Tag Archives: children

Chaos Factor; We Might Survive

We always said my daughter would be a lawyer, because she loves to argue her point. I also assumed she would write, because she has a brilliant imagination. But after spending an entire day alone with her at Knott’s Berry Farm, I realized she will be a chaotician. This, if you recall, was Jeff Goldbloom’s career in Jurassic Park. It is the study of chaos: how unpredictable things can be.

A seven year old chaotician in a theme park:

Jorja: Um, there’s water leaking from that ride and we are standing under it. If the wood breaks from mold we can be crushed. Or the wood can splinter and impale us. If we are on the ride when it breaks we can fly off. Even if we don’t fly off, the log can flip over and crush us to death. Or it can flip in the water and we might drown. We might survive though, but there is a possibility we will be brain dead. Someone might do CPR, but he might have a weird disease, then we’re brain dead and diseased.

Me; Well, the thrill factor on this ride just jumped ten notches.

Of course there is a small group of Girl Scouts in line behind us with their jaws on the floor. One woman is looking at me like I’m the maniac here, and I’m thinking in my head, “yes ladies, my seven year old did just scared the cookies outta your girls. Bet you don’t have a badge for that?”

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Tania L Ramos, RN and Author (who’s daughter is scary smart sometimes)
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The Pain of Productivity

changes Ever wish there was more time in the day? Maybe in the year? How about your life? I’m torn. On the one hand I can’t wait until the end of the day when I can sleep it off. On the other hand there isn’t enough time to get everything done.

What is my life? Well, in 2011 when I was on disability my life consisted of writing and attending court every other day. It was miserable and wonderful all rolled into one. In one regard I was able to follow my dream of writing, in the other it was a tragic and devastating year for my entire family … makes for great writing though.

In 2012, I returned to the work force, albeit it was a slow transition. After the dark year of 2011 there were many changes in my life, the biggest being the newly shared custody of my sweet baby girl, whose father moved over an hour and a half from me. That was a game changer. I took an on-call position with no benefits or paid time off, yet worked full time hours and more. I was also thrust into having to commute weekly to pick up my daughter. Since my time with her was now shared, I found it difficult to give away the time we had together to doing anything other than being with her. This left me with zero writing time.

Do you know what happens when you have zero writing time? The voices go away. They don’t disappear per say, they simply grow quiet and go down to a low lull. I still hear them, and they still beckon me, but I have to put them off to be a responsible adult and manage my home and family. Single mom status is not as glamorous as Hollywood makes it out to be.

So during NaNoWriMo month I pledged to start writing. How did that turn out? Epic fail! 500 words, and it was more venting through characters than actual story line. Then the night before Thanksgiving I was hit with something exciting: the stomach flu. What good can from the stomach flu? Well, after realizing I would be living in the bathroom for 24 hours it occurred to me that I could spend that time productively. So, I grabbed a copy of Be Still and a red pen, and while my intestines slowly died I edited my book. TMI? Too bad.

The moral of the story is: I have to be in physical or emotional pain to be productive. So here’s to all of you who can relate … out of the ashes rises the Phoenix.

Tania L Ramos, RN and author who’s finally on solid foods

BeStillNovel.com

Age Limiting Books

This subject has been blogged, chatted, and come up across the web, but I feel the need to cover it.  Should there be age restrictions on books? My strong opinion is that there should be. Heck, until last July I had to escort my kid into the video game store to give him permission to buy Modern Warfare (he was 17), and had to go into the movies with the kids to see last The Fast and the Furious (he was 16). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all warfare, hot cars, sensual women, and foul language; Wreck it Ralph was the last movie we watched as a family, and surprisingly, they loved it. Undoubtedly because it was about gaming, had a zombie, and fast cars (even the Sugar Rush ones).

laracroftBack to the topic at hand. At any given point, I could say that I am not allowing my child to purchase a video game because of the language or violence. Heck, did you know there is a special award for best “panty shot.” I once sat at work, when I was an EMT, and listened to my employees talk about how hot this girl was; she was a game character…oh Lara Croft, you were young boy’s fantasies across the globe.

Then there is the subject of movies. I can get my kids into an R-rated movie, heck, if I really wanted, I could take the 5 yr old in.  My neighbor once asked if she could take my boys with her son to see some horror movie (Jason or something to that likeness). She came back and apologized to high heaven.  The movie had so much nudity, she said, “I felt like I just took my neighbors kids to see porn.” She was appalled and confessed that had she known, they would have never gone.

