Saturday, September 30, 2006

Shade Garden Done and other stuff

Yup, I finished the socks last night. Because I was down to the decrease on the toes, I forged ahead and finished them. They did come out very pretty, but kick me in the butt if I ever get another yarn with really dark colors in it.

So I started the next pair which is in complete opposition to what I'm doing now. Lorna's Laces in Sherbet. Bubblegum pink and sherbet orange, all twined around each other. It looks like these colors are going to spiral down the foot, but I don't care. It's going to look nice. I'm doing a needleless cable w/ k2, p2 for four rows and then st st for 4 rows. Looking really nice.

If I remember correctly, I have one more bunch of yarn in my stash and that's Anne Schaeffer. Oh no, one more. I still have that cashmere/silk mix that I'd gotten about a year and a half ago. A plain oatmeal color that I've never decided what to do with. I did begin a toe-up sock with it way back when, but I don't like it anymore. Not since I went back to doing cuff down socks. I s'pose I'll have to frog the whole thing and start over with something new, but I don't want to do just anything when we're talking cashmere/silk.

And I still haven't heard back from Country Yarns. That's the store/group who did the spinning display at the Durham Fair and I saw where they gave spinning classes over the summer. I wrote to them and asked if they'd planned on any spinning classes for this fall, but they haven't gotten back to me on that one. I want to try a drop spindle and also try my hand at a spinning wheel before I go investing $500 or more on a wheel.

OTOH, a friend of mine has been haunting some auctions. And he said he'll keep his eyes open if a wheel shows up. I don't see where a LOT of people would be bidding on a wheel if they're not into spinning, so if he can get me one, he's going to bid. But that's down the road. First, I have to keep spinning away with my Rakestraw. (Between all the hours I spent knitting and spinning during the week, my arm is sore as all get-out. I thought my muscles knew they were there before I started, but I'm finding out I had a few stored in that arm that have probably never been called into action until now... LOL!)

In the meantime, I'm making progress with my plan for world domination and a boatload of cash. What's funny is that I know the people who read this keep saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah... yet another scam." Taking advantage of people and bilking money off your friends and they couldn't be more wrong. You know why? Because this opportunity is ideal given the technology that's being developed and being put into the marketplace right now. I recognized that.

Do you know that, if you'd invested $10,000 in Microsoft stock back in 1984 (when Bill Gates was at the top of everyone's "yeah he's just a geek and he'll never make money" list), you'd be sitting on over $2,000,000 right now? I do have to admit that my wonderful DH knew this. He predicted that Bill Gates would be a multi-millionaire before the decade was out. Millionaire nothing. Gates was a multi-billionaire.

And I'm sitting on something that's just as good as what Gates had back then. Like I said before, read Frank Feather's books called and Biznets. He says that Quixtar _will_ be the business of the future. All you've gotta do is contact me and I'll show you exactly what I'm putting together. Join the team and make a boatload of cash.

But you know why people won't do it? First is because anytime a new idea comes along, 84% of the population is going to sit around on their accolades and wait to see what everyone else is going to do. They're going to hang back until it's too late to actually make some real money. Another 14% of the people look at a new idea and say, yeah, well... They'll adapt and they'll use the technology before the other 84% so they'll make some money, but they're not the ones who are going to make themselves independent and financially free from another job. Me? I'm looking for those who are left. 2% of the people will be pioneers. They'll see the innovation for what it is and they'll jump in and actually set the standard and lead the trend into the new generation and they'll make TONS of money by embracing that future and being _in place_ before everyone else gets there.

Scam? Taking advantage of my friends? Dead wrong. What I'm trying to do is introduce them to a gift that's been given to me and carry them along with me while I create an income that's going to allow me to live without the burden of a 9-to-5. This whole concept is going to snowball in the next 5 years and I'm going to be one of the ones who's helping it roll down that hill. The question is if you want to be part of the team that's creating an avalanche.

I haven't spent one penny that I wasn't already spending (in fact, with the way I'm beginning to pay down my past bills, I'm spending even less) and I'm earning a commission for doing this. Quixtar taught me how to set up a toll booth on the Internet and earn a commission for buying all the stuff I was buying anyway. Am I rich yet? Heck no. This is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. To truly be rich takes time and effort. I've only been involved for three and a half months. But I can tell you this. Four months ago I was making nothing in return for spending our hard-earned money. And, in three months, I've increased my earnings 5 times. My 2nd month was double my first month's commission. This past month was _5_ times my first month. Will it be 10 times by my sixth month? I don't know yet, but I can't wait to see.

