Tuesday, February 26, 2013

World's Stupidest Product Packaging

I needed a rolling pin. 
Here it is:

They anchored the cardboard product information UNDER the little handle.

NO, the handle doesn't unscrew, so you can't get it off by unscrewing the handle,
removing the cardboard and screwing the handle back on.

The cardboard is so tough, I couldn't cut it with scissors.
It took box cutters and pliers to remove the cardboard.

The worst packaging of course is the stuff that comes encased in that hard plastic that you can't cut through. Sometimes you have to stab it with a knife or get out your chain saw. And then when you finally break through, you are lucky not to slice an artery, the plastic is so hard and jagged.

I think that before a company puts a product out for sale, they should have to bring it to the company CEO and he/she should have his/her MOTHER try to remove the product from its packaging. There would be much less stupid packaging, I'll wager!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

COVER REVEAL - Annalisa Crawford's That Sadie Thing

I'm excited to be part of the Cover Reveal for author and blogger Annalisa Crawford's collection of stories, That Sadie Thing and other stories . I really enjoyed her novella, Cat and the Dreamer, so I can't wait to read these too!!

The cover is amazing - so intriguing, like Annalisa's stories - check it out, just below this post!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

News about the Sequel to The Christmas Village

Thank you to everyone who came by this week and commented on the post about M.K. Christiansen's book, Three Against the Dark, and the worthy cause that her book sales will support. If you didn't see it, please read the previous post. Her book is only $2.99 for Kindle - I bought it and hope you will too, to help these abused orphans find good homes.

RVPainter and I have been in our new home for a month and half now. I'm amazed at how easily and well we've transitioned - it's been almost miraculous. I'm teaching yoga at a beautiful yoga studio here - 3 classes a week to start, with plans to add two more in summer. It feels great to be back in the yoga classroom again, as both student and teacher.

My creative juices, which seemed to freeze up while we traveled in the motor home last year, are flowing like crazy again. I've been writing poetry and hope to put together a collection to be published. Most importantly, I'm working on the sequel to The Christmas Village, and I am delighted to reveal its title to you now. Are you ready??? It's ...


Those of you who have read The Christmas Village will be able to read a lot into what that title implies - go ahead and let your imaginations run wild!! If you haven't read The Christmas Village yet, better get to it, as you'll want to be up to date when the sequel comes out!

I'm working toward having the book finished by July and getting it published this fall - funds permitting. I'm working on chapter 12 now, cooking with gas, as they say! 

RVPainter's stored up creative energy is soaring too. He's been painting like crazy, inspired by the sunrises, sunsets, palm trees and beaches here. Here he is with a painting he worked on yesterday:
He looks pretty pleased, doesn't he?

You can see more of what RVPainter is up to - painting and otherwise at his blog: RVPAINTER. He'll be opening an Etsy shop soon, and his pieces will be very reasonably priced. His blogs are informative, and also pretty funny - he keeps me laughing.

We couldn't have landed in a lovelier place. We have palm trees outside our lanai, we can see boats in the canal , and we are less than 1/4 mile from a sweet little beach. There is a man-made lake outside, where a variety of ducks are spending their winter vacation. They bring us much entertainment.

An interesting species of duck that I'd never seen before

Ducks gathering for morning assembly

We have lift off!

Our Dreamcatcher RV has been sold and is off to new adventures with its new owner. It seems like just yesterday that we went to pick her up, and yet it also seems like forever ago. We had such wonderful adventures, and though there were challenges too, I only remember all the beautiful places we went and the people we saw along the way.
We miss her, but wish her many happy adventures.

Dreamcather - our home for most of last year

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Author Donating All Book Sales to Help Orphans with Birth Defects

I've "known" Mary Kathryn Christiansen almost since I first started blogging. But she recently shared something with me that I hadn't known, and that I want to share with you. 

M.K. learned of a sad situation in which orphaned children with birth defects have been kept in terrible circumstances in some Eastern European orphanages.  (I'll let her tell you about it). She also learned about a family that adopted one of these children and about organizations that are trying to help.

Coincidentally, about 10 years ago, M.K. wrote a children's story that had aspects with an eerie similarity. She has decided now to use all proceeds from the sale of her book to charities that are helping with the adoption and care of the abused orphans. 

Please read on to learn more about it, about M.K.'s book, and how you can help.

M.K., this is like "A Tale of Two Stories," in that the story line of your book interconnects with a sad-but-true story that you came upon in the real world. First, tell us a little about your book.

Three Against the Dark is a children’s chapter book about 3 siblings who have just moved to Georgia. In exploring their new house, they discover ways to travel to two other houses that are portals to other worlds. One world is beautiful, the other evil. They find children in the evil world who need rescuing, kidnapped children who are hungry, abused, neglected. The book tells their attempt to help these children escape to safety, without being caught themselves.

Now tell us about the real life tragedy that you uncovered, and how it connects with your story.

I wrote Three Against the Dark about ten years ago. But in 2012 I started reading online about orphans in an institution in an Eastern European country, who suffer with birth defects like Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy. 

The sickest of these children are left in their cribs all day and all night, on what is called the “baby floor.” Never loved, never taught to speak or walk. They’re so malnourished that their growth hormone shuts down, and they are tiny. Some are teenagers but weigh less than 20 pounds. Their bones are brittle and delicate. The hopeless condition of these children, and how small they remain for many years, reminded me instantly of the children in my book, who also are trapped and helpless, abused, and never age in order to escape their situation.

I read about the Mussers, a U.S. family who adopted a little girl from this orphanage, and the phenomenal improvement she’s made in just a year. They tell about their adoption story at The Blessing of Verity, their blog. Through their blog, I became acquainted with the story of the real orphans.

You plan to donate all proceeds from sales of your book to these children - what is the charity you'll be donating to?

Yes. I decided this when I read that these children were possibly kept this small – starved deliberately – so they would remain tiny, not be removed from the orphanage, and the institution would continue to collect its government funds. I was appalled. Families in the United States are trying to adopt these children, giving them loving, nurturing homes. But international adoption is expensive. I’ve decided that all profits from the sale of Three Against the Dark will go to help families adopt the children from the baby floor at the Pleven Orphanage, until all those children have homes.

The Mussers regularly hold fund-raisers and online auctions to raise money for adopting families, and can direct me to the family most in need of funds for the neediest child. Some of the older children are in danger of “aging-out” and no longer being available for adoption, so their situation is dire. Some of these families adopt through About a Child, which handles international adoptions, or Reece’s Rainbow, which specializes in Down Syndrome adoptions. I would donate my funds directly to the family, giving to each family until the final child has come home.

Where can people find out more about the Pleven Orphanage and this sad situation? 

The Mussers’ blog is TheBlessing of Verity.  About a Child and Reece’s Rainbow both have good adoption websites.  The online auction site is called Hidden Treasures.

Where can people buy your book and read more about you?

My blog is called Through a Glass, Darkly. I have a direct link from there to Amazon, where Three Against the Dark is for sale as an ebook only. Or you can go directly to my Amazon book page. 

Thank you, Melissa! I hope many people will enjoy my book and help the children at the Pleven Orphanage.

I hope so too, M.K!