house for Thanksgiving? Got a good soup recipe to share? Let me know in the comments.

When this blog posts, I shall be vacationing in one of my favorite places but I promise to acknowledge each of you who leaves a comment. There might even be a sweet surprise for one lucky person who leaves a comment! Check back often to see what others are saying about Fall.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Word of the Day:  Labdanum

Fun fact about me:  I didn’t learn to swim until I was 13.

Read Full Post »