Monday, September 1, 2014

Is Labor Day Just Another Excuse to BBQ?

Here we are. Celebrating yet another Labor Day. One last time to fire up the grill and burn some brats before winter hits. But is that what Labor Day is really all about? Waving good-bye to summer while shoveling baked beans into our mouths? What's the point of Labor Day? 

In back-to-school style, sit back and enjoy a history lesson, class.

The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City and was kicked off with a parade. It didn't become a holiday, though, until 1896 when President Grover Cleveland declared it a national event.

Labor Day is intended to celebrate the "dignity" of work...which makes it even more interesting that to celebrate, many people sit around in tee-shirts and slug back beer.

Labor Day is also celebrated in Canada, Australia and the Bahamas. Other countries celebrate as well, but they usually call it Worker's Day.

And the mother of all facts that you've all been waiting for . . .

Why is it a fashion faux pas to wear white after Labor Day?

This has to do with stupid fashion rules made up by rich white women. Yeah, go ahead and call me a racist and intolerant and all that jazz, to which I blow a huge raspberry. I am a white woman, so get over it. Anyway, back in the day, as in late 1800's, the wives of uber-rich white dudes ruled high society. As more people became millionaires, it was hard to tell the difference between old money and those who had vulgar "new" money. In order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn't, the elite women made up goofy-butt dress codes that everyone in the know had to follow or risk getting shunned.

Not wearing white after summer was one of those rules. White was for resort wear and weddings. Period.

Personally, I don't wear a whole lot of white even in the summer. I'm way too much of a slob and can't seem to keep a white shirt clean. Hmm...maybe with my wardrobe, I could fit in with the upper-class, leastwise after Labor Day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What Would You Plan to Do in England?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tidbit: Spinning

So there I was, writing along, la-de-dah-de-dah, all happiness and rainbows and oh-my-goodness-this-story-is-so-going-to-work types of thoughts running around in my head. I found a great historical tidbit. I shaped a love story around it. And shazam! Perfecto story idea. . .

Corruption in the Minneapolis police department forces out Officer THOMAS LUND. As the sole support for his widowed mother and younger brother, his hopes to pursue marriage with the woman he loves, nurse WILLA BRIGHTON, are now gone. When her aunt and uncle decide to move back to England, Willa must choose between an uncertain future with Thomas or remain in the security of family. The only chance Thomas has to stop Willa from leaving and end the vice in the police department just may cost him his life.

Sounds fan-freaking-tastic, right? Nope. Not so fast there, zippy pants. I got the big shut down on that idea. Can you guess why? Go ahead. I'll give you a minute.

If the following were any of your reasons, you win a plastic banana:
  • Not romantic enough
  • Corruption doesn't sell
  • Too dark
  • Not a fictional world that anyone would want to escape to
What to do? Throw away a finished synopsis/idea? Sob into my wubbie like an overgrown infant? Demand congress enact a new regulation that would negate and also tax readers that don't like my work?

Nope. Didn't do any of those. I simply pulled a media trick and re-spun the tale from a different angle. Here's the new copy:

WILLA BRIGHTON loves her work as a nurse and her beau THOMAS LUND, but both are about to be taken from her as she must move back to England with her family. If only Thomas would propose—but he can’t. As sole supporter for his widowed mother and younger brother, Thomas’s hopes to pursue marriage with Willa are permanently on hold—unless he can expose the corruption in the Minneapolis police department and regain his career as a captain in the force. 

See the difference? Same idea, characters, and plotline. I merely notched up the romance and toned down the crime/violence.

Takeaway Value: There's usually a way around a boulder in your path if you're willing to listen to feedback.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Books + Boats

Given the choice, I'd rather hang out at a library than pretty much anywhere else. Except in a castle, of course. But come to think of it, usually castles have a library, so nix that.

Anyway, here in Jotunheim, I mean Minnesota, our library system is pretty much your standard white bread. Shelves of books. Nice. Yawn.

And nothing at all like what New York City is about to get: a floating library. Not even kidding. It is housed on space aboard the historic Lilac Museum Steamship, berthed at Pier 25 on the Hudson River, September 6-October 3, 2014.

The main deck is transformed into an outdoor reading lounge. How sweet is that? In their own words:
"The Floating Library intends to recodify how we occupy public spaces by bringing activities that are typically confined within privileged institutional walls--such as reading, writing, researching, questioning and debating--to open space."

Sounds a little fluffy to me, but still, I'd love to go read a book on a ship's deck, how 'bout you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pffft on Toleration

In the good old days, way back when I could walk alone to the 7-Eleven and score a large Slurpee without even worrying if I’d die from diabetes, it was easy to find a book. Big Gulp in hand, I’d toodle over to the library, scan the row of fiction, and pull down five or ten reads to hold me over until my next visit. All in all, sugary beverage included, it took about an hour. You would think with the advent of the internet, that task would be pared down to like thirty seconds.

Wrong-oh, Flapjack.

When I open up Amazon and delve in, I’m lucky to explore .000000000001% of what’s available in an hour, and that’s being optimistic. Did you know that Amazon adds a new eBook every 5 freaking minutes? The total skyrockets faster than the national debt…wait a minute. That is an exaggeration. The national debt cannot currently be matched. But seriously, the total number of titles is nearly 4 million and counting. Who can even begin to sift through that many?

Not me. Though I may pine for the old days, I know that’s not realistic because the genie is definitely out of the bottle and shaking his bootie in a frenzy. I propose a new site. Something elite. Something that only sells the best of the best in eBooks. Yes, that’s right. I am daring a huge raspberry farty noise in Amazon’s general direction even though they happen to carry my books. Call me intolerant. A hater, if you will. But the problem is that my books, as countless others, are lost in the cyber eBook swamp.

So, any wizards out there able to create a new, discriminating site carrying great titles that aren’t schlocky? Because I think I can direct a whole lot of business your way.

In the mean time, think I’ll go grab me a Slurpee for old time’s sake.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Want to Be an Infographic Wizard?

You know those sweet infographics that all the cool kids are using nowadays? Something like this:

Good news! You can be part of the cool kid club by skipping on over to Piktochart, an easy-to-use site where you can create your own graphic for absolutely anything. There's a small selection of free templates, and if you're really into this, you can pay to use some fancy ones. Go ahead. Give it a whirl and jazz up your next Facebook post or impress your boss with a snazzy Powerpoint pic.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Writer Climbs Mt. Ranier . . . Barely