Tag #66: The Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag

Autumn _ Winter 16

I was tagged by Daniel, who writes at Page to Page.

Thanks, Daniel!

Here’s the link to the post where I was tagged:


How long have you been blogging?

  • According to WordPress, eight years. For Hot Shot Headlines specifically, I started it in 2014.

At what point do you think you’ll stop blogging?

  • Probably never.

What is the best thing about blogging?

  • Being able to write freely, and publish my own work.

What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it okay?

  • It’s not really the worst thing, but sometimes I struggle with keeping up with all of the tags and awards that amazing people have nominated me for or to do. I work through all of them, one by one!

How long does it take you to find make/find pictures to use?

  • It depends. I use a lot of Google Images.

Who is your book crush?

  • Oh, wow. Ummm …. Probably Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby.

What author would you like to have on your blog?

  • Any of the following: J.K. Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham, Ann M. Martin.

What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

  • Clothes.

How long does it take you to prepare?

  • It varies. I like to have at least 3-4 posts ready to publish during one week.

How do you feel about the book blogging community?

  • I’ve met some of the most wonderful people through book blogs! Everyone is so supportive, and it’s amazing to me that so many people, around the world, love to read books and write about books.

What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

  • Write from your heart.
  • Use tags – It helps bring your work to a bigger audience!
  • Engage with other bloggers – Like posts, comment when you feel led, and support blogs that you love. It’s a wonderful community.

Tag – You’re It!

  • I’m not tagging anyone in particular. But, if you feel led, I would love it if you participated!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Tag #65: Friday Funday Challenge – Game On – You Name It!

I was tagged for this fun challenge by Rory, the author of A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!

Here’s the link to the post where I was tagged:


The Rules …

…because there are always rules, are simple!

1] Thank the nominator

2] Answer Q1 – Q19

3] Nominate three bloggers of your choice and notify them.

4] Each selected blogger MUST answer 16 of the asked 19 questions, but also insert 3 new questions to make up the 19 compliment. Every time a new blogger is selected they MUST only answer 16 of the asked 19 questions as well as answer their own 3, and choose 3 new bloggers. Each time a new blogger sees the questionnaire it will be completely different to the next blogger along.

[Hint: delete three of the questions you don’t like or have no answer for and insert your own in its place]

5] Q20 & Q14  Must always remain intact.


Questions from Rory

1] Are you currently reading a book, if so what is it?

2] Toast or cereal?

3] Choice weapon for survival during the zombie invasion?

4] Horror or comedy films?

5] Skinny dipping or mud wrestling?

6] What was your favourite sweet/candy as a kid?

7] Going to the party or the library what’s your preference?

8] What is your favourite tipple [drink]?

9] If you were coming back as an animal which is the least you would like to return as, BUT knowing your luck you just might? [Provide image]

10] What are five of your unique selling points for your writing?

11] What were you like as a child?

12] How important is personal achievement to you?

13] How do ‘you’ define hard work?

14] Which 3 questions will you be deleting to add your own in?

15] If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

16] Ok, you are going to be shipwrecked on an island that has food and water, what three items would you need to have with you?

17] What was the most stressful situation you ever encountered and how did you handle it?

18] If we didn’t know what the colour ‘mauve’ actually looked like, how would you describe it?

19] What music is currently your favourite? [Provide link]

20] The three bloggers you are nominating are?


Laura Beth’s Answers

1] Are you currently reading a book, if so what is it?

  • Yes. I’m currently reading Among The Hidden (Shadow Children #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

2] Toast or cereal?

  • Toast. I don’t eat a lot of cereal anymore.

3] Choice weapon for survival during the zombie invasion?

  • Baseball/softball bat. I played for Little League one season in eighth grade, and then again as adult for the Presbyterian church’s softball team in 2014. I’d love to get back into it!

4] Horror or comedy films?

  • Comedy. I’m definitely not a horror film fan!

5] Skinny dipping or mud wrestling?

  • Hehe – Mud wrestling all the way!

6] What was your favourite sweet/candy as a kid?

  • I devoured the plain chocolate M&Ms as a kid.

7] Going to the party or the library what’s your preference?

  • Library, hands down. Give me all of the books!

8] What is your favourite tipple [drink]?

  • A Corona with lime.

9] What is your least favorite movie?

  • I didn’t like Requiem for a Dream.

10] What are five of your unique selling points for your writing?

