10 Facts You'll Find Fascinating

I have some interesting facts to share with you today. Some are funny, some weird, some arresting, and all are true!

If you're a writer, you might want to take note of the changes in our culture.

1. The fastest growing market for handguns in the U.S. is women.

I guess a lot of women feel unsafe. I hope they're doing it the smart way by taking gun safety classes and familiarizing themselves with the weapon they buy.

2. Along with that, the top 5 handguns women are buying are: Smith & Wesson MP Shielf, Glock 43 9mm, Sig Sauer P38 380, Glock 42 380, Walther PPS M2, and the Walther PPQ 9mm.

What do these handguns have in common? Concealed carry size, stopping power, and sized smaller for a woman's hand. (My new handgun is a Walther.)

3. California's state animal doesn't exist in that state.

4. The original capital of the United States was Philadelphia.

5. Abraham Lincoln is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.

6. Bubble wrap was originally intended to be used as 3D wallpaper.

(Did you know Bubble Wrap comes in colors? My kids loved popping the bubbles so much that I gave them bubble wrap one Christmas. Wrapped it up like a present, and they loved it.)

7. Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by surface area. It holds 10 percent of the world's surface fresh water and is enough to cover both North and South America under one foot of water.

8. Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th.

9. Coca-Cola once bought all the website URLs that can be read as ahh, all the way up to 62 h’s. Most have since been deactivated.

10. Tears contain endorphins which reduce pain and improves your mood. Go ahead and cry. You'll feel better.

Takeaway Truth

Fact is stranger than fiction.

9 Reasons to Read

Joseph Addison said, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

Develop the habit of reading to strengthen your  mental muscles.

I've been a reader since before I started school. I can't think of any entertainment that is so reasonably priced—especially in the ebook world of today.

Why Read?

To learn information, read nonfiction.

To be entertained, read a novel and be transported to big cities, small towns, foreign lands, other planets, or other dimensions.

Read a novel and see what it's like to live in an  elegant mansion or a humble cabins. Visit tropical jungles or the Arctic tundra.

You can even travel back in time to any date or location written about by an author or skip ahead millenia to dystopian post-apocalyptic worlds.

If you need other reasons to read—other than entertainment or education—here are a few.

9 Reasons to Read

1. Reading reduces stress. A study showed reading only 6 minutes a day reduces stress by 68%.

2. Reading expands your vocabulary. Why is that important? It makes you sound like an educated person when you speak and write. The more you read, the more words you will learn and adopt.

3. When you read, you exercise your comprehension abilities and your analytical abilities.

4. Reading ignites your imagination and stimulates the memory centers of your mind. That helps you recall information, but it also steadies your emotions.

5. Owning your own books is important, especially for children. When kids have a home library of at least 20 books, they advance or achieve 3 more years of schooling than children who have no books. That's why it's so important to donate books.

6. People who read are 2 1/2 times less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s later in life.

7. A study found that reading makes a man seem more intelligent to women.

8. A study conducted by the University of Buffalo concluded reading fiction increased empathy by understanding different cultures.

9. People who read are more likely to get ahead when it comes to their careers, and life in general.

Takeaway Truth

Give books as gifts. Give them as print, ebook, or audio. Donate books to shelters, libraries, organizations that run book drives, schools, and to charity thrift stores. You never know how a book you donate may change someone's life.

Review: Who She Was by Braylee Parkinson

I discovered a new author by grabbing a free book she'd offered. Yes, free books really do introduce readers to new authors.

Meet Braylee Parkinson, author of the Sylvia Wilcox Mystery Series

Ms. Parkinson's mystery series is a PI Mystery. I think I'll call it a non-police procedural.

Perhaps call it a private investigator procedural. Whatever you want to call it, trust me. You'll want to read her series.

Former Detroit police officer Sylvia Wilcox now works as a private investigator with her brother-in-law. Sylvia is no stranger to the heartbreak of losing a spouse. When she's approached by a prominent physician to solve the cold case murder of his wife, she takes on the case despite her misgivings.

What she discovers along the way is that Liza, the victim, was not what she seemed. Neither her family nor her husband really knew her. 

The investigation uncovers old secrets, old enemies, and past mistakes along with red herrings, misdirections, and present-day threats.

I'll admit there are some continuity errors, but the characterization of Sylvia is so good that I ignored them. 

You'll like Sylvia as she navigates the many communities in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. She's the kind of woman you'd want as a friend.

