Ok, so for those of you who saw my Facebook post, please excuse my redundancy here, but as usual, I put the cart a wee bit ahead of the horse again.

In my normal mode of thinking, I came up with a great idea and then proceeded to share that great idea with all my friends BEFORE I actually carried out my end of the bargain. So, here I am, already having to apologize and make excuses for what will no doubt be one of a myriad of times during the next 365 days. For those of you who know me, please stop shaking your heads and smiling like that. :). For those of you meeting me for the first time, hi! My name is Sandra Parker. And this is my ode to my New Year's Resolutions for 2014.

Now, I'm not a girl that tends to waste a lot of time making a bunch of plans for self improvement on January 1st, only to find myself making excuses for why I can't make any traction on those plans by January 20th. Nope, I'm the type of girl who simply doesn't make those kind of plans at all. It keeps the bar low, if you know what I mean.

However, this year is shaping up a little differently and, for once, I'm actually sort of excited about it.

Just a little historical background for the new folks reading this blog: 2013 was a bit of a challenge for me, to put it mildly. I've been through a lot, with the passing of my grandmother, the near death of my marriage and the relocation of my family to a completely different state. To say the least, it's been a bit taxing. However, during one of my more tranquil moments of reflection (insert sarcasm here) I had a bit of an epiphany. I began looking back over the tumultuous year and began to realize that I was at one of those proverbial crossroads. I could choose to let my past experiences define me or inspire me. The choice was up to me.

I wish I could tell you that the choice was easy, but it was anything but. For awhile, I didn't even realize there was a choice. I think that if it had not been for my children, I probably would have taken the easy way out, blamed Life, God, or just plain old Bad Luck for my circumstances and surrendered to a life of bitterness and regret. But I didn't.

Although it took awhile for me to see it (thanks Pastor Matt and The Point Crew!!), I began to realize that there was another choice, another path, a journey. I think it was the humble words in "Closing Time" by that band that isn't Blink 182 (yes, I know it's Semisonic, but I would be lying if I said I didn't have to look it up!) that finally got me to see it. And it was then, at that stoplight in that perfectly horrible day in that perfectly horrible week in that perfectly horrible month that I decided to accept the journey that lay out before me,, which leads me to my New Year's Resolutions.

Ok, ok. That was a bit if a dramatic lead in for me to tell you that I've been pushed into learning guitar (thanks, Lexi!), learning Spanish ( thanks Mark!) and finally telling one of what I hope to be many stories floating around inside my head and finally giving birth to one of those novels that I've been telling everyone about for so any years now I can't even remember. And although somewhat mundane to most, they perfectly illustrate the words that spoke to my heart that day "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" I am ready to end my last beginning and start my new one.

Are you ready to join me?

 
 
by Rayne Hall
 
Does your writing style have bulges and saggy bits? 
 
In thirty years as an editor, I've found the same fatty words bloating the style of many authors, especially novice writers. Certain words are notorious.
 
“Look” and “turn” are the words most over-used by beginner writers. Editors need only a quick glance at the first page of a manuscript. If it contains “look” and “turn”, the piece was penned by a beginner. If those words are used more than once, they may trigger
instant rejection, because the author's writing craft isn't up to a publishable standard.
 
While there's no law against those two words, they are often unnecessary. They contain empty calories without real nutrition and make your writing bloated and fat. If you cut them from your diet, your writing style immediately becomes slim, trim, tight and toned. 
  



 
 
I’m totally jazzed about getting my Twitter following up to 207 followers.   I never thought in a million years thought that two hundred people would care about what I had to say. 

You might be wondering where this is going, so let me tell you.  It’s just that I’m all a-Twitter.

   

First, I love Twitter.  It is such a different animal than Facebook.  Twitter allows you to connect with people around the world using just your wit and 160 characters!  Second, it thrills me to death to think that 207 people think that what I have to say is both interesting and important, unless it’s just the train wreck theory that keeps them interested.  In that case, humor me and don’t tell me! Third, it’s a start to building up what I hope to be a large Twitter following, kind of likening me to Justin Bieber and Jackie Evancho and what they’ve been able to accomplish on YouTube, but I can’t sing. 

So, why is this important enough for me to write a blog about it?

Because it’s in my makeup to love people who roll up their sleeves and go out into the world and make things happen. I love it when you find people who believed in who they were and what they could do enough to work hard to be recognized for it.  Whether it’s a natural talent like singing or acting, or a developed skill like cooking or gymnastics, each of us has an innate talent that separates each one of us from the masses.  And while all of us are special in our one ways, it’s the ones who are willing to work hard to showcase that talent who are rewarded. 

These are the folks that when the establishment blocks one path, they find another one. And if they can’t find another path, they blaze a new trail. It takes courage. It takes confidence. It takes guts.  And the word no comes up way more often than the word yes!

But it just takes that one yes to turn an everyday ordinary person into a superstar, someone we all admire and look up to.  These people aren’t just lucky or have the right clothes, shoes, contacts, etc.  They wake up each and every day with a dream and a desire to make that dream come true. 

My dream is to one day be able to earn my living solely through my writing.  I want to be able to connect with people on deeper level, which brings me full circle back to Twitter.  My followers know that every Tweet is a chance for me to make a meaningful connection with someone, to build an audience once Tweet at a time.  It would be a huge victory to me to see my following grow to 500, 1,000 or even 10,000 followers.  Each connection I make is with a person.  My followers are not just numbers to me.  They provide visual proof that I am living my dream and drive me to work harder in order to not disappoint them.  I hope you guys feel the same way. Spread the word!

 
 
I’ve never actually met a celebrity, at least not in person and doubt I ever will. But, I’m
not terribly upset about that.  I’m actually often taken aback by the sheer number of people who hold celebrities in such high esteem, to almost hero status, when they’ve never met them nor will they ever experience any sort of validation from them.


In short, I guess I’m wondering what our fascination is with people we don’t know. 
 

 
 
As a new author, I hadn’t had a chance to truly delve into my new roles as a marketing expert/PR specialist and other auxiliary roles.  Heck, I hadn’t even ordered business cards yet.  I’ve really got to get that done.  
  
Yesterday was a day with occasional sudden gusts of wind. Though it was summer, the
humidity was low–despite what the weatherman had promised. So I decided to make a couple of batches of my world famous…well at least neighborhood famous… mozzarella stuffed cheeseburgers and take advantage of the nice weather to promote my book with a block party since I still hadn't ordered those doggone business cards.
 
 

 
 
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the moment the Casey Anthony
trial came to an end and a verdict was ready to be announced. I was at my desk, conducting yet another meeting about the benefits of using the new platform for
creating risk profiles when I got the phone call and multiple texts.  The jury had reached a verdict. It would be announced live in just a few moments. 

 
 
Picture
 …No,  not like that. Well, maybe a little bit like that. 
Ok, fine.  It was a lot like  that.  We had a relationship.  Actually we had several  relationships.  This guy was my
boyfriend, my best friend, and my confidante.  We grew up together from age 13 and are  together today, happily married for fifteen years.