100 Days of Summer - Day 6

It's Day 6 of the 100 Days of Summer writing challenge. Here's the prompt.Prompt 6: Do you remember the choose your own adventure series?  You read to a certain point and then you’re prompted to pick what happens next.  This writing prompt is sort of like that.  Below is a list of three categories, each with 3 choices.  Choose one phrase from each category to create the first sentence in your story.  Now here’s the fun part.  See where that odd line takes you and let your quirky self run wild on the page.

Category 1

On an ordinary day

On a dark and stormy night

On steamy afternoon in Grand Central Station

Category 2

two wild-eye parakeets

a slimmy slug and a caterpillar

curious twins

Category 3

jumped into a fireplace.

found a pickle jar of quarters.

uncovered a box of treasure.

 

Time: 6:53 (8 minutes)

Mood: Blah (this seems to be a common mood for me.)

Outcome: 301 words

On a steamy afternoon in Grand Central Station, two wild-eyed parakeets found a pickle jar of quarters. The larger of the two parakeets wanted to take the money. She was convinced they needed it. They could remodel their nest, buy the latest fashions, and get some new sunglasses to protect their wild eyes.

The smaller parakeet was substantially less materialistic and more sensible. She did not want the money or the hassle that went with it. They’d have to figure out how to transport the quarters, invest the quarters, protect the quarters from crows (because everyone knows how shifty crows are and that they love shiny things). “Besides, what’s the point of remodeling our nest? It’ll still be poky and scratchy. There’s not much you can do with a pile of sticks to make it more homey. You can’t hang curtains.”

“We could hang curtains with the money.”

“Why? You’d forget they were there and poop on them anyway.”

At that point the larger parakeet was tired of the smaller parakeet and even more tired of trying to compromise with her lifelong friend and roommate. “Whatever,” she squawked. “Let’s go flying.”

The smaller parakeet grinned and twittered as she followed the larger bird, convinced she’d won. She was so busy gloating about getting her way, she didn’t even notice the large train that she flew into.

“See how nice curtains would be?” the bigger parakeet laughed. “Then you would have seen that window.” She fluttered about for a few seconds to see if her friend was going to move. When there wasn’t any sign of life, she chuckled. “Stupid bitch,” she tweeted and went back to get her jar of quarters.

Moral of the story: It’s better to compromise over curtains then to fly headlong into a train and kill yourself. ;)

All right. After writing that, I guess I'd have to say my mood seems to be "irritable". Thanks for the prompt. I'm sure that's not what anyone expected to read on my blog, but it was fun to write.

My thoughts after completing this prompt: I need to quit worrying so much about what I'm writing and just write for the fun of it. Perhaps my lack of interest in writing is due to worrying so much about whether I'm doing everything "right" and if my audience will like what I write. Onward ho!

 

If you'd like to participate, stop over at Shannon's blog and sign up to have the prompts sent to your email. Be sure to enter to win the prizes for participating as well! :)

Be sure to check out some of the other participants who've posted their work.

I'm sure they'd appreciate it if you helped cheer them on throughout the challenge!

100 Days of Summer - Day 3

It's Day 3 of the 100 Days of Summer Writing Challenge. And also day 3 of my personal "100 days of blogging challenge". I seldom post to my blog, because I don't think I have anything terribly interesting to share. But, oh well. If you don't like what I post for the next 97 days, don't read it. :) Prompt #3: Write about a moment in your past that lives in infamy for you.

  1. Time: 3 pm – wrote for 6 minutes
  2. Mood: relieved – both kids are napping. J
  3. Outcome: 206 words

 

Either I’ve had a very boring life, or it has been so traumatic I’ve blocked everything from my memory. I’m okay with that.

My dad likes to tell the story about the first time he watched me by himself. My mom had to go into town for something and left me, a newborn, home with my dad.

He swears mom was barely out of the driveway when I pooped. If he’s to be believed, I filled my bassinet with green poop. And he had to figure out how to give me a bath. At this point in the story, Mom always said he did a good job but there was still poo in my ears when she got home.

Dad also likes to point out that I’m probably lucky I was born in February in northern Minnesota. Otherwise, he would have just laid me on the lawn and hosed me off with a garden hose.

