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Archive for June, 2008

Handbag Security

This might seem a random topic to blog about, but last week, not far from where I live, a woman was killed during a handbag robbery. Most women carry their lives in their handbag. I know I’m guilty of carrying way more stuff than I need. I thought a refresher of some commonsense rules wouldn’t go astray.

Here are a few things we can do to keep both our possessions and ourselves safe.

1. Be aware of your surroundings. When exiting your car in a carpark look to see who is around.

2. Walk with confidence and display positive body language.

3. Avoid walking in badly lit or isolated areas, especially if you’re alone.

4. Keep your bag close. Zip it shut and be wary of anyone who tries to distract you. Don’t leave your bag unattended. e.g. in a supermarket trolley.

5. Keep your car door locked while driving, and avoid leaving valuable items in your car when you leave it, if possible. Secure valuable items in the boot (trunk) before arriving at your destination.

6. Have your keys in your hand before you reach your vehicle. Secure your handbag first before your shopping.

7. Watch your handbags while in restaurants, public toilets. If you’re at a club and dancing have someone you know look after your bag. I’ve done a lot of traveling and I know how quick thieves can be. When I’m traveling I have my hand on my bag at all times. Sitting on the seat beside you is not a good place to keep your bag.

8. Keep your bag in front of you or in your hand while you’re at the bank or a ticket counter.

If you have any other suggestions please let me know.

Yes! We Have No Bananas!

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about BANANAS

I had no idea what I was doing for my TT this week. I thought about it while eating my porridge. I glanced around my kitchen and my gaze lit on it–inspiration in the form of one lonely banana. I hereby dedicate my TT to the humble banana.

1. Bananas are originally from Malaysia, but they have spread throughout the world and grow well in tropical areas.

2. Bananas plants are not trees but are actually herbs.

3. Bananas are high in potassium. They also contain protein, Vitamins A, B & C and have trace elements of iron and zinc. In other words, they’re good for you.
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Goals, Motivation and Conflict

A good romance needs conflict to make it memorable. Our characters need motivation and goals, otherwise why are we bothering? For a beginner writer, conflict is often a difficult thing to grasp. It’s more than mere bickering.

The turning point for me came when I read Debra Dixon’s book GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict. I don’t read a lot of craft books, especially when I’m writing, since I start to second-guess myself. However, this is one of the books I found really useful. Here’s the link to the book.

Debra does charts and talks about internal and external conflict. I still use her method, but I also answer the questions below.

When I’m writing, I always work out the GMC of my two main characters and any important secondary characters before I write a word. Often I’ll layer in more conflict as I write, to strengthen my story, but the basics are in place before I start.

If I can answer the following five questions about my characters, then I know my story is workable, and I’m ready to start.

1. What do my characters want?
2. Why do they want it?
3. How do they plan to get it?
4. What’s standing in their way?
5. What will happen if they don’t get it?

I try to arrange the answers to the above questions so that my hero and heroine want the opposite, and during the course of the book, I try to make things worse. I throw in road blocks, and the characters need to work out another way to get what they want or buckle under the pressure.

How do you go about working out your goals, motivation and conflict for your characters? Do you have any favorite how-to books that help you in this area?

All Things Shopping

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about SHOPPING

1. In ancient times, there was no money. People bartered or traded goods, that they had produced themselves.

2. In the past, customers were served by the shopkeeper, who would retrieve all the goods on their shopping list. Shops would often deliver the goods to the customers’ homes.

3. This changed to self-serve shopping where customers selected the goods, retrieved them off the shelves and packed their own goods. Customers deliver their own goods.

4. These days many of us shop on the internet, our goods are packed by the shopkeeper or his staff and delivered to us. We’ve come a full circle!

5. Sylvan Goldman invented the first shopping cart in 1936. He invented the first shopping cart by adding two wire basket and wheels to a folding chair.

6. The first shopping mall was the Country Club Plaza, founded by the J.C. Nichols Company and opened near Kansas City, Mo., in 1922.

7. At the start of the nineteenth century a form of mass produced clothing developed. It was of a simple basic style, mainly for ordinary men and women and unsuitable for the high fashion market of the upper classes. The only acceptable ready made items for the wealthy were free size garments like mantles, cloaks and shawls.

8. The American, Gordon Selfridge, invested in building a huge store in Oxford Street, London in 1909. Staff were hired months before it opened. They were trained in selling the Selfridge way. Shoppers flocked to the store when they heard of the delights inside such as make up and perfume. Clothes departments sold all manner of goods and hard to find items. Music greeted the shoppers and browsing there could be an all day experience. Shopping there was intended to be a recreation.

9. A Philadelphia pharmacist named Asa Candler invented the coupon in 1895. Candler bought the Coca-Cola company from the original inventor Dr. John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist. Candler placed coupons in newspaper for a free Coke from any fountain – to help promote the new soft drink.

10. The first patent for bar code (US Patent #2,612,994) was issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver on October 7, 1952.

11. Shopping can be a disease – Compulsive shopping or spending can be a seasonal balm for the depression, anxiety and loneliness during the December holiday season. It also can occur when a person feels depressed, lonely and angry. Shopping and spending will not assure more love, bolster self-esteem, or heal the hurts, regrets, stress, and the problems of daily living. It generally makes these feelings worse because of the increased financial debt the person has obtained from compulsive shopping.

12. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. ~ Bo Derek

13. Shopping is a woman thing. It’s a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase. ~ Erma Bombeck

Extra: Shopping is better than sex. If you’re not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like. ~ Adrienne Gusoff

Do you prefer to shop online or do you like to shop in person at a department store or mall?

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