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Spam-a-lot

I ran into my first negative experience on elance. I’m new to this world, I don’t understand everything they are talking about, and when I responded to an ad asking for someone to read and comment on other peoples’ blogs to bring in traffic I assumed it was a networking job.

 

Sort of like what I do here. I find blogs similar to my likes, writing, I go out and read the blogs, follow the people, and comment on their blog to start a conversation. I make friends but also increase the traffic to my blog. I mean, I look at the people who comment on other people’s blogs I follow and go look at that person’s blog.

 

Of course I also continue to read the blogs I follow but it sounded like this person wanted someone to begin this entire process for them. With the promise of continued to work in the future.

 

I totally missed my mark on this. After I had accepted the job I got the dirty details they wanted me to do.

 

Spam blogs.

 

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That’s right, they gave me a link to their website they wanted me to hide in my comments. So I was to go out, read the blogs, respond to the blogs in a way that when I put the link into the comment it would be accepted instead of going into the rejection file.

I know, you’re probably all going into your spam folder now to see if I spammed you but IT WASN’T ME. I had to look at blogs I would otherwise not be interested in. Mainly the Business world and Marketing.

I know a lot about Marketing now.

But they wanted me to do this to 1000 blogs. It took almost 14 hours just to get to 200. Not only was this A LOT of work I wasn’t getting paid very much for, but it was unethical. I began to get physically sick. Especially since I said it would only take me a week to do the job.

So I called the friend who told me to join elance in the first place going WHAT DO I DO?! I didn’t want to get a negative review, I just started, that could ruin my career before I even began.

She told me I could always cancel a job. All I had to do was write a nice email that put the blame on me and there wouldn’t be any hard consequences.

I did. And it really was my fault, I thought I could do the job, I couldn’t. I didn’t have the time or the energy to follow through with what I promised.

I left out I didn’t know I was spamming. At first the guy was offering to pay me for the work I did do but after I gave him the passwords to all the fake account I had created, he split. Whatever. I really do wish all the best to him and his company.

So, I did look into my spam folder at all the poor spammers. I wanted to send them messages that said, “I UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN!”

Don’t hate on those spammers but feel just a little bad for them. They’re doing A LOT of work, and they’re not getting paid much to do it. Show ‘em just a little love.

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Unexpected Writing Prompts – Chargoggagoggmachvhauggauggagoggchaubunagunagamaugg

 

I’ve been doing this social-networking-lets-be-friendly-with-other writer thing for over a year. It hasn’t been doing that much for me. I’ve met some lovely people online. I’ve even started to enjoy ‘Tweeting.’ I have talked to some really inspiring authors and I’ve gotten a lot of push to keep writing and continue to do better.

Author Austin Briggs http://austinbriggs.com/ gave me a a writing prompt, for a short-short story about a boy and his dog. The audience was to be for 7-year olds. We collaborated on the piece and I wrote it below. Generally I do not write children’s stories, I’m more a horror girl.

 

Austin gave me a random fact and I incorporated it into the story. I figured I would share the story.

 

————— 

There are times when seven-year-old boys really hate their dogs.

 

Like when the dog tries to drown them in a lake after screaming Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg for over an hour.

Mongoose is no Lassie-dog. She would not save me from a well if I feel in.           

I was worried about her at first, all she was repeating since we got to our family vacation at the Webster Lake in Massachusetts was a 45-letter word I know isn’t part of the English language.

 

Sometimes I wish I never taught my dog to speak.  Every kid on the planet wants a talking dog, until they get a talking dog. She gets stuck on repeat.

 

It isn’t bad enough that I’m drowning but now something is tangled around my leg and dragging me out of the water.

 

Probably a giant octopus. I bet they really like the taste of little boys.

 

I’m pulled out of the lake and come face-to-face with a man who isn’t my father. Actually I’m pretty sure he isn’t in the same century as my father. The guy looks like he walked out of the Native American section of the Museum of Science and History.

 

“Look at this strange fish. Part boy, part duck,” grunts the man.

 

            That reminds me that mom made me wear a duck float with my snorkeling gear. She didn’t want me to drown, only die of embarrassment.

