Dear Roger: Relocation?

It has been suggested that we take a wander over to a more user friendly part of the ‘net since I am trying to actually let people read the stuff I write now. I have avoided WordPress in the past like I avoided Pintarest because I thought it was a bit on the ,”chicky” side of the writers world, the home of middle-aged soccer moms writing soft-core Twi-porn ,(shut up Katie), and self-important “mommy experts” with one kid and too much time and money on their hands, but while I slogged away in the land of anonymity, I was building a readership that was having fits trying to subscribe to a system that was apparently a real pain in the ass.

Well, here I am. This is kinda weird and Im not sure how happy I am with it, but once I get it all figured out Ill probably be happier with it.

Im going to try to migrate my old blog over here, and get it all tied in so I dont lose anyone.

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Dear Roger: Trusting Your Gut And What Its Worth

I got news last night that shook me. As my snarky teen son sat next to me on the couch and tried to convince me I was tired and needed to go to bed, while I was busy reading a blog by a young woman that I have come to care about as a distant friend, another friend who is from my past in law enforcement sent me a chat message on Facebook. He just asked if I had heard about an officer that we used to work with. It took a minute or two for the memory to come to surface, but once it did, the mans face was clear as a bell, he had been my eldest sons fathers best friend.
Whenever my sons father was on duty at the ambulance, this officer was around. They went shooting together, went to training’s together for weeks, and they were as close as brothers. My sons father would even drive the nearly 300 miles from his home in Tucson on his days off, just to hang out with this officer and go places with him. I thought it odd at the time, but the relationship I had with my sons father was so turbulent and scary, that I dared not say a word about it. When I finally managed to get away from my sons father and he quit the department and was told not to return, the officer was not happy with me, but he left me alone. I remember him being a bit arrogant and odd, but not an overtly horrible person. We ate meals together, worked scenes together, saved lives together. He wore a badge and was part of my family in that way. If I hadn’t been able to hide from my sons father due to his violence and threats of violence, and if he had gotten parental rights, the officer most likely would have been my sons Godfather and most assuredly would have been in my sons life quite a bit and I would have had no say in it, but I did what I knew I had to do as a mother and i protected my son and I fought to keep a monster out of my sons life for over 16 years.
I found out last night that trusting my gut and going without many of the things that so many women take for granted such as a man to help support and guide a son, child support or any kind of financial assistance, the security of knowing that no one is going to hurt your child because they love them,(in fact, he promised he would kill him if given the chance), knowing the medical and family history of the paternal side of my sons family, and my career, which I gave up and changed to stay below the radar for many years, was the right decision.
The officer who was my sons fathers best friend was accused by his eldest daughter of continually molesting her when she was a young girl. The investigation is just beginning, but he will never be arrested or serve any time for it because he took his own life shortly after being questioned about it.
Do I think my sons father would have been capable of being involved in such things? I will never know, but I am damn sure glad I will never have to find out.
Its a smaller world than we realize and we are all connected along our journey. I firmly believe that, even though we have vastly different lives and struggles and paths that we follow, we share things with each other and reading the young woman’s blog posting last night reminded me of that because just the other day I was cleaning out my old certifications and getting rid of things that I no longer hold as essential to where I am in life now, and one of the first things I came across was my certification as a,”Tobacco Cessation Counselor” that I received when I was an Americorp Member. As part of my tour of duty and as a former smoker, I got certified and I taught classes on how to quit smoking,(a sort of AA styled thing), and one of the ways to quit that they had been pushing was a drug…a drug that I had recently heard about via a tragedy. I had done more research after hearing about this event, and how unpredictable it was and due to the population I was working with, (largely Native, Impoverished and poly-substance abusers), I refused to even introduce it as a possibility. I encouraged natural methods, along with diet, exercise, the patch and distraction. I had a 95% success rate. It was the first time I had ever heard that name, that name that would a short time later circle around and mean much more to us and my daughter than I could ever explain, but it is an odd synchronicity that has reverberated  through many lives now and I will not discount it.
Trust yourself, you are stronger than you know, and there are forces in the world that make us all accountable to and for each other.
Blessings and strength to you all.

