Friday, August 31, 2012


This is my first attempt at 100WCGU at Julie's Place.  What is that, you might ask?

"This is a weekly challenge for those who are over 16 and enjoy challenging themselves with writing. Each week you are given a prompt. It may be a few connected words, a selection of individual words or a picture.
You have 100 words (or the number that have been set for that week) plus the prompt to write a creative piece. If you have a blog, post it on your blog then link the URL of the post (not the blog) to the link that is at the bottom of that week’s challenge. Make sure there is a link to The Head’s Office as well. You can right click the badge above and copy the image URL into your post."

You can find the link for this week's challenge here.  
This week's prompt is:  ...being clear is essential to...

Here is my entry:

My head being clear is essential to my sanity

When my thoughts are jumbled, my life is jumbled

Pulled to and fro

Do I stay or do I go?

I squint in the fog to find my way

Suffocation threatens, I’m weighted down

Just when all hope is lost

The clouds break free

The sun shines bright

Illuminating my brain

As if thawing my thoughts

Clarity resumes

Vision becomes sharp

Sanity returns

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whale (and Dolphin) Wednesday - Ric O'Barry

September 1 begins the annual, brutal dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.  This story was brought into the public eye by the 2009 documentary The Cove by Ric O'Barry.  The slaughter goes from September 1 through April 1 killing thousands of dolphins while others are "rescued" by being chosen for a live in captivity.
They are driven into the cove by "banger boats" where they are then brutally and inhumanely speared to death, turning the cove bloody red.  The Japanese have no mercy in these killings, killing complete families and pods of dolphins, including babies.

O'Barry worked for 10 years in the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 years working against it.  In the 60s, he was employed by the Miami Seaquarium where he captured and trained dolphins, including 5 dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the TV series.  He also trained Hugo, the first Orca kept in captivity.

When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O'Barry realized that capturing and training them is wrong.  He feels that Kathy commit suicide by purposely stopping her breathing, giving up and drowning.  

On the first Earth Day, 1970, Ric O'Barry launched a campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry.  Over the past 40 years, he has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in Haiti, Columbia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas and the US.  He is the leading voice in the fight to end the brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, and the Faroe Islands.

For more information, visit

Monday, August 27, 2012

Be Inspired

Suzanne Furness at The Word Is... tagged me for this MeMe.  Thanks Sue!

This meme gives us the chance to share some information about our current projects by answering some questions.

What is the name of your book?  
I'm currently working on 3 novels as well as trying my hand at some short stories as well.  I have a limited amount of writing time and even more limited inspiration lately due to pressures at work but I'm trying different schedules out to see what gives me the most productivity.
Needless to say, none of them are titled yet :)

Where did the idea for your book come from?
The first project I started takes place in the mountains of NC.  Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that this is my favorite place in the world.  I've spent a lot of time in NC and I come alive when I am there.  The story itself was inspired by combining my favorite places in the area, and the characters are inspired by different people in my life that have made an impact.

In what genre would you classify your book?
I would probably classify this project as NA contemporary fiction or contemporary romance.  I love stories that could happen, although seem too good to be true.  I tend to read those type books and therefore write them as well.

If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition who would you choose?
This is actually something I've been struggling with because I want to write the characters with particular people in mind.  For the lead couple, I would probably choose Ellen Page and Shia LaBeouf.

Give us a one sentence synopsis of your book?
Josie returns to her hometown after graduating from college to find her sister's health declining and a gorgeous guy renovating an old lodge in town.
(One sentence can't begin to describe!)

Is your book already published?
Not even close.  I need to finish it first.  ha ha!

How long did it take you to write your book?
Still writing

What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or readers of which books would enjoy yours?
I read a lot of Nicholas Sparks and Charles Martin so I would have to compare it to them.

Which authors inspired you to write this book?
Same as above.  I write what I enjoy reading

Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book?
I am hoping to portray a romance as well as a grounding experience to Josie's hometown as they come together for her sister.  Her sister struggles with a disability and her love interest has had similar challenges within his own family.  That is the only thing drawing them together as they are otherwise nothing alike!

OK, so now I am going to be lazy.  I've seen this MeMe around the blogosphere for a while now so I'm not sure who has been tagged and who hasn't, who wants to be and who doesn't, so...  Anyone who feels inspired today is welcome to play along.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Whale Wednesday - Pete Bethune

Pete Bethune is another "Whale Warrior" from New Zealand.  Pete is best known for skippering his boat, Ady Gil, in 2010 on a Sea Shepherd campaign.  Pete built the Ady Gil, originally named Earthrace, to prove that it could run solely on biofuel.  Earthrace won the world record for fastest trip around the world in Earthrace using only bio-diesel from sustainable sources.  The trip took him 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes.

