Yay, a New Tax!

I got this information in my email box yesterday. I must say I found it alarming, although more and more the policies of the new administration are alarming to me. Here’s the scoop:

1. Gas prices jumped 20% last month
2. Apparently there is a bill being pushed that will jump them even higher.
3. It is called cap and trade – apparently a new energy tax hiding in ‘green’ clothing. The premise being that if energy is regulated more and costs more, we’ll use less of it and somehow that makes things better. All that will happen if they do get their wish of less use is that prices will go even higher, because how else will they make up less revenue than they want? Hello $5 a gallon gas, coming to a summer near you.

Don’t believe me? How would the following affect you, personally?This new energy tax would:

1. Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent
2. Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation
3. Raise the cost of living of a typical household by $1,600 a year
4. Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent
5. Destroy 1-3 million jobs per year, every year until 2035

This new energy tax is neither an energy nor an environmental solution. It’s a tax. And nobody thinks they’re under-taxed.

Roll Call is reporting that Nancy Pelosi wants this passed by the Fourth of July recess. Wow, she just can’t move fast enough to destroy the economy, eh?

Click on this link to sign the Stop the Energy Tax petition, and spread the word. If we let this genie out of the bottle my friends, I don’t think we’ll ever get him back in.

Oh yeah, check out the vid – in the words of the great one, no less…

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This and That…

morning012sunthrutree

Morning!
Hope everybody had a good weekend. We had fun. I had a great shopping weekend, everything was on sale and I ended up scoring a desk chair for free as well. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Woke up this morning to bucketloads of snow – I mean a LOT. Had to put on the man’s boots (who wears boots in L.A.?) and took the dog out. She seemed to enjoy hopping through the snow drifts but even she was too cold to stay out and do much of anything.

Also, big news…we are starting up Theme Fridays again. Jess, Christine and Panther will all be playing with me. I’m very jazzed, I’ve missed it and I hope you have too. This Friday we are back on it with the theme “Commuter” – hopefully it will be a great come back prompt.

Not much else happening, I will be back tomorrow and do a real post. Just wanted to say, hey…so, hey. Wink

Heads Up

I’m late, I’m late, I’m very, very late…. Oh my ears and whiskers…

Okay, so perhaps some of you have been wondering what the heck I’ve been up to lately – rightfully so, I’ve not been by your blogs (my bad) and haven’t been power posting much lately either… Well, sorry not going to tell you the specifics, but suffice to say that I have some plans for the future which are demanding my time right now, so I’m taking the rest of the week off of blogging (probably, unless I get a hair up my ass kind of post I can’t resist writing). Which means that we won’t have a Theme Friday post either (although Panther may do one, so check her blog out).

I have been a bad little blogger and I will someday make it up to one and all – but not this week.

I will try to get around to some of your places, if time allows – but I absolutely must get these things done if I have any hope of reaching my target for the thing I’m not telling you about. You see? Aren’t you glad I clarified that? I know I feel better.

So, wish me luck and I’ll see y’all next week. Otay? If you get lonely for me and my rapier wit, feel free to email or just dig through the archives – you might at least find a recipe you like, eh?

Love you guys.

The Ebay Skinny – Guest Post by Darla

Hi, my name is Darla of the Ultra Beauty Boutique blog, which Writer Chick calls “Free’s Beauty Shack. 😉 WC asked me to talk a little bit about my eBay success. So I thought I would start at the root of how it began.

I had just decided to null my contract with a multi-level marketing business I had been in for almost 15 years and I was selling off my prizes, extra products, samples, etc. At that time, I participated in a blog where I talked about how I was getting rid of all my of excess. I didn’t give eBay as a “job” a second thought until someone asked me to sell their stuff for them. I said, SURE and that started my consignment business.

Just so you know I no longer do consignment (for the most part) but will share with you the ins-and-outs of what I learned while doing it (I currently ONLY liquidate products).

1. Have EVERYTHING that you will and will not do in writing.

2. There will always be people who expect you to put their items first even if you tell them upfront you are a month behind.

3. Know EXACTLY what you will and will not take and in what condition (i.e. one of the last consignment jobs I did, I found the items were so filthy with mold and dirt that I had to literally scrape & Lysol wipe them off).

4. There will always be those people who will promise you they won’t try to micromanage you, but they will. Don’t be afraid to give the product right back to them at their expense. You are not their slave.

5. Some people have specific places to drop off consignment items, I chose to have people mail them to me, since many items come from quite a distance (longer than a car ride).