 

“Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg,” my dog says, standing beside the Indian, wagging her tail, like the traitor dog she is.

 

“All boy,” I grumble, untangling myself from the net before sitting up and looking around. “This.. doesn’t look like Massachusetts anymore.”

 

 “This is Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, “Fishing Place at the Borders — Neutral Meeting Grounds.” The Indian stands there, thoughtful for a moment, “Massachusetts your tribe?”

 

  “No, it’s… well…” the man is just staring at me with that blank expression adults get when they’re really not going to understand anything I say. “Don’t worry about it. Can I have my dog back?”

 

    “This smart animal yours?” He says, patting Mongoose on the head. She rolls her eyes up at him, tongue rolling out of her mouth, with the biggest grin with a look of a dog that has never been petted in her entire life.

 

    “Yeah… She just tried to drown me in your Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.”

 

    “Well duck boy, what you trade for dog? You catch any fish?”

 

    “No but my duck will keep you from drowning according to the code of moms’,” I say, slipping it off to hand it to him.

 

    “Moms do know best,” he says after some consideration and takes the float.

 

    “ChargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamauggI” Mongoose howls dragging me into the water again. I wonder if this really is a fair trade. I should have left her with the Native Americans. Maybe they could teach her something useful like how to herd Buffalos.

 

I come out on the other side to see mom.

 

                “Where is your float?”

 

                “Did you know this lake is called Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg?” I ask quickly changing the subject.

 

    “Where did you learn that?”

 

    “The Indians told me.”

 

    “What Indians?”

 

    “The ones that took my float. I traded it to get Mongoose back.”

 

    “Ah, I see.” She says, not seeing but going along with it. Oh well, I tried.

    “Webster Lake!” Mongoose says bounding up to us.

 

    Mom looks down at the dog, “Did she just say?”

 

            “Don’t worry about it mom. All she said was bow wow wow. Like all good puppies do.”

 

            Except she’s not a very good puppy and she most certainly did say Webster Lake. 

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Ebbing Relations – A poem

Ebbing Relations

 

I wanted to see the

waves and candy-coated winter sky.

Last seconds spent

in each other’s company.

 

The sea crashes in bursts

of blues, black, and opaline.

Breath apparent as

we drink in dry air.

 

Blackberry flavored skies

slip above us. Feet

scraping on clumps of

sand, shell, and rock.

 

He sings in bright

outrageous colors

that clash again the

mysterious shades of my song.

 

Sweeping back the tide tastes

the color of the ground.

Content with being

a fleeing thing.

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Job Accepted!

I GOT MY FIRST JOB.

EVERYONE, IT IS HAPPY DANCE TIME!

I know, you’re all wondering, how much does it pay? Are you rich yet? Can you afford that very expensive family vacation to the Big Island Hawaii?

 

Eh… not even close.

But I did get my first job and it is a step in the right direction. I wrote an advertisement to an iPhone app. Not hugely exciting, but the type of app it was allowed me to be dirty. To be steamy. To write in a way that makes you think the app is winking at you while you read it.

 

Hey there sexy, come buy me now, lets get steamy together.

 

No, it wasn’t a porn app. But I did it and I got paid for it. It made me feel quite pleased with myself. It was also writing in a way I’m not use to writing anymore.

 

It also didn’t take that long for my job to be accepted. At first when I was doing this I figured I would never be hired because people bid so low. I’m sorry; I’m not going to write your 500 word article for $3. That’s insane. Kiss my ass. People were bidding THAT LOW.

 

I’m battling against people in India, Philippines, Indonesia, countries where $3 can buy you a lot. I’m thinking, there is no way I’m going to make anything on this website.

I got the job though. Apparently I know the right things to say. I can’t say what those right things are, I really just speak with my heart and how I feel on the matter, but it all goes in the right direction.

So happy dance all of you!

 

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Fre-elance-ing

 

I’ve decided that I obviously have too much time on my hands to finish my novel.

 

I decided to sign up on elance.com after my friend explained to me, at gun point, I could find a way to make some extra cash each month writing.