Is there disappointment and discouragement? Sure. I've been told "no" by people who see this as a scam. You know what? I see them as part of that 84%. They're waiting to see what happens down the road. Problem is, by the time they see that far down the road, 50% of the population will already be in and the money I'm making won't be there for them because they missed the boat of financial freedom. But I won't shrug my shoulders and pooh-pooh. I'll do everything I can to help them at that point, but I won't be able to guarantee the potential that's sitting in this business now.

Why do I come out on the Internet and talk about this stuff? Because I've been part of many online communities. I honestly believe that anyone who's reading my blog (and, man, haven't you got better things to do?!?!?) is nothing more than a friend I haven't met yet. We're not nameless, faceless strangers (though I haven't been able to figure out how to put pics on my blog yet ) with no connection. We're all people with dreams and hopes and some kind of shared interest or you wouldn't keep reading.

What are my dreams? I want to take a balloon ride in Arizona and watch the sun set on the desert. I want to stand on the Great Wall of China and take a picture of one of the biggest countries on Earth. I want to take a cruise to Alaska and watch a glacier break off into the ocean because it's overcrowded the land it's covering during the the day and actually see the Northern Lights for myself at night. (My Dad swore they were the most incredible sight on Earth and I want to see them for myself before my life is over so I can compare notes with him when I meet him again in Heaven... er, that's assuming they let me in the Pearly Gates. We might have to compare notes through the fenceposts. ) I want to vacation on the Seychelles and wade from one island to the next for lunch and then swim back for dinner.

What are your dreams? Does it really matter? I want to help you make those dreams come true. Because, in helping you, I help me. If you don't succeed, I don't succeed. It's that simple and that plain. Wouldn't it be sweet to have a "boss" who actually wants to see you succeed? Think about those work meetings right now. Major CYA going on. You know what that means. Everyone is yelling and screaming and trying to find someone to point the finger at. That's current corporate America. Sad, isn't it? You spend your entire career trying to blame someone else when things go wrong. Wouldn't it be nice, just once, to have the boss apologize when something goes wrong and take responsibility because he didn't do right by you? Well, if you don't do well, then it's my fault and I know it.

So, the question is, are you a 2-percenter? I don't want the 98% who are sitting around and waiting for someone to hand them something. I'm looking for the pioneers and the innovators. The ones who are going to recognize the potential and set the trend. Take this system, which is already well-established and working, and run with it. I can show you how.

My next topic is going to be a good one. Let's address the naysayers and the armchair warriors. What they're saying and why they're wrong.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Four years...

I asked in a post prior to this if you've ever thought about where you'll be and what you'll be doing in five years. Okay, how about four?

As usual, I was listening to a CD yesterday and the guy made a point that I feel is valid. It's funny that parents will applaud and hug their children if they sign up for a tour in the service in order to get a free education at the end of it. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a service brat. My Dad spent 22 years in the Coast Guard, my brother did tours with both the Navy and the Army Reserves. I have a cousin who was a bubblehead and another who was a Marine. My brother's ex-wife was in the Navy. I dated servicemen and even had a ride into the Coast Guard Academy if I'd simply said the "word".

I believe, wholeheartedly, that we need to defend our country and our people. I believe we're the first line of defense when it comes to defending the freedom of all peoples around the world. Our men and women have fought for democracy for over three hundred years and that ideal is more precious to any of us than we give them credit for.

But there are a LOT of people out there who signed up simply to get a free education at the end. They get some of the smallest paychecks our country can hand out and live in poverty to protect the very freedoms we enjoy and I salute them every day of my life.

But if I told you that you could take that same dedication for four years and set yourself up for life and potentially never have to work another day, you'd tell me I'm crazy. And my question is "Why?"

I looked down the road four, five years and I don't want to be doing what I'm doing now. If what I was doing was so terrific, I wouldn't have been looking for another way out. My husband wouldn't get up with dread each morning of what he'll find waiting when he gets into work. (He's in charge of the maintenance dept and, let's face it, folks, he's nothing more than a firefighter. You know why? Because he spends all day putting out the fires that others have started... )

In four years, we're both going to be 50 years old. Yikes!!!! Do I still want him doing what he's doing with dread and long teeth? Nope. Do I still want to be putting on a uniform to watch a passel of students take off to class every day? Nope. Part of me wants to ask each and every one of them, "Sure, you're getting an education. But will you truly be prepared to work until the day you die?"

Nope. I'm sure they don't. And I surely don't want to either. I'd much rather work very hard right now in a positive environment, surrounded by people who are positive and optimistic (rather than pessimistic and disgruntled) and find that path to financial freedom.

And you're first reaction will be that it simply can't work. Hmm.... I'm thinking. But have you truly tried? I've seen it work. I've met the people who are now living on easy street. How can you (or I, for that matter) naysay when I've actually seen it work. All I need to do is be willing to invest my time and efforts and I could have the same results.