The boat was sold and renamed by the buyer, Ady Gil, on October 17, 2009.  Ady chose Pete to skipper the boat on the Sea Shepherd campaign where the boat was involved in a collision on January 6, 2010 with the Japanese whaling vessel the Shonan Maru 2.  

On February 15, 2010, Pete decided to take the law into his own hands and board the Shonan Maru 2.  He was charged with trespassing, assault, illegal possession of a knife, destruction of property and obstruction of business.  Pete went to trial on May 27 and was deported back to New Zealand in July 2010.

Upon his return, Pete wanted a new outlet for his beliefs in ocean conservatism after his relationship with Sea Shepherd ended, and he founded Earthrace Conservation.  
Earthrace Conservation's missions include:

Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported Fishing

Earthrace Conservation is a global organization covering Australia, Europe, Africa, Australia and Latin America.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Shop Local

I have been wanting to get more involved with local writers and today I finally made some progress.

A week or two ago there was a write-up in our local paper about Dianne Venetta.  Dianne lives in the next town over from me and has just released her third book, Whisper Privileges.  I contacted her on her website and received a note back asking if I would like to help her promote her books.  

She sent me some promotional items including bookmarks, recipe cards and seed packs.  (Dianne also has a gardening blog at )  When I told her my plans of going by the book stores and libraries on my end of the county, she offered to send me books to donate to our libraries.

Today was the day!  My first stop was at our local book store.  Their book club just happens to be reading her first book, Jennifer's Garden, in the next couple months.  They invited her to come to the meeting and to do a signing in their shop. I am reading Jennifer's Garden also and so far I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I plan to attend this meeting and join the book club. 

I still haven't met Dianne myself but I plan to attend a signing that she will be doing in the next couple weeks. I have thoroughly enjoyed helping out a local author and meeting new people in the community.

Dianne's books are contemporary and romantic fiction.  Check them out!  They can all be found here on Amazon.  Her garden blog is very informative also.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Whale Wednesday

I have always been fascinated with whales.  They are intelligent, beautiful and powerful creatures that play a very important role in our ecosystem.  Unfortunately, their future is being challenged for their meat, their bones, their teeth, etc.  For that reason, I am going to continue with Whale Wednesday.  

If you have seen Whale Wars on Animal Planet, you are familiar with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS).  Sea Shepherd was founded by Paul Watson in 1977.

Paul was one of the early members of Greenpeace before founding Sea Shepherd.  He left Greenpeace in June 1977 due to disagreements in tactics and with the emerging bureaucratic structure of the organization.  The organization opposed direct action campaigns, which Watson felt was necessary.

Sea Shepherd is an international organization who's mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans and conserve and protect ecosystems and species.  As seen in Whale Wars, they use direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.

Sea Shepherd heads many different campaigns besides the whale campaigns in the Southern Ocean Whale Santuary.  With their hands-on approach, Paul Watson is no stranger to controversy.  

Most recently Paul was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany on May 13.  The 10-year-old warrant  from Costa Rica was for a charge of alleged "violation of ships' traffic", which occurred in 2002 when filming the documentary "Sharkwater."  The incident took place in Guatemalan waters when Sea Shepherd encountered illegal shark-finning run by the Varadero, a Costa Rican vessel.  Sea Shepherd were ordered by Guatemalan authorities to instruct the crew of the Varadero to cease their shark-finning activities and head back to port to be prosecuted.  While escorting them back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew. To avoid the gunboat, Sea Shepherd set sail for Costa Rica where the crew uncovered more illegal shark-finning activities.

Sea Shepherd believes that once in Costa Rica, the Japanese government may have sought extradition of Paul to Japan to answer questions  related to obstructing their illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.    Whaling is only legal for research purposes yet the Japanese kill thousands of whales every year, which are later found in their grocer's freezer.  German legal counsel has confirmed that at this time, Paul left Germany on July 22.  After being held for 70 days, he was granted bail by the higher regional Court in Frankfurt and is currently in an undisclosed location.

Paul Watson has also been issued a "Red Notice" by INTERPOL.  These notices are international alerts to member countries to share critical crime-related information.  Interpol is not actively issuing arrest warrants or searching for Paul at this time.  This notice is only to notify member countries that Paul is wanted in Costa Rica.  It is up to the police and judicial authorities in member countries whether or not to take action.

