Status Report

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I have continued my excursions into writing. Creative writing by freelancing though personally satisfying is fraught with con artists. They love your work but they do not like to pay. Some of my best experiences have been without contracts. Freelance editors willing to read your book and improve it rank near the top. They give honest opinions about the writing. Joining up with a group of writers to do a larger project creatively has been the top ranked experience. Their dedication to the craft and personal ethics astound me. Working together we have been able to pay our bills, buy a different car, go to a restaurant, share faith, and survive an awful unfair client. I have never met any of those writers personally, but because of the shared experience it creates a bond between writers.  Because of their faithfulness to their craft and personal values it often restores my faith in humankind. They were not American. I did work with American writers but  it was difficult. I  can say it because I am American. Several American writers went on to fabulous jobs after leaving our writer group hanging on some project. Fortunately one of the other writers took up the assignment and the clients were kind that it was a day late. Others American writers fawned to steal assignments from other writers or to curry favor. The American need for endless competition brings out the worse in us especially where money is concerned.

The Way of It

I have a disability that demanded a lifestyle change. Writing came as a recommendation from doctors or more precisely do the arts. Stay away from the perfectionists. Your personality type needs that to create less stress and not aggravate your condition. I had $5000 from the disability insurance company who shafted me. I paid for a contract for years that stated they would pay 2/3 of my salary for 5 years if I became disabled.Unfortunately for me the condition doctors diagnosed me with listed as physical and nervous. The insurance company chose nervous and paid the school instead for the days I missed. Except I had only missed three days in my entire career so the district and state compensation days covered nearly all my days. I only got the $5000 and was sentenced to a life of poverty. So I paid off my house and car to survive. Took courses at the Institute of Writers for children and adult writing to prepare for a new career. Did the resume and the Great Recession demanded I think outside the box.  Digital platforms arose during that time and I signed up. They pay.  They may not pay much but they always pay. Most of the contracts have simple clauses. You get experience with many people, many types of writing, and many clients. A few places have mechanisms to deal with unreasonable clients. Mostly they just ask the writer to leave. You can have many clients that find your writing style useful for their business or needs and just one client being extremely unreasonable changes it. Despite the contracts no protections exist. That is wrong. The client can demand only as much as they are willing to pay FAIRLY for that is what the labor laws says. You have clients who are paying a half a penny a word demanding magazine or academic level work. Digital platform writing is an extremely competitive business. I watched a brilliant company go down in 2 months shafted during an acquisition. You almost never blame the company since you understand what the client is doing to them. Of course they are going to choose their survival over yours. The gift becomes it’s the Internet and somewhere globally hundreds of new companies are starting and the possibility exists for an interesting job. All they care about is the quality of your work. Like Jesus a fresh start everyday.


A project manager/editor who I worked under decided to try a writing service. He was from India and had two teenagers. College was in the not too distant future. He sets up the business and we use the Internet tools. He hires the writers. It worked for nearly 3 years. We had a small list of clients. I learned how to Elance, Guru, and search for freelance jobs. We had a few American jobs who dishearteningly made prejudicial comments which infuriated me to no end. We worked Canadian, South African, Australian, and Indian companies and they went by the quality of the work. Ethical, paid on time and all good experiences. So Trump and his group come along and in the year he is campaigning the amount of verbal diarrhea increases on the job boards as well as the amount of LIES. The UNFAIRNESS factor increases and it no longer becomes about the quality of the work but your pedigree. Are you white? Are you a native English speaker? How about good fuck from you of course stated in the professional terms and you can work for me? All signs of a deeper level of corruption coming to the surface that our nation likes to hide. In good work relationships you do not want the people you work with abused. So what do you do when you have administration that verbally assaults and abuses people as a public display of a warped sense of power? That poison spreads into the areas that are not as protected by law. I for one am not having the people who stood by me in my darkest hours abused by such verbal trash.