So we have rules about movies and video games. Why not books? Yeah, I know I pick on 50 Shades of Grey a lot, but because most of us know what it is. Yes, I’ve browsed the book, can’t say I finished it, never will. One, I felt it was poorly written, but second, I figured why take the time to read porn when it’s readily available all over television. My issue was when I walked into the local bookstore to find two teenage girls, maybe 14-16 yrs old, purchasing the book.

Teenage girl conversation:

Girl#1: Okay, call me when you get to the good parts

Girl#2: [so and so] said they talk about fisting

Girl#1: What’s that?

Girl#2: My boyfriend told me what it was, but I guess we’ll see

And my ears began to bleed and pretty sure my uterus prolapsed right then and there! Oh my goodness. And what does the cashier say to them, “Oh, this was such a great book!” Argh! Really, you’ll let teenage girls read about anal fisting, use of sexual torture, and mental sexual terrorism, but my kid can’t buy  Modern Warfare or see The Fast and the Furious? Wow! Just wow! It’s all I got.

Some arguments are that kids should be able to read anything they want because it’s fostering … well, reading. Okay, so it’s alright for your teenage boy to read Hustler; for the articles of course.  Is there really a difference between visual pornography and written pornography? I’d like to think the teenage mind would do a lot better job at creating a visual than many would think. And hey, I’m not bashing erotica or Harlequin no more than I’m bashing that wild sex scene in Twilight, I’m just saying, shouldn’t parents have a say in what their children read? No, NOT book banning! Just book on hold until they reach a level age, OR, parents must buy the book in the same way they must purchase a video game or theater ticket.

It’s not rocket science. I am all about literacy and encouraging young people to read, but come on, there are thousands of other books out there to purchase.  And if you are okay with allowing  your child to read something more provocative, violent, and with moderate language, then okay, just show your I.D. at the store. I’m not judging, only saying we should have more discretion.

All comments welcome, just keep them in perspective and intelligent. I love hearing great arguments.

Tania L Ramos, Author With PG-13 Books

BeStill

Why is Be Still PG-13? It contains the subject matter of death, deals with personal demons which manifest as a psychological demon, and follows the progression of a man’s terminal illness. No moderate language, no sex scenes, and no violence.

Facebook.com/TaniaLRamosBooks                         Twitter.com/TaniaLRamos

Emotional Therapy

It was a pretty tense time in the house of Tania L Ramos last night. Yeah, I was probably the cause of it, but I prefer to think it has something to do with Jupiter aligning with Batman, or something to the likeness. Anyhow, in my near frothing state of having to have a moment’s peace and quiet, I was unable to find one. How did I push out two books in one year before? Oh, that’s right, I was on disability and sat at Starbucks consuming caffeine and Izzes for ten hours out of the day for an entire year.

Checked my disability numbers last night: not much in the way of aloting another year off.  So I step away from my precarious perch, with toes curled over the top step of an eleven step decline. Time to reconsider my approach. I realize I can’t keep up my pace of staying up at all  hours of the night, because even then there are so many noises and distractions around me.  Everyday manages to be some Calgon Take Me Away day, yet it never comes, and even if the opportunity arose there would undoubtedly be some child pounding on my door, complaining about some adolescent crises, whether it be, “I think I broke my thumb skating,” to, “My ponies are arguing again.  How do you spell ‘effective communication’?” Then there is the adult I seem to really torture who will inevitably ask, “What’s wrong with you? Maybe we should talk? Did I do something wrong?” And I pull out all my hair and just yell, “ALL I WANT TO DO IS WRITE IN QUIET WITHOUT PRETENSE!” Ah, the fun never ends, the noise never dies down, and alas,  I am rarely alone … but always having to effectively communicate

So, last night, while I toured my house with laptop in hand, seeking out a quiet place that didn’t have a frigid draft, I discovered something interesting: it doesn’t exist.  So I walked into my room, fit for some diabolical rage against humanity, plugged the laptop in at my desk, gave my boyfriend the look that read Are you feeling lucky punk? Well, are you? There was no effective response, so I plugged in my sticky earphones (those of you with ticking biological clocks really need to know that once you have kids, everything is sticky), turned up my sad love songs/breaking up songs/see you on the other side songs, and finally–after two weeks–opened my WIP file.

