Friday, October 31, 2014

The Boneyard

All right. I promised a Halloween post so I'm giving you a Halloween post.

I thought I would share with you an exerpt from my book "Witches Brew Ha-Ha".

Hope you enjoy. And have a safe Halloween.

The Boneyard
by Anna Maria Junus

“You get the next one.”
“I want the next one! I want the next one.” Travis whined.
David rolled his eyes. “Oh all right you big baby. You get the next one.”
”I’m not a baby.”
“Then quit acting like one.”
“Man, does your brother always have to tag along?” Kyle asked.
“Hey, it’s not my idea,” David said.
They moved among the gravestones and tombs, stopping every now and then to read one, watching for trick or treaters. It was mostly the teenagers that came into the graveyard; the little kids were too frightened to come at night time. Occasionally it would be a group of girls on a dare or a big brother trying to scare his younger sibling.
The boys had decided that the best way to spend Halloween would be to have some fun with whoever was brave enough to be in the graveyard.
“This is the best Halloween ever!” Travis roared with laughter as he watched the girls they scared screaming down the street.
“Did you see the witches over by John Jacob’s crypt?” Kyle asked.
“Yeah, don’t mess with those ones,” David said. “I heard they really did a number on some pizza delivery guy.”
“Yeah, what did they do?”
            “Turned him into a frog or a pig or something. I didn’t hear the whole story. Apparently he was babbling like an idiot when he got home and they had to send him to a mental hospital.”
“How could he babble like an idiot if he was a frog or a pig? And how would they know he was the pizza delivery boy?”
“I don’t know. Maybe he had pizza on his breath. He was driving the pizza delivery car.”
“A frog was driving a pizza delivery car?”
“Alright, maybe he wasn’t turned into something.” David shrugged his shoulders. “But whatever he wasn’t turned into, those witches had something to do with it.”
Kyle suddenly motioned everyone to be quiet. “Travis,” he whispered, “See that group of kids?”
Travis looked at the group of five or six, “Hey, I think that’s Emily and Nathan from school,” he whispered back.
“Friends of yours?”
“No. They were always mean to me. Emily told everyone that I stink, and Nathan tripped me all the time and the rest of them always laughed at me.”
“Okay, they’re coming this way,” David said. “Get behind this tomb here and when they walk by, jump out and go “boo!”
Travis grinned. The boys found hiding places amongst the gravestones. Travis watched while the group of kids from school got closer and closer…
“BOO!” he jumped out in front of them.
The kids just stared, their mouths open. Then Kyle and David appeared, floating through the air…
The three ghosts laughed and gave each other high fives as they watched the kids tear off towards home, screaming.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Look Back at This Month's Challenge

One more day to go and that day is Halloween, so I think I'll post about that tomorrow.

Today, I'm going to look back on this month.

As those who are reading will know, it was the Ultimate Blog Challenge. The goal was to post to your blog every day for a month, share that post on the UBC facebook page and then comment on at least two other blogs. I did accomplish that goal. The hope is that you will get new readers.

I'm not sure that's what I accomplished. I think most people were just trying to meet the requirements. I do plan to go through all those who commented on my posts and go visit their blogs. I do plan to go and become a regular reader of some blogs.

I'm hoping that I have picked up regular readers.

There have been posts that didn't receive any comments. I tend to post late in the day and so somehow I get overlooked.

One person criticized me because I said I didn't care about my blog post. She was fair in her criticism and so I changed my blog post. Frankly, I was tired and didn't feel like blogging and that came out too strongly.

I know I won't be able to keep up with blogging everyday, although I do plan to blog more often. My other blogs were ignored in the meantime. The problem with blogging every day is that some good posts get buried quickly, while other posts which aren't as good are seen and judged as representative of your work. When you blog everyday sometimes the work suffers.

I will also be working on Nanowrimo in November, so writing my two thousand words for my novel is going to be most important. Blogging may have to fall to the wayside a bit. Until those two thousand plus words are done each day, then I can't blog. Priorities, priorities.

Then there's that whole gotta go to work to make money thing that takes up time. And gotta take care of other people thing that takes time.

And sleep.

And knitting.

It would be nice to have a bunch of people regularly read. I know there are blogs out there that have that and I haven't figured out what they're doing right since I don't find the blogs particularly spell binding.

But I do think this was a nice warm up to Nanowrimo.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

All In a Day's Work

Today is National Cat Day.

I don't have a cat. I don't want a cat. But cats seem to like me. I don't have problems with cats. I kind of think they're like superheros because they kill rats and their cousins. I don't like those.

So here's a short story I wrote for a children's literature class I took in college. Got an A on it.  Tilly, by the way, makes an appearance in my book Thimble Fingers which you can buy at an Amazon near you.

