We Made It Through Another Year!

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Woo! Go us! Seems like just a couple of weeks ago that we started 2017 and now it is over.

I didn’t get everything done that I planned to do last year. Did you?

My library/spare room is still a mess, except for a couple of shelves. Which is a good start.

I’ve been told we are not gonna be getting more guineas this year, so if I get it cleaned up and cleared out by March it should stay that way.

We had a few funerals this year. Lots of changes. We are still getting adjusted. Not easy.

I did read a lot of books. Haven’t got all the reviews up yet. Got behind because of all the other stuff. Still working on that.

How has your year been? Lots of you guys live in areas where bad things happened this past year. I hope things there are getting back to something resembling “normal”, though I doubt normal is in the cards for lots of folks for a while yet.

Puerto Rico still doesn’t have electricity. That is a long time to do without power. I went 17 days once in the middle of winter and that was tough. Don’t like even thinking about being without for months.

Other places had floods, fires, and storms.

Here is praying the new year brings better things for all.

A Year In The Company Of Freaks

I liked this. It is set in the early 70’s and I was just a little kid then. Strange to think there were so many things going on in the world that I had no idea about.

 Of course this is also set in California, which is half the country away from where I live. The characters came from all over the place, the middle of the country, the east coast, even Alaska.  I think I would have liked most of them, except maybe the ex-girlfriend. But even she had her reasons for being how she was.


This book is well written and makes you think about how you view other people.  It kept my attention and was easy to read.

About the book:

Book Title: A Year in the Company of Freaks by Teresa Neumann
Category: Adult Fiction, 515 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: All’s Well House
Release date: Dec 21, 2015
Tour dates: Sept 11 to 29, 2017
Content Rating: PG + M (Little violence and profanity, no f-words, no sex, but some drug use)

It’s 1972 and a seismic clash-of-cultures is rattling northern California. In the redneck town of Trinity Springs, rumors of hippies migrating up from San Francisco have residents bracing for an invasion. When Italian-American hometown boy and Berkeley graduate Sid Jackson is busted for growing pot on his deceased parents’ farm, locals suspect the assault has begun. Will a crazy deferral program devised by the sheriff keep Sid out of prison? Or will a house full of eccentric strangers, a passionate love interest, and demons from his past be his undoing?

A “disarmingly appealing” tale of discrimination, transformation and restoration, Freaks is bursting with intrigue, drama, comic relief and romance. Reviewers agree this five-star, coming-of-age classic “very much reflects the attitude and mood of the times.”

Praise for A Year in the Company of Freaks:

“This coming of age story will draw the reader right in. Teresa Neumann demonstrates how much she values relationships in her writing … a precious skill. I held my breath all the way through to the final few pages. Five stars!” — The San Francisco Book Review

“As it relates to the complicated clash of culture and counterculture, Freaks acts as an authentic, strongly Seventies book. Northern California works as a strong presence in the novel that is vivid and omnipresent, but never overwhelming. Sure to intrigue and entertain, Freaks will have its digs in you before you realize how involved you’ve become.” — The Manhattan Book Review

To read more reviews, please visit Teresa Neumann’s page in iRead Book Tours.​

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Author of highly-acclaimed “A Year in the Company of Freaks,” Teresa was raised in a large Midwest family and now lives in Oregon. She is also the author of “Bianca’s Vineyard,” and its sequel, “Domenico’s Table.” Both books are based on the true stories of her husband’s Italian family in Tuscany. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Oct 7

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Gonna Talk About My Favorite Books

I’m starting a new series of posts. New Category too. Right now I’m not sure what to call it. Favorites? Best Books? Books I like? What do you think?

I’m gonna talk about the books I loved as a kid. Books I loved as a teenager. Books I loved as a young adult. Books I love now.

They are NOT the same lists.

I loved comic books at one time. The horror ones, not the super heroes. Why? I have no idea.

Stopped wanting those during my tween years.

Went through a period where I loved romance. That was ALL I read during that time. Weird.

At least it seems weird now.

I still love romance but not all the time. I like to read different stuff. This week I seem to be into adventurous/military type stuff. A couple of weeks ago it was mysteries.

Who knows what next week will bring?

I’ll probably post these on a rotating basis, once a week or so.

I’m open to suggestions. Please. Help.

Back Pocket Coach By Diane Brennan & Alexandra Ross Blog Tour

Back Pocket Coach provides 33 power-packed communication strategies to support you in creating satisfying conversations that result in good outcomes for you and others.

I have NOT tried all 33 strategies, mainly because I don’t need them. This is mostly for folks who have to deal with a lot of different people or those who are in charge of lots of people. Some of the strategies can be used in personal relationships too. After all what works for your boss will probably work for your spouse, and what works for your team members might work for your kids.

If you are a manager or a leader of any sort then this book could be very helpful. Especially if you haven’t had a lot of training in communicating effectively.

There are sections for one-on-one conversations, on-the-fly conversations, and meetings. There is an entire section for specific situations and issues.