Contracts are all about protecting the company not the worker. In it will be provisions for the worker only because the government labor laws insist they be there.  Traditional publishing is corrupt. They do not keep their promises but string you along. If I did things their way I would have had to file bankruptcy. That is their point. It is a by product of outrageous competition. I make a children’s book with the art of brown people and all of a sudden it is not good enough. Not worth the publisher’s attention and I am not worth sending an email that family obligations happened. I ghostwrite mostly because the system is set up that way. I have the emails to prove some high level professional people hired me to present their information in publications and online. Confidentiality agreements prevent me from sharing some of my work.  The journalist who shafted my writer’s group was good enough to get in that next level. The companies I have worked for including some high level corporations which I cannot name due to the agreements outsource work to writers and go to grand lengths to be fair despite the abysmal ethics of this administration and congress. The small businesses I worked for globally were fair. Who has been the most unfair to me has been the United States of America businesses particularly in some areas of writing and in insurance. Small business owners in American bend over backwards to be fair if you are a small business owner too. Those are delightful to work for. Everyone has pulled back due the unfairness of the political environment now.


Creating your own small business is suppose to be about freedom and values. The billionaires are not self made people. They stepped on many businesses and individuals intentionally to get what they got or parents died and left it to them. They are traitors to this country. Some want to be royalty and make slaves and peasants. It is why the laws force them to do social responsibility, charity, and foundations. This economy consists of 97% small businesses which this administration and this congress are trashing.  Freedom takes vigilance as any small business owner knows. Freedom happens when you are fair and you pay a fair wage for the work done.


I still can do business without a contract and get paid if I do it alone. Most small business owners will pay you no matter what and insist on it. It is a common value among the group. You can do writing service by email. People will answer you honestly. Have discussion with you what their business needs are or are not. They even collaborate. It is much harder to team now which is how you make bigger money. The risk because of the government rhetoric and ways is too great. Your team will get hurt now unless you have a lot of protection. You do get harassed now about your heritage and your writer’s heritage. You no longer can trust the government to help you in a situation because in a writing service much goes by your value and integrity. Mostly common sense guides you. Before you could maintain your integrity and your writer group integrity. You can no longer guarantee that. Clients will ask you to do things they would not before. As a writer you do not want to put other writers in that situation. Surprisingly people were fairly honest even to the point confessing that they had done things less than ethical in the past. Now most everyone tells a set of what I call “urban professional lies”. Lying is not all bad it is something we do for protection.  It is not safe so they lie. Who the threat is are the institutions that were protecting us. Writers do not have much protection to begin with but they have even less now.

Is it Worth It

On a personal level writing is worth it especially when you can tell a truth, create something intriguing or give an honest opinion. You can still do that but it does cost you. The freedom of social media because of all the verbal assaults on it at people who expressed an opinion or pointed illegal activity or unethical ways to this government has been wounded. Other countries who admired us for that are reluctant to word play or have opinions with us because our country is no longer trustworthy. Even if you as a person are trustworthy and able to discuss on social media the government rhetoric sits right by your posts name calling, violating civil liberties relentlessly, lying outright, flip flops just to disrupt, and all because a set of constituents felt they were not being heard. Well they were not being listened to but instead of taking it out on the government and dealing with their local representative they attacked other Americans. Writers express opinions based on research. You have differing perspectives on topics.  America is having an uncivil war playing out across social media and media. We have cease fires, truces, and hot spots. Writers like anyone else have to pay bills, feed kids, and have a life. Because of the nature of the business of writing you know at some point your words will get attacked or your creation no matter how much research you have done and it will be unfair. Not a legitimate discussion or a preference but outright unfair.  It is still worth it to stand by your words. It is still worth it to make the attempt to maintain your integrity. Even if you fall everyday is a new day and a renewal of that promise to yourself and your craft. We write alone most of the time. We depend on others research to make sure our words are true, and that the content reflects the reality or the premises of our own creation. It is my own inner writer voice that I have to deal with.



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Via Public Domain by Agricultural Research Service Northamerica1000

You have to eat. As much as you love working on your novel, short stories, and experimental pieces you have to do some things to bring money in. So I write on digital platforms, and if you want to try for a good one apply for WriterAccess. Grand process, friendly and fair describes them. They have a good system for conflict resolution.

My Other Life


Via by Jonathan Broadsky

My other enterprise given to me by an Indian family (Karran) on Christmas Day is The kindness of India, the faith of Hindus, and the practical business sense along with rivers of common sense when I totally mess up makes me a better person. I manage a set of writers there who have their own businesses. I search for projects that fit our values as a group of writers__high quality, fair price, list your resources, and do it to the best of your ability. Everyday I learn something new and interesting from them. The amount of kindness and encouragement they extend me puts me in humble thankfulness and gives me hope. They are not all Americans. They are not all Christian but many times they have been Christ like to me.