She's smart, compassionate, knowledgeable—she's like Bosch (if you read the Michael Connelly series)—a grinder. She sticks with something day after day following up on details that seem insignificant.

Get Who She Was: Book 1. You'll like it. (Sylvia Wilcox would make a great Amazon Prime or Netflix series! Just saying.)

Takeaway Truth

I really liked Sylvia and look forward to reading the second book, Displacement, even though it sounds as if it should be listed as the first book because Sylvia takes a leave of absence from the DPD to investigate her husband's death. That was backstory in Who She Was.

Make Things Happen: Blog Topics, Tie-Ins

Welcome to Make Things Happen Monday!

Do you have difficulty thinking of something to blog about?


Create a resource file of ready-made ideas. Here's an idea to get you started: Ties by Month. I gave parts of this a couple of years ago.

Here's the complete list. Feel free to copy/paste it.  When stumped, fall back on lists like this to get you started. 

Tie-Ins by Month

January Topics

New Year's Day
of self—physical, mental, intellecutal, financial, emotional
of home environment
of relationships
of parenting
of future fun like vacations and travel.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day including African American history, civil rights, peace and freedom.

February Topics

Valentine’s Day and all that it represents.
Major League Baseball spring training
Super bowl
Winter's last hurrah

March Topics

International Women’s Day
all about women: women’s health, career challenges, freedom from exploitation, etc.
Easter when it occurs in March along with inspirational relevant topics
St. Patrick's Day
Spring arrives

April Topics

Easter as above if it occurs in April
Holocaust Remembrance with articles about history and heroism in WW2 and new information about that war

May Topics

Cinque de Mayo
Hispanic-American culture and history including books and movies
Mother’s Day and everything to do with motherhood and/or women's relationships and choices
Memorial Day in the U.S.
Vacation and travel 

June Topics

Summer arrives
Weddings etc.
Love, attraction, relationships
Planning for the future
School is out

July Topics

Independence Day in the U.S.
Beach and beach books

August Topics

Summer's last hurrah in terms of beach, vacations, travel, back to the grind
Back to school

September Topics

Labor Day in the U.S.
Anniversary of September 11th—inspiration, politics, history, memoirs, remembrances, changes in the country and the world
Beginning college—including coping with the college environment, roommates, away from home, class demands, emotions, etc. for parents as well as students
Autumn arrives

October Topics

Halloween theme
Horror in books and moviesHalloween: Horror movie tie-in books and new titles in costume, art, graphic novel and other fiction
Thanksgiving in Canada

November Topics

Thanksgiving in the U.S.
Topics of gratitude, history, inspiration, family gathering
Food and drink
Black Friday shopping

December Topics

Winter arrives
Christmas—traditions, religious aspect, gifts, emotions, relationships, family
Boxing Day
Food and drink
Family gathering
New Year's Eve

Takeaway Truth

Ready-made ideas ignite your imagination. You may not use the exact idea, but it will lead you to something else that clicks with you.

5 Tips to Blog Success

Good morning! It's a beautiful Sunday here with lots of golden sunshine which makes the 34 ° F. pleasantly cool.

I love what Edward McKendree Bounds said about Sunday:  "We need the spirit of Sunday carried over to Monday and continued until Saturday."

Why I Still Love My Blog

My 17th anniversary of beginning this blog is in a couple of months. I still enjoy writing my blog. Seldom do I feel it's a chore. In fact, I often start my day by blogging which helps me seamlessly switch to the book I'm writing. Writing begets writing.

I've learned a few things along the way, and I'm sharing a little blogging advice today.

5 Tips to Blog Success

1. Don't make assumptions about your blogging audience.

Don't assume that everyone who reads your blog is an expert in your subject matter. In reality, new readers find your blog because of they're searching for something in a browser that matches the title or meta data of your blog.

2. Blog readers look for content that addresses their interests and is written in a way that "speaks" to them.

Someone can read a dozen different posts, but he/she doesn't "get" it until they come across one that clicks. That's why so many books and blogs explore the same subject matter. What speaks to one may not click with another. 

3. Format content so it is visually accessible to online readers.

Blog readers read "vertically" which is easily illustrated by looking at text content on your cell phone.

See how it's a vertical column of text? Instead of being wide lines of text like you see on a written page, you have slender columns with no more than 5 or 6 words on a line.

The reader's eye easily skims down that vertical column, reading quickly. Format your blog post that way. Never have huge blocks of text. Break it up into short paragraphs.