 

Elance is the place to be if you want to be a freelancer. You sign up for free, you’re give 40 ‘bids’ per month, you have to go through some crazy loops to prove you’re who you say you are, and bam! Start working immediately.

Sorta.

 

More like slit your wrist, the wrong way, and beg for attention.

 

I’m being (slightly) over-dramatic.

 

People post jobs and you respond with a proposal, using a bid, watch as 20-50 other people respond to that same proposal, and begin to understand what it must feel like to submit anything to an editor/agent/publishing house. May the rejection begin!

 

It really isn’t that bad. The first job I ever bid on was an editing job for a Romance Novel. I didn’t get it, but the author did respond to me. We had a delightful chat back and forth via e-mail, until she told me that she was going to go with another editor. We wished each other the best and went our separate ways.

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I worked on better-ing my profile after that. Elance has a number of tests you can take to show you are qualified for what you say you are qualified for. I passed two of the tests with flying colors, they’re 40 minutes long and you must make over 80 to pass, and on the third (I think because I took it right after I did one) I bombed out. No worries though, they make you wait two weeks and you can take it again.

 

I did ignore elance for quite sometime and then I took my daughter to the dentist. She has four cavities, our insurance covers the majority of the fillings but the total still comes to $160. I have to get my teeth done, wisdom teeth removed, and I’m sorry I will not be awake for the procedure. I can’t imagine what the cost is going to be.

It hits me; I’m that penniless writer. Not saying we are dirt poor, we live well within our means, and we can afford all of the above, but I want a vacation. I want to travel again. I want to have the money to enjoy life!

So I log onto elance and decide to start this all up again.

 

I’ve decided to blog about it to.

 

It’s nice to finally figure out what I’m going to make this blog about. Welcome to the world of the starving, freelancer, writer who will one day finish her best selling, mind-blowing, novel.

PS. I love Neil Gaiman. So, so much.

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Remember, Bombs don’t kill people. People with bombs kill people.

Yesterday my Facebook exploded with people holding tight to their guns, again. The government would have to pry that assault rifle, only used for hunting deer, from their dead fingers. Automatically I assumed there was another horrible shooting somewhere in the United States.

Then I read further down and realized that it was a bomb. Two bombs had gone off during the Boston Marathon and I was horrified.

 

Shortly after I got angry. I can’t stay in horrified mode or sad mode that long. It isn’t my nature, I’m a red head Taurus, and we get mad.

 

The first thing half of American people say to someone using a bomb to injure others is no one is getting their gun.

 

I have this fantastic picture in my head of all these gun-loving men standing around a bomb and pointing their loaded weapon at it.

 

Surely the bomb knows it has a gun pointed at it so it shouldn’t explode.

 

I don’t understand how the argument of guns can come in when someone used a bomb. It was a matter of time before the deranged realized just how easy and effective a bomb is.

 

No one is going to take your gun. Some of you I don’t think should own a gun, I don’t think I should own a gun but I’ve got two in my household. 

 

Someone wrote on Facebook, “I thought bombs were illegal at events like this.”

 

This man owns a gun.

 

I’m baffled by the evil that went on yesterday. Many lost their limbs, their lives, and that spark of innocence. We are all shaken to the core because it doesn’t seem like the world is giving us any rest with all these tragedies.

 

But to fight violence with more violence isn’t solving the problem. It fuels the fight. I’ve never called myself anti-anything. I’m Pro-Love, I’m Pro-Choice. A negative and a negative don’t equal a positive.

I held my children a little closer last night. I tucked them in, my daughter sang me her newest song, my son spit-up all over me before passing out. Then I called my husband who is currently away at training.

My husband works as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Tech in the Marine Corps. He told me it was a matter of time before people started using bombs instead of guns. We had a very intense and deep debate over everything that happened. And my loving husband ended the conversation on a strangely positive note for him,

 

“Well, this just gave me job security for the rest of my life.”

 

That’s the sad truth of America today but it doesn’t have to be a reality for tomorrow. 

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Stay-At-Home Writer Mom

ImageIn case the world was wondering why I don’t spit out a blog every week, it is because I’m a stay-at-home mom.

