Tag Archives: author

Top 10 Things To Do After a Writer’s Conference

I attended the San Francisco Writers conference. The break-out

SRWC13 was held at the gorgeous Mark Hopkins Intercontinental in Nob Hill.

SRWC13 was held at the gorgeous Mark Hopkins Intercontinental in Nob Hill.

sessions were: Fabulous! Entertaining! Informative! Revealing! The speakers inspiring!

The downside to attending such a great conference?   My brain is jammed with “must-dos.”  NOW!

Not only is my list a mile long—not an exaggeration—but so many of the actions must be done FIRST!

What’s an author to do if everything feels like a priority!!!!

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

Below is my Top 10 Things To Do After a Writers Conference.

1. Make coffee! I wish Starbucks delivered or had a truck like the Ice Cream Man!

2. Sort business cards into 2 piles: New writer friends and publishers/editors/agents.

thoth3. Edit ( for the bazillionith time)  the first 10 pages of novel. Improve it! Make appropriate sacrifices to Thoth- Egyptian god of writing.

4. Print 1st few chapters for writer friends to find typos you no longer see.

5. Allocate website and social media improvements tasks into 15 minute increments.

6. Engage in social media only during down times.(No, not your mood but while running errands, waiting in line, eating, walking the dog)

7. Review query and synopsis ( for the qaudrillionith time). Improve it!

8. Send/email requests for your MS.

9. Sort conference handouts accordingly. For me, that’s platform-building and novel/craft info. Highlight important info/websites.

10. Continue building platform through website improvements and social media while waiting for good news. ( The Power of Positive Thinking!)

OK! That’s my top 10 things to do after a writer’s conference. Guess what? Now I have to do ’em!

Post script: I wrote the above blog almost a year ago. I continue to make improvements, refining my bio, promotions, social media sites. At first, it was a daunting task, but now I’ve gotten into the groove. You can find me at:

Take a deep breath and dive in Writer friends!

Related Links:  Rock Your WritingSymbolism & more symbolsA Valentine’s Day Poem
Click  Amazon link for novels.

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Impatient Me ! Life in the Fast Lane

My family agrees!

My students as well. I can be a bit impatient. My students are used to me saying “let’s go, let’s go” as they shuffle paperwork forward or as I shoo them to their next class.

My family knows I absolutely, positively hate waiting in a line. I fidget, my brow furrows, my teeth clench. A fast moving line I can deal with. A slow-line, a what-the-heck-is-taking-so-long-with-that-order line sets me on edge. I wasn’t always this way. I used to be a patient person.

I blame my children. A mom of 4 children has a lot to get accomplished every day. Piles of laundry, diapers, dishes, grocery shopping, driving here and there for this and that.  I learned to do everything FAST!  Life demanded it!

My children’s pleas still echo in my ear: Hurry up! I’m gonna be late to (fill in event).

I had to throw groceries into the cart FAST before one of them 1) had to pee, 2) threw a tantrum, 3) knocked something from the shelf, 4) got cranky.

I learned to make dinner FAST before 1) I had to drive someone somewhere, 2) I needed to pick someone up, 3) someone got cranky, 4)  the baby woke up, 5) the baby had to be fed again.

Speed was important because with 4 children–you never knew what the next minute would bring. One minute everything would be great–the next, a child  might 1) fall and bust open their head, 2) stuff a snail into their mouth, 3) learn how to unlock the front door, 4) escape from the car seat, 5) start a fire in the kitchen,  7) escape from your grip to run across the parking lot…well, you get the picture.

Speed has served me well in a few areas of life. Not all–that’s where the no patience thing started. You might call it impatience, but I call it efficiency.

True story: An ex-husband used to tell me to “Hurry up and relax.”  Huh?

So when I found this video of John Pinette’s “Get out of the Line”  comedy routine, it became a favorite.
I was so glad to learn I was not the only one who has difficulty with people who get to the front of the line and then take forever to order or ask dumb questions about the menu!

 

Related Posts: Sequestration at my houseQueen of T.PWanted: Food Fairy; Moms Smoke signals; Pantry Pandemonium

Starbucks Slip up

starbucks (1)The other day while my daughters and I were shopping at the mall, we stopped for a Starbucks.

The line was maybe 20 people long. Wimpy Californians had stopped to warm their chilled bodies with mochas, lattes, and other caffeine confections. The fashion of the day: skinny jeans tucked into boots, sweaters, wool scarves, coats and ponchos. Yep! We were all bundled up. 50 degree weather is downright arctic in SoCal!

We placed our order:one tall skinny mocha, one mocha, one soy strawberries and cream, no whip, and one chocolate croissant.

