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Monday, July 19, 2021

Python bites man on toilet



We all have been there. You need that few moments of piece and quiet so you go, as my daughter puts it, "to put some otters in the water." It is the refuge of moms from screaming kids, dads frfrom watching another epsiode of Jessi or Vampire Diaries, workers from their boss, teenagers from chores, and just about anyone at a family reunion.



So what do we do when the one place of solitude and peace becomes a potential place of death.






original source
That is right. Death. Or worse.... Just ask the 65 year old Austrian man who was bitten in the genitals by a python. According to reports he felt a "pinch" after sitting on the toilet. No, not that type of "pinch." Rather, the "a python just bit me nuggets" type pinch.

Apparently, the python was owned by his neighbor and had decided to take a cruise through the sewer pipe. Next thing you know, there is a 5' python squirming up through the toilet. 

This led me to consider two things. One, how often does this happen? I mean...  should I still sit down on the toilet?

And two, why is quicksand not such a big deal.


Considering my first concern, I googled what probably put me on some sort of watch list. "How often are people bit by snakes in the toilet."

The article that popped up was from the "plum bette." Cute name. She had done some research and offered up this tidbit:

original source here
A snake catcher from Queensland Wildlife Solutions told the Courier Mail he only retrieves 10 snakes a year from toilets, so it definitely happens but it’s not likely that every household in Brisbane or even Australia will experience a snake emerging from their toilet bowl. - Article here

What the hell!!! How many toilets is a plumber even working on in a year? If it is two a day and NEVER takes a holiday off that is still over a 1% chance. That means if you live in australia and poop daily you will do so three times when there has been a snake in your toilet!!!

Okay... Australia is a crazy place. But if a plumber there can have ten a year, then surely it happens in America. I texted my plumber friend.


"Hey man, random question. You ever see snakes in toilets."

"What? Why would you... I mean, yeah. And hot tubs."

"That is terrifying."

"Yeah, I poop standing up."



You have a 1 in 13,983,816 to win the lottery. You know what that means? It means if you have ever bought a lottery ticket thinking you might win, you also believe every time you sit on a toilet a python might nibble at your nethers

Which clearly leads me to point number two: quicksand.

When I was a kid we were still aloud to use the bathroom outside. Even encouraged. You would come to the door and your parent would say, "Stay out till dinner."

"But mom, I need to go #2"

"Figure it out. I'll ring a bell when you can come in."


Okay, so maybe not that harsh. But the point was we were free to go into the snake's homeland and use the bathroom. Perhaps that is why they now feel at home in our toilets? The sins of the fathers....

But I'm off track. The real point is that we weren't even looking for snakes. TV, comics, movies, and books taught us the real danger was quicksand. It was lurking everywhere and as soon as you stepped into it your life would be over unless someone nearby handed you a strong vine. There is always a strong vine hanging near quicksand. It is one way you can identify it.

On "How to Survive Quicksand" they list several easy steps. As a kid, I could have easily recited these.:


-1. Stop moving - Quicksand knows if you are scared. Stay still and play dead
-2. Lighten the load - Whatever famous jewel you just rescued - even if it is like 8 ounces - is the exact amount of weight you need to discard in order to survive.
-3. Grab something - like that vine. Just make sure it isn't a python.
-4. Wiggle your feet - Don't know what this does, but you are about to die so you ought to keep good circulation.
-5. Call for help

Christy's Blog Here
Ummmm.... In retrospect, maybe calling for help should be #1?

Here is a great video. My favorite part is where they remind you that wild animals love it when you fall in quicksand and become their snack.Oh, and your friend may rip you in half if they pull you out too fast.




I also found this blog - Christy's fantasy to die in quicksand. What? So that made me google if anyone with graphic novel talent has ever had a "get bit by a snake" fetish. Don't google that. Nor "Tennessee quicksand." Seriously. Don't. Because those google searches and the resulting flagging of your computer are much more likely to happen than your toilet sinking in quicksand while a python "pinches" you. Either way... turn on a light for that late night trip.