As I said before, Paul is no stranger to controversy.  He has extreme tactics in stopping the killing of our ocean's animals.  Those who join his campaigns knowingly risk their lives for the lives of the whales, sharks, baby seals, dolphins, etc.  

Are you familiar with Sea Shepherd?  How do you feel about the killing of these animals?  What would you be willing to do to stop it? 

For more information visit

Monday, August 13, 2012

PhotoPrompt Monday

Photo submitted by Delores at thefeatherednest

I wish I knew the real story behind this photo but I thought I would give it a try


Mom thought it would be cute to have my picture taken on Blackie so that she could put it in the Christmas cards.  Blackie does NOT like me and the feeling is mutual!  He bucks at me every time I am around him.  I guess he remembers all those times when I used to pick on him, pulling his mane and teasing him.  

That was before I had experienced Johnny picking on me.  It is not a good feeling!  I just want to get off this horse and meet up with my friends.  Today is the day of reckoning.  I'm ready to take Johnny on once and for all, with a little help from my friends.  REVENGE!

"Mom, you really want me to smile when you dress me up in this ridiculous outfit and put me on top of this miniature horse?  I told you I didn't want to ride a horse.  He smells!  And these clothes are itchy!", he whined.  "Can you just take the picture so I can go meet up with the guys?"

Right after she snapped the shot, Blackie bucked with all his might.  He threw me off, crashing to the ground.  The wind was knocked out of me, and he was circling around me ready for more.  I guess Blackie wanted revenge too.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I Need a Change!

This is a first-person challenge!

You are sick of your life!
You feel the need to break out of the box!
You are doing what you want for a change!
Yes! You're taking that break you've been promising yourself - you're heading for a tropical island paradise to:

- finish that project you've been working on
- just do nothing but sunbake, eat, party
- think about your relationship (does that need to change too?)

Perhaps your love may surprise you with a welcome or unwelcome visit to enhance/spoil your island idyll...

Perhaps your love decides to move on while you're gone...

Perhaps you miss your love so much that you hurry home before your time...this could be exhilarating...or tragic...

Your story, your way! Surprise us!

Mystery Donor

TGIF!  I’m exhausted, both physically and mentally.  It has been a long week.

The phone rings as I walk in the office.  I haven’t even made it to my desk!

“Good morning,” the person says cheerfully on the other end of the line.  I hesitate, waiting for the person to tell me what crisis she needs me to fix.  It seems to be the story of my life.  “You have been given a four day cruise, all expenses paid to the Bahamas”, she goes on to say.  “All you have to do is…”

I couldn’t register what she was telling me.  Is this for real?  What’s the catch?  After all, this is a business line she is calling. 

“Huh?” I grunted, trying to figure out what was going on.

With a sigh, the caller on the other line slows down and explains that a “Mystery donor” has paid for a trip for me…ME…to go on this cruise.  The only catch is that I have to go alone.   There is only one ticket provided.

It takes a while for this all to sink in.  Who would do this?  I do need a change, but why would they have only bought one ticket?  I don’t know if I can do this.

“Did this ‘Mystery donor’ leave any clue as to who they were?  Were there any messages?” I asked, trying  to clear my head.

“The cruise leaves port tomorrow at 8am”, she answered, seemingly irritated at me for not being more excited.  “That is all the information that I have”.

“Who are you?”  If I knew who was calling, maybe I could figure out who did this.

“I work for the cruise line and was the one who made the reservations”, she answered flatly.  Not the information I was hoping for.

“What do I need to do?” I asked, suddenly feeling pressured.

The representative instructed me to just show up to port in the morning and the rest would be taken care of. 

I need to get off the phone with her so that I can try to figure this out.  Did someone really want to give me a vacation alone?  Or was I going to have an unexpected guest on the cruise?  A little excited and a little nervous, I immediately left the office for the day to get to the bottom of this.


And now for a question...
If this happened to you, what would you do?  Would you leave your significant other to vacation alone?  What if you had a visitor on the cruise?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Whale Wednesday

So Sad!  I have mentioned before that I grew up near Orlando and have been to Sea World many times.  It used to be one of my favorite places to visit.  I would get teary eyed watching the whales, dolphins and other animals.  Such beauty and power!

In recent years, I have changed by views about whales in captivity.  Basically, I don't think they belong!  I've done a fair amount of research on the treatment of these animals in captivity in order for them to "perform" and on the cruel and unnatural environment those tiny tanks are for them.  