Use sub-headings in bold to alert the reader about the salient information that follows. Use images that connect to what you write to create visual interest and break up the text.

4. Always proof what you write so it is "clean" for the reader.

Most of us are willing to overlook a few typos in a blog post because it's generally presumed that blogging is a more casual approach to writing.

If I find a blog post with so many misspelled words, wrong words, punctuation errors, and—worst of all—wrong information, I won't read beyond a paragraph or two. I'll probably never visit that blog again.

There are excellent books on grammar and writing easily available so there's no excuse for not educating oneself. Develop the skills necessary for good writing.

5. Never be dull and boring.

No matter what you write, make sure you entertain. No matter how compelling the information you wish to impart, no one will read it if you bore them.

Takeaway Truth

Blog consistently. Pick a schedule and stick to it. You lose blog readers when you have big gaps between blogs.

Saturday Share: Canned Tomato Substitutions

Yesterday, I was making Wendy's Chili—a copycat recipe that, to me, tasted most like the original.

The recipe calls for tomato juice, tomato sauce, and tomato puree.

Well, I had only tomato paste in the pantry—a case of it which is how Costco usually sells their canned goods.

I didn't want to go to the store to buy the other tomato canned items so I got my Mom's old cookbook out. It's got a great substitutions section.

Canned Tomato Substitutions

Tomato juice is the thinnest of the 3 canned tomato items. Next in thickness is tomato sauce. Tomato puree is the thickest of the 3 items. 

Tomato Juice
1 part tomato paste plus 4 parts water and blend well.

Example: 1/2 cup tomato paste + 2 cups water, blended together until smooth = 2+ cups tomato juice

If you have only canned tomatoes in the pantry, pour a can into the blender, and liquefy it. Voila! Tomato juice.

Tomato Sauce
1 part tomato paste plus 2 parts water plus salt and sugar and blend well.

Example: 1/4 cup tomato paste + 1/2 cup water + small pinch of salt + even smaller pinch of sugar, blend together until smooth = 1/2+ cup tomato sauce. (Season with sugar and salt to your taste, but be sparing with it.)

If you have only canned tomatoes in the pantry, drain the juice from a can, and blend well then cook on the stove until it thickens. Voila! Tomato sauce. (That's a lot of trouble so buy canned tomato sauce next time, right?)

Tomato Puree
1 part tomato paste plus 3 parts water plus salt and sugar and blend well.

Example: 1/4 cup tomato paste + 3/4 cups water + small pinch of salt + smaller pinch of sugar = 3/4+ cup of puree. 

If you have only canned tomatoes in the pantry, drain the juice from a can, and puree what's left. Voila! Tomato puree.

Takeaway Truth

Make your own chart of substitutions. It comes in handy in a pinch.

Google Go Round

Agh!!!! I've spent most of today trying to migrate elements of one Google Account to another Google Account.

I've had my blog since 2005. Google bought Blogger in the interim years. I always kept my same email login which was not a Gmail account.

A couple of years ago I had to start a gmail account in order to access Google Drive components. Immediately, my email login was switched to the gmail addy for login. That began my problems. Even though directions say it's easy to use any email to login, that is simply not true. It defaults to the gmail every single time.

Now I've got files, passwords, apps saved in both Google accounts, and it's not easy switching back and forth when you get Smart TVs added to the mix.

New Year Resolution

I decided to bite the bullet and close out the other gmail accounts, keep one I set up using my name with an added word (someone had already taken my name!), and migrate everything to the single Google persona.

So much easier said than done. I wasted precious writing time today trying to answer important emails sent to one of the gmail accounts, but my answers kept getting rejected because the "wrong" gmail addy was sending them even though I'd changed the default setting which somehow kept changing back.

Takeaway Truth

I decided I wanted to abandon the internet, email, and everything associated with that world and take a hammer to my computer. Fortunately, I had a cup of tea, a few minutes of meditation, and thought better of that solution.

Thursday3Some: 3 TV Series That Should Live Again

I'm having a difficult time finding TV shows that attract me. 

So many seem populated with characters who act and react in ways opposite the previously established personality, attitudes, experience, and intelligence.

I won't even mention the plot holes big enough to drive a truck through or the contrived events to make the plot work. Seriously, all the good TV series seem to be on streaming services. 

I'll quit complaining and list 3 TV series that should live again.

