Root-a-Toot-Toot . . . Got the Tatt!

1NicePNGabcIt seemed apropos to provide a sequel post in case some of you thought I might—buk, buk, buk—chicken out.

True, I did enter the tattoo shop (and a very nice, upscale one it was, with fabulous staff) feeling “pukey nervous”.  The maturity (o-l-d) aspect—some might call it you-should-know-better insight—ought to have quelled the anxiety (or had me running for the hills).  I may not have buk-buk-buked (or is that bukked?), but my stomach sure as heck was doing flapjack flips.  Still, Ms. Warrior being who/what she is, persevered and ambled to the (oh-so-comfy) chair with head and shoulders held high . . . and tummy hoping not to liberate the grilled cheese sandwich it had happily welcomed a couple of hours earlier.

As the saying goes: you only live once.  So, embrace what moves you.  And move the tattoo gun did (providing some quasi discomfort, but not out-and-out pain).  Four-plus hours of outlining and shading was weathered with scarcely a blink or a tear or a flinch . . . until the last hour, when several calming breaths proved necessary.  Still, said and done with [relative] grace.

For those contemplating getting a tattoo, consider—very seriously—what you want.  Select something that reflects you.  It’s a representation of your soul and core . . . history . . . road through life . . . desires/dream . . . strength and conviction.

anotherA111tattshopAAA

Regrets?  I’ve had a few, but this is not one of them.  As soon as my “badge of courage” is healed, I’ll display it proudly.  😊

Root-a-Toot-Toot . . . Getting a Tatt

Not quite sure where the “root-a-toot-toot” came from, but it popped into my head in terms of the title.  After the first draft of this post, I looked it up.  Besides being the title of a book, it means “something noisy, riotous, or lively, specifically in the early style of jazz music”.

Interesting.  And so not what this post is about.  Which, by the by, is in no way related to writing/editing, blogging, or the pretty private eyes from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  It’s a this-is-what’s-happening-in-my-life one.

. . . I’ve opted to get a tatt on my arm.

It was supposed to be a small one on my lower inner arm.  But the artist explained, if it’s small, it can’t be as detailed as I’d like it to be.  What I was hoping would be around 1½” is now going to be around 3-4”.  An in-your-face tatt.

For quite some time (years), I’ve wanted to get one of a honu (Hawaiian turtle) and hibiscus flowers—nothing terribly clever or unique or spectacular, by any means, but … pleasantly pretty.  It was to serve as a tribute to my love of Hawaii and my writing (the “gals” at the agency), but it’s become more than that.

It’s a tribute to my (ever so) slowly emergence/development—as my own person.  This woman is finally embracing the life of an individual, not an extension of someone else, not being molded (controlled) by another.  Finally, I am ambling down that winding pathway, toward that light at the end of the tunnel, to stand alone, tall and tough, (though I will undoubtedly wobble now and again).

While this really has nothing to do with tatts, it’s a fun little [uplifting] root-a-toot-toot vid.

It’s going to take five hours (perhaps you’ll hear me wailing over the waves).  But, once said and done—and pain and tears subsided—I’ll wear it like the badge of courage and strength it will be.

Loving What we Do

I’m back.  Yes, I’ve been bummed out . . . “suffering” from what I advise people not to let get to them (that was a mouthful, wasn’t it?).  Unconstructive criticism and negative attitudes.  Silly me.  To think I’d almost allowed someone to influence me to stop writing.  Silly me twofold.

I love writing.  Not so much blogging anymore, to be honest.  Maybe it’s the time factor (there ain’t a heckuva lot, as Rey might say).  Maybe that it’s a struggle to often find fresh material.  Maybe it’s just that I want a <bleeping> new crisp and clean one.  . . . Maybe it’s just that I want to switch gears and begin editing on a regular basis.

But I digress.  This is about loving what I/we do.  It’s a passion.  A need.  A compulsion.  I love writing for me as much as I love writing for others—in the hopes of providing entertainment and escapism.  While it’s only me and the pretty private eyes from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency on the writing/blogging team right now, that doesn’t mean the team can’t grow (not that JJ, Rey, or Linda want that to happen).  All in good time (that elusive continuous passage of time that often seems to take its own passage).  All in good faith . . . hope . . . desire.

Doing what we love brings satisfaction, happiness, __________ (you fill in the blank).  It goes without saying that we need to embrace that.  If I didn’t have my writing, I can’t imagine what I’d do in its stead.  Sit in the armchair and watch TV with glazed eyes?  Stare out the window and wonder what I should be doing?  Dust endlessly?  I suppose there might be something worthwhile to take its place (once I figured it out) . . . but I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve writing.

