Laugh Away Holiday Stress

I usually don’t open those emails where you have to reply to 10 friends or take polls, but I did find this funny when a good friend of mine sent it! Hope you enjoy this and melt away any holiday stress you might be feeling.

Random Thoughts for the Day:

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer’s history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest needs to start their directions on #5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to the ten-page paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this — ever.

15. I hate it when I miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?)but when I immediately call back it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What’d you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. My 10 year old daughter asked me in the car the other day “Dad, what would happen if you ran over a ninja?” How do I respond to that?

19. I think the freezer deserves a light as well..

20. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Bud Lights than Kay

Do you have any random thoughts to add??


This image is so powerful and is exactly what I wanted to say to my fellow writers and readers. I try to be very aware of all of you on my daily journey into publication and beyond. Every day when I sit down to write or edit one of my upcoming novels, I keep each and everyone of you in mind. I ask myself questions, "will my reader like this?" "Am I meeting my best potential as a writer?"
Everyday I make sure that I tweet or facebook how thankful I am for each and everyone of you. Because Thanksgiving isn't the only time of year that we should do this, but it is the time of year that we actually stop and listen with our heart, our souls, and celebrate with friends and family.
So, from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for helping make my dreams come true.

Gratitude goes a long way!!

Today I want to thank you, my readers!! I'm participating in the GRATITUDE BLOG HOP!!
You don't want to miss it! There are several participating authors who want to thank you too.

I'm blogging at The New Cinders about why I owe you, the reader, a big ole bunch of GRATITUDE!!!
From there, you can blog hop all over the world and get free books! I'm giving away three copies of!!

Please stop by!

What do you do under the mistletoe??

What do you do under a misteltoe?
- contributed by Tonya Kappes
a: Pick your nose
b: Scratch your armpits
c: Kiss someone
d: Smell someone


Leave your answer in the comment section for a GREAT prize!!

Give away and a little Gratitude!

Wednesday I'm over at The New Cinders, a blog in the United Kindgom, talking about gratitude and giving away three copies of SPLITSVILLE.COM.
I'd love to see all my friends and readers over there!!

It's part of the Gratitude Blog Hop that I'm taking part in for WoMen's Literary Cafe!

"On November 16, 2011, twenty very special bloggers will host twenty very special authors, all giving out free ebooks to very special readers. You don't want to miss this give-back event! Show some love for our bloggers, stop by and check out their blogs!

Stay tuned and tell all of your friends! It's time for a littleGRATITUDE, and the WLC Authors have oodles of it to give out!"

Don't miss the book give-aways from all different genres, and all different authors!

The blog hop starts at the WoMen's Literary Cafe!

Secrets to Successful Social Networking

Fantasy author Ty Johnston’s blog tour 2011 is running from November 1 through November 30. His novels include City ofRogues, Bayne’s Climb and More Than Kin, all of which are available for theKindle ( ), the Nook( ) and online atSmashwords( ). His latest novel, Ghosts of the Asylum, will be available for e-books on November 21. To find out more, follow him at his blog

The secret to successful social networking

More and more writers today are finding social networking important for building an audience. Whether it’s authors touting their latest book, bloggers promoting their site, or other writers, reaching out to an online audience is one of the strongest, and easiest, promotional tools a writer can have.

Unfortunately, some writers hate it, and others just can’t seem to figure out what to do.

The basics are quite simple. You sign up for such sites as Twitter and Facebook, you start making “friends” on those sites, then you start letting your “friends” know about your book, blog, whatever.

However, that easy step opens up three potential problems for the promoting writer.

First, pushing one’s writing on the unsuspecting or the unwilling is often called spam, and others online won’t hesitate to call you out on it. Yes, you are joining such sites to promote your work, but to do so constantly only makes you annoying to others. There’s nothing wrong with mentioning your new blog post or new article from time to time, but making a nuisance out of yourself does a writer no good. How to judge if you’re spamming? Ask yourself how you feel when others are pushing their products on you.

The second possible problem with the basics of social networking is a lack of diversification in the sites. Yes, everyone knows Twitter and Facebook, but are you familiar with StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and a thousand other sites. Do you know about tumblr? What about more writing-centric sites such as GoodReads or LibraryThing or Kindleboards? Obviously it is far too time consuming to be on all sites all the time, but it would not hurt to pick a few as favorites and to have at least some presence on the others. The popularity of networking sites can wax and wane, so if you already have an account on one, it will be much easier to start taking part in the online community there.

