Google+ Followers

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Care for a little w(h)ine with your MS?

Any time we do not feel well is a cause for depression, isn't it? We just don't like to be feel yucky and it is so very easy to allow negtivity to creep in and dictate how we deal with it. Multiple Sclerosis is for sure an illness that invites those negative thoughts to invade and take up residence in our minds and bodies.

But MS should not dictate little pleasures that life throws us. For many of us alcohol consumption is not a priority or even an issue; but there are those folks who feel that drinking a few questionable beverages can do not harm. I mean, we already stumble, sway and slur through our daily  business, why not add a visible reason for our "inebriation"? At least an alcohol level is understandable to the rest of the world that does not understand MS.

Boy-oh-boy, that's an ironic statement if I ever made one. There is nothing understandable about MS. Why am I able to walk well enough to hold a full-time job when my younger friend is confined to wheel chair? Why is another friend's brother now paralyzed because of his MS? Why does MS control the constant fluxuation of my vision but yet I can still see when another MS friend of mine goes through months of blindness. A glass of chardonnay or a mug of Killian will not cure our disease, but it certainly won't hurt.

If we use common sense about alcohol consumption there is no reason why those of us with MS can't enjoy alittle drinky every now and then. In my experience a drink or two does not worsen my symptoms. My balance is poor whether I drink a beer or not. I love good wine and have found that a glass in the evening helps keep me "regular" and helps me relax into a good night's sleep. You could argue that I am making excuses for drinking, but I  hope not. I really do know my limits and have come to realize that my MS will not accelerate because I support my local winery.

I am not advocating the use of alsoholic beverages and do not condone excessive consumption of any mood or behavior altering substance. These are simply my thoughts on the subject.

For a more professional insight, please visit these websites:

http://www.healthcentral.com/multiple-sclerosis/c/73302/82005/alcoholhttp://www.mdlinx.com/neurology/news-article.cfm/5041566/alcohol-multiple-sclerosis
http://www.healthcentral.com/multiple-sclerosis/c/73302/82005/alcoholhttp://ezinearticles.com/?MS-and-Alcohol-Consumption---Can-I-Still-Have-a-Drink-Or-Two?&id=

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How are you dealing with the winter weather?

I don't know about you, but my favorite season is winter and I am absolutely loving this snowy winter. I didn't always like the cold and the snow. In my youth I was a serious sun worshipper. My first job was as a life guard at a local private swimming pool. I enjoyed this gig for nearly 10 years and I had a strict rule. On the first day of pool season I felt it was my duty to get as much  sun as possible. For some reason I thought that if I aquired a harsh sun burn on the first day, I wouldn't burn again for the rest of ther summer. This is not good advice. The skiin will continue to burn all summer long and the damage acrued is permenant. There is no turning back once the human skin is fried in baby oil and iodine (yep, that's how serious I was about my tan). But, this space is about MS, not skin cancer. I have yet to look forward to that condition.
 
While I basked in my summer glow and dreamed of living at the beach when I was an independent young adult, I never once imagined that summer would be on my worst enemy list. In fact, that thought didn't even become imaginable until June 1, 2001. On that scorching (is that a word?) hot day, I tucked my six month old son into his carriage, packed a little soft side cooler with water bottles, carrots, and Cheerios at the foot of the stroller, adorned us both with sunblock and eye protection.
 
It was the first week of summer vacation for this teacher as well as a much anticipated summer to spend with my newborn. I was psyched that we lived so close to the public library (about 3/4 of a mile) and that a visit to one of my favorite places would serve two-fold in giving us exercise and providing a reason to stock up on the newest titles of the summer.
 
Traffic was light but ai knew that would pick up as the lunch hour approached. We would be on our way home by then and if my babe was awake we could even stop our journey to enjoy a lemonade at my favorite cafe on the way home.
 
It was a good day. It was summer, my favorite season; I was with my beautiful child.  There wasn't a clould in the sky. What could be better?
 