Stay-at-home moms get a lot of bad publicity these days. People tend to think Stay-at-home wives sit around and watch TV all day while the kids terrorize the neighborhood.

To be completely honest from what I’ve seen, that isn’t that far off from the truth.

I don’t. I cook, I clean, I exercise, I spend one-on-one time with my children (ages 4 & 8 months), I take care of our neurotic dog. I have two unappreciative fish I have to feed and clean their tanks. I’ve already discussed the cats. I’m over-protective so I can’t just let my daughter play outside without me there. This means all the children who don’t have protective parents end up in my house… I thoroughly love my husband and spend as much time with him as I can when I’m able to. And it doesn’t sound like much, but holy smokes, I try to get up at 4 AM to have time to work on my novel and I’m lucky to roll out of bed at 6 to take my daughter to school.

My husband made the remark the other day about a female Marine he works with. He told me, she isn’t like most female Marines, she isn’t lazy. She takes care of her household (she has two kids, a dog, and currently pregnant with their third), she makes sure everything is clean. She can’t stand lazy people and doesn’t understand women that don’t work.

At this point he looked at me and saw me clinching my jaw, counting in my head all the reasons I love him, and quickly added on, “Nothing against you though. I mean you can’t work yet with Orion being so young.”

Right, I don’t have the Marine Corps paying for childcare. I could but I wouldn’t put my kids in a facility where teachers rotate in and out so quickly because they’re tired of being bitten. In a place where they aren’t allowed to put kids in time out and just about anyone can get a certificate to work there in 72 hours. 

I also want to point out that when both parents work, both kids are in some sort of daycare, there is going to be less mess. There isn’t anyone in the house to make a mess. So all you have to do is come home, throw one load of laundry in, buy dinner, and then do the dishes at the end of the night.

All my dishes are made from scratch. I go on a two-day cooking spree at the beginning of the month so all my prep for dinner is done. When I wake up in the morning, I thaw, throw in the crock-pot, throw into the oven, fire up the grill, whatever, I don’t have to prep. So just -maybe- I’ll get an extra thirty minutes that day to write.

My husband helps out a lot to. Every time I go to my writing group I come home to a sparkling house. But he isn’t consistent so I can’t depend on it. He gets lazy, work is hard, but I’m a creature of habit and when something I depend on isn’t there anymore I freak out. 

It’s hard. I got more done when I was working. I went to college and worked full-time. That was because I had a computer I sat at all day and on my down-time I did college work. I didn’t have a house around me that I knew needed to be cleaned. Or a baby beside me that is on the verge of crawling and I don’t want to miss that. 

Or possibly needs a diaper change. 

I know people that do it. They spit out blogs, they reach their word count each day, and a part of me wonders if they’re snorting cocaine. A lot of them have told me they don’t sleep. I can’t write if I don’t sleep. I also can’t safely operate a vehicle if I am exhausted and my darling son still has issues sleeping through the night. 

On top of all this I am required to have a social life. My daughter needs friends, I need friends, and friendships require work. It means planning game nights, themed parties, meeting up during the week or on the weekend. I don’t have a babysitter I trust so the people have to come to my house. And Goddess save my soul if I am up past midnight(or drink two glasses of wine), tomorrow is going to hurt.

It is hard to find time to write. I’m giving up exercising right now to write this blog. Probably lunch as well because the little one will be waking up and then I’ll have to drive to school to pick up my daughter.

I’m all for the feminist movement. I believe women should run this world and not just in the background. But stay-at-home moms have it pretty hard. I get excited to talk to people at the grocery store check-out because they won’t just gurgle back at me. 

I can’t just join a mom-group either but that’ll be a blog for next time. 

For now, just know that it is super hard to write a novel and be a mommy. A good mommy because it is really easy to be a crappy one. 

I try to write as much as possible but I always fall further and further behind my word count each day. It is extremely depressing. I just keep telling myself once it is done, it’ll be worth it, and my children (and marriage) won’t have suffered for it.

(The picture above is my son at 6 weeks)

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