A third potential problem for writers and social networking is that often it can seem no matter how much work you put into it, social networking never seems to pay off. You keep trying and trying, but your book sales aren’t going up, or your blog views are staying flat.

All too often I see writers who have 20,000 Followers on Twitter, but it does them little good. Or there are those who have thousands of Facebook friends, but without it helping their writing career.

How can this be? You’ve put all this time and effort into clicking your way to connecting with people, but none of them seem interested in your writing.

Too often, writers will become frustrated, throw up their hands and give up on social networking. They figure there must be some secret they don’t understand, or they believe they aren’t “cool” enough for others to latch onto.

The truth is, such writers are missing the trees for the forest. Yes, you read that correctly.

Signing up with a networking site and gathering thousands upon thousands of followers is only the beginning, a mere step in the right direction. It takes more effort than that, and more time.

There is one simple trick to successful social networking, and it’s not really a trick. What is it? You have to keep in mind the “social” aspect of social networking.

You have to chat with others. You have to talk online with them as if they really are friends. And you have to do so without constantly bombarding them with pressure to read your latest post or book or what-have-you.

The age of the hard-sell has passed us by. Today’s consumers are savvy enough to know when they’re being sold something, when an advertisement is slapping them in the face. Most of today’s consumers and readers don’t like that. To them, it feels as if they are being forced into something, and no one enjoys that feeling.

If a writer wants to successfully utilize social networking, the writer has to take the time to make real friends online. It’s not easy. You build relationships one at a time, but it needs to be done. Join in those twitter hashtag conversations. Let others know you appreciate their stumbles on StumbleUpon. Take part in the jokes on Facebook.

You never know? You might just start selling a few more books or drawing more people to your site. And better yet, you might actually have some fun and make a whole bunch of new friends.


featured in the Madness Under The Mistletoe Anthology

Chapter One

Maggie had to pick out the perfect ornament for Granny.

Her future depended on it. That is, if Grady Cohen was going to be in her future and the five carat sparkler on her ring finger was screaming that he was.

She had no clue how she was going to top last year’s grape and apple ornament. Although it had been ugly, it did stand for happiness and love. After all, the message of the ornament was all that mattered in the annual Greenlee family ornament exchange.

It has to be here somewhere,” she said, thumbing through all the dangling gems, being careful not to damage any of them.

If you would just tell me what you’re looking for, I might be able to help you find one.” Grady said.

She had to wonder if he meant it. His thumb was busy rolling the ball on his Blackberry, not thumbing through the aisles and aisles of ornaments at The Gingerbread House Shop, just north of downtown Manhattan on Christopher Street.

I don’t know what I’m looking for.” There was despair in her voice. “I’ll know it when I see it.”

Just like last year, she walked into The Gingerbread House the day she was leaving for Grandberry Falls.

Why does your family do this?” Grady sighed and continued to click around on his phone.

She wasn’t sure how to answer him.

She couldn’t remember how she, Belle, and Granny Hazel started the annual ornament exchange, but she could remember that there was one rule and one rule only. The ornament had to have a significant meaning behind it. That way they had to search for the perfect gift months, not hours, before Christmas.

Maggie smiled.

Even though it was a pain in the neck at that moment, she did love the exchange and she looked forward to it every year.

It has to be perfect, she thought, looking back at Grady.

Maggie was already nervous about bringing him home to Grandberry Falls to meet her family and the rest of the town. Yes, the town.

Everyone in Grandberry Falls knew everyone’s business, and just because she left when she graduated from high school didn’t make her exempt from the gossip of the small community. Plus Grady didn’t embrace the Greenlees’ superstitious ways, which made Maggie anxious about bringing him home.

Especially this time of the year, when Hazel Greenlee was known to use everything in her bag of granny tricks.

It has to be perfect.” She held a star ornament up to the light before putting it back. “I shouldn’t have waited until the last minute.”

She was surprised that there were so many ornaments left with just a couple days until Christmas.

All the glitter, glass and gold was beginning to blur together.

Found it!” Grady held up a red pitch fork that you’d expect to see a devil holding.

Maggie rolled her eyes.

What?” Grady laughed. She was well aware of his opinion on her family’s superstitious natures. “Isn’t it strange your family celebrates Christmas, yet you live your lives based around superstition?”

Maggie ignored him as usual. He might be right, but Granny had taught her all about karma and being a little superstitious in order to ward off the bad karma couldn’t hurt. If visiting the family with Grady meant he had to pretend to understand for a weekend, he should be willing to do that for her.