I could never give it up—for anyone.  Don’t you, either.  A cliché saying, yes, but so apropos: follow your heart (and don’t let anyone break it or you 😉).

1sat (1)

(Still) Bummed Out

Hey, it’s Rey. 

It’s JJ, hey. 

Good grief—you’ve got Linda, ha-ha-ha (if you’re going to be “cute”, ladies, then I may as well join in).

Linda:

The Boss is still bummed out, so the three of us put our heads together and agreed to post as a trio.

It’s one thing giving advice, it’s quite another following it.  So, what has our boss’ knickers in a knot?  While working on a promo sheet, she went to Amazon and read reviews for her books (she hasn’t done that often and it’s been a long while since she last did).  There were some 5- and 4.5-star reviews, which made her feel great . . . but, alas, there were also some 1-star ones.

Now, you can’t please everyone all the time and we all have different tastes in stories, so that’s fine, and expected.  If you really didn’t like the book, you’re entitled to state this.  What you really shouldn’t do is call someone’s work crap, criticize the editing and typos, or just be out-and-out offensive.  Needless, to say . . . she’s [still] bummed out.  So much so, she’s wondering if she should continue writing.

Having been on the end of nasty criticism, I can feel her pain and distress.

Rey:

Yeah, so can I.  Being panned sucks, big time.  And while I may have posted the other day about—more or less—remaining courteous, I’d be inclined to tell the “editting” criticizer to look at their own writing, ‘cause, honey, you can’t write to save your life.  Me-eow.  😉   (And you wouldn’t want to know what I’d tell the others.)

But that’s the catty side of me, the person I once was.  These days, I’m not as quick to carp or condemn in return.  I’ve got two A-1 colleagues—my cousin and BFF—who (usually) keep me on the straight and narrow.

So, I say, let it go.  Revel in the good reviews and forget about the bad.  Sure, they’re going to hurt, but life ain’t always fair and people ain’t always nice.  So, live with it; suck it up.  Or, as I suggested the other day, go to the source and ask them to elaborate.  Maybe they’ll provide useful feedback.

JJ:

That’s an interesting proposal, Rey.  I get it: recognize the criticism and/or ask for feedback.  I think, though, I’m going to disagree with you.  Or, at least, say: determine from that review, if it’s worthwhile to address it.  The tone, the comment(s) should help you determine if it’s worth pursuing.  However, my opinion re a bad book review, is . . . walk away.  Let it go.  It’s not worth the grief that could develop when the exchange heats up (and it may very well do that).  Be professional.  Always.

Who’s the bigger person?  The writer/doer or the criticizer?  I wholeheartedly believe if you have constructive criticism, provide it; if you’re just being malicious because you’re having a bad day or week, or that’s just your [unfortunate] nature, then take it out somewhere else—go hit a few golf balls or play whac-a-mole.

You have to remember that the review is based on one person’s opinion . . . or a handful, whatever the case may be.  That’s not a huge percentage.  A negative one or two amid the many positive ones is fine, and expected.  Why?  Because, that’s right, you can’t please all the people all of the time.  So, just smile, chuckle, giggle, laugh, dance.  If you can learn something from it, great; use it.  But, if there’s no value-add, truly, it’s not worth brooding over.

And what do the three of us say in summary?  😊  Live and learn . . . and love what you do.  And don’t let anyone tell or influence you to do otherwise!

Fresh Fodder, Smellin’ Like a Flower

Bad title, huh?  I thought it had a nice little poetic thing going, but Linda groaned and rolled her eyes and JJ just shook her head and walked away with her arms in the air.  Hmmpf.  I don’t see either one of them posting today. 

Hey, it’s Rey.  The Boss has a whack of things to do over the long weekend—yeah, there’s one across the waves and north of the 49th Parallel, which according to Ms. Smarty Pants (Lindy-Loo) is the latitude line that shapes the boundary between Canada and the United States . . . somewhere between Manitoba and B.C., if I got that correctly (and do I really care?).

Anyway, I’m happy to post on behalf of my two fellow [lazy] colleagues.  Maybe I’m not posting something super fresh, but it’s worth touching upon, and that makes it as fresh and fragrant as—you got it—a flower.  😊

The Boss, like most of us, gets bummed out when no one “likes” her post or criticizes her writing / editing.  I get that.  I’ve gotten a lot of criticism in my life, and it’s not easy to deal with, much less accept. So, how do we turn a negative experience into something positive?

