The Living Church at Work

I get inspired when I go to church on Sunday.  The readings, homily, music, and traditions speak to me.  I am a part of something much greater when I’m at Mass.  Anyone who believes the Church is just a building misses the real truth that the Church is its people.  It lives solely through them and their works on Earth.

This Sunday, we had a guest priest, Father Paul.  He grew up in the area of Wisconsin where I live, but he has spent most of his life in Tanzania, Africa.  His mission is to bring healthcare to the Nkololo, Tanzania people.  The Songambele Health Facility serves a community of 250,000 people, who wouldn’t have access to quality health care without its existence.

Father Paul told us that when they created the site plan for the Songambele Hospital their road to get there seemed like a trek up Kilimanjaro Mountain.  Each year, he returns to the United States to speak to parishes about the  Roads to Life Tanzania, Inc. and raise funds for their ongoing projects.

They have been able through the generosity of donations to build a Reproductive and Child Health Facility, a Clinical Testing Center, and a Chaplain’s Office.  Still under construction are an Imaging Pavilion (Xray, Ultrasound, etc.), Latrine,  and Mortuary.  The Clinical Testing Center has been chosen as a site for an HIV testing and treatment program by Dr’s with Africa.

Plans for 2017-2018 include an Intensive Care Unit, Administration Building, Private 30 bed Ward and the first phase of a Nursing School.

To find out more about Roads to Life Tanzania, Inc.  98% of all funds collected go directly to Songambele.

This is the living church in action.

Get Exodus and Winter’s Icy Caress for $0.99 through July 29!

For a limited time, you can download Exodus (Clare Thibodeaux Series, Book 1) for FREE, and purchase the Kindle version of Winter’s Icy Caress (Clare Thibodeaux Series, Book 2) for only $0.99!

Don’t miss out on a chance to read about Clare’s journey from ER nurse to a woman in hiding as she is hunted down by deadly strangers from her past.  Two men vie for her heart while they promise to keep her safe from harm.  Can she let her guard down and open her heart?

Clare Thibodeaux Series Available in Special Sales Promotion Starting Friday!

I haven’t decided if I’m being ambitious or have mentally gone off the edge, but I have begun working on the third book of the Clare Thibodeaux Series AND I’ve begun a chick lit story about one of my recurring short story characters–Natalie.

Both are available to read on Wattpad if you’d like to see the rough, rough, rough draft in progress.  I’m excited and frightened at the same time.  Can I do this?  Will I have the discipline?  I guess time will tell.

Never Show Your Hand is the third book in Clare’s story.  If you have read books 1 and 2, you should, but you don’t have to read one to enjoy another–except–if you plan to read them out of order be aware there are spoilers.

So, I’m happy to announce Exodus (Clare Thibodeaux Series Book 1) will be FREE from July 28 – July 30th.  And, Winter’s Icy Caress (Clare Thibodeaux Series Book 2) will be part of a Kindle Countdown Deal from July 28th until Aug. 1.

Excerpts from both books can be found here.

 

Kate Recommends…The Writer’s Path Blog on First Lines

by Morgan S. Hazelwood The title of this sounds pretty lofty, doesn’t it? For those of you who don’t have a finished manuscript, though, this might not be so useful. Write your novel, edit it, then see if you can cut the first chapter. Don’t count the writing as a waste, YOU needed to […]

via 3 Things That Make a Great 1st Line — A Writer’s Path

Addendum to “Building Your Social Media Audience? Keep Your Safety in Mind” Scam Article

This article from the Huffington Post is an interesting read if you want more info about how romance scams on social media work and hear from actual victims of romance scammers, and the victims whose faces and identities are used to perpetrate these multi-million dollar crimes.

How A Billion-Dollar Internet Scam Is Breaking Hearts And Bank Accounts – HuffPost https://apple.news/AR3sO3hJvQi6k9fEJl-I-MQ

Building Your Social Media Audience? Keep Your Safety in Mind

Firstly, this isn’t an article about how to grow your social media audience.  It is a warning for those new writers venturing out for the first times on the net to market their books.  I recently saw a post by another author about her internet troll/stalker, and how frustrated she was dealing with this person.

The author was young and beautiful.  In my ignorance, I thought she was the common target for those who are looking to scam a woman on the internet, but I was wrong.  At 56 years of age, I have found myself becoming more and more cautious of each friend request I accept.  I question if the photographs on the profile are legit or someone else’s stolen for whatever nefarious purpose.

I’ve learned about Romance scammers who look for middle-aged (that’s definitely me) and lonely ( this is something I’m not) women with the thought of flattering them, romancing them and then trying to get money from them.  They will use photos of attractive males and females (beware guys!) stolen from real people.  Some will use pictures of military men and women with a fabricated story of loss.  Widowed with child(ren) and wanting to find someone with a kind heart, these scammers will be texting you and many other potential marks at the same time.

I did some research on the military aspect and found on http://www.cid.army.mil/romancescam.html  warnings concerning romance and online dating profiles from service members deployed in Afghanistan or elsewhere.  Even military personnel are at risk for these scams.  They have a Sextortion brochure that is very informative on this subject.

Some of the “Red Flags” they’ve identified are valid for both civilians who are targeted by scammers posing as US military members, and for active duty military members who have become targets themselves, and they include:

  • Unknown persons contact you online and attempt to friend you.  You may even have mutual friends or primarily military members as their friends.
  • The scammer uses poor grammar and sentence structure when messaging.  Their responses don’t always make sense as if they didn’t understand the question or they are awkward sounding.
  • The person wishes you to engage in an explicit video chat or exchange graphic images almost immediately after initiating contact.
  • They call you by endearments very quickly after becoming friends.  This assists them in the multiple messaging they are engaged in.  They won’t have to remember your name.  Everyone is dear, gorgeous, or babe for example.
  • A video call begins with the female in a state of undress or engaged in a sexual act.
  • They ask for money so they can visit you, get much-needed military equipment, etc.

Opening your marketing to the public means you will encounter a variety of people from many different walks of life.  I’m a cautious individual, and I’ve been surprised at how an innocent exchange about writing can quickly shift as the communications attempt to cross a line.

These are the steps I take to secure my privacy while continuing to interact with the public as I market my books.

  • I only post vague information about myself and my life.  I don’t post any photos of my family.
  • I don’t post personal phone numbers, email addresses or home addresses.
  • When I’m asked a personal question about any of the above, I indicate this is private information.  Sorry.
  • I look at every Twitter page, Facebook page, etc. for the person asking to befriend me.  If there are a variety of entries on various topics, especially books and we have multiple mutual friends, I will accept.  But if they have one or two posts, the account is new, or they have photos or postings I find objectionable, I delete the request.
  • My friend’s list isn’t viewable by anyone but me.
  • I don’t allow Messenger calls from anyone.  (I have had several attempted calls.  Unbelievable!)
  • If anyone crosses the line — I block them, unfollow from every platform, and if need be, report them.

I’m cynical by nature, and I do not need flattery to build my self-esteem, so the attempts that have been made towards me have fallen flat.  Initially, I thought it was funny and would message a bit to see where the scammer would take it.  Not anymore.  The frequency of these attempts is sobering.  I worry about other people who may through their good natures fall victim to these efforts.

Not everyone is out to scam.  Our society isolates so many people, and social media seems like a perfect solution for meeting others and finding new friendships.  Just remember to stay aware, keep professional when promoting your business, and if something doesn’t feel right, go the extra step to take precautions in regards to your privacy.

 

Brilliant Baroque at Galleria Borghese — Mae Travels

“A picture is a poem without words.” ― Horace In the center of Rome and in the center of a beautiful park, a collection of artistic treasures swelled up to rest …with zest! Paintings with dramatic faces and scenes… and statues screaming their emotions! Each seemed to convey “I am alive”! And whilst the spectators […]

via Brilliant Baroque at Galleria Borghese — Mae Travels

Rising with the Sun

I’m a morning person.  I wasn’t when I was in my 20’s, but I guess over time I’ve learned to appreciate the slow rhythm of early morning.  The windows in our bedroom face the river bluffs to the east, and as the sun begins to ascend morning light spills in.  I don’t set an alarm clock, but utilize Mother Nature and her lovely solar alert to rouse me.

I throw on my workout clothes and prepare to hit the trail.  The little village where I live sits along the Mississippi River and walking along its banks is invigorating in warm weather.  In winter, the winds coming across its icy surface are soul-chilling, so I enjoy my mild weather treks while I can.

I wave at neighbors and stop to chat on occasion, but my mind is focused on two goals–the miles I will cover and the creative process.  img_1961My best ideas have come to me on my walks.  It’s a solitary time for me and the voices in my head offering various possible plot points, dialogue, a twist or two and an idea for another potential book.

As soon as I get back to my home, I grab my story ideas notebook and jot my thoughts down before they are forever lost in the creative ether.  Physically spent at this point, it’s time for the nectar of the gods… Coffee!  This is typically followed by multiple glasses of good old H2O and a healthy smoothie.

My writing day begins after showering and getting into my writing uniform–cut-off jeans and a t-shirt.  I head outside with my laptop and notebook if the weather is nice or into the library to write, update social media and call my mom.  Writing outside is wonderful.  My old job required me to be inside 12 hours each day I worked.  In winter, I would leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark.  Bleek days, those were.

And, who isn’t inspired to write when they are surrounded by their favorite books?  Not me, for sure!  In the winter, it’s IMG_2555perfect to sit with my feet propped up on the ottoman and a cup of aromatic ginger tea next to me.

I try to write 1,500 to 2,000 words each day.  It’s a goal, but when the creative flow is there–it’s magical.  For me, it is essential like oxygen and nourishment.  The section of my brain firing off the impulses which become stories is another muscle requiring exercise each day.  If neglected, it will become lazy and out of shape like other areas (I will refrain from mentioning).

Some days are easier than others to stick to a routine.  I’m like everyone else.  I slack off more often than I should, but aren’t writers supposed to be whimsical?  During those days some of the best ideas come to the surface.  We have to entertain our whimsy or it will die and writing will become a chore, instead of a joy.

My inner whimsy is calling me to come out and play.  Gotta go…

 

FADES, DOES THE PICTURE

I’m in a nostalgic mood today, thinking about times long past. This poem by Keith Garrett reflects my mindset.

keithgarrettpoetry

FADES, DOES THE PICTURE

A reel to reel movie, a painting so old,

An old photo album covered in dust.

Growing up in a town long since gone,

Relics, skeletons from our yesterday.

Memories are not so clear, gone with the years,

Sometimes forgotten, at times not remembered.

Blocking out things we wish no longer to see,

The mind is a special place of reality and fantasy.

Sometimes we try to go back from within, inside,

Finding that we are lost, our way is like a fog.

Fades, does the picture, scenes of our time,

A little taken away, as we age from day, to day.

Keith Garrett

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