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What’s Your Story?

Following my book launch in January, I quickly re-discovered that self-marketing is a major undertaking. Writing a book is one thing. Actually selling it is quite another! With hundreds of thousands of books and new authors cropping up on Amazon and other sites every year, how do you stand out? You’ve got to have friends in the right places. You need a solid network of creative professionals on your team. And you’ve got to keep at it.

One way to push your networking as an author is to join a local writer’s guild. One exists in my area however in speaking to some of their authors at their Farmer’s Market booth one Saturday, I learned they have some requirements that are a bit out of my reach at this time. Firstly, their annual dues are upwards of $300.00. Not something I can produce right now! They also require their members be previously published through a traditional publishing house. In the world of indie authors and self-pubs, also not possible.

My question to you is: Have you considered joining your local writer’s guild? Or have you already? I’d love to hear your pros and cons about them, no matter which way you’ve opted. Tell me your experiences! Your input will help me (and others) decide if a guild would be a worthwhile venture when the opportunity arises. Sound off in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Oh, and when you’re done, please do check out the first in a sci-fi trilogy that artfully blends Tech and Kinetics. It is the first of three lovechild creations of myself and fellow creatives Charlie Barbin (10/7 Productions), Ray Wade Jr. (Midian Entertainment Group), and David Rex Bonnewell (Wickedly Written). LOOKER: Lydia Branson, Book 1 is available on KINDLE and in print for a stupid-low price. Click HERE: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MLYN1ZX

Looker cover book MIDIAN 2018 01 06 - USE ME

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Working For Free – Oyster Reef Volunteer

Having been out of work for some time now, the cabin fever was setting in pretty hard.  Between having no income yet still spending gas to get to job interviews, there was no gas to just get away for pleasure, a break from the monotony and certainly no funds for entertainment.  I needed to feel useful again, productive.  That is when I came across a request in the local paper for volunteers to help that coming weekend on a project to build an artificial reef in the area.  I’m a nature lover and have always been interested in (and often active in) conservation efforts – how cool was that?

After e-mailing the listed contact for details, I was excited to get to work – even if it was for free.  I let a friend of mine know about the project and he was on board as well.  That Saturday, he picked me up early and we went out to Harbour Pointe on the inlet where several tons of oyster shells were ready in large barrels and on sheets of plywood in huge piles.

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About 20 other volunteers showed up and we were given a brief primer on the task at hand.    We organized ourselves into each area – shoveling, bagging and tying off.  I shoveled shells into smaller buckets while my friend bagged and tied them.  They were then loaded onto a truck to be moved to their final resting place in Wildcat Cove.  

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During a break in which bottled water and other drinks were provided, the leader of the operation and a colleague commended us all on our efforts which far exceeded their expectations.  In just about 2 hours, we’d already assembled about 400 20-pound oyster bags for deployment.  My friend and I stayed for a 20-minute informational lecture about oyster reefs, their local benefits, lots of statistics and zoological info as well.  We broke for lunch then and would meet up at low tide a few miles up the coast at Wildcat Cove.

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Upon arrival at Wildcat Cove, we found the oyster bags in a neat pile in front of the canoe launch.  Another 100 bags had been assembled and brought up in two deliveries.  It took a little brainstorming as to how we were going to get the bags to the reef area, but one adventurous girl with her own kayak said she could pull floating tubs of about 30 bags per load out to the location.  There was some interesting trial-and-error in getting the system going, including one thankfully good-humored man getting impossibly stuck in the thick muck at the bottom of the river.  It took more than ten minutes to get the river to release his legs and he lost a shoe, but we got him back safely!  Note to self: Don’t go into the water without a boat here!

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Once we got the production line going, the rest was – pardon the pun – smooth sailing.  Bags were floated out to a mangrove area where a 4-foot high oyster “wall” was built staggered around the mangroves.  Once settled and cemented, these artificial reefs will provide settling places for new oyster spawns, as well as providing habitat for young fish and feeding grounds for birds such as herons, ibis, loons, cormorants, anhingas and more.