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Dear Roger: The Monkey Is Erect

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Change of Plans, but Still a Celebration

Well, we weren’t able to make our trip to VooDoo Donuts today due to a sick kid, but Im still carrying on with giving away with FREE DOWNLOADS of a couple of my books to celebrate. If you go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008ED928G for “Paying the Piper” which is my newest or http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084HETDA for “Face In the Rear View Mirror” which is the book that I dedicated to the 100 Monkeys for inspiring the change we are celebrating, then you will find the links that will give you the free E-Books. 

Made my first major sale yesterday to Cafe Delirium here in Gresham and it felt wonderful! I hope it is the start of many great things. My copyright certificate that had been wandering around the postal world finally showed up yesterday, so I am proudly getting it framed like the big ole nerd I am, and I took extra pride in the fact the first two letters of its certification number are TX as if to proudly proclaim, “Yeah, a Texan did this.” 

Ive been working a lot and staying busy, we are moving this week because due to some issues with the new place we had to push some things back which actually ended up working out for the better. I am going to actually turn the dining area into my office/writing area, and im looking forward to having a real desk and space to get my stuff up  and situated in. 

The Website is looking great and we are adding more and more to it as we have time and things to add, including the logo of the place that was my first major buyer. Check it out and let me know what you think at my guestbook. www.jenniferdscroggins.com but most of all, make sure you get your free downloads, also available on my “Writings” page.

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Celebrating a Monkeyversary By Giving Books Away

On Saturday July 28th, It will be 2 years since the 100 Monkeys concert that brought us up here. While I wish I was going to be spending the day getting ready to go rock out at another 100 Monkeys show, we all know that sadly, that is not going to happen. 

My kids and I an some of or friends will be returning to Voodoo Donuts that morning to remember and celebrate and rejoice in the small joys that brought us all together, and hope that brighter days guide those boys back to the sunshine. 

If you are in Portland, come join us. We are going to pretty much relive that day the exact same way it happened the first time around, riding the Max down and wandering the streets til we get to that familiar pepto bismol pink building, though this time we will hopefully this time have a few extra bucks in our pockets so we can afford to actually buy more than one donut, one bottle of water and one Dr. Pepper, but even if we are broke again, we are in a much better place. I am walking into that parking lot a woman who can talk to people about things, and who is a three times over published author who has held a job for almost a full year, and who actually can talk to people above a whisper without stammering most of the time. My son stands up tall and proud and is in acting and he learned to play guitar and write music watching those same boys we were there to see that day. My little girl? The one who thinks that young Mr. Rathbone hung the moon and lit the stars? Well, yeah…she is still convinced of that, (even more so now that hes a daddy and seems happy about it), and she has managed to endure the loss of the band with quite a bit of sadness and by praying that,”Maybe, someday, they will figure it all out.” but as for herself? She is growing like a weed and she has taken off and FLOWN! Shes in the Gifted and Talented program and she still draws pictures for him, but not knowing where to send them she just hangs onto them for that “Someday.” She looks after the other boys in the band as she comes across them on twitter and while she hasn’t really found any other music or bands shes crazy over, she has been teaching herself to play the piano. 

The really big change this year is the fact that the two missing people from that first concert will be with us, my two sons that my ex had kept. They are coming with to celebrate a show they wish they had been able to see, and they still feel ripped off that they never got to see their favorite band before things went sideways, but they love to hear the stories and watch the videos from that day and they know that,”The Best Day Ever” really made things a lot better for all of us.

We are celebrating that day in another way as well, I am going to put my latest book,”Paying the Piper” and the book that I dedicated to those boys in that band who inspired so much, “Face In The Rear View Mirror” up for free download all day on July 28th. 

If you go to my website(www.jenniferdscroggins.com)  on that day, go to the page that is titled, “Writings” and click on the links by each of those books, you will be taken to the E-book download site.  If you would be so kind, I would really appreciate it if you would stop by my Guestbook and say,”Hello.”  If you have a tale of the 100th Monkey Effect, please, share it there too. My little girl kinda thinks its like Tinkerbell, that maybe if we all believe hard enough, that someday…

 

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Dear Roger: Love Me, Love My Dog