1. Firefly (but only if written by Joss Whedon) I ignore talk of rebooting it with a new cast.

2. Longmire (but only with the Aussie actor Robert Taylor who played Longmire). Netflix had their chance with this one, and they canceled it. Interestingly enough, the audience keeps discovering this show and loving it.

3. The Catch (with the original cast of Mireille Enos and Peter Krause). That was a delightful romantic comedy/thriller in the spirit of Remington Steele.

3 Disappointing Streaming Offerings

1. Season 4, Cobra Kai. They could have called the season History Repeats Itself since the middle school kids are acting like the high school kids who acted like the senseis of the original movie. Couldn't they think of any other kind of conflict?

2. Don't Look Up with Leonardo di Caprio. OMG! What was he thinking when he signed on to make that movie. I guess it's just me, but the movie comes off as an uncomfortable ménage à trois of comedy, satire, and drama—or is it parody, action, and something else?

3. The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard. OMG again. I hope those actors were paid well. You know how many times Pacino says, "F***," in the movie Scarface? 

Well, THWB surpasses that by hundreds I guess. Technically, they say F*** and m*****f*** and various forms of the words every few minutes for the length of the movie. (I don't have a mature rating on the blog thus I imply the words so my rating stays clean.)

Takeaway Truth

Okay, I'm finished griping. If you watch any really good network TV shows or streaming series or movies, tell me about it in Comments.

Review: Lovers in Training by Alicia Street

Have you ever had so many ebooks on your Kindle that you forget some of them until you start cleaning out your Kindle?

I hate to confess that's me. I buy so many ebooks and get free ones too, and I don't have enough time to read all of them. Sometimes, I think I've read a book, but I haven't.

That happened recently when I thought I'd read Lovers in Training by Alicia Street, but it wasn't marked read on my Kindle.

So I opened the book to read the first page, knowing I'd remember the book if I'd read it.

Guess what? I had not read it. Also, after reading the first couple of pages, I couldn't stop. I was sitting at the hospital, keeping my sister-in-law company. As she slept, I read. Over the next couple of days, I escaped into the story as time provided. Lovers in Training is a wonderful romance.

Well-plotted, great characters, believable motivations and conflicts, the story kept me interested and made me root for Shannon Rocklyn, the heroine, as she earned her happily ever after.

When Shannon was a teen, she vowed to never let a man hurt her the way her father had hurt her mother. She's grown up to be a woman who never gives away her heart. When she meets  Tate Kruger, instant attraction arises between the two.

He's as obstinate as she, and he refuses to let something good slip through his fingers. He has the means to get Shannon assigned as his private fitness trainer. Shannon is determined to keep it strictly business, but she hadn't counted on liking him so much.

Does she like him enough to risk a relationship with a client?

My 2¢

You know Shannon's going to take a chance because the heart wants what the heart wants. How it works out, and how her charcter grows to the realization that not everything was the way she remembered is believable and heartwarming.

Takeaway Truth

Lovers in Training is on Kindle Unlimited, but it's only 99¢. Buy it and keep it forever because I think you'll want to read it again. You'll probably want to read the other 3 books in the series too.

New Book: Claiming Shandy by Bonnie Edwards

I'm happy to tell you that my friend Bonnie Edwards has a new book, Claiming Shandy.

You're going to love this romance because it's Book 4 of Return To Welcome.

Getting to Know Bonnie Edwards

Bonnie Edwards has been writing all her life, starting with a poem about Santa suffering with gout. She was seven, Santa was a thousandteen years old.

Delighted with writing, she went on to write family sagas, humorous contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic paranormal ghost romances and more.

She may jump around within romance, but all her stories come with a tear, a laugh, and a happy ending.

Published by Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) Bonnie’s stories stretch from short stories to novellas and novels. Now, she's happy to be publishing her work herself.

With 40 titles to her credit, she has been translated into several languages and sold books worldwide. Aside from standalone romances, she has 6 romance series that include Christmas romances and beach reads.

Contemporary family sagas find a home in Return to Welcome. Learn about more exciting releases and get a free romance by subscribing to her newsletter, Bonnie’s Newsy Bits.

Follow Bonnie Online 

Amazon * Website * BookBub *  Twitter * Facebook 

About Claiming Shandy

She thought her divorce was final…

Welcome WA, where rumor, gossip, and old grudges endure long past their best before date.

Justin Camden wants his life back. His wife back. His son back. And he’s returned to Welcome to get them. Justin has a plan for the Christmas season and moving in with his ex and his boy is just the beginning.