  • (1) Character-driven, (2) As original of a story as possible, (3) Enjoyable/exciting content, (4) At least one thing/issue being recognizable/relatable to society/audience, and (5) accurate as possible in terms of details/setting/history, etc.

11] What were you like as a child?

  • I was/am an only child, so I learned to be independent quickly. I was also bubbly, enthusiastic, loud, talkative/chatterbox, stubborn as hell, and determined. After being born at 25 weeks and given a 50-50 shot of survival, I overcame a lot of obstacles.

12] How important is personal achievement to you?

  • Personal achievement is very gratifying. But, I also enjoy helping others.

13] How do ‘you’ define hard work?

  • Hard work means dedication, focus, asking for help, and getting the job done right the first time.

14] Which 3 questions will you be deleting to add your own in?

  • Numbers 9, 15, and 17.

15] If someone wanted to make a movie about your family, who would you want to portray yourself, your parent(s)/caregiver(s), and your sibling(s)?

  • Me – Emma Watson
  • Dad – Paul Guilfoyle (Original CSI:)
  • Mom – Diane Keaton

16] Ok, you are going to be shipwrecked on an island that has food and water, what three items would you need to have with you?

  • Unlimited books, Rodan + Fields sunscreen, and one comfortable outfit. I don’t want to be naked!

17] Where you do feel the most at peace?

  • Around water.

18] If we didn’t know what the colour ‘mauve’ actually looked like, how would you describe it?

  • A beautiful pale purple color that reminds me of flowers, and elegant Victorian decoration.

19] What music is currently your favourite? [Provide link]

20] The three bloggers you are nominating are?

  • See my Tag – You’re It section below.

Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #116: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter B)

 

ABC Book Challenge - B

Here’s the link to Tiana’s post:


Memorable titles that start with the letter “B”:

The Baby-Sitters Club - Elle

Baby-sitters Little Sister - Amazon

Baby-Sitters Club series

  • I devoured this series, as well as Baby-Sitters Little Sister books, for years. Check out my Awesome Authors post on Ann M. Martin!

Image result for because of winn-dixie book

Because of Winn-Dixie

  • I don’t remember when I read it, but it made me cry.

Image result for beezus and ramona book

Beezus and Ramona

  • I loved Beverly Cleary’s books. I read nearly all of them before I started middle school. Ramona has always been one of my favorite characters.

The BFG (Dahl novel - cover art).jpg

The BFG

  • Roald Dahl is another one of my favorite authors. I remember being assigned to read The BFG in elementary school, but falling in love with it.

Image result for bleachers book

Bleachers

Image result for briana's gift

Briana’s Gift

  • I stumbled upon Lurlene McDaniel at the library when I was in high school, I think. Like a few other authors, I quickly devoured all of her books. All of her books make me cry, but they’re well-written, and also somewhat relevant, too.

Image result for bridge to terabithia book

Bridge to Terabithia

  • This is one of my favorite books. However, it always makes me cry. I sense a theme here!

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Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America

  • I appreciate Barbara Ehrenreich’s writing, too. Al gave me this book for Christmas, and I eagerly read it.

Books starting with “B” that I wish to read:

Between Shades of Gray

  • Tiana mentioned this book – I’m definitely intrigued!

Image result for john grisham blood drive

Blood Drive

  • I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this short story until now!

Bonfirewolf.jpg

The Bonfire of the Vanities

  • I’ve never read it. But, I feel it’s appropriate. Wolfe was a heralded writer, and I’m always intrigued by books set in New York City.

BreakfastAtTiffanys.JPG

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

  • Another book I’ve never read. I love Truman Capote. Adding this to my TBR, stat!

BridgesOfMadisonCounty.jpg

The Bridges of Madison County

  • I think I have a copy of this, somewhere. If not, I’m sure my library probably has a copy, since this book was one of the best-selling books of the 20th century.

What books have you read, or want to read, that start with the letter B? Let me know!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #64: The Muppets Book Tag

The Muppets

Image Credit: Disney

I stumbled upon this tag from Bibi’s Book Blog at the end of June. Most of you know that I love the Muppets, so I definitely wanted to do this tag!

Here’s the link to Bibi’s post:


Swedish Chef

Name a book that should have been good but left the foulest taste in your mouth…

Swedish Chef

 

Allegiant. I had such high hopes …

Fozzie Bear

Name a book that you couldn’t help but laugh at the jokes or characters

Fozzie Bear

Harry Potter. Ron Weasley, especially.

