NOT Made in the USA

For several years, I have purchased sandals and moccasins whose brand name is a city in America that is Native American in origin. They are comfortable and unique, many sporting a Thunderbird design and/or colorful beading. Every time I wore the sandals, someone would tell me how pretty they were. And I proudly told them the brand name, feeling like I was also promoting goods that were made in the United States.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. One day I happened to look closely at the tiny wording that is inside the moccasins. It read, “Made in the Dominican Republic.” In amazement, I dropped the shoe. I peered closely at the hard-to-read stamp inside the sandals. This one read, “Made in China.” I emailed the company. This is the answer I received:

“All of our in-stock styles are manufactured in our factory in the Dominican Republic and have been for over 40 years. We do special make ups for some of our larger chain stores that are made in China. All of our sandals are made in China.

Thank you for your inquiry.”

In all fairness, whenever you see their product online, they never say “Made in America.” Instead they side-step it by talking about the quality of their materials or the craftsmanship.

I have bought (and still buy) products that are made outside the United States. But for a company whose brand name and styles reflect an American city and a Native American culture, this is sad. And it is the last time I will be purchasing their product, until they are truly “Made in the USA.”

*I’m a freelance writer with many short stories, essays, and poems, published in magazines and anthologies. My latest book, Looney Dunes, is published through a company in the United States.

Fun At The Supermarket

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CDO–that’s an acronym for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for those of us who
need complete order in our lives. For instance, take food shopping. Something I
do every Tuesday morning at nine sharp. The first thing I do–the very first
thing before touching a shopping cart–is pull out the hand sanitizer from my
pocket. I scrub the entire cart with it, leaving the wheels alone. The people
lining up behind me sigh in relief as I maneuver through the sliding doors.

And then the real fun starts!

Click here to read

A Different Kind of Selfie

This isn’t a photo selfie. So if you were expecting a pic of me sporting duck lips, fuggedaboutit. This is an interview selfie. And it was a lot of fun conversing with myself.

Me:  What inspires you to get out of bed each day?                                                                                                                                                                        Me2:  The rain on my face if I’ve left the window open next to my bed.

Me:    When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Me2:  Watching other people. The human race is fascinating!
Me:    Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Me2:  Oh yeah. It was a doozy. I was six, and tried incorporating jokes into my story. I called it ”The Joke Story.” Thankfully I have come a long way since then.
Me:      What is your writing process?
Me2:     First, coffee. Strong. Then a quick look-see around the Internet. Open emails from my several accounts. More coffee. Then I’ll settle in to work on any one of my WIPs (works-in-progress). I usually have a light verse, short story or two, essay, and novel, all going at the same time. I multi-think beautifully.
Me:    What’s the story behind your latest book?
Me2:    Looney Dunes came about when I reflected on my quirks, and that of others. I created characters from composites. My main character, Stormy, even belongs to a group who call themselves the PNSers, or the Phobie Non-Socies. Decidedly, it’s a small group, or they wouldn’t be able to meet in the same room.  Stormy also has trouble with relationships, yet she inherits a boarding house complete with strangers renting the rooms, and a cute guy who has the most adorable dimples.
See? A selfie that’s not a photo of me, but my own interview. You can read more on Smashwords, here.

Stormy Deane Speaks!

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Many times characters in the books we are writing, speak so loudly (or as in my main character’s instance, over and over again), we have to listen. Thus my novel, Looney Dunes, came to be. Go here to see how my publisher was able to distract my main character, Stormy Deane, from perseverating over her immediate problems, and discuss her story.

Top Ten Ways To Know…

…that you’re not at a destination island:

  1. When ordering a drink, those tiny paper umbrellas are replaced with tiny wool hats.
  2. The local store for kids supplied their play sand for the beaches.
  3. The movie theatre is showing Mary Poppins. From 1965.
  4. The lone lifeguard is eighty years old.
  5. There are no seagulls. They’ve left for better places.
  6. When you pick up seashells, the undersides say “Made in China.”
  7. Locals say the island is hoppin’. There are five visitors. You included.
  8. The island’s bottled water comes from the marsh on the bayside. And it’s “filtered for your health.”
  9. You arrive with emotional baggage and issues. You fit right in.
  10. There aren’t any swim-up bars, pirate-themed bathrooms, or the sounds of steel drum music playing 24/7. Instead there are fishermen who double as town historians, a hair salon owner stuck in the big hair of the ’80s who is also a first responder, elderly women who call their house the Mother Ship, and a psychic whose shells surrounding her shack must not be touched. But you’re there for nine months, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, till sanity do you part, amen.

Image  ON SALE December 2nd for only $2.50 at Musa Publishing. All other days, at the great price of only $4.99 ! (Also may be purchased at Amazon.com or other eReader sites.)

 

Working At The Title

Whether you’re perusing books at a bookstore, visiting your local library, or scrolling through B&N.com or Amazon.com, there is one thing that makes many people stop and read more about that particular book.

The title. It’s said you can’t judge a book by its cover, but nothing else catches your attention so fast as the title of a book. It’s the first thing you see if you’re in a library or book store, and they’re shelved with their spines facing out. It’s the first thing you see online, since the title is positioned above the cover and printed in bold eye-catching letters.

As a writer, we angst over this. We know that when we send out our query letters to agents or publishers, this is the first thing they’ll react to. We type the title in all-caps in the letter (italics are used for already published books). It stands out.

But one thing to remember: when a writer labors over the title of their masterpiece, and even if the first reader to the agent or the publisher likes that title, it can still be shot down and other titles bandied about if and when the book is going through revisions before publication. Therefore when a writer sends off his or her query, happy in the knowledge that the manuscript is polished and ready for the eyes of the publisher or agent, that title is referred to as a “working title.” (The best bet for a title is one that is anywhere from one to four words.)

With books, the writer is always included in the decision during revising, so the title will be one that everyone is (hopefully) comfortable with. A title that will attract the attention of potential readers. For my most recent e-book, the publisher agreed with my working title: LOONEY DUNES. An apt description of the quirky people who inhabit Dune Island.

With short stories or essays in magazines, this isn’t always the case. One time I had a nice, three word title that I felt succinctly enticed a person to read my story. It was published with an entirely new title that was (count ‘em) seven words long.

But I had to accept it, since I knew from all my years of writing, submitting, and getting my work published, that this will happen. What was done, was done.

And I move on, creating more working titles to go along with my polished gems.

NEVERMORE

Once upon a morning after,

while I pondered Hershey wrappers,

candy roiled inside of me

as I recalled All Hallow’s Eve.

A toga made from old bed-clothes

hadn’t quite covered–so I froze.

The wreath I’d made for my head

caused a rash that seemed to spread.

And so I scratched and retched some more,

crawling slowly ‘cross the bare wood floor,

resolving thus: “Nevermore.”

Happy Halloween!