Total Pageviews

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Spottermobile

We've signed up for some events this summer.  Happily, I was invited back to the "Dogfest" in August.  And there is a restored Colonial village nearby that has events all summer - I'm going to try and do two of them, depending on how the first one goes.   And my condo community has a "Trunk Sale" day - we've signed up for that. 

This time, besides the discounted price for Harry's book, and a free bookmark, I will also have refrigerator magnets to give away.  And, we will be driving in the "Spottermobile!"  I purchased two car door magnets with Harry's cover image.  It's really cute. 

If anyone is interested in the discount price of ten dollars (it is higher on Amazon because Amazon wants to make a profit) I can be contacted via junivolz@gmail.com.    You will get a signed copy and bookmark and free shipping.  Remember, 20% of all proceeds are donated to "Almost Home Dog Rescue of New Jersey."

 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Somewhere that's green.....


Oh, hey, I got this great tip from Facebook.  It was so easy, I had to try it.  Really simple.  Just save the water you boil your vegetables in and then water your plants with it.  Doesn’t cost a dime, so why not?

 

I love broccoli and green beans and peas and lima beans.  So, I found this old Tupperware pitcher type thing – actually, I think it was supposed to hold cereal, but I never eat cereal, which is why the thing sits in the cupboard empty year after year.  Well, now I have a use for it.  So, every night I take the Tupperware container out of the refrigerator and drain my veggie water into it.  Then I pop it right back in the fridge.  Easy peasy.
 
 
 

It takes about a month to fill it up.  When it is all full, that’s when I water the plants with it.  Let me warn you, it is somewhat stinky.  I mean, think broccoli combined with sewage.  Yuck.  But it dissipates in about a day or so, no big deal.  When everybody is watered, the container goes back in the fridge for the next round of veggies.
 
 

I’ve found that the plants really love this veggie water.  I used to use plant food – you, know, buy the stuff and mix it with water.  This is so much easier and so natural and conserves water, too.   After a couple of months I could see the difference.  The leaves on some of the plants were getting outrageously large.  Super large.  Larger than I ever saw them before.  And other plants were changing color, actually becoming a deeper green, quite noticeable.

Gosh, the plants are loving this veggie water so much they are taking over the windows.  I took the mini-blinds down.  Who needs them?  I have natural green shades.  It’s amazing.  I can barely see outside anymore.  These plants are really thriving.
 
 


Gee, some of them began climbing the walls.  Seriously.  They’ve grown to the ceiling and are attaching to the walls and the ceiling.  They are so totally out of control.  Giant leaves, deep color and now they are just going wherever they want to go.  One threw a piece of its’ pot at me the other night.  I’m not kidding – this rather large piece of ceramic went flying across the room, whizzing by my head.  Like it was aiming at me or something.  Haha.  It actually busted right out of its’ own pot!  I had to go right out the next day and get a really, really big pot and more dirt.  It was a big job.  Not easy.  Wow.  I see some others are getting pot bound.  I have to remember to pick up more large pots when I can.

There is one plant I call the “Monster.”  It’s really big.  Well, it was always big, but it’s really, super big now.  It keeps sending up new leaves that are larger than my head.  And it pops out roots out its’ side, and sends them down into the pot, almost like legs.  Hahaha.  You can almost picture it getting up and taking a stroll.  Snarf.  Silly.  How silly.  I know that isn’t rational. Hahaha.
 
I don’t know.  I’m thinking about investing in some doors.  Maybe I should put a door up between the sun room where the plants are and the rest of the house.  Just a thought.  They’ve taken over the whole room and I think they might want to expand into the kitchen.  I know it sounds kind of crazy, but sometimes I think I can hear them at night.  Like I can hear them growing.  Almost like they are moving around.  Of course, they can’t do that, I know that.  Silly thought.  Still, I get a little scared when I think I hear them.  I think they talk to each other, too.  Not in words, of course, that would be weird, but they seem to communicate with one another.  I know it is stupid to feel so uneasy, but I really think I need a door.  Soon.
                                                                                                                       - June Volz
                                                                                                                          March 2015
                                                                                                                         (Copyright material)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You don't have to say you love me....

People really get to me.  I'm not good with them, never have been.  I tend to be quite shy so I find social encounters uncomfortable.  I find selling to be absolutely distasteful.  And I much prefer the company of dogs. 

That being said, I don't understand why people say things that they don't mean at all.  It's very perplexing.  Why?  Why, why, why?   If you think my work is garbage, well, then you really don't have to say anything.  No need to crumple my self esteem.  But if you come to me all glowing praise, all enthusiasm and then SAY you want to buy a book and SAY you are going to call me and then you don't.....and then you run and hide from me....I ask, why?   Why all the effusive, phony nonsense? 