 Two block from my house on the return trip, it happened. The entire ride side of my body went numb.  I couldn't feel my right arm; my right leg began dragging behind me; the right side of my face was slack. I still had a major highway to cross and two blocks of uneven sidewalk on which to maneuver the baby stroller. And then I had to extract my baby from his carriage and lift him up several steps to enter our house. I still cannot believe that these were my exact thoughts as I stood out in the glaring sun and attacked by some mysterious, inexplicable demon.

It's funny how the human brain operates.

That's the day I stopped loving summer. That's the day I rallied for a home aire conditioner rather than the room fan that had served me well for many, many years. That's the day I faced a monster called MS that moved in and took up permenant residence.

Now, you've heard the adage "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all." Well, digging deep, I guess I owe MS for my new favorite season. I love winter. My MS feels great when low temps keep it at arm's length. Sure, I still suffer from foot drop and partial numbness of body extremities; but over all the cold is my BFF.

When researching MS and weather, I found out that seasonal weather changes can contribute to making MS symptoms worse or even aggravate exacerbations or relapse. Of course, if you are on speaking terms with your Ms, you already know that. Warm weather fires up my MS related fatigue. I avoid contagious situations with much more entergy than ever and I ALWAYS get my flu shot. That didn't used to be such a priority, but I have learned that infection and sickness love to mock my MS.


 
 
For those of us with Multiple Sclerosis, season changes are very stressful and weakens the immune system to start with.  An extra dose of Vitamin D, VitaminC, and zinc have been recommended to me in the preventino of cooomon cold symptoms and the flu. I also take multiple daily "rest" sessions. It is amazing what a 5-10 minute meditation can do for not only the mind, but the body as well.

Staying hydrated in all weather types is imperative. Excessive amounts of sugar seems to make me sluggish, so I try not have sweets on hand in my home. I make sure to give myself at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise a day and I always feels better after 20-30 minutes of Yoga. It's just convincing myself to do it that is the challenge:)

So, if this winter weather is getting you down, jusdt remember: It could be 90 degrees and humid (and will be soon enough), so enjoy the MS Cool Down, compliments of Mother Nature.
 
 
 










Monday, January 20, 2014

Let it Snow: a short book review


Let it Snow is as collaboration by John Greene, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle of three holiday YA romances that takes the lives of Gracetown teens on a snow storm adventure that changes lives and creates a new sense of understanding for the participants. When Jubilee Dougal sets out on a snowy train ride to her stay with her grandparents in sunny Florida, a chain of unexpected events unfolds over the course of three novels.

An avid fan of these authors, I was totally captivated by the warm cohesiveness of their writing. What a surprisingly delightful read!

Abby got a make-over!

Recently I obtained total control of my first YA novel, Abby. With that came some busy-work to get it back in circulation. I think I am finally finished with that and she should soon be available on Amazon with a new look and a new price.

I have cartons of the original Abby in my basement and would love to share these with classroom teachers who think this this would make a good addition to their classroom library or ELA curriculum. Many WV teachers are faced with the added lesson plan of RTI and are in need of something extra to challenge their students. I have developed a curriculum planner for Abby that is included in my offer of 15 copies of the novel for $65.00. I will cover shipping and handling or will hand deliver if you are in Marion County, WV.

If you are not familiar with Abby, it is an easy read formatted as a journal and is appropriate for readers in grade 5-8.


Written by the teacher; edited by her students, Abby, is the Hallmark greeting card of young adult fiction.

