Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What about Janus?

Janus is the strange two-faced god of the Roman pre-Christian pagan religion for whom the month of January is named. He's an interesting god, for one thing because of his two faces. He looks both forward and backward simultaneously. He's also the god of doors, looking both inward and outward at the same time. Interestingly, he's a god that doesn't have a match in the Greek pantheon--the Romans came up with him on their own.

As we enter a new year, I think Janus has both advice and warnings for us. It's tempting to put all of our focus in one direction. Many of us want to put 2007 behind us and look for the future. Others seem stuck in the past and can't even give 2008 a side glance. Now, I'm not suggesting that we can really grow a second face on the backs of our head, but metaphorically there's something to be said for the attempt.

Every year, I make New Years resolutions--all of the things I'll do better this year. But I'm a forward-looker. One thing I have to force myself to do is actually look at last year's list. Why? Because I'm afraid I'll see the same things listed. It isn't really dwelling on our failures to learn from the past, though.

Well, Janus--I'm doing my best to balance the past and future. Now maybe you'll open some new doors for me.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope 2008 will be wonderful for you and open new doors for all of us.

Rob Preece
Publisher, www.BooksForABuck.com
Affordable Electronic Fiction

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tradewinds Blog

Since I started the post on New Beginnings, I'd like to add I am starting a brand new promotional beginning for my Young Adult novel, The Rock of Realm. All week my book is the Book of the Week on the Publishing Info blog at:

If you have a chance, stop by. Each day there will be a different aspect and theme on my book and I'll be available all week long to answer questions.

Lea Schizas

New Beginnings

For my 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I decided to do something we've always wanted to do--get tattoos.

He got a band around his arm and I got a colorful butterfly on my left side shoulder blade.

Why a butterfly? Because to me a butterfly means change...blooming from a cocoon to something different.

As I reflect in my life, I've changed a few careers: fulltime head bank teller, fulltime student in cosmetology, hairdresser, fulltime business owner of a salon and now my last career- fulltime writer/editor.

So although I may not actually fly like a butterfly I do soar in what I try to achieve in my life. I always look toward the future and try to aim for my goal in life.

So for 2008, my goals to achieve are:

to finish the second novel in my Rock of Realm series
to finish two children's picture books
to finish my middle grade chapter book.

Stay tuned for updates on these goals

Lea Schizas

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Confessions of a non-shopper

My name is Karina Fabian, and I don't like to shop.

There. I've said it. It's out in the open for all to see: I am an affluent woman who thinks spending hours in the Mall looking for that perfect sweater is second only to the experience of sitting in the waiting room, anticipating root canal. Or trying to work with Microsoft Office 2007--but nothing can really compare to that torture.

It's not that I have anything against getting new stuff, but I already have so much old stuff that adding to the menagerie feels...oppressive, somehow. It's even more true since we're in the military and need to pack, ship, unpack and put away the entire house every one to five years. Stuff means hassle. In fact, in our house, we go through a quarterly "culling." We get rid of one item in four or five. This mostly applies to clothes, books and toys, but somehow, we never run out!

My mode of shopping is this: wait until I need something. If it's technical, get Rob to research it on the Internet. Wemble for a couple of weeks about whether I really need it. Go to the store and buy it. Occasionally, I'll wander about the store, out of some misplaced feeling of guilt or obligation, I suppose, but otherwise, it's in
and out.

When I was in the Air Force and stationed in Japan, I had the chance to go to Korea for a conference with another (male) officer. Naturally, we were told we HAD to take an evening to shop the markets. Markets are a lot more fun than Malls, yet I could go into a stall, gaze about, decide it didn't interest me, and move on. My friend announced that he thought all women should shop like me.

There are two exceptions to my usual shopping style: when I need an outfit and when I'm shopping with the kids. I'm a very picky shopper about clothes and for some reason, my body seems to defy normal sizing--outfits are too revealing or too short, too tight in the wrong places or just look odd on me. So I can grab a dozen things off the rack and reject them all in the dressing room. Fortunately, my tastes are timeless, so most of my clothes are stylish even a decade later. Now if my body had just remained the same size as a decade ago...

My new size has nothing to do with kids--I got to 120 after my fourth was born, then put on 35 pounds after he turned two--but they have changed my shopping. Kids have needs and wants and in our house, money, so many times, we'd be on a shopping spree so they could spend allowance or gift money. I know they enjoy it, but two minutes in the toy aisle, I'm ready to bolt. They see the newest Pokemon Chibibananarokian playing figurine; I see a $10 piece of plastic that will be in two pieces, each in separate parts of the house, within a week.

I'm a very blessed woman. I don't lack for stuff, and I don't have the desire for more stuff. The only time this ever seems to be a problem is during the holidays, when my husband and family are tortured to find the perfect gift for the woman who doesn't want things.

I keep hoping they'll pool their funds and get me a PR firm. Or how about a housekeeper? That'd be nice.

Someone to keep track of the stuff we do have.

Karina Fabian writes fantasy and science fiction that seldom have anything to do with shopping. Check out her stuff at www.fabianspace.com.