At one a.m., I had accomplished the daunting task of procuring 4,938 words. And I was proud as a new momma who doesn’t already have a gaggle of kids at home.  I was hopeful, renewed, and spent.  This chapter was torture, plain and simple.  I mean, if the government needs a new methodical device for torture, they should have prisoners have to write a dramatic scene built with forthright carnal tensions by two characters driven together, who can’t seem to push passed their own doubting thoughts, and be thrust into these onslaughts of romantic indications whilst trying to maintain a platonic boundary that has made their friendship over nearly two decades as strong as it. Yeah, write that one suicidal car bomber!

in-queso-emergency-i-pray-to-cheesus-jesus-mouse-cheese-memeNeedless to say. That chapter left me emotionally drained, and any form of effective communication was spent on those two characters last night.  If anyone in this house thinks I need some emotional therapy, they can read the book … and then they can commit me.

Tania L Ramos, Author On the Verge

Facebook.com/TaniaLRamosBooks

Books by Tania L Ramos: Be Still and Surviving the Writing Apocalypse

Sales versus Rank

Recently, I came across an ad which promises to increase sales on Amazon.  Sounded promising, so I clicked the link.  I was hit by something that made complete sense, yet didn’t.  One of those conundrums that begs to ask the question: is this moral?

The premise of this site was simple and mimicked that of a pyramidal type business.  Pay your $19.99 along with 1,000 other authors who are on KDP and the offer then closes to this select group.  Then when you have your KDP free days, all the authors download each other’s books which raises your ranking. Simple, right?

Here is where I struggle with this (and where I think self-published authors start to get a bad rap): is it legit? I can sit here and barter with hundreds of other authors and boast that my numbers are in the top 1oo, but did people actually read my book? I mean, isn’t that the point of writing? When did publishing a book become more about numbers than it did about the actual material published?

It’s everywhere, isn’t it? Buy 1,000 Facebook likes for $9.99, by 10,000 Twitter friends for $19.99, and now you can buy your Amazon rank through some pyramid scam.  I realize we all want to be number one, and heck, I’d settle for staying in the top 1,000 on the regular Amazon ranking system (not KDP), but i’d like to be there because people actually read my book, not because 1,000 other authors downloaded my book.  I mean, if they downloaded 1,000 books, what are the odds they actually read or will read yours? 1 in 1,000!

My other concern was that the website boasted an increase in sales, but is giving it away free an increase in sales? I posted to Facebook once, in response to a similar question, and stated, “If you give away 10,000 books on KDP and become #1 because of it, you are NOT a #1 seller, but a #1 giver-awayer.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind free days, I really do.  It is a great marketing strategy and wonderful way to let people know about your book, but this system is hard to judge.  I met a woman who loved downloading on “free” days, and stated she downloaded over 5,000 so far, but when asked how many she actually read the  number was an approximated 50.  Oh, and of those 50, more than half were traditionally published authors.

This has become all too prevalent, and here I am trying to teach my kids that hard work pays off.  One day they will tell me, “No mom, for $19.99, I can buy my grade or 1,000 college credits.”  Here I am busting my gluts to really sell my product, and all I had to do was buy my rank? I’m concerned.  Any thoughts?

Best-book-ever

Influences We Are

I try and write on a daily basis, but this last week has been about as crazy as any. Then I did an iOS update to the iPad which wiped out four chapters of my scifi book. I didn’t complain, I put it on my things to panic over right after a crappy paycheck because I was sick and missed 24 hrs of work, after burst a pool pipe, after a car accident, but before unpaid bills.  See the priorities there?

The person who did have the biggest fit I have ever seen was my daughter who uses my writer pad app to jot down words.  I was unaware of her “future” book she had saved on there.  The kid is five yrs old  mind you.  So she told me (demanded?) that I sit at the computer to write her story again.

So I sat down and wrote it out for her verbatim.  I must say this: The kid is talented. Not only can she draw like a champ, but the kid has serious imagination. And not only does she have a creepy imagination (I’m so proud), but she gave her story a beginning, middle, climax, and cliffhanger end. She left it open for the “part two,” in her own words. Then she says, “Now put it on the internet and tell me my level (rank).”