This has happened several times.  I can take people making no comment.  Believe me, it isn't easy, but I can take it.  But this vacuous, needless lying makes me very angry. 

I was told by someone on the community paper that I would be called and interviewed.  It never happened.  I was told by a neighbor that she wanted to buy a book and that she would call me.  It never happened. 

I was told that the "writer's group" would be helpful and supportive.  Calling it a writer's group in the first place was a laugh, only one person there was "published."  I got the distinct feeling that I was being mocked with faint praise since she had to inject into each mention of her work that it was "published."  (I am an indie author - rather than waiting for five hundred publishers to reject my work, I published independently) 

One person there mentioned his many, many rejections.  The others weren't writers at all.  One pathetic old man writes ditties to his dead wife.  Another woman wrote things I found not only unoriginal but juvenile.  But I don't think writing is her true intent.  She includes "scripture" quotes at the end of everything she does, so her agenda is shove her religious beliefs on anyone and everyone.  Even Miss Published admitted that her publisher took money from her and she hasn't made a dime, so I wonder at the ethics and legitimacy of her "publisher."  I guess they didn't notice that I didn't show up again since the cadaver who runs the group keeps calling me each month to remind me of the meeting time. 

And then there was a man at the gym.  He said, "I like your shirt."  I was wearing my Harry Spotter shirt in shameless self-promotion.  So I smiled and said, "Thanks.  This is my book."  His response?  "Oh, yeah, I remember.  You're the writer." Ooohhhhh, yeah, I am.   What the heck was THAT supposed to mean?

Alright, I have to give myself a pep talk and polish up my ego and carry on.  Sometimes, I understand, it takes years to become an overnight sensation.
 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

She's gone


My Sister Died

 

My sister died a year ago this month and my life opened up.

You’re thinking what an odd thing that is to say.  But you see, there was a wall of silence in our house as far back as I can remember.  It was just there.  It was something that was sensed, feared and respected.

The wall got thicker after my parents divorced when I was twelve.  My older sisters were already grown and out on their own.  I lived in my mother’s silent house.  I could not get past that wall, even if I tried.  Sometimes, in great frustration, I did try.  But the silence was stronger than I.

I, too, went out on my own.  I made mistakes and struggled a lot.  I married and had a child.   My family, such as it was and it was not close but distant and chilly, shallow and cautious, drifted away. I moved to many different places, trying to find myself, trying to save a marriage, trying to raise a disabled child, trying to finish college and always working, working, working.

My sister sent me a letter, informing me that my mother had passed away.  One of our brief and infrequent communications.  One day soon after, I was seized with the notion to find my father.  At age forty, I had not seen him since the day he walked out of that silent house.  He was living in Florida.  He had a wife.  We spoke on the phone and arranged a visit.

There was a picture of my father and his new wife in their bedroom.  In it, my father was very young, much younger than I ever knew him to be.  They were at the beach and the style of his current wife’s hair was clearly outdated as was her swimsuit.  This photo was taken a very long time ago, possibly in the 1940’s, which would mean it was taken before I was born.

In my brazen adulthood and naiveté, I mentioned this.  What I got was a heated denial.  No, no, that was taken in the late 60’s.  My silent upbringing in my silent house had trained me well.  I did not laugh and I did not argue, but I knew it was a lie.  The visit didn’t go so well, there were awkward silences and flashes of anger, palpable tension in the air.  It was the wall.  It was here, too.  But I had figured out what it was made of.  It was obvious from the old photograph.  My father had been cheating on my mother for decades.  Worse yet, the “other woman” was my father’s best friend’s wife.  They worked together in my father’s business.  He not only cheated on my mother, but on his friend and on all of the children.  My mother was not a stupid woman, she probably knew but buried her fury in silence just as he buried his guilt and shame. And the wall of silence was built.  That disastrous meeting was twenty years ago.

When my sister died, my niece reached out to me.  She is a grown woman. Indeed, I have three beautiful grown nieces, a nephew and a small gaggle of grand nieces and nephews.  We emailed.  We connected on Facebook, all of us.  My nieces were well acquainted with the wall of silence and we were determined to break it down.  Pictures were posted that brought back a veritable deluge of memories and, sadly, sometimes no memory at all.  I could recognize myself at a moment in the past with my mother or sisters and have no recollection of the day or occasion.  Times and places were forgotten, faces were recalled. There were many tears but also smiles.  We found our common ground. We are all liberals and we all love dogs and cats.  We seem to also share a certain wry sense of humor. 

Suddenly, I had a family. Now I have a reason to buy greeting cards for birthdays and holidays. As mundane and cliché as it sounds, I have pictures on my hallway walls of people I’ve missed and children I haven’t met yet. Like thousands of other homes, my home has the same ordinary display.  But for me, it is extraordinary and gives me great pleasure.  My daughter has cousins who bear a physical resemblance and she already has travel plans to visit them.  We did it, we finally broke down that great wall of silence that trapped my parents and was carefully protected by my siblings.  So now you understand, don’t you?