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I remain in contact with the organizer of this effort who works for the county in coastal restoration and he is helping me network with other people in the field so that I may actually find work in conservation or a related field.  Even if it is a desk job, it would be a great opportunity (and has been) to do something productive in a field I really enjoy.  Another reef build is coming up in two days.  This time my daughter will also be involved, getting her hands dirty and having a positive impact on our local, unique and delicate ecosystem.

Topics Today: The Future Of Print Media

Topics Today: The Future Of Print Media

As my Kindle Fire and I approach our one-year anniversary of being together, I become aware of how dependent on the device I really am and how much it has come to mean in my daily life. I received the Kindle Fire as a birthday present last year and first thought, “Now this is a neat new toy.” Little did I realize how streamlined such a tiny tablet could make my daily routine.

At the bottom of the home screen on my virtual shelves of favorites, my mornings and evenings are lined up for quick access. I check and reply to my e-mail, check my calendar, the weather, local and national news, play a couple rounds of a popular word puzzle game, and finally check my Facebook and Twitter feeds for messages or anything else of importance. Within a few minutes, I have all the information I need to get on with my day. Repeat the same process at night, and then settle in with the next few chapters of whatever book I’m currently reading. During the day, I even use it to take hand-written notes on schedule changes, class and work notes, to-do lists, story or article ideas, etc. After a year of daily use, I still go to bed amazed that all this is at my fingertips, instantly available.

Maybe it is because I grew up in the 70s and 80s accustomed to going out to retrieve the newspaper every morning from the lawn, looking forward to magazines in the mail, reading comics on Sundays and clipping coupons with my mother. The faster technology grows, the harder it seems to be to let go of such deeply rooted habits that formed before such things even existed. Those of us in our 30s and 40s however seem to be finally – slowly – giving in to the conveniences that digital media offers. As we find we have less personal time than in years past and a higher demand for instant information, we are starting to turn away from print media and opt for more advanced tools and resources. So where does the digital domain leave traditional print media? This is a topic of heavy discussion and concern that just keeps getting bigger.

A recent study also entitled “The Future Of Print Media” indicated that From 2007 to 2009 revenue change in newspaper publishing, including advertisement, sales and other sources of income decreased 30 percent in the United States, 21 percent in the United Kingdom, 20 percent in Greece and 10 percent in Germany (Boghani, 2012). This year the New Orleans Times-Picayune cut its newsroom staff practically in half and reduced its service to only three days a week (Carley, 2012). The same fate may loom for other print-run media such as The Recorder and the Orange County Register as well as other small papers across the nation as publishers continue to see interest and sales falling from an audience leaning toward obtaining their news digitally. Newsweek, a weekly paper launched in 1933 by Thomas J. C. Martyn, announced in October that beginning in January 2012 it will transition to all-digital (Boghani, 2012).

While some printed options disappear, others are determined to supplement their lost print revenue with digital revenue. The New York Times and The Washington Post have broadened their reach into the digital world while remaining in print. The Washington Post for example has experimented with the Trove recommendation engine (Ingram, 2012). The Facebook social reader has also become an option for expansion for media companies with the support and ability to explore other avenues to reach their readers.

As traditional readers age and technology advances, adaptation on the part of both publisher and consumer is the best compromise. Print media publishers must find new ways to reach an audience that increasingly demands digital content and readers will need to come to terms with the inevitable – that technology is progressing and changing the way we live. For younger generations, this transition from print to digital will likely be a non-issue as they have been raised in technologically advanced homes and classrooms. For the older generations, it may be a bit more difficult to acclimate to the new ways we have of getting our information.

