Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Ragged Edge and Why It's a Great Place to Live




S. R. Karfelt, The Ragged Edge, The Glitter Globe, Author, Writer
S. R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe


What does it mean to live on the Ragged Edge? It means putting yourself out there and taking risks. It means not letting fear stop you from doing the things you want to do.



It means unspeakably good things can happen to you as you journey toward your dreams. 






Is living on the Ragged Edge dangerous? Being alive is dangerous. But I’m talking about pushing past fear when it holds you back, and doing things you never thought you could do. Living on the Ragged Edge means different things for everybody. My Ragged Edge might not look nearly as impressive as yours.






The idea is to put yourself out there and take some risks. You have to find your own Ragged Edge. 







It might be a bit scary, but just what if something wonderful happens?





Sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it's messy, and oftentimes nothing goes as planned. It can be scary. I suppose that's why not everyone wants to live there.





Somewhere along the way I've picked up the idea that dreams are achievable based on only one criteria--never, ever give up. Remember the Mel Gibson Braveheart quote? "Everyone dies but not everyone lives." 




Facing your fears and stepping outside your comfort zone is what life on the Ragged Edge is all about. I’ve learned that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, not to mention I'm having the time of my life with it.






How about you? Would you rather take risks and at least visit the Ragged Edge from time to time? Or are you staying happily ever after in The Shire? 


All Gifs Courtesy of Giphy




Friday, February 20, 2015

TSA Pre -- You Want it, But How Badly?




The Glitter Globe, S. R. Karfelt, Travel,
The Glitter Globe/S. R. Karfelt


TSA Pre is a screening process you can go through ($85) and if you pass the investigation process, (no refund if you don’t) in many airports you can get through security quicker, and without getting mostly naked.

If you’re approved, whenever you purchase an airline ticket it will have a coveted TSA Pre on it. That means you get to go through a separate security line where you will not have to take your shoes/belt/leg brace off, remove your laptop from the case, put all of your liquids into a regulation baggie, and the line will likely be much quicker to get through.

Why is this a big deal? Airport security is a modern day Russian Roulette when you get to security. Someone will be packing a jar of honey, a tube of toothpaste, a forgotten water bottle in a backpack, and you have a plane to catch.

That’s just too bad because everything must be investigated. There is no leeway and you’d better have mailed your sense of humor ahead because security won’t let it through, and if you put it in your checked luggage you may never see it again.

Most people try to go through security as fast as possible. The peer pressure not to hold up the line is huge. You and your hand sanitizer are standing between a hundred business people trying to make a flight. And a family of four headed for Disney World is stuffed to the gills with hidden juice boxes standing in front of you.

So how do you get TSA Pre and make one part of your journey easier?

First, you are a U.S. Citizen and you aren’t a felon. In fact the more uneventful your life has been between you, jail, and prison, probably the better. Second, you fill out the paperwork on-line. CLICK HERE. After filling out your information online, you’ll receive a notice and be able to make an appointment for the next step.

The Glitter Globe, Author, TSA PreThe Third step requires your presence at an enrollment center. You’ll need to bring your identification and your fingerprints. You’ll also need to find your enrollment center. Mine involved over two hours of travel in snow squalls to the Port of Oswego Authority building on Lake Ontario. So good luck with that part.

All you have to do for the fourth step is wait for it. Ideally you’ll know in two to three weeks (and you can check your status online). Your Known Traveler Number will be good for five years. You’ll also need to enter it online when you book your travel with the airlines.

The Glitter Globe, S. R. KarfeltOswego Port Authority Location, Finding TSA PreBy the way, if you’re going to Oswego for your TSA Pre, your GPS can’t help you but I can. After the bridge the street numbers repeat in Oswego. Ironically the facility is on the second Second street. It’s the building at land’s end, next to the ship, after the guard shack, on the second floor, in the closet with the really nice agent, and bring your parka because the Great Lakes aren’t kidding. They will ice you.

And you’ll want to have lunch at The Press Box on First Street. The second First Street. They have a fireplace.

If you’re not traveling cross state in a deep freeze, your experience probably won’t be as much work. I like adventure, so I was cool with it. 