My sister died one year ago this month and my life opened up.
                                                                                                                                   - June Volz
                                                                                                                                     December 2014
                                                                                                                                 (Copyright material)
 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Don't know much about history.....

No, that isn't true.  What is true is that I am electronically challenged.  I am trying to put together something I can put up on YouTube about "The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter."

It is recommended for starters that you try a power point presentation.  Ok, I've done some power points.   So I had some fun with that - I like playing with pictures and fonts, etc.  THAT was easy.  But, I had to match each slide with a script.  Then I had to figure out how to make a slide show and time each slide.  After a little trial and error, I figured that out.

The hard part will be recording audio.  Although it really shouldn't be that terrible, everything is built in to this computer.  Makes things easy, right?   I have no idea, I've never done this.  I would love to have some music softly in the background, but I will worry about that later.  First I have my script - now I have a timed slide show - so next I have to actually record.

I don't know if the slides will show on the screen while recording.  I certainly hope so, otherwise it's like being blind.  How will I know when to move on?  How will I guarantee total silence around me - I could almost bet that my husband will find THAT moment when he ABSOLUTELY HAS to tell me something.  Harry will bark.  Sirens will wail outside.  I will have to sneeze.  I'm going to take a day to think about this, to assimilate it into my consciousness and own it.  Then, by gosh, I will DO it!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Would you read my book? It took me years to write....

Will you take a look?
("Paperback Writer"  Lennon/McCartney)


I'm a terrible salesman.  I have no confidence when forced to self promote. 

We went to the "Dogfest" - and sold a few books.  I was apologetic each time.  "Are you sure?"  Having someone read your work, even if it is a children's book, is like giving them a piece of you.  Here it is, here is my heart, now you can examine it, rip it apart and stomp all over it, as you wish.   It's painful and frightening.  I guess I just can't stand the thought of rejection.

When writing - going through the so-called "creative process" -  your own emotions and self worth take a beating.  You alternate between feeling that what you do is okay, to sometimes better than okay, to complete, worthless crap.  The pendulum swings high and low.  And it continues even when the work is done. 



I get these emails from Kindle and Goodreads about what to do to market your book.  I've done all the things they recommend.  He's on Facebook, he's on Twitter, I'm on Goodreads, Harry has his own blog. (http://www.harryspottersblog.blogspot.com) The only thing I haven't done is a video because I don't know how but I intend to learn.  I had to practically pull teeth to get the guy from our little community's "newspaper" to interview me.  He says "someone will call."  I bet they don't.  My bet is I will have to call again, be the squeaky wheel, the royal pain in the rear, a role I find horribly uncomfortable. 

My husband noticed that I didn't have bags to put the books in.  So I looked up "bags" on the internet and found out that you have to buy huge quantities, huge, like thousands of them.  Sorry, Harry Spotter will have to go bagless.  Maybe the local Hallmark store has some little bags I can use.....

We have another dog event to attend in October.  Another opportunity to bare my soul and suffer the humiliation of people walking by, smiling, "Oh, Harry Spotter!  I love it!"  and not stopping.  Kids whose faces light up but their parents won't come near.  Free bookmark!  Signed copies!   Ugh.

There were some people at the previous dog event who already had the book.  They were very enthusiastic.  I missed my chance to ask them to write a review on Amazon.  That is one thing others can do to help Harry become a household name.  If you're happy and you know it, write a review

"The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter" would be a wonderful gift for a kid in the 4th, 5th, 6th grade, anyone eight years old and up.  It's fun because it is told from Harry's point of view along with a narrator.   If kids read it out loud (or parents) they have to have a dog voice.  Teachers could use it and encourage kids to take different roles.

I suppose I will have to screw up the courage to ask business owners if I can have a meet and sell event.  They'll say "no."  But I have to do it anyway.  This is so against my nature. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

You gotta have friends....

"The Amazing Canine Adventures of Harry Spotter" has a facebook page.  He already has hundreds of "likes!"  Yikes!  That is a wonderful thing.  What would be really wonderful would be for all those people to buy the book, so that "Almost Home Dog Rescue of New Jersey" can have a decent donation and help more dogs be rescued, fostered and find forever homes! 

It's a fun summertime book that a parent can read to a child or a child, depending on reading level, can enjoy reading alone.  Older kids, tweens and young teens can learn about rescue dogs and gain some understanding as to why people rescue and adopt rather than purchase a "designer" dog.

Please help Harry to help others like himself.




(The "Ask the Author" app has been added to Goodreads, along with Harry's book.  Please feel free to visit)