Thursday, December 29, 2016

Man Starts "Help Protect Betty White from 2016" Go Fund Me

The year 2016 has claimed more lives of so many beloved actors and artists. Twitter user @christhebarker created an image to capture everyone that has passed. (Boy was that worded awkwardly.)

Another twitter user @L3GSV has captured them as angels on her "angel tree."

Well we all want to prevent Betty White from 2016. A man started a Go Fund Me account to do just that.

When I first heard about this I thought this guy is either brilliant or an absolute moron. How can sending money protect Betty White from the angel of death that is 2016?

It turns out he's brilliant. All of of the donations actually go to the Spartanburg Little Theater.

Demetrios Hrysikos writes:

Hello again! Wow , what a day. I'm at a loss for words for the support this little post has garnered. It's hard to keep up with all the tags but we're getting the word out and that's good! I've been in contact with the little theater and have some news. I've decided to up the goal of the campaign because at this point I don't see a point in capping the amount of money donated. Also , I've decided to end the campaign at midnight on New Year's Eve. One way or the other, for a worthy , cause 2016 will end on a good note. In the days following the new year I will appear on Your Carolina to present the check to the head of the Spartanburg Little Theater. Every red cent minus go fund me's fees. I had no idea this would get this big and it's been a lot to take in, but I'm glad it did. Carrie Fisher as much as Betty was a driving force in this and with the news of her mother's recent illness I'd like to hope we're all keeping her and her family in our thoughts. And now for the hashtags. #iwasntready #Bettyblessuseveryone #dontmakemetalktoreportersbeforecoffeeagainplz

Well Demetrios, we weren't ready either.

The Bumper Pad Alternative: DIY Wonder Bumpers

The Single Mommy Blog is no more but I wanted to repost my most popular post from that blog here. I posted this back in 2013 but it never stopped being the most read. 

Yesterday I did something I never do. I posted a parenting question on another Facebook page because I'm so torn about what to do. Boy do I regret it.

My little 4 month old is a squirmer when she sleeps. She wiggles and writhes so much in her sleep that she moves all over the crib. She gets her arms and legs stuck in the slats sometimes but the worst part is she whacks her head on the bars. Sometimes it's only a few times, or like last night it's every hour!

So I decided to violate the no bumper pad in the crib rule and attached the bumper my 8 year old daughter used in her crib. Not 5 minutes after attaching it, Skylar was somehow drawn to it like a magnet and squirmed over to it. She smooshed her little face right into the bumper pad. I watched her for a few seconds to see if she would instinctively turn away from it, like so many parents claim, but she didn't! It absolutely looked like she couldn't breathe so I moved her back to the center of the crib and took off the bumper.

So I decided to have the question posted on the Facebook page. I got answers that were even more dangerous than the bumpers! One woman suggested putting folded up blankets in the crib. Another suggested rolled up towels. (Don't these mothers know you aren't supposed to put anything in the crib!?) Another told me to put the bumper pad back on and "have faith everything will be alright." And the last one I read claimed babies getting smothered by a bumper pad never really happens. I stopped checking the replies to the post after that. I had heard enough.

Here's the proof that it certainly does happen. There aren't just facts and statistics but photos of mannaquin babies demonstrating exactly how their faces were smooshed into the bumper pad. It's disturbing and downright terrifying.

Apparently there's so much evidence against bumper pads being safe that they are illegal to sell in Chicago. The state of Maryland proposed a ban against them as well.

When I Googled bumper pads I also found something that absolutely shocked me. One of my favorite parenting blogs has pictures of her nursery and the bumper pad covers the entire bar area of the crib. I looked at the date and it was from 2011. I believe the warnings about removing bumper pads really took off around 2010, so it really surprised me. (Feel free to correct me on that date. My last baby was born in 2004 so I missed a lot!) I won't share what blog it is but it's easy to see there would absolutely be no air circulation. I found a similar picture on Etsy and am shocked that anyone would sell these with all the studies on bumper pad safety. 

Skylar is almost able to roll over from her back to her front, but she isn't even close to rolling over the other way. So if she rolled over, stomach down, face down into the bumper pad - she isn't likely to roll back. I could easily she how she could suffocate. Sometimes I think she put her face in the bumper 5 minutes after putting it on for a reason. It's like she demonstrated exactly why it isn't safe.

Now there were a few other answers to the bumper pad dilemma that made sense. They weren't things I hadn't already researched already though. I was hoping someone could give me some other suggestions but it seems there are only these other options.

1. The breathable bumper
Breathable bumpers are made of mesh. The theory behind bumpers being a risk for SIDS is that there isn't enough air circulating. The mesh bumpers allow air to circulate but keep baby from getting her arms and legs stuck in the slats. Great idea but it's not much of a help if your baby is whacking her noggin on the bars.

2. Wonder Bumpers
These are brilliant. They are bumper pads that wrap around each individual bar of the crib. They cover the entire length of the bar. However, the price of them is absurd. I also don't know if they would even work with my crib because my crib bars are wider and flat, not round.

