Lost in Translation! #MondayBlog

Diversity

Image from Penn State.

One of the best things about the blogosphere is its ability to shrink the planet.

With a simple click, you can discuss writing with someone in London, exchange recipes with someone in India, or brainstorm with someone in Denmark.

The world which used to be of unfathomable size…now fits in your pocket.

One obstacle yet to be overcome, however, is language.

Blog hosts like Blogspot, Tumblr, and our own WordPress, have made it simple for users to create blogs in their native language.

Reading it… not so much.

I have a few bloggers who follow me here on my author blog and several who follow Nesie’s Place, whose blogs I am unable to read. I can stumble through Spanish and French, after that…I’m a deer caught in the headlights!

On a good day…if I’m on my cell, ye olde translator kicks in and automatically translates the page. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. I used my cell earlier today to visit a blog I think was Lithuanian. The translator kicks in, and I’m waiting…and waiting, when suddenly the translator posts the error message, “Unable to translate; no translation found.” It then not only closes itself – something it’s never done before – it also closes the browser!

 

Attempting to translate another blog from Urdu to English, I cut and pasted a paragraph into a window on freetranslation.com and was given a translation of the “blogger had taken his foot for a walk in the park and thrown his dog around.”

Can’t be sure…but I don’t think that’s correct.

It would be nice to be able to do more than visit these blogs and simply leave a like. That’s the lazy way. Better to be able to translate the page and comment accordingly. What if the blogger is advocating for the burning of all coffee plantations or the banning of books, and I casually pop in and leave a like?

That would not be good.

It would be great if blogs could auto-translate…and maybe they can. I’m just not aware of how to access the feature.

If you know of a one-size-fits-most app or add-in that will allow successful language translation, please share it in the comments below. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this issue.

Not this time anyway.

CampNaNoWriMo! #MondayBlog


Writing Paper


It’s NaNoWriMo time!

No, you haven’t pulled a Rip Van Winkle and slept through most of 2017! It’s CAMPNaNoWriMo, held during the month of April.

What? You’re not ready to tackle another fifty thousand word project? Good! Because that’s not what CampNaNoWriMo is for…unless you want it to be.

At Camp, you can:

  • Tackle any writing project, novel or not. Are you revising your next draft? Preparing to write the next great musical, a la Lin-Manuel Miranda? Penning a collection of poems? Camp is fertile ground.
  • Set your own writing goal. Warm up for 50K by setting a word-count goal of 25,000. Or track hours, lines, or pages… whatever works for you.
  • Find your own, personal writing group. At Camp NaNoWriMo, you can be sorted into a public cabin with writers according to your preferences, or create a private cabin for you and your already-established writing buddies.

I won’t say it’s necessarily ‘easy’, but it is that simple.

I’ve signed up and will be working on my November 2016 project, For Worse. My protagonist, Quinn Landon, seems to have developed a personality disorder. I need her to quit with the Sybil-theatrics, pick an identity and stick to it. Geeze…

For Worse generic cover

Calm down! This is NOT the cover! I repeat this is NOT the cover!

Since this is camp, there are CABINS! You can choose to be assigned to one, start your own, or just fly free.

I have yet to choose a cabin. I elected to be assigned to a cabin last year, clearly specifying my preferences.

That didn’t work out so well. The only thing I had in common with my cabin-mates was the fact most of us were breathing. I say most because a few never uttered a word during the entire month.

Not going there again.

While we do stress out at times, battle muses and deal with writers’ block, I believe writers sometimes forget that writing is supposed to be something we love to do; something we’re driven to do; something we enjoy!

If you’re not having fun with it, and don’t find yourself smiling your way through scenes and situations – why are you doing it?

If you want to have some fun writing during April, look me up. I’ll be the one arguing with myself and trolling cabins!

 

A Helping Hand #ReadWithMe


I Heart Books

Image from Google


In my late teens and early twenties, I volunteered with a community literacy program that paired increasing literacy and diversity.  As such, I was partnered with a young Caucasian man I’ll call Mark.