6. Decide upfront who pays the fees and the % or the fee you will charge per item.

7. Keep a detailed spreadsheet for the client, listing all fees, selling price, etc. so there is no question of your honesty. PERIOD.

8. There will always be people who think their items should bring more and want you to “pull” the auction toward the end. Decide early on that this is NOT the way to conduct your business. I would also strongly encourage you to put that in writing (I know it sounds like a no-brainer but trust me there are people out there who will try this trick).

The rules for being a trading assistant on eBay can be found here:

If you have any specific questions or suggestions (I’m sure I forgot something) you can leave me a comment here or e-mail me at darla@werlivingfree.com

(Thanks Darla, for those little tricks and tips – I never knew this stuff.)

Writerly Things

I just had one of those really stupid realizations, you know the kind I mean? Where you literally slap yourself in the head because it was so obvious, like why did it take two years? Yup – that’s the kind.

Although, I spend a lot of time yakking about writing and my writing dreams and how I want to publish and get an agent and be rich and famous and all that crap – I’ve never really done a post about writing itself. Okay, relax, this isn’t going to be an online workshop on story form or anything like that.

However, it did dawn on me that though not all bloggers are writers, many of them are and I thought I’d do a quick little post about some pretty groovy writer resources I’ve come across in recent times. So, those of you out there who are writers and want some good links – continue reading. Those of you looking for fart jokes …. I’ll see what I can do.

Currently, my number one, favorite writing link is C. Hope Clark’s Funds For Writers. She offers many things but also sends out a weekly enewsletter that is chockful of tips, articles and markets. I love this enewsletter and anxiously await it each week and comb everything possible I can from it.

Next up is Beth Erickson’s Mindset Moments – it’s a free little thing you can sign up for and you get daily little writerly inspirations. She also offers a good enewsletter that has markets and articles as well. Definitely worth the read.

Worldwide Freelance also offers an enewsletter, which is not nearly as good as Hope’s and Beth’s but often has good articles and nonfiction markets. Additionally, they have an onsite database for markets as well. Plus when you sign up for their newsletter you get a nice little free ebook on well paying markets. Definitely worth a look.

Writer’s Gazette is put out by Krista Barrett, who is an accomplished and published writer and also provides a free enewsletter with markets and articles. Sometimes it’s a little short but she is an enthusiastic person and clearly likes to help out her fellow writers.

Absolute Write is another who offers a free enewsletter and has articles and markets, plus they have other venues and resources that may be just what you are looking for.

Aspiring crime/mystery writers may like Crimes and Clues which offers lots of facts, tips and tricks on the crime trade. Great resource.

If you’re looking for an agent, you can try Agent Query. This was the first place I looked and though I didn’t find anyone they still have a very impressive database and it’s worth a look.

And of course, the list would not be complete without the standardbearer of the industry, Writer’s Digest is its own institution and has everything from books, writing prompts, news, and markets.

And finally, a great article on how to set your freelance fees.

I guess that just about does it. Have fun.

WC

Oh yeah, and here’s that fart joke:

Tips, Tricks & Things You Probably Didn’t Know

(H.T. to my friend Marli – personally, I can’t wait to try some of these. WC)

  • Peel a banana from the bottom and you won’t have to pick the little “stringy things” off of it. That’s how the primates do it.
  • Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.
  • Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!
  • Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
  • Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.
  • To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.
  • For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints indouble broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.
  • Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.
  • Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simple chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.
  • Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy No soggy micro pizza.
  • Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.
  • When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.
  • To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.
  • Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.
  • Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can’t see easily.
  • To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn’t hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it. (This really works for any leaf chewing varmits – I’ve tried it. WC)
  • To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
  • Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and — ta da! — static is gone.
  • Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
  • Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!
  • If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.
  • Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It’s also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn’t like when you tried it in your hair.
  • To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2″ with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!
  • Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it”home,” can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works & you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!
  • The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink, ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material. I’m sure you know what your dryer’s lint filter looks like. Well,…the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn’t go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that’s what burns out the heating unit. You can’t SEE the film, but it’s there It’s what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free — that nice fragrance too, you know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box, well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to catch fire & potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (& to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out & wash it with hot soapy water & an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long!

So, there you have it, a tip or trick for everyone. Enjoy! WC

Fire

Hi guys,

As you may have heard on the news, there are approximately 12 forest fires going strong here in Southern California. Unfortunately, several of them are rather nearby. The Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency and hopefully, we will have the National Guard and any other help we need to get the fires under control.

A few pictures:

The first one is a map that gives you the general locations of the fires. The others show various views from the fires. So far, 250,000 have been evacuated just from the San Diego area alone. Thousands of acres have been burned and our firefighters fight not just fire but up to 105 mile an hour Santa Ana winds, 0% humidity and dry brush. Hundreds of homes have been lost.

