Spam Requests

Like most people, I have a spam file on my computer that gets dozens of messages every day. Lots are political, others are advertisements, etc., etc.

They’re a bit irritating, but we see advertising everywhere. And it’s a simple thing to glance through the junk file in case there’s a ‘real’ message in it by mistake, then to click a button and delete the rest.

But the really irritating ones are the Facebook friend requests.

Most of those are from pages with nothing but photos of a “handsome” man, often holding a cute little kid or animal, or wearing a military uniform.

Of course I’m not stupid enough to accept any of them, but they keep coming, and I have to open them in order to access the button to block them.

What are the most irritating things that arrive in your inbox?

Too Many Books!

Of course, as one of my tee shirts says, there’s no such thing as too many books. But I often blog about books I especially like for kids, and this week I can’t choose between four of them. They’re all fairly new because my local library got quite a few new books recently.

Have Sword, Will Travel by Garth Nix and Sean Williams is sci-fi. I love that the magic, talking swords have personalities. Of course the human characters do too, and they have an exciting adventure.

Who Killed Darius Drake by Norman Philbrick is about a geeky kid who gets swept into solving a mystery. Kids can identify with all the characters in this book, and the plot is fascinating.

Another of these good books is Betty Before X. It’s a fictionalized biography of the childhood of a girl who grows up to become the wife of Malcom X, and the book brings the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1940s to life.

And How Oscar Indigo Broke The Universe (And Put It Back Together Again) Is a fun science fiction story about baseball that takes place in today’s world. Kids who enjoy sports and/or sci-fi will love this book.

Now I need to head back out to the Library and find some more good books.

Busy, Busy, Busy

I’m overwhelmed with all the things coming up in the month of March.

Most of them are good things – VERY good, but they’ll all take a lot of time.

I’ll have a book signing, attend a writers’ conference, have some work done on my house, take a class, visit some relatives, etc., etc., etc.

And those are all in addition to my usual meetings and activities.

To top it all off, I’m planing to start a home preschool and will begin advertising that and, hopefully, interviewing parents toward the end of the month.

March should be fun and wonderful, assuming I survive. 😉

I hope March is a great month for everyone. What are your plans?

Tech Stuff

Hundreds of years ago it was unlikely to hear from people who lived far away and, if there was any communication, it could take months to arrive.
The railroads and pony express speeded that process up, and most people were literate when those were developed.
Then came air mail, so we could send letters and assume they’d be delivered in a matter of days. and we could telephone people who lived hundreds of miles away and talk with them right away, or leave a message if they weren’t home, although long distance calls were expensive.
Now we have the internet and cell phones. What a difference! We can communicate with each other almost anywhere or any time.
But wait. There’s more.
Soon we may have brain implants that allow us to communicate instantly. But do we really want other people to know what we’re thinking? Just imagine the advertising that could be poured into our minds constantly.
And I mentioned before that some world government might take over the airwaves and control us all like in the old, Sci-fi novel, 1984. (Of course the advertisers are already trying to do that.)

Violence

This is quite a switch from the topic of my last blog post, which was Love.
Violence is force used to injure or damage, and we’re seeing more and more of that lately.
I wonder if one reason so many people are doing mass shootings lately is because they relish the publicity that results. Even if they’re arrested or killed themselves, they believe they’ll be famous and remembered forever.
Some of them may want revenge while others believe they’re serving a noble cause.
Of course there’s no way acts of violence could be ignored by the media, and we need to be warned about dangers so we can be prepared.
But just think of how pathetic a person must be if the only way they can feel proud is to do something like that.
And imagine how terrible their parents, teachers, and others who tried to help them in the past must feel.
I’m a big fan of Izzy Kalman’s techniques for handling bullying. He shares those at www.bullies2buddies.com
If schools taught the methods he suggests there would be much less likelihood of people loosing control and attacking others.

Love

Since today is both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) lots of people are thinking about love today.

My college psychology professor taught us this definition of love: “When the happiness and well-being of another is essential to one’s own happiness and well-being a state of love exists.”

On Valentine’s Day romantic love gets lots of publicity, but Valentine became a saint because of his love for people shown by acts of kindness.

For a marriage to be happy and lasting people need both kinds of love, but the whole world needs the other kind.

As the old song says, “What the word needs now is love, sweet love.”

I hope we can all do a better job of loving each other from now on.

Facebook

Back in 2009 when my first book was under contract to be published I joined Facebook. I understood that was a great way to market books.

It wasn’t long before I had about 2000 Facebook “friends,” but most of them were either people I was already in contact with, or other authors who wanted me to buy their books.

But even though Facebook hasn’t worked well for me as a marketing tool, I enjoy using it to keep in touch with old friends, family members who live far away, and other writers I’ve met at conferences.

But now Facebook has changed how it works and, like many other people, I’m not happy with the changes.

I understand only people who respond to posts with more than simply ‘liking’ them will continue to be able to see things from the person who writes them.

I’ve had dozens of people asking me to respond to their posts with a word so they can stay connected, but that will only last for a while. I don’t know how often we’ll need to reply to each person we want to stay in touch with before we loose contact with them on Facebook. Maybe once a month?

But how can I go to all 2000 of my ‘Friends’ and type something even once, much less again and again.

And maybe a lot of people will leave Facebook because of this change.

I wish they would go back to the way things used to be.

Imagination

“Oh, Janet, you have SUCH an imagination!”

I often heard those words from mother when I was a kid.

I loved to play pretending games with the kids in my neighborhood or at home with my dolls and stuffed animals.

When I was  little I even had an imaginary friend.

And I loved how radio shows and books carried me away to imaginary worlds.

Confession: I still have an active imagination, and it will probably never go away. That’s why I love writing and working with kids. Guess I’m still a kid on the inside and I hope that never changes.

Do you still use your imagination?

World Without Synthetics

Although plastics and synthetic materials didn’t become common until after World War II, some of them had been invented decades earlier.

But now, they’re everywhere.

Okay, here goes my writerly imagination at work again: what would happen if they were all to suddenly disappear?

People would be walking around naked, or with transparent clothes.

Vehicles would fall apart.

Paint would disappear from buildings and, without insulation, electricity would start millions of fires.
Of course phones and most electronic devices would be reduced to a few metal parts so no-one could call for help and no fire fighting equipment would work anyway.

I could go on and on listing things that would no longer exist if synthetics disappeared.

Only some people in third world countries would be saved from all the disasters.

Now that could be a setting for a story about the future. Hmmmm……

Flying Cars?

Last week I was caught in commuter traffic on the freeway. We were moving at about ten miles an hour and there were cars lined up in both directions as far as I could see.

For a moment I wished I had a flying car and could soar home above them, but then I thought, “What if all these cars were flying?”

That would be terrible!

Can you imagine the number of traffic accidents that would happen in the sky? They’d probably all be fatal since the vehicles would fall to the ground.

And the cars wouldn’t stay in lines as they do on freeways, but would spread out all over, so smashed vehicles would be falling onto houses and buildings.

Some cars would fly higher than others, so accidents from there would be far worse than those closer to the ground.

With airplanes, there’s traffic control from airports, but the flying cars wouldn’t have anything like that.
I hate being stuck in traffic jams, but that’s definitely preferable to having thousands of flying cars in the sky.