They you lots of good tips and strategies for dealing with the most common situations.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve the way they communicate, and get along with, co-workers and even family.

Book Details:

Book Title: Back Pocket Coach: 33 Effective Communication Strategies for Work & Life
Authors: Diane Brennan and Alexandra Ross
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 104 pages
Genre: Communication, Self-help
Publisher: New View Press
Release date: January 2017
Tour dates: June 5 to 16, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Have you ever been in a situation that was emotionally charged and the stakes were high? And it was difficult to find the right words? Back Pocket Coach provides 33 power-packed communication strategies to support you in creating satisfying conversations that result in good outcomes for you and others. These just-in-time strategies will help you move through conversations masterfully –whether you’re engaging with one person or a team of people.

You’ll learn how to:
— Provide difficult feedback to everyone from your boss to mother-in-law — improving your relationships in the process.
— Effectively renegotiate any agreement.
— Say no to a request that would leave you stretched too thing — and do so from a place of strength.
— Get unproductive meetings back on track — even if you’re not the meeting organizer.
— Safely speak your truth.
— Increase your self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
— Use appreciation authentically — the secret sauce for thriving relationships.


Buy the Book:




Meet the Authors:

Alexandra Ross is an executive coach, team builder and author. With a Masters degree in Organizational Communication, she helps leaders and teams sharpen their leadership skills and exceed prior levels of performance. Alexandra is internationally certified as a Master Certified Coach. She coaches executives and leaders in the fields of aerospace, engineering, high technology, medical, financial and more. She is also passionate about coaching women in leadership. Contact Alexandra at CoachAlexandraRoss@gmail.comDiane Brennan is a consultant, coach, author and speaker. She is passionate about leadership in all types of organizations. She enjoys working with leaders and teams in the fields of healthcare, aerospace, engineering, science, academics and business. Diane’s expertise in organizations includes strategic thinking, navigating change and creating a learning culture. Diane holds a Doctorate in Behavioral Health, an MBA and is a Master Certified Coach. She brings calm to the chaos in organizations and life. Contact Diane at Diane@DianeBrennan.com

Connect with the Authors:


Author Interview:

How would you describe your book?

This book is an elegantly simple resource with just-in-time communication strategies to help you move through conversations masterfully—whether engaging with one person or a team of people at work or in your personal life.

What made you write a book about communication strategies?

We’ve heard our clients challenged by many daily interactions that don’t always go as they hope or even plan. We wanted to create a resource that helps people have better conversations and outcomes with their boss, team members, customers, colleagues, family and friends.

How did you come up with the idea for Back Pocket Coach?

We were inspired by a team we were working with a while back. Alexandra was coaching the leader of the organization, who was well-intentioned but perceived as a bully boss. His direct reports were afraid of him. Diane was coaching one of the individuals who was terrified of engaging with him. She and Diane joked about how great it would be to have flashcards to communicate with him. We did create flashcards but ended up using them to get feedback on the strategies we created that make up the book as you now see it. The book turned out to be a better way to make the information useable.

How did you research for your book?

The strategies in this book were developed and fine-tuned over the more than 15 years that Diane and Alexandra have been coaching. We’ve used them with our clients over and over through the years, and they have a successful track record. We field tested the strategies while they were in a flashcard format, and we used the feedback from our testers as we completed the book.

There are many books out there about communication. What makes yours different?

The great thing about this book is that it is astonishingly simple. You can flip open to any page and immediately find a strategy to try out in your professional or personal life. We also provide an index of common situations and issues, along with suggestions for strategies to consider using. The book is really a reference book—something to be used over and over. That said, if all you wanted to do was spend an hour reading it cover to cover, you would walk away with strategies that would help you create more satisfying conversations and outcomes right now.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

We are both leadership and executive coaches with a collective total of more than 20,000 hours of coaching conversations over our 15+ years of experience. We work with individuals and teams in many different types of organizations. We actually met while working on a coaching assignment with NASA.

How do you find collaborating as writers?

We really enjoy writing together. The Back Pocket Coach strategies came from our reflections on what we learned in the thousands of coaching conversations we had over the past 15 years. Creating this book was so much fun! We kept a rigorous schedule, and we also had a lightness in our approach to the writing process that made our work together something we both look forward to and continue today.


June 5 – Take It Personel-ly – review / guest post / giveaway
June 6 – Simple Wyrdings – review / author interview / giveaway
June 7 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
June 8 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review / giveaway
June 9 – NorthernMsw – review
June 12 – Books for Books – review
June 13 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
June 15 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / guest post / giveaway
June 15 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review
June 16 – Notes from Farrah – review / giveaway
June 16 – Create With Joy – review / giveaway
June 16 – Seaside Book Nook – review / giveaway
June 16 – Reading Authors – review / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends June 24

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Internet Went Kaput

We have internet and phone service through a local cable company.

The Friday before last our internet went out, which means our phone also went out.

The cable company has not yet (as of 1pm Sunday) got it working again, and they have not said when or even IF it will be working again.