Bunson Honeydew and Beaker

Name a book that made you feel a little smarter by the end of it

DR Bunsen Honeydew And Beaker

The Unknown and Impossible: How a research facility in Virginia mastered the air and conquered space. I learned so much about NASA, and it’s ties to the Hampton Roads area!

Crazy Harry

Name a book where a character or something about the book drives you crazy

Crazy Harry

The Casual Vacancy. I didn’t like how many characters there were! It was hard to keep up.

Janice

Name a book that was an easy read and gave you good vibes

Janice

Any of the American Girl books. I love reading about history!

Stalter & Waldorf

A book that you loved and was turned into a movie that you hated

Stalter and Waldorf

Oh, goodness. I’m not sure I have a true answer for this one!


Tag – You’re It!


Who is your favorite Muppet?

I’m with Bibi – I was disappointed to not see Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Sam the Eagle, Animal, and Rizzo!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #77: “There’s a severe shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas. Here’s why that’s a serious problem.”

Mental Health - Quotefancy

Image Credit: Quotefancy

I recently read another CNN article that I felt was worthy of sharing. It was published on June 20, 2018.

Here’s the link to the article:


For years, I’ve been fascinated with the Appalachian region of the United States. Part of it is because my grandmother (Mom’s mom) was raised in West Virginia, and other extended family members have lived in West Virginia and Kentucky, to name a few states.

The mountains are beautiful. Grandma Grace was raised during The Great Depression, and they survived. I have vague memories of visiting Great-Grandma Laura Bethany (whom I’m named after) on her farm in Ripley, and seeing Mom’s aunt’s and cousins in Beckley. These two areas aren’t deep in the mountains, but you can definitely see and feel the hills and valleys.

With all that said, Ripley and Beckley are small, but mighty. Other areas of West Virginia, and other states in the Appalachian region, have certainly struggled with the volatility of the coal mining industry, among other issues. The limited amount of research I’ve done shows years of struggles with poverty, unemployment, access to health care, and more. However, the Appalachian people are steadfast. I don’t want to be prejudicial, but research-based.

Along with difficulties accessing quality health care, and affording that care, mental health care is somewhat tied to that. It’s fascinating, as well as immensely frightening.

When I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in the summer of 2015, I started taking a bigger interest in mental health, including news articles about the topic. I’m grateful that I have a stable job, with good health insurance, and access to good mental health resources and services.

I’ve seen several counselors since I was in college, for a variety of reasons, but the counselor who diagnosed me with GAD was a watershed moment for me. She helped me unpack a variety of issues that were causing significant stress, and in turn, contributing to my anxiety. I’ve been able to better understand GAD, and to work to figure out the best ways to limit and control my anxiety. It’s a daily exercise, but I’m proud to say that I’m not taking any medication, and I’m able to live a fairly productive life thanks to a powerful and helpful support system. I realize that my situation is very unique, and I’m grateful for everything!


The article is packed with statistics. I won’t go through all of them, but the main point is a majority of non-metropolitan counties do not have a psychiatrist, and nearly half do not have a psychologist. The best definition of a non-metropolitan county that I could find is one that does not have a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and has a population of 10,000 or less (Health Resources & Services Administration).

One of the interviewees, a clinical psychologist, pointed out that many rural areas only have generalists, i.e., primary care providers (PCPs), and there’s little to no specialized care. People are left on their own due to a lack of community mental health care, and nearby relevant hospital services.

The services that are available are focused on crisis intervention, not prevention. These services attempt to address the crisis as it’s happening, but nothing is available to prevent the crisis.

In addition to the lack of services and resources, health care funding cuts are exacerbating this problem. Roughly 80 rural hospitals closed between 2010 and 2017. Hundreds more are at risk.

Another problem the rural population faces is isolation. Isolation can spark downward spirals, which can lead to drug addiction, overdoses, depression, and suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), rural areas have a higher suicide rate than non-rural areas, which has been widening since 2001.

This is a significantly complex and challenging problem that can’t be addressed with a single solution. However, there’s one bright spot that is starting to emerge – Telebehavioral health. The article provided the example of a patient in Wyoming “seeing” a psychologist in Pennsylvania via virtual sessions and online portals.