Supposedly, I’m the reason my dad doesn’t particularly like kids. I guess bathing a newborn covered in green poop, after working all night, would be a fairly good reason.

See? Really not that exciting. I kinda feel like I’m letting you all down by having such a dull experience to share. I could have made something up that was more entertaining, but I'm not feeling all that creative today. :)

If you'd like to participate, stop over at Shannon's blog and sign up to have the prompts sent to your email. Be sure to enter to win the prizes for participating as well! :)

Be sure to check out some of the other participants who've posted their work.

I'm sure they'd appreciate it if you helped cheer them on throughout the challenge!

100 Days of Summer - Day 2

Today was day 2 of the 100 Days of Summer writing challenge. Even though yesterday proved quite productive after I completed the prompt (I finished a couple scenes and was eager to keep writing), today I didn't want to write. I didn't like the prompt. How dare Shannon make me write something when I wasn't in the mood to write. Hah! I guess that's the point of a challenge, huh? So after several hours of procrastinating, I said, "Come on. You don't have to use it anywhere. You don't have to like it. And you don't have to share it. Just sit your butt down and write for five minutes, otherwise you're going to fail this challenge on DAY 2! How pathetic is that?"

Apparently, my little "pep talk" worked. While the kids finished eating their corn dogs and cauliflower for supper, I sat down to write for five minutes. The five minutes turned into 23 minutes before I was at a loss as to what to write next. So here ya go.

Prompt #2:     Think about a character (not the protagonist) central to the plot of your story.  Write a scene from his/her perspective.  How does the scene change?  How does the tone change?  Does this perspective shift allow you to explore the conflict from a surprising or more powerful perspective.

 

Here is the beginning of the scene I worked on. Of course, I want to state it's a very rough draft and may not even appear. However, it is from the novel I've been working on for several months. I don't even have a working title for it.

Tom walked up to the rock where Kylie was sitting. Other than being ten years older, it was likethe first day he’d spotted her there. It was awkward being around her. Part of him wished for what they’d once had, part of him wanted her to be miserable due to the pain she’d caused him, and part of him just wanted to ignore her. Yet, she was engaged to his older brother.

His opinion on that varied from “lucky bastard” to “stupid son of a bitch”.

The scene doesn't really change, since I hadn't written it yet, but if I wrote it from Kylie's perspective it'd be hard to show exactly what Tom was feeling. I think this way I can show Tom's personality which tends to be non-confrontational and "live and let live." He's upset about what he learns, but he really doesn't see much point in tearing into Kylie because it's in the past. Bitching her out (to be blunt) won't change anything.

I think when I revise and expand the scene, I can show how infuriating Kylie finds his attitude. She's thankful that he doesn't scream and yell, but also upset that he's clearly hiding how he really feels. I may even be able to show that Kylie tends to be a "hot head" instead of calm and collected when she's upset.

 

I spent 23 minutes writing and added 894 words to my rough draft.

If you'd like to participate, stop over at Shannon's blog and sign up to have the prompts sent to your email. Be sure to enter to win the prizes for participating as well! :)

Be sure to check out some of the other participants who've posted their work.

I'm sure they'd appreciate it if you helped cheer them on throughout the challenge!

100 Days of Summer - Day 1

As some of you know, I've been struggling to write. I know I should. I have the time. I just don't write. So when I saw Shannon Abercrombie's post about 100 Days of Summer, I jumped right in. 100 Days of Summer is a writing challenge where the participants write every day, starting with the prompt that Shannon posts on her blog. Today, Memorial Day, is Day 1.

I'm not sure if I'm going to share what I write, because I've decided to apply as many of the prompts as I can to my WIPs. And I'd hate for you to know what exactly I'm writing because then you'd be bored if you read the books when they're done.

However, I am willing to share the prompt and a bit of what I wrote. Also, I'll include how much I wrote from the prompt. Hopefully, this will help keep me on track.

Prompt 1: Start a scene where your protagonist celebrates a moment of glory or suffers through a public embarrassment.  Try showing this moment rather than telling what happened.  A strong example of a protagonist caught in a public moment is Hester Prynne, from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.  She is shamefully led from the town prison with a scarlet “A” on her chest.   As a reader, we learn about Hester’s character and commitment by her resolve to protect the father of her baby.  This scene builds an impeccable sense of the character as well as creating tension and exposes a central conflict in the storyline.