Have you ever been the “new kid”? Five times in seven years? Relating to her diary as her only friend, Abigail Van Buren Masterson finally gets the opportunity to be part of a stable life, complete with grandparents and a neighborhood who knows her. Even if this unexpected gift includes being the target of the school bully, Head Cheerleader Sheila, and surrounded by community members with unpronounceable surnames, Abigail can finally experience a “normal” life. Or at least as normal as life gets when adjusting to her mother’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

As a veteran eighth grade language arts teacher and book junky, as well as a newly diagnosed MS patient, the creation of Abby served not only a writing dream-come-true but allowed a teachable moment with the inclusion of my students as editors and advisors in the process. I believe that junior high school is the most pivotal period in our lives; that decades or centuries do not change the largess of adolescent drama. All children long for innocence, even while fighting to be recognized as adults. A 2012 Reader’s Favorite Finalist and 2013 Reader’s Favorite Honor book in YA fiction,  Abby is a coming of age tale that touches on the insecurities of adolescence and the emergence of adulthood.
I can't wait to share Abby with you and your classroom!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Good advice

Trish LeSage

Why Authors Should Use A Facebook Personal Profile Page

“Why Authors Should Use A Facebook Personal Profile Page”
There are many reasons why authors should use a personal profile page on Facebook in addition to using a business page. Creating a personal profile page is very beneficial and advantageous and can increase book sales if you are an author.
First of all, Facebook only allows your posts to be seen by 10-20% of the people who have “liked” your business page. If you want a higher percentage of people who have liked your page to see your posts, you must pay Facebook in order to do so by clicking on the “boost post” button in the lower right hand corner of your post.
On the other hand, this is not the case with personal profile pages. Your posts on your wall of your personal profile page are not limited to only 10-20% of your friends seeing your posts. Facebook does not automatically block your friends from seeing your posts to your personal profile page.
When you use a business page on Facebook, you cannot see who has “liked” your page. Therefore, you can not visit their page and write a thank you note on it. Being able to write a thank you note on the walls of the people who have “liked” your business page would help to spread the word about your page, you, and your books. However, because you cannot see who has “liked” your business page, and you cannot visit the pages of those who have “liked” your page, you cannot do this. This limits the expansion of your network of potential customers.
However, if you use a personal profile page as your author page, you can visit the pages of those who have added you as a friend and write a thank you note on their wall so that others see your thank you note and hopefully add you as a friend also, thereby further expanding your network of potential friends and potential customers who buy your book.
If you use only a business page, you cannot join any Facebook groups. However, if you use a personal profile page, you can join many groups related to the subject material of your books. The advantage of joining groups related to the subject material of your books is that you can write useful, helpful, informative, or educational articles and post them to the walls of the groups that you are a member of. I have found that by doing this, many people have enjoyed my articles and have added me as a friend as a result of it. Hundreds of people have also subscribed to see my posts in their newsfeeds (are following me on Facebook). I have also found that by joining groups on Facebook and posting articles on their walls, it has generated many sales revenues for my books. This cannot be done with a business page on Facebook.
Since we are blocked from being able to join groups, etc. on Facebook with a business page, we must then spread the word about our business page elsewhere. Unless we pay Facebook money, we cannot promote nor expand our network for our business page on Facebook itself at all if we do not have a personal profile page.
Furthermore, focusing on asking people or begging people to “like” our business page on Facebook does not necessarily mean that those people that we have begged are going to be customers who will buy our books. Efforts could be better spent on writing good quality articles and posting them on group walls or getting interviewed on radio shows and posting links to the shows on group walls than begging people to “like” our business pages.
I have a few suggestions, however, when using a personal profile page as your author page on Facebook:
First of all, do not place spam on your wall constantly, and do not place spam on your friends' walls. Your friends/fans will see your posts in their newsfeeds and may become angry and block you, unfriend you, or report you for spam if constantly place spam on the wall of your personal profile page. Your Facebook account could end up being closed, and you could lose out on the many wonderful benefits of spreading the word about your book through Facebook.
Also, it is wise to refrain from placing spam on the walls of the groups that you are a member of, and it is wise to refrain from spamming group members. Although many of the admins. of the groups on Facebook do tolerate posts on their group walls stating that you recommend such and such a book because....., some admins. do not tolerate any spam at all whatsoever which leads to your posts being deleted from the groups' walls, your being kicked out of the group altogether, or your being reported to Facebook for spam. It is best to post to group walls cautiously. Posting helpful articles with a copyright notice on the bottom of the articles with a link back to your website or posting anything else that is helpful is the best practice.
Secondly, although your fans may want to add you as a friend and may want to learn more about your personal life, it would be wise to be selective of what you post on the wall of your personal profile page if you are using it as your author page. Sharing your life with others is fine to an extent. Keeping things professional even when posting about your personal life is the best option so as to retain customers instead of losing them.
Facebook is a wonderful social media platform for authors. Using a personal profile page in addition to a business page is very beneficial and can further expand an author's customer base and increase their sales.
- See more at: http://www.beyond3dbooks.com/facebook#!