Are you interested in getting your TSA Pre? The links are right here for your convenience. If you’re not going to do it, I assume you just like standing in line. Am I right? And this is an excellent opportunity for us to exchange going through security stories. Did I ever tell you about the time I accidentally put my water bottle into someone else’s backpack just before we got in line for security?







Wednesday, February 18, 2015

All Night Write - Calling All Night Owls - Birds of a Feather and All...




S. R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe, On Writing
S. R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe




Sometime around midnight I come to life. It’s not that I’m not lively during the day; it’s simply that my creativity can lie dormant during daylight hours. As the night grows late, fully-formed scenes start flitting through my head and I just know the perfect dialogue for the characters in my story.


So for the first few hours it’s like my muse and I are hosting a rave. 






And it all just works. Words are flowing effortlessly. When I write I need absolute quiet and it’s only in the middle of the night that all interruptions stop. Even distractions like social media tend to slow and fade come 2:00 a.m., so I’m sharp, game-on, dancing with my muse. The muse is a thing. Mostly I think it’s just a link between our subconscious and our conscious, and apparently mine runs on lunar power.



If you’re not a writer you might be thinking something along the lines of, “Puh-leeze, girlfriend! Writing’s not a real job! You make stuff up and drink coffee all day! How hard can it be?”







It’s like the perfect double axle salchow in ice-skating. It looks effortless when performed correctly, but getting there is a whole different ball of wax.







Since I live in the real world, most of the time, my all night writes aren’t a perfect solution to getting all my words onto the page. Sometimes sleep deprivation can make some ideas seem really brilliant and they’re not brilliant at all. Not even a little bit. 







When I get tired I have tendency to keep right on writing and getting absolutely nowhere. Sometimes I’ll just bang out a random scene that serves absolutely no purpose in the story. It’s just spinning my wheels. I can spin my wheels for hours and hours, if not the entire night. It’s a gift. Let's pretend.







When that happens,  I slip into writing drivel and start writing words that I’ll need to cut out and eliminate the next day. It’s always something of a shock to reread bad story. It’s taken me years to get to the point where I can admit to myself when something just doesn’t work and needs to go. It’s a painful lesson.






The thing is, no matter how painful rewrites or scene deletion might be, nothing can beat the thrill of being a night owl writer. Does it look like as much fun as it is? Because it’s a real hoot! Are any of you night owls? I don’t only do the night owl thing for writing, I’ve been known to run the vacuum or start laundry about then too, and I love when I can call other night owl friends up and have a chat in the middle of the night! Anyone? 







Sunday, February 15, 2015

WINNER WINNER WINNER WINNER



Kahtar Warrior of the Ages Giveaway Winners S. R. Karfelt
S. R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe WINNERS


The KAHTAR Warrior of the Ages Rafflecopter Giveaway ended last night, and I stayed up late (again) just to make sure that the winners would be announced immediately. Keep in mind that you’re all winners to me, but Rafflecopter has announced the following to be legitimate PRIZE winners and verified that their entries met the mandatory requirements.




The $50 Amazon Gift Card goes to Kelsey R.




The Godiva Chocolate Covered Strawberries goes to Emily S.
(And she gets to pick milk/dark/or a mixture!)




The two BICO Australia Katar Dagger Necklaces (GRAND PRIZE) go to J. G. and Charlene D. You’re going to love these, they’re gorgeous!


YAY! Are you jazzed or what? If you didn’t win, don’t get bummed because there are more giveaways coming on the heels of this one and I think you’ll like it every bit as much! I’ve been doing some traveling in sunny climes and gathering prizes and ideas for the next giveaway, and I don’t like to brag but I’m rather good at loot bags. So when I host a book release party you want to be there.


Winners should have received an email from me and they have 72 hours to respond. If you didn’t win there is a consolation prize because that’s how I roll. You’re all eligible for a KAHTAR Screensaver for your computer! Follow this link to my website and sign up for the newsletter and I’ll email it to you ASAP. You can commiserate with Kahtar about your lack of chocolate covered strawberries like I am, because I didn’t get any either. He doesn’t look very sympathetic about it, but I feel better just having him around.