References:

Boghani, P. (October 18, 2012). Print Media: Is It Globally Doomed? Retrieved November
11, 2012 from: http://www.cnbc.com/id/49471896/Print_Media_Is_it_Globally_Doomed

Carley, M. (July 3, 2012). The Future Of Print Media. Retrieved November 11, 2012 from:
http://www.recorderonline.com/articles/media-53261-newsroom-half.html

Ingram, M. (April 16, 2012). The Future Of Media: Many Small Pieces, Loosely Joined.
Retrieved November 11, 2012 from:
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-16/the-future-of-media-equals-many-small-pieces-loosely-joined

Good Freezy Goodness!!!

Just had to share some pics from Tuesday Morning… All that white iciness? Yeh – that was my windshield lol!!! I had to de-ice my frikken car – it was EPIC I so love the cold, don’t get near enough of it. But, now that it’s warming up, the giddiness has subsided and I’m all…. whaaa I want snow! Not like… tons and tons of it… just… enough to play in ^_^

Weathered The Storm…

Despite the massive flooding here in the county, I have managed to weather TS Fay without too much damage.  The duct tape on the smashed-in window just *barely* held up against the winds that pelted us from the ESE to WSW the entire time.  It did not hold against the water however so there was leakage inside.  Thankfully, that is all that leaked.  I was concerned about some missing tiles on the roof as well, but they managed to hold.  Water did blow into the attic vent on the side of the house under the eave, and while a little dripping was heard inside the ceiling, nothing made it through.  I am hoping that will dry out on its own once we start to heat back up again. 

The storm did cause some damage to the siding of the front of the house where it pulled the wood away from the building.  Some pieces of that are going to have to be replaced ASAP and I am going to have to board that window up for good since I cannot afford to have it replaced.  This will be done with borrowed tools and hopefully the helping hand of one of my neighbors.  I will need to find some heavy-duty 4″ screws to go through both the wood paneling and the concrete of the building.  Yikes.  As of this morning, it was not immediately apparent that any other neighbors took any damage, save for a downed mailbox at Dana and Gary’s place.

Flooding remains the primary concern all along the Treasure Coast where we are still being pelted by heavy rains.  Today they are coming with 15-45 minute breaks inbetween the rains which is allowing waters to recede just slightly.  Many homes, especially in older areas such as along Delaware Ave., and in farming areas reported water entering the residences.  A large number of intersections, and in many places in the area entire neighborhoods, are completely impassible and this morning many were blocked off by officers directing traffic out of these areas. 

On my way in to work this morning, I was turned back twice, as Oleander was severely flooded between Edwards and Virginia, and Virginia was severely flooded between US1 and 25th Street.  North 39th Street in Fort Pierce also remains badly flooded north of Angle Road for at least 3 blocks.  This area however has not been blocked off.  Trucks and larger vehicles are able to pass through slowly, but passenger cars are having great difficulty getting through.  Most are turning around. 

With the ground being so saturated, I would advise ALL drivers to not exit the roadway into swales to turn around.  The ground is likely to give way and sink the vehicle a foot or more, as happened to a very good friend of mine the last time it flooded here.  He did not realize he was pulling into a grassy area until it was too late and the majority of the front end of his truck was under mud and water.

I will be going home to check on things again shortly, and I hope to God that tape has held up through today’s storms as I had to come in to work today and could not be there for window-rescue as I was up all night doing.

Here’s hoping anyone reading this either fared well or lives out of the area and did not have to deal with Fay.

Personal Local Observations – Flash Floods – TS Fay – Tornados Confirmed

Tornado watch remains in effect for Treasure Coast until 4 p.m. : Treasure Coast : TCPalm.

See the above link for official stats.

So far today, the highest reading for rainfall has been 7.8 inches in St. Lucie County, recorded around 11 a.m., according to National Weather Service. The average rainfall so far today is 6 inches. Winds have been recorded in the county at 40 mph. Sheriff Ken Mascara (St. Lucie County) is urging drivers to stay off the roads due to extensive flooding.

At 10:40 a.m. – A tornado has touched down at the Shell gas station on U.S. 1 near Monroe Street just south of Stuart. A vehicle flipped over and power lines are down. FPL workers are en route. Southbound U.S. 1 traffic is reduced to a single lane.