A Blessing of No Fear



My writers have “no fear”. Two major projects during two major hurricanes that ravaged the Philippines and the towns two of my writers lived in. I here sitting in the West in the warm Texas sunshine innocently send a reminder for articles to be in. They turn in early or drop a note normally and had not. As they turned in by mobile hotspot one had the roof ripping off her home. She asked for forgiveness if she got it in a little late. Her work was impeccable despite the added stress. The other writer the next week was sending in while the two homes beside hers disappeared in the storm. She was thankful hers was safe and that she got her articles in. The ones in India are ever polite and full of good ideas. If someone has life happen no matter how busy the others are they will try to fill the spot and turn the article in on time. (they all have other jobs, and write, and some have kids)  I have made mistakes even with money, and they have been nothing but generous, patient, and kind. The American one well he cheers, rants, and raves that we should have better paying clients. He has even Skyped and talked direct to get us more fair pay because he is good at what he does. He takes a bit more risk than I do and tells them exactly what it should be. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. When we have a project, and we are all working toward that goal we have writer contentment.

It is Coming (The Compulsion)

I am still working on the sequel to my first novel. It has taken several twists turns that I did not expect. It was a much bigger challenge since the culprit in it is not a person but what corruption does to good people. Harder to write in many ways, and Sharlene of course had to change from the innocent she was in the first novel. It is longer. I am going back through and making the timeline flow, and putting in flourishes. I still have the ending to write. I keep switching the scenarios or maybe Sharlene and Sajiv are. After all it is their life they are living so I guess they should have a say about the outcome. Most of it is a result of going out in the world and making deals for my writers. Different setting and field but root cause analysis is the same sin. All of which makes it a more realistic novel.

Writers you have to pay the bills and put food on the table. You have to find a balance in your creative life. Find some time to do what you like. It keeps you —you. May you all have at least one project manager or editor that knows that. May they help you do that like Rajiv Karran who has a sixth sense about how to get the best writing out of someone and take care of them at the same time.

Until Next Time and no Telling When,

Have a grand escapade


Round and Round It Goes

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101561441_3761c02d29_z by Frederic Guillory

So what now? You have books, short stories, and articles published. You have filled your portfolio with good stuff. You have gotten good letters, we like it but we cannot use it letters, and then the what were you thinking letters. All part of being a writer.


                                © Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It Comes Down to You

I have worked from both ends now. As a writer learning their craft, as one who publishes in several venues, and as someone who brokers clients and articles. As diverse a lot writers are we have one thing in common. We love to write. We write whether we get paid or not. We write on scraps of paper. We write on social media. We write to our friends who say ‘can you make it a little shorter?”. I bet we sky write in our sleep.

road-sign-63983_640 public domain

We are curious.

We ask questions. Talk to diverse people just to see what they have to say. Our minds engage in endless debates and conversations. Sometimes with our characters. Sometimes with ourself (so glad for the head phones now that makes us normal)Sometimes with family. ( we need to do that more often)


Edwin Landseer, Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania and Bottom, 1851, National Gallery of Victoria.

We dream.

Despite our cynicism with every application we fill out we hope this employer will pay a fair wage. We hope they value content more than grammar. When we mess up we hope they have a system that lets us know but does not keep us out too long. Most of us do not wish for riches we just want enough to raise the kids, pay our bills, and take our sweetie on some excursion once in a while.

I always hesitate to answer someone when they say they like my writing or the other way they do not. I am never sure how to respond to that. It is not that I am not pleased either way. (I got a REACTION to my thoughts on paper yes besides the editor!)


         Sketch by Mary Page one day while pondering on a novel

Just when you think what you do not matter at all.

Someone calls or tells you. My mother in the nursing home does not smile much anymore but she read your book. When is Sajiv and Sharlene going to kiss? Her time is limited and she demands to know before she dies.

That alternative therapy you wrote about on cancer. Thanks it improved my wife’s quality of life.

I cannot afford the normal clothes. Thanks for the idea about vintage fashion.