 

What I wrote (part of it anyway):

Kirima looked around at the crew of The Norseman. She loved what she did and didn’t want to stop, but she knew it was time. For her safety, the baby’s safety, and the safety of the crew. This was the right thing to do, even if it was the hardest thing she could imagine doing.

“I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m not going to captain anymore. I’ve leased the boat to Jared Stunkle. He’s willing to keep you all on at your current wage, but understands if you’re not interested in working for him.” She smirked, and continued. “Of course, he can’t imagine why people who would work for a woman wouldn’t be thrilled at the chance to work for a real captain.” Jared Stunkle was well-known for his chauvinistic ways and Kirima was glad she didn’t have to deal with him any further than signing the lease agreement and collecting her money.

 

I spent 25 minutes writing and added 634 words to my rough draft of Alaskan Hope.

If you'd like to participate, stop over at Shannon's blog and sign up to have the prompts sent to your email. Be sure to enter to win the prizes for participating as well! :)

Not sharing!

The woman in charge is not sharing the computer. She thinks it's funny to place herself on the opposite side of a door to "work". So while she was peeing in the house (Isn't that disgusting?) I let myself into her office. I mean, clearly, someone has to update this blogue. Apparently it's going to be me. Again. Humans are such lazy slackers. Clearly my fans want regular updates about me. They're probably not as interested in the younger, stupid dogue.

I didn't really have anything important to say, but I found this picture she took of me. Apparently, she thinks it's funny when I sit outside of her office door and beg to be near her. Yes, that's probably some of my slime on the window between us. However, there are also many fingerprints and noseprints from the human children.

Don't you think it's rude that she locks me out of the room. And then takes pictures of me? She's lucky I love her. I hope it's bedtime soon.

Until next time, I'll be on the couch, ignoring her while she "works."

What are your reading preferences?

Everyone has reading preferences. Some people love sci fi and hate romance. Others hate historical novels, but love autobiographies. What do you like to read and why? I've never given a lot of thought to what I like to read, but recently I volunteered as a beta reader for a woman I met on facebook. Of course, as soon as I volunteered, I asked myself, "What have I done?" I've tried to be helpful before with people I've just met and it becomes a huge time suck. And Lord knows, I don't have a ton of spare time.

The first chapter was a struggle for me to get through. The second was a bit easier, and by the third chapter, I was hooked. Now, I'm nearly 75% done with the book and I'm thrilled that I volunteered as a beta reader for SE Hudnall.

I don't claim to know everything there is to know about writing, but I do know what I like and dislike when I read. Which brings me to the point of this post.

I don't like lots of characters. I don't like lots of details that I need to remember. When I read a book, I read to relax and take my mind off things. I don't like to think when I'm reading. I'm not good with visualizing things.

As I was trying to explain some of my comments to Ms. Hudnall, I realized those things are all part of why I read what I read.

Non-fiction. Some. I don't like a lot of it, but for a while I really enjoyed reading true crimes. Perhaps because I like to imagine offing some people? Or maybe just because those types of books were available when I didn't have money to buy my own books. ;)

Horror. I read all of Stephen King's books in high school. I'm not sure what happened, but either I changed or his writing style changed and I stopped enjoying them. Maybe I should try again. I read a lot of Dean Koontz too. I stopped when I ran out of time. I should see if he has new ones out.

Classics are... meh. I like some of them, but the majority have too many characters and the prose is too much for me to follow. Even before I had kids, I didn't have the patience for books like Jane Austen's. The English is just different enough that it makes me have to think about things to understand. However, I like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Dickens, and Huck Finn.

Fantasy and sci fi books drive me nuts. If I can't visualize things, imaginary places and worlds I've never been to are impossible for me to care about. Made up names of places and things seem like gibberish to me and I can't keep track whether Aroibzyz is the main (kinda female but really she's both because she can reproduce on her own by wiggling her antennae and pods pop out of her ears. After 7 millenniums those pods turn into larvae, six days later the larvae become her kids. But they're not really kids, because she doesn't like them. They're just minions of her army) character or a town on the other side of the galaxy. I admit, I've never read The Hobbit. I've tried. It doesn't interest me. At. All.