The small store was jammed packed. At least fifteen people are waiting for their drinks. One minute passed. Two minutes passed. Three minutes passed. All three of us wait patiently for our order, knowing it would take longer than usual.  We passed the time deciding which store to hit next and listened to why my oldest daughter did not want to go to Anthropologie  ( “It makes me too sad to see all the things I can’t afford. Unless you’re buying, mom.”)

“Oh, I heard my order,” my youngest tossing back long blonde tresses, saunters to the pickup counter. She pardons and excuses her way through the thick crowd.

A moment later she is sipping on her drink, feeling special because she got her order so quickly. We chat some more.

“Oh-oh.” She says licking the whipped cream from the straw. “This isn’t mine.” She 1265strawberry_creme2looks at the writing on the side of the cup. Sally. I stole someone’s drink. Now what do I do?”

Looking guilty, we immediately begin glancing around the store. Where is Sally? Does she know my daughter jacked her strawberries and cream?

“Who cares,” says my oldest daughter.”Drink it.”

“I can’t. This has milk in it, I’ll get sick if I drink it.” (Actually, her reply was disturbingly graphic.)

We burst out laughing! Not because we were unsympathetic about her lactose intolerance, we just realized that someone was still WAITING for their strawberries and cream.Waiting. And possibly watching…

Who knows what would happen if someone suspected you of over-priced beverage abduction! An altercation? Accusations? It looked like a pretty placid crowd—but you never know.

“Take it back,” oldest daughter says.

“I can’t. I’m embarrassed. You do it for me.”

“No way. You have a choice, drink it and be sick tonight or take it back and look stupid.”

Another round of laughter. Who wants to look stupid?

In the end, my youngest did return the strawberries and cream ,and we eventually did get our drinks.

Drink theft!

Have you ever accidentally or on purpose taken someone else’s drink order? Has anyone ever taken yours?  Did you confront them? Tell the barista?

Please share your coffee conundrums by leaving a comment
and/or
“like” my fan page at www.facebook.com/AuthorLZMarie 
 

 

 

 

Why my dog is a Kardashian

I love my pooch!

She’s a mixed breed, part Maltese, part poodle–a malti-poo. I’ve been told she is a rather expensive breed. I saved a designer dog! I found her sad, scruffy, ill-behaved, and untrained at the local animal shelter. She sat in my lap and, naturally, the rest is history!

Anyway…the other day it just hit me! Bam! My pooch is a Kardashian–or should have been.

Why, you ask?

  • 1. She’s always ready to play, especially at night.
  • 2. She only looks really good after she’s been groomed by professionals for several hours.
  • 3. She sits on the fluffiest, most expensive pillow in the house.
  • 4. She’ll only perform for treats.
  • 5. She looks best in a diamond collar.
  • 6. Her favorite blanket is a fur.
  • 7. She likes to snuggle while watching basketball games.
  • 8. She gets really excited whenever a black man comes to the door.
  • 9. Actually, she becomes excited when any man comes to the door.
  • 10. She rarely listens to her mom.
  • 11. She dislikes waking up before 6 am.
  • 12. She eats daintily and nibbles on food throughout the day.
  • 13. She dances every chance she gets.
  • 14. She gives me  a sassy look whenever she’s been scolded.
  • 15. She obstinate, independent, and totally lovable.
  • Lulu's summer short-hair look!

    Lulu’s summer short-hair look!

    Lulu's shaggy dog look!
    Lulu’s shaggy dog look!

  • Trimmed, washed, & blow dried.

    Trimmed, washed, & blow dried.

  • The Merkabah Recruit 
    is FREE for AmazonPrime members
    and $2.99 on Kindle
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Treadmill Lament

Requires agility just to get to

Requires agility just to get to

There you stand in my crowded garage
Between plastic bins and file cabinet lodged.
Chrome and rubber and plastic
whispering promises of a body fantastic.

 

“Walk! Run ! Jog!” I hear you call from afar.
“You spend too much time sitting in the car.”
So I pull on a t-shirt, the Nikes I lace
Step on the rubber mat, gonna make my heart race.

 

To pass the time, I watch Bones on Netflix
My inspiration some skinny young chicks.
I adjust the speed, faster, and faster I go
Getting into the rhythm of the treadmill flow.

 

 Look at me!
I’m trying to burn today’s calories.
But the meter reads only one hundred and three!
Heart pumpin’, calves burning, startin’ to sweat
Probably haven’t even  burned off my latte I bet.