My Easy (yeah... seriously...) Lasagna

 SEE THE WHOLE RECIPE HERE



I know I have said it before, but it bears repeating. I love food and I love cooking. I hate recipes that require four hundred steps. Especially the ones claiming "Best Hamburger You've Ever Eaten from Simple Ingredients You Have IN Your Kitchen." Then, as you scroll through the forty pages of how they mother brought the recipe over on the Mayflower and why they like wooden roller pins but plastic cutting boards, you come to some instruction as follows: "Take three hairs from a Muskrat and twine them together with nylon rope and the innards of a carefully marinated field mouse." Okay, it may not be that drastic. But you know what I mean. That recipe that claims to be simple, but in reality involves an hour of prep, tons of ingredients, and you have to be a trained chemist to make it.

I keep my recipes simple. I don't spend hours on something already done pretty well commercially. I also don't skimp on deliciousness to be organic, vegan, or gluten free. In fact, if you have a few extra jars of gluten, send it my way. I'll mix it in. But enough intro. Here is the recipe:


THE INGREDIENTS:



- Lasagna Noodles (Duh)

- Your favorite Pasta Sauce (I like MIDS marinara or MIDS Sausage)

- 1lb ground Itallian sausage

- 1/2 to 3/4 lb ground beef

- pack of mozzarella cheese (usually 16oz but recipe is flexible)

- tub of Ricotta cheese (mine was 14oz. Again, flexible. We aren't chemists!)

- one onion (I like the Vidalia)

-one egg

- tblspn of minced garlic (or use fresh garlic, or garlic powder. I love the jar ready to use and it lasts forever in the fridge)

- Italian Seasoning (This one has salt and pepper already in it. If not, might add a little of that)


Ten Ingredients. I know. But trust me, it is easy. I have divided these steps up into three parts. The longest is the meat sauce. DO the other two in and around that prep.


PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 375 degrees

THE MEAT SAUCE:

    -1. Chop up your onion and sauté 

        There are LOTS of theories about chopping onions. Here is mine. I cut the ends off. Throw them away. I cut the first two layers. It is easier to peel away two layers than one. I throw them away. Wasteful? Maybe. Onions are cheap and you can buy them in bags for under $3 or individually for under $.50. Not worth crying over.

    I saute mine in a tsp of olive oil. If you don't have that just throw them in with the meat. If cook ahead of the meat, only saute till they turn clear (2-3 minutes).






-2. Add the sausage and hamburger into your pot. Brown meat.


-3. Add pasta sauce (I usually use 1/2 to 3/4 of a jar as I like my lasagna meaty and not super saucy. But you do you.)



THE NOODLES: 


-1. Follow the box instructions. I lay them on wax paper after to keep them from sticking. Others butter them (yummmm.... butter....). Or just have impeccable timing.






THE CHEESE:

-1. In a bowl, mix the Ricotta, 2-3 oz mozzarella (a fist full), an egg, and some Italian Spice (teaspoon or to taste)





ASSEMBLY!!

Spray your pan (I used an 8x8, but you can make it in a longer pan too) with cooking spray (or not).

Lay down a little sauce, then noodles, cheese mix, meat sauce, mozzarella, noodles, cheese mix, meat sauce, mozzarella, noodles, meat


Honestly, I probably do this a bit different every time. It is flexible. I would suggest ending with the meat to cook. Don't worry, you'll throw some cheese on top at the end.


COVER and cook 25 MINUTES

UNCOVER, ADD MOZZARELLA CHEESE (Parmesan optional) and cook an additional 25-30 minutes (cheese brown and bubbly)


Now.... LET IT SIT for at least fifteen minutes. This is critical. Then enjoy!

My family eats our salad and salivate over it.






Roller Rink Starlight Review

 Read the review on Good Reads Here



Roller Rink Starlight:

 A Memoir


Written by William Hart


I was given a copy for review. 

The opinions are my own.



 “I doubt roller rinks were designed specifically to promote population growth, but had they been, they couldn’t have done a much better job.”