So I’m cadging my moms internet using a laptop that is driving me crazy. The cursor keeps moving while I’m typing. I have changed some settings to try to fix that but no joy so far.

So I haven’t been posting much anywhere, and my last giveaway was a bit late. I’m hoping they will get my net fixed Monday. If they don’t I may try getting internet from satellite. Anyone have experience with that? Like it?

Hope to be back online regularly soon. Bear with me. Please.

Updating Or Possibly Just Messing Up

I was trying to update my theme and so far have ended up just making a mess.

I sort of like what it looks like right now. It is sure easy to read on my computer. Print is HUGE.

The sidebar seems to be going on forever though, so I’m gonna have to do something about that.

I might get the old theme fixed so it is working, or I might just mess with this one, or I might find another one. Tons of possibilities out there.

If you have any advice I’d be glad to hear it.

Please bear with me. This could take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of years :p

What Do You Want???

Sound a bit querulous do I? That’s nothing compared to how I feel.

Picture me sounding like a 2 year old. Or are 4 year olds worse? Whichever.

You hear me whining? Tell me, tell me, tell meeeee! What do you waaa–aant???

Question Mark I drew.

I am gonna have to cut down on the giveaways. Unless you guys want to send me some contributions, ’cause I’m all out of money.  I have two going live tonight but that is gonna be the last one for a while, unless I get sponsors.  I do have a (tentative) sponsor for a Valentines Hop next month, but so far that is it.

I am also getting sort of tired of reviewing small products. Besides that my house is getting full. So I’m gonna slow down on those. Now if anyone wants to send me BIG items, or expensive items, I’m all for that.

Of course if they just want to sponsor a giveaway that is different. It doesn’t require me to find a spot to store the item (or figure out how to use it).

So what do you want? From me, that is.

Do you know what you want? Do you want anything? Would you just as soon not even bother coming here? Would it be a relief not to have to visit another blog?

You may need a break worse than I do. But before you go, got any suggestions? Tips? Questions? Prompts? Snide remarks?

Let’s hear ’em! See ’em? Whatever. Leave ’em in the comments.

That will give me something to write about. If I’m not locked in a padded room by then. I don’t think they let you have computers in there do they?

Thank you. :)

Swagbucks Is Easier Than I Expected

Swagbucks logo.I finally joined Swagbucks a few days ago. I hadn’t joined it before because I had the notion that it was one of those things where they send you heaps of emails and you have to to do hundreds of surveys.

It isn’t like that at all. At least so far. They have only sent me three emails, including the confirmation. I could probably get them to send me more if I changed my settings, but I’m happy with this.

It also has a lot of different ways to earn Swagbucks. I have only done the easy things so for, like the daily polls which are very short polls, that take only a minute or two to do.

I have spent at most 20 minutes a day on the site (maybe less). I would have already gotten enough to get my first Amazon.com gift card, but I couldn’t resist spending some of my bucks to enter giveaways.

I can watch the videos they have on there at the same time I am going through and deleting spam emails.  Easy!

I figure if I get $10 worth of  Gift Cards each month, which I am well on the way to getting already, I won’t have to worry about paying for the books I want. Then again I could save up some for Christmas shopping.

Decisions.  Decisions.

Nah. I’m buying books!

If you are thinking about signing up I’d appreciate it if you use my referral link (all the links in this post) because if you do I will get some extra Swagbucks, which means I can get those books faster, which will make me very happy.

My Resolve – No Resolutions!

Happy New Year.I know it is a couple of days early but some folks are getting a head start on the celebrating.  A few people will be partying from now all the way through the weekend.

Me, I’m gonna stay home and read a good book. Maybe watch some TV. Probably go to bed early.

Partying is for young folks. I can’t handle it anymore. Well not the sort of partying my friends used to do anyway.

Could just be I need some new (older) friends.

Anyway I’m not making any resolutions this year. There’s just no point to it. Two weeks from now I’ll already be backsliding and getting ticked off at myself. I don’t need the aggravation.

So this year my only resolution is not to make any resolutions. We will just have to wait and see if I manage to stick with that one or not.

It ought at least be a bit easier than all those old resolutions to lose weight, keep the house clean and neat, be nice to everyone all the time, get all my posts done early, this, that, and the other.

Have you made any resolutions this year? What were they if so?

Happy Independence Day

Independence Day picture with a dog and a flag.

Hope you all (in the US anyway) have a great Independence Day. And for the rest of the world…I hope it is a good day for you guys too.

You guys in the US be careful with all the fireworks.

Every year there are stories of people getting their hands blown off by fireworks.

Be careful with the bonfires and the BBQs too. Getting burned isn’t fun either and neither is watching someone else get burned.

Keep an eye on the kids especially.

Of course it is probably too late already…any damage that is gonna be done probably has been. Or will be before anyone sees this post.

Yea I’m late again.

Better late than never :p

photo credit: Tony Fischer Photography via photopin cc

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