A year younger than me and just a year out of high school, Mark was one of those unfortunate students ignored by the education system and pushed through school with passing grades. Coming from a home where reading wasn’t a priority, no one realized Mark could read, but only enough to get by, much like my own father. There were nearly seventy years between my father’s school days and Mark’s. My father had to quit school at age nine. Mark was handed a high school diploma. Both were functionally illiterate.

While members of the literacy program would meet together to brainstorm and strategize on how best to help the program’s students, we were not teachers or educators. We were students, retirees, stay-at-home moms, moms employed outside the home, and professionals in other areas. Sometimes, teachers would join the program and write outlines for us and give us benchmarks to aim for, but most of the time we were just a group of ordinary folks who wanted to help others.

After determining Mark’s reading level, I gave him two books, a writing pad, and a dictionary. He was one read one chapter, look up and write down the definition of any word he didn’t understand, and write one paragraph in his own words what the chapter was about.

With an eight or twelve-week learning plan, most students completed the course with increased reading skills. Mark signed up for the twelve-week session and was determined to finish…because he wanted to join the military. Our program worked for people like Mark because we didn’t work on fixed times and locations like the larger better-funded organizations. Working nights with a restaurant clean-up crew and picking up odd jobs in construction meant Mark’s schedule could change daily. There were times he did miss one or both of our twice weekly sessions. But I have to confess I was near tears when he did show up…he always had his words and his paragraph.

Circumstances led to my having to relocate before completing the sessions with Mark. I wish I could say I knew what happened with him, but life isn’t that easy.

However, through friends connected with the literacy program I do know 1) Mark completed the program; 2) he never made it to the military; 3) He DID enroll in college.

That’s enough for me.

 

GIVEAWAY!
During the month of March, four random commenters – one each week – will win ebooks copies of some of my favorite books from authors like Toni Morrison, Terry Dean, and Walter Mosley!


March is National Reading Month and I invite you to #ReadwithMe by sharing a story about your love of reading.

Click on the Linky Tools link below to share a post from your blog/website about reading! (New browser opens) The join links are open until March 31st. Beginning April 1st, no more links can be added, but the Linky Tool and the links posted to it will remain active indefinitely!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

When Reality Checks In!

j1_th

I’ve mentioned my grandnephew, Jordan – the tiny-two-year-old-terror, in many of my social network posts. The posts are usually funny, the photos are cute, and Jordan loves seeing himself posted everywhere.

We had a Jordan-situation Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, that wasn’t funny or cute.

After a great family Thanksgiving, Jordan stayed the night with us as his grandmother (my sis, Melissa) had to work Friday. In typical Reevers family holiday fashion, we fell asleep everywhere. (This family does not understand the concept of “going to bed”.) Jordan and my youngest son, Drew – 26, were asleep on the sofa in the family room.

We were awakened at 4:30 in the morning by a fussy Jordan with a dirty diaper. Drew said Jordan “appeared” to have a seizure when he was waking up. I didn’t doubt Drew, and Jordan’s temperature was up. But, after getting cleaned up and drinking some cool apple juice, Jordan went back to sleep, as did my guys. I headed off to my writing cave.

Nearly three hours later, the mister runs into the room holding Jordan. “Fle, he IS having a seizure!” He puts Jordan in my arms, and he’s stiff as a board – arms and legs straight and inflexible, his eyes have rolled to the back of his head, and he’s frothing at the mouth. I loudly call his name twice, getting no response, and “911!” is the next thing out of my mouth…several times.

While Jordan’s seizure lasted less than a minute, it seemed to go on forever. As it tapered off, he took a huge gulp of air, exhaled, and slumped in my arms, eyes closed.

Yes, THIS is when I freaked out.

Checking for his pulse and/or heartbeat, I race to the front of the house. The mister takes Jordan from me in the living room, and tries to get me to sit down. Instead, I snap, “Where the hell are the paramedics?” – only to turn around and see them walking in my door! (FIVE MINUTES! It took them only five minutes to get there!)