Shandy Camden is stuck. Her big oaf of an ex-husband has finagled his way into her home for the entire month of December. He claims to want an old-fashioned family Christmas with their son. She’s forced to let Justin stay because refusing will break her son’s heart.

Slowly, Shandy sees that her ex may have another agenda. But she doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas the way their son does. Helpless and forced to live with her ex, Shandy struggles to overcome her growing attraction to the only man who’s ever left her. The only man she’s ever loved. But Justin left once and if he leaves again, she’ll never recover, and neither will their son…

When the truth comes out, Shandy and Justin may well have discovered that more than anything, Christmas is about love.

Warning: This book has lots of groveling in it. If you don’t want to read about a divorced man making things right, then this romance isn’t for you.

Excerpt, Claiming Shandy, Return to Welcome Book 4

Chapter One

December 1 Welcome WA

Justin Camden was no quitter. Never had been and he wasn’t about to give up now. But first he had to do battle against the dragons breathing fire in his gut. 

He’d never been this scared. Not even at fourteen when his dad caught him out driving his mom’s car at midnight.

He parked outside the Welcome Bar & Grill and called his buddy, Jake Morrow who was inside with a group of friends. Friends who included Justin’s wife, Shandy.

Everything he wanted to accomplish tonight hinged on whatever BS line Jake had come up with. “It’s me. I’m here. What did you tell her?”

In the background, Justin heard happy people greeting each other over the distant sound of a Christmas song. The season had begun. He climbed out of his car while he heard Jake excuse himself to take the call.


The background noise had receded, but Justin couldn’t have heard right. “What?”

“Every hotel in the area’s infested. Didn’t you know?” Jake said with a smirk in his voice.

“She’ll never believe that.” He had his hand on the brass door pull. Yanked it toward him.

“I believe she does believe me.”

He shook his head. No way. Shandy was the smartest woman he’d ever met and for the past three years, she’d been made of stone. He had to make her crack, but nonsense about bedbugs wouldn’t do it. The flame-thrower in his belly belched. Maybe he should turn around and leave.

“Plus, I told Shandy how much Brianna and I are enjoying our honeymoon period,” Jake was saying. “She can’t force you to stay with us. She has to let you stay at her place. She’ll have no choice.”

“Our place.” The home they’d bought together, to raise their family in. “You ass. Bedbugs?” He was inside the vestibule now, looking through the stained-glass partition, searching the restaurant side of the building. “I see the table.”

Jake stood a few feet away from the group. “Don’t worry, you got this,” he said, looking right at him through the multi-colored pane.

“My best and only shot.” He ended the call, plastered a smile on his face and made his way through the tables to where Shandy sat beside an empty chair. If this crazy bedbug story worked, he’d have a chance to get her angry. He needed her angry.

If she were angry with him, it was a sign that she still cared. That he could still make her feel something for him.

An angry Shandy was honest, and open. Angry Shandy was not a stone angel, cold and remote, the way she’d been for too long. He needed honest and open or his plan to return to Welcome and be the husband and father he wanted to be would fail.

Justin Camden was no quitter. He doused the flames in his gut.

Takeaway Truth

Bonnie Edwards writes heartwarming romance that will make you believe in love. Get your copy of Claiming Shandy today.

5 Simple Inexpensive Ways to Market Books

Monday = Make Things Happen Day.

These Monday posts aren't for authors only because what I've said applies to any product if you have very little marketing money.

Of course, I want these posts to be  helpful for authors because most of us aren't marketing professonals, but I've learned a few things along the way.

If you missed the other posts this year, here's the list:

Does Marketing Sell Books

Immutable Laws of Marketing

5 Accessible Inexpensive Ways to Market a Product

With decreased sales, many authors are struggling to find ways to market their books on a non-existent budget. For many, it's a back to the beginning way of gaining exposure for a book. These ways still work, but in a small way. However, the more you do them, the more exposure.

1. Blog consistently.

You have  a blog, right? If not, start one. The blog is not dead. At the very least, join a group blog so you get exposure but don't have to blog every day.

Most people don't leave comments on blogs. I guess they want to put their name out there, but statistics show that blog posts get read.

I get a report from Google every month that shows my reading audience, and I'm always amazed at the thousands of readers who read my older posts.

Choose aspects of your writing branding that you want to talk about on a consistent schedule in a way that entertains, not hammers home the message "buy my book" because that won't gain you blog readers.