Locally on the southern end of Fort Pierce’s industrial area and approximately 2 miles from the coast (neighborhood area of Edwards Road, Oleander Ave., Midway Road and 7th Street), max sustained winds have peaked at 24mph with the highest gust being at 38mph. There is an indoor draft as winds shift and gust.

At 11:00 – Rain is currently very heavy and blowing in from the East as it has been all morning. Very few southern shifts have been experienced, and then only briefly. This area has received 4.96″ of rain between midnight and 11:00 a.m. and it is still coming hard. At 11:20 a.m., the wind has shifted from the SE at 26mph with the approach of another strong cell.

Air temperature has not risen above 73.3F.

No hail has been experienced, however the combination of high wind gusts and heavy rain has caused sparking and sizzling of powerlines on this street. The transformer in the rear of this location has been humming and buzzing with strong power surges. This could be due to the power lines running through the middle of large, untrimmed trees in the adjoining yards.

At 1:00 – Power lines along 7th Street continue to buzz steadily and loudly for several hours now and I expect to lose power soon. Reported to FPL who needs to assess these lines quickly, something is not right.

FPL trucks and St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office cars have been seen on the road otherwise. A flash flood warning has just been issued at 10:51 a.m. for the area. (See Below.)

Damage in this immediate area has thankfully been minimal, involving downed mail boxes, blown trash cans and slight moisture seeping in windows. It is also likely during high wind gusts for rain to blow into attic vents (under eaves and under roof peaks on the sides of houses) and dampen the sheet rock of the ceiling.

At 1:00 p.m., the center of Tropical Storm Fay was over Caloosahatchee and tracking NNE toward the Treasure Coast at 8 mph, with sustained winds of 65 mph. Rains should start to subside slightly as the winds begin to increase over the next few hours.

Late Tuesday Update: Center of TS Fay appears to be over the city of Kissimmee right now, and I am praying for the winds to finally shift West so that my front window, which already had a gaping foot-wide hole in it from where someone threw a rock through it, can have some relief. It is only patched with duct tape inside and out, and the tape has failed with the driving rain, letting water inside. Additional tape applied to the inside is also seeping through. There were no tools available to actually board up the place before the storm as I am still in the process of moving and much of my stuff is still at the old location. I am alone here, and scared to say the least.

UPDATES:

11:20 a.m. Wind SE 27 / Rain Tally 5.17″ / Lightning moving into the area

11:35 a.m. Wind ESE 19 with strong gusts / Rain Tally 5.27″ / The next cell is here

12:00 p.m. Wind E 9, gusting higher / Rain Tally 5.34″ / Slowed briefly, another wave coming in

12:15 p.m. Wind SE 9, S heavy gusts / Rain Tally 5.42″ / Storm drains now overflowing, power flux

12:30 p.m. Wind ESE 8 / Rain Tally 5.71″ / Power lines still overloaded, but power is on

1:00 p.m. Wind SE 12 / Rain Tally 6.33″ / Lines still buzzing, humming and moaning, brief letup in rain

1:15 p.m. Wind ESE 12 / Rain Tally 6.34″ / Brief sun, wind gusting again ahead of rapidly passing downpours

1:45 p.m. Wind ESE 15 / Rain Tally 6.38″ / Another wave starting to move through

2:00 p.m. Wind ESE 12 / Rain Tally 6.39″ / Center of storm skirting west side of Lake Okeechobee

2:35 p.m. Wind SE 11 / Rain Tally 6.42″ / Found damage to siding – pulled away from house

2:45 p.m. Wind ESE 18 / Rain Unchanged / In 45-60 mins, center will be 40 mi. west of Fort Pierce.

