Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Magic Touch

The African violet in the picture is a table prize from a friend's 50th wedding anniversary celebration. We were college roommates and kept in touch ever since although I hadn't actually seen her since right after graduation. When we were invited to the reception, I decided to make the effort and drive from North  Carolina to New York and surprise her. I will never forget the look on her face when we showed up -- priceless.

I carried the violet home and waited for it to bloom. It was a small plant, but steadily grew larger, until I had to re-pot it. Although the leaves were green and healthy, it never produced a blossom. I moved it from window to window, hoping a new exposure would do the trick. I fed it houseplant food. It grew and remained green.

Then, by chance, I saw a bottle of African violet food on a Walmart shelf. I tried feeding the plant a few drops. At the same time, Jim read that burying a nail in the soil would stimulate flowering. He had a hard time finding a nail that wasn't galvanized, but he finally did (it's the rusting that does the trick, adding iron to the soil).

And it bloomed! and continues to bring forth flowers as if making up for lost time. Was it the window, the plant food, the nail, my entreaties or a combination of all of these? I don't know.

Now, you know I am going to compare this to writing! We write the story and try everything we know to promote it: blast e-mails, FaceBook, Twitter, begging for reviews, and telling everyone we meet in the grocery store line. When the book takes off, we're never sure just which promotional avenue did the trick. We're just happy something worked!


Again, if you are a returning reader or a new one, please sign up as a follower. That way, I know who's reading. And if you get a chance, visit my web site and read an excerpt from "The Almost Bride," my latest novel. I'd love to know what you think!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Seduced by the Glitz

I admit it, it was all my own fault. I fell for the glitz, glitter and charm, was badly hurt, and walked away sadder but wiser.

It all started when I fell in love with the iPad. Saw one, was wildly envious, and bought my own. However, it wasn't the iPad that brought me to grief. It was ... The Cloud.

Saw the commercials and decided this was the best thing since automatic shift. But alas, my Vista was unable to reciprocate. It was too old to partner with my new, young plaything. I decided to upgrade to Windows 8.

Stop! I hear the warning shouts, but it is too late. After 24 hours, I called Microsoft and begged them to release me. They did, but the experience left my old friend -- discombobulated. It had lost codecs and drivers and many of my old, familiar programs. 

I spent the next two weeks re-installing what I could and downloading updates. It could have been worse, but I did have my documents and pictures backed up in an external hard drive. That probably saved me from entering a convent. No, I couldn't do that, I'm married. Which reminds me of how my husband said the equivalent of  "I told you so," by muttering that he would never rush out and buy the Latest Thing until he'd read the reviews.

One of the things that went missing was my blog. Google refused to recognize my password and all entreaties to support went to deaf ears. If I couldn't remember what month and year I signed on to Google, they couldn't help me. Honestly, does anyone remember details like that? I can't even remember my ZIP code half the time.

So--three things: Back up your work on a disk, flash drive, external hard drive or even, yes, The Cloud. Or a neat site my son recommended, Drop Box (and it's free); don't buy something just because the commercials look great, read the customer reviews from people who have actually tried it out; and lastly, please sign on to be a follower again now that I am back.

Thank you!