Read me and tell me what you think!

This story has been whirling around in my seldom empty brain (there's always something there, even if I can't remember what it is) and I wanted to throw the intro out there for some response. My main character  is America (Meri) Washington, a sixteen year old high school junior. She loves classical music and dreams of owning her own Baby Grand piano, but for now enjoys time spent tickling the ivory of her piano teacher's instrument. America is drop-dead gorgeous: flawless, porciline skin; naturally straight, white teeth; a beauty queen figure; enchanting blue eyes. She's theh poster child for the all-American beauty. Her grades are perfect; she has no enemies; she is focused and knows where she is headed; her parents love her unconditionally.
I know, of course, what Meri's problem is; I want to hear what you think.


**********************************************************************************



“There she is, Miss America. There she is, your ideal.”

The off key lyrics followed her all the way down the hall and into the sanctuary of the practice cubicle where Steinway awaited. It was too bad that the cubicle was actually the girl’s locker room and that Steinway was not the glossy piano of her dreams, but the new iPhone 5S (which was surely be obsolete already) that her parents had gifted her with on her sixteenth birthday. In their quirky manner, they had replaced the keyboard with an Otter case costumed in white with a black treble cleft adorning the back and circling the Apple hole. An attempt at levity on their part; an important statement of who carried it on hers.

Meri quickly logged on to her favorite U-Tube site, attached ear buds to ears, and allowed herself to breathe in the calming strains of her favorite Beethoven piano concerto. Maybe today she would find her voice. Maybe today she could to tell the rest of the world to go to hell. Maybe today she would find the courage to no long be the worn rug on which everyone walked with such consistency. She knew that her life was pretty much in her own hands and that said life was famous for throwing those curves that her mother insisted made existence interesting.

But in the real world people had a choice to speak out for themsevles. And that's all Meri wanted ;  to open her mouth and be heard.

 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nine WV Counties Under State of Emergency; Common Sense is Dead

On Thursady January 9,2014,an estimated 5,000 gallons of Crude MCHMursday, leaked into the soil on the banks of the Elk River. This chemical leached through the soil and into the river, contaminating the water supply in nine West Virginia counties. Hotels have closed their doors; restaurants are no long open; school have shut down. The public has been warned to use tap wter for absolutely no reason, which includes bathing, drinking, washing clothes, washing hands. Fluching the toilet is the only acceptable reason to use the water and even then you are advised to keep the lid down.

This sounds pretty darned serious to me. Yet, a seminar that I am supposed to attend on Monday is supposedly not cancelled. Well, I am not real excited to drive two-three hours to stay in a hotel with no water, eating out of my personal cooler because there are no eateries open, after hauling my own case of bottled water to my  hotel room. This is an educational seminar. One would expect educated people to possibly postpone such an even; but after serving 31 years in the field I am aware of how much common sense our education system employs.

IN today's newspaper Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the WV Water Research INstitute at WVU, is quoted as saying "You would have to drink thousands of gallons of that water to get anywhere near a lethal dose."  The article went on to say "showering would not be a good idea, because the chemical could irritate eye, skin, and lungs."

I hope you heard the screech that my mind made after reading such rubble. So, I can drink it but I can't wash my hands in it? Excuse me...It ain't going in my body if it can't go on it. Nope.