3:15 p.m. Wind ESE 15, gusty / Rain Unchanged

10:00 p.m. Wind S 13 Gusting To 43 / Rain Tally 8.91″ / Center 30 Mi West of us / Window Leaking

11:00 p.m. Wind S 16 Gusting SSW 43 / Rain Tally 9.15″ / Rain still driving in, Barometer 29.5 Rising

11:15 p.m. Wind SSE 17 / Rain Tally 9.18″ / The broken south window is a lost cause at this point

11:30 p.m. Wind still S and erratic / Rain Tally 9.29″ / Baromer 29.52 Rising / 2 streams of water entering

FLASH FLOOD WARNING UPDATED – NEW ISSUE 12:26 P.M. TUES AUG 19, 2008:

FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR, INDIAN RIVER COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA, MARTIN COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA, OKEECHOBEE COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA, ST. LUCIE COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA, UNTIL 415 PM EDT
Issue Time: 12:26PM EDT, Tuesday Aug 19, 2008
Valid Until: 4:15PM EDT, Tuesday Aug 19, 2008
Back to summary

Bulletin – Eas Activation Requested Flash Flood Warning National Weather Service Melbourne FL 1226 PM EDT Tue Aug 19 2008

The National Weather Service In Melbourne Has Issued A

* Flash Flood Warning For… Indian River County In East Central Florida… Martin County In East Central Florida… Okeechobee County In East Central Florida… St. Lucie County In East Central Florida… * Until 415 PM EDT

* At 1219 PM EDT… National Weather Service Doppler Radar Indicated Very Heavy Rain Continuing On The East Side Of Tropical Storm Fay. Multiple Rainbands Are Producing Torrential Downpours… Which Has Caused Extensive Runoff And Closing Of Roadways. Doppler Radar Estimates That 4 To 6 Inches Of Rain Has Occurred In Martin And St Lucie Counties With Some Isolated Higher Amounts.

* Locations In The Warning Include But Are Not Limited To South Beach… Saint Lucie Village… Vero Lake Estates… Vero Beach Highlands… Saint Lucie Airport… Queens Cove And Lakewood Park

Additional Rainfall Amounts Of 2 To 4 Inches Will Occur In The Warned Area.

Flooding Is Occurring Or Is Imminent. Most Flood Related Deaths Occur In Automobiles. Do Not Attempt To Cross Water Covered Bridges… Dips… Or Low Water Crossings. Never Try To Cross A Flowing Stream… Even A Small One… On Foot.

T.S. Fay Update From and Affecting Central Florida

(AKA God Damnit Not Again, Weren’t Frances, Jeanne and Wilma enough???)

/O.CON.KMLB.HU.S.0001.000000T0000Z-000000T0000Z/ COASTAL WATERS FROM FLAGLER BEACH TO VOLUSIA BREVARD COUNTY LINE OUT 20 NM- COASTAL WATERS FROM VOLUSIA BREVARD COUNTY LINE TO SEBASTIAN INLET OUT 20 NM- COASTAL WATERS FROM SEBASTIAN INLET TO JUPITER INLET OUT 20 NM– WATERS FROM FLAGLER BEACH TO VOLUSIA BREVARD COUNTY LINE 20 TO 60 NM OFFSHORE- WATERS FROM VOLUSIA BREVARD COUNTY LINE TO SEBASTIAN INLET 20 TO 60 NM OFFSHORE- WATERS FROM SEBASTIAN INLET TO JUPITER INLET 20 TO 60 NM OFFSHORE- INLAND VOLUSIA-NORTHERN LAKE-ORANGE-SEMINOLE-SOUTHERN BREVARD- INDIAN RIVER-ST. LUCIE-MARTIN-COASTAL VOLUSIA-SOUTHERN LAKE- NORTHERN BREVARD- 622 PM EDT SUN AUG 17 2008

…NEW INFORMATION… ALTHOUGH WATCHES HAVE NOT BEEN ISSUED FOR THE AREA…RESIDENTS AND MARINERS SHOULD KEEP ABREAST OF ANY NEARING HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH TROPICAL STORM FAY.

