comfortable clothes

This week we’re talking about comfortable clothes. It used to be I’d wear just about anything and could be comfortable in it. In high school my comfortable clothes were baggy jeans, clinched at the waist with a belt, several chains dangling down, paired with a fitted tank top, and the BDU (battle dress uniform) jacket my military brother gave me.

Then my twenties came and even though I was already a mom before I turned twenty I refused to look like one. I kept a similar every day look but mixed it up with corset tops. By the time I was twenty-eight I was a single mother of two with another on the way. My entire life changed and so did my wardrobe. I stuck with jeans but they were no longer baggy, I love a good boot cut jean. I switched from corsets and fitted tanks to cute t-shirts. Now that I’m 36 this is still my go-to style. My closet has been condensed, mostly because I have a teenage daughter who loves to steal my clothes.

When I’m home for the day I slip into a pair of pajama bottoms and a comfortable t-shirt with a scarf/shawl draped over my shoulders when I get cold.

I’m sure this will change in a year or two. How have your comfortable go-to clothes evolved over the years?

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

“I’m not going to wear that.”

I tend to avoid clothing that isn’t comfortable. You won’t see me in high heels, or dresses that require overly restrictive undergarments (or unsupportive undergarments) unless absolutely necessary.

As a stay at home mom, my wardrobe doesn’t require much variation. Jeans, t-shirt, and cardigan are my standard ensemble, although I am fairly picky about how each one of these fit. Jeans must be dark wash, boot cut, and light weight denim. The hem must at least touch the top of my foot in the front and the floor in the back. T-shirts can be long or short sleeve, but long sleeve must be fitted at the wrist and extend at least an inch past my wrist bones. Neck openings must be scoop-necked or v-neck. Cardigans or zip-up hoodies can be a variety of weights, but they must be semi-fitted and fit comfortably over my T-shirts. No bunching or twisting. Nothing bulky or flappy. Wearing clothes that don’t fit these requirements is physically exhausting. (I wasn’t this picky as a child, but I still drove my mother nuts. If I got one drop of water on my shirt, I had to change my entire wardrobe.)

In the summer, I switch of the jeans for skorts, skirts and a few pair of shorts. In warmer weather, I may forego the cardigan if I am in direct sunlight, but more likely will opt for a lighter version.

Some variation of the above is my leaving the house wardrobe. If I don’t have to leave the house for more than dropping the kids off at school or picking them up, I wear my running or yoga clothes. Some of these I prefer not to be seen in public wearing unless I am running or doing yoga.

I am learning that if I buy something that doesn’t fit these requirements, I probably won’t wear it. Every now and then I try to vary my wardrobe and try something new. The new dress or blouse usually ends up gathering dust in my closet.

I guess I don’t have one particular favorite piece of clothing. I have favorite types of clothing and as long as I have those, I’m pretty comfortable.
We’ll discuss my peculiarities with colors and prints another time.
What time of clothing annoys you the most?
Posted in Joselyn Vaughn, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Design for Comfort

This week, we’re describing our most comfortable piece of clothing.

Back when I was young and had a figure, I was comfortable wearing almost any kind of clothing. I could wear clingy dresses and heels, jeans and t-shirts, and even bathing suits that required less material than my father would have liked. The important thing was that I needed to wear things that were fashionable – or at least the kinds of things my friends wore.

Eventually, I graduated with a teaching degree, and I wanted to look professional. Since I looked pretty young, I guess I wanted to distinguish myself from the junior high students I taught. I wore dresses or skirts and blouses and dress shoes each day. I guess I was comfortable in them, because I don’t remember not being comfortable.

Then the children came. Staying home with them was not an option, so I adjusted. Babies spit up and make all sorts of messes, so my clothes had to be washable and easy to care for – no ironing, no dry cleaning, but still semi-professional. I had no time to think about comfort.

The babies grew into busy young ladies. My life became even more hectic. After a few wardrobe malfunctions (mismatched socks, inside-out sweaters and other mishaps that I described last August in THIS POST), I decided I needed to simplify my wardrobe. I packed up or gave away everything that wasn’t navy blue, khaki, or white. The socks in my drawer were either white or navy. Dressing became much simpler. As for comfort, I started wearing what became known as “mom pants” – slacks and jeans with an elastic waist — since my weight started to climb.

pattern

My collection of pajama pants all look like the bottoms on this pattern envelope!

Now that I’m semi-retired, it’s comfort over fashion. If I’m not leaving the house in the next half hour, chances are I’m in a pair of pajama pants and a t-shirt. I finally managed to lose some weight, so I don’t wear the “mom pants” any more (much to my children’s relief) but if I’m not in public, I’m not going to hold my tummy in. And when I’m writing, I don’t want a snug waistband to remind me about the last snack I ate. I have a go-to pattern for my pajama pants, and I have a drawer of long ones and another of short ones. When a pair wears out, they become part of the rag pile and I raid my fabric stash or the fabric remnant bin at the store to make another.

And now that my post is written, I’m off to cut out another pair or two of short pajama pants. The forecast for next week is sunshine and 60 to 70 degree temps, it’s going to be warm — well, warm for us. I’ve got a lot of writing to do this summer, so I’ll need lots of comfortable clothing!

Posted in clothing, Daily life, Patricia Kiyono | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Guest: Author Alan Orloff

Today my guest is Alan Orloff, and a fascinating fellow he is!

Alan Orloff headshot

Alan Orloff

 

In his bio, Alan lists many varied and interesting career moves. As I was stalking doing research on him, he mentioned a number jobs that warmed me to him, such as having worked with forklifts, (I don’t know why but I love them!), and nuclear submarines,(I had a cousin who worked with them in the Idaho desert.)
Alan is now a writer of novels and short stories. Let’s find out more:

Welcome, Alan! You also teach writing, don’t you?

I do. I teach workshops, mostly at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD. It’s a great way to stay connected to the writing community and help out less experienced writers. I began my writing career taking workshops there!

Tell us about the forklift and the subs! Have you incorporated any of what you learned in these and other jobs into your writings?

Right out of college, I started working for General Electric, in a manufacturing management program. Different jobs in different business sectors in different parts of the country. While I was working at Major Appliance, they trained us office workers on how to drive a forklift, in case there was a strike in the warehouse. I was able to stack dishwashers three high! It was lots of fun until I accidentally backed up into a metal pole (no damage to me, the forklift, or the pole). When I worked at a small service shop in Richmond, we had a contract to provide maintenance on nuclear subs (the missile hatch seals). Fascinating! No, I haven’t yet incorporated any of my engineering experiences into my books or stories. Not yet, anyway!windward-cover

I hope that you had to do research and were not able to draw on personal experience for “Running From the Past”. How do you do ‘homework’ for stories and how do you judge between sounding like you know what you are talking about and TMI?

RUNNING FROM THE PAST - hi res cover

Actually, I got the idea for Running From the Past from a real life situation. My family was vacationing at the beach, and we’d brought along a friend of my older son. I sort of extrapolated and imagined what it would be like if we never took him back! (We did.)
It is sometimes difficult to figure out exactly how much information to include in any story. If I get bored re-reading the passage, then I know there’s too much unnecessary detail. I’ve got a great bunch of critique partners and beta readers who will let me know if I ever get too long-winded.

Speaking of “Running From the Past”, it had a very interesting path to publication. Would you tell everyone about your experience with Kindle Scout?

I’d written Running From the Past, and I’d shown it to the agent I had at the time. She wasn’t sure where/if she could sell it, so she suggested I put it up on Wattpad (a very popular book-sharing site). I had a cover made (by a professional designer) and did the Wattpad thing for a while. Then I took it down, and the novel just languished on my hard drive. No plans. Just sat.
Fast forward a while until I saw Amazon announce a new program, Kindle Scout, where manuscripts could be posted and voted on by the reading public. Books that got a significant number of votes would then get passed on to Amazon Publishing’s editorial board. I jumped on that opportunity and my book was one of the first batch of ten to “win” a contract (along with a modest advance). Since then, I’ve been pleased with how Amazon has marketed the book. If there’s one thing Amazon knows how to do, it’s sell books!

I also read that you, like many of us, dislike being “cubby-holed”. However, your works lean more toward crime stories, am I correct? I believe every novel has a degree of mystery/suspense within their stories. Have you written in other genres or forms?

While much (most?) of my writing has fallen under the crime fiction umbrella, I’ve also published a horror novel, called The Taste. I have to say, it was extremely fun to write, and I’ve had readers comment that it was also a fun book to read. In addition, I’ve written a few YA books; hopefully, they’ll see the light of day sometime!

I find that many writers who started out using a pen name often decide that their own name will do. Of those who don’t revert to their daily name, it is usually to keep distance between different genres. Are you still writing as Zak Allen? How did you choose the name?