 

Time is passing sloooooow
and I’ve got no where to go.
Faster. Slower. Flat or incline
Minutes passed–only nine!
Don’t watch the clock!                                         securedownload
Pretend you’re a jock!
Forty minutes later, the torture is complete.
My legs hurt, got blisters on my feet.

 

I’ll see you tomorrow, I promise the treadmill
And, you know, I probably will.
Not.
But maybe the next day, or the day after that
Cause I really do have to lose some of this fat.

 

I write this bad poem in fun and in jest
 But I actually do my very best.
 Just wish there was an easier way to stay svelte
then to walk-run-jog on a big rubber belt.

 

Techno Troubles

I love technology. I do! I really do. Except on those days when everything goes horribly wrong. Well, maybe not horribly, but it’s frustrating when the technology doesn’t work and I  waste time.

Case in point: Monday.
  • My car won’t “find” my phone so I can’t  make a hands-free call.
  • Once the car finally “finds” my phone, the cheerful female voice informs me the “phonebook” is empty. Empty?
  • Walked into the classroom to find a new phone system installed—complete with high-tech phone. Great! Except, there’s  no User Manual—I might read it–uummmm who am I kidding? Because of the upgrade, important extensions were changed. Now I have zero clue how to get messages AND I don’t know how to record a greeting AND passwords haven’t been assigned  to access the voice mailbox. ( ACK! Another password to add to my list—see yesterday’s post)
  • Printer gets jammed.
  • Computer won’t “load.” No icons. Just blue empty screen. Once. Twice. Three times. Ahhh—there it goes. I have icons!
  • Can’t figure out the digital recorder I need to use today. There’s a wheelie thingy, and a mode button and a whole row of functions I can’t figure out.
  • Phone has no bars. (Ten years ago, no one would have known what that statement meant—now you’re all thinking—“Yep, no bars, you’re in a dead zone.”
  • My iPad is demanding a new email password.
  • The connector from digital recorder to computer doesn’t work.recorder
  • My school computer won’t “read’ the memory card.
  • Online form won’t download correctly.
  • Keep getting errors on an upload.
  • I can’t remember which flash drive I put all the stuff I need for today’s work.

I love technology. I love technology. I love technology.

I’ve had worse TechnoTrouble days. We all have. What’s yours?

The Merkabah Recruit 
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and $2.99 on Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle?
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Password Blues

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Do YOU have too many passwords?

Do you suffer from password or PIN confusion?

Passwords multiple—like rabbits, more and more, and more—and well—you get the picture.

It started out innocent enough. Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away (do you hear the musical score to Star Wars in the background) when the first computer was brought into the home many years ago. A password  was needed to access the computer. OK. Innocent enough.

But now! OMG! Even the mention  of “create a password” sends me running down the metaphoric hall, hair flying, arms flailing in the air, screaming “nooooooooo.”

I have over 25—that’s right—different passwords. How did I accumulated so many?

  • Bank accounts
  • Social media platforms:face book (personal, teacher, author), twitter, pinterest, 2 Instagrams, Tumblr, Goodreads, etc
  • Various publishing  and/or writing websites/programs
  • Multiple—and I mean way too many school-related  programs, websites, etc
  • several emails
  • a few software applications
Puppy commiserates while I rant about passwords!

Puppy commiserates while I rant about passwords!

The biggest problem. Those programs that demand the passwords be changed every few months. ACK!

“But L.Z.” I hear you saying, there’s a program for that. It saves all your passwords, even enters the  passwords and PINS for you.” That’s next on my to-do list. And I have a sneaking suspicion it will require a password!

My techie-son was appalled I have so many passwords. He demanded to know what they were all for. I read him the list, and he shook his head sadly. “Sorry, Mom, yeah you do have a lot.”

The other day, I swiped my card at the grocery store and was about to enter the PIN—another word that makes me quake in terror—when I had a brain fart. The mind went blank. Zero. Nada. My own memory wiped clean of those random numbers assigned by the bank.  I blame the checker, he was talking to the manager and they were discussing numbers and WHAM—I couldn’t remember my own.

Lucky for me, my gorgeous 17-yr old daughter stood next to me. She burst out laughing when she saw the expression on my face. “Mom, the brain is the first to go.”
“No,” I snapped back. “A woman’s cute looks are.”
That shut her up!
As we sat and sipped our mochas a few minutes later, I asked my daughter what her social security number was.
She grimaced, “I don’t know.”
“What’s your employee number?” Smug sip.
“I don’t know.”
“How many passwords and PINs do you have?”
“OK. OK. I get it, already.”
Yep! Soon enough, she will get multiple passwords. Life. School. Career. They all come with passwords.
 In addition to the password and the PIN, some sites want you to create secret  security questions. The toughest site I ever encountered demanded 3 security questions NOT related to name of pet, color, favorite food, locations, letters in your name, or  D.O.B

I really, really hope I wrote the answers down somewhere…

Related posts: Random Realities
Click  Amazon link for novels.
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First World Problems

OMG! I think I have FWP!