S. R. Karfelt, Author, The Covenant Keeper Novels
KAHTAR Warrior of the Ages Screensaver giveaway



Is it just me or does that just make you feel better about pretty much everything? Now how about telling me if you’ve ever won anything and what it was? I won a live rabbit in an Easter Egg Hunt once when I was a kid. My joy knew no bounds, but it was not matched by the rest of the family for some reason. And if you’ve never won anything, tell me about that too and I’ll commiserate with you.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine’s Day All By My Onesie – Again


Author S. R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe
The Glitter Globe/S. R. Karfelt


Doesn’t that just sound pathetic?

It isn't. 

But once again I’m spending Valentine’s Day by myself. Like my single friends I’ll spend the day sans chocolate and flowers. There’s one difference between my single friends and me though, I’m not single.

For the past 800,000,000 years I’ve been married to a terrific guy. Dear Hubby spoils me, but he does not do romance. In fact, if there is such a thing as Romantic Blindness (I picture it as being similar to color blindness) he has it.

This conversation has been going on between us since the Jurassic Period.
Me, “Valentine’s Day is the 14th!”
Dear Hubby, *Radio Silence*
Me, “Did you hear me?”
DH, “Yes. Get yourself something if you want something.”

Sigh.

For years I thought he just didn’t get it. It only counted if he presented me with a gift. I gave Valentine gifts to my kids and friends, and I’d show him what I got them hoping he’d become inspired. Hint hint.

Did it work? Nope.

There were even times I tried the passive aggressive approach. You know, I’d go buy myself something lovely or something extra special and a bit out of budget. I’ll even admit that I sent myself a gigantic centerpiece for the dining room table at least once. Know what Dear Hubby said? “That’s nice, but flowers are just going to die.”

Sigh. So are you, my look would say. He just didn't even try to get it!

Believe me there were times I told him straight up. I really tried to speak his language.

Me, “I want you to buy me something for Valentine’s Day.”
Dear Hubby, *Radio Silence*
Me, “Did you hear me?”
Dear Hubby, “Yes. What do you want?”
Me, “I don’t care. A Valentine gift.”
Dear Hubby, “But you don’t even need anything. Why do I have to go to the store to buy a thing just because a card company made up a holiday?”
Me, “Because it’s a tradition and I’d know that you love me if you did it.”
Dear Hubby, *Radio Silence while he digests this* “You don’t know I love you?”
Me, *Radio Silence* “Yes, but I’d like a Valentine gift too.”
Dear Hubby, “If you want something just go get what you want.”

Sigh. He just did not get it.  

Let me interject right here that this is a man who I can wake up at 2:00 a.m. to fix a computer problem when I’m writing all night. He’ll get right up and magic a fix without complaining. He’s always there when I need him. He almost never steals the Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra I hide behind the frozen veggies, and he never tries to rewire my quirks the way I try to correct his.

Sigh. It took me a few millennia to realize that I was the one who didn’t get it.

If Valentine’s Day is about love, I’m one of the lucky ones. I have that. Love just doesn’t always look like a commercial or a Hallmark movie. It’s not always neat and polished, in fact it rarely is. It’s messy and it’s loud and it’s real, and sometimes it puts live bait in the refrigerator during fishing season. Sometimes it goes to the Outdoor Sportsman show to buy fishing poles on Valentine’s weekend while I write all night in a writer cave far far away.

Is your love, or even your idea of love Happily Ever After textbook? Is it all wine and roses? Or better yet chocolate? Does it ever look like what the marketers are selling? I want to know. Because I think the illusion sets us up for frustration! Tell me how you feel about Valentine’s Day? And whether you’re single or in a relationship be sure to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win some Godiva chocolate covered strawberries, an Amazon gift card, or a katar dagger necklace—because I’ll play traditional Valentine with you even if no one else will. 



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In Stitches. How To Complain To Customer Service.

Stitch Fix, S. R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe, Author
S. R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe





What do you want?

That’s the question you need to ask yourself before you contact customer service for anything.

Heads up, you’re not going to get what you want. If you got what you wanted, you wouldn’t have to contact customer service in the first place.

Now that your expectations have been lowered we can proceed.

Think of the best that you can hope for now that someone has your money and you didn’t get what was promised. That is your new want, wrap your mind around it and let's see what we can do, because you're important to us.


