Photo Phriday – Sea Koalas~

Okay, who doesn’t like sea otters. They don’t look it but they are quite fierce animals.

Wild California Sea Otters,

remind me,

of floating koala bears.

Like koalas they have a laid back approach to life,

and don’t sweat the small stuff!

This pup is clearly embracing the parental philosophy.

Cheers to you from Moro Bay California’s wild sea otters~

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The Turn of The Key – Ruth Ware

This book was recommended on an online book group I’m a part of, so I requested it from my local library.

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Stats: First published in 2019, the paperback is 352, audio book is 10 discs, read by Imogen Church

Blurb: When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the home’s cameras, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder—but somebody is.

What I liked: I mostly like the narration done by Ms Church. She was good at making it a bit creepy. Of course, that means that the writing was good at making it creepy, and it was. And the characters in the story were very real but from the word and from the narration.

What I didn’t like: The story itself was a bit slow. The twist at the end did surprise me a bit, but it wasn’t an OMG moment by any means. And it was a touch hard to believe the the person that died could have done what he/she did, especially related to the house. (I don’t want to give anything away for those that want to read this story.) And finding out who did kill the character was actually a sad moment in the story, almost believable but also not quite.

Rating: 2.5/5

Photo Phriday – Real World Special Effects

These photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing, Mitch!

Mitch Teemley

The natural world is far more mysterious, frightening and beautiful than any big-budget effects movie will ever be. These un-altered images offer just a small smattering of proof. 

Click on any image to enlarge it, read the caption, or begin slide show.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ~Albert Einstein

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” ~Alice Walker

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” ~Jules Renard

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” ~Theodore Roethke

“It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” ~Frederick Douglass

     “The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”      ~Rabindranath Tagore

“Sunset is…

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One By One by Ruth Ware

One by One

This book was recommended by one of my local librarians.

Stats: Published in 2020, Audio – 11 CDs, Narrator – Imogen Church, Print – 372 pages

Blurb: Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?
When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

What I liked: As people started getting picked off “One by One” in a situation where there is only so many people involved in a place where they can’t get away from each other (in a snowed in chalet), I definitely thought of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians (which started out with a not socially acceptable – now – title). And Ruth reproduces the feeling of that great Christie story pretty well. You definitely feel like you’re in the chalet. You definitely get the feeling of the different characters (and Imogen Church helps this a lot too), and I didn’t know “who done it” until she tells you. I was listening so I couldn’t really go back and see if she “cheated” at all in how she used the different people’s voices (the different sections are told by different characters), but I trust that she’s a good enough author that she didn’t do that. I also like how the Ware does tell you who the murder is but there is still more of the book to go. The final ski down the mountain was a nasty. I’m not a skilled downhill skier, so it put me on edge for sure.

What I didn’t like: The end was a bit slow and I don’t remember learning with happened to some of the other characters when they split up. I would have liked to know why they didn’t come back in time.

Rating: 4/5

Words Bubbling Up

The meaning and symbolism of the word - «Bubble»

Do you have some words bubbling up inside you, just waiting to get out? 

We have all been hunkering down from this virus, from unrest, from…

NPR is giving us an outlet. 

Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, I know you have words you can use to describe how you’re feeling. Write them down and send them to NPR and Kwame Alexander, Morning Editing’s resident poet – yes the show has it’s own poet, who knew? – will pick out words from our entries and create a poem for us!

The NPR piece and info on how to enter is here: https://www.npr.org/2021/01/18/956827920/poetry-challenge-honor-mlk-by-describing-how-you-dream-a-world

Here is the except from the Langston Hughes poem “I Dream a World”

I DREAM A WORLD WHERE MAN
NO OTHER MAN WILL SCORN,
WHERE LOVE WILL BLESS THE EARTH
AND PEACE ITS PATHS ADORN
I DREAM A WORLD WHERE ALL
WILL KNOW SWEET FREEDOM’S WAY,
WHERE GREED NO LONGER SAPS THE SOUL
NOR AVARICE BLIGHTS OUR DAY.
A WORLD I DREAM WHERE BLACK OR WHITE,
WHATEVER RACE YOU BE,
WILL SHARE THE BOUNTIES OF THE EARTH
AND EVERY MAN IS FREE,
WHERE WRETCHEDNESS WILL HANG ITS HEAD
AND JOY, LIKE A PEARL,
ATTENDS THE NEEDS OF ALL MANKIND-
OF SUCH I DREAM, MY WORLD!