I am a grown up. I like to think I am a person who does their best to get along with most people and see the basic good and humanity in all until given a reason not to. I tend to try to remember that people were once babies that were hopefully loved by someone, somewhere and that they are often the sons, brothers, fathers, and what not of others and cared for in some way. I don’t really wish anyone harm who hasn’t harmed me. I know what the 7 deadlies are and I try to avoid them, even when I have been done wrong because I know we are all humans and we all make mistakes. Being forgiving is, I guess, a character flaw of mine. I am especially forgiving, and protective of those who have been important to me in my past and along my journey, and I tend to be very forgiving and protective of the young. I do not think that there is any particular thing that a young man can do or say short of harming one of my children that would make me wish him harm, so when I hear someone else say unkind things or say that they to not care if a young person harms themselves, that goes against everything that I stand for as a human being, and I simply cannot stand for it.
When I was a police officer, I took an oath to protect and serve and as a Southerner and a Texan, I still cling to the old ideologies of honor and compassion and looking after those you care about as best you can with no expectation of anything.
When I was in grade school, there were kids who had cliques and little social groups who had strict social policies and they were often,”If you play with or talk to that person, you cant be our friend and we will be hateful to you.” Plain and simple it was bullying and ostracizing people, and guess what? I was one of those who was pretty much the odd kid out.I got so I didn’t mind being on my own, I had a few pretty close friends who didn’t play that game because they were odd kids out as well and we just enjoyed hanging together.
I have seen that kind of behavior again lately and its affected me pretty badly, in fact its stressed me the hell out. I have odd hobbies and likes and I do things that other people don’t really understand or care for, but they are things I am very passionate about and occasionally I run across another person who shares my passion and we become friends in our oddness and we have private little rave sessions. Im a fan of things like,”Firefly” and I know what it means to be a Browncoat and to “Stay Shiny”, I also am into Steampunk and Stephen King as well as Cowboy Poetry and exploring old abandoned buildings and I tend to like odd Indie music and I have stayed loyal to the little band that I have been a fan of for the past few years.
They are broken and scattered and in odd bits and pieces, and often its difficult to keep straight who is doing what, but I have done my best to keep up with them and quietly support them. I say quietly because for some reason it is still a very contentious thing to do. Wounds have still not healed in many places and while there are many of us who refuse to support the new band at all due to the management, there are more than a few of us who support the boys and pray for the day they find the magic again and for the darkness to leave. We have worked in quiet and subtle ways in order to keep the peace, but I finally snapped last night and said,”ENOUGH LIVING IN THE CLOSET!” This is not middle school. This is what I like, hes not a bad kid. Hes got a voice that moves my heart and I have missed hearing it and seeing him smile, so I am going to work to make that smile  be seen again, and I don’t give a rats ass who knows it, or if he even gives a rats dragging nether regions himself. Im doing it for selfish reasons, I like his voice and his smile makes me smile and feel all warm inside, like puppies and kittens. Im waiting for the others to get their butts in gear and show me what they are doing and ill support the hell out of them too, but til them Im not going to hide what or who I like anymore and if that costs me followers or whatnot, then so be it. Im not in grade school and nobody controls me anymore.
I posted an article today about how the mountain in front of my old house is starting to heal, its been two years for both of us and we are both in the same state, a bit ragged and maybe a little rough still, but on the road to recovery.

Do yourself a favor and catch a great show on Tuesday at 7:30 on Tuesday. Its online, cheaper than it should be and there will be a bunch of folks watching and chatting as we watch a man with a fantastic voice do what makes us all so happy.http://www.stageit.com/bengraupner/ben_graupner_acoustic/12026

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Taking OFF!

Its amazing what a little advertising and promotion will do for something! I got a credit for some advertising on Facebook, Google and Bing with my GoDaddy webpage account, so I decided to put it to use and see if I could generate some buzz on my website and maybe some sales for my books, wouldn’t you know it, but it WORKED! Its had a bit of a learning curve as I get the target audience nailed down so I get traffic to my site where the books are for sale and actually build some sales of my books, but I have seen a steady increase as my name and my website has shot around the world and I have seen all kinds of people showing up to check things out, including movie producers from all over the world.

I am getting a little better at pitching my books to people and with the next big order that I will be placing at the first of this next month, I will be promoting a polished and newly covered version of Drifts, so it will be all work from myself and my friends, with no stock images.

The reviews on all of my books have been fantastic, word of mouth is growing and my paperback sales have increased so fast I cant keep enough stock on hand to meet the demands for my signed copies and I am considering doing a Kickstarter campaign to fund getting my project off the ground. I have business cards that will be arriving tomorrow, a website that is approaching 300 hits and that will hopefully increase in activity once word about the forum is made available and the fact I am willing to help other writers who want to self-publish, gets out. I’ve already walked a few through the process and tried to guide a few more to the right places to promote themselves. 

