Friday, October 28, 2011

The Beginning of Financial Fridays

I’ve decided to write a money book. (Several people who know me well are now snickering and guffawing. Ignore them.) Let me explain.

My husband is a math wizard. I am not. In fact, I’m at best a remedial math toad. So, in reality, he should be writing a book on money, not me. I said as much, but he wasn’t interested. I argued, But so many people are having a hard time and you’re brilliant. You could really help. He conceded to help. So, I made an outline.

Let me back up to why I felt I needed to write a money book. I served for almost four years as a president of a charitable organization and during that time I learned many things, but what I saw over and over again is that when people mismanage fundamentals, they can’t manage anything. A large part of my responsibilities as a Relief Society president was visiting women in their homes. When needed, I helped women fill out a menu and make a grocery list for food that they could pick up at the Bishop’s Storehouse (a Mormon equivalent to a food bank.) During my visits the conversations often lead to discussions on budgeting, health and medical bills, marital disagreements on money management, children and spiritual concerns.

So, this book is about what I saw and what I learned. I shared my outline with my husband.

This isn’t a money book, he said.
Sure it is, I replied.
He said, A money book addresses insurances, CDs, IRAs and stock options.

That would be a master’s money book. This is a basic money book. Here’s my outline:
1. Time—when people mismanage their time, they’re wasting money.
2. Budgets—accounting allows you to see the accumulated cost of both good and bad decisions.
3. Health—people spend enormous amounts of money on medical costs. Money that could be saved if they learned to manage their health.
4. Marriage—let’s face it, money causes friction in marriage. It can even cause divorce. And trying to save or especially end a marriage is emotionally and financially expensive. Brutally expensive.

So, it’s true this will be a different sort of money book and it’s being written by a self-proclaimed math toad. I did not graduate top of my masters of business program (but I know someone who did, and that someone covenanted before God to be my helpmeet.)

It’s my prayer that the lessons I learned and that Larry and I share, will help. I’m going to start posting on what I’m calling Financial Fridays. After enough Fridays and enough posts, I’ll collect my thoughts into a book. A different sort of money book. Anyone can read the blog and avoid the cost of the actual book, because I'm all about saving money. I’m also open to suggestions, comments and questions.

If I can’t answer them, I know someone who can.

(No worries--I haven't traded fiction for nonfiction. I'm still very much into my ghost story. My next novel will go public on Valentine's Day as planned.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I want to thank WilyBCool at Let go of the Past, live Today and create Tomorrow for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. It is an honor!

The rules in accepting this award: thank the person who nominated you, tell 7 things about yourself so that your readers may learn more about you, nominate 15 other newly discovered bloggers and let them know you nominated them.


1. I’ve visited 13 countries in the Americas, 13 European countries and 3 Asian countries, but I’ve never been to Kentucky where my Scottish ancestors settled.

2. When I was 12, I set out to read all of Agatha Christie’s works.

3. I missed several days of junior high because I was reading Gone With the Wind. (My mother thought I was sick, when in actuality I was simply sleep deprived.

4. I had a picture of Clark Gable on my bedroom wall from 1973-1981.

5. In college and in high school I dated boys named Bill, partly because I had a major thing for Billy Joel. (I still love jazzy, piano bands.)

6. I can quote Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, ee cummings and Monty Python.

7. I have been (mostly happily) married for more than half of my life time.

Fifteen Blogs

1. Brittany
2. Ellen's World
3. The Barnettes
4. Jon and Rachel
5. Adam
6. Claudine http://yournestdesign.blogspot.coml
7. Melanie
8. Nicole
9. Heidi
10. Shirley
11. Mandi
12. Victoria
13. Donna
14. James
15. Writing on the wall

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Random Viruses

Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter the kindle kontest. (See posting below.) And if you’re a writer and would like to advertise your book in the first ever Eclectic Books holiday catalog, we’re accepting entries until October 31. We’re super excited about Eclectic Books (where old world values meet modern age technology.) See the Holiday E-catalog blog post for information on how to place an ad or receive the catalog.

Today I’m alone at home in a very quiet house. I’m skipping church because of some sort of virus that makes my head ache and causes chills. This is rare. I’m never sick. This makes me think of my 90 year old, who is also rarely sick.

A few weeks ago, my dad and Uncle John, age 94, were splitting firewood. (I know, I know.) An accident happened and Dad hurt two of his fingers. They aren’t healing as they should and on Tuesday, if healing hasn’t started, his two fingers will be amputated.

So, today I’m thinking about being sick—the catch a random virus and get chills and headache type—versus making yourself sick—the putting yourself in danger and losing your fingers type.