With more of these animals being brought to the forefront our our attention due to trainers being hurt or killed, I'm hoping this is the end of the era for these animals to be in captivity.  For Kavna, she spent her entire life held captive.

Kavna, the oldest captive Beluga Whale in North America, died on Monday at the Vancouver Aquarium at the age of 46.  Although it is thought that she died of natural causes, a full necropsy will be done to determine the official cause of death.  It is reported that most belugas in the wild only live to 25-30 years so she exceeded expectations.

Kavna first came to the aquarium in 1976 from Churchill, Manitoba.  She gave birth to a calf in 1977 who died a few weeks later of infection.

Kavna was also the inspiration to the song "Baby Beluga" by Raffi.

 RIP "Baby Beluga"

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympic Spotlight

I have tried to stay away from blogging about the Olympics since it seems that it is already widely covered, but I can't go without mentioning Oscar Pistorius, AKA "Blade Runner".  Oscar is the double amputee who has made Olympic history.  A true inspiration!

After doing some research on his website,,I found that Oscar was born November 22, 1986 in South Africa without a fibula in each of his legs.  His parents consulted with doctors who advised that having the amputation done before he learned how to walk would be less traumatic and increase his chances of mobility later in life.  Six months later he received his first pair of prosthetic legs.

He grew up in a sports-mad family and lived an active lifestyle in younger years playing cricket, tennis, wrestling, and boxing with his main focus being on waterpolo and rugby.  In June 2003, at the age of 16, he shattered his knee playing rugby.

On the advice of his doctor, Oscar began running track to aid in his rehabilitation.

For the next few years, Oscar continued to set new records and win several competitions.  He also began a long battle against the IAAF - International Association of Athletics Federation who felt that he had an unfair advantage.  REALLY???  

In May 2008, the court finally decided that he was eligible to participate in IAAF events wearing his prosthetics.  In March 2011 he ran inside the standard time of the Olympic Games and World Championship.  In September 2011 he won a silver medal and became the first Paralympic athlete to win a World Championship medal.

Although he didn't make the finals in the 400m, he has inspired millions just by being there.  He won the gold in my book!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ultimate Sacrifice Chap. 1 review

Today is the release of Madeleine Maddock’s book, Ultimate Sacrifice, written under pen name Madeleine Sara.  Here is a review of Chapter 1.  What an amazing start!

Lyndsay feels her world shatter when she receives devastating news that her boyfriend, Ben, has been seriously injured in war.  As she sits with Ben’s mom, Glenis, to hear the news, all she wishes for is his survival.  She has been staying with his parents for the past few weeks to feel closer to Ben in his absence.

They listen as the soldiers explain what happened.  They call him a hero, but tell them that his best friend, Colin, was not with him at the time.  Lyndsay reflects on their relationship up to this point.  She remembers the day when he told her it was his childhood dream to enlist, the fateful day that he did enlist, and the day he announced that he would be going to Afghanistan. 

When she asks to see him, the soldiers explain that he is in surgery and she cannot see him until they know for sure that he will pull through.

My heart immediately broke for Lyndsay.  She seems fully dedicated to Ben and will do anything for him.  In these times where we have been at war for 8 years, this is a common scenario.  Many families have sacrificed their loved ones to the tragic circumstances that come with war. 

My boyfriend was wounded in Vietnam and has suffered further consequences later in life.  Although I did not know him at the time, I am reminded of the long-term effects. 

My neighbor just yesterday went to visit his grandson before he will be shipped off to Iran.  Our world is in crisis and it is soldiers like Ben that give us the freedoms that we are so blessed to have.

The opening chapter of Ultimate Sacrifice left me wanting to continue on to find answers to so many questions left.  Will Ben return alive?  What will his future hold?  Can Lyndsay deal with an inevitably difficult future together if he survives?  What role will Colin play in their future?  I don’t know, but after reading the first chapter, I want to find out!

To find Ultimate Sacrifice on Amazon, click HERE

Check out Madeleine's blog at Scribble and Edit

Today, she is hosting a Bombshell Launch Party.  

Come dressed to kill, ready to drop that bombshell on someone you have always admired, longed to meet, wish to get even with or just simply envy. It’s the chance to say what you’ve been keeping repressed (real or imagined). Just have a blast!

To join the party or read the posts of those who have, click HERE

I would like to meet our "Host of Honor", Madeleine.  So excited for your big day!