Came across this funny little gem. Perfect to show my students. Sometimes we forget how good we have it.  Do YOU  have FWP?

 

My FWP? When Starbucks runs out of those little green sticky-things and I spill a few drops of overpriced mocha while walking to my car.
What’s an example of one of your FWPs?
 
The Merkabah Recruit
is FREE for AmazonPrime Members
 and $2.99 on Kindle.
Don’t have a Kindle?
Download FREE app on iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or Mac

 

Girlie to-do list part 2

mimiAfter reviewing yesterday’s whine, I realized I left out an important beauty routine. One that experts say “only takes 10 minutes” but which normal gals claim “no way!”

My face! I’m not talking about the basics: wash, moisturize-moisturize-moisturize ( the eyes get a special product)- I’m speaking of that whole other business…

Applying The Make-up.

Every cosmetic counter I’ve been spouts the benefits of a primer ( like I’m a painting or something). There’s also a “finisher” product, but since I’m not going to the Academy Awards this year I skip that purchase.

That leaves: concealer, foundation, powder, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, lipstick/gloss,and mascara. More concealer. Somehow- that whole process takes more than 5 minutes.

If I’m going for the “natural look” it takes a whole lot longer.

My daughters swear by multiple coats of mascara–I’m lucky if I remember to drag the wand across the lashes ( which is why I keep mascara in my classroom). And cosmetic affectionatos will notice that I made no mention of contouring and highlighting.

Anyway, we all have gripes about the impossible beauty standards set by Hollywood, society, advertisements, and–yes–even our own ideas, so I’ve included a video depicting what is required for a woman to look “picture perfect.”

Real Beauty: An Unreal Transformation. You’ll feel MUCH better after watching it.

 

Related Posts: Girlie to-do list part 1; Gadget Girl; Why my dog is a Kardashian; Surviving my purse; Packing black

Girlie to-do list

better-of-beauty-calgon-take-me-away_-eeba_0Girls have too many beauty regiments! Part 1

The other day I went to the dentist, where the hygienist informed me that I needed to devote 3 minutes to brushing my teeth using small circular movements. Evidently, I am too aggressive in my brushing ritual.  I smiled sweetly, nodding my head in agreement. Yes, I’m thinking, three minutes to add to my already rushed beauty ritual in the morning.No problemo!

face washHere’s a list of stuff the experts advise that I do everyday.
  • Hairdresser: apply soothing oil to my tresses
  • Nail technician: apply moisturizing hand cream AND rub in cuticle cream/oil
  • Pedicurist: apply moisterizing cream to heels
  • Aesthetician: apply moisturizing face cream and exfoliate
  • Physician: exercise AND eat oatmeal
  • Dentist: floss
  • Hygienist: brush for 3 minutes in slow circular motion
  • Lady/Guy at the Mac Counter: use base coat before before applying makeup
Other activities random experts claim we must do:
  • meditate
  • eat fruit
  • eat vegetables
  • drink 8 glasses of water
  • drink herbal tea
  • take B-vitamin supplement
  • do yoga

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for all that stuff. I have a job! I need to leave  the house in the morning! I’m not a Kardashian who can spent hours on consuming beauty rituals.

I told my husband something had to give, that there’s simply not enough time in my day to get done everything I should ( moisturizing takes time). I’m thinking about eliminating grocery shopping from my daily activities–and cooking.

What’s your favorite or least favorite beauty ritual!

The Merkabah Recruit 
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and $2.99 on Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle?
Download a FREE app for iPad, iPhone,Android, Blackberry, or Mac

 

Roasted Beet Salad

I know! I know! Beets… But it’s time to re-think  how delicious this veggie can be if served right!

beet saladThis tasty salad recipe comes from my future daughter in-law. She always has the most wonderful  recipes for vegetables–no doubt because her family owns
Weiser Family Farms. They are organic farmers and their certified organic specialty produce is found on the menus of  some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles.

Lucky for us, their certified organic produce is also  available at 18 different farmers markets in SoCal. Check their website for farmer market times and locations and also for lots of yummy healthy organic recipes.

I wasn’t a fan of beets until just a few years ago. This root vegetable is a good source of beets5glycine betaine ( good for your blood), folates, vitamin A, carotenoids, flavonoids, anti-oxidants, as well as a host of B-complex vitamins and  minerals. That’s one healthy vegetable!

