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Oh, Internet! Wherefore art thou!

September 2, 2014 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

By Jann Audiss w/a Jann Ryan
Ok, I admit it—I have a love-hate relationship with cable companies and their internet service. What is worse is to realize how really dependent we are on technology. Recently my internet and cable TV went down. Boom. Nothing. Thinking it was just a hiccup, I did my usual routine: unplug the power, count to 10, plug it in again. When that didn’t work, I fixed an ice tea, had a snack to fortify myself, made sure my e-reader was handy and settled in for the adventure of calling my cable company. I have found from past experience to be prepared.
Just before reaching through my phone to strangle the automated attendant (if that were only possible), I was connected to a sweet individual, who I believed was in Texas. After giving her every bit of information about me except for my current weight, we got to the reason for my call. NO SERVICE. To back track just a bit, I did notice a service truck parked outside my home from the cable company, and it had me wondering – coincidence?? Anyway, the nice lady on the phone checked my line from their remote location, found nothing wrong, and set an appointment between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM for the next day, stating that someone over the age of 18 had to be home. I assured her I was over 18.
I figured, OK we could can live for a day with no service. We have cell phones and the family could watch DVDs. Remember that truck? Just for the heck of it, my sister walked around the corner to check with the service repairman at the main station box to see if by chance he was working on the line. He grunted and brushed her off and told her he was working on the tract of homes across the street. So we all settled in to wait for the appointment the next day.
By 2:00 PM the next day, I once again started on the road to OZ to find out when the technician was going to arrive for my “early morning” appointment. Forty minutes later, I spoke to another wonderful and informative customer service agent; only to find out she didn’t know anything and couldn’t reach anyone to find out. I asked for a supervisor. Now this guy was good. He could talk in circles better than most. By the end of our conversation, I finally got him to admit that he also didn’t know anything. However, I was promised someone would be out the next day.
My son, home for the week, searched our DVD library and started a movie marathon. Not being connected to the outside world by TV or Internet felt weird, like being on an island in the middle of the ocean. On day 4, I had watched or listened to all the Die Hard movies, Transformers, The Mummy Trilogy, and we had started on Star Wars. I became friends with most of the people in the Texas office, and told them to be sure to call if they were ever in Anaheim so we could get together to catch up on the family.
Finally on day 5, Frank Your Helpful Cable Guy arrived in the late afternoon. The connection running from the street to the house was fine and my interior wiring was good to go. We told him the story about the cable guy who had been working on the main utility box the day my service went out, and he told us that was the next place he was going to check. Well, you guessed it. The “new technician” who had been working on the box 5 days ago disconnected my line by mistake. Don’t you just love it? Why couldn’t that idiot have taken the time to check my line when my sister told him we just lost our cable connection?
Needless to say, we were back up and running that evening, which was a good thing. I didn’t want to follow the RITA ceremony at the RWA National Conference on Twitter from my cell phone.
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Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ – Oh My, Oh My, Oh My!!

May 2, 2014 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Jann Ryann
I’m technology challenged. When it comes to the social media world I’m plain scared. Just the thought of posting something incorrectly has stopped me dipping my toe into the water for years. My goal is to break through the fear. When OCC announced its Online Class schedule I was thrilled. There it was– April’s class–Social Media for the Confused and Terrified presented by Elena Dillon. No more excuses by golly. I signed up.
Week 1 – The class started with Facebook, and for four days straight I had my desktop and laptop computers running side by side. Reading lessons and asking questions on one, doing class assignments on the other. I was learning about personal pages and author pages, friending and liking. Even though I’ve had a personal FB page for several years, I’ve never really interacted on it. I had started an author page (Jann Ryan), but hadn’t made it public to the world because I’m not a published author. Well, I hit the published button and it’s now live. To support my fellow classmates (which are a terrific group), I’m friending and liking and trying to comment on posts.
By the fourth day, I was on Facebook overload. I needed a bit of a break, so I thought I would start going through a couple of my file boxes filled with years of writing paraphernalia (handouts, conference stuff, articles and pages of stories.) It was suggested by a good friend to scan what I wanted to keep and toss the rest. I DIDN’T COME OUT OF THE ROOM FOR 4 DAYS! I was scanning and tossing from morning till way into the night. My determination to master FB was transferred to cleaning out paper. I couldn’t stop myself. From the file boxes, I moved to the bookshelves, then back to the file boxes. I was obsessed.
Week 2 – Monday, I came up for air only to be confronted with the next week’s class–TWITTER.  I hadn’t conquered Facebook, now I was facing the Twitter monster with its hashtags, retweets and Tweet chats. Thanks to the wonderful instruction and guidance from my teacher Elena, I marched into the Twitter world. I installed Tweetdeck and selected people to follow. I was fortunate to see meet up Beth Yarnall, author of the Azalea March Mysteries, The Misadventures of Maggie Mae and the Pleasure at Home Series, who gave me some hands-on instructions. Check out her website http://www.bethyarnall.com/ .  I’m still feeling awkward with Twitter, but I know I’ll be Twittering up a storm soon.
Week 3 – My Waterloo is Google+. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been receiving great instructions, but I realize I need hands on instructions when walking into the unknown. I get the overall idea, but just can’t seem to figure it all out. I need to spend more time on my lessons and work with it more, but life is getting in the way this week.  It’s similar to FB, but now I Hangout with a Circle of Friends (actually, I’m not hanging anywhere yet).
I have one more week to go and one more social media item to learn. Heaven help me.
All that being said, I’m happy I ventured into this new world. I have some wonderful classmates and a great teacher, Young Adult Romantic Suspense author Elena Dillon. Stop by her website http://elenadillon.com/.  
Go forth and conquer!

Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.

Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined Romance Writers of America. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.

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Conversations with Jann and Barb

February 2, 2014 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , ,


A couple of weeks ago, Barb and I decided to take in a movie, so off we went to our local theater. We grabbed some popcorn and found our seats. We like to sit in the middle about halfway up. There were only about eight people scattered around. I love it when it’s not crowded. The lights dimmed. When the camel came on the screen reminding us to turn off our phones (Barb loves that camel), we checked our phones and settled back to be taken on a wild ride of action and adventure with the new Jack Ryan movie.
Now, I know all of us have had the experience of people who talk and text during the previews, occasionally you might hear a tune playing. But usually you get through a movie with little disturbance. Well, that wasn’t to be the case for us this time.
The movie started and the guy sitting down a few rows and to the right obviously didn’t listen to the camel. He was texting. Since the theater wasn’t full, the light from his phone really reflected. I moved my head just a little so as not to be distracted, but the older guy sitting behind and to the right of him had full view. I felt really sorry for him, but figured Jerk would finish and turn it off. That didn’t happen. Over the next thirty or more minutes he texted constantly. How do you follow a movie if you are texting all the time? He was a texting ABUSER! The guy behind him got up and left, but came back to his seat. I figured he went to tell theater management to come in and tell Jerk to stop. But no one came. About ten minutes later, the older guy did what most people would do – he asked him to turn it off.
Well holy moly, all hell broke loose.
Jerk jumped up, called the old guy names and threatened him. Then he came at the guy still calling him names. A man sitting with the woman in front of us got up and tried to get Jerk to settle down. It didn’t work. One woman ran out to get help, another man sitting with his family also got up to help. Jerk came at the old guy again and this time threw punches. Barb and I called out for Jerk to stop. I tried to find my phone to call 911, but couldn’t get it turned on. My heart raced. I wondered what to do next. The two men who intervened got Jerk off the old guy. Jerk and one man left the theater; the old guy got up and went out the exit. Barb and I sat there wondering what was going to happen next. Meanwhile the movie had been rolling along and Jack Ryan was in a high speed car racing scene on the big screen.
The movie stopped playing, the manager arrived and we gave her the details of the altercation. We each received a free movie ticket and a full refund. They started the movie again, taking it back to the point when the disturbance began.
Later that day I thought about what happened and how texting has gotten out of control. How lucky we had been. We hear about the situations in movie theaters, texting and driving, and the lives destroyed by it. But then I thought about other times people text (myself included) and wondered how it affects others. You know what it’s like to be with family and friends having a conversation and they pick up their phone to either send or answer a text while you’re talking. Or at a meeting, have you ever wondered what the speaker is thinking when they look out over the audience and see people with their heads down tapping away on their phones? They could hope we’re tweeting about what a great speaker they are. Or do we consider if we’re annoying the people around us and being rude to the speaker?
All I know is that after my experience, I think twice now before I take my phone out to text in public and when I’m with my friends and family.
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Conversations with Barb and Jann

October 2, 2012 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , ,

The Power and Joy of Journaling

The other day I was going through an old childhood trunk I call my Trunk o’ Memories when I came across some of my trip diaries from the ‘60’s. My husband and I sat down, read through them and had a great laugh. Back in the day, my frugal mom would put $25 in an envelope for each day of travel, all road trips, of course. That $25 covered all expenses for me and my mom and dad, including gas and the motel. I duly recorded said expenses in the diary and some days we even had a buck or so left over to add to the next day’s envelope. The diaries brought back so many memories of the places we visited (mostly the northeastern U.S. – we were from Toronto, Canada), the ‘60’s era, my thoughts at the time, and the weather. Yes, I also recorded the daily temperature and precipitation.