Even random viruses can be avoided. When I taught piano lessons, I’d have a pencil for marking, a piano for playing and a mouth for holding the pencil while I played. Often my students would use this pencil for theory. I know why I held the pencil in my mouth. If I put it on the piano it would fall onto the floor or into the piano (that last one happened a lot and it’s very obnoxious to have a pencil rolling around inside of a piano.) A friend suggested I tie a pencil with a string to the piano—a stupid idea, but probably not as stupid as passing a pencil from my mouth to student to student to student.

We can make ourselves sick in all sorts of unnecessary ways. Physically, mentally, spiritually. Maybe it’s a matter of learning when it’s time to let someone else split the firewood, or wearing a shirt with a pocket protector for a pencil. Fingers can be saved. Germs don’t need to spread.

Most illnesses even the mental and spiritual kind can be avoided if we just take care. I love the Bare Naked Ladies (the band—not naked ladies in general, most people just look better clothed) and they have a song with this line if there’s someone you can live without, just do so. It’s brilliant advice. While it’s true that sometimes we’re unavoidably thrown together with personalities that don’t match our own, we can take care to avoid certain situations and people. We can walk away from gossip. We don’t have to go to that party.

I love the scripture:
For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own.

By Wednesday, I’m pretty sure that my random virus will be gone. I’m not sure what will become of my dad’s fingers. This makes me think that of the two—the make yourself sick or the random virus—the make yourself sick is the worst sickness of all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Long Live Sweet Romance

Congratulations to Mandi Tucker Slack who won the necklace and my novel Stealing Mercy in the October Blog Hop! Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter the kindle kontest. (See posting below.) And if you’re a writer and would like to advertise your book in the first ever Eclectic Books holiday catalog, we’re accepting entries until October 31. We’re super excited about Eclectic Books (where old world values meet modern age technology.) See the Holiday E-catalog blog post for information on how to place an ad or receive the catalog.

I had an uncomfortable experience a number of years ago when I attended a workshop where a writer brought in pages and pages of sex scenes to be critiqued. She read one steamy passage and then said, now, skip 70 pages and then she’d read another libido boosting scene. After the workshop, after I stopped blushing, I asked her why she’d saved and clustered her sex scenes just for us. Her answer, my agent said the reason my novels aren’t selling is because they need the sex scenes so I’m adding them. Since then, this writer is self-publishing her novels, sweet romances, sans sex scenes, and she’s sold thousands of her books. I think she’s financially doing much better than she would have had she published within the traditional romance industry AND she’s able to look her grandmother in the eye.

This reaffirms my belief that there’s a giant gaping hole in the publishing industry. I believe in the power of words. I believe in the power of stories and I also believe not every story has to be powerful. Entertainment is as valuable as enlightenment. Sometimes we just need to get away. Go somewhere else--take our mind off of the nitty-gritty of everyday. And even if we can’t afford an African safari or romp in the Amazon, those experiences are available to us, FOR FREE, at the public library. We can have romance, mystery and intrigue if we possess a library card.

I’ll admit I cried when the Border’s Bookstore closed. Whenever I felt sad I’d go to Borders and buy a book and a chocolate. It didn’t happen often, I’m usually upbeat, but when I’d feel trampled upon and world weary, I knew that I could be lifted up just by going to the closest bookstore. Chocolates and books were there, waiting. My son couldn’t understand my loss. You made your choice when you bought your I-pad, he said. I want libraries, bookstores AND books in the clouds, I replied.

I want books with romance, mystery and intrigue, but I don’t want books with titillation, excessive violence or gore. And that’s the genesis of Eclectic Books. Years ago, before the rise of self publishing, I had promised myself that if I ever had the finances I’d start my own publishing company, a company that published books for everyone—from grandmas to kiddos—entertaining books, books that provided an easy, enjoyable escape. Eclectic Books is a realization of that long ago dream. I don’t need a million dollars. I don’t need editors or even paper. I have everything I need—a talented group of like-minded authors and a tech-talented son.

Long live sweet romance. The books in the clouds have set us free. Good books are there—we just need to know how to find them. Eclectic books is my effort to gather (a few of) them together, out of the clouds and into the hands of readers.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Kristy's InKredible Kindle Kontest

Hooray! Kristy's InKredible Kindle Kontest has begun. One lucky winner will receive a kindle! There are many ways to enter. Please be sure to leave me a comment telling how many entries you've earned.
1. Mention this contest on a social media site such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or Goodreads.
2. At the beginning of each chapter there’s a recipe. E-mail @ and tell me which one is your favorite.
1. Read and write a kindly review on Goodreads or Amazon. (Two entries for each review.)
2. Host me as a guest on your blog.
3. E-mail me and tell me who eloped with Eloise .
4. Set up a book club discussion of STEALING MERCY. (See the book club page of this blog.)

Opportunities for extra entries and prizes will arise over the course of the contest which will end on Halloween. Good Luck!