 

image from weknowyourdream.com

Formula For Wealth – Author Interview

I work with authors all year in various capacities through my book publishing company: CKBooks Publishing.

I can help with editing (all types), print and ebook design and formatting (yes, books you read have to be designed and formatted by someone), cover design, or even publishing. For Alan James (pen name), it was all of the above. 

Since I am an author myself, I like to help my clients when I can by featuring them and their books. So Alan has answered a few questions for us about his debut book: Formula For Wealth, which has garnered a 5 star review from Reader’s Favorite, btw. Good going, Alan!

 

This is part of what the reviewer (Foluso Falaye from Reader’s Favorite) said:

Formula for Wealth by Alan James details realistic and measurable ways to achieve certain financial goals. As clearly stated by the author, it is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Rather, it is a book for the wealth builders who are willing to put in the effort and the time it takes.

A wide range of subjects that determine wealth is examined: personal finance, wealth management, spending habits, lifestyle choices, unplanned expenses, assets and liabilities, and much more.

As the title suggests, Formula for Wealth includes some calculations, which would help in mapping out plans with specific time frames for achieving financial goals. In his richly packed book about acquiring wealth, Alan James leaves nothing untouched.

——————————————–

 

Some questions for Alan. 

Alan, how do you determine what your wealth is and what it can become?

You can know your wealth by calculating your net worth and you can use the equation for wealth to see what your wealth will become.

Can you determine how decisions that you are making will affect your wealth?

You can put the information into the equation for wealth to see the effect on your wealth. A couple of examples used in Formula For Wealth (link to amazon https://www.amazon.com/Formula-Wealth-Alan-James/dp/1949085341/) are buying a car and buying a house.

What prevents me from getting wealthier?

Decisions that you make and the actions that you take can prevent you from getting wealthier. The Formula For Wealth goes through factors like credit, instant gratification, and market pressure. It also provides tips for being successful implementing wise decisions.

What would it take to become a millionaire?

One way to become a millionaire is to invest about $100 a week into a retirement account where your employer matches your contribution and then when you get 10 percent return on your investment you will become a millionaire in less than 26 years.

Now, what about you? 

So why would I use some of my time during retirement to write a book? I had come up with a statement that simplified the equation for wealth and wanted to share it. I began to write a book to explain the equation for wealth and the simplified statement that I call the Formula for Wealth. When I begin a project, I find it very hard not to complete it, which helped to get my book available to help readers understand wealth.

Now that I am done writing my book, what will I do to keep busy? We moved to Arizona for retirement. I bought a house that needed some attention, so there are lots of chores to do. If there is not enough work around the house, there is be plenty of work around the church that can be done. I try to exercise regularly. My wife and I have taken up line dancing and we take the dog hiking. We are enjoying exploring the southwest, too.

Thanks, Alan. Enjoy your retirement!

Help Disabled Writers: Here’s How

CKBooks Publishing

Hey all you book people out there looking for a book related charity to give to… have I got the opportunity for you!

SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators – what a mouth full!), which I am a member of, is participating in #GivingTuesday by setting up a giving link for scholarships, grants, and accessibility resources for  writers with disabilities.

What could be better than supporting a fellow writer that has a disability?!

So click this link and donate to SCBWI and tag the donation with #GivingTuesday and SCBWI will use you donation to help disabled SCBWI writers.

Click the link below for more details:

Source: SCBWI | Let’s Celebrate GivingTuesday Together – Here’s How

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