The Me-First Syndrome

The Me-First Syndrome strikes all ages, genders and races and it has become a national epidemic. It is characterized by a blatant disregard for others. Impatience is the most common sympton but disrespect for others is a close second. Though it more commonly hits young people, it can affect any age.

It is especially noticable in drivers who pull out in front of traffic, make unsignalled turns, and use obscene gestures to show their displeasure for drivers who get in their way. Sometimes the me-first syndrome becomes dramatically worse and turns into road rage.

It seems this also happens at MacDonalds drive-throughs. Just last night a couple accosted the man behind them because he honked his horn. The horn honker got out of his car and the confrontation turned physical with the horn honker getting stabbed. Once the police sorted it all out, all three were charged with varying degrees of assault. Police listed impatience as the cause of the confrontation.

I dread the Christmas season rush on Black Friday. Every year someone who is trying to be first gets knocked down, trampled or assaulted by someone else who is trying to be first. What happens to normally complacent individuals to turn them into raving maniacs for a Christmas sale?

The other side of the coin is the people who are still curteous, helpful and kind. I am not very tall. When I go shopping,  it is inevitable that something I want is on a top shelf. Every week I ask some tall person, to reach something for me. I have never been turned down. It always gives me a good feeling to know there are still people in the world who will help a short, old lady get a bottle of diet root beer from the top shelf.



Book Marketing 101


Book Marketing 101

By Charles Weinblatt

Charles Weinblatt’s book on marketing is a comprehensive compilation of instructions of how to successfully market your book at little or no cost to you.

Weinblatt’s career spanned 30 years as a psychiatric and vocational counselor and a higher education administrator. A retired University of Toledo director, Weinblatt has fiction and non-fiction books published.

In addition to Book Marketing 101, he has another non-fiction book, Job Seeking Skills forStudents. His fiction work includes Jacob’s Courage: A Holocaust Love Story, Runaway Ducks and a sci-fi book, Lost and Found.


Book Marketing tells how to put the internet to work for you plus other ways to get your name and your book title out to readers. The more places you post it the better chance that you will sell books. He explains how to link it all together so a reader can buy your book with one click of a mouse. And the best part of it is that most of it is free.

re is my review of Book Marketing 101:

Anatomy and writers

As writers we need to pay close attention that what we write is anatomically correct. I recentlly read a book where the main female character was shot in her upper chest. The bullet went all the way through making a hole in her scapula (shoulder blade). But in the next chapter the writer says it missed her lung. How is that possible? I learned a lot about lungs when my husband had surgery to remove part of his right lung because of cancer. The lung  (in the book) was up high enough that it would have been puntured and would probably have collapsed.

In No Plans for Love, I have an incident where the female main character had the breath knocked from her so bad she stopped breathing. An ER nurse was on the scene and promptly gave her mouth-to-mouth resusitation. The girl was still aware of what was happening though she couldn’t breathe. An editor told me that if she was conscious she didn’t need to be resustitated. I wrote back that I had written it from personal experience. It took me half an hour to be breathing properly. No ER nurse worth her salt is going to wait around that long to see if she can  breathe on her own. It’s still in the book. Believe me, not being able to breathe is not a fun experience.

In another novel by a very popular author, the female protagonist was a petite 5’2″ but she had long legs. In another novel, the main male character had green eyes in the first chapter, but in subsequent chapters, he had gray eyes.

Love scenes are something else. Especially when they are between a big man and a small woman. I am less than five feet tall. My husband was nearly six feet tall. I know from experience some of those things written are not anatomically possible unless both partners are contorionists.

In any written work, we as writers have a responsibility to our readers not to make these mistakes. We should at least have a working knowledge of the human body. If we don’t, it is not that difficult to find the necessary information, either in reference books or on the internet. And we must make certain that we get the details correct in subsequent chapters. I usually go back and read over my work if I am in doubt. I’d rather take the extra time to be sure than to publish a book that is incorrect.

We also need to be aware of what we have written in previous chapters so we don’t make mistakes that may confuse the reader.

An added note: my book No Plans for Love is now on Amazon Kindle.

