Tag Archives: ramblings

You put WHAT on your face?

I’m one of those lucky individuals that suffers from adult acne. I mostly get it on my chin and forehead. I have bangs mostly to disguise the zits. Twin #1 also has this problem, though she’s a teen, so she hasn’t had as long to come to terms with it. Her forehead looks like pizza, and she refuses to cut bangs.

We take her to the dermatologist. She’s tried creams, pills, washes, etc, and nothing works for more than a few days. I’ve used her stuff as well, and it doesn’t cure my problem either.

A co-worker gave me the name of another doctor who prescribed powerful meds for her daughter, the kind where they make you take birth control pills because they cause birth defects. I gave the name to Wife and asked her to make an appointment. She didn’t.

Instead she bought apple cider vinegar because she read that it worked on acne. Now, when Twin #2 had warts all over her feet from the diving board where she used to dive, we used apple cider vinegar to soak her feet. Something busted open, and the warts went away. I’m not sure what apple cider vinegar smells like to you, but to me, it smells like stinky feet.

Twin #1 tried the home remedy. Within two days, about 70% of her acne was gone. I tried it on mine. With consistent use, my acne disappeared in about a week. Twin #1’s did not. I asked her what was going on, and she admitted that she stopped using it because, as the acne faded, the stretch-mark/scars began to show up. I have this problem as well. So Wife bought some cocoa butter-based cream for us, and now the scars are fading.

Twin #1’s face is about 85% clear, but some of that might be the scarring. Time will tell whether this is a cure or a remedy, but so far, I haven’t had any more outbreaks.

I can’t vouch for all the uses above, but the two we’ve used have been successful. It may smell like feet, but I feel better about my face, and I’m watching my teenager feel more and more confident about her looks.

My Experience with Triberr

Last fall, I began an experiment with Triberr. I’d heard great things about it from other authors–and a friend even hooked me up with “how-to” literature explaining the most effective ways to use Triberr. With my usual “why not?” shrug, I decided to give it a try.

Now, just because I make rash and casual decisions about things like this doesn’t mean I’m not dedicated. I’m a little OCD and a bit of a perfectionist, so I memorized the literature, did more research on effective use, and I opened an account. It didn’t take long for me to join some erotic romance groups as a member instead of a follower. I was dedicated to Tweeting pretty much everybody who wrote about romance or writing. I made it a part of my daily routine–fifteen minutes to go into three groups and Tweet my fellow authors. In return, they Tweeted my stuff.

Here are things that happened:

  1. I met Olga Miret Nunez, who I hired to translate Re/Bound into Spanish. She’s super nice and very talented.
  2. I felt like part of an author community, each of us supporting the other.
  3. Notifications on Twitter skyrocketed.
  4. My number of followers did not. This was the most disheartening. I had expected it to increase, but mostly my new followers were authors in my Triberr group or bots. They were gone as quickly as they appeared.
  5. There was no impact on my sales or exposure.

Here’s the biggest problem with Triberr: It floods your Twitter stream with notices that, truthfully, mean nothing to you or to your followers. In turn, Twitter tends to put you on their spam list and lock you out of your account. I think they actually suppress your Tweets because they’re the junk mail of the internet. Having my Twitter tied to my FB, I noticed this influx drowning out my own posts, and I disconnected my Twitter and FB accounts. And I found that the increase in notifications is just people Tweeting my blog posts, not that anyone was looking at the posts or engaging with them. Traffic to my blog did not increase.

After six months of, frankly, declining sales and exposure, I quit Triberr. It has taken a couple of months, but Twitter likes me again. They let my posts into the streams of my followers–who actually engage with me now. My Twitter following is growing–slowly, but still increasing steadily–with people who are real (readers, bloggers, etc.) I use the 15 minutes/day I spent on Triberr doing more productive things, like writing this blog post.

Do I think Triberr is worthwhile? No, I do not. I think a better use of my social media is to interact with my readers and friends, and a better use of my time is to write heartfelt romances.

~MZ

Michele Zurlo: Looking Back and Forward 2016-17

happy-new-year-2017-images-2In 2016, I set some goals for myself. I didn’t call them resolutions because I’m goal-oriented. I figured the wordsmithing would trick me into actually sticking with my goals.