Cancelling my own trip to Charleston is not a cheap plan for this school teacher. My plan to attend a much anticipated seminar (the registration cost of $139.99 out of my own pocket) may be sacrificed because common sense tells me that pursuing this adventure is not in my best interest. Why won't this professional development company appear more reputable by postponing this event? As an educator I can already predict that very few attending participants will be actively engaged in what promises to be valuable information if it were give in a more positive environment.

At least I can cancel my hotel reservation without penalty. I will not "skip" this function on a whimsy. I really want to go. I really want to learn more about the subject being presented. I really want my $139.00 to be spent wisely since I had to save up for this for several weeks; but it looks like there is not reimbursement.

There are nine counties under a state of emergency and occupying screen time on the national news. I believe this is a very good reason to postpone and compensate those folks involved.

...but you've heard about what happened to Common Sense, have you not? He died. "i'm pretty certain I read then obituary.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wow!

This is the best writing style guide I have had the opportuity to read. Just like anything the Master writes, King held me spellbound from page one by  sharing his own writing experience in a manner easily understood. This no-nonsense tool to the trade was enjoyable as well as instructional, proving that education doesn't have to be stodgy. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with one of my favorite authors. His words made me feel like he was taking a personal interest in my writing. This is a necessary addition to any writer's collection.

Thank you, Artisans Shop!!!

Start reading a new book...this is the first in a series of 3

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My least favorite word...

PhotoYou just cannot make this stuff up. Say what you mean;mean what you say. Language is so much fun, but as a writer, you need to choose wisely. One of my least favorite words in the English language is fruition. What is yours?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My fight with technology...

So, I log onto my blog page and find the background image that I successfully deleted two days ago. It's haunting me and will not go away. I love the picture, actually, but really do not want it being the first thing I see when working on my blog.

I am not surprised by the audacity of this, though. I am not having much luck with anything computer oriented. If it's not the CreateSpace debacle, it's my own blog insisting on debate. I just really, really dislike conflict. I think I will just go watch mindless television. Of course there is nothing interesting on TV tonight. It's a conspiracy! Me against technology!!!

Writing the book is SO much easier than formatting it!

Okay, so I have been working on converting my ready-to-print files from my former publisher in order to publish on Amazon. This process began December 23, 2013. Today I finally relented and decided to just retype the entire manuscript. I could have had it done by now. This has been a ridiculous journey of wasted time.

I have worked with the PDF files I was sent and I cannot delete whatever that crazy  little circle thing is in the margin that is creating such a mess. My trim size is evidently not correct but I have no guidance as to what the trim size should be and it won't convert to another size  any way. There is text  outside the margin but I cannot find it. There is also line art outside the margin but I did not include any line art. (I think it must be that crazy little circle thing that I cannot delete.)

If I had an agent I would not need to be tearing my hair out with all of this silly techie crap. Being rejected by multiple agents is a much faster process. I send the query. I pour my heart out to some unknown professional who takes only a few seconds in this day of instantanteous communication to rip out my heart and I move on. After the time I have spent trying to make these ready-to-print files (yea, right) work, looking for an agent sounds much less painful and definintely more time expedient.

After I entertain the massess of New York publishing companies, I will spend the remainder of my day doing something really enjoyable. My latest reading discovery is Stephen King's On Writing. It is pretty much an autobiographical account of the writer's life but is full of helpful info about writing and publishing. I am enjoying it almost as much as if it were a piece of King fiction.

Life Lesson #2 of 2014: Never believe that anything in life is easy. Depend only on yourself and there will be less disappointment.

Don't forget to check out Abby, the Hallmark of YA fiction!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Abby, The Hallmark greeting card of YA fiction

Abby,
Written by a teacher; edited by her students, has been lauded as a Hallmark card of YA fiction. Compared to Judy Blume's Are you there, God? This is Me, Margaret, Abby is the story of seventh grader Abigail Van Buren Masterson. Abigail's BFF is her diary until an uninvited, mysterious disease forces her mother to move their bohemiam family to a home that neither Abigail nor her brother knew existed. After attending five different schools in seven years, Abigail is finally situated in the loving security of her strange, if not eccentric, family. Still dependent upon her diary, Abigail realized the importance of human inneraction and even falls into a bit of a romance with her French partner, Adam. While learning more about her mother's diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, Abigail copes with the attrocities of that disease as well as the reality of falling prey to HeadCheerleader Sheila, the school diva, drama queen and school bully.