I had forgotten about those diaries this summer when we embarked on an epic family road trip where I once again kept a daily diary. This time I tapped away on my iPad in my Pages app. I call it epic. Think eight people in a GMC Yukon SUV, three of them six years old and under, on a road trip up the California coast to Portland, Oregon, and back. We stopped along the way (many times), had some fun and some not-so-fun adventures, went through a lot of diapers, laughed and cried (sometimes it was me), and I duly recorded it all. Yes, including the weather.

What I’d done back in the day and now, was journaling. As I wrote in my journal before bed last night, I realized that I have always journaled. But why? Why did I feel the need to record the daily routines, the life-altering events, my thoughts and feelings, the weather? I’m sure it was not just to place these things in the historic record, to be read twenty or thirty years from now.

Remember that secret diary with the tiny key you kept as a teen, the one your bratty little brother read excerpts from to all his friends? You snatched it from his grubby hands and wrote that night,

Dear Diary,

I’m going to strangle my brother and stuff his body into his stinky gym bag!

That was journaling. Admit it. You felt a darn sight better after venting. And so, that’s why I journal. I feel better afterward. I throw down on the page my innermost thoughts, my deepest feelings, loves and hates, hopes and dreams. For my eyes only.

I think everyone knows this about journaling. But when I was researching the subject, I came across a website that listed no fewer than 100 benefits! Check it out at www.appleseeds.org/100_journaling.htm.

Here are some of my favorites: empowers, strengthens your sense of self, soothes troubled memories, creates awareness, eases decision making, measures and tracks what’s important (so, the weather must be important to me –LOL!). The list includes writing-related benefits: enhances breakthroughs, unfolds the writer in you, allows freedom of expression, enhances self-expression, teaches you how to write stories. In fact, I’ve taken some writing classes where you were required to keep a daily journal. It can actually kick-start your muse. Now we’re at 101 benefits! So, if you’re not journaling, get yourself one of those pretty journals and a favorite pen and place them on your bedside table. Make it a habit to write in it every night whatever comes to mind, even if it’s just the weather. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.  
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Twenty-Five Meaninful Words

July 2, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

When I was ten I entered Toronto’s “I love my daddy because . . .” Contest. The catch? Write it in twenty-five words or less. Actually, only twenty by the time you count that opening phrase of the contest’s title. When the call came that I’d won, you’d have thought it was the Pulitzer. The prize I did win was a shiny new two-wheeler.

I’ve been trying to write twenty-five meaningful words ever since. I’ve had some success, some – practice (I won’t call it failure). When I decided to write my first novel in ninth grade, a historical western romance, I felt free, unrestrained by the petty word count dictated by high school English teachers. Whee!! The words flowed, and flowed . . . And flowed. I had great fun.

Much later, I joined RWA and the Orange County Chapter. My, uh, practice continued and I thought I learned everything there was to know about writing through the chapter’s fabulous meetings, workshops, on-line classes, contests and networking. And hey, I was still having fun, even though I had to tame that unrestrained flow of words. It was not until the chapter announced its first anthology of short stories Romancing the Pages that I gave serious thought to not only counting each word, but making each word count. My story, “The Guy with the Dragon Tattoo,” started out at 2,500 words. After many edits, it came in around 2,000. Gone are most of the dialogue tags, unnecessary description and background information, and a whole lot of narrative. I had a blast writing it, too.

The experience of writing and editing that short story got me thinking about my novel-length WIP. I’m still on my first draft, but you can bet as I edit I’ll be analyzing each scene, paragraph, sentence and word to make them count. That’s what powerful writing is all about. Yes, you can write sparingly and still convey powerful emotion. Hemingway can attest to that in his book consisting of only these six words: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” My eyes tear, my heart breaks every time I read them.

I challenge Hemingway! I will now sum up the most important thing you need to know about writing in one word: WRITE!!

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