  1. I wanted to write down what I was thankful for every day. That lasted until February. Twin #1 threw them all out while cleaning one day. On the plus side, she was cleaning.
  2. I wanted to post on my blog regularly. I feel like I did that. There were some weeks this fall that didn’t have much going on, but overall, I think this one was a success. Every Sunday, I feature an excerpt from one of my books. On the weekdays, you’ll see blitzes, guest posts and interviews, and some of my ramblings.
  3. I wanted to go to a convention. This didn’t happen. I signed up and paid for one, but my mom came down with the cancer, so I cancelled so I could be here for her. She’s not quite finished with treatment yet. We find out this week whether she’s in the clear.
  4. I wanted to put myself out there more. I joined Romance Books for You (RB4U) where I blog the 26th of every month. I’ve contributed to 2 anthologies, Dominant Persuasions and Roping the Cowboy. And I’ve joined Read Between the Wines (a FB group) as an author/admin.14580609_1129446597162744_169307252_n
  5. I wanted to release 3 titles. Re/Defined came out Jan 2016, Dominant Persuasions (containing a re-release of Yes, Justin) came along in March, Re/Leased came out in July, Roping the Cowboy (with my contribution: Bear Country) came out in October, and Treasure Me–an brand new series–launched in December.

Overall I’m going to call 2016 a success. For 2017, I have decided on these goals.

  1. I want to release 3 titles in 2017. I have Re/Viewed slated for March and an unnamed RB4U anthology scheduled for August or October. I’m working on SAFE Security #2, also untitled, with the hopes of putting it out in the fall. I’ll probably re-release the Safeword Oasis novellas together (retooled) because I have the rights back to those.
  2. I need to decide whether Doms of the FBI is finished with book 7 or if it’ll continue. Your input is welcome!
  3. I’m going to try another convention. The Rust City convention, which I found out about too late last year, is a hop and a skip from my house. It’s a safer bet for me than trying one in another state.
  4. On my blog, I’m going to start doing reviews. I’m not going to give stars or kisses or anything like that–just my impressions of books I’ve read. I read in wide variety of genres, so look for the reviews to be all over the place.

Michele Zurlo Update 10/22/16

I haven’t done an update in a while. I’ve been busy with work, edits, and fun stuff like that. The cover art for Treasure Me (SAFE Security 1) is finally here.treasure-me-500x750I love the simplicity of the design. It’s different from the Doms of the FBI series, but still distinctive and original. I’m knee-deep in my to-do list, doing the final proofing of Treasure Me so that I can get ARC’s out to reviewers. If you’re a blogger/reviewer, and you’re interested in taking part in my blitz, you can sign up here: https://goo.gl/forms/gpSOzhrt7l8TGeFg2

In other news, I was supposed to go to the MLBU convention in Minneapolis this weekend–my first convention ever–but I didn’t end up going. I’m a bit bummed about that, but the reason I didn’t go has me a lot more bummed. My mom has been ill. I’m not posting details here, but I’ll say that when someone you love gets sick like this, it really makes you rethink your priorities in life. I’m spending as much time with her as I can, even though she sold her house (15 minutes from me) and bought one in Tennessee (10 hours away from me.) Currently she’s staying with my aunt (1 hour and 15 minutes from me.)

So look for Treasure Me coming your way December 1st. I’ll post links when they’re available.

TTFN

Things change when you get a pool

Ever wonder how I got to be this way? This is a sort-of rambling narrative about an event in my childhood. I hope you can relate.

pool-with-deckMy pool came later, after I almost drowned and my mom made me take swim lessons. First came the relatives. I had a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins. We all lived close to each other, so we saw them all the time. I played in the front yard with my cousins while my dad and uncles, Doug, Danny, and Junior measured out and dug out the grass so the pool would be level. Uncle Doug was OCD, so that took half a day. Soon the round structure was up. It was big, blue, and deeper in the middle. I thought we’d get to swim that day, but I was wrong. They didn’t even put water inside. My uncle Doug, whose name was actually Charles, said it had to be enclosed first. I envisioned a small house-looking thing with glass on all sides, like the pool houses I’d seen on TV, but never in real life. There was no way they could afford to build a house around the pool, I thought even though, between all my uncles, we had the skills.

Disappointed, a little mad at this cruel joke, I went back to my cousin. My head hanging low from the weight of despair. We sat under the mountain ash in the front yard, all of us sad. THe tree shed little orange berries that were not fun to sit on. We picked them up and threw them toward the street.