Salad Ingredients
  • 4-5 small beets ( golden, candy-stripped, or regular)
  • 1 bag of baby arugula
  • blue cheese
  • optional: candied pecans or walnuts
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
Dressing Ingredients
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • garlic salt
Directions
Place foil in a baking dish with beets. Lightly coat beets with olive oil, salt,and pepper. Wrap  beets in foil to form a packet. Bake the beets at 350 degrees until fork tender (approx 40 minutes). I use my toaster oven.  Let beets cool until warm. To remove skin, use a paper towel and simply rub off the skin- quick and easy! Slice beets and chill in refrigeration until ready to assemble salad.

Toss arugula, chilled beets, dressing, and blue cheese. Top with candied walnuts/pecans if desired.

Dressing: 2 parts lemon juice to 1 part olive oil. Season with garlic salt.

I could eat this salad every day! Thanks Steffy, for the great recipe.

See you at the farmer’s market!

Remember the e-book of
The Merkabah Recruit
is FREE for AmazonPrime members
and only $2.99 on Kindle
Don’t have a Kindle?
You can download a FREE Kindle app for iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry or MAC.

Fab Female Friday:Boudicca

"Boadicea Haranguing the Britons" by John Opie

“Boadicea Haranguing the Britons” by John Opie

Bodacious Boudicca was the queen of the Icini tribe in Briton (the area is called Norfolk now) in AD 60.

After her husband, King Prasutagus died, Roman publicani (crooked tax collectors) and loan sharks infested the land demanding MONEY $$. No frail flower, Boudicca knew she was being played and manipulated by Roman thugs so she voiced her objections—loudly!

The Roman response? Boudicca was flogged (whipped)  and her daughters publicly raped and beaten.

Rightly incensed at this atrocity, the red-head Boudicci gathered her warlike people and led them in a revolt against the Romans where she devastated the 9th Roman legion. How did they do this? The stealthy Celts engaged in guerrilla style warfare, moving quickly through the dense forests and taking the slow-moving Romans by surprise.

Victorious— but still pissed off—she advanced on London, a hub for Roman trade.B1

The numbers are suspect but Boudicci’s army reportedly slew over 70,000 Roman citizens who were living in London.

The tide soon turned and the growing revolt against the Roman interlopers ended in tragedy when the over-confident, ill-armed Celts could not withstand the highly-trained, well-equipped Roman forces. The massacre was  vicious— men, woman, and children–no one escaped the carnage.

Reports differ over the death of this warrior woman. Some say  Boudicci committed royal suicide by poison ( the rage at the time). Others contend she became sick and died.

Boudicca: Bold. Powerful. Determined. Courageous. Fierce.
Legendary Queen and Fearless Leader.

To learn more about this Fab Female check out the University of North Carolina’s website at http://www.unc.edu/celtic/catalogue/boudica/catalog.html

Related posts: Fab Females

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Pinterest Convert

Short post today–I’m catching up on novel writing, picture pinning, and other author-ly stuff.

After a bit of hemming and hawing, I joined the ranks of the Pinterest groupies.  So far, I have 5 boards and plan to add more. It’s fun finding and pinning all the pictures for the different novels. Daphne’s clothes, the stones in the merkabah, her favorite coffee…a great tool for author and reader. Warning: One’s imagination is ever so much more powerful, so I won’t be too specific–we all have a vision of what S.J. might look like.

We loved picture books as children–we still do! Pinterest indulges our need for visual candy!

pininterest

The “stuff I love” board is glimpse into L.Z.Marie’s head. It’s pretty tame at the moment, but has definite scary (or nerd) potential.

The “recipe” board will come in handy when the cooking/baking bug bites.

If you already have a Pinterest account, I would love you to follow me. There’s a link on the side bar (on laptop) or scroll down to end of page ( on iPad or iPhone.)

And of course, it goes without saying that I love when I get “Likes” on my Facebook page.

Note: If “it goes without saying” then why do people still say it?

The next free e-copy giveaway of The Merkabah Recruit is February 16th and 17th. (President’s Day is the 18th).

If you don’t have a Kindle, but you do have an iPad, just google Kindle for iPad and download the app! It’a free! Now you can download bazillions of Kindle books at a fraction of the cost of paperback or hardback. And you can take advantage of the many free ebooks  Amazon offers–like mine!

My daughter has a Kindle app on her iPhone and there are also Kindle app for PC, Android, Blackberry, and MAC.

Happy Reading!