The choice is mine. And I choose to work and invest my time. The question is if you're willing to do the same.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I'm writing this before I put a title on it because I haven't a clue what to call it yet. I usually figure it out by the time I've finished writing because, with my twisted way of thinking and warped sense of linear anything, I never end up where I begin and trains of thought can twist and turn in any direction at any given time.

So, what's new?

Well, I've definitely determined that knitting on dark yarn at night without a strong spotlight is near impossible. I'm working on a pair of socks in Lisa Souza's Shade Garden yarn. It's very pretty in that it mixes purples and greens, but the dark ends of the spectrum are nearly black. And I simply look at the previous row when determining if I have to decrease on a row or not and I can't see it....

Am I getting old and the eyes are beginning to fail or is this a generic problem that I never encountered before? Does it matter is probably the more important question. I'm not one to knit with a lot of dark colors to begin with. I like bright and neon if given a preference, so this isn't an issue that's ever come up a lot in my knitting career. Prior to knitting a lot, I did a lot of crocheting and looking back was never an issue with that because I simply kept moving...

Anyway, so I've determined that this pair of socks will have to be worked on strictly at work during the daylight hours. (The yarn is prettier to my eye in the daylight anyway, so this is probably a good thing. When working at night, you can't see the lovely and subtle variations from dark evergreen to dark purple and I tend to get discouraged and tell myself that I really don't like the colors at all. So this is all good in that I'll have to work it during the day. )

The other thing that's occurred to me in the past couple days is that I want to learn how to spin with a drop spindle and I definitely want a spinning wheel. The latter is going to take a lot of time to save for. (Cheapest one that's caught my eye is the Lendrum traditional which runs about $600, so it'll probably be at least a year before I get my hands on one of those. Get into the higher price ranges -- and these suckers can run in the thousands of dollars -- and I might never see one... ) But you can pick up a drop spindle for about $40 or so. And I adore the idea of taking raw roving and turning it into the yarn for socks (though it's going to take me some serious time to learn to get it even and smooth and small enough to ply two strands into something I'd want to knit into socks ). Anyway, but take the yarn and then dye it myself so I can do my own bright and neon colors.

I'm still hoping to try dyeing. I have some undyed yarn, but the weekends keep flying away from me. I have all the ingredients, but somehow never get the time to do the actual dyeing. Maybe this weekend? Even though I have a meeting on Saturday morning and work on Sunday morning, I'm hoping to plan ahead. The actual dyeing doesn't take any time at all. I just keep forgetting to soak the wool ahead of time and then it'll need time to dry. I can just hang it in the basement for that. It's remembering to soak the stuff first. (And getting dishes out of my sink long enough... LOL!)

Course, you don't want that rant. I cooked last night, so the deal in our house is, whoever cooks doesn't have to wash afterwards. Well, I cooked. YD (youngest daughter) announced that she wasn't doing dishes and walked away. OD (Oldest daughter) said she'd do it after homework, etc.

Uh huh. Dishes still in the sink this morning. I'm NOT doing them. I'm on strike.

Wonder if that'll make a difference by the time I get home tonight...?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Durham Fair et al

I have to start with the Durham Fair. ( Biggest "country fair" in the state and probably in New England if you ignore the Big E (which is our shorthand for the Eastern States Exposition). I got to actually watch a woman use a drop spindle. Okay, it would take tons of practice in order to learn how to do it so easily and keep the yarn so smooth and regular, but I've only been spinning for a total of four days now. What? I expect to be an expert in just four days? Yeah, right. It never happened before, so I can't expect that to happen now...

Anyway, she had a drop spindle that she used to make little yarn bracelets for the kids who'd come up to her. But she spent most of her time relaxing with her Lendrum spinning wheel. Oh yeah, I could see me sitting for the evening in my living room and spinning the evening away. I still have that secret burning desire to open a yarn shop. I could see me spending my days, knitting and teaching others to enjoy the craft, and then coming home in the evenings to spin up some new yarn to knit into socks later.

Shawls, socks, hats, mittens, sweaters. Lots and lots of fiber to play with and then knit up into gorgeous projects. Hmm... definitely would be the life for me. My inspiration to get my business up and running. Use that to support my "habit". Be able to travel around to the biggest fiber and yarn fairs and try out new products. I could learn all kinds of new techniques and bring them back to Connecticut so I could run classes and teach new generations to enjoy the craft that I've done for the last thirty or so years.

Yup, what a goal.