Check things out, if you haven’t seen my Facebook Authors page, check it out at https://www.facebook.com/JenniferDScroggins and once you are done check out my webpage at www.jenniferdscroggins.com and be sure to see all the new features and please take time to stop by and sign my guestbook.

My latest book, “Paying the Piper” has 4 reviews posted to Amazon, all 5 star reviews and its getting a lot of positive buzz for its theme of family being a supportive parent even when things get tough. 

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Dear Roger:Running Uphill

Dear Roger:Running Uphill.

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Dear Roger:Running Uphill

Oh my gosh! It has been an amazing few days, and now that my baby girl is back home from her adventures at church camp and I am sort of back to being myself, I am sure they are only going to get more amazing. I have been trying to get word out about my books and my website as much as possible, but its slow going and I have found that most people seem to really like the paper books that I sign and send out to them, or sell to them personally, so what I have been doing is ordering them in, taking orders from people and then shipping them out and selling them. Mostly everyone has been really good about getting me paid and its been a good way of doing business, so I decided to  see if I could expand upon on that by contacting local businesses to see if they would be interested in carrying my book. I had hoped for maybe a consignment thing with a coffee shop, but after a brief meeting, I left with an order for 10 copies of each of my books and they are going to pay me for them in advance, as in BEFORE they sell them! They want ME to “Commit” to a book signing and they will promote me, and I will be be linking my website to them as an early,”Supporter”. As I was on my way home, I stopped off at another store and talked to the owner and they wanted to order 13 sets of my books! It may not seem like a huge deal to the big dog authors out there, but considering I was on foot and I had just sold myself completely out of all of my stock and then some, its a pretty damn huge deal! I have no idea how I am going to manage to buy in the stock I need to meet all the orders, but I am hoping that between working some extra hours at my day job and cutting back in a few other ways, I may just be able to swing it.
My son is forcing me to try a Kickstarter campaign, and we have bickered back and forth about it pretty fiercely. I hate asking folks for any money when I know times are hard and people are strapped to pay for food, but he pointed out that the two I had donated to both belonged to people who were not missing meals like I had, they were simply funding artistic projects, and I will go without to fund my attempt to provide a brighter future for my family by getting my books out to people. We set up the beginning of it last night and he is going to film some kind of video for it in the next day or two that explains what we are looking for. I made him limit the time and amount to the bare minimum and if it works, it means we will be able to hit the ground running with enough stock and publicity materials to really get things going.
The website is mostly up and running and as I can corral him to work on it, he is adding in the pages I want. We got the “Inspirations” page up yesterday and Spencer Bell was the first he put up with a link back to the SBL website after the wonderful Bill Bell granted us permission. Today we added in the 100 Monkeys and its sad that there is nothing to link to anymore, but I wrote a little piece about what they were and are to people.
The next page to go up will be the,”Sponsors and Affiliates” page and it is there that I will put the logos and links to those who have supported and helped and who have inspired me and helped other Indie artists along the way. I hope to build a networking place where the links can lead people to connect with the services they need to help get themselves the things they need, like maybe logos or maybe screenwriting or editing or promotions that way we can guide each other along and support each other.
My son is a already working on the music for  book trailer for my “Paying the Piper”, he didn’t even ask me what music I had listened to when I wrote it, he knows, but he doesn’t care. He will write me a new song, he will play it, record it and we will have our own. I have friends shooting the pictures, and we will use them, credit them and it is slowly going from a singular effort that I did quietly and almost ashamedly, to an effort that is a team united by a common goal of paying things forward and seeing all succeed.
I spent several hours this last couple weeks talking to people about following their dreams and writing as well as publishing, and I told them my crazy story about following a band of monkeys to the sunshine. They may have initially looked at me like I was crazy, but I got hugged twice and one little old lady got tears in her eyes, so I guess its a story that makes a point that every has to find their reason and once they do, they are going to want to make sure they pull others along as well.
I cant bring the band that started it all though God knows I would give just about any vital body part to be able to do that, but I can ensure that the legacy continues in my little way. If you are an Indie Artist and want to work with me and network, shoot me a line and lets start connecting things and people brought together by the 100th Monkey effect to ensure that it never stops. JenniferDScroggins.com hit the guestbook and say “Hello!”