If you do not already have your  copy of Abby, contact me on FB, lisa-mccombs.blogspot.com or at hummingbirdo2000@yahoo.com, for a bargain copy of $11.99 and I will be pay the shipping!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Random rantings for a random story idea...

"Where are you? Why haven't I heard from you?" I knew the panic in my voice couldn't be masked, yet I assumed the brightest one I could. "I have called and called and you haven't returned any of my messages!"

I couldn't remember a time in our friendship when so much time had elasped between our conversations. Even when she left home to attend college or when my marriage took me to another state; we always found time to catch up or at least check in. It wasn't as if we were co-dependent upon one another; we just needed the other's presence to maintain balance.  When she married Jai, things changed, though. I chalked it up to newlywed-i-dus initially; but when my bestie ecame evasive about otherwise incidental things, I have to admit that I got a little jealous. Jai didn't approve of our friendship and didn't understand our connection. Juliette and I no longer discussed the best sellers that we consumed like some people binged on chocolate cake. Our weekly wine and cheese girls night was a thing of the past and we hadn't been to the mall in months. I was determined to wait it out and let the novelty of married life wear off. I was certain reality would land sooner or later.

So, when she told me that she and Jai were in the mountains at a well-known ski resort, my optimism soared. Mainly because I knew without a doubt that my friend had to be at the end of her rope. She hated snow. She didn't like being cold. And she had never shared my passion for this particular down hill activity, even t hough she had given it a try just to satisfy her best friend. So, I knew she was up for new experiences. But she had to be calling me for only one reason. She had to be totally miserable and in need of our sisterly connection.

"I'm fine, Bea, really. Jai just wanted a little time away. It's really beautiful here. In fact, I can't talk long. Jai and I are going ice skating shortly."

That's when I knew my pal was in trouble. That was our alarm phrase.

Juliette may have been ready to try new things, but there was one thing she totally detested. Juliette did NOT ice skate.

The Christmas Spirit

The tree is packed away, decorations carefully stored, and my living room is so less intersting too look at; but it's done. Christmas is no longer a visual implant in my home, but I hope to keep the Christmas spirit alive throughout 2014. Until next time...Now, let's enjoy those snow days!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas 2013 has come and gone. The gifts, so frantically purchased and wrapped, are bare of tinsel and bow. The turkey and ham sliced for sandwiches; new toys properly broken in; a time of peace and relaxation impending and building up to the next big celebration: New Years Eve.

For the first time since our marriage, my husband and I are actually going out this year. I am excited to have a real "date" (compliments of our dear, dear neice) and am entertaining the idea of shopping for something new and fun to wear, even though it is a casual event.

This is also the time to commit to prmises of huge proportions that we forget them as soon as it becomes a chore. At least that's what I once thought, but 2013 showed me that resolutions really, really do work. After 50+ years of marriage and 40+ years living in a mobile home, my parents purchased a house. That was one of last year's resolutions...to make this move happen. I didn't give up on the search, even when the waters got choppy and the forecast was dim. It finally happened, justin time for my mother's September birthday.

I also vowed to acquire a book agent, aned I worked diligently on that when I wasn't house hunting; but the hunting for  a house became amuch stronger priority than the other. Maybe I will get busy with the agent search again but for some reason it has become less important. I am NOT a business person and my book sales are suffering because of it. And tomorrow I return to my day job, so I will jump on the agent search during my next vacation. Yep, procrastination at its best.

For now my 2014 resolutions are:
1. take more interest in my Blog
2. pray  more
3. exercise at least 5 days a week
Photo
Photo