Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Chill

I really feel I have not much to complain about - but this winter chill is so hard to get rid of! I live in a somewhat mild climate - far-northern California woods, a low sort of mountain range, actually the Southern Cascades, but also called the Klamath Siskiyou Mountains. There really isn't much snow here and when we get a few inches it melts. So who am I to complain about winter chill?

I live in an insulated cabin. I spend most of my time in a corner of my bedroom typing my heart out on this computer... for cash. Got to do it... this is my only income. Well, my dearheart spends most of his time on the opposite end of the cabin next to the woodstove. Thankfully he creates the fire each morning and takes care of all the firewood issues. That warms up the cabin and a bit of it eventually makes its way back to me.

Meanwhile - Brrrrrr! My little space heater (one of the tiny ones) really doesn't keep me quite as warm as I'd like. Solution: bundle up. I'm about to go put on my sweater so I can quit complaining about the winter chill.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Writers Club, Local Style

I love my local writers club. We meet weekly to write together. Mainly, that's the purpose, but what we do more of is shoot the breeze. Talk. Talk. Talk. But that's okay because we're all friends and love talking to one another.

It is a small town so we are lucky to have six people who show up fairly regularly. One member missed this last meeting. We found out later it was because she was given custody of a nine-month old baby. I don't know how that will affect her participation in the future.

The rest of us got on the topic of politics. That's something we should probably avoid. We also got onto the topic of religion. Through it all we are all still friends.

Tanya brought her yarn. I brought my writers notebook. Judy brought her happy smiles, Dennis brought his cane, and Bob brought opinions, as always.

No matter what else is going on in town, I can depend on my writer friends to want to meet to write. We have a collection of topics and choose one weekly to write about. Fun... writing together is usually more productive for me than just trying to sit at my kitchen table and write.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cats are So Cool . . .

We've got a house full of cats right now. Totally unintentional. We've got seven. Two are outdoor cats. Four are kittens - born of one of the outdoor cats.

I'm not a cat-lady, not really. All these cats were strays, or babies of a stray. It happened like this...

1. Mischief. We found him and two siblings as kittens several years back, dumped at the end of our driveway. We gave away one sibling. The other pure-black brother passed away earlier this year. Mischief is the survivor, and will stay with us. He's a black cat, and I'm a black cat lover...

2. Squeak. I didn't name her. My partner (Bob) did. I would have given her a much prettier, more feminine name. She's in love with Mischief. She came to us last year - finding shelter under our house. Soon it was clear she was pregnant. The kittens weren't Mischief's - he's been neutered. We'll be keeping Squeak because (1) she's not a very pretty cat and might not be readily adopted, and (2) she loves Mischief and they look absolutely adorable together. She's smaller than him, with orange splotches all over her black fur.

3. Red (or is it Strawberry?) ... the biggest and friendliest of Squeak's four kittens. Orange tabby, long fur, and absolutely precious. The kittens are all going to go to a no-kill humane society shelter as soon as there's room. We've been on a waiting list for at least six weeks now.

4. Shasta... another very friendly kitten. Amazing markings. This cat is ivory colored with tan tabby markings and dark points on ears and tail. Named for Mt. Shasta... which is where the no-kill humane society cat shelter is.

5. Caspar - kitten number 3. Friendly. Runt of the litter. Almost pure white with blue eyes - but when you look closely you see a bit of the ivory/tan tabby markings on his tail.

6. Darth (or maybe Dartha) ... very furry. Red and Darth got long fur whereas Shasta and Caspar have short fur. Darth is a bit of a problem. He's gorgeous - mostly black fur with a lot of silvery grey. But the big problem is that this is a scardy cat. Whereas the others are friendly and personable, this one will run at the sight of a human being. I try to catch him and caress and sing to him. He seems to like that - but for the most part is still too timid. We still plan to take him to the shelter because we simply can't keep all these cats, but I worry about him finding a forever home with a frightened attitude like that.

