Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Morning Blues and Spring Tease By Author Michele Ashby

Monday Morning Blues and Spring Tease
By: Michele Ashby
March 23,2015

                                                   



Spring is here according to the meteorologist and we are seeing signs of it here in Denver, Colorado.  The early growth of tulips and daffodils are showing their leaves now and the temps have been milder.  Birds are chirping in the morning and the snow has melted for now.  We can never say FOR SURE in Denver, that we are not going to have more snow until late May, but we can hope.  
Maybe the onset of Spring is why I feel so unfocused on work today.  I love the spring and warm weather and opening up the back patio/yard for the summer.  It is one of my favorite things to do because it feels like a do-over every year.  A new beginning.  I get tired after winter’s long dark days and love when we have more sun and outdoor time.  I want to play hookie rather than focus on the tasks at hand.  Ever feel that way?
Working from home is becoming more of a norm in America and it has its good points and its bad.  I am a hard worker and tend to work more than 40 hours or 5 days a week because my office is in my home and always just a step or two away.  I have to be disciplined not to run to my computer every time I think of something I need to do for a client or the business. I get a lot done, but I also feel isolated sometimes. Here is what I learned about myself – I need interaction with people to help me stay happy.  I like to see people and meet in person, so now I have a calendar that includes my work time, but also my meetings in person.  I spend time with old and new acquaintances.  What I used to take for granted is now an integral part of my life.  I have a good balance of work time in my home office and people outside the office most of the time.  
Dreaming and planning for trips is also a way to blow away the blues for me.  I love planning long weekend getaways and it always makes me feel good when we have a few things to look forward to on the calendar.  Those are worth working for and saving up the money for.  I don’t want to stress about money, so I plan our trips and spread them out so we have the time to save up the money to pay for them.  I want to relax on my mini-vacations and having the trip paid for helps me to do just that.  Relax and enjoy myself.  I also like that the trip doesn’t follow me home in the form of credit card bills because it is all taken care of.  The money is in the bank in advance and there to pay for whatever we need or do on our trip.  
My travel tip for the day: Are you thinking of going to Europe?  Now is the time because the US dollar is strong against the Euro.  I have been hearing that the Euro is possibly going to stay this low or even go lower through the end of 2016, so if you have wanted to go to Paris, or Spain, or Germany, now is the time to plan and save up for that trip.  Your dollars will go further now than we have seen in a very long time.  Bon voyage!!

Michele Ashby, Author of : Secrets of a Closet Millionaire; A Step-by-Step Guide to Financial Freedom – available now on Amazon, Holistic Financial Guide and Coach

Purchase book here:
http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Closet-Millionaire-Step---Step/dp/1490494243/

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why I Like Science Fiction by Siobhan Davis

WHY I LIKE SCIENCE FICTION

By Sihboan Davis

March 15,2015


 

The Oxford Dictionary defines Science Fiction as, “Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.”

 

I’ve been an avid science fiction fan since I was a little girl, though it is fair to say I was mainly into films and TV shows back then. I can still remember going to the cinema to see the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ when I was only 8 or 9, and I was hooked on the Star Wars series from that point. My mom loves to recount tales of how I used to hide behind the sofa, with a cushion obscuring my face, as I braved glimpses at Dr. Who on the TV. She says I refused to allow let her switch it off, though it clearly terrified me! (On a side note, excellent parenting Mom!!)

 

I’ve been a voracious reader my whole-life, and I exasperate my husband as I constantly have a book in my hand or my trusty kindle by my side. However, I only got into reading science fiction as an adult. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was one of the first classic sci-fi books that I read, and it is still up there at the top of my list of all time sci-fi greats. Written in 1931 it describes a frightening vision of the future, and I think Mr. Huxley was ahead of his time in his thinking, and analysis. I also love The Hunger Games series; those books just blew me away.

 

When I first started writing fiction, in my early thirties, I wrote lots of chicklit/romance, and I secretly harbored an ambition to write crime/thrillers. Mostly because those were the genre’s I was reading back then. Around this time, I commenced employment with an IT company and my interest in technology piqued. Then I got sucked into the YA genre, and I’ve read lots of dystopian science fiction and for me, and my writing, it was organic from that point. 