Mysteries. Ugh. I never choose these off the shelf. I think because I'm afraid I'll need to keep a notebook next to me to make sure I remember all the clues. And honestly, I think there are very few GOOD mystery writers. It's a fine balance of making it too obvious (so what's the point of reading it?) and making it complex enough, yet still believable, that I don't figure it out until just before the characters do.

Suspense. I've read some that I really enjoy, but it's not what I choose when I'm shopping. Unless it's an author I've read previously and enjoyed.

Westerns. I'm actually okay with these. I read a lot of Louis Lamour growing up, mainly because that was what was in our house.

Romance. I like romance novels, all sorts. Love stories (like Nicholas Sparks), historical romances, contemporary romances. I even read inspirational romances some times. Yes, I know they're predictable.

So, the conclusion I came to was, I want something realistic. Not necessarily something that will happen to me, but a setting that's not so far-fetched I'm confused. (If the author needs to include a map, and there's nothing on that map that I've heard of before, I'm not interested. A map of a small-town in Oklahoma? Okay, but if I have to keep referring to it, I'm going to get annoyed.)

I also want the characters to be human (at least the majority of the time in the books that I read). I've read some books about witches that I enjoyed. Vampires? Add to my "not interested" list.

But mostly, I just want to read and enjoy a story without using my brain. How weird is that?

What do you like to read and why? Have people tried to get you to expand your reading list into different genres? What did you think if you've read (or tried to read) something completely different than what you normally choose?

 

As a side note: I was completely fine with The Clan of The Cave Bear and loved the series. I've read other books set in the same time period, and enjoyed them. Which I suppose could be strange, since prehistoric times is pretty foreign to me.

Stumped!

I know it's been ages since I've posted anything, but I am still alive. Honest. At least I think I am. Most days. It seems my family has been sick since the beginning of December. On Christmas Day, my son came down with a stomach bug, and a week later my daughter and I both had it. Once we started recovering from that, both kids caught colds. Now, I think we really are on the mend. As long as we don't leave the house until spring.

Enough excuses. Where am I with my writing? I've been struggling to find the interest to continue working on Alaskan Hope. I have a lot of the rough draft completed, but I just don't care enough to finish it. And honestly, if I don't care about it, why would anyone else?

Over the past couple weeks, I think I've figured out what I don't like about it and why I'm not interested. It means I have to spend a lot of time rewriting. Actually, I think what I have to do is closer to "starting over" instead of just "rewriting."

I spent a lot of time developing several subplots and wrote most of that, but that just led to a hodge-podge of stuff that makes me feel meh. So, now I'm back at the beginning, getting ready to focus on the main characters' stories and weave in part of the other stuff I've written.

While I've been trying to avoid working on Alaskan Hope, I keep finding myself thinking of another novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month one year. So, I'm refraining from revisions on that novel until Alaskan Hope is done. It'll be my "reward" for completing Alaskan Hope!

I've got a rough life

Hey Bitches, Andre McSnorty-Britches here. Mummy's been busy so I just thought I'd pop onto the computer and let you know we're all still alive. Like Christmas could take out a Dogue de Bordeaux. We're warriors! Gods! We'll take over the world! Right after a nap and a snuggle. Snivels and I went to the kennel for Christmas. Thank DOGUE we didn't have to do all those family visits with our humans. Ick! I'd much rather be spoiled and sleep than spend two days in the car with a bunch of crabby pants, also known as Mummy, DFF (Daddy Fuckeh Face, as I call him), Boy Child, and Girl Who Shares Meals. It was a pleasant vacation from them.

I especially enjoyed that I could lick my privates for hours without Mummy yelling, "Enough, Andre." BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER!

Unless you think about the fact that the cheap-ass doggie hotel DFF took us to did NOT have a couch for me to lounge on. AND as if that's not blasphemous enough, they expected me to sleep on a DOG BED on the FLOOR! Hello?!? I'm not a dog! I'm a Dogue de Bordeaux. Fetch me a king-sized Tempurpedic bed, with blankets.

Oh yeah, we got to at kibble. For non-raw-fed dogs, that's like eating McDonalds. It's all right for a couple days, but boy was it great to be home and gnawing on a big ol' raw turkey leg. Yum!