7. K3 - named after the mountain, K2. Well, K3 (who I call Kitty K) is a gorgeous male Himalayan cat. He came to us about five months ago, starving and injured. We thought he might lose his eye, or die. Several times he was frightened out of our yard for a week or two each time, by something. We don't know what, but we live in the forest so it could have been a wild animal. Anyhow, Kitty K is now fat, healthy, and gorgeous in every way. We intend to take him to the no-kill animal shelter when we take the kittens. We believe he will be easily adoptable.

After the shelter allows us to bring in the five cats (four of them still kittens) we'll have only two left - Mischief and the mother of the kittens - Squeak. We'll be getting her spayed. No more kittens!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My friends talk a lot

Maybe the reason I think my friends talk a lot is because I talk a lot with them. However - they're so talkative they took it far beyond that by getting into a talk radio program deal called IF Radio - and of course we want to know - why "IF"? As it turns out they've got a reason for that - the "IF" is short for Intradimensional Facets. You can see why they settled on "IF Radio"!!!

Perhaps the show is about "what if" scenarios because they do choose extreme type issues to feature, in the genre of the paranormal, mostly. The guys, who I'll call Dennis and Bob, though they have nicknames for the show (JavaBob and Professor Pious), are long-time neighbors and friends in our small town, and I've considered them friends for many years. We meet regularly at our local writer's club.

Though I love talking to them at our weekly meetings, I'll confess I have yet to call into the talk radio show - which airs on Thursdays at 6:30 on BlogTalkRadio. My main reason for not doing so is that I forget that the show is scheduled. I have no way to remind myself and they don't phone me before the shows, so I'm usually one who listens to the shows after the fact. Fortunately there's a good archiving feature for BlogTalkRadio.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Lemonade Diet and Going Vegan

My chances for getting health insurance are slim, so I'm taking chargeof my own health by doing the master cleanse lemonade diet. I'm currently on day ten of a fast thatwill last until my tongue turns pink, 30 days, or I cave - whatevercomes first.

I'm not at all hungry today. Lemonade is a terrific appetite suppressant and I'm feeling just fine energetically and mentally. They say by day ten I should be having mental clarity, and I'm kind of still waiting for improvement because I've been feeling more focused and clear in my thinking all along.

The cleanse removes toxins from the system, and pushes the re-set button on life so that we can make drastic life changes. For me, the big change will be going from vegetarianism to veganism . . . plus gluten free.

Recently I read an illuminating book about wheat - call "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis. What an eye-opener. He's helped hundreds of his patients morph into gluten-less diets and they've lost weight and had other impressive health benefits. I have to try it!

Going vegan has been a long-time goal of mine. Every time I got close I'd fall back into the egg and cheese eating vegetarian diet, and I'm determined at this time to give those up. Well, I already gave them up to do the master cleanse lemonade diet. After ten days I'm sure all food addictions have been broken. Now I just need to be strong and truly change my eating habits and learn a new way of cooking - all vegan! I'll be incorporating a lot of raw foods along the way.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Business Ethics in the Writing Community

After trying for several years to prepare novels for traditional publishing houses, I'm gradually being swayed into the self-publishing market. I'm particularly interested in Amazon's Kindle and Createspace POD publishing. I like the Kindle option because there are many ways for people to read novels, even if they don't own a Kindle! For example, you could do what I do, and download Kindle For PC ... for free! Then read Kindle books on your computer!

Kindle editions are (1) less expensive for consumers, (2) 'green' as they require no tree-death procedures for paper-making, (3) better for authors as there's a greater profit-margin that cuts out agents and traditional book publishers. Excuse me if I think that's a good thing, especially after ten years of reading agent blogs like Ms. Snark that make fun of and put down authors... because there are so many authors they think they can get away with treating them like dirt, unless they want to profit off their hard work. Even agents should consider the implications their business ethics might have on future transactions, because the time has come when their services may no longer be needed, and authors will take other, more profitable paths to publication.

Last night I had a dream in which a couple of cute little girls were trying to get me to buy the weirdest plastic ice cream scoop ever. I really didn't want to buy it - especially at the ridiculous price of $5. The older sister was particularly pushy and came to me multiple times trying to convince me to buy this thing. Finally I relented and agreed to purchase her ice cream scoop, and she just laughed and said, "I finally did it! And I don't like you!" I was appalled at her behavior! I hadn't given her the cash yet, so I informed this child I would not be buying her ice cream scoop after all, and that she needed to think seriously of how saying such a thing affects her business! Thank goodness this was just a dream!