There are some people that are making their own DIY versions of Wonder Bumpers. They are using pipe insulation and the no sew versions use modge podge for applying the fabric. At first, I worried that the pipe insulation isn't safe to put in the crib, nor is the modge podge. If your baby is breathing in these materials, is that really safe? However, it seems the actual Wonder Bumpers are made from the exact same material as the DIY versions - polyurethane foam. After some research on Modge Podge, it turns out this is nontoxic as well.

After rewatching the how to video I was also happy to see that her crib has slats exactly like mine! 

The one thing I don't like about the Wonder Bumpers is that they go the entire length of the crib bars. I really would like to have mine the length of a regular bumper. My crib also is curved at the top so it would need 14 different sizes! I'm not the only one who wanted smaller versions because I found a tutorial on doing the shorter versions of them! They look like this:

Making these mini-Wonder Bumpers is going to be my next big project! Thank you A Day in the Life of a Five Foot Mama for showing how to make exactly what I want for my baby's crib!

2017 Creativity Reading Challenge Info and Sign Up Post

I am dedicating 2017 to becoming more creative in my life! In order to do that I need some inspiration. I decided to create the Creativity Reading Challenge to help inspire me.

This challenge is about reading books on creativity, art, crafts, writing, film making, photography, cosmetology, DIY, cooking, and any other topic that helps you live a more creative life.

To get you started, here is a list of my Top Ten Books on Creativity.

The Rules:

  • This challenge begins January 1, 2017 and ends Dec 31, 2017. 
  • You may sign up anytime during the year. 
  • I won't be creating different levels. Read as little or as many books as you want.
  • Books may be nonfiction, memoir, how to, self help, coffee table books, instructional, picture books, and even fictional if they are about people who are creative.
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks
  • You may reread books. 
  • Books may count towards other reading challenges.
  • Use the hashtag #2017CreativityRC
  • If you could be so kind, please place the 2017 Creativity Reading Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word. 
  • Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.
  • Come back to this post and share links to your book reviews in the comments.
  • To sign up please add your link to the Linky Tools below.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2017 Parenting Reading Challenge Info and Sign Up Post

Welcome back for the 3rd annual Parenting Reading Challenge! 

This challenge isn't about reading to our kids (although we should be doing that every day). This challenge is about reading parenting and homemaking books to help us improve our parenting skills and our home life.

The Rules:
  • This challenge begins January 1, 2017 and ends Dec 31, 2017. 
  • You may sign up anytime during the year. 
  • I won't be creating different levels. Read as little or as many books as you want.
  • Books may be nonfiction, memoir, how to, self help, humor and even fictional if they are about parents. Nonfiction books should be about parenting or homemaking.
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks
  • You may reread books. 
  • Books may count towards other reading challenges.
  • Use the hashtag #2017ParentingRC
  • If you could be so kind, please place the 2017 Parenting Reading Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word. 
  • Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.
  • Come back to this post and share links to your book reviews in the comments.
  • To sign up please add your link to the Linky Tools below.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on Creativity

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is a rewind week where you can choose any past topic. I chose: Top Ten Books Book On Creativity

1. The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

2. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

3. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

4. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

5. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

6. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley, David Kelley 

7. Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles, Ted Orland 

8. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King  

9. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King  

10. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Should I be on Wattpad?

Imagine a place where you can share your writing for free without having to create a website, finding a publisher, paying to be self published, or even having your story made into an ebook. This place is somewhere where people share their stories, leave feedback in comments, and can make you a writing rock star.

I thought somewhere like this was only on the internet in my imagination. In turns out such a place really exists. It is called Wattpad.

Wattpad is the Youtube of the writing world and I can't help wondering as a writer trying to build a platform if this is something I should be doing. 

I realized a years ago that putting my work on my blog here (aka my "writer's website") simply didn't generate enough exposure. I've tried using Facebook to promote myself. This worked really well until a few years ago when Facebook started limited the reach of posts. Since then Facebook has been a complete disaster. I've liked Twitter but I always thought there had to be something more. Is Wattpad the miracle I've been looking for?

I had to do some research. Here's what I found:

6 Things Every Author Needs to Know About Wattpad gives the pros and cons of posting your work on Wattpad but the benefits are plenty.

How to Get More Out of Wattpad: 6 Authors Share Their Best Practices is a collection of actual authors experiences and how they have benefited from Wattpad.

11 Killer Wattpad Tips to Help You Find an Audience What I like about this article is that it goes completely against the "spend money to make money" concept. It basically says give readers something free and they buyers will follow. Which is a great segue to...

How Authors Can Use Wattpad to Sell Books and Earn Money which has tips on generating readers who will go on to purchase your writing.

Self Publishing on Wattpad This author says getting on Wattpad was the smartest thing she's ever done.

Why You Should Put Your Book on Wattpad ASAP This article is about the success this author had with Wattpad that she didn't have self publishing.

