Monday, September 30, 2013

Hearts of Gold Preview


Profound innocence.  Can it be accurately defined?
It is the soft look on a baby's face as they really notice you for the first time.  The second their beautiful eyes open and gaze lovingly into your own while their tiny fingers grip your hand.  The feel of your heart as it leaps happily in your chest, overcome with a clarity, a joy unmatched by any other.  You could swear you see clearly into the depths of their precious soul.  The moments you fall in love with them over and over again.
It is the need for a puppy to curl up at your feet only to bounce up and follow you wherever you may go.  The writhing of their body as you bend down to cradle them in your arms.  The smell of their breath as they nestle their furry face next to yours.
It is the look of complete and utter trust as your toddler puts their faith in you to love them, teach them and keep them out of harm's way.  Or the feel of their tiny arms wrapped around you as they lay their heads down to sleep at night. The gentle sound of their voice as they whisper they love you.
It is the exhilarated tail wag as your senior dog awaits your arrival.  The unbridled enthusiasm as you greet them at the door.
Innocence and purity.  These are the makings of real and tender love, most often found in children and dogs, and often recognized by each other.
These are the very terms that describe Hearts of Gold.

Chapter 1-The Sanctity of Marriage

The inside of a home should be cozy and warm, blanketed by the love between husband and wife, not chilled by a hatred that a blazing fire couldn't kindle.
From the moment of inception, and quite conceivably some time before, an insurmountable grief had been bestowed upon Peyton's young life—a period when innocence and youth should have gone hand in hand, a time when the only darkness should have always been accompanied by a comforting bedtime story and a favorite teddy bear.
Instead, her darkness began in the wee hours of almost every morning and continued until her tiny body lay to rest at night.
Her horrors were measured by how well her mother could keep her father's temper at bay. With his short fuse, the method of measurement was almost always cut in half.
No one could blame the frigid weather for the constant chill in the air. It would have been more accurate to blame the bitterness on the likes of Wayne Henry Bishop, Peyton's father.
While often it was Peyton's mother, Morgan, who suffered the brunt of the beatings, Wayne was not shy about raising his fist to his daughter on occasion or assaulting her with words, mostly those meant to diminish her self-esteem. He had all the ammunition he needed, like the neighborhood bully, and fired away at his daughter every chance he saw fit.
In no way could he even be classified as a caregiver to Peyton.
Peyton's mother on the other hand did what she could to give Peyton a normal life, though it wasn't much. With her petite build, porcelain skin, beautiful light brown hair, and cerulean blue eyes, most men would've agreed that Morgan was a catch. If they were smart, they would consider themselves lucky just to be in her presence. Her husband's awareness of her beauty only made him more determined to maintain control. He dangled her very life in front of her like a carrot before a starving bunny.
She could remember when it first started—the beatings. Back then it was more of a slap here or a push there.
At first, it amounted to nothing more than a shock, a burst of confusion, a blow to her ego.
Morgan was always confident, never submissive. She was also capable of a hot temper when warranted, but she was no match for his brawny build of six foot four or the fiery beast that grew within.
When the slaps turned into punches, her foolish pride was what initially kept her in a marriage that her parents hadn't approved of from the very beginning.
It wasn't long before she had a change of heart. She would trade her pride for her life any day. But she wondered now if it was too late.
During Morgan's pregnancy, Wayne flaunted his masculinity by using her stomach as a punching bag when things didn't go his way, which was quite frequently according to him.
From the bruises she sustained, it was a miracle that she survived his abuse, no less managed to carry her pregnancy to full term.
He felt that by "punishing" her, he would teach her a very valuable lesson. And what a teacher he was.
He boasted to her in private, claiming that he was making her tough and the baby even tougher. He held their lives by a string; they were mere puppets to do what he wanted when he commanded it be done. 
On the rare occasions where she chose to fight back, he put her in her place with frequent threats.  "I can kill you in a heartbeat.  You're just lucky that I choose not to, Morgan."
His seemingly charming personality was his saving grace around all of Morgan's friends. No one in their right minds would ever suspect he was capable of hurting so much as a hair on her head.
In addition, he kept his arrogant comments to himself, especially when she came imminently close to death in the hospital after a severe beating. The doctors were pleasantly surprised when she recovered, though they weren't naive. When the physician on call questioned him about Morgan's dire condition, Wayne adamantly denied any allegations of abuse to his young wife. He rattled off one lame excuse after the other, an act he'd improved upon subsequent to each beating. If lying was a muscle, his was definitely toned.
"Oh, Morgan's always hurting herself. She's been like that since the day I met her.  Thankfully I was around otherwise who knows what would've happened!" 
The nurses predicted that Morgan would deny any abuse, and they were right. As soon as Morgan recovered enough that she could speak, she stuck up for her husband, an act she'd perfected and one she thought she performed flawlessly.
Sadly, it was common for the hospital staff to see women admitted into emergency rooms with a bloody nose or a broken leg. It was also common that these same women suffered with battered woman syndrome.
Morgan was no different, fitting the cookie-cutter image to a genuine fault.
Taught to be a loyal wife, or at least threatened if she didn't behave as such, she never admitted anything was wrong with her marriage. Until she took those difficult first steps, no one would be able to help her.
Her excuses always seemed viable for the many bruises she wore. Friends had witnessed firsthand how clumsy Morgan appeared.
Her friend Tracy had even seen Morgan take a spill down the front steps outside of her apartment in a snowstorm. She surmised that Morgan fell because the steps were icy. It seemed like a logical explanation at the time.
What Tracy didn't know—and couldn't know—was that Morgan fell due to a beating Wayne had given her moments earlier.
His irrational gripe? Morgan had made plans to go out without asking his permission first. He accused her of having an affair, even though he was quite aware that she was going shopping with Tracy, her lifelong best friend.
So when Morgan stepped out onto the steps, she was still shaking from the pain her husband had inflicted, causing her legs to give out beneath her and take a tumble. Like the coward that he was, he made sure not to bruise her in any obvious areas. Her stomach was the first place he usually aimed.
When Tracy asked if she was okay, Morgan responded with, "Oh, yea. I'm so clumsy.  I should've known better than to wear these shoes."  She dismissed the fall as if it were completely normal, even though she was in agonizing pain.
Unfortunately, Morgan never did share her misery with Tracy. To the outside world, Morgan and Wayne had the ideