Thursday, December 18, 2014

#WWoW!: @dochappycamper Revisits How to Get the Most Out of Author Support Groups and #Tweet Teams #reciprocation #MyWANA



Welcome to this week's edition of Tammy's Tidbits. This is a revamping of a blog post I did for Writer's Words of Wisdom. The information still holds true...with a few updates. The goal of this post is to share what has worked and what hasn't worked well for me during my journey to becoming a multi-published author. 

As authors our journey stories vary as do our experiences, but that's what makes each of us unique. What works for one, may not work for another but by sharing what we've learned, we help others determine their own course. It's a win-win situation for all involved!

This week I'd like to talk a bit about author support groups. There are many out there. Some are geared more toward specific genres and heat levels, while others welcome everyone and their work. Some focus more on specific aspects of the business such as Marketing for Romance Writers. Some focus on building your brand and connections such as MyWANA (We Are Not Alone) and to a lesser extent tweet teams.

No matter the group they all have one thing in common: rules for participation. These are the guidelines for all members to follow if they wish to participate in the group and be supported by the other members. They have rules for what can and cannot be posted in the groups and whether promotions are allowed at all. If the group is focused on marketing for example, they may only wish to talk about ideas and "how to" market your work, not receive nonstop BUY ME NOW spam. 

If you join this type of group, and you use programs such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck to set up your posts in advance, save yourself a migraine and make sure you don't put the "no promo" group links in your set up. It's bad enough you broke the rules by posting the promotions, but you make it a thousand times worse if you blindly set up your autoshares. You give the impression to the other group members that you're rude and obnoxious. If you can't take the time to respect the guidelines, why should they bother to click on your links?

One set of rules I'd like to focus on in particular are those concerning participation on tweet teams and the blog sharing site Triberr. When you join these groups you are expected to share ALL participating members posts whether it's tweets or blogs. This means you are NOT to pick and choose which posts you want to share and which you'll ignore because you or your followers don't like the subject material.

Unless the groups are set up to allow selective sharing when you participate, you can't do it. Not only is it rude, it's unfair that you expect your posts to be shared by all and you get to be exempt. These support/share teams are set up so all participants get their posts shared across the board and put in front of more potential readers/fans. If you break that chain, you not only screw your team members, you get labeled as an author behaving badly.


You know you don't want to be labeled AABB (another author behaving badly). We've talked about it many times before. You are in this business to build bridges, not burn them down. If you don't agree with the rules of a group, don't join it. Plain and simple. If you find you can't share posts for all members because you are personally offended by the subject matter, then quietly leave the group. You don't need to make a horrible scene as you leave. You don't have to explain yourself other than to say you don't feel you're a good fit. Leave it at that and keep on friendly terms with them. You never know when those connections will come in handy later.

There are so many groups and there isn't any one group that fits everyone. You should scout them out and see what is the best fit for you and your work. If you don't like the confines of the rules one group has in place, don't join. You won't be able to get them to change the rules to fit you. That's not the way it works, so buck up buttercup and either follow the rules or find another group.

To sum it up: participation in author support groups, tweet teams and sites such as Triberr is not a one way street. If you're not prepared to RECIPROCATE, you need to VACATE your spot to someone who will.

Now on to those who are in charge of the groups—The Admins

These people are there to HELP the members use the group effectively and maintain order. They're there to enforce the rules and guidelines and make sure all members get the most out of what the group has to offer. What these people cannot do is tell you how you conduct yourself outside of the confines of the group. 

If some nonmember or former member of the group happens to be using the group hashtag, there is NOTHING any admin can do about it. There is no copyright on hashtags and there isn't any reason to get all worked up about it. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't mean squat. So don't go running to the Admins crying you retweeted someone who isn't in the group. It doesn't matter!

The Admins are your guides and shouldn't have to be your babysitters. You are all adults and are fully capable of following the rules of the group. If you can't do that, expect to be booted out. Don't go crying to everyone and their brother that you were wrongly deleted. If you truly followed all the rules and you feel you were kicked out because the Admins had it out for you, then you are better off without those people in your life. Move on and let it go!

If you happen to have the thankless job of being an Admin, I recommend you invest in the value sized bottles of Ibuprofen and Tylenol. For the really bad days, tequila works well! LOL! 

Seriously, as an Admin you will have to deal with more than your fair share of divas (of both sexes). You don't have to be bullied. If these people disrupt the group, delete them. Your responsibility is to the group as a whole, not to specific individuals. With that being said, admins need to make sure the diva they have to deal with isn't the one looking back at them in the mirror.

Recently I've been on the receiving end of a couple of divas on power trips. Some of them happen to be admins of a few of the author support groups I choose to be a part of at this time. Unfortunately, that may change. I don't like the recent chain of events. There is no reason for one group to dictate to it's members they can't participate anywhere else because "it weakens the original group." There have been threats to some members that if they didn't stop participating in the smaller, highly motivated groups, they would be demoted or even booted out of the larger one. 

I. Kid. You. Not.

I stopped participating in the larger group because I was sick and tired of not having my posts shared because I write erotica and erotic romance. I got tired of seeing those group members labeling their books as erotica or romance and they're NOTHING like either. These authors wanted the perks and the exposure that went with the labels but they would be damned if they would share REAL erotica. Heaven help you if your promo photo showed some side boob! Don't even get me started on one author friend being told she should be thankful a group "allowed" her erotica to be posted there. It's bullshit and we don't have to take it anymore.

I left to join like minded authors also sick and tired of no reciprocation. We had a great run for awhile until members of the original group were allowed into our little one. Now we are facing the same issues as the other...no reciprocation of the hot and steamy stuff. Top that off with chastising posts from new admins telling us we need to use the other group and not do duplicate things.

Uhhhh...correct me if I'm wrong here but in order to have duplicity, you have to have the same people posting the same links and ALL RECIPROCATING in both groups. Right?

Yeah, that silence you hear is exactly what I got when I questioned the posts telling me I had to go back to the "original" group. Can you guess what my answer was?

Bottom line is I have to do what's best for me, my brand and that of my other three pen names. The same goes for you. Pick the people and groups who will join you on your journey and not hinder it.


Until next time,

~Tammy

Learn More About Tammy


Tammy Dennings Maggy is a best selling, multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. 

Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels, Tawny Savage,  and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out next year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.


Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunes 
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
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Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#WWoW: REBLOG from @StephRyanAuthor: How to upload files to your #kindle from other retailers and publishers


Welcome back to Not Enough Time in the Day. For this post I thought I would share a post my alter ego Stephanie Ryan blogged about today on Through Stephanie's Eyes. Many readers have expressed their desire to support their favorite authors but haven't a clue as to how they can get books for their kindles if not directly from Amazon. In fact, some thought their kindles couldn't read any files unless specifically coded from Amazon.

They have been misinformed.

Click HERE to read Stephanie's step by step on what to do. She also provides a link from AMAZON that explains the process as well. 

Amazon isn't the only game in town, people. Yes it's a huge retailer and great for one stop shopping, but if you want more ways to use your kindle and kindle apps efficiently, you should know how to upload files to your device. Not only books, but PDF files can easily be viewed through the app and readers. 

As an author who is published with a publisher and self published, I prefer to have all of my books available on multiple retail sites in order to give new readers the opportunity to find me and all of my pen names. I choose NOT to be exclusive to Amazon even though they do offer some nice little perks to do so. They appear nice on the surface, but their benefits don't always add up to more sales. I may put Stephanie's first book in KDP Select for the 90 days period to see how it fairs, but after that it's going out on all venues. 

Why not stay with Amazon and "force" readers to go that route? Amazon demands exclusivity and that includes not being able to give away free books. Everything has to come from them or it's breach of contract. For me, it's not worth the hassle of going exclusive with them, having their systems fail to do the preorders correctly, fail to do Kindle Countdowns correctly, fail to do the free promotions correctly...

Do I need to go on?

I've been been a published author since 2011. I celebrated my three year anniversary with Siren Bookstrand in September. I've self published now since January 2012 with the release of my first poetry book. I've learned a lot and am still learning from other authors, readers, publishers, and editors. Some of those lessons have been heartbreaking and damn near made me want to give up altogether but I didn't. I continue to push on because I love to write and share my stories. I do these Writer's Words of Wisdom posts to share the things I've learned along my journey. It's my way of helping others as I have been helped.

Until next time,
Tammy

Thursday, November 6, 2014

@dochappycamper Brings Furbaby Friday to Thursdays with #home4Ary


Welcome to a Thursday edition of Furbaby Friday with Dr. Tammy. This week has been an exciting one at the veterinary hospital. One of our clients came in at her wits end. She came home to find her dog had created a HUGE hot spot over her hip and rump area. It was bad enough that this person felt she could no longer give her pet the care she needed. Heartbroken, she surrendered her in hopes someone else would be able to fulfill the obligation.

Meet Ary...



She is as sweet as she looks in her video debut. The hot spot she's sporting on her right has improved a great deal in just the two days she's been with us. From her previous allergy testing, we found out she's allergic to many of the local grasses and pollen, fleas and a variety of other environmental allergens. We suspect she may also have a food allergy component as her itching is constant...all year long. We've started her on a food trial to determine what proteins are her triggers.

Before you judge her previous owner too harshly, having a pet with allergies isn't easy. In fact, it's downright difficult at times and frustrating as hell. The larger the dog, the more costly medications will be. If they're lucky, caretakers of pets with allergies are able to find out the combinations of shampoos, oral medications and other therapy that work early on in their treatment plans. Realistically, it can take many attempts and treatment failure before improvement is noticeable. Visits to the veterinarian can be long and drawn out and just because one rash responded to antibiotics doesn't mean the next one won't be caused by yeast. Allergies for pets are ever changing...

and that's exactly what ends up becoming the last straw for many pet owners. Some give up entirely. They curl up into a fetal position and hope the allergies just go away. Others decide to ignore the problems. As long as their pet is eating and drinking, who cares if they scratch, chew and lick themselves raw 24/7? They'll put up with the smelly ears and skin because they've become immune to it.

The rest of the world is not...

It takes a village to raise children and it takes that and more to help manage pet allergies. It takes patience, dedication and understanding that allergies will NEVER be cured.

Let me repeat that in case you missed it. Never. Be. Cured. They can be managed and quiet effectively but it will take time to figure out what works and what doesn't for your furbaby. It takes a close working relationship with your veterinarian to help you find the combinations of therapies that make your pet comfortable.

If you feel like you are up for the challenge, and you live in or near the Seattle Metro area, why not meet Ary and see if you have a connection? Who knows? You just may be the one to bring great joy to this wonderful creature's life.

Come over to Ary's Facebook page and say hello! 

Until next time,

Dr. Tammy

Friday, October 31, 2014

#FatChick Helps Turn November Orange #CRPSORANGEDAY #MyWANA



Welcome to my Memoirs of a Forty Something Fat Chick here at Not Enough Time in the Day. For those of you stopping in for the first time, I'm Tammy Dennings Maggy aka "The Fat Chick". For those of you returning, thank you for keeping track of us. We've been all over the place in the last few months haven't we?


Tara and me 2011

Today I'd like to change course and talk about something that's near and dear to my heart. My fae and Moon Sister Tara aka TSweets suffers from a debilitating disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It's also known as Reflex Sympathic Dystrophy (RSD). It's a complex disorder characterized by excruciating pain, changes of skin color, and temperature of the affected limb. The medical professionals think it's caused by some sort of trauma to the nerves on the areas affected. It can affect both men and women, but women make up the largest number of cases. It can even affect kids before five years of age. Check out this article from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders to get more details.  The following video sums it all up in a nutshell...




I can't imagine being in this kind of pain every moment of every day and being able to raise a daughter. I don't think I would be able to function at all. My fae does it and manages to keep a smile on her face to make those around her feel at ease. Many others with CRPS and RSD aren't as lucky to be able to continue to find the strength to keep fighting. 

I can't say I blame them. What would you do when told by doctors the pain is all in your head? What would you do when nothing, no amount of pain medication takes it away completely? What would you do if you spent most of your life in and out of hospitals and missed out on life around you? For those who've reached the end of their ropes, my heart breaks. I wish for the day you don't have to fight this fight alone anymore.



What can we do to help? Get the word out. Help educate people...doctors in particular about this syndrome. Get them to LISTEN and work with their patients to give them the tools to take away some of the pain. November has been claimed as Color the World Orange month and Monday, November 3rd has been declared CRPS/RSD Awareness Day. 

Use the #CRPSORANGEDAY hashtag and wear some orange to show your support for my fae and all those like her still fighting to have their voices heard and be able to lead normal lives with less pain.

I've you would like to grab a hoodie or t-shirt to show your support, check out the following link. You have until November 3rd to order. http://teespring.com/iwearorange

To my Moon Sister and fae, 

You are the bright star in a world of madness. Whenever I think of giving up, I see your smiling face in my mind and I know I can push on. Your strength inspires everyone around you to never give up and keep fighting for what they believe in and want out of life.

Because of you, I'm a stronger person and able to pull myself out of the deepest, darkest time in my life and embrace the love I have today with my soul mate. Because of you, I didn't give up when my heart shattered to the point I thought I would never be able to repair. 

You tell me I inspire you, but I say without you in my life, I wouldn't have been able to be where I am today. LYESD and Beyond! (Love you every single day and beyond)

~Tammy




Saturday, October 18, 2014

#FatChick Has Relocated to Washington and is Back in Business! #amwriting #MyWANA


Welcome back to Memoirs of a Forty Something Fat Chick here at Not Enough Time in the Day. I'm "The Fat Chick" and this week is my first post after our big move to Washington state. 

To get everyone up to speed, my husband officially retired from the Coast Guard on September 1st. He is a Washington native and wanted to move back home, so...here we are! Being a Michigan girl, I'm happy to see all the green compared to the burned up, dried up landscape of California. It's not secret I hated living in that state. Here, I feel more at home. It's like Michigan with mountains. LOL!

Okay that's an exaggeration, but I do feel better here even when driving through some of the worst traffic in the country. Even when cutting you off, Washington drivers use their blinkers!!! Novel concept I know, but it does make a long commute tolerable.

The last two months have been exhausting to say the least. Not only did I have to work at the veterinary hospital two days before we drove to Washington with our first carload, we packed and purged and stored more crap than I thought humanly possible. With the help of one great friend and his son, we managed to get a good deal of it moved around and put into a POD. The rest we had to haul ourselves in our cars.

Now the military was supposed to move us...on their dime but they conveniently lost hubby's orders. So instead of having us on stand by after the active duty members, they had to put us further down the list. The added expense of the POD, an additional storage unit in California, hiring Two Men and a Truck to unload the POD, and renting an SUV to bring the last of our things all fell on us and depleted the nest egg we saved up as a cushion to help while we settled into our new apartment.

With all of that raining down on us, the sister in law flaked out repeatedly when asked to get her crap out of our house. She got ten years of free storage at our place and yet couldn't find the time to collect her crap or haul it to the dump. Thankfully, our old landlord agreed to take care of it. Her loss and his gain because there were a few things I thought she'd want to keep.

My license to practice veterinary medicine took FOREVER to become active in this state but it came through at the last minute and I'm bringing in the paycheck again. Whew! I'm still with the same company/group of hospitals and really enjoying the Seattle group I'm in now. They've welcomed me with open arms and made me feel right at home. As a salaried relief veterinarian for our region, I get to work with many different hospital staffs and so far it's been a hell of a lot of fun.

My writing cave isn't set up all the way yet, but after having to put the writing, editing and publishing of three books on hold for this move, I'm ready to jump back in again. My hope is to have all three out by Thanksgiving...Christmas at the latest. I'm trying not to burn the candle at both ends while we're still settling into this place.

Now I have to find a new doctor and dentist since I had to change medical plans. I'm sad to leave my last doc in California because she was great, but in order to get my health back on track, I need medical supervision. All the stress of this relocation has caused me to lose 14 pounds. I'm happy about that, but not happy that I had gained that and a little more in the first place. Having a doctor help with my routine blood work and wellness plan will help keep me on the right path.

I wanted to thank all of you for sticking by me through all these changes. You've encouraged me to keep working on my health and have been so patient with the delay in these books. Several of you have signed up for my newsletters and continue to visit this site and my others. At my lowest, I've been able to keep going because of YOUR support. Thank you!

I'm off to update a few more blogs and the Sassy Vixen website. Then I'm burying myself in edits. Until next time...

"The Fat Chick"


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#NoAuthorsNoBooks: Illegal Downloads Harm More than Just the Pocketbook

Hello all. I'm sure you've all heard about the latest illegal file sharing groups on Yahoo loops, Facebook, Youtube and many others by now. Some of them have been taken down while others continue to thrive and openly continue to post requests for free books. They've created Drop Box accounts for the purpose of sharing thousands of eBooks with other readers. Some of the books were actually purchased by the people sharing them, while others were given to them by authors through blog hops and other contests. Still others were given as Advanced Reading Copies or ARCs with the sole purpose of it being read and then reviewed for the author. Not at any time were these copies meant to be shared, copied or distributed to anyone other than the recipient.

Trust has been broken that may never, ever be repaired. If we can't ensure our work won't be spread all over before it's even released to the public, how can we send ARCs to review sites and bloggers? How do we continue to be involved in blog hops and give our books away as prizes to readers if we can't be sure the winner won't then turn right around and upload the books to Drop Box or a pirate site for thousands of people to download? 

How can struggling authors get their name out there if they don't participate in the hops and Yahoo groups and other reader/author groups on Facebook and Google? They want to find new readers and are willing to give some of their work away for free in order to get the word of mouth going, but to expect them to be okay with someone taking their copyrighted material and spreading all over the web for everyone to read without permission is a bit much.

A very small percentage of authors actually make a living at it. Most of us work full time in other professions. Even so, we still want to make enough money to help offset the costs of putting out the work for readers. As it is now, I spent more on publishing, marketing etc than I've made by threefold. Then to find one of my books has been illegally downloaded over 1200 times on one site and over 4000 times on another makes my stomach churn. The one that had over 4000 downloads is one of my 99 cent books. That would have meant $2000 royalty to me if these readers had chosen the LEGAL route from Amazon. That would have helped pay for the editing on three of my books and allowed me to purchase more cover art photos or even hire another cover artist.

I also noticed when I have a return on Amazon, within 24 hours there is a huge surge in illegal downloads of that same book. Coincidence? I don't think so. 

Those same pirates who actually purchased the books and have receipts to prove it, are also the very same people who copy the book on their computers and then send the original back to Amazon for a refund. Then they take this copy and make other formats to upload to groups where they share their eBook files.

These same people don't think they're doing anything wrong. They don't think they're breaking the law. In fact, most of them don't have a flipping clue what they're doing is illegal. Instead of owning up to it once they are confronted, they turn the tables on the authors who they claim to love and bash them for "witch hunting". 

Well, STOP STEALING and you won't be hunted down for the thieves you are. The FBI won't take your excuse that you didn't know that file sharing is illegal. It's NOT the same as borrowing a book from the library unless you take that same print book and copy it to distribute...then you have the same thing.

There are some authors who have decided it's not worth the blood, sweat and tears to put out another book just to have it stolen from them. They're tired of being told they should feel grateful for the exposure and free publicity. They're told to quit bitching and stop acting like their world's coming to an end.

For many of them it has. Their dreams of being a published author have forever been tainted and even shattered. They're willing to weather through being ripped apart by critics to the point of tears if it means someone is actually buying their books and giving them honest opinions. They're willing to hand over an ARC to reviewers for feedback before release dates so they can learn and make any corrections before it's published. Unfortunately, those days are over. There are too many unscrupulous people infiltrating trusted review sites. They're giving up and I don't blame them one bit.

For every pirate and thief, there are even more honest readers and book lovers out there. For that reason alone I'm probably going to continue to publish my books under all four of my pen names, but to see the number of books downloaded on those sites turns my stomach. Not a single one has turned into a review or any further sales for any author including me. Why should these people buy books when they can get them by other means? 

When the Feds show up on their doorstep with warrants for their computers, smartphones and any other electronic device in their homes, maybe they'll get the clue. Until then, all the rest of us can do is continue to educate readers about piracy. 

In that light, we designed a simple shirt on TeeSpring to show solidarity. "Pirates kill authors. No Authors, no books. Get the picture?" We've made the price of each shirt as low as the site would allow in order to make it as affordable as possible. Want to show your support for your fave authors? Grab your shirt today and spread the word with #NoAuthorsNoBooks and #PiratesKillAuthors hashtags. Here's the link to the shirt on Teespring.com http://teespring.com/pirateskillauthors


Saturday, September 13, 2014

The #FatChick is Moving to Washington! #MyWANA #amwriting


It's been nearly a month since my last entry and The Fat Chick has more news. As you recall, last month I was hit with a set back when the two positions I thought were a sure thing fell through. I had to scramble to pick up extra shifts at my current veterinary hospital and try to hold things together until we figured it all out. Here's what happened since then:


  • I've signed the contract for the salaried relief position in the Seattle Metro area. I got a raise, increase in my continuing education allowance and some other perks. 
  • We found an apartment and move in on October 1st. It's in a central area so my commute to the other hospitals won't be horrible. Well, "mileagewise" it won't be bad at all, but the traffic jams will keep me on the road two hours each way.
  • We've finalized our move out date with our current landlord and on decent terms considering hubby has been here for ten years and only signed a one year lease. LOL!
  • The military will move and store the majority of our stuff for free. They'll store it for a year. After that, it's up to us. No problem!
  • We'll have to get another moving service to help us get the "essentials" to the apartment that's half the size of the house we're renting.
  • Release dates for the current works in progress have been postponed due to this upheaval but will be back on track once we're in Washington.
Whew!

While I'm a little sad that the release dates for the Bigfoot book as Tawny Savage and the anthology are delayed, it's for the best. I don't want to rush it and end up not putting out my best work because I was more concerned with the dates. The romantic suspense as Stephanie Ryan my still come out by Halloween, but I'm looking more at mid-November to give myself time to get it edited properly.

Now with the path a little less cluttered, I'll be able to concentrate on my health issues again. I'm excited that the new place has a fitness room, swimming pool and trails on property for walking. No excuses! 

I'm sure I'll be shedding a hell of a lot of tears yet before we make our move north to Seahawks country, but this time they'll be happy ones and not those of fear and frustration. It's amazing how your outlook on life can change when things start to fall into place again. 



Thank you to everyone for standing by me through this and for your patience with the release dates. Life sure does have a way with screwing up schedules and deadlines but I'm hoping this time I'll be able to roll with the diversions and keep moving forward.




Until next time,
~The Fat Chick aka Tammy

Friday, August 15, 2014

The #FatChick Finds Light at the End of the Tunnel #MyWANA #amwriting


Welcome back to Memoirs of a Forty Something Fat Chick. The last time we were together, I'd just received devastating news about two job opportunities in Washington. At the time it seemed like the bump in the road was more like a mountain. This week it appears that my new life path is opening up...

there's light at the end of the tunnel, peeps!

The loss of the first "sure thing" positions sent me into a tailspin. That part I won't deny. Devastated doesn't cover it. I had to take a long, hard look at my life and what was going on in it. What looked back at me wasn't pretty. I needed to take stock in what was really important in my life and stop worrying about the small stuff.

This video sums it up well. Take a look...


Instead of being thankful for the important things in my life, I lamented the possible loss of my job...

Okay, that part was a distinct possibility, but my coworkers proved to me they had my back during this transition and willing to keep me around for another six months or more until my husband and I could move to Washington.

Then another blessing showed up via email. The recruiter had additional opportunities she wanted to discuss with me. I talked to her yesterday and they're looking at starting up two new programs: a mobile veterinary unit at one hospital and a salaried position as a relief veterinarian to float between hospitals. The latter had an ultimate goal of finding a permanent position at one of the hospitals. She had two other opportunities opening up within the next few months as well.

Needless to say I'm once again hopefully optimistic about the possibilities presented to me. All of them appeal to me and my ultimate goal of moving to part time after a few years. I would also be able to stay with the same group of hospitals I've been with for the last twenty-one years. 

Bottom line: no matter what I'll be starting a new adventure with my husband when he becomes an official civilian on September first. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we'll be TOGETHER. He has school and a part time job lined up. I've been told by the recruiter she will find a position for me so I can stay with the company, and we will find a place to live to fit our needs.

The details are still fuzzy, but the foundation is strong. We just have to build on it. 

In the meantime, I'll keep writing and editing the three books I have coming out over the next three months. When I look at my life like the empty pickle jar...really see what's important...I'm truly blessed. 

The rest is sand...






Until next time,
The Fat Chick

Friday, August 1, 2014

Another Bump In the Road for the #FatChick #lifegoeson #amwriting


Welcome to Not Enough Time in the Day and Memoirs of a Forty Something Fat Chick. These posts are meant to detail my journey through finding my way back to a healthy lifestyle and everything else that gets in the way. :)

This week I'm sad to report we're not moving to Washington as soon as we had hoped. Both positions dangled in front of me as sure things have been filled by other candidates. While I'm sad...okay, pissed it all went down this way I have to admit I'm a touch relieved.

Sure I didn't appreciate being informed through an impersonal email of the decision to go with people already in the state instead of waiting for me as they promised they would do, I'm grateful for the additional time to get our affairs in order here. There is so much packing and purging to do before we can leave. I didn't know how we would have done it in less than a month. 

Twenty-one years in the same profession and nearly all of it with the same corporation/group of hospitals across the county should mean more in this day and age. It does mean the world to my fellow coworkers who rallied around me when I opened that fateful email. They were shocked too...maybe more than me. They've been preparing themselves for my departure for the last few months and now this set back is a win for them. 

Even though leaving them would've made them sad, every single one of them were behind me 1000% as long as I was happy. Seeing me upset broke their hearts but the encouragement they expressed that day reinforced my faith in people. Now they're busy trying to ensure I can stay here in California as long as I need in order to get through this bump in the road to Washington. Words cannot express the love I feel for these beautiful people.

My cup runneth over...




Except for the damn summer cold I picked up! bwahahaha!

Take care my friends. I'm off to get some rest from these dripping sinuses.

~The Fat Chick

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Update on the #FatChick and the Move to Washington


I'm back! Did you all miss me? LOL

Hubby and I had a wonderful time in the Seattle area scouting out new homes and apartments. I interviewed with two hospitals for a potential transfer and loved both of them. I'm waiting to hear from the recruiter to see if they liked me too. 

Fingers crossed!

We did manage to get into a fender bender while traveling. We stopped in Salem, Oregon for gas. While waiting in line for our turn at the pumps, the chick in the car in front of us decided she didn't want to pull forward and out of the way when her tank was full. No, this woman thought she could continue to back up and then INTO our rental car so she could do a hard right and through a crowded gas station.

We had no where to go. The dude behind us was right on our bumper. We had given the girl in front of us ample room to do the LEGAL maneuver, but alas it wasn't meant to be. Many tears and curse words later (all on her part and curse words from hubby), we had a police report in hand and could continue on our trip. 

Here's the kicker: the chick didn't have insurance and I'm pretty sure the car she was driving didn't belong to her. Not my problem. The Salem police and the Oregon DMV are all over it now.

Now I'm back here in California and ready to complete all I need to do for my Washington veterinary license. The latest is fingerprints so they can do a background check. I have to find a time to get my butt over to the local police department to have it done. This one wants the physical prints on a card. California did it all electronically. You would think my prints on file with the US Coast Guard (I'm a military spouse) would be sufficient. Oh well! A girl has to do what she has to do!




Speaking of that, the writing and editing is moving full steam ahead. My Bigfoot erotica as Tawny Savage is taking off. The third book in that trilogy will be ready to release before the end of August. I'll have my romantic suspense as Stephanie Ryan out by the end of October. Here's a sneak peek at the cover I finished this week.

Not too shabby if I do say so myself! I wasn't going to go for a couple on the cover, but it is a romance. It's not an erotic romance like some of the others I've written, but it does have a steamy, sensual love scene or two in there!

At this point, my weight loss journey is seriously derailed. With this heat, it's been all I can do to try to keep my body temperature from the heat stroke zone. I've put the exercise on the back burner. Yes I know that's not a smart thing to do and I'm looking at ways to rectify that. Swimming would be nice, but there isn't a public pool nearby and I'm not big on swimming in the ocean...

excuses excuses...sigh

Until next time,

The Fat Chick






Thursday, July 10, 2014

The #FatChick Is Starting a New Life Path #moving #amwriting


It's been a while since I've updated everyone. Sorry about that. I've been all over the place with promotions for all four of my pen names, attending RomCon in Denver, and trying to figure out where we're going to end up now that hubby has retired from the Coast Guard.


We're heading to Washington. The Seattle area to be more precise. Not that would surprise anyone who knows my hubby. His home port is in Washington. His family is there and more job prospects. Unbeknownst to me, I was supposed to be the one to decide if we stayed here in California or moved. 

That bit of information would have been great to know six months ago! LOL! Instead, I've been on pins and needles waiting for hubby to figure out which job offer he'd like to pursue or go for his BA or Masters degree. He talked about all of it...all the time and confused the hell out of me. When I thought he was going in one direction, he'd blindside me with something completely different.


It got bad enough I turned to my old comfort...food. So as you can guess, my weight loss plan went out the window. My blood pressure has still stayed under control, but my diabetes control took some effort to reign in again. 

Whew!

I did have a wonderful time in Denver. Unlike last year's RomCon, this one had a completely different vibe. I felt welcomed, accepted, and genuinely loved! I know that sounds sappy, but it's true. This year I was able to get involved in many author hosted events and interact more with readers and fellow authors. I didn't feel the disdain from people this time because I write erotica...and would you believe my bigfoot erotica FLEW off my table at the book signing?  

Believe it! We're all closet monster erotica freaks! bwahahahah!

Because of that wonderful experience, I was able to escape the pressures hubby and I were under at home. Now we have a clear direction. Why? I pursued a transfer to a veterinary hospital in the area. The corporation I've worked with for the last twenty-one years, has hospitals all over the US and Canada. Lucky for me, two hospitals in the Seattle area have openings available because those docs are transferring within the company too. Win Win!


You would not believe the relief that washed over me after the phone interview with the Seattle recruiter. It's as if my vision cleared and I can finally see we are meant to go to Washington. We're not supposed to continue with the status quo. Both of us hate it here. We need this!

Another thing...no more panic attacks.

That's right. I said panic attacks. I've been suffering from those and insomnia something FIERCE over the last three months. It's been wonderful to get full night's sleep now. The vibe in our house is so upbeat. No more fear...

no more writer's block!