In the SECONDS it took the medical team to sit down their gear and ascertain the situation, Jordan, the tiny-two-year-old-terror, who’s already had two seizures before 8 am is SNORING!!! The mister and I gave each other, “Did we dream this?” looks, and handed him over to the paramedics. After checking Jordan out physically and taking his vital signs, we were told he more than likely had a febrile seizure, brought on by the sudden spike in his body temperature, and such seizures are COMMON. However, the cause of the temperature needed to be found. The med team assured us his sleeping was also normal because the seizures are very exacting on the body, and he was probably extremely fatigued. They offered to take him in, but felt the ‘urgency’ of the situation was past for the time being. It was then I realized I had nothing authorizing me to get medical attention for Jordan. (DUH!)  So instead, the family hopped in the car and headed for Melissa’s apartment, fifteen miles across town.

After scooping her up, it was a mad dash to the emergency room for the fastest, most efficient ER visit I’ve ever witnessed. (Getting Jordan’s prescriptions filled at Walgreen’s actually took longer.)

During the ER exam, we were again told febrile seizures are COMMON in infants and toddlers, and a signal that something – usually an infection – is wrong. In Jordan’s case, he had an EAR INFECTION!  We all were speechless. Jordan had never had an ear infection before; and the day before – Thanksgiving Day – he had been his normal, rambunctious self, not fussy or tugging at his ear. Live and learn.

On a regimen of antibiotics, fever reducers and pain relievers, the-tiny-two-year-old-terror rested comfortably last night, and I could hear him during a phone call with Melissa this morning, loudly attempting to boss her around.

I’ve raised three children (with MANY ER visits), and helped raised or babysat dozens more – and I had never heard of a febrile seizure. Most of us know slight temperatures in the young ones are COMMON, and usually passes quickly, but this is just a heads-up – check and make sure the fever is going DOWN. Jordan went from “okay” to seizure in less than five hours without us suspecting a thing.

Jordan will be back with us this evening. I think my nerves are ready…again.

Many thanks, and much respect to Tucson Fire and Rescue, Tucson Medical Center and staff, and ER doctor, Brian Haggerty.

Also – if you’re going to watch someone else’s child for any period of time, even if they’re related, it wouldn’t hurt to get something in writing and notarized, giving you permission to seek medical treatment, if needed. You never know what will happen.

“Writing is WORK!” #Update

1-eri7lvptqoqzwj0nutlptw

Wow! What a month I’m having!

I go from diligently working on finally getting my first novel published, to balancing three WIPs!

Why didn’t someone tell me this is WORK? I don’t want to work, I just want to write. Oh, well. That being said, I’m definitely deep into it. In The Best Interest of the Child went live on September 30th – but who knew it would have a BOOK TWO? I surely didn’t! SURPRISE! With a word count of nearly 150K, I had to back off and streamline book one…and it still came out at three hundred pages! But book one has NO cliffhanger – I loathe those! Book two will be another leg in Olivia Chandler’s journey (and it had better end in book two – who knows with my characters).

Since the second book is mostly written, I was shooting for a release date of somewhere between December 1 and the 15th. However, my editor is currently handling a family emergency, so I may move the release date to January. Yes, I know I could get another editor, but she did a great job with the first book and knows the story line – why tamper with a working formula?

What will be releasing soon is the print version of book one! I’m a big fan of print books and still buy them frequently. Okay, too frequently. But other print lovers have sounded off loud and clear. It’s a go for December!

My NaNoWriMo project is shaping up quite nicely. The working title is “For Worse” (as in ‘for better or for worse’) and tells the story of Quinn Landon, who finally files for divorce from her lying, cheating husband, and believes she’s on a new path to a new life. Only, she isn’t.  More about ‘For Worse’ as we get into NaNoWriMo country.

This is the cover…and please do not fall out and have a fit! It’s just a placeholder for NaNoWriMo. I would not subject the planet to my limited, amateurish art skills. Maybe one day.

for-worse-cover