Probably the first thing is not to snap at the person who’s delivered the less-than-pleasant “news”.  It’s hard not to want to become defensive, for sure.  But my experience has been that if you can remain cool—take a deep breath or three—then you might just get a useful “take away” in return.  Ask the person to elaborate; they may actually have some useful information/advice.  But if they’re not offering anything of value, leave it, walk away.  Tempting as it might be, don’t criticize in return; that doesn’t resolve much except aggravate the situation; it just makes those sour grapes all the more tart (and hard to swallow).

Look at criticism as feedback.  Criticism is such a negative word, so think of it as feedback—opinions and suggestions.  Those sound so much more upbeat, don’t they?

And feel free to offer your side.  Respond to the “feedback”—not with snarls and an oh-really?! attitude.  Explain your intention, where you’re coming from.  Maybe Mr./Ms. Feedback misunderstood your intent.  And, if he/she didn’t—and doesn’t—get it, move on. 

We can’t be loved all the time, by everyone. That’d be wonderful, but that’s not the real world.  Learning to deal with negative comments about our writing/blogging—our hair, our habits, whatever—is the best course of action.  Who’s the better person?  The criticizer?  Or the criticizee? 

Yeah, I know, Linda’s already snickering about my word usage.  And speaking of criticizers, like my BFF, that’s the beauty of solid relationships; you know where you stand and you how to react.  That’s not always the case with people you don’t know well or at all.  But, regardless of who you’re dealing with, know that responding is best done with a smile (even if forced) and, maybe, sometimes with a grain of salt.

A Whole Lot About Nothin’

Actually, that’s probably more like a whole little about nothin’, because I can’t imagine this post will go on endlessly.

I’m sitting here, sucking back vanilla yogurt, after sucking caramel candies, after sucking back frozen mochi, and experiencing a bit of a sugar rush (never mind wondering why the jeans are fitting a bit more snugly).

It’s one of those mornings . . . days . . . when I don’t feel like posting.  But I’ve never not posted on a Wednesday or Saturday, and don’t want to stop now.  It’s a commitment thing.  Sort of.  Kind of.  If I didn’t post on the timetabled day, I’d probably get mad at myself.  That wouldn’t be good because I get p’o’d at myself enough as it is (hmm, maybe that’s a future post).

I’m guessing as fellow writers/bloggers, you probably have similar don’t-wanna days.  Or should we call them I-wanna-do-this-instead days?

I wanna be walking the dog (if I had one).  I wanna watch [mindless] TV.  I wanna go eat a triple-scoop ice-cream by the water’s edge.  I wanna listen to soothing music.  I wanna eat a big bag of ketchup chips.  I wanna dream of winning a million dollars and all the things I’d do.  I wanna . . . so not be writing a blog post.

Maybe it’s blog burnout?  . . . Nawwwwww.  More like blogger emulating sloth, which sounds like another, and rather pleasant, wanna—I wanna be hanging from a tree, closing my eyes to the world passing by.

On that note, I believe I’ll meander about aimlessly and do a whole lot of nothin’.  😉

No Summertime Blues

The Boss is taking the weekend to do clean-up and whatnot, so she asked if one of us would like to post.  We all volunteered but, to be honest, not one of us could think of something [interesting] to post.  It’s summer.  Vacations abound.  It’s a time to be footloose and fancy-free, to be less stressed, less preoccupied, less work-driven.  It’s a time to dance!

So, we decided we’d keep it light and bouncy.  Rey, Linda and I (JJ) are simply going to provide you with three songs we think reflect summer cheer and gaiety.

Over to you, Cousin Reynalda.

Hey, it’s Rey!  Yay!  Uncle Gary was a child (teen) of the 70s.  Whenever we’d spend mid-July at his Maine cottage, he’d play 70s music.  That was okay; as a kid, I liked anything upbeat.  He’d always start off our stay—kinda like an official commencement to the cottage retreat—with Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime”.  (Linda, who has a whack of facts crammed in her pretty head, said the name was inspired by a poem by T.S. Eliot, “Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer”.  Ok-kay.)  Ya know, I can still see us dancing on the dock—and sometimes off.  Yeah, good times.

https://youtu.be/yG0oBPtyNb0

And super smart Linda?