 All In a Day's Work
by Anna Maria Junus

Marjorie leapt up on the fence that stood between her people’s property and that of the neighbors. She stretched her feline body and yawned. Any minute the neighbor’s dog would come bursting through the back door.
And  sure enough, there was Tilly, the Scottish terrier. Dressed in a red tartan coat – silly, Marjorie thought – and yapping at her feet like Tilly always did.
Marjorie watched Tilly jump up and down like kids do on trampolines, in an effort to reach her. What Tilly planned to do with her if she caught her, Marjorie didn’t know, not that that would ever happen. Marjorie would make sure of that. She turned her back on the dog, sat down, and flicked her tail back and forth, like a clock pendulum, smiling as Tilly went into a bout of more frenzied barking.
She picked her way carefully across the fence, the dog following along, jumping and yapping, not paying attention to anything but Marjorie. The cat moved alongside the holly bush, and watched in satisfaction as Tilly jumped into the middle of it.
Marjorie chuckled as Tilly yelped, fighting her way out of the midst of the sharp leaves. The more Tilly struggled, the deeper she went into the bush. Her yelping and whining ceased to amuse Marjorie and instead grew irritating. Marjorie jumped down from the fence and made her way across the alley to Oscar’s house.
Oscar, a gray tabby, was on his back porch attached to the railing by a leash.
“Go away, Marjorie,” Oscar snarled.
“Make me,” Marjorie meowed. “Oh, wait, you can’t. You’re all tied up. You know, someone in your position should be grateful for a little company.”
“Find me some company, and I’ll be grateful for it.”
“The mice have been teasing you again, haven’t they?” Standing just outside of your reach and wiggling their little butts at you.” Marjorie jumped up on the porch rail knowing that Oscar wouldn’t follow.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“It must be hard knowing that you are a completely useless member of society. Can’t keep the mice under control. Can’t scare the dogs away. In fact, you’re bait to the Doberman Pincher.”
“Don’t remind me.”
“Has that ear of yours healed yet?”
“You’ve had your share of fights.”
“Yes, but I did more damage to them than they did to me, and I didn’t need anyone’s help.”
“I said thank you. Wasn’t that enough?”
Marjorie sighed. “I guess it will have to be, since you can’t do anything else.”
Oscar lay down on the step and closed his eyes. “You’ve had your fun, now go torture something else. Like Tilly.”
“Already did that.”
“So that yelping was because of you?”
“I can’t help it if that dog has the I.Q. of a tuna. Do you want to know what I did?”
“No, I don’t. Now go away,” Oscar growled.
“You’re sounding like an old cat, Oscar. Pretty soon they’ll put a diaper on you like they did to Patches.”
“I’ll kill myself first. I could do it you know.” Oscar rolled over and looked up at Marjorie. “All I have to do is jump up there and then down the other side. The leash will strangle me – and then they’ll be sorry.” The last was muttered under his breath.
“Would they really be sorry? Because I’m not so sure that people who tie you up and humiliate you in front of the whole world...”
“It’s not the whole world. Just go away, Marj.”
Marjorie jumped down from the porch railing. “What shall I do, what shall I do? I know. I’ll go catch me some nice fat mice. You don’t get to have nice fat mice, do you Oscar? You just get kibble.”
Oscar covered his ears with his paws. “I ask, and I ask, and I ask, and still, she won’t leave.”
Marjorie turned and stuck her tail up in the air. “Yep. I’m going to get me some nice fat mice, and maybe I’ll come back with one and you can watch me enjoy it.”
“Please go away.”
Marjorie chuckled and stalked away swaying just a little from side to side, a purr rising from her body.


By the way, count down to the end of the Ultimate Blog Challange. Two more days and I win. What I win, I don't know. But that isn't the point.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

You Know Those Little Bits of Paper You Get When You Buy Something? Yeah, They're Important

Recently I've taken on a job with a private accountant. I do the data base entry of business finances.

For those of you in business, you know that shoe box of reciepts? Yeah, I go through that.

It's been eye opening, mainly because I can't see what I'm doing if I don't open my eyes.

But I've learned a few things and I thought I would share a couple of key tips on how to save money when you hire an accountant.

Believe it or not, going through that shoebox takes time. You have to pay someone for that time. Like me. Which is just fine and dandy for me. If you want to pay me to go through every one of your receipts then I'm cool with that.

If however you want to save money and headaches there is a couple of really important things to do before you send your receipts off to the accountant. And you don't have to understand math. Ready for it?

1. Keep your business and personal receipts separate.

Sure it seems obvious but judging from what I've seen the short time I've been doing this,apparently it's not.