But then when I woke up I remembered a woman I know here in town. She was a co-worker who turned against me and treated me rather shabbily a few years back. Now she owns her own restaurant and I have never gone in there to patronize her. Because of her inexplicable disloyalty she has lost hundreds of dollars of business, not only from me but from others she treated in a very unkind manner. And that is how it should be. People need to realize that business is built, in large part, on the kindness and trustworthiness they can show to other people.

Business is more than just finding ways to get money. It is a spiritual path, one of creating relationships with our fellow human beings, of respecting them, and showing them the utmost kindness. We are in business because we provide something they need, and for no other reason. Those agents that have been so harsh toward writers are in business because writers want them to find publishers for their work, but as soon as they treat writers shabbily and start complaining about them behind their backs, the bond of trust is broken and the writers sense this even if there are no harsh words exchanged.

Therefore, as I go forth to publish my novels in Kindle format, and/or POD, I won't feel sad that an agent isn't involved, or a traditional book publisher. Though there are some excellent small press publishers available and accessible to new writers, it appears that most major publishing houses are not able to handle the massive numbers of manuscripts available. To most of us, their gates are closed, and their gatekeepers, the agents, have become difficult and unpleasant to deal with.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Now is the Time for Change

I just found this incredibly beautiful video... if you like children and want to be inspired. This is from the World Change Foundation.

The world is always changing, but in this era we're waking up to the potential of massive global transformation through the power of spirit working in the hearts of those who truly want to build a better world for the children, and their children, ad infinitum.

This has been on my mind most of the day, as I went about my work at home and then this afternoon while I attended a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

Everyone wants change, the world is changing. It is something that just has to be and as the time gets closer and the vibrations more intense, many thousands of people are realizing how very much the entire world needs spiritual change. And that is the only change that could make the difference in this world, to pull us out of the troubles we've drifted into.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Conference for Global Transformation


Imagine meeting with hundreds or even thousands of people who care about global transformation!

There will be a conference in the San Francisco Bay Area in May of 2012... and there's a ning site set up to explain the entire thing: The Conference for Global Transformation. I happened to notice that a few of the presentation slideshows and handouts are already available online: Keynote and Workshop Resources. Also check out Best Papers Award Winners in the forum!

Photo Credit: NASA

Friday, March 25, 2011

Small Business Web Design

A few years back, in 2002 or 2003, I started a web design business. At the time I was so sure that was the ideal business for me. I loved web design! I'd been making websites since 1995. I love HTML. In fact, before I started my business I purchased and read a book on HTML cover to cover, and enjoyed it. I wanted to make sure my information and skills were top-notch before I started working for clients.

Well, guess what! After a few years of working as a web designer, getting more jobs than I could comfortably enjoy doing, I burned out. I finally had to admit to myself that although I love web design and HTML, CSS, and XHTML ... I don't love working for clients! My love of web design is for making my own sites, being creative, and doing my own thing.

I totally had to re-think that business! One thing I changed was my web design website, Klamath Design. I made it into a site for telling people how to get into the web design business. I made an auxiliary page called How to Start a Webdesign Business. I know there are lots of people out there who want to start web design businesses, and hope my experience can help. Hopefully they will enjoy it a whole lot more than I did! Different strokes for different folks, as they say!

So, why did I start a new business and put "web design services" into my business license application? My new business, LJ Martin Web, is mainly an online marketing type of business. I've created something that will cover ALL my online money-making activities, which at this time are really quite varied. One of my main interests is in helping people learn to start their own internet-based small businesses. This has worked so well for me, I very much want to show others, stay-at-home-moms especially, how to get started.

I added the "web design services" option to my business license because I wanted the OPTION to be able to do that as part of my business - just in case someone I know needs help. I believe the best online businesses include diversification, and so I'm allowing myself the choice to do web design if I decide I want to.

Now, for this year, I honestly don't want to. Maybe next year that will change.