Tear.

JORJA’S STORY: The Monster in the Window (copyright 2013, reproduced with permission from the author. yeah, I did ask.)

There were two kids, a boy and a girl, brother and sister. His name is River and her name is Jorja.  They were sleeping and it was dark, so they didn’t see the monster come into the window.  River heard a noise and woke-up his sister and they ran out of the house. Far away from the monster.  They got lost in the woods and cried, but they had each other so they were okay and ate berries.

Years later the mom, her name was Tania was had another kid.  When he turned 9 years-old, she tied him to the bed. He cried because he did not want to be tied to the bed, but she told him, “I am keeping you safe from the monster so he won’t take you.”

“What monster,” he said.

“The one that took your first brother and sister,” she said.

He told her to let him have one more day without being tied up, so she let him. That night he ran away to find his brother and sister.  He found them in the woods and they were still little kids.  The three of them found the monster and vanquished him [yeah, her word not mine]. They went back home to their mommy and she was crying.

“Don’t be sad,” River said.  “We are now home.”

She gave them a big hug, but she thought she saw a shadow moving outside the window.

****************************************************************

That was my daughter’s story. It was all her and those were her words.  Despite the fact that she used a little author intrusion, I think it was brilliant.  I told her I would publish it to my blog and she could follow her rank here. 😉

Jorja's 1st attempt at art (age 5)

Jorja’s 1st attempt at art (age 5)

The moral of the bigger picture is this: Influences we are! What are you teaching those that watch you even when you think they are watching Spongebob?

 

 

 

 

 

Tania L Ramos

Facebook.com/TaniaLRAmosbooks

Why Our Kids Are Smarter Than Us

For fun, I am stepping away from the adventure into writing and answering a question many parents may have wondered at some point or another: Why do our kids think they are smarter than we are? After sitting through an episode of Team Umi Zumi with my 5 year old, I think I had an epiphany into the answer to that question.

Here is how it went down (or the scene set up): It’s early morning and the daily dose of SpongeBob has yet to be filled.  There is an antsy 5-year-old at my side, asking for the umpteenth time if SpongeBob will be on next.  Okay, I am getting tired of answering the question so I engage my child in this mathematical and pattern based cartoon.  First they ask which number is greater than four; possible answers are 1,3, and 6.  She eagerly and enthusiastically answers, “six.” She then looks at me and asks what I think it is.  To foster a sense of pride I tell her, “three.” She’s convinced I’m wrong, but I remain resolute because I’m being a good mom and allowing her to be correct. And she is and does her, “nani nani nani,” bit.

Next question and it’s a pattern, so I’m curious if she’ll know the answer.  This time she asks me before she answers and I’m curious to see if she’ll agree with me even I say the wrong thing. Naturally, I give the wrong answer and she scrunches her nose at me and gives the correct answer. I am impressed…she is not so impressed with me when they give the correct answer.  She turns to me with serious, slanted eyes and easily states, “this is why kids are smarter than their parents. You can’t even do patterns.”

Now I’m the one with a scrunched nose and twisted face.  Could it be?

As parents does fostering a healthy dose of intelligence allow our children to grow up thinking they are smarter? How many of you parents have allowed your child to win a game that you would have easily won? Scrabble? Word games? Drawing games? Card games? Have you ever let them beat you at Candy Land? Shuttes and Ladders? Hungry Hungry Hippo? Have you ever answered wrong just so they could be right? We do this because we love our children, right? Because we want to instill a sense of accomplishment in them.  When in fact what we are doing is instilling in them the fact that mom and dad are so dense they can’t even win a game of Candy Land, let alone answer the correct pattern question on Team Umi Zumi. And this flows into the tweens and adolescence and we sit around one day when they stand by the door all pouty and whiney when we say we know better than they do and they laugh at us.  I bet they’re thinking, “Yeah right! I remember that episode of Team Umi Zumi.”

The opinions expressed here are only opinions and meant to entertain. If you agreed with the opinion then this was written by Tania L Ramos…if you don’t agree, then this was written by a superior five year old who can solve patterns better than her mother.

Tania L Ramos has written two books: When I Thought I was Tough, and two time award winning, “Be Still,” now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook and Kindle. The five year old is working on a dissertation comparing time space continuums and time space paradoxes in regard to inertia.