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Celebration!

Today is the day that two years ago we stepped off the train in Portland! It was the beginning of so many things and while we were exhausted, nervous and shocked at the amount of colors and interesting people to be seen, we were thrilled to be here and we hit the ground running. Within two weeks we had an apartment, and we were slowly learning our way around the city in preparation of attending the 100 Monkeys concert that brought us to our new home. With the help of twitter I was talking to people, and building friendships that I have managed to maintain somehow for these past couple of years and we were slowly staring to heal. 

Today I am a published author of three books that I wrote in the days after we moved here, (with more to come), and I am also the owner of a website! Yes, I now have a dot.com after my name and my 16 year old son, (with much bribery and cajoling), has built me a functional site! JenniferDScroggins.com is hopefully the key to getting word out about my books and bringing in the readers. 

To celebrate my progress and the anniversary of our arrival, I am offering my the book that I am most proud of as a free download today only. If you go to my site, look under “WRITINGS” and click on  the “FACE IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR” link, it will take you to the place you can download it for FREE

Please, while you are there, take time to watch the book trailer my son made, Its under VIDEOS. Stop by and sign my guestbook, and if you would be so kind, when you finish the book, leave a review with AMAZON

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Dear Roger: Keep Moving Forward While Looking Back With A Smile

This past week was pretty damn amazing! The stress and tension that had been building over the small part of the universe we dwell in seemed to melt away and there was joy, laughter and smiles to be found and those who tried to bring anything but that, were castigated, outed for what they are, and quickly shunted off to the oblivion they so richly deserve.
There are unexpected heroes moving quietly to keep things interesting and I have hopes that they will keep things alive and positive in ways that those of us who understand will appreciate. My gut is rarely wrong about things…just sayin.
I am now a dot.com! I bought a couple of domains, including my own name,”JenniferDScroggins.com” and another one called,”MonkeyAfire.com”. Its slow going when your I.T. guy is your 16 y/o son that has the social life of a young rock star, so I have to deal with working around his gigs, his dates, his church things, his beach vacations, his skate boarding adventures, and his need to eat all the food in the house and sleep for 12-15 hours at a stretch. I have found he is motivated by cold, hard cash and having his Iphone repossessed, so we finally got the primary site online last night with more to follow hopefully tomorrow, and this should make me easier to find but I learned all kinds of ways to curse Html thanks to his efforts yesterday.
Hes also working on writing songs for my next Book Trailers for “Paying the Piper” and “Drifts”, so I guess I cant criticize him too much, but dealing with his work schedule is a lot of stress for a Type A person like me who likes to get stuff done as with as little procrastination as possible and he is all about procrastinating. We will get through it though, hopefully with all our sanity intact and with my books getting some attention and sales.
My daughter is working on drawing and designing some table hangars for my book signing that will hopefully be taking place this coming Saturday, (once my shipment of books arrives), and I am excited to finally be getting things out there and promoted on the local level as well. Its slow going and often stressful and frustrating, and sometimes hurtful and heartbreaking, but its worth it, and I hope that I will leave a legacy for my kids that will provide them with proof that persevering and following your dreams is the right thing to do, even when you have been told you are,”Stupid, crazy and a waste of time”.
Keeping my kids involved has motivated them to learn things like more advanced coding for building my websites, design for my advertising, and my son Sticky has even gotten involved with helping to promote my books by talking to people and showing them my books, and when we go to ship out books to people who have ordered signed copies, he helps with the packaging and addressing, so he is learning things that will hopefully help him later in life. Stubby has been quietly promoting my books on his Facebook page, not even telling me he was doing it. He carry’s the books to the post office for me, and he handles telling the clerk what we need, so this whole endevour is giving them skills to use in the future, and my daughter, Stevie, is wanting to see about eventually publish her own book in the next year!
Im proud of how far we have come, as we start our 3rd year up here, we have made a lot of progress and we will hopefully see even more in this next year with hopes of getting that car and maybe even going to Texas to see my sister and some friends. The ex is going back to Arizona, he found California to be too hard and child support enforcement sent him a letter letting him know they had found him, oh well, I wont miss what I never got, and we will keep on keeping on and rejoice that now California is a safe zone too!

By the way, check out JenniferDScroggins.com Sign the guestbook and let me know what you think!

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