Anyway, I promised the story about how I got in the acknowledgements of Laurell's books. Well, it begins because Eve Ackerman told me I simply had to read Laurell's books. I enjoy vampires and blood, guts and gore doesn't faze me in the least. So I tried her first couple books. (Laurell had only released 3 or 4 at the time.) And, at the same time, I was the section leader for the Horror Section in the Literary Forum because Gaby had gone off to college. And all anyone wanted to talk about was Stephen King. Okay, not exactly unknown, but there are other authors out there, folks. (This is also when Stephen King used to hang out in the LitForum, but that was discussed in a previous post.) Anyway, so I'm one of those weird people who actually read acknowledgements. And I saw the name Ricia Mainhardt. And I knew she was an agent.

So I wrote a letter to Laurell through Ricia. Sending "fan mail" to a publisher can get you lost in the fold, so I took an alternate route and wrote through Ricia. I invited Laurell to come online as a guest author in the Horror Section if she was connected to the Internet. I'd discussed it with the owner of the forum and we could have arranged a guest account and all that stuff. Well, Laurell was so surprised at the roundabout way that I'd written to her that she called me one night.

I was surprised, but we started chatting. About books and characters and why on Earth I would recognize an agent's name. (Because I was attempting to be a writer myself in those days and I'd actually submitted something to Ricia.) Well, one thing led to another and Laurell and I became friends of a sort. She'd call me every couple weeks and we'd chat. She was hoping to grab the romance audience for her books and asked me how far she could push the "envelope" in the sex department. So I recommended some authors that I knew were pushing the edge during those days (Anne Stuart and Linda Howard come to mind) and Laurell did her research for book six, The Killing Dance. Hence, she acknowledged me and we know for what scene if you've read the book.

Then, for book eight, Burnt Offerings, I sort of burst her bubble. She had her victim in a room with high oxygen content and she wanted to take a shot and have it blow up. I told her she had to be careful. Oxygen burns, but doesn't exactly explode. Also, if the environment is too rich with oxygen, it actually won't burn. So she had to reconfigure her scene, but gave me credit for helping her with it.

Lovely woman and I got her fan club off the ground with a newsletter sent via email. I did that for about a year before Darla took over because I'd begun Dreams Unlimited and that was sucking more and more time out of my schedule. But I adore Laurell and Darla in that they still give me credit on the fan site for getting it off the ground.

Okay, I'm off to finally get to that laundry. Hubby has underwear now, but I have to deal with the jeans and shirts and those uniforms I'd love to turn in. Hopefully I could get together with some friends today and plot some more world domination. I also have to drop a note to my cousin. She's pregnant with her first and I got her a gift catalog of baby stuff. I hope there's something she'd like that they haven't bought yet. I'd also like to get to know her better. She's lived in CT for about 10 years now and even teaches in the school system in my town, but we never really got the chance to get to know each other. Let's face it, I'm about 20 years older than she is. But she's a lovely girl and if I can help out, I'd love to. My family is so widespread and yet we never get together for anything. Having lost my Dad just a few short months ago, I've begun to realize that family is important. If I don't stay in touch, someday it'll be me and my brother and we'll be all each other has. There's more of us out there. Cousins we used to be close with whom I haven't seen in years. It just feels weird to pick up the phone and say, "hey!" after such a long time. OTOH, if I don't do it, who will? Why wait when my fingers ain't broke and I've never incurreed grave injury by dialing a number.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. They could reject the offer, but then we return to our respective lives and nothing is lost. If they agree to an evening chat, though, we could re-establish a relationship we once had.

Whatcha think?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Another day, another 50 cents...

Well, I tried spinning at work on Thursday, but it wasn't that easy. I can definitely see spinning while sitting in the passenger seat, but it's not meant to be done by a right-handed person while sitting in the driver's seat. I had to put the window down to get enough room to extend my arm to... what's the terminology? I think it's to draft the spin? I haven't got a clue, except it was to get the spin I put into the yarn up further. Well, either way, it had to look pretty funny to see this arm extend out the window with a few fibers from the hand and then watch it spin up.

I normally get some strange looks as the kids pass by me. A few have asked how I can knit on socks while watching the traffic go by, but that's the easy stuff. If I could learn how to post pics to my site (when YD - youngest daughter - wakes up, I'm going to nail her @s.... er, tushie to the chair until she shows me how she does it so easily... ), I could show you why it's so darned easy. I do very plain, very vanilla socks. Since my colors are almost all variegated, I keep the designs simple. Simple means I don't have to think about what I'm doing. Not thinking is what gets me into trouble, though...