After reading these articles the answer is resounding yes. Yes I should be on Wattpad. I probably should have been on there like yesterday. And by "yesterday" I mean two years ago.

So I visited the site and discovered I didn't even have to create a profile. I was able to connect my Facebook right away and Wattpad made a profile for me. My user profile has been created.

So now what? I needed some advice on how to get started. 

Getting Started on Wattpad is by an author who shares my sentiment that getting started on Wattpad is a bit overwhelming. She gives step by step instructions. 

How to Win Followers and Influence Readers on Wattpad has tips for gaining popularity on Wattpad. 

How to Get Featured on Wattpad is a more reserved article about Wattpad. While all the articles I've linked to so far have enthusiastically raved about Wattpad this article is one that says "it's good but..."

Wattpad for Authors: 14 Tips for Making the Most of the World’s Largest Community of Readers and Writers gives great advice on what to do along with posting your work. It's a social media site so that means networking.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Won Camp NaNoWriMo!

I managed to get done on the very last day but I reached 10,000 words! However, I didn't write the linked short stories like I had planned. I ended up writing memoir again.

Every NaNoWriMo project I do ends up being memoir. I think it's time to accept that something in me strongly wants to write memoir and I need to take that seriously.

For now, I will bask in the glow of having written 10,000 words and reaching my goal. It feels good!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Alanis Morrissette's Spiritual Recovery from Anxiety and Depression

I have become a huge fan of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. This past Sunday, I also caught an episode of In Deep Shift with Jonas Elrod featuring Alanis Morrisette. I have always been a huge fan of Alanis but to learn her story about her (spiritual) recovery from anxiety and depression touched me deeply.

In the episode, she explains in detail the story behind the song Thank U and how it was a life changing breakthrough for her.

When I searched for these links I also discovered that Alanis was on a past episode of Super Soul Sunday.

Learning all of this makes me an even bigger fan of her.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Writing Linked Short Stories

My Camp NaNoWriMo Book Synopsis: A series of linked short stories about how people are connected with each other in unexpected ways

I have wanted to write this book for about 2 years now. There's a problem though. I know how to write a short story. I know how to write a novel. But I don't know how to write linked short stories. I probably should have started doing this research long before now considering Camp NaNoWriMo starts in a week but better late than never. I may spend the entire year working on this project since there is another round of Camp NaNoWriMo in July and then NaNoWriMo in November.

In this post, I want to do two things. First, I want to create a list of links about linked short stories. This will be informational and instructional links on how to write a short story cycle (the proper name of this genre.) 

Second, I want to create a list of published linked short stories to read. The only short story cycle I knew of was The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank but it turns out there are dozens of books written using linked stories. I got most of the books on this list from a Goodread's thread but as I did more research I found even more examples. 

Linked Stories and the Short Story Cycle

Nonfiction Books about Linked Short Stories
The Short Story Cycle: A Genre Companion & Reference Guide by Susan Garland Mann

A List of Linked Short Stories
The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
The Alice Stories by Lee Kercheval
Bodies in Motion by Mary Anne Mohanraj
Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work by Jason Brown
Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollack
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Later, at the Bar by Rebecca Barry Alice Munro's
The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Time Enough for Love by Robert A Heinlein
The Things They Carried by Tim O' Brien
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan After The Quake by Haruki Murakam
Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood
The Nightingales of Troy by Alice Fulton
Close to Spiderman by Ivan E. Coyote
Our Kind by Kate Walbert
Ideas of Heaven by Joan Silber
Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
Varieties of Exile by Mavis Gallant
Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
Dubliners by James Joyce
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Last Call by K.L. Cook
Mary and O’Neil by Justin Cronin
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachmann
A Visit From The Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
So Much a Part of You by Polly Dugan

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Author is Selling the Rights to Her Book on eBay Part Two

A while back I wrote a post about a published author who is selling the rights to her book on eBay. I never checked back to see if she had sold the rights or not. I never bothered because I knew the answer and believe me, I'm no psychic. 

Today I clicked on the link once more and found something rather unexpected. 

Phoebe Valentine is no longer selling her book right with $100,000 as the starting bid and with the Buy It Now price at $200,000. She has a new eBay listing. Logic would tell you that since it didn't sell, she would lower the price, right?


The bidding now starts at $200,000 and the Buy It Now price is at $400,000!

You would think she had at least taken the time to correct the typos in her item description but she didn't do that either. Would is still spelled "woud" and even her publishing house is also spelled incorrectly as two words when Authorhouse is one word. The very website she describes as being associated with the book is spelled wrong in her item description. She actually calls it

I did another Google search but found nothing more than I had before other than my own blog post about it. 

Phoebe Valentine, if you are reading this, I would love to write an article about you or do an interview with you! I've never met anyone who sold their book rights on eBay before. The whole thing just has me completely fascinated. 

I still wonder if this person is actually Phoebe Valentine. The fact that the price has been raised makes me truly think it's a scam. If I could talk to Phoebe Valentine I could find out if it's really her. And I still want to know if it's actually legal to sell your book rights over eBay.