For instance when you go into Ceilingmart to buy a water cooler for your business, a gift for your daughter, and a magazine for yourself, you need to actually run your business expense through the till separately.

Yes, this means you pay for it and then you pay for your personal expenses.

"But, but, it's so much easier to just pay for it all at once and figure it out later. Besides the accountant can figure it out."

Well, how am I supposed to know that the water cooler is for your office? It could be for your kitchen at home. And if you think that just because you put the entire receipt in your business shoebox you can write off the entire receipt, wrong again. The person looking at it is more likely to just ignore the whole receipt and nothing gets written off. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the tax man.

Not only should you pay for it separately, but - are you ready for it - you should be using different credit cards and different accounts. That's right, have a separate account and a credit card just for business.

Not only will this save the accountant time, but it saves you time so that the accountant isn't running to you all the time and asking about expenses.

And do you really want your accountant to know that you wear adult diapers or what brand of condoms you use?

So yes, if your business can write off gas and oil on your car, then by all means hand that receipt over to the accountant. But you can't write off your cigarettes, your bottle of pop and your bag of chips that you got at the same time.

2. Make a note on your business receipts about what the receipt is about. For instance, lets say you hosted a business party and you went to the grocery store. It helps to know that this was actually a business expense and not just you trying to write off your family grocery bill.  Not that you of course would try to do that, but a receipt could accidentally get in the wrong place.

3. You don't have to have a fancy schmancy filing system. Get an accordion file that's divided up into months. Circle the date on the receipt - those receipts can be a pain for your accountant  to find the date on - make any notes you need to, and then drop the receipt into the appropriate month. You can also do this with manilla envelopes. Instead of saving them all up to do at once which can be a real pain and lets face it, you probably won't, at least not with a smile on your face, just do it everyday as part of your business routine. Easy, peasey. When it's time for it to go to the accountant, you don't have to do anything special with your expenses, just send that already organized accordion file along with your other paperwork.

See, now how easy is that? And you've saved hours and hours of work that you would have to pay for.

But if you want to pay me for it. I'll happily take it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Write a Story Day: Long Day Ahead

I've been told that it's Write a Story Day. So in honor of that, here we go.

Long Day Ahead
by Anna Maria Junus

“Where am I?”

“Dead.” The woman in the blue dress said. “Follow me.” She turned, clipboard in hand and walked away.

“Hold it!” I ran up to her. “What do you mean, dead?”

She stopped and sighed. “I mean dead. As in no longer living on earth. You’re dead. Toasted. Kaput.”

I stared around at me. It wasn’t some ethereal place with white clouds. It looked like a garden. “How can I be dead?”

“It happens when you’re heart stops beating. You die.”

“What are you talking about? I was just at a party. I was talking to Chris Wiseman. He was hitting on me and…”

“You know those pills you took at that party? It can do that to you. Kill you.”

“But, I’d never done anything like that before. How can I be dead?”

“It only takes once. For you it just happened to be the first time. It could have been worse. You could have lived through it, become addicted, robbed from your parents, sold your body on the street and then eventually died, an old woman at 23, alone in a gutter. Consider yourself lucky.”

“Lucky! I’m dead.”

“There are worse things. Dead around here simply means you don’t live down there anymore. Think of it as a change of residence.”

“But was it my time?”

“No. But you made it your time. It happens. Plans are made for you, but you can change them, or someone else can.”

“But it’s not fair! I’m not ready to die! I haven’t lived yet! I'm only sixteen!”

“Honey, don’t talk to me about fair. You got sent to a place where you lived in a nice house and had parents who love you, and you went to a good school. You had food on the table and nice clothes. You got it better than most. You could have had more, but…like I said, plans change. Now follow me.”

“But, where is the white light and the loving arms that are supposed to enfold me?”

“Sweetie, you’re loved. But the ones who’s arms your waiting for, well, they’ve got others who didn’t go and do something stupid to themselves. That’s who they’re greeting right now. The ones who tried. The ones who made the most of their time on earth. The ones who didn’t get fair in the first place. You’ll have your turn, but you have to wait. In the meantime, follow me.” She turned away from me and walked several feet down the path, her high heels, that perfectly matched the flowing blue dress, clicked against the stones.

“Follow you where?” I said running to keep up.

“To your job.”

“My job? But, don’t I get to rest, or play a harp or something?”

“Can you play the harp?”

“Well, no.”

“Well, until you can, we can’t use you as a harp player, now can we?”

“Do I get wings?”

She snorted. “Wings? What do you think you are? A bird?”

“I thought I was an angel.”

“You are, sweetie. You are. Now come on, spit, spot. There’s work to be done.”

“Do I get a lunch break?”

She ignored me and kept walking. I tried to keep up.

This was going to be a long day.