Let's face it. I get bored. So I start thinking about things I could be doing rather than all the stuff I'm not doing. I was talking with Mom yesterday (yup, I spend hours on the cell phone rather than falling asleep) and was telling her some of my ideas for one of the programs through my business. It's called the Gift & Incentive Program. It uses the catch phrase of "give the gift of choice". I say it's a lot easier to just tell people to stop buying those durned white elephants and let people choose what they want.

For those who haven't a clue, a white elephant is that gift you give someone because you think it's perfect, but it's an item that will never be displayed on a shelf in their house and will have a place of honor someday on the center table when they run a tag sale. You paid good money, probably $50 or more, but they'll be lucky if they can palm it off on someone for $5 at that yard sale.

In this program, you pay for the gift upfront, but you buy a catalog of choices. There's probably 10 pages or so of items they can select from. IOW, they choose what they want and either log onto the site on the Net or use an 800 number they can call and simply pick the item and tell the company where to send it. It's all paid for, including the shipping costs, but there are no prices attached to the catalog so no one knows what you've paid. And it's actually less expensive than most people think when they look at the catalog. The gifts range in price from $20 to over $500. You can even purchase vacations. Imagine giving your parents a 3-day, 2-night vacation for their wedding anniversary? Wow. They'd be impressed. And it's not as expensive as you'd think. You can get one of those for $240.00.

Before I forget, my website is Blatant advertising here, but check it out and help me help you so I can dump this drag of a job... LOL!

Anyway, I have all sorts of ideas for this and was telling Mom that I'm literally beginning to resent sitting at work while I could be out selling this program. Problem was that she agreed with me... I shouldn't complain. Everyone tells me to enjoy being paid to sit around and do next to nothing, but I wasn't raised to just sit around and do nothing. That's why I knit and read and plot my next path of world domination while I sit... LOL!

Another great rediscovery. While sitting the last two days, I reread the first book, Into The Dark Lands of The Sundered series by Michelle Sagara (West). Wow, what a terrific story. I actually have a copy of her first printing. This is a series that was recommended by a great friend, Eve Ackerman, and it took me almost two years to track down all the books. (There are 4 in total.) This is also the series that seriously brought forth the idea of a true marriage between romance and SF which later resulted in the creation of the epublishing company, Dreams Unlimited. Michelle's touch is so soft with the romance in this book that it keeps me absolutely glued to the pages. When Stafanos asks, "Would it bother you if I remain?".... WOW!

And the books are finally being re-released. They were out of print when I first read them, hence the reason it took me almost two years to find them all, but they're being re-released. Woohoo!!! They haven't released the last book yet, but I highly recommend the first three so you can drool until they release the fourth. (And, if you look carefully, you can get the fourth from the original printings for almost $100 on Amazon.) I hope they do because this series is well worth the time and the price of a couple paperbacks.

I can also highly recommend No Quarter by Tanya Huff. I'm never quite sure if I like the other books in the Quarter series, but this one is outstanding. Complex and yet another subtle touch in the romance department that underlies the main story.

What else can I recommend since I've switched over to the subject of books? Anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Connie Brockway (I adore her oxymoronic use of language. It's almost poetic.), and of course, for the more direct and humorous, you can't beat the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. If you want something that's very non-subtle, you can read Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. Laurell's good people and I'm glad she's finally getting the recognition she deserves, but don't try to read her books back to back. Her style of writing is very direct and blunt. All of her books have a ticking clock (time is short) and her style can literally wear you down and make you tired if you try to read them all in one huge chunk. I adore her (note to self: Have to tell the story how I got into the acknowledgements of book 6, The Killing Dance and book 8, Burnt Offerings.) but I can't read them back to back without feeling like I've just been put through a spin.

Hubby is out of underwear, so I guess it'll be laundry today. Wow, do I live an exciting life or what?!?

Thursday, September 21, 2006


You know, I haven't said a word about life in general and what's going on. Well, last night I found a wonderful surprise in my mailbox. I received my new Rakestraw Spinner ( I tried it out last night and it's definitely a lot harder than it looks, but Toni Neil, a wonderful woman who runs The Fold ( had sent me some fiber so I could get the hang of this.

It's going to take a while, but I was telling youngest daughter that it would be way too much fun to get some fiber, spin up the yarn myself, dye it with Daughter's wonderful eye for color and then knit it up into socks for somebody in the family to wear.

At one time, I thought it would also be neat to wash and card raw wool and turn it into the fiber, but I think that's definitely pushing my luck. Considering I have some allergy problems with certain wools, let's not start with raw product that could land me in an ER somewhere...

Now, in the meantime, I have a plan for the gift and incentive program through the business. Why not go around to various locations that do wedding receptions and see if they'd like to add a gift album as part of their contract. I could just see it now... The business manager signs the contract with the prospective couple (or the parents) and as they shake hands, s/he says, "It's wonderful doing business with you and I'd like to offer you your first wedding gift." and s/he hands them the album where they can choose their own gift. Lots of choices from a Waterford crystal punch bowl to an expresso maker. Good stuff.