Blog readers can become book readers if you go about it the right way.

2. Guest Blog

Again, the blog is not dead. Tap all the people you know who blog. Ask for a guest spot. The best way to guest blog is to find bloggers who draw a different audiences so your message gets seen by many people, not the same bunch over and over.

Also, create a different post and graphics for each guest blog spot. That way even if the same readers are in the audience, they'll look at your new graphic and read your new excerpt, ad copy, or whatever.

2.  Be consistent in publishing your Newsletter.

You do have a newsletter, right? If not, start one. 

Your subscribers should become your devoted audience, and they will be the most likely readers to buy your books.

If you don't subscribe to my newsletter with news about new books, bargain books, and free books, sign up now. You'll get a free ebook when you opt-in or confirm your subscription.

3. Swap newsletter listings.

Exchange features with your friends who have newsletters. Create a different "ad" for each newsletter because most authors draw many of the same readers. Different content and graphics for the same reason as in #1 above.

4. Make a list of 2-5 things, at a minimum, to do each day to market yourself and your book. 

The list may include: tweet 3 times a day, promote your book on 2 or more FB reader groups, post to your own FB fan page, make a new graphic each day for one of your books (retire any old ones that seem outdated or over-exposed), create a new tagline or review quote for your graphics and social media posts, mine your reviews for social media content.

5. Brainstorm a list of every inexpensive thing you can think of that I haven't touched upon.

My 5 suggestions may be the tip of the iceberg. You may have some wonderful ideas of your own so leave a comment about those so others can try your ideas.

Takeaway Truth

Most of all, write up a marketing plan that you work every day. Quit winging it.

Strong Woman: No Obey

Strong, self-assertive women have always existed. Most of them in history are unsung, but there are a few who are well-known.

My little story today involves a woman who was not widely known, but who should be celebrated.

In 1687, Dr. James Blair, founder of William and Mary, married Sarah Harrison. He was 31; she was 17.

The traditional wedding vows are different for the bride and the groom.

The groom is asked to promise "to love, comfort, honor, and keep her."

The bride is asked to love, honor, and obey.

The minister officiating at Sarah Harrison's wedding asked her to repeat the vows. When he got to the "obey" part of the vows, she replied, "No obey."

The minister paused then asked again to which Sarah Harrison answered, "No obey."

A third time the mininster repeated the vow, and a third time Sarah answered, "No obey." After which, the minister skipped over that part and went on with the ceremony.

Wow! 1687, and she had the guts to do that.

Takeaway Truth

I've read that their marriage was not a happy one, but I hope Sarah was happy within herself.

Saturday Share: Classic Tuna Casserole

At least, the weekend! Try this budget-friendly casserole that's delicious and easy to throw together. 

That way you have more time for reading. *g*

You can substitute cooked chicken for the tuna, but it's really good with a quality chunk light tuna—the more expensive canned tuna.

I keep several cans of tuna in my pantry for quick meals from tuna salad to a hot casserole.

You can get tuna in many ways like packed in cans or vacuum-sealed bags and with optional characteristics like low sodium, packed in oil or water, etc.

This casserole is hot and tasty comfort food that will warm you up on a cold day or evening. It may remind you of the casserole your Mom once made. It takes only a few minutes to put together, a half hour to bake, and serves 4. 

Classic Tuna Casserole


1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 cup milk

1 cup cooked green peas (I keep a bag of green peas in the freezer. When a recipe calls for them, I pour the needed amount in a microwave-proof bowl with enough water to just cover them. Then I nuke them for 2-3 minutes, drain them, and they're ready to go in the recipe.)

2 6-ounce cans of chunk tuna, drained and flaked

2 cups hot cooked pasta of your choice

2 tablespoons Progresso Plain Bread Crumbs or any plain breadcrumbs or homemade dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon melted butter


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Prepare a 1 1/2 quart casserole or baking dish by spraying with vegetable spray like Pam or coating all surfaces with a small amount of vegetable oil, shortening, or ghee.

3. Whisk soup and milk together in a bowl. Add drained peas and stir gently. Add the tuna and noodles, stir to combine.

4. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake 20 -25 minutes until hot and bubbly. While it's baking, combine the melted butter and the bread crumbs.

5. At the end of that baking time, remove the dish and top with the buttered bread crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the top.