You hit it on the head, exactly. I chose Zak Allen when I published The Taste, so I wouldn’t alienate/ confuse/disgust any of my readers who enjoyed my crime fiction published under my real name. Choosing the name was a process. I knew I wanted the last name to be Allen (a homophone of my first name), so that part was easy. I came up with a list of possible first names, and I remember my agent and I batting them around for a good long while. I don’t even remember how we settled on Zak! (I think it might have been my agent’s son’s name, spelled differently.)

Orloff Mystery Weekly Jan Cover

You and I have quite a bit in common since we were both born in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, then we moved to the Northern Virginia suburbs. However, you moved around and then moved back to the area, is that right?

I’ve lived most of my life in the D.C. suburbs. Despite the traffic, and the relatively high cost of living, and all the hot air blowing west from Capitol Hill, I call it home. I really only lived away while I worked for G.E. (for two years) and when I went to grad school in Boston.

You made the move to writing full time. Was that a difficult decision?

I’m very, very fortunate to have a loving and supportive wife (a true patron of the arts, in every respect of the words). Without her support, I’d still be banging my head against cubicle walls.

One interview had you saying that Christopher Walken in The Dead Zone was a great film adaptation. I have just rewatched it, since I had his line about God throwing a truck at him going through my mind,(because I feel like God recently threw a Monte Carlo at me.) A question I had once asked the other Foxes and the Hound was: Do you know any movies that are actually BETTER than their books? Alan, do you know of any?

Well, I tried reading Puzo’s The Godfather and didn’t get very far into it before setting it aside. That was a pretty great movie, so I’d vote for that being better than the book (Can I say that without having read the whole thing?)

50 shades of cabernet cover

Thank you so much for being my guest this week, Alan. How can our readers learn more about you and your works?

You can follow my antics on Facebook and Twitter, or check up on me at my website: www.alanorloff.com.
Most recently, I’ve had stories in 50 SHADES OF CABERNET, Mystery Weekly (Jan 2017), and WINDWARD: BEST NEW ENGLAND CRIME STORIES 2016, all available at your favorite booksellers.

Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog—you’re a great host!

Thank you so much, Alan-you are a great guest!

Posted in agents, Anthologies, author interview, authors, blogging, book covers, Books, careers, connections, Guest, Guest author, inspiration, interview, jobs, New Release, publishing, reading, short stories, Tonette Joyce, traditional publishing, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Guest Fox, Renee Campbell

Welcome to Hound Day, Renee!

By Jeff Salter

Delighted to welcome Renee Campbell as my Guest Fox on Hound Day. I first became acquainted with Renee when I was inadvertently sitting in her chair at a recent local author event. Let me explain.

At our county public library’s annual Local Author event last month, I plopped down next to Kathy Ragle, who heads up the Gibson-Ragle Publishing outfit. Since I enjoy supporting local and regional authors, I have hosted three authors (so far) from that publishing house.

“Kathy,” I said, “have you got another author for me to feature on my blog?”

Kathy smiled and handed me a bookmark for Redemption. It turns out Renee just had her first novel released and was due to arrive any moment… and take her place at the author table with Kathy. So, you see, I truly was sitting in Renee’s chair.

When I later introduced myself, Renee won my heart right away — she handed me a tiny box wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. Inside that box was CHOCOLATE.

Besides that, Renee also loves old automobiles!

Renes Pic

Bio:

Author Renee Campbell resides in Somerset, Kentucky with her husband and five children. Renee works in a busy Cardiology office. She loves reading, writing, and outside activities with her family and friends. She has a passion for vintage cars.

Interview

  1. In my younger life, I visited the Biloxi area frequently, so I’m very familiar with that portion of the Gulf. My brother lived in Mobile for about ten years and I visited there often. What was it like for you to live near the Alabama Coast? What brought you all the way up to KY?

[R.C.] — There is nothing like being on the Gulf! The beaches are beautiful and the fresh sea food is amazing! I love the water! There is something so relaxing about the ocean. The ocean is what I miss the most.  Moved from Kentucky to Alabama in 1991 for my father to take a church in Mobile. I lived there until 2006 when we moved back to Kentucky to take care of sick family.

  1. Besides working in the medical field, what jobs have you held? Which did you like best?

[R.C.] — I have held medical related jobs most of my life. I have worked as a Registered Medical Assistant in gynecology, pediatrics, family practice, as well as performing bone density scans. I also worked as a lab tech for years. I love my current job in Cardiology.

  1. Your FB timeline has photos of you in clothing styles from what looks like the 1940s. Was that a special event, or do you identify with that period? If so, why?

[R.C.] — My husband and I attend a lot of car shows and for some of those people dress in 40’s -50’s attire. I love the era. I love that life was less complicated then. The style was classy and clean. The beauty was real then. I have a lot of fun with it.

  1. I also saw several photos of antique cars. Do you help restore them? Buy and sell them? Or just enjoy driving around in automotive history?

[R.C.] — My husband and I have a 1956 Chevy 4 door Wagon and a 1934 Chevy Pickup, both of which are still works in progress. I love that we share a passion for old cars. I spend a lot of time in the garage getting dirty. I don’t know a lot about what needs to be done but my husband is a good teacher. We attend a lot of car shows and have a great time.

  1. I get the impression you’re involved with school athletics. Were you an athlete in school? Or is this mainly as a coach or sponsor of your kid’s teams?

[R.C.] — My daughter is a very talented athlete so I spend a lot of time at athletic events. I was not involved in athletics in school. I stayed very busy with other activities. I was into drama club.

  1. How long have you been writing fiction?

[R.C.] — I have been writing in some fashion since I was a child. I wrote short stories and essays in school. I was told that even as a small child I would gather the kids in the neighborhood and tell them stories on the front lawn. I have toyed with writing a book for years and one day I decided that I was not getting any younger. I decided that it was time to mark it off my bucket list. Fiction has always been my favorite. I love that with fiction you can become anyone and go anywhere.

  1. Your novel, Redemption, looks like a thriller. What nudged you in the direction of this genre?

[R.C.] — Thrillers are my favorite type of book. I enjoy the suspense, the twists and turns in thrillers. The guessing about what will happen and why excites me. Thrillers seem to come fairly easy to me.

  1. If sales (money) and critics (reviews) were immaterial to you, what genre and length would you write?

[R.C.] — I would probably write longer novels if cost were not an issue. You do keep up with the number of pages when cost is a issue.

  1. You’re collecting some terrific reviews on your first novel. It’s not easy getting readers to review your books — how did you do it?

[R.C.] — I have asked readers to review the book based on their feelings. I have posted messages on social media asking readers for their opinions and they have graciously followed through. I am so very pleased with the reviews that I have seen so far.

  1. Have you ever encountered people who seem unable / unwilling to comprehend that writing is something you are driven to do?

[R.C.] — I used to want to be an author as a child, but I was told often that I needed a real job. I don’t think people really believed that I could make a living writing back then. No one I knew had ever written a book so it didn’t seem possible.

  1. If you were not a writer, can you imagine what else you might do to express the creativity within you?

[R.C.] — I really don’t know what else I would do if I were not writing. I might try to learn to paint or draw. I would have to put forth some major effort, I don’t think stick people count as art.

  1. Give us at least one example of someone who has contacted you and expressed how much your writing meant to them.

[R.C.] — I have had a reader contact me to tell me that she bought my book and read it in one day. She said that she could not put it down and that she was so very glad she read it. She asked me to let her know as soon as my next book Vengeance is available.

Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me, Jeff! I am so happy to be talking with you.

Redemptin-cvr-3

Blurb:

C.J. Cummings had a simple life in small town Riverton Township until Evil itself found its way in. A serial killer is targeting the people she loves the most and leaving C.J. messages at each scene.

Will she be able to find the connection that has drawn this killer to her town?

Will C.J. be able to stop him before she loses anyone else?

 

https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Renee-Campbell/dp/1542935873

–  –  –

Vengeance — Book 2 in the series is coming soon.

Question for today’s blog readers:

What would you want to know most about Redemption? Is there a character in the book that you like the most… and why?

[JLS # 332]

 

Posted in author interview, author's life, authors, Guest, Guest author, Guest author post, Jeff Salter, Uncategorized | Tagged | 15 Comments

Guest Author: Ara Grigorian and Game of Love

Ara G

Finding a guest author to visit our blog is a monthly task, and I try to have my guests lined up a month or two ahead of time. But for various reasons, this month got away from me and I ended up approaching my guest only a few days ago! Fortunately, Ara Grigorian is a problem solver and quickly came to my rescue. Ara is the author of Game of Love, a lovely novel (I’m currently about a third of the way through it) as well as a tech guru (I go to him whenever I have a question about Scrivener, the writing software I use on my Mac). When not solving IT problems for fellow authors as well as at Technicolor, he’s teaching writing workshops for Writers Digest and other groups. Last Saturday he joined one of my writing groups via the internet to teach us about story structure, and we all learned so much!