The deadlines I had set up for my projects have of course been pushed back, but now the dates are solid again. Season of Sun and Sin will be out in the fall. Two of the three stories that will be in it are completed. The third will be a dark fantasy I'll pen as Tawny Savage. Her last book in The Bigfoot Chronicles will be out before the end of the summer as well. Stephanie Ryan's debut romantic suspense Dangerous Medicine will be released in the fall.

So many other projects are in the works and will be out in their own due time. I'm not going to push myself to get them out before it's time. Edits have to be done properly. Cover art has to be chosen and covers designed that won't be rejected by Amazon and their new guideline Nazis. 

That's a story for another day.

I want to thank all of you for sticking by me through this. It's been crazy, but so worth it!

Until next time,
~The Fat Chick

Friday, April 25, 2014

The #FatChick Battles Through #Compassion Fatigue to Find Herself Again #amwriting #MyWANA


Hello my old friends. It's been a long while. So much has happened since my last post of any kind here at Not Enough Time in the Day. Why? As the title of this blog states there just hasn't been enough time in the day to get everything accomplished. 

As you know I have suffered from many health issues and continue to battle them. The last few months I suffered a major relapse, regained weight I'd lost, allowed my diabetes and blood pressure to get way out of control. I was a complete mess and didn't like who I'd become. Not. One. Bit.

As The Vixen and as myself, I have championed many causes from pets to other authors. That tenacious pit bull attitude was a welcome thing to see by people then, but when I turned that attitude around to stick up for myself and stop being a doormat, things went to hell and a hand basket.

I spent too much of my time taking care of everyone else, other groups, promoting other authors and basically letting everything else important to me take a back seat. Hell, I left some things so far behind I thought I'd lost them all together. The real me was one of them.




I blame myself for it. I allowed it to happen. I took on more things than I could handle at once because of some misguided work ethic. I don't like to see things fail. When I commit to something, I hold up my end and that of others to keep everything all flowing. Unfortunately, instead of speaking up and telling those around me I was overwhelmed and could no longer be the back up, I kept working and working and the anger and resentment build up until it finally exploded.


Besides writing under four pen names, I work over forty hours a week as a veterinarian. I literally hold lives in my hands on a daily basis. The stress of that job alone is enough to make anyone crack. It's no wonder that veterinarians have the highest suicide rate than any other profession. I'm not making that up. Veterinarians are "four times as likely" to take their own lives as non-medical professionals, and "twice as likely" as other medical professionals. Click here to read one article on the subject and to find out why. No need for me to go into that in this post other than to say YES I suffer from compassion fatigue. After 21 years of  emergency and general practice in economically challenged areas, it's a given for me and something I have to battle every single day.

To escape that world, I need to immerse myself in my characters and their stories. In the beginning, I was eager to take on new projects to get my name out there. As I built up more of my own following, I joined forces with others to get all of us more exposure. Unfortunately in the middle of that, I lost sight of what's important in all of it—me.

I turned into a person I no longer recognized. Instead of being able to talk things through, I lashed out. I was constantly on edge. I could no longer let things roll off my back. Even the slightest infraction turned into a major production. I spent many nights sobbing uncontrollably, unable to sleep, not understanding I was slowly killing myself. 

Top that with fighting with former partners over idiotic things, misunderstanding each other at every turn, assuming every single thing mentioned anywhere was a slam against me personally, and you get the idea of a small part of what's been going on in my life right now. I looked in the mirror and hated the person I saw glaring back at me. There was no other choice left for me now.

I had to walk away.



I became that person searching for something to continue to be pissed off about. Yes, I did have cause for a lot of it, but that's no excuse for letting everything build up the way I did. It was irresponsible of me to allow it to happen in the first place. I ignored the warning signs that started about a year and half ago. Instead, I thought it would get better if I continued to go with the flow. 

It didn't. Now I've cut ties with some folks, dropped out of projects, and let go of all the bullshit. Now it's up to me to take care of me. I'm keeping The Vixen close to home now on Sassy Vixen Publishing and at Taboo II. She's where she should be. The nickname was given to me by an old high school friend in honor of me busting out of my shy girl shell. While he's no longer in my life, The Vixen will continue to live on as I go back to the basics.

So if you find yourself in similar situations, stop! Cut out all the extra things in your life that really don't matter. YOU are the most important part of the equation. If you find that you've strayed from your original path and you no longer recognize the person in the mirror, CHOOSE to make the changes you need to get YOU back—not the kind of person others what you to be, but who you were born to be.

Until next time,
~Tammy

Friday, March 28, 2014

#FurbabyFridays: Pets and #Chocolate Can Be a Deadly Combination


Hello and welcome back to Furbaby Fridays with Dr. Tammy. This week we are counting down to Easter and I thought today would be a great time to remind folks about the dangers of chocolate. Yesterday, one of my clients came in because one or both of her dogs ate dark chocolate truffles—enough to make them both seriously ill. Their visit reinforced the need to take time out to discuss the dangers of chocolate for our fur babies.

 This tasty treat comes in all shapes and sizes and formulations whether in cocoa products like candies, cakes , cookies and brownies, but also in cocoa beans and mulches.  The most accidental exposures of pets to chocolate of course occur more around the holidays and Easter is a big one.