6. Return to the oven and bake another 5 minutes. Then remove and serve hot to rave reviews.

Takeaway Truth

I love comfort food like hot casseroles that require little time to make. I especially love them in the winter because I have more time to curl up on the couch and read. 

Translating Doctor's Prescriptions

Recently I spent a week with my sister-in-law who is hospitalized. I read through all the doctors' various orders and prescriptions.

I was searching for a clue as to which drug might be causing her horrendous side effects. 

Fortunately, I had a "cheat sheet" in order to interpret the most common prescription instructions. I found it years ago in a magazine and typed it up.

In case you're mystified by what you read on a prescription, here's a copy for you. I'll list these common doctor orders in this format: abbreviation = Latin words = the meaning, in common language. Feel free to copy and paste this into a document then clip it and carry it in your wallet.

Does That Rx Symbol Mean Anything?

Yes, this commonly seen symbol refers to prescriptions, but it's actually an upper case R with a long ending stroke crossed by a short slanted line. That short crossing line means that it's an abbreviation.

Rx = recipere = recipe

Historically, the Latin word recipere meant to take or receive. Our word recipe first meant prescription in the medical sense. Later it was used in connection with cooking which is the common usage today.

Translating Prescriptions 

a.c. = ante cibum = before meals

p.c. = post cibum = after meals

c̅ = cum = with (you may see this with the overbar or without it)

s̅ = sine = without 

d = dies = day

b.i.d. = bis in die = twice a day

t.i.d. = ter in die = three times a day

q.i.d. = qauter in die = four times a day

p.r.n. = pro re nata = as needed

h.s. = hora somni = bedtime

O.D. = oculo dextro = right eye

O.S. = oculo sinistro = left eye

O.U. = oculo utro = in each eye

p.o. = per os = by mouth

gtt = gutta = drop

Takeaway Truth

If you need any prescription instructions not shown here, you can find them by doing a Gooogle search. I hope this helps. If it does, let me know in Comments.

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About Beaufort Wind Force Scale

Have you heard of the Beaufort Wind Force Scale?

I'm writing a new book, Foolishly Yours, for the Last Chance Beach Romance series.

There's going to be a storm on Last Chance Beach, but I haven't decided whether it will be a hurricane or just a big winter storm with lots of wind.

The story is set in late winter/early spring. Research answered my questions. Even though hurricane season is June 1 through November 30, hurricanes have occurred as early as January and as late as December.

Author Decision

The storm won't be a hurricane, but it will be a heck of a lot of wind. So how hard can the wind blow? Pretty darn hard according to the Beaufort Wind Force Scale which catalogs the wind based on its speed and the effects it produces at different velocities.

Created by British Navy Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort in 1805 as a masurement of the effect of wind on waves—thus on sailing ships—the scale is still used today. Visit the National Weather Service to see detail about the Beaufort Wind Force Scale.

The scale starts at zero (0) and goes to 12. A zero is 0-1 mph (0-2 kph) wind which is described as calm. The observed effects are: smoke rises vertically; no wind.

A 12 is a Hurricane with winds 74+ mph (117 kph), and the observed effect is devastation.

What Wind for my Storm?

I haven't decided. I think it will be a 7, Moderate Gale, with whole trees swaying, about 32 - 38 mph (51 - 61 kph). I guess you'll have to read the book to learn. *LOL*

Takeaway Truth

I love research! I want the information in my novels to be correct, and I have the added benefit of being a formidable trivia contestant. I didn't know about the Beaufort Wind Force Scale before. Did you? Let me know if you're a sailing enthusiast and knew about it.

Check Out Charities Before Donating

Since it's the beginning of a new year, I wanted to tell everyone to be smart when you donate to a charity.

Some charities spend so much on marketing and fund raising that there's little left for the people who need it.

Some charities also pay big salaries and benefits to executives so there's little left for the recipients of the charity.

It's easy to check out a charity online and see which ones funnel the most money to the charity itself. 

Simply go to Charity Watch. You can see an alphabetical list of charities. They're rated as to those who do the most for the people their charities help. You may be shocked that the charities you hear from most often are some that spend far more on everything but the people they're supposed to help. 

Takeaway Truth

Before making a donation, always check out the organization on Charity Watch.  to find  rather than paying huge salaries and benefits to some CEO.

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Girl Named Tuesday

When I was very young, I remember a pretty blond actress named Tuesday Weld. I always wondered how she selected Tuesday as a name.

I guess she was a rebel from the get-go or her environment made her one. She may have begun the trend toward innovative names for children.

She chose the name—based on a childhood nickname of Tu-Tu—and legally changed it from Susan Ker Weld to Tuesday Weld in 1959.

When she was 4 years old, her father died, leaving the family in dire financial straits. Her mother put her to work as a model. Eventually, Tuesday became the sole support of her widowed mother, sister, and brother.

Using her resume as a model, her mother got her into acting when she was 12. Still in her teens, her mother was scandalized by her daughter's love affairs with older men, such as actor John Ireland.

When she was 16, Tuesday Weld left home. She said, "I just went out the door and bought my own house."

It's not very surprising she was Stanley Kubrick's first choice to play Lolita in his 1962 film. She turned the offer down because she said, "I didn't have to play it. I was Lolita."

Her history is fascinating. Read all about it on Tuesday Weld's Wiki.

Origin of Tuesday

The name Tuesday is a girl's name meaning Tiu's Day. Tiu, or Tiw, is Old English, coming from Old Norse Tyr. Tiu/Tiw/Tyr is one of the oldest gods of the Germanic peoples and a rather mysterious entity.

He was the Norse god concerned with the formalities of war, like treaties, and also the god of justice.

Other Famous People Named Tuesday

Tuesday Lynn Knight, American actress

Tuesday Bassen, American designer and illustrator

Tuesday Hansen, daughter of singer Beck and actress Marissa Ribisi, who was born in 2007.

Tuesday Gaghan, daughter of film director Stephen Gaghan and socialite Minnie Mortimer, who was born in 2009.

Heidi Isabella Tuesday Jackson, daughter of YouTubers Ash and James Jackson, born in 2011.

If you'd like to know more about Ms. Tuesday Weld and her movies—she starred with a lot of the biggies—read her biography, Pretty Poison: The Tuesday Weld Story.

Takeaway Truth

If you're looking for an unusual name for a baby girl, Tuesday might be a good choice. It sounds good, it's memorable, and it's not commonly used.

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Immutable Laws of Marketing

Monday is Make Things Happen Day.

At least it is in my world.

Last week, I blogged about marketing with the post, "Does Marketing Sell Books."

Since it's Make Things Happen Day, let's talk a bit more about marketing with a universal truth about this thorny subject. This truth applies whether you're selling hammers or books.

Immutable Law of Marketing

It takes 9 times before something sticks in the customer's mind.

I'll be honest. In today's world where one is bombarded by email, video, TV commercials, online ads, etc., I think it takes much more than 9 times before something sticks.

I know I hear about books that sound delightful, but by the end of the day, I can't remember the title. Know what I mean?

I think ad agencies responsible for TV commercials agree because just think of all the repetitive commercials one sees on TV. They're on a loop. In a 30-minute sitcom, you may see the same product advertised at least 6 times—probably more like 12 times.

The fast-paced TV commercial world now features commercials 10 seconds in length. It's little better than viewing flash cards, but the one thing the viewer gets is the name of the product.

These commercials are repetitive for a good reason. Quantity equals lots of exposure for the product name. Comapnies want to reach every corner of the viewing audieence. If you take a bathroom break during a commercial, you will eventually end up watching the commercial at some point–at several points during the day or evening.

Of course, those advertiserss have millions to pay to flash their message and product before your eyes. Authors don’t have that. Most of us depend on less costly tactics to get book covers in front of readers.

When you blog around the internet, your cover gets seen by readers which is why authors often guest blog—to reach a different set of readers. Same thing when authors post their bookcovers on a friend's newsletter—exposure to a different audience of readers.

Takeaway Truth

Always ask yourself, how can I get more exposure?

Blog Tip: From General to Specific

If you keep hearing that blogging is dead, don't believe it.

The blog is alive and well.

I've been blogging since 2005, and I still love it. I guess I feel as if I still have something to say.

If you've thought about starting or keeping a blog, here's a tip for you. Do it.

I always say start by making a list of things you would talk about. That's what I think a blog is: talking about something with readers looking for entertainment or information or both.

If you can come up with a list of 5-7 topics that you can easily talk about week after week, then the hard part is over. You do this by doing your thinking with a pen and paper.

Brainstorm that list of things that interest you. Then narrow it down to 5-7 things that interest you enough that you'd like to write about them frequently, as in, 5-7 days a week.

Takeaway Truth

You start out as a generalist and end up with a specific list of subjects. Happy blogging.