“They’re mean,” said Nick, the second oldest among us. “Why would they put up a pool and not let us swim?”

Elsie, bossy because she was born that way (and maybe because she was the oldest) said, “They’re not building a house around it, stupid,” I think she was calling all of us stupid. I wanted to throw an orange berry at her, but i knew she’d punch me and then tell on me, and then I’d be the one in trouble. “They’re building a deck.”

mountain-ashSure enough, when we looked over to the side yard, we saw uncle Doug and my dad cementing huge posts into the dirt while Junior and Danny used a post hole digger to make more holes. A few days later, we had a huge wooden deck that went all the way around the pool. I even had a ladder on a hinge so that little kids couldn’t climb up. For additional security, my dad put a bike chain on it with a combination lock. Rules were posted that said, “No swimming without adult supervision.

Suddenly we were the most popular house in the neighborhood. It was like crepuscular rays spotlighted our yard. I’d thought it was ridiculous how many kids would come running when my grandpa came over and gave out candy by the handfuls. This was nothing by comparison. Everybody came over–the snotty kid down the street, the dirty kid from a few doors down, strangers from the next block over. Even relatives visited more often. I didn’t mind relatives because it always led to fun times and a cookout.

Did I like this sudden popularity? No.

For starters, when people come over, I had to act like a host. Instead of just kicking back with a floaty, I had to get waters, snacks, or whatever else the guests needed. My mom hated it too. We were not rolling in dough, and she did not have the money or time to feed all these kids.  To top it off, she started working midnights. The worst were the people in our neighborhood who would come over, knock on the door, not caring if they woke my mom up. They’d ask, “Can I swim in your pool?” They had moved past pretending like they were there to play with me. Billy and John John were the worst offenders.

I didn’t take long for my mom to reach her limit. She put her foot down. The sign about needing an adult at the pool was replaced by a sign that read, “Parents must sit on the deck and watch their own kids swimming.”

After that, the only people who came over were relatives and true friends.

*Names changed…or were they?

MZ News Update 10 July

Hey there! I went all European on the date for the title. Because why not?

This past week has been busy. Wife’s birthday was last week, and I big tvhooked her up with some Wonder Woman swag, so she was happy. I bought a new television, and reaffirmed the idea that numbers mean nothing to me. I was tasked with buying a TV “as big or a little larger” than our old one. A problem arose when I got to the store and discovered that I had no idea how big the old one was. A second problem arose when I tried to fit the TV into my car. Thanks to the couple and the guy with the two kids who stopped to help me with this problem. We ended up taking it out of the box, and it just fit. Final numbers: The new TV is almost 20 inches larger than the old one. Shawn Spencer is almost life size in my living room.

In book news, I’m on chapter four of the draft of the first SAFE Security novel. I don’t have a working title in mind yet. I’m hoping to have the draft finished by mid-August. Don’t get too excited–I write drafts all summer and edit/revise all winter. I’m thinking this one might be ready by April 2017. I’m also considering revamping the Kiss Me story to make it erotic romance. I welcome your opinions on that issue.

Re/Leased has been out for three weeks now. I’d love to hear your thoughts/reaction! You can message me through FB, Twitter, email me, or write a review.

That’s about it for now. Look for my next update in about a month.

January Ramblings

I have been very busy, so I haven’t posted lately. That means this morning, you’ll be subject to my ramblings. Sometimes they’re interesting. We’ll see about today. Things on the marriage-equality front have been interesting lately. I live in one of 14 states that continues to deny marriage rights. Bill Schitte’s language in his public comments has been less vehemently anti-gay lately, probably in response to pressure from the Republican party to shut the hell up about no-win issues. This week, the Michigan State Supreme Court ruled that the state needed to recognize 300+ marriages that were legally performed last March. But then they put a 21-day stay on it, pending appeal to the same court that upheld the marriage ban. Outlook not so good. Meanwhile Florida, where most Michiganders move when they retire, now has gay marriage.

Then the US Supreme Court announced they’d take up the Sixth Circuit court issue (which made the Michigan-Ohio-Kentucky decision). The situation is iffy, and I’m not holding my breath. They could have done so much for so many last time, but they didn’t.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m seriously considering leaving teaching, but more on that later. I’ll be working on my resume over the next few months–I have many skills that translate very well to the private sector. Any advice is appreciated!