We're home now. Stupid Cat attacked me this morning, just because Percy and I walked into the kitchen and that crazy-ass kitten (I'll refer to her as Mini Bitch from now on) of Boy Child's freaked out. I think Mummy's about to boot Stupid Cat's stupid butt out of the house.

Well, all this writing in human English has worn me out. I'm going back to bed. Mummy's sick, so I have to take care of her today, while DFF takes care of the human kids.

Love, Andre

Guest Post by Keira Kroft

Glow in the DarkToday, we have a guest post from Keira Kroft, author of Glow in the Dark. Be sure to register to win a copy of her ebook. Without further ado, Heeeere's Keira! :)

 

Is there anyone who has helped or mentored you in your writing career? If so, who?

When I first read this question I was flustered. At first thought I didn’t have an answer, because I did this all by myself. Kind of funny how we think isn’t it? But on second thought, when I pulled my fluffy head out of the clouds, I realized that I had both. I was mentored by a New York Times Bestselling Romance Author and I had so much help, I wrote a blog entitled “Who do you thank”, that I have attached here. I can’t give too many details about this author, because she doesn’t have the time to mentor. But for some reason we accidentally met in a writers chat room and she was there every step of the way for years. She encouraged me and answered numerous questions ranging from how to write, to how to get published, and how to handle things after getting published. She was wonderful and I one day hope to be that person for someone else.

I have taken the liberty of posting the blog I wrote in dedication to the many people that helped me, below.

I would like to talk about the fact that writing is not a one person career.

Who do you have to thank? As a writer, now that your career has taken off, or when it does—who do you have to thank? I mean sincerely, not just people you promised whose egos you would puff up by placing their name and some kind words inside your novel. I mean the real people that actually sacrifice themselves for your career.

My husband is number one. He always supports me and lets me take the time I need to write. He’s also not afraid to tell me if I come up with an idea that he deems, stupid. LOL He gives me the freedom to take his advice or not. Most of the time, his outside perspective is right. But, don’t tell him that, shhhhh.

My daughter. Yes our kids sacrifice themselves in their own way as well. In my daughters case it’s giving up time IM’ing her boyfriend. Believe me that’s a sacrifice for her!

My proofreader Jeanette, She had to read the first piece of crap I had ever written, God love her. She was wonderful, very objective and not afraid to tell me like it was.

Books and internet, made it easy for me to look up info and get the answers I needed to become successful.

Decadent publishing, for taking a chance on a newbie. Everybody has to start somewhere, and without people that are willing to do that, we don’t stand a chance.

Last, but not least my friends that simply just believed I could do it! Their trust and faith in me, made a believer out of my toughest critic— myself.

Both of my businesses are supportive environments to my writing career. Especially the authors at Hellfire Publishing, they understand that on top of everything I do, that I have a career as well, and they make allowance for that. I am truly blessed.

So tell me, who do you have to thank, really?

Most of all I would like thank the reader’s. Out of the millions of books available nowadays you chose mine, and that means everything to me. Thank you.

Writing is a career choice and a very tough business. Don’t be afraid to accept help. Writing is hard work, however it’s the friendliest business :-D

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Gimme my Bronco and Moose Drool

liebsteraward I’ve been nominated for The Liebster Award by Darcia Helle.

Here are the rules:

1. The person receiving the award posts 11 random facts about him-/herself and answers the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated him/her. 2. Pass the award on to 11 other blogs (while making sure to notify the bloggers nominated!) 3. Write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees. 4. One is not allowed to nominate the blog that nominated one’s own blog! 5. Paste the award picture into your blog.

 

11 random facts about me.

1. I'm a computer programmer. Nothing "exciting," just processing text files and creating reports.

2. I own a 1963 Dodge Dart GT.

3. I share my bed with 200+ pounds of animals. (Two dogs and two cats.) My husband sleeps there too. And often the eldest human kid sneaks in and steals half the bed.

4. I have "adopted" siblings, mostly brothers. A couple in Minnesota, and a couple in Georgia. I miss them all and would give almost anything for a chance to hug them. Hey, J, M, E, & J, I love you.