I mean, if they'd like to do something more, they could offer them a 2-day, 2-night vacation package, but the wedding album would be just as special. That would certainly be special and would create word-of-mouth advertising for them.

If you want to check out the albums and what's available (since Christmas is coming and what do you get those people who you need to buy for but haven't got a clue what to get?!?!), you can go to my site at and check out the various albums. Some very kewl stuff. I've already done albums for myself. I bought the teen album for my youngest nephew who's 16th birthday is today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TIMMY!!!!!!!) and another for my oldest nephew whose birthday was back in July. I know Chris loved his album. I just hope Timmy loves his also.

Okay, back at another time. Have to drive the girls into school this morning and haven't done my lunch yet. I'm taking my spinner with me and see if I can practice my gyrations...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Get Rich Quick -- tsk, tsk, tsk....

I was real tempted to delete that comment from my last posting, but then I wouldn't have a chance to rebut or refute it. Definitely not someone who's willing to work for money earned and wanting a "quick fix" for a cash-strapped situation.

Do you know where the term "get rich quick" came from? From the days of the Gold Rush in California (and then repeated when gold was found in the Yukon). People sold their homes and moved their families into tent towns, spending up to 20 hours a day panning rocks and silt in order to get rich quick on a few nuggets (if they were lucky) of metal.

That's not where the money was made, dearest. The real money was made by the people who created the towns and sold the everyday consumable products to the dreamers who went swarming into the hills. They set up shop and sold tents and shovels and picks and beef jerky so the guys in the hills had a place to get out of the rain and food to gnaw on while waiting to make their fortunes. The guys in the hills went broke and the guys who stayed and created the towns got rich.

Prior to that time, people didn't believe in "get rich quick". They knew they'd have to work for a paycheck and hopefully make enough to feed their family. We've lost the concept of building and developing a business. We've lost the concept of work.

The opportunity I talk about is something that you can develop over time. It's something that builds on itself and grows in direct proportion to the effort you put into it. The beauty of the system I'm working with is that I don't have to quit my day job to do it. The investment is nominal and my goal is to replace my current job with the income I can make from this new one so I'll have more time to invest where I want it to go. And the thing is... there's no cap on what you can make. No ceiling. Keep building your business and you'll make more money. It's that simple. And, in the meantime, my income is growing because I'm part of a team. When my time is limited, I know the other people on my team are picking up the slack. When they're crunched for time, they can depend on me to pick up the slack. And we all benefit from each other's efforts.

Instead of the ole dog-eat-dog world that we've somehow turned into (isn't it sad?), I have a team to depend on to help me out when I'm down and I get to build them up when they've had a tough day.

Off to work for the day. The girls have a dinner thing after practice today, so I'm hoping to grab the computer and post some more before they get home...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Only the future is manageable...

Isn't that a great quote? I haven't got a clue who said it, but it really is true. Think about it. The past is done, over. If you really listen to people talk, you'll hear a lot of them bemoaning the fact that "they wish they knew back then..." Kinda like my hubby who predicted Microsoft being the largest computer corporation in the world. (Remember, this is the guy who went out and bought the very first home PC. Yup, he's always been a techno-geek who hides behind the facade of a guy who loves toying with carburetors. ) He was talking about Bill Gates when we were dating back in 1987.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, if we'd had money back then and bought stock, we'd be rich today. Just like, if my M-I-L had bought MS stock instead of Disney stock for my girls (though, I can't complain because Disney is never a bad investment ), they'd also be rich.

If Vic Reed had believed my grandfather had the money and sold him the house on Nantucket....

If, if, if. Drives me crazy. What about you? Bottom line is we can't change the past. It's already whizzed by us and more time is passing while we sit around, wet ourselves and spout, "If only..."

Okay, so we can't manage the past because it's done. The future can't be managed either. How come, you ask? It's right in front of us. We're here. We're now. Absolutely true, but give it a fleeting moment and it's gone by. It's an ever-changing milli-moment that simply bridges the future to the past. Blink your eyes and this present is already gone and we're into a new one.

So that leaves the future. The future is truly manageable because it hasn't happened yet and we have only to look ahead on the road to see where we're going.

Problem is that most people don't look far enough ahead. Oh sure, we all look a couple days, even a couple months, but do we ever truly look a couple years down that road?