That list on that product how you did it. I walked in and knew the specifications were exactly what I needed to solve my problem.

If we ever get paid what we truly are worth or at least pay forward we would be some of the richest people on the planet. Maybe we are Solomon’s kids. Dispensing bits of wisdom that others use to make their lives better often as ghost writers or for other companies. I wonder what God is going to do with us when we get to heaven since He knows everything who will we do research for then? What will we write then? Hmmm

I have an Indian friend who sent me the saying “You are living. You occupy space.You have a mass. YOU MATTER. I think on a bad day all writers need to hear that.

Until Next Time have a grand escapade,


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courtesy of by Alan Cleaver

Writing comes as an ever changing craft. Getting the balance of it takes intentional thinking.You have to put food on the table and gas in the car. So you find assignments that give a steady income. At the same time you have to do larger projects that may catch the eye of a literary agent or the public’s in self publishing realms. The third piece comes as continuing to develop as a writer.


The Internet in one sense has made finding writing assignments easier. Traditional methods involved writing query letters and sending your resume and manuscript which was placed in a slush pile. Like waiting for Christmas present expectantly you wait for some to say you picked me. Frankly not enough jobs existed and competition was fierce. The best person does not always win but the one who fits the mood and theme of the day does.

Internet writing offers a variety of platforms to choose from. The short articles someone reads daily comes from a writer hired by a venue. Internet formats developed differently for many reasons suchs the size of the web page, media has trained many brains to read a large volume in short paragraphs. Most Internet articles range from 150 words to 800 words. Many articles have short subheadings and graphics. Most of it has informative value. Then you have your large venues of ebook publishing. Hybrid publishers who do some traditional and some modern.


Traditional methods if one is chosen you may get an advance or 6 to 8 percent of the money made. They have a large marketing machine so a decent income for a time and a promise to publish your next novel or book. So few are chosen. Most are quite gracious when they do make it since they understand from their many friends that some of it is luck that there book was recognized at all. The others use them as mentors, teachers and people to follow.

Internet methods you get paid but not necessarily regularly. You have to be careful about exploitation. The markets pay by word and by hour. Both have their hazards. Most writers make 1 to 6 cents a word in the Western civilizations. So speed becomes the answer to earning a living. Snagging a column helps a bit but those jobs are few and far between. Getting paid by clicks can happen but not for most. Have other income to fall on since it varies.

Self Publishing

Amazon has a portion called Kindle Direct Publishing. It allows an author to self publish for no fee. My shorter stories I developed at the Longridge Writer’s Group with Tom Hyman as my mentor I have published some of those there. ( Grace the Music Man Way The Constitution and Judge Robert McAlpin Williamson) I set a goal of sending out my stories and when I get the third magazine letter saying we like your story but we cannot use it I publish it on Amazon. My thinking is it is Tom Hyman approved (New York Times best seller author, editor of the Washington Post for years), been rejected 3 times by high quality magazines and I received the good letter that is it ready for public viewing. Also a trend in the younger generation among corporate players is to read short stories on their lunch hours or breaks. They tell you on that platform one needs to publish many things to make money. It is a 30 percent for Amazon and 70 percent for you deal.


Once you get proficient enough in the Internet writing you can start your own website and offer writing services. The need for high quality writing comes huge and the Internet now is getting old enough things have to become updated in new formats. Managing writers comes as another way to make money. I do that for with an Indian partner Dhurghae who manages the web end. That has proved to be a wonderful business adventure with clients, writers and a partner.


My oldest son has writer friends. They sent word to me that in the early years develop the craft. As you get to your third year develop the business. As you approach your 5th year expect your reward. Not a single writer has claimed you will get rich. They all talk about the craft and the life. Most are gracious. The few that are not fall by the wayside eventually or go into other areas. On a personal level it works for me in this stage of my life. I get art, I get to do my music, I have added theater and writing which is always fun. Mary took her pain that she could not get rid of and it spilled out to transform into this. I still have the pain but I have found with the help of other artists a way to comfort myself. The rest I have not figured out and may never.

Whatever you choose to do, diversify. Explore the other paths and decide for yourself what to keep.

Until next time have grand escapades,


It is All in the Marketing or Is It?