As promising as telebehavioral health appears, the article points out a host of other issues that rural residents face. Access to the Internet is one, being proficient with computers / technology another, and having the financial resources to access these mental health professionals.

To me, there needs to be a series of steps to tackle these issues. I don’t have all the answers, and I try to be as objective as possible.

There needs to be consistent investment in mental health services across the U.S. Every rural area that does not have a psychiatrist or psychologist should probably have at least one of each. The currently practicing doctors should be linked up to the existing mental health services, as well as be / become advocates for improving those services. Continued work to reduce the stigma of mental illness, addiction, and other mental health issues will also be beneficial.

Those support systems that people turn to in the event of a crisis – Family, friends, ministers, chaplains, and even first responders – should also have connections to mental health services. More mental health training for these support systems, specialized if possible, is also a good idea.

Throughout the network of ideas and potential solutions, the idea of making and sustaining connections and cooperation appears to be a common theme. In order to help the neediest residents, everyone involved with helping them should be educated, connected, and cooperative.

Example: Someone in a rural area is struggling with isolation and drug addiction, and overdoses. When the family member calls for an ambulance, the first responders take the resident to the local or nearest hospital. While recovering in the hospital, a series of people work behind the scenes to quickly identify others that can help – Family members, the hospital chaplain, the resident’s pastor, the resident’s primary care physician, and anyone else. Together, this network of resources work together to locate the nearest psychiatrist or psychologist, or even the nearest behavioral health center. The idea is to build a strong support system to get the resident the best mental health services possible.

This is strictly an example, but ideally, there needs to multiple levels of support and accountability for this to work. Every situation is different – Sometimes there’s no family, no primary care physician, difficulty accessing a behavioral health center, among other things. Regardless, if we invest in building these networks and support systems, maybe there can be a shift in crisis prevention, and less crisis intervention.


For more information, check out these resources. Several of these were also cited in the article.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #62: “The Casual Vacancy”

The Casual Vacancy

Image Credit: Kobo.com

It took me quite a while to read this book. I purchased it at Barnes & Noble at least two years ago, if not longer than that. I think I had a gift card to spend, because the paperback had the bargain price of $5.98.

I’ve been interested in this book since it was published in 2012. Having been a massive Harry Potter fan, and this being her first novel for adults, I had full confidence that I would enjoy this book just as much.

Poor Al. He’s heard me gripe and complain and whine about this book for weeks! But, I finally finished the book earlier this week after he went to sleep. It took way too long for me to finish 503 pages, but I DID IT!

Rowling is still one of my favorite authors, by the way. But, this book doesn’t make my list of favorites.

It’s not a bad book, but it’s really dense. There are SO MANY characters. It made my head spin initially. I get it – She’s focusing on multiple families, all who are involved in some way with the parish council. Also, the book could have been condensed. In my opinion, 503 pages for this book was too long. She could have certainly told this particular story in 300-400 pages.

As an American, I’ve been fascinated with England, British life, and so on for several years. Getting this fictional perspective of a parish council, different communities, and challenging decisions was really interesting. Overall, the cast of characters were diverse, and interesting. There was a lot more drama than I was expecting, but it wasn’t too distracting.

The book dragged quite a bit through the first half. I almost gave up – I was struggling with the characters, and it was a lot of mundane exposition.

However, around Part Five or Part Six, the action increased, and I actually started to enjoy it. Toward the very end, I was on the edge of my seat – The last 75 pages or so were really exciting. Definitely dramatic, and more than a bit of tragedy, but it felt like a thriller at that point. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I was slightly sad when I got to the last page.

Again, not my favorite book by Rowling, but I was happy I plowed through to finish.

3 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #63: 3-2-1 Quote Me! – “Food, Glorious Food”

I love Rory’s quote challenges! He’s the author of A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip! He tagged me to complete this one.

Thanks for picking me, Rory!

Here’s the link to the post where I was tagged/challenged:


Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

  • Thank the Selector
  • Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.
  • Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

Note: Although this is the topic for today there is no specific deadline to it, meaning you can answer as and when.


Topic: “Food Glorious Food”

If music be the food of love, play on. - William Shakespeare

Image Credit: BrainyQuote

Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me. - Audrey Hepburn

Image Credit: BrainyQuote


Tag – You’re It!

  • Jenna – Bookmark Your Thoughts
  • Laurie – Work, Play, and Chardonnay
  • Bibi – Bibi’s Book Blog

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