The Rules

  • You are contacting a large impersonal corporation. They don’t know who you are or what you want. Provide all data.
  • You will be speaking to the minions of a large impersonal corporation. They don’t know who you are or what you want either. Again, provide all data.
  • Minions work in customer service. They know you’re not happy. Neither are they. Be polite.
  • That doesn’t mean you can’t play with the minions. This is sucking up your time, so you might as well have some fun with it. Just remember you’re a minion too, so play nice.
  • Now, what exactly is this All Data you need to provide?





·        If you’re emailing, provide your email within the body of the email. I know, right? Just do it.   
·        This goes for your phone number, address, order number, everything. If it seems redundant lighten the mood by providing your cat’s name and blood type for fun. It’s okay to lie about those; you don’t want all your personal data floating around the metaverse, do you?


About every four weeks I get a box of clothes from a company that offers personal shopper assistance to the masses. They’re called Stitch Fix. They know what I like, what size I wear, and they try to make me happy with five new articles of clothing that I can either keep or send back in the enclosed envelope. Easy breezy, super fun, highly recommend, especially if you detest shopping like I do.


After accepting all five articles of clothing last month, I realized the seam in the arm of my favorite new sweater was defective. It unraveled to the elbow within the first hour of wear. So I contacted Customer Service.


The Glitter Globe, S. R. Karfelt
My holey sweater


Right off I knew that what I wanted was a new, unholy sweater, as in for the defective merchandise to be replaced. A sweater for a sweater, capisce? I didn’t get that, because when I said to lower your expectations I was just being positive. You’re not going to get that either. But I did get to know first Rachael and then Megan via email. So there’s that. My favorite exchange was this one:

Megan (Stitch Fix)
Jan 11 11:30 AM

Hi S. R.,

Thanks so much for getting back in touch. My teammate Rachael has the day off today so I will be helping you instead. I am so sorry to hear about the damaged sweater and I definitely understand your frustrations surrounding it! I took a look into our inventory and unfortunately, we still do not have an exchange available in any color. Again, I apologize for this!

Going forward, there are still a few options. I know you mentioned not wanting to return the sweater but being unsure if it could be repaired. If you would like to take it to a tailor and see if they would be able to fix it for you, we can definitely wait to make a decision until then. Or, as always, we can have you send the sweater back to us for a full refund.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed!

Regards,
Megan
Stitch Fix Client Support
Your Partner in Personal Style
For more information about Stitch Fix please check out our FAQ https://stitchfix.com/faq


Not being a very mathy person myself it took me awhile to realize that a few options meant I had one. I could return the sweater, but it wouldn’t be replaced. And a tailor? Really? Really! Doesn’t the fact that I have my clothes mailed to me in a box every month tell them how much effort I put into what I wear?


So I wrote this:


S. R. Karfelt
Jan 11 12:04 PM

Well, Megan, I’m a writer with a novel deadline and unless a tailor comes to my door in a box, that isn’t going to happen. I’ll send it back since you can offer me no satisfactory option. How do I proceed?

S. R. Karfelt
A Ragged Edge Writer
Action Adventure with a Twist
www.SRKarfelt.com
www.TheGlitterGlobe.com


Notice how I included links to my website and blog? The website was so that she could purchase my books in atonement for the sweater (it could happen) and the blog was so that she could read the blog about this later, because all is fair in love and war and all is game for writing fodder.


My method of communication was email with all the tails attached, so it wasn’t necessary to put my personal info in repeatedly, except for my writing links because, you know, they're my writing links!


And of course my holy sweater made a brief but mandatory Twitter appearance. My favorite thing about Twitter is most companies seem to pay better attention to your Tweets than they do your one-on-one contact. I wonder why that is?


Stitch Fix, Customer Service, S. R. Karfelt
Being polite doesn't mean you can't be honest.




My name is S. R. Karfelt, my cat’s name is Normal Bates and my blood type is
S. R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe, Writer, Cat, Norman Bates
Norman Bates/The Glitter Globe
Glitter+. I’d give you my phone number too but we both know phones are for outgoing calls only. You can email me at Author@SRKarfelt.com or peek at my website at www.SRKarfelt.com or you could just leave a comment below and tell me how you cope with the frustrations of dealing with Customer Service. Maybe we could commiserate together. 