Roller Rink Starlight: A memoir by William Hart is a true coming of age story. Having grown up a little after William I found the journey to be both an insight into my parents’ youth and at times nostalgic of my own. I too had my church experiences as a youth and found the golden rule (Do unto others…) to be both insightful and adaptable. I spent many Saturdays at the roller rink and certainly found myself smitten by Hailey Mills in Pollyanna. As a journey into a slice of Americana, the book focuses on Wichita, Kansas and in particular near the Alaskan, a super-sized roller-skating rink. It also focuses on our author’s early love life. From girls whispering in his ears in elementary school, to finding real love at the rink, to the drama of teen break-ups, and cover-up lies to stay on the track team, Roller Rink Starlight does not fil to disappoint its reader. For those young men, especially us growing up before the digital age, there is a connection here. A world of sports and sport injuries, of families and learning not everyone’s mom and dad are like yours, a world that grows larger as you age is all here.

I love the line, “I had an uneasy awareness that part of my childhood had been left behind that afternoon. I felt destined for a place I knew almost nothing about. I wondered if I’d be as happy there as I’d be be in the safe, familiar world of my boyhood. I knew I might not be happy there at all, but I was going there for sure because I’d fallen under the power of something I didn’t want to fight.”

That something, is found in the roller rink. “I doubt roller rinks were designed specifically to promote population growth, but had they been, they couldn’t have done a much better job.” As the story progresses with a few stops for vignettes, we find our author’s key love interest, Katy. Their story is both unique and one that most can connect to. The thrill of first love, played out in a theatre stage where you only get one pass at the performance. 

While the story of William and Katy holds interest, the real gem of this book for me was the vignettes. The side story of shooting cars with a slingshot made me laugh. The chapter on Lucas, “Mr. Essential,” made me remember such adults in my own life, and the story of Melvin Semple made me thankful I did not have similar experiences with teachers.

Overall, the memoir is well worth a read and its ending is one most adults can appreciate as we look back on our journeys. Oh, and the cover of the teen legs in roller skates is definitely well done. I read the book over several days during my lunch hour. Several co-workers saw it and picked it up. One of them is its new owner as I like to pass on a good read.


Sunday, July 18, 2021

Take Me To Your Reader

 I recently had a short story published in the small anthology:

  Take Me To Your Reader



 Take Me To Your Reader is a themed flash fiction collection. This quarter the theme was "invasion"
The collection has stories (all under 1000 words) by over ten authors including a story by Dan Hollifield, head editor of Aphelion: The Webzin of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The Kindle price at the time of this blog is $.99 and the paperback is $3.48. I expect they will stay around that price though that is set by Three Ravens Publishing who produces the anthology.

So spend less than you would on a cup of coffee!! If you buy that starbucks frappe latte mocha mayhem spring for the paperback. If you are like me and go McDonalds large cup black, no cream and sugar then splurge for the ebook. In doing so you will support local Tennessee and Georgian artisans (writers are artists too!!). Don't worry - they probably have coffee at your work anyway.

Thanks in advance!


 See my blog post here

Tour Host Lola's Blog Tours graphic
I've been asked to participate in Lola's Blog Tours!

Super excited about this opportunity to highlight other authors, especially Indie authors. For more information on how to sign up for one of Lola's tours visit her site directly 


What is a Blog Tour? It is an opportunity for an author to receive a bit of publicity through book lover's blogs. What a great deal, right? You have someone creating content who loves to read and - more than likely -blog followers who also enjoy reading. SO much of marketing is getting your book in someone's hands. That means letting them know your re out there. Book Tours vary depending on what the author desires and may include a reveal of the cover, an interview, an exert of the book, or perhaps even a review by the blogger.

For those who are reading my existing interviews and reviews from Indie authors - don't worry. I will still continue to offer those as well through the Book Blogger. Hopefully, adding Lola's Blog Tours will give even more options for Indie authors to find new readers. Keep reading!

And for those who are seeing this on my website under the heading "On Writing" know that this decision on my part comes directly from Stephen King's book with the same title. He states clearly that any writer must be an avid reader. For that reason, I seek to read a lot whether it be listed best selling fiction, nonfiction, mainstream authors, small press publishings, or Independent authors.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Journal of Aber Crombie and My Journey Into Vella



A dear friend of mine has taken the step into the world of Vella.

Vella?

Vella is Amazon's new development for kindle / ebooks. It allows authors to publish works in small chapter size bits. 