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. The Roaring 2000's by Harry S. Dent. He follows economic trends and predicts what the rest of this decade will bring. As he says, short term predictions are hard as hell to make because there are always fluctuations in the market that react short term to current events. But long term predictions are easy to make because there are trends that might burp and stumble, but they're inevitable. Kewl concept. Spend an hour on his site. It's worth the time. Next book is Biznets by Frank Feather. Another futurist. He takes 6 companies and breaks down their structures and explains why, at the end of this decade, when ecommerce will be 50% of our national economy, these 6 businesses will be the leaders on the Internet. Finally The New Millionaires by Paul Zane Pilcher.

It was only about two months ago, but my Dad died this summer. Funny, we fought like cats and dogs when I was growing up. Mom swears it's because I'm just like him. I've come to realize that she's probably right in that, but the one thing he always had was faith in me. Faith that I was a leader, a mover, someone who could make a difference. Sounds so trite. People say it all the time, but do we really ever make a difference? In our lives? In someone else's? My Dad always believed that I was one of those people destined to make a difference and that computers would be my venue.

And this summer, while Dad was struggling in the fight of his life... er, literally, I was introduced to an opportunity that made sense. I mean, I was doing all this reading about the future being manageable and I started looking down the road. Not just my life, but trends and markets and the fact that computers are becoming so integrated into our lives that we're not really even paying attention. think of the stuff you're surrounded with. Not just your PC. That's a device in itself. But our cars are becoming more computerized. Our appliances are becoming "smarter". Heck, I think it was four or five years ago, but my dear husband computerized our lights. You know the individual timers you can buy to turn them on and off? He's got everything programmed through his computer. You don't have to program each one by itself for various time, he's got it all programmed through his computer. So technology is becoming more integrated.

Add to that the fact that I've been reading a lot and looking down that road of my future. Do I really still want to be sitting on a post as a security guard in 5 years? Yeah, the kids are a lot of fun. They do keep me on my toes (read that as awake ) but I've always said that the best job of all would be one where I get paid to stay home. (Dreams Unlimited could have been that venue if my girls had been younger or older, but that's more Monday morning quarterbacking. )

So I was introduced to a concept that's so simple it's almost too good to be true. In the most simplest terms, you set up a shop on the Internet, buy from yourself and get paid a commission for doing so. The only trick to it is learning to buy from yourself rather than hopping in the car and running to WalMart or Costco. You see, since these companies no longer have to pay for advertising in order to get me to go to a physical store, that money gets put into a "profit pool". At the end of the month, those advertising dollars get split up amongst the people who bought from themselves rather than a physical store.

Too good to be true, don't you think?

Next installment: Why it works and why you should be doing it also...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

DU and the rollercoaster...

It's WAY too early in the morning. It's exactly 5:44AM and I've actually been up for almost two hours. Why? Because oldest daughter (who's a senior in high school this year) wants to do the visit thing at RPI up near Ithaca, NY. It's a two-and-a-half hour ride and both her Dad and I are up, showered and ready to go. She's barely breathing...

Anyway... Dreams Unlimited. Now that was a lot of fun. I always figured that SF and romance were made for each other. But I was SO tired of reading the "costume dramas" of futuristic romance and tired of the techno overkill of SF. So I wanted books that were going to meld the two genres together into a thing of beauty.

See... I figured it was a pretty simple concept. If I wanted to read those books, there surely had to be authors out there who were writing them. And if I wanted to read them, there had to be others who would also read them. Pretty simple, right?

And it worked. And then I expanded in another direction. Erotic romance. No closed doors in the books I was going to publish. See, there was really only one publisher out there who was publishing books specifically for women who was also willing to push the boundaries of "what was acceptable". Black Lace out of the UK. Problem was they had no restrictions whatsoever. Threesomes, foursomes, bondage and SM. Not that I have a problem with that, but their writing had quickly degerated into nothing more than Tab A goes into Slot B. I wanted the emotion that goes with it. I wanted the romance. Good romance should be erotic. But trading partners based on whoever happens to be in the room is not erotic.

Call me a Puritan. Heck, call me American with our "prudish" ways. But I wanted romance with explicit, sliding and preferrably wet parts...

So erotic romance became part of our catalog. And boy did that stuff sell.... LOL!

Yeah, we had a hit.

So conferences started inviting me to participate and talk about it. (My advice? You ain't writing this stuff for Mom, babe. Just let it hang out and follow the characters and don't worry that everyone is going to wonder what on Earth is going on in your bedroom. ) I had more submissions than I knew what to do with. And sales that kept me burning disks and CDs for all hours.

So what the heck happened? Life. My girls hit their early teen years and needed Mom's attention more than hopeful authors. Okay, the authors themselves might b!tch a bit about that, but my girls mean more to me than anyone on Earth. Get over it.