Say a little prayer for us, if you would. I’ll check back soon. I’m hoping against hope that we won’t be evacuated too.

Annie

Addendum:

If anyone is interested in helping here are a few links that you can follow:

http://www.directrelief.org/SupportUs/WaysToGive/WaysToGive.aspx

http://wcbstv.com/topstories/california.wildfire.donations.2.411576.html

http://networkforgood.blogspot.com/2007/10/southern-california-fires.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21444274/

Going For It

Hey Everybody,

I know I haven’t been around much lately, so I thought I’d give you a quick update of what I’ve been doing lately.
I have a bunch of agents to query this week – I may still try to post but I have 35 agents to hit and I want to get this done this week.
 
So…if you don’t see much of me, that’s where I am and what I’m doing.
 
Something has happened to me lately- maybe I’ve realized  how much I want this (to get published) or something. I don’t know. But last weekend, I spent 5 hours poring over lists of agents and came up with 35 to submit to. I know it’s a longshot, as is everything you really want in life but I’ll never know if I don’t try. And I really want to try. That’s probably the biggest change. Maybe in the past I’ve been satisfied with just writing. I do love to write and I do it all the time and it is satisfying. But now, it seems I also want to be read – widely. Is it an ego thing? I don’t know. I suppose it could be – but maybe it’s really just a natural progression. Maybe I’ve finally decided that maybe I have something to say and that maybe others would like to know about that. Or maybe that I’ve decided I’m good enough to give it a shot. It’s like the beautiful butterfly that weaves in and out of the garden though, if you just watch it – it will entertain you for hours – but if you try to catch it, it eludes you. I suppose that isn’t the best analogy but hopefully you get the idea.
 
While all my friends have been supportive and encouraging when it comes to writing – and frankly, that counts for a whole hell of a lot. I’ve had two friends in particular who have really helped push me over my apathy or whatever the heck it was who I want to say, thank you, to.

Thanks Jess, for the deadline, reading the novel, all the really great things you’ve said and all the good honest feedback. I don’t think I would have gotten the ball rolling if you hadn’t just jumped in and helped me push myself.

Thanks Andrea, for wanting to help. For calling me out of the blue and offering your marketing savvy and taskmastery to me. For believing in me and telling me you think I’m the ‘real deal’.

It’s amazing people – just having someone to tell me what to do (read guidance) has seemed to make all the difference. In less than a month I’ve completed the synopsis, the query, cleaned up the manuscript and found 35 agents, plus about 20 contests I want to enter. This week, I query agents. Next week, I tweak stories, the week after that, I enter contests – and so it goes.

Suddenly, I am a mean, lean writing/marketing machine and it feels frickin great. I’m loading up my computer with mega RAM, getting a laptop (used and cheap) as well. I haven’t made this kind of progress in years or maybe ever. The postage, paper and ink is probably gonna break me but I don’t care. It’s what I want.
 
And you want to know something really funny? One of the things that is really motivating me is that I want to start a new project – a new novel. And I guess I don’t feel that I can until I get this thing moving. Does that make sense? I had all but given up on it – weird huh?

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing and I’m really glad and thankful that I’m doing it. It will probably mean that the blogging won’t be as compulsive as it’s been, I may not post as much or visit as much. But I’ll still be around. You’ll still see me. And I’ll keep everyone updated on any and all progress – if you want me to.

And too, I wanted to thank all you guys – for coming and reading and commenting and encouraging me into thinking that there are people out there who want to read what I write. That there is some value there. It has meant the world to me. You’ve no idea how much all of you have made a difference in my life in that way. I love you all.

Annie

Pinch Hitter

Hey Everybody,

Yeah…I’m working on it…jeesh!

Just wanted to let you know that tomorrow my friend Jess Em will be pinch hitting for me. She has a very funny post which will be sure to amuse – and A-Mum make sure you aren’t drinking your cuppa when you read it.

She’s relatively new to our little blogosphere and a great find. She’s smart, sarcastic, funny and in a word, a hoot.

So, please give her a nice welcome, some encouraging comments and visit her site too. I promise, she’s dah bomb (why do I attempt to use modern slang? It always sounds so dumb coming from me. And probably that phrase is outdated by now anyway.)

Tune in tomorrow.

I’ll see you guys on Tuesday – providing I survive the synopsis. Cripes.

WC

PS: The picture really has nothing to do with this post, I just thought it was funny. Okay, okay, I’m going back to work now.