THIS STATEMENT ALSO PROVIDES IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR INTERESTS IN MARTIN…SAINT LUCIE…INDIAN RIVER…ORANGE…SEMINOLE…BREVARD… LAKE…AND VOLUSIA COUNTIES. THIS ALSO INCLUDES THE ADJACENT ATLANTIC COASTAL WATERS OUT TO 60 NAUTICAL MILES.

…PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… IN CASE ADDITIONAL WATCHES ARE NEEDED…THIS IS A GOOD TIME FOR RESIDENTS TO GO OVER THEIR PREPAREDNESS PLANS AND REPLENSIH STORM PROVISIONS SUCH AS…BATTERIES FOR RADIOS AND FLASHLIGHTS…DRINKING WATER…CANNED GOODS OR DRIED FOOD… FIRST AID SUPPLIES…BABY SUPPLIES…AND PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES.

…STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE… GIVEN THAT FAY WILL APPROACH THE FORECAST AREA FROM THE INLAND DIERCTION…LITTLE IMPACT FROM STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE IS EXPECTED ALONG THE EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA COAST AT THIS TIME.

FOR LAKE OKEECHOBEE…ASSUMING THE CURRENT FORECAST AND A LAKE LEVEL NEAR 11.3 FEET…NO SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE IMPACT IS EXPECTED. HOWEVER…LARGE FLUCTUATIONS IN LAKE LEVEL ARE EXPECTED AS THE WINDS SHIFT IN DIRECTION AND SPEED WITH THE PASSING STORM.

…WINDS… THE SPECIFIC FORECAST IS FOR WINDS AND GUSTS TO REMAIN BELOW TROPICAL STORM FORCE DURING THE EVENT. HOWEVER…CONVECTIVE GUSTS WITHIN RAINBANDS MAY BECOME STRONG TO LOCALLY SEVERE.

GIVEN THE LATEST OFFICIAL FORECAST…ALONG WITH INHERENT FORECAST UNCERTAINTIES IN CYCLONE TRACK AND INTENSITY…THERE IS A LIMITED THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY FROM HIGH WINDS.

MARINERS ARE URGED TO CHECK THE LATEST COASTAL WATERS FORECAST FOR THE LATEST ON MARINE WINDS AND SEAS. INTERESTS AT AREA PORTS…MARINAS…AND DOCKS SHOULD BE READY TO ACT IF A WATCH OR WARNING IS ISSUED ALONG THE COAST NORTH OF JUPITER INLET.

…STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE… GIVEN THAT FAY WILL APPROACH THE FORECAST AREA FROM THE INLAND DIERCTION…LITTLE IMPACT FROM STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE IS EXPECTED ALONG THE EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA COAST AT THIS TIME.

FOR LAKE OKEECHOBEE…ASSUMING THE CURRENT FORECAST AND A LAKE LEVEL NEAR 11.3 FEET…NO SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE IMPACT IS EXPECTED. HOWEVER…LARGE FLUCTUATIONS IN LAKE LEVEL ARE EXPECTED AS THE WINDS SHIFT IN DIRECTION AND SPEED WITH THE PASSING STORM.

…INLAND FLOODING… ASSUMING THE CURRENT FORECAST TRACK…RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 6 INCHES ARE EXPECTED WITH FAY. LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. CONSEQUENTLY…A FLOOD WATCH MAY BE NEEDED ON MONDAY.

…TORNADOES… MUCH OF EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA WILL BE LOCATED IN THE RIGHT FRONT QUADRANT OF FAY. STATISTICALLY…THIS QUADRANT IS THE FAVORED AREA FOR TORNADOES AND WATERSPOUTS…ESPECIALLY WITHIN OUTER RAINBANDS. THE THREAT FOR TORNADOES WILL INCREASE MONDAY AS THE OUTER REACHES OF FAY APPROACH THE AREA. LISTEN FOR POSSIBLE WATCHES AND WARNINGS.

…NEXT UPDATE… THE NEXT LOCAL STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MELBOURNE AROUND MIDNIGHT EDT…OR SOONER IF CONDITIONS WARRANT.