I’m going to go with the hugely talented Norah Jones’ “Summertime”.  She has an awesome, sexy voice.  The piano sounds so right—appealing, pleasing, hum-provoking.  When she sings that song, it’s easy to imagine myself reclining on a chaise longue by the pool at sunset, an icy sangria in hand (which I’ve done many a summer eve).  It’s a great way to chill on a breezy, hot solstice eve.

https://youtu.be/czkLkyS_0S0

Over to you, JJ.

It’s a cross between a relatively newer song and an older one; both put spring into my steps and bounce in my bu-uh-behind.  Rauw Atejandro’s “Todo de Ti” is fun and fresh.  Shaggy’s “In the Summertime” is fun and familiar.  You know, I think I’ll go with singer, rapper and songwriter, Rauw.  I’m feeling some serious dance moves coming on . . .

https://youtu.be/CFPLIaMpGrY

Here’s to the rest of a great summer—hang loose and dance like there’s no tomorrow!  😊

Almost Missed the Posting Boat

Sometimes, things are simply not in your hands . . . like hours-long across-the-nation Internet outages.

What a calamity, what misfortune . . . what nonsense and absurdity . . . and a major reality check.  We’re totally hooked [dependent] on technology.

After spending a few [useless] hours at work, chatting and chuckling about said calamity and tossing about yeah-I’ll-head-home-soon-’cause-there’s-nothing-to-do-here remarks, it was indeed time to do just that.

Seeing people’s faces on the streets as yours truly walked home, had me thinking a major to-do had occurred or that the world was coming to an end.  Countless people milling about outside shops, gulping coffee, eyes wide, staring disbelievingly at cell phones, tap-tap-tapping, hoping [praying] for some connection to the cyberspace sphere.  What the <bleep>?!?!  Say it ain’t so, Joe!  We’ve been disconnected, cut off from the real world, the news, social media, mom and sis, and Auntie Em!  Dang, we’re doomed.

It’s been over 10 hours since “No Internet Access” popped up.  I sure wouldn’t want to be in the IT folks’ shoes today.  Can you spell s-t-r-e-s-s?

. . . And now, I’m back.   Indeedy-do, I almost missed the posting boat.  Fortunately, life has returned to [relative] normalcy.  Not everything is readily accessible as yet, but <audible sigh of relief> we’ll get there.

We always do, one way or another.  😉

Time for a Shameless Mid-Week Post

If I don’t promote myself, who will?  😉  It’s a job I am so not adept at (what with time, work and life getting in the way), but here goes . . .

My new book collection is now live and can be found at various retailers, such as those below:

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/triple-threat-mysteries-collection/id6443052045

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/triple-threat-mysteries-collection-tyler-colins/1141713349?ean=2940166791627

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=gzt4EAAAQBAJ

Rakuten Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/triple-threat-mysteries-collection

1NCaaaPer Next Chapter—thank you, NC 😊—these collections are targeted toward a specific segment of the eBook market, specifically, “binge readers” who prefer to purchase the whole series / several novels in one go.

Initially, NC is only publishing these collections in wide distribution.  Amazon editions will follow (once the Amazon version is live, I’ll let you know).

And that, my friends, is all she wrote.  😊

Best Foot Forward

(nothing like an editor making a major flub in the title – LMAO)

An old expression, which dates back to the 16th century if anyone cares, but still used now and again.  Meaning?

♦  to present an ideal version of yourself (to impress others)  ♦  to make the best possible impression  ♦  to start trying hard to be the best, or as good, as you can, or  ♦  a favorable initial impression.

It popped into my head the other day while browsing author-related social media.  Sadly, there are still people out there who like to criticize others—for how they write, an idea they have, a book they’ve written, a manuscript they hope will be published.

In my travels, I also  found some posts that disparaged others for their views, comments, ideologies, and even looks. Are we so perfect that we have that right—to condemn or ridicule or laugh at?

I always attempt to consider others’ feelings and respond/write accordingly.  However, I’m guilty of making a recent comment that, while not outright critical, probably wasn’t that nice . . . which is why I felt compelled to post about it.  It was a rare moment and the post I was responding to rather . . . well . . . shocked me.  So much so, I wrote a terse reply.

While there’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism (and I’ve posted re this previously), there’s a lot wrong with critical destructiveness.

We truly are unique individuals, and being “one-of-a-kind” should be honored and valued.  How dull and predictable the world would be if we were all the same.

Treat others with the respect they [we] deserve.  Enough said.

Judy Hogan Writes

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