Arguing With God

I belive that God tells us what to do through the Holy Spirit. When I gave my book the title Alison’s Little Bastard, I knew God didn’t want it that way but I did it anyway. I even had Betsy make the cover that way. Every time I tried to upload it to Smashwords, it would be bounced back, usually because some little thing I didn’t do right. I knew God didn’t want me to use that title because I have a sister named Alison and it would be insensitive to go ahead with that title.

After the fourth try, I was getting frazzled. Again, I went through the style guide and carefully did everything the book told me to. I sat looking at my manuscript. A little voice inside me said, “Change the title.” I did and it went through on the first try. Oops! I forgot to change the cover title.

I zipped off an email to Betsy telling her of my glaring error. But I got no return email. I knew Betsy wouldn’t abandon me like that. I thought she might be busy so I waited until the next morning. No email! Not one! (More about this later.) I usually have about thirty emails every morning. Something was definitely wrong.

I called Windstream. It took nearly an entire morning to get my email flowing again. I sent off another note telling Betsy that I email had been down and would she please get back to me. She sent me a new book cover and the problem was fixed. My book, No Plans for Love, is now on Smashwords.

Now, back to the reason I wasn’t getting my emails. You all know how annoying those job “discussions” are on LinkedIn. I put the name of one of them on my filter. I also learned why they send three or four in a row. After two rejections, my filter stopped all my emails. I got my email back up and I guess I shall just delete those annoying “discussions.”

When I logged onto the internet, my home page showed 28 emails. That made me happy. I guess I better go read them.

Learning never stops

Continuing education–this is a subject dear to my heart. Just because a student graduates from school or college doesn’t mean his or her learning becomes stagnant. Even for those who are dropouts it is possible to pick up where they left off and earn a GED and even go on to college. I was 42 when I went off to college to study mass communication. I felt very self-conscious about my age, but then I noticed just how much gray hair there was in my classes.

I took my studies seriously and worked hard to earn my degree. I have often told others, “If you want something enough, you’ll find a way.” I did. I’ve told my kids, “No matter what ‘they’ take away from you they can never take away your education, what you know.”

Not all learning is done in the classroom. I have always felt disappointed that some employers aren’t willing to hire someone without a certain degree even though that person has much experience experience in a certain field. Experience is invaluable. I tell the young people I am in contact with, “Learn all you can even if it’s something you don’t want to do. You never know when that knowledge will come in handy.”

As people mature, their likes, dislikes  and interests change. They may want to do something other than their current field of work. Continuing their education is a way to augment their current status. Also for the dropouts, it is possible to get a GED and go on to greater things.

One of my best friends in college did exactly that. When her son wanted to drop out of school, she told him no. He brought up the fact that she had never graduated. She made him a deal. She would take her GED test and if she passed he had to stay in school. She not only got her GED she went on to college. Unfortunately cancer interfered with her plans and she never got to fulfill her dreams. I still miss talking to her. We shared a lot of information and fun.

Anyone who wishes to further their education can, even if it is one small step at a time. A professor at Bucknell University once told me that if you are accepted at a university or college they will help you get the funding. That was about twenty years ago. I don’t know what the situation is these days of tough economic times. All I can say is don’t give up. If you want to learn more, you can find a way.


Who I am and what I do

My name is Ruth Ann Hixson. I live in a village in Central Pennsylvania. I’m a 68-year-old, retired journalist. I write, review books, edit and beta read. My genres of choice are romantic mysteries, romantic western, romantic historical and romantic contemporary. I also review some non-fiction if it is a category I like. I reserve the right to refuse to write a review for poorly written work. I will make suggestions as to how the work can be improved but that is up to the writer. I have only turned down two so far. I find most writers are willing to read my correspondence and correct their writing. Most have a desire to improve. None of us is perfect, me included.

I will beta read stories in the genres I have listed. I will give an author an honest assessment of his/her work and what can be done to imporve it. I have read a few that were just fine the way they were.

When I do an edit I do not charge a fixed fee. However, I would appreciate it if the writer would offer a gratuity. When I edit, I try to keep the author’s own words. It is the writer’s work, not mine. In fact I don’t actually change anything. I mark in red what I feel needs changed and let the writer make the changes.

I look forward to writing about more than myself in future posts.