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You can write the best book ever. Have a nearly perfect manuscript. Spend countless hours tweaking words to conciseness until it says what you want it to say and describe each scene dripping with sensory detail but if no one knows about your book no one buys it. My book is known. Have money buy my book. 




       Courtesy of

Taxes Make You Look at the Facts

It has been stated across the Internet that it takes about $10,000 for traditional publishers to begin marketing your book. Market conscience to the max, but for most writers writing is not about the money but  about the craft. At times writing articles earns you less than one dollar an hour. You do it anyway because it matters. Other times someone  pays you an exorbibant amount for 25 words. At tax time you get an overall picture of the year. 

What it Takes?


Courtesy of by User:David Monniaux, flickr user 007 Tanuki, User:Jorge Ryan, and User:ZX95

The other route the author writes and markets while a hybrid publisher does the publishing and markets. It allows many more writers to get their work on platforms such as or Barnes and Noble. It is tax time. Here are the facts for the first year of “The Grand New Delhi Escapade”.  

Editing cost between $800 and $1500 for the novel of my size. Some charge by page and some by words. I had my book edited twice since it was the first time. To prep the manuscript for publishing I hired an outside editor recommended by a friend. She did a grand job on it and it made the process go quickly. I chose to use a hybrid publisher and they charged a fee a little less than $1000. For that amount they prepped the book for publication, gave advice, put a cover on it, a webpage, a press release, taught me the process, and gave me access to 55 outlets in marketing on major platforms online. Priced separately I could not even touch it. They recommended an edit which was to create more flow in the novel and it was around $800. The book published in five months.

I chose digital media advertising for my novel. A publicist could have been hired for $300 a month to set up book store dates and events. It was limited to the local area with a setting in India I felt global methods may be better suited. Two million people saw my book on Google Ads. Does not mean they bought it but it was good enough for them to click on and take a look. Facebook 382,345 clicked and viewed my book. On LinkedIN 1,172,201 million people looked at my book. So about 3 and a half million people. Of the three I got the most clicks for the best price was Google Ads and general public clicks. Facebook exposed my book to teenagers. LinkedIn the professional network exposed by book to executives with buying power. For us new authors I would say it is good exposure early in your career. It gets your face and name out there. I ran strategic campaigns like when the book first came out (2 weeks), then for summer reading (2 weeks) and then for the holiday season (3 weeks). 
The Count 1 book, 2 book, 3 nook …… 100 kindle….. etc.
Because of changes in the process of distributing royalities at my publisher that I cannot give you it. I would like a year’s  worth of data to decide. The ebook did make money so it is on the path of gaining. (publisher recovered their cost so my turn) The paperback I do not know since I do not have that report. Some places takes months to report. That comes as the hardest part. Reading the amount of inventory available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble does not give you the information you need to market. You have a long wait. Authors tell me it is worth it and books do make money even though most do not get rich. A long term investment with a long term return. At this point selling enough books to get a literary agent interested has become the goal and creating supplements to the novel to reach niche markets will be my project this year.
Was it Worth It?
Picture taken by my Grandma Sutton, Mary at 6 and the Law
Yes on a personal level it was worth it. It healed my soul and body. I developed into an artist with gifts in music, art and writing. I have written a children’s book and it will be published soon ~ “White Shark Cafe”. Some how in it, it is the ultimate act of defiance against all the people who told me no or hurt me. Some how it makes them no longer matter. Having a disability develop in my brain processing makes it a serious victory against all those who try to make us less. In the writing I found all the pieces of me and know just like scripture says we are so much more. 
I Am
I write  because that is who I am. I sing because that is who I am. I oil paint and draw because it is who I am. Mary who’s pain and feelings all spilled out one day, God took put back together, smiled, and handed me a beautiful mess to play with for the rest of my life. No one ever gets to take it away. 

Relationships~The Grand New Delhi Escapade and The Teddy Bear Men

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Courtesy of by aussiegall

It is that time of year media and all communication outlets talk about love and relationships. In the book, “The Grand New Delhi Escapade” plenty of relationships exist with a twist they all occur in India. It made for intriguing writing because I had to modify my American view of marriage and courtship. India still does arranged marriages. Parents find mates that are compatible for their children who often do not marry until 27 or 28 years old. Young males well-educated are able to have intelligent conversations with women. Refreshing to say the least. The book explores how the Americans have to bridge and think differently when making relationships with Indians. Explanations happen during conversation much like they would in an Indian family.