Because dogs tend to be the pets that tend to eat just about anything, we don't usually see cats with this toxicity, but there are a few of those pesky felines who pretend they are dogs and ingest some odd things. So to be safe, keep chocolate away from all fur babies.  This includes some cocoa bean hull mulches. Not only do the mulches smell like chocolate Pop Tarts, they are readily available for pet for some pets because of their use in gardens and landscapes. Of course the makers of the mulches will say there has only been one documented death from the ingestion of these kind of mulches, this does not mean that animals are not sick from them. In fact, even Hershey one of the makers of these mulches admit that 50% of dogs who ingest their mulch can get sick from it.  Here's an article by snopes.com that talks a bit more about it.


What makes chocolate toxic to animals?


Methylxanthines are the culprits here, specifically theobromine and caffeine. That's right. There are TWO toxic components in chocolate and each will vary in concentration depending on the type of product. The rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate the higher the amounts of both of these compounds. White chocolate has 0.25mg theobromine per ounce and 0.85mg of caffeine per ounce. In contrast, dry cocoa powder has 737mg theobromine and 70mg of caffeine per ounce.  Now what does that mean? 

Animals can show mild signs after only ingesting 20mg/kg of either theobromine or caffeine. Severe signs are seen at 40mg/kg and seizures at 60mg/kg. So if you have a 20 pound dog (roughly 10 kg) it would have to eat 400 mg of the toxins to start showing some signs.  So only 1/3 of an ounce of the dry cocoa powder can be dangerous and only one ounce of the cocoa bean hulls in the mulches could do it as well. Less than 1 ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is potentially lethal for dogs. Milk chocolate is nearly 100 times as toxic as white chocolate. Baker's chocolate is SIX TIMES more toxic than milk chocolate. 

A lot of figures, I know but I wanted you to see the comparisons. If your dog decides he likes your dark chocolate candy bar you've been saving in your purse, you very well may have an emergency on your hands. 

 For an article about chocolate intoxication and a chart that includes the amounts of the types of chocolates and caffeine sources click HERE. It's a page on the ASPCA website with articles aimed more for veterinarians. The article is a PDF that will download to your computer if you click on the link.

It's not only the actual amount of chocolate we have to worry about when our pets ingest these kinds of foods. More often than not, the ingestion takes the form of eating candy in wrappers. Those can be just as bad leading to obstructions in the stomach and bowel loops. Even if the mulches are of the variety that have been treated to remove the theobromine, the debris itself could cause an obstruction if enough is eaten.  

What are the clinical signs to look for?


Usually withing six to twelve hours of ingestion you will see the first clinical signs. These include polydipsia (drinking a lot of water), vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and restlessness. If enough of the chocolate has been ingested, the signs can progress to an animal that ends up extremely agitated/hyperactive, urinating a lot, tremors or even seizures.  Other symptoms include high heart rates, arrhythmias, elevated body temperatures, coma and even death.  It's the arrhythmias that can cause death in these patients so it's imperative that you seek immediate veterinary care if your pet gets a hold of any kind of chocolate. It's better to be safe than regret it later.

How is chocolate intoxication treated?


As soon the pet arrives, the veterinary staff will be in motion. Stabilization first involves decontamination of the stomach by inducing vomiting. This will be done only if the patient is stable enough for it to happen. If your dog is seizuring, the induction of vomit will NOT occur. Instead the seizures will be brought under control first. Once more stable then decontamination will occur using stomach tubes to remove as much of the chocolate that remains and to administer activated charcoal without sorbitol. (In the paint ball toxicosis article you will recall that sorbitol is one compound that can cause issues all on it's own. 

If it's been within a two hour period of ingesting the chocolate, emesis (vomiting) will be induced. Trust me, some of the dogs that have come into my clinic after eating chocolate have amazed me with the sheer amount of the stuff in their stomachs. One patient at a box of mint cookies covered in dark chocolate. My treatment room reeked of minty chocolate for hours after that pooch tossed his cookies...pun intended. ;)  

Intravenous fluids, close monitoring of vital signs to make sure elevations of temperature and heart rates don't occur. If the signs do progress, then medications are administered to control seizures and arrhythmias. Usually our patients present early enough that just 12 hours of IV fluids, and monitoring are all that's needed after the decontamination. Activated charcoal is sometimes split into three different doses in order to continue to absorb any chocolate that got into the intestinal tract.  The patients that have the longest recovery are those who are treated after the bad symptoms have already started or they've ingested chocolate that contains other "ingredients" such as marijuana, laxatives, "magic" mushrooms and other recreational drugs. 

So do yourself and your pets a huge favor and lock up all products containing chocolate and caffeine. Even if it's white chocolate containing very little toxin per ounce, it's best to just keep it out of reach. Don't leave any candies out in dishes, Christmas stockings, wrapped under the Christmas tree, in Easter baskets accessible to pets, boxed chocolates on Valentine's Day, or baked goods out where your pets have access.  I know that all seems like common sense, but you'd be surprised by the number of folks who say "my dog never jumps up on the counter. Why would I put the chocolate away?"  Here's another good one, "It's a dog. They don't eat chocolate."  

This is where I usually hear Bill Engvall's "Here's Your Sign" routine.  LOL