So, at the very beginning of a sharp curve that would lead to riches and fame, I found a home for my authors and closed the doors. We weren't making enough money to hire people to take over for me, so I had no choice. Now, if I'd had a true head for business and understood the first thing about a business plan, I would have found investors to help us over this crucial crunch. But I'm not a true businesswoman. I understand marketing and promo. I can sell water to a Navy tar, but I still don't know the first thing about how to get investors. And faith ain't gonna pay the bills.

Funny. I'd figured it would take us 5 years to go from red ink to black ink in the ledger book. It took only three. We were actually making a profit when I closed the doors. And now another company took our idea, started their own company and I've been told they're pulling in seven figures a year. Good for them. I'm glad to see my idea paid off. And some of the authors I launched are over there making good money for themselves. I don't know if it's six figures, but I know it's at least five.

And I got to know people from all over the world.

One of our authors was from Australia. A wonderful woman. And one of our greatest fans was also from the way Outback of the same country. She literally lived the life straight out of The Thornbirds. Her husband went to town twice a year because they were 600 miles in the middle of nowhere on a sheep farm. And she thanked God for her computer and our company. By the time all the supplies were bought for the next half year, there would be no room left in the truck for books. So she bought our releases faithfully and she swore we saved her sanity during the long months of isolation.

Can you get a better compliment? I don't think so.

So it was with long teeth that I closed the business. And I kind of got lost the next few years. Became more involved with the fire dept and became an EMT, volunteering three shifts a week on our local ambulance while the girls were in school. then I went to work for a local university...

Initially working nights in the dorms. Nights that tend to shift more towards partying than studying. Oh, the stories I could tell about what your kids do when they're not in class. Kinda makes me want to put my own high school senior under lock and key...

But that's another entry. What can I say? A man I work with taught me quickly to shake my head in exasperation and simply mutter, "Damn kids..."

Friday, September 08, 2006

No online community?!?

Are these people crazy? I actually heard a CD the other day (kind of motivational, so you'll have to ask if you want to know what CD ) and the guy stated with complete certainty that "there's no such thing as an online community".

He's nuts. I've been part of various communities for over a decade. And my first was the Literary Forum. That's where I left off, didn't I?

We had the Keepers of the Flame. Ladies who were writing romances and their mission in life was to keep the flame of romance alive and safe. Of course, there were also gentlemen in the Forum who called themselves the Knaughty Knights. They guzzled beer by the gallon and stole firetrucks to use for panty raids at the Keep. Sir Elton Garelock and Bobby Lee Whitmire who trained their hefty steeds for the 1994 Olympic events and there was nothing like the report of Thunderbutt careering down the slope in the Long Jump.

And, yes, Lady Diana Gabaldon (of NYT bestseller fame) was one of the ringleaders. She fanned the flames and kept the fire alive while piecing together her first manuscript before all of us. We had a community that survived until AOL bought Compuserv and basically destroyed the magic of the forums.

Course, in the midst of all this, I met a woman online. Her name was Silke Juppenlatz. She lived in England and I lived in New England. Similiar, right? Close enough? How about close enough to start an electronic publishing company called Dreams Unlimited. We worked out the details, she designed the site and I became the senior editor.

As I was telling a wonderful friend, Parke Godwin, the other day, I tried my hand at writing. Hmm... let's just say I discovered quickly that I was a much better editor than I ever was a writer. So I gathered manuscripts from hopeful writers and we started to sell books. Our doors opened in Feb 1998 and Silke and I actually met for the first time 7 months later. Yup, went into business and never met.

Gotta love the Internet. You know what gave me the idea? Because Stephen King and Peter Straub wrote their first book together via the Internet. They sent chapters by email attachment to each other and, from what I understand, never met until after the book was published. Alex, the owner of the LitForum, told me that Stephen King used to lurk in the forum from time to time. Though Alex would never tell me what name King hid behind, I think I know. I think we spoke on several occasions when he'd be in-between deadlines and he'd hang out. If he ever trips over this blog (yeah, like he has nothing better to do ), I hope he contacts me so I can find out if he hid behind the name I think he did. I'd say it here, but I have no idea if he still uses the same moniker in the Realm of Lurkdom.

Anyway, that took another 3 years of my life. I finally closed the doors to Dreams Unlimited in 2001. And not because we weren't successful. We were. We were making money and our authors were making money. (A couple made some pretty d@mned good money ) But that's another chapter because I have to venture off to the day job. One I hope to get rid of at some point. I adore the kids, but the job itself takes way too much time that I could be spent doing something much more fun...

Next chapter: The Rise and Fall of Dreams Unlimited and the excitement and fun we had on that strange little sideroad