Can’t you just humor my family for a few nights?” She momentarily panicked as her mind raced through everything that could go wrong.

If Grady didn’t go along with the superstition or keep his mouth shut, Granny definitely wouldn’t welcome him into the family.

Besides, Maggie was well aware that Granny Hazel already had her married off to Mitch Dozier.

The problem with that was, Maggie thought of Mitch as a brother.

That was one thing you said you found endearing about me when we met.”She reminded him about the time she hitched a ride with him back to the city from the Hamptons.

She didn’t know he was one of the Cohen’s of the New York City Cohen’s.

It was only after she took the prestigious lawyer position that she was successfully using to work toward making partner status at VanMeter and Associates that she found out who her new friend was. She’d seen him around at a few parties in college, but they rarely ran in the same circles.

After all, she was a country girl, not a big city girl. And any social climbing she did was all on her own, or with some help from her best friend and former college roommate Lillian Alexander.

Lillian was one of the socialites of the city. She grew up with the luxury products of Louis Vouitan, Prada, and Gucci at her beck and call. Normally Maggie wasn’t drawn to people like Lillian, but Lillian was different.

She didn’t act any different than Maggie. As a matter of fact, Maggie sometimes found herself wishing she could be as good-hearted as Lillian.

Lillian had chosen to use her hard-earned NYU law degree to be a Goodwill Ambassador overseas, and was going to be spending the next year in a developing country. And Maggie had no idea how she was going to live without Lillian talking her off the OCD wagon.

Well, I didn’t know what you were doing throwing your legs up in the air every time we went over railroad tracks.” He retorted in cold sarcasm, bringing her back to how they met. “I thought you were some hill-jack from the back woods.”

Maggie stood with her hands on her hips. The diamond sparkler shone for the entire world to see.

You love my accent and you know it.” She shook her finger at him. “And you laughed when I told you that you have to hold your feet up and make a wish when you go over train tracks.”

She could still see the surprised look on his face, six months ago when she whipped her feet into the air, her shoes flying up and out of the convertible. It took them two hours on the dark, unlighted road to find her knock off Christian Louboutins.

The next day at work, a real pair of Louboutins showed up on her desk with an invitation to dinner from Grady. They been together ever since

Fine.” He backed off, letting her look through the rest of the ornaments.

All her dreams were coming true. She left Grandberry Falls to go to college in New York. She never fancied herself a big city gal, but loved it right away. By a stroke of luck, she got her dream job at VanMeters and never looked back.

She was on target to make partner within a year, and nothing was going to stop her now. Especially since she was soon going to be a Cohen from New York, New York instead of a Greenlee from Grandberry Falls, Kentucky.

Grady!” Maggie’s eyes lit up with excitement.

She cradled a shiny sterling silver bow in her hands.

This is the one.” A cry of relief passed from her lips.

And why is that little silver bow the one?” Grady plucked it out of her hand and raised an eyebrow. “We could’ve gotten this at a dollar store.”

She saw his jaw tighten when he looked at the fifty-dollar price tag.

I don’t care how much it costs.” She took it back. “A bow is a metaphor for a strong bond. And now, more than ever, granny needs to know that even though I’m getting married, we will always be close.”

Maggie tried to calm the feeling of uneasiness erupting inside her, but couldn’t. There was nothing she wanted more than for Grady to fit in like he did in New York, but Grandberry Falls was a far cry from the big city.

Maggie was able to reinvent herself when she left. In New York, she was seen as strong, independent, and successful. In Grandberry Falls, she was known as poor Maggie Greenlee whose parents were killed in car accident, leaving her and her sister Belle orphans for their granny, Hazel Greenlee, to care for.

Without hesitation, Maggie took the ornament up front and paid the clerk. She handed Grady the keys to his convertible and shooed him out before he could protest.

She was slightly irritated that he had questioned the price of the ornament. He purchased many senseless items that were much more expensive, and she had never questioned him.

The clerk handed the ornament back to Maggie, now in a beautifully wrapped package.

Granny is going to love this, Maggie thought, taking the gift. She glanced at the five carat stunner on her left finger.

For a moment, her heart ached for the antique diamond she saw at the jeweler instead of the Cohen heirloom. Although beautiful, it really didn’t fit her personality.

Quickly, she brushed the thought out of her mind and hopped in the car for the all day ride to Grandberry Falls.

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