It reminds me a lot of the old batman series with Adam West where each chapter can leave Batman and Robin in dire peril. There they shall hang for an entire week with the penguin quacking or the joker laughing over some vat of something, on some railroad track, or in another precarious position. The next week the camera rolls again, they break free and solve the crisis immediately, and then begin their next adventure. I loved those shows as well as radio westerns that worked on this format. 

Here is a great article on Amazon's launch of Vella

Vella has that possibility. I like it, though there are some bugs Amazon needs to work out for sure. There is no drop down menu for the Vella store currently (at the time of this blog) and the search engine really requires a search of the author rather than the vella title to get to it. The Zon will figure those things out.

Now to my friend James Kirkland's work: The Journal of Aber Crombie:



SEE J. Smith Kirkland's Books Here BOOKS HERE

I was immediately hooked with the narration. It is a dystopian world (there were once inhabitants in this land) where Aber tells us what is going on, but is clearly being led by Herbert whom he looks up to. I look forward to new episodes to see how their relationship develops as well as how the world they are in impacts them. 

SEE J. Smith Kirkland's Books Here BOOKS HERE

So far only the first two chapters are up. Each takes less than three minutes to read and you can follow the story like you would a post on facebook or Instagram. I like that feature and look forward to the next episode. 

Monday, July 5, 2021

Interview with Adeena Mignogna

  

Adeena Mignogna has written the book Crazy Foolish Robots. 

 

First, let me thank you for joining me.  I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.

 


Adeenamignogna.com


Twitter.com/Adeena


https://www.facebook.com/AdeenaMignognaAuthor


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0951DLMPF


Sign up for her newsletter here


 

That is great.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?

 



I’m a lot of things to include a sometimes software, sometimes systems engineer at a day job in the aerospace industry building satellites. But I’m also a mom, a collector of hobbies, a reader, and a writer.

 

I wish I could remember what led me to start writing. I’ve always been a fan of science fiction but I don’t know when the urge to create it became strong. It was sometime around high school. I took a creative writing class. So I’ve been writing on and off for 30ish years, mostly off. I was 25 or so when I finished my first story well enough that I submitted it to a magazine. It was rejected of course, but with a handwritten note that included some notes… that was one of the things that encouraged me to continue and not completely give up. But I went many, many, many years unable to finish what I started. 

 

 

Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?

 

Everywhere. I love to read and listen to audiobooks for the sake of reading, but I can’t listen to any non-fiction without it spawning snippets of ideas. 

 

I understand. I often am reading something and have to jot down an idea that may not even be related to the story I am reading. Non-fiction in particular can spawn new ideas. 

 

Now that you are a published author, what advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?

 

Don’t take anyone’s advice. Especially mine. But definitely appreciate that this is something you need to work for if you really want it.

 

Oh – and if you’re going to self-publish, hire a copy editor. Yeah, ignore what I said initially and listen to me when I say a copy editor can be some of the best money you spend on your writing.

 

That is very true. I get a lot of inquiries to interview. Not everyone makes the cut and that is usually the issue. I like most genres, but it has to be readable. What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?

 


If you’re going to self-publish, hire a copy editor. 😊 

 

Touché. Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?

 

Yes. I have a full-time “day job” as a software/systems engineer and sometimes manager. I’ve been in the aerospace industry nearly my entire career. When I was young, I thought I could write in the evenings after I got home from work. Afterall, I had several hours from arriving home until I went to bed. PLENTY of time. But night after night I accomplished nothing. 

When I was about 28 or 29, I was working for myself for a little while, so my schedule and time was my own. I started writing in the mornings. That’s when the lightbulb went off – I’m a morning person/morning writer! 


So for several years now, I write from about 5am to 6am most mornings. After the workday, my brain is just too worn out to write in the evenings. Instead I use that time for research, marketing or other things that require very little, if any, creativity on my part. 

I have taken some staycation time, too, over the years and have used that to write – to see what it was like and how productive I could be in a normal workweek of writing. Answer: pretty productive.

 

How many hours a day do you write?

 

Not as much as I want to. Right now, I get about an hour at most. Some days I can squeeze in a little more. It depends on how committed I am to having breakfast and brushing my hair before I start my day job. 

 

 If you’re going to self-publish, hire a copy editor. 😊


What is your favorite part about writing?