 

In 2010, the CEO of the company I work for gave me a book to read called the 2020 Workplace. It is written by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd and is intended for human resource professionals like myself. Essentially it is about innovative ways to attract, retain and develop the employees of the future. It describes the future workplace in some detail and draws an analysis between technological advancements of the last ten years, and planned developments for the next ten years. To see how far we have advanced in such a short period is breath-taking, as is visualizing the future and how far we will develop technologically in my lifetime. While this book added value in my corporate life, it also set my creative juices flowing.

 

I love imagining what the futuristic world will be like, and trying to second guess how technological and medical advancements will shape the culture and society of the future. The universe is vast, and so much is still unknown and unexplored and as a writer, that opens up limitless creative opportunities. I am particularly enamoured with stories that are set in space and those involving alien races—I think it all stems back to my early childhood obsession with the Star War series. To think that regular space-travel is being realized during my life-time is truly incredible.  

 

A good science fiction story for me (whether it is a book, TV series or movie) has to strike the right balance between technology and human emotions.  Particularly, showcasing how human nature evolves and deals with advances in technology and medicine, and the impact of that on human relationships and their environment. Unless it has a good mix of those things, it will not hold my attention for long. In writing True Calling I’ve tried to achieve these aims, and completely given in to my reader-sci-fi-geekiness.

 

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of science fiction stories and with some interesting new releases coming to our cinema screens and bookshelves soon, I know I’ll have plenty to indulge my passion.








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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Travel smart – like you are going camping! By Michelle Ashby

Travel smart – like you are going camping!
By: Michele Ashby
Author Of: Secrets of A Closet Millionaire : A Step-by-Step Guide to Financial Freedom  March 3,2015


Normally I talk about money, but travel has come up for me this week. As a consultant and veteran road warrior, I travel a lot and have some tips and tricks that others might find helpful.  I was flying home to Denver from Dallas on Friday night and the man next to me commented on what I had in my bag. He said “You have a lot in that bag”.  I responded “Yes, I travel like I am going camping.” Some of you may be resistant to carrying a lot of stuff, but in this day and age with fewer perks provided by the airlines (I am talking about those of us in steerage), you might want to rethink your travel habits.

Rule #1: Only rely on what YOU can bring to take care of yourself. The airlines are no longer in the business of taking care of you, feeding, or hydrating you.

Rule #2: Carry on everythingavoid checking your luggage if possible. This ensures you will have your stuff when you get off.  Pack and then take out what you don’t need.  Pack in a way that you can mix and match your clothing and not need to bring so much.

Here is how:

Bottled water – the airlines only provide us with small cups of water and due to the dryness of air on a plane, you will feel better if you are well hydrated. Some airports have filtered water locations you can refill your own water bottle – Denver is one of them.

Food – what if you are stuck on that plane for a long time due to weather or other reasons?  Be sure you have some food with you.  I bring protein bars, nuts, apples, chocolate and sometimes a full meal if I am running through the airport and missing a sit down meal.  

Entertainment/work charge all your electronics for work and play before you get on the plane and bring articles or paperback book to read on the plane. Headphones are a MUST, most everyone brings and uses their own these days.

Hand sanitizer  I use various versions to wipe down my food tray, or spray my hands. It is really important to stay healthy and one way is to make sure you are continually cleaning your hands and the things you touch around you. If you are sick, sneeze or cough into your arm.  It is the best way to stop the spray. I also use vitamin C packs and always have cold remedies in my carry on.

Scarf – this can be used to wrap around yourself to keep you warm or cover your head if you need to sleep.

Money – be sure you have some cash on you.  You never know when you get stuck somewhere that real cash can be a savior in a bind.

***Best tip I have for you if you are tracking your expenses is to use the APP called Xpense Tracker.  It is easy to use and organizes your expenses into a format that can be emailed in a keystroke.




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