5. My nickname as a kid was "Frog," given to me by my twin uncles. They are twins, not my twins.

6. I know how to ride a motorcycle. I miss my dirt bike.

7. I love snowmobiling.

8. I hated high school. And still hate 99.9% of the people who attended my high school.

9. I have an addiction to kayaking.

10. I want a first-generation Ford Bronco.

11. I'm drinking Moose Drool tonight to celebrate finishing another project. Or am I celebrating the beginning of another project?

 

 

 

1. When you’re angry, are you more likely to vent by yelling or quietly plot revenge? If I happen to be married to you, I'll scream my head off. If you're not fortunate enough to be my husband, I just suck it up and vent bitch to other people about you. 2. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? My husband. I told him our son was asleep and I refused to wake him up for Mexican food. Yes, I turned down a margarita for my son to sleep. I know, I'm shocked too. 3. Sit Coms or Crime Dramas? Sit coms. Although, I'm currently hooked on The Secret Life of an American Teenager. 4. Are you an introvert or extravert? Introvert. When I was in school, people would ask me "What do you want to be when you grow up?" My answer was, "A hermit that lives at the dead end of a dirt road." I'd still like that, as long as I can get decent internet access. 5. If money was of no concern, where would you live? Wallace, Idaho 6. You were just given $1,000 and an hour to spend it. Where do you go and what do you buy? Amazon.com, books, an ipad, and some stuff for the kids 7. What was your favorite toy as a child? Books and stuffed animals. Shocking, huh? 8. Do you play video games? No. They confuse me. I played Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo. Now, there's too many things to confuse me. I play Wii bowling when I get a chance to drink with friends. 9. Bell bottoms or straight-legs? Boot cut. You knew I wouldn't choose either option. I'm just not that agreeable. 10. What is your greatest strength? My superpower is sarcasm. 11. Have you ever stolen anything? Just your soul. ;-) Honestly, yes. I can't remember how many times I helped myself to a candy bar at the grocery store as a kid. Shame on me!

Now, for the rest of the requirements, I admit defeat. I don't know 11 people with blogs. :) But if anyone who reads this wants to answer the following questions, let me know. I'll post a link to your blog.

Questions

1. Where did you lose your mind? Hah! You thought I was going to say where did you lose your virginity!

2. Favorite drink?

3. Who do you miss the most?

4. What was your first pet's name?

5. Have you ever met a dogue de bordeaux?

6. Do you like sushi?

7 & 8. Who is your least favorite relative and why?

9. Do you think I'm crazy?

10. What kind of car do you drive?

11. What do you want me to know about you?

Percival Snurflington

Percival Snurflington here with the news!

Mumsy loves me enough to give me my own password so I can log in and post, so I thought I'd post a couple pictures of me. The first one is from April of this year. The other one is from today.

I grew into my bed. I know it's hard to believe, but I'm not even a year old yet. I'm still a baby. I'll admit, I like lying next to the heater.

And holy cow. Looking at the pictures, it appears that Mumsy should wash my bed more frequently. She'll say that the lighting in her office isn't that great and that affects how the pictures look. I agree that the lighting sucks. I mean, it looks like I don't have beautiful red hair anymore, and I assure you that I most certainly do!

You be the judge of what a crappy housekeeper she is. Feel free to tell her to do some laundry!

Weirdness Abounds

I've been having some issues with my website. I really like the way it looks, but the theme currently in use seems not to work properly with several of the features I really want it to work with, so don't be sad but I'll be changing the look in the near future. Today I was informed by an email subscriber that the email sent out was weird. When she forwarded it back to me, the links didn't work, the template was a different color and the title was a different title for her. This makes me sad, so I've removed that subscriber plug-in and list. If you'd like to subscribe to be notified by email when I post something new, please subscribe using the new form on the page. If you'd subscribed previously, you'll have to resubscribe. *sigh*

Thank you all for your understanding and patience while I iron out these bugs.

Can you picture me squishing insects with a steam iron?

Mobile website

Just in case you don't want to view the regular site on your mobile device, I've added a mobile website. Please, check it out and let me know how it works on your device (and what kind of device you're using). (This would be change number 2.)

Are you in facebook or twitter? Just click on the facebook or twitter logos at the bottom of the page and you'll be taken to my page so you can "like" or "follow". Pretty slick, huh?

Those logos don't appear on the mobile site, so browse over to my Contact page and you'll find some links that will accomplish the same thing.