 

Anyway, here’s Ara to tell us the story behind Game of Love.

Are You a Tennis Player?

That’s the number one question I am asked when new readers hear of my novel, Game of Love.

“Why yes,” I respond. “I was a supermodel-slash-celebrity-slash-professional athlete when I was younger. Thank you for noticing.”

Because this question was asked of me when all I had was a manuscript, I decided to share the backstory with my readers when my novel was published. I wrote the following in the Author’s Notes:
Morning of May 26, 2010, Paris: I stumbled into the hotel elevator. I had not slept well, which was typical for me on international business trips. I was in mid-yawn when the doors slid open and walked in the talented Dominika Cibulková. Not my coolest moment, I admit, but I recovered fast enough to wish her luck. Thanks to me, she won that afternoon’s match J. The French Open was in full swing and many of the athletes were staying at the same hotel. So over breakfast I thought about a tennis star’s lifestyle. Can a celebrity athlete have a “normal” life? Can they trust anyone? Then I remembered a “What if…” situation I had jotted in my journal months earlier. It all came together and in that moment, the random idea found its soul. On my return flight, I wrote the “breakfast scene.” The seed which was found on a business trip, transformed into this novel.

But there’s more to the story.

I write stories of second chances. I am an eternal optimist, always believing we can all have a chance at a hopeful ending in the book of our life. So I’m always touched and intrigued by stories of someone who overcame. Someone who went against the odds and found that inner power to come back and win. Who doesn’t like the story of the underdog that wins? Okay, fine there are some out there, but that’s not me.

When I thought of Gemma Lennon, the heroine of my novel, she was the classic fallen from grace character. I thought of Anna Kournikova, the tennis pro and sex symbol that was regularly made fun of – unfairly if I may add. She won four (count ’em) Grand Slams in both doubles and mixed doubles, so she was no slouch. But she was a great target. The beautiful ones are fair game. Particularly if they never overcome their weakness – in her case, singles. So Gemma’s story had to be one of redemption, but I didn’t want her solution to come from within – I wanted her to find the capacity to win by learning to trust again.

Trust herself, trust others, trust her heart.

We are better with others in our lives. That is our design. Gemma just needed to find the right one. And once she did, all she had to do was play the Game of Love.

Game of LoveBlurb for Game of Love:
Game of Love is set in the high-stakes world of professional tennis where fortune and fame can be decided by a single point.

Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing: Winning a Grand Slam. After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning – until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game.

Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love… at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily.

As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within… even lovers and even friends.

In the Game of Love, winner takes all.

*****

My Kindle app tells me I’m 32 percent of the way through this novel, and it’s fascinating. There are 65 reviewers on Amazon who agree with me, as well as judges in the International Book Awards, the Independent Author Network Book of the Year, and the USA Book News Awards. I’m sure you’ll love it!

Game of Love is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Ara Grigorian can be found at his website and on FacebookAmazon, Twitter, and Instagram,

Posted in Guest author, inspiration, Patricia Kiyono, romance | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

Hour Power

The question posed this week is: If a typical day suddenly included and extra hour, what would we do with the time?

For the previous 20 years I would have had an easy answer:

Sleep

When I had teenagers, a husband who worked at night and I and was working early bakery hours, I started getting very little sleep. Life changed but was ‘on-call’ at all hours for some years. Then I allowed myself to be put into a situation where I needed to be up late and then be up again very early.

I learned to run on very little sleep.

Now, those days are rare, but recent circumstances have made the going slower and I have been tired, so I may again say “sleep”.
But to be honest, I do have the freedom to rest most days, so I have to go with:

Write.

I have not put enough time in. I have several WIPs and many ideas/starts. I finished and submitted two stories, but not to enough publications.

I thought for sure during the last few weeks that I would get my act together, but one thing or another has stopped me. This week, I have a good excuse.

If I don’t get back to your comments right away, it is because my son and grandson are coming into town this evening for the weekend. I have not seen #2 Son since two days after Thanksgiving and the grandson since January 2nd. I speak to my sons nearly daily, to the grandson quite often, but, for those of you who know my family, it has been a rough transition for me.

This week, I could use the extra hour every day because cleaning has been slow going for me. The family will understand, though, if this isn’t like the Four Seasons…the hotel, not the group. If Frankie Valli wants to come and lend a hand, he is welcomed to do so! He’ll probably be here anyway, because I have the Oldies station on while I do a bit of house-preparation!

Posted in big plans, Daily life, Family, Life, time management, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments