Tuesday, June 26, 2007

8 Little Things

I was tagged on 13 June 2007 by Kate Willoughby over on her blog to reveal 8 little-known facts about myself. I apologize for being late, but my excuse was that was the day I started my vacation to Disneyworld, from which I'm only now recovering. So, let me think a minute...Okay, got 'em.

1. I was born on an Air Force base in Germany, which means I had dual citizenship in that country until the age of 14.
2. I spoke Spanish fluently at the age of five, and in fact had difficulty speaking English at times (we lived in Spain, "on the economy" and my mother worked while I was looked after by a Spanish nanny). I no longer am able to speak it, but I can still understand much when spoken to. This makes me deadly sneaky near those who switch languages around me in order to speak in "private." I usually pretend not to understand when that happens. One learns so many interesting things that way.
3. I cannot sleep in the same room with an open closet door. I used to have terrible nightmares as a child, in which a monster came out of the closet to get me. This inspired my truly terrifying first and only horror short story, in which a woman refuses to believe her daughter who says a monster is hiding in her closet at night, and only by not moving a muscle all night can the girl survive. The mom, to prove her daughter wrong, switches places with her one night. I suppose you can guess what happens. :-) I'm no longer afraid of the closet, but the habit of shutting them lingers on. I've even got my DH trained now.
4. I bungee jumped when I was in my late twenties. Dunno, seemed like a good idea at the time.
5. I gave birth to my twin sons on my husband's birthday--which happens to be 9/11.
6. When I eat, I must take one bite from each cluster of food on my plate so that all items will be completed approximately at the same time. This will leave me with a final choice of what flavor I want to have in my mouth last. (Man, that sounds freaky when I say it aloud.)
7. My first proposal was from a Moroccan boy in that country when I was eight. My first kiss was in kindergarten.
8. I served on a jury for an attempted lesbian murder where we found the woman "not guilty" because we felt there wasn't enough evidence to convict her. She went back and tried again. Fortunately, the next jury sent her butt to jail.

Okay, there are my 8!

Am I supposed to tag someone else? I tag Joni Rodgers and Colleen Thompson.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wilde and Woolly 16th Century Bears

Just got home from my Disneyworld vacation (what fun!) to find my specially commissioned bears from the fabulous Terry Spear's Wilde & Woolly Bear collection in my mail box. I had heard that Terry, a fellow author, sometimes creates specialty bears for other authors featuring themes from their books. She's done Celtic bears and vampire bears, among others. So, I asked her if she'd create a bear couple in 16th Century German garb for the debut of The Legacy. Eventually, these bears will be featured in a give away near the release date of the book (10 months and counting, folks!).

They are just TOO cute. I love the puffed sleeves and the embroidered fabric, and the little details of the feathered plumes and antique jewelry. Who wouldn't want to get their hands on these one-of-a-kind bears, complete with official certificate? I hope I can part with them when the time comes. :-) I'm thinking when it is time for Alonsa's Choice (2009) to be published, I'll commission her to create a special 16th c. Landsknecht mercenary bear and his Spanish love, a widow dressed in black. Ooh, can't wait for that! If you can't wait for your own bear collectibles, go to Terry's site and get your own. These are mine...for now.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Feed who? Feed what?

Okay, so this "feeds" business is more complicated than I thought. Apparently, only if you have Internet Explorer 7.0 is it a fairly automated process. If you haven't downloaded the update for that yet, or if you're browsing with a different browser, I'm afraid you're on your own. If you have IE 7.0, then here are some tips below for subscribing to the feed for my blog. These were compiled from Microsoft's Help site by Tai, my sister, who answers all questions computer for me when I give her the RCA-doggy-cocked-head look. Thanks, Tai!


Discover a feed
Internet Explorer looks for feeds (also known as RSS feeds) on every webpage you visit. When Internet Explorer finds available feeds, the Feeds button, located on the Internet Explorer toolbar [looks like a little rectangle with half the rings of Saturn around it], will change from gray to orange and play a sound.

To view available feeds
1. Open Internet Explorer.
2. Browse to a webpage that has feeds.
3. Click the Feeds button. If multiple feeds are available, you'll see a list of available feeds. Select the feed you want to view. When you click the feed, you'll see a page displaying a list of items (topics and articles) you can read and subscribe to.

Using feeds (RSS)
Here are answers to some common questions about feeds (RSS).

What is a feed?
Feeds, also known as RSS feeds, XML feeds, syndicated content, or web feeds, contain frequently updated content published by a website. They are usually used for news and blog websites, but are also used for distributing other types of digital content, including pictures, audio or video. Feeds can also be used to deliver audio content (usually in MP3 format) which you can listen to on your computer or MP3 player. This is referred to as podcasting.

How do I know if a website offers feeds?
When you first view a website, Internet Explorer will search for feeds. If feeds are available, the Feeds button will change color and a sound will play.

How do I view a feed?
When you visit a webpage, the Feeds button will change color, letting you know that feeds are available. Click the Feeds button, and then click the feed you want to see. To get content automatically, you should subscribe to a feed.

How do I subscribe to a feed?
1. Open Internet Explorer.
2. Go to the website that has the feed you want to subscribe to [in this case, my blog site].
3. Click the Feeds button to discover feeds on the webpage.
4. Click a feed (if more than one is available). If only one feed is available, you will go directly to that page.
5. Click the Subscribe to this Feed button , and then click Subscribe to this Feed.
6. Type a name for the feed and select the folder to create the feed in.
7. Click Subscribe.

How does a feed differ from a website?
A feed can have the same content as a webpage, but it's often formatted differently. When you subscribe, Internet Explorer automatically checks the website and downloads new content so you can see what is new since you last visited the feed.

Does a feed subscription cost money?
No, it's usually free to subscribe to a feed.

How can I view my subscribed feeds?
You view feeds on the Feeds tab in the Favorites Center. To view your feeds, click the Favorites Center button , and then click Feeds.

Can other programs display my subscribed feeds?
Yes, Internet Explorer provides the Common Feed List to other programs. This allows you to subscribe to feeds with Internet Explorer and read them in other programs, such as e‑mail clients, or the Windows Sidebar.

What does RSS mean?
The acronym RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and is used to describe the technology used in creating feeds.

What formats do feeds come in?
The most common formats are RSS and Atom. Feed formats are constantly being updated with new versions. Internet Explorer supports RSS 0.91, 1.0, and 2.0, and ATOM .3, 1.0 . All web feed formats are based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), a text-based computer language used to describe and distribute structured data and documents.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New: Site Feed

I've added the ability for my regular readers (all five of you) to sign up for a site feed from my blog (see the side bar, under Links. The feed service is called Atom). That way, whenever I post something new (rare, but it does happen), you'll automatically be notified. Don't ask me how I did it (or how it works, frankly), because I am becoming more and more technologically challenged as I get older (my young 'uns now have to set the DVD player up for me before I can use it). However, I was reminded of the old adage of leaving 1000 monkeys alone in a room with a typewriter--eventually, one of them will produce something worthy of Shakespeare. On the other hand, have you seen what a thousand monkeys can do if left alone in a room together? Yecch, the very thought. Can you say, poop patrol?

Hey, speaking of monkeys, I just finished reading Brenda Scott Royce's Monkey Love, and I loved it. The woman has a weird way of looking at life, especially monkey's. And socks. Check it out if you haven't had the chance. I understand the sequel, Monkey Star, is coming out soon as well. I'm looking forward to it.


Friday, June 01, 2007

This, ya gotta read

I was hanging out over at the Boxing the Octopus blog, and came across Joni Rodgers' rant about people who post opinions on Amazon.com and the like and call them reviews. Her take on how some folks think they have the right to judge the writer by the amount of "stuff" they put into their books is hilarious. Check it out.