While exploring relationships it made think about how women treat men in this country often undeserved contempt just because they are a man. As a mother of two grown sons the amount of verbal abuse concerns me mainly because it is deemed as acceptable. It is not. As a mother of sons I find it offensive especially since it is encouraged. I took a tour of the Internet and articles exist about athletic men, skinny men, well established men etc. Little is said about Teddy Bear men. They count too. So since I no longer have a mate to compliment or even a romantic boyfriend I will give a top ten list of grand traits of Teddy Bear men.

Ten Grand Things About Teddy Bear Men ( not to insinuate that the other men are not delightful. They are but much is written about them)

1. He is warm on cold nights
2. Does not stand in front of the mirror all the time admiring self
3. You do not have to be perfect around him-you get to be yourself
4. He knows you truly love him—quirks and all
5. He works hard at learning all the ways of lovemaking and makes it worth being with him
6. Big, big man means you are safe from all the wolfies out there
7. You get to EAT and you do not have to listen to calorie counting, or I should have not eaten that—instead you hear ooOOOOoooo OutBack       Steakhouse cheesy fries, fried Twinkies and meat

8. A round belly means he makes money because he has to keep it fed.

9. You don’t have to worry so much if you get disabled, scarred or old—he will love you anyway because he understands about being different
10. Reasonable expectations about work/life balance

If you are single why not try a Teddy Bear man. It may be a pleasant change.


Have a grand escapade,



Compare and Contrast

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Courtesy of by Pascual Lopez

Marketing a book feels like a walk in the jungle with lions, tigers and bears in the bushes looking for an opportunity to minimize your needs and over maximize theirs. But the Internet is a wild wooly place with more good than not so good. White hat (ethical practices) tactics win in the long run but maintaining that at times becomes difficult. Many people help along the way with their blogging, comments, chats and general articles across the Internet. Most only ask you to pay it forward to someone else, give credit where credit is due and update them if you find something that works. A variety of services exist to fit any budget whether a package deal or by pieces.

What I Have Learned

For us do it yourselfers who patchwork together a marketing plan that is part services and part our own creativity the Internet is a lifesaver. The Big 6 (Publishers like McGraw Hill, HarperCollins) have huge marketing machines. A handful of writers make it and are chosen. For them it is a grand excursion but it leaves out the thousands of other writers whose book is high quality and a possibility as well. The proof is the rise of self publishing even on Most writers love to write, are compelled to, and would do it whether they ever got paid. Bills have to be paid, and food put on the table. Room at the table exists for many more and be able to make a living say $30,000 to $60,000 which most of us Americans do just fine on.

How the Campaign Goes

My book came out in late May. It took till the middle of July to get the full marketing machine in swing online. This is the first prime Christmas buying season I have experienced as a writer marketing a book. Fortunately, I practiced FaceBook ads, Google ads, and LinkedIn Ads in the summer reading season and learned much. So this round I knew a more personal touch was called for. I like that better any way. It bothers me people buy my book and I don’t get to thank them. Most people work hard for their money, and I truly do appreciate when they spend it on my book. On Facebook as someone clicked the like button I would write a simple note like I use to do my children in my classroom. Naming them by name, sincerely thanking them, and tried to say something to make them smile. It is one of those things your parents teach you. “Say thank you for the gifts or someones niceness.” My friend, Rajiv Karran, who inspired me has a saying he does every morning. He says “I thank you, thank you, thank you and accept the gift for today.” A grand reminder that life is about thanking and giving blessings what ever your faith is or not.

That is what writing is __a gift. A chance to say thanks, to point out paths, to express a philosophy, to share ideas, and to work on issues whether they are yours, society’s or a groups. If you give a gift you always get it back in some way. For this season that recognizes giving, may you be generous, may you help someone one along their chosen path, and may you never forget the people who got you there whether it was extremely unforgettably pleasurable or even if it wasa bit  mean and nasty (just do not pass those negative methods on to someone else make pleasurable ones).

Have grand escapades of the holy light kind and if that is not your cup of tea then do random acts of kindess.

Mary Author of The Grand New Delhi Escapade

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