 

This part! The part where I can scream from the rooftops: I WROTE A BOOK! It’s the part where I can say “I’m done with this piece” and mean it. 

 

That is a great answer. What does literary success look like to you?

 

If the following things happen (not necessarily in this order), then I’ll claim I’m a successful author: Wil Wheaton wants to narrate my audiobook; I’m invited to be on panels at sci-fi conventions; I have a Wikipedia page and the first thing it says about me is that I’m an influential sci-fi writer and of course, monetary success wouldn’t be so terrible either.

 

Please tell us about your current release.

 

Hopefully, your readers like humorous sci-fi! Crazy Foolish Robots is about Ruby Palmer. She’s 19 and lives with her Uncles on a space station in the asteroid belt. Ruby hates robots and all forms of AI. Like, seriously loathes them. Of course that means that alien robots kidnap her and she has to deal with what. 


The official blurb is on my blog here: Adeena's Blog

and on amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0951DLMPF

 

 

I love quirky, humorous stories. And some of my favorites are in the Sci-Fi genre.  Can you read / provide us with a small exert? 

 

There is an exert on my blog: Adeena's Blog

 

 

What exciting story are you working on next?

 

Book 2 of this series is my main focus. The working title is “Robots, Robots Everywhere” Ruby will continue her adventure with the robots she’s met, and see more of the robot planet. There’s another unrelated book that I’m working on, but also with lots and lots of robots. I hope to finish that one within the year. The working title is “With the Moon as My Witness.” It was something that worked itself out of last year’s NaNoWriMo.

 

Oh, wow. If you did the write-an-entire-book in the month of November I am impressed. I've yet to take that challenge, Though I do participate in Story-A-Day in May. ( https://storyaday.org ) A lot of times the prompts lead me to wonderful authors. Who are your favorite authors?

 

Old-school, I’m a big Asimov fan and I also love Robert Sheckley. There are a lot of others, too, but I’m most influenced by them. And of course, Douglas Adams for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, one of the very few books I could always re-read and have re-read several times. 

 

If your book is in the same Sci-Fi humor as Hitchhikers, I bet it is great!


When it comes to contemporary, I like John Scalzi, Hugh Howey, Andy Weir, Ernest Cline, Dennis E Taylor, Mary Robinette Kowal… and others I can’t think of right now. These are presented in no particular order – just how my brain served them up.

 

Outside of sci-fi, there’s this linguist John McWhorter. I don’t know why Linguistics fascinates me, but it does. He has some very interesting books available on the English language. I also really enjoy Bill Bryson (who also happens to have a book on linguistics as well.)

 

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

 

On copy editing.

 

I see a theme here. Apart from needing a copy editor, what is your writer’s kryptonite? 

 

Oy. Kryptonite. I shudder at the thought. I have two:

1) Having someone tell me in response to one of my short stories that I’m working on that it should be a novel and 


2) Being in the middle of a project, and another novel or TV show comes out that has some major similar element. Several years ago, I was putting all my energy into a novel that I called “Tales from Ceres.” And then the Expanse came out. It’s nothing like mine except for the fact that Ceres is a primary location. It just completely demotivated me and I didn’t work on anything for almost two years. I’m still not sure if I’ll come back to that or not. 

 

 

What part of writing and publishing was most difficult for you?

 

Finishing. I start a bazillion things. I have a bazillion ideas. Getting the right idea to the end in a way that makes sense and might entice others to read is VERY difficult. I have a feeling I’m not alone in this…

 

I hear that a lot, so you are not alone. One thing that really helps me is my writer's group and their accountability. Are you involved in any writer groups?

 

Yes! There are a few FB writing groups that I participate in, but for several years I’ve been a member of the Frederick Writers’ Salon, an in-person group local to where I live. We mostly do feedback and critiques, but we’ve also collectively put out three anthologies (all available on Amazon). I participated in all three under the pen name: A. Francis Raymond. 

 

 

That is great! My group does the same. ( Crazy Buffet Writer's Club or Corner Scribblers) Anything additional you want to share with the readers? 

 

Just that I hope everyone enjoys Crazy Foolish Robots. The best compliment I can get is knowing that readers laughed, or at least chuckled, and are looking forward to the next book in the series. 


Wonderful! I wish you the absolute best in your promotion!