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bits and Pieces I Stole. Movie and Book Scenes You Keep.

Bits and Pieces I Stole, S. R. Karfelt, Author
The Glitter Globe/S. R. Karfelt



In some ways it’s like that Darmok episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. That’s the one where the Enterprise’s Universal Translator can’t figure out the Tamarian Language. They speak in metaphors. Shaka, when the walls fell.



S. R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe, Inspiration, Writing
QuickMeMe



We all collect bits and pieces of books and movies and they become part of how we see the world and those parts become ours. This is one of my favorite lines when my guys are heading off into the wilderness.






Tell me you don’t use that one? Sometimes movie and book references can be cryptic. We don’t all read or watch the same things, right? Remember that line in The Princess Bride where Vizzini goes, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” and laughs cryptically in his hyena laugh before he falls down dead?





And we’re all like, what about Asia? What’s that obscure reference? Does it refer to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War? (not to be confused with Stephen Pressfield’s the War of Art). So although I find it funny each and every time I watch that movie, I don’t use it. I like to have a firm grasp on my analogies and metaphors. Although they’re somewhat subjective, aren’t they? For instance in Jane Austen’s novels, dance is considered a metaphor for marriage. What?





Well, okay. And I think I might have my own thoughts on what marriage is an analogy for. 




  
But my point is that we take all these bits and pieces of other people’s words, imaginations, and talents and internalize them into our own thoughts, words, and ideas. We, as Austin Kleon puts it so eloquently, Steal Like An Artist. For instance Outlander by Diana Gabaldon




Was inspired in some part by an episode of Doctor Who…




And there has been speculation that Sinclair Lewis’s Babbit inspired J. R. Tolkien to come up with the name Hobbit.





Bit of a stretch if you’ve read it, but the subconscious is a freaky machine. It does rhyme. We all know that The Hobbit inspired The Lord of the Rings. I mean at some point the writer thought or was asked, and then what happened? Dangerous words, those.




But, oh, so very inspiring. Finding the well of creativity takes reverse engineering, and I’m more into the reconstruction part myself. It’s like the lyrics to that song. Is it Sting or The Police? “Every breath you take, Every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you,” and turning it into something glittery.



Do you have a favorite story about something that was inspired by something else? It’s not always movies and books, weren’t helicopters partially engineered by the way hummingbirds fly? And what’s your favorite movie or book quote? Which ones have stuck in your head the most?






Sunday, February 1, 2015

You Can Be Whatever You Want, As Long as You Look Good Doing It.




Fact is Dolly Parton had it right in Steel Magnolias.




With the help of a lot of four and six letter words Jenna Marbles offers us a tutorial to help out. I don't know about you, but after all that effort I wanna cuss too. Guy Tip: This is why acknowledgement of our effort is kinda mandatory. If I've tricked you into thinking I'm good-looking, I expect at least a high-five.




Of course we’re not allowed to put too much effort into looking good either. Effortless beauty is the goal. But who appreciates an effortless beauty?

Case in point, and does anything underscore the importance of how you look better than the obituary of The Thorn Bird’s Author Colleen McCullough?


The Australian's Colleen McCullough Obituary


Please keep in mind that being a novelist, a neurophysiologist, a best-selling author whose books were made into a wildly successful television series, AND being 77 does not exempt you from the societal expectation to look good while you do all that other stuff. 

The obituary sparked an outcry on Twitter, resulting in some amusing tweets under #MyOzObituary. Of course I had to play too.





Possibly it’s hardwired into us all to appreciate beauty and surely that’s not a bad thing. It just comes in many forms, and if you can only see one kind you miss out on so much. Once I read that a person of average intelligence was capable of any career if they had enough tenacity and drive. I would like to submit that a woman, plain of feature, and certainly overweight can also have a wonderful life. What they write in her obituary after that wouldn’t matter a diddly damn, don’t you think?
Author, S. R. Karfelt, The Glitter Globe
S. R. Karfelt

What’d you think of that obituary? I’d haunt that writer. Like follow him around singing Sesame Street songs or something. How do you feel about the pressure to look good? Think you’ll be able to maintain it for the obituary photos?