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Friday, April 26, 2013

Missing: Ali Lowitzer

Three years ago today a mother's worst nightmare occurred right in my neighborhood. A beautiful 16 year old girl got off the school bus, called her mom to say she was walking down the street to pick up her paycheck, and disappeared without a trace. Alexandria Lowitzer had a lot going for her. She had no reason to run away and many reasons to stick around. But now she's gone and no one knows to where or why.

Unfortunately children going missing has become an epidemic in America, and many other countries. Some are run-aways, many are not. The Missing posters are everywhere and it's a frightening prospect to realize just how common they are. A quilt has been made from some and it is passed on from parent to parent of the missing children. 

In order to remind the community of today's tragic anniversary, many of my neighbors gathered to release butterflies in Ali's honor. It was meant to be a symbol of hope and a reminder that we will not give up. We are still praying and hoping she will be back in her mother's arms one day.

For me it was a reminder to hug my daughters tighter, kiss them and tell them how much I love them more often. And to never take them for granted. We must be vigilant in the safety of all of our children.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Writer vs Author

Whenever I mention to someone that I'm an author I don't always call myself that. Sometimes I say writer instead without really thinking about it. The two words are pretty interchangeable in my mind. However, I've noticed quite a difference in the reactions of those I tell based on which term I choose.

When I say I'm a writer or that I write it's usually met with a smile and nod of understanding, but no real interest. The listener usually moves on to the next topic of discussion without really acknowledging what I've just said. That's okay by me. To be honest, when I'm meeting or talking to someone as myself (Melissa rather than Missy) I'm perfectly okay with not discussing my writing. I don't push it on other people or even say much about it unless they show a genuine interest. I realize not many people are willing to admit they read the genres I write, so I give them an out by not making it a big part of our conversation.

On the flip side, when I say I'm an author the reaction is vastly different. Many times the person shows surprise and they ask about my books. How many have I written? What genre are they? Are they self-published? I answer the questions honestly and as succinctly as possible. What can I say, I'm not the best at self-promotion. I do offer a bookmark with my info if they seem to be genuinely interested rather than just being polite. 

I'm not bothered by either reaction. I just find it interesting that the two words, which mean essentially the same thing, garner such different reactions from people. I rarely say I'm a published author, and almost never that I'm multi-published, even though both are true. There's really no reason. Again, I'm not so great at self-promotion. 

Do the two terms have different meanings for you? If so, why and how?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Around My Town: Japanese Festival 2013

I live just north of the fourth largest city in the nation. What that means to me is plenty of opportunities to do a lot of cool stuff. Take last weekend for example. The 20th Japanese Festival occurred downtown in Hermann Park. This is a festival my family has attended nearly every year for about six or seven years. We absolutely love it! The best part? Entry is free. For a family of six, that's just what we need.

I don't remember how I first learned of the Japanese Festival. It's put on every year by The Japan-American Society of Houston. This organization is dedicated to " encourage mutual knowledge and understanding of Japan by Americans and of America by Japanese, and to encourage communication between the two countries." (from their website) 

Every year they do a fantastic job of bringing together food, dance, martial arts, art, crafts, and various entertainment from Japan. We stuff ourselves full and buy things that don't last the year. But that's okay because we know we'll just go back next year to buy more. One of my favorite aspects of the festival is the costumes worn by the attendees. If you like cosplay, anime, or anything to do with Japanese fashion (real or in the movies) then you would get an eye-full at the festival.

I was told this bookmark says "Missy".
I would have had a better picture of my food if I had remembered to take one before chowing down. Sorry. The pork and curry over rice was just too yummy to resist.

One of the most popular items (aka longest lines) at the festival are these drinks with tapioca. Umm, not for me but the teens love them.

This year my girls surprised me by trying something new. A bun filled with sweet bean paste. I wasn't adventurous enough to give it a taste. 

Fun for the whole family includes two long tents filled with children's games. This is one the youngest plays every year. Especially since I wouldn't let her try to win a goldfish again.

I take this photo every year and it never gets old. Hopefully she'll still let me when she's in her teens.

This year paper swans were added to the pond. I never got close enough for a better picture, but you get the idea.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fourteen Thousand?!!

When I started this blog a few years ago it was because all authors have blogs, right? I knew keeping in touch with my readers was a good thing but website are meant to be somewhat static. I wanted to keep it flowing with updates and my rambling thoughts so my readers could get to know me. Now Facebook is much more prevalent in my life and where I do most of my "reaching out". However, I still try to keep my blog updated at least every couple of weeks.
So, when I logged in today and took a peek at my stats, what did I see? 14,004 all time page views!! Oh my god! You guys rock. I can't believe we've made it this far together but I'm absolutely thrilled. THANK YOU for hanging in there with me through the unlimited self promotion and goofy paragraph-only posts. I hope you've enjoyed the journey and plan to stick around for another thousand views or so. ;-)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Just Because...

I'm sitting in my office and staring out the window as I wait for the rain all the forecasters have promised. As I looked over my blog, site and other online shenanigans I realized I've done nothing but promo on my blog for a while now. I know that's not necessarily a bad thing. However, I started this blog to "talk" to people. I'm not going to lie, I want to talk about my books so you'll know what and where they are. But I also want to just talk about whatever happens to be on my mind at any given time.

In the past I tried doing specific themed posts at least a couple of times a week. Those were great but I ran out of subject matter on each one fairly quickly. Maybe I'll get back to those. I'm really hoping to do the Model Monday or Shutterbug Sunday posts again because some great eye-candy was to be had there. We'll see. For now I just wanted to say hello again without any attachments or expectations. This isn't a "buy my book!" post. Just a little hello from me to you.

So, how have you been?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Release! Lunchtime Sex

It's here!! Lunchtime Sex is available starting today over at Ellora's Cave Publishing. You can buy your copy here.

Passion and fun have been missing from Genie’s life for a long time. Most days she can only hope for a phone call from her college-age son. But that changes when a hot prospective resident walks into her leasing office and turns her world upside down. There’s only one thing holding her back from responding to his advances—his age. He’s only three years older than her son. She should resist…

Nick has just graduated college and hopes for a job in a larger city with more potential. What he doesn’t expect is to find an irresistible woman—who just happens to be the sexy mother of one of his college buddies. Resistance is futile, and he can only pray his friend doesn’t kill him once he finds out. When things heat up quickly with Genie, Nick discovers he must convince her he wants more than a bout of Lunchtime Sex.

A Romantica® older woman/younger man erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Has Sprung

I know technically it's been Spring for a couple of weeks already. But now that April is here and the wildflowers are blooming on the side of the highway it really feels more like Spring to me. 

What I love most about this time of year is the flowers. Here in Texas we have a plethora of natural wildflowers that bloom anywhere they can. Our highway department does an excellent job of letting them grow along the roadways. Many people pull over to take photos in the bluebonnets (our gorgeous state flower) which can often be found in dense patches. They are my personal favorite and I'm guilty of harassing my girls into a patch for photos at least once a year.
This year I'm lucky enough to work in one of the most colorful places in or near the city of Houston, the Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. All of these pretty flower photos were taken there by yours truly just a couple of days ago. I work in the Gift Shoppe (yes, that's how it's spelled) every other weekend. It's one of the most relaxing places I've ever been and I almost feel guilty when I collect my paycheck...almost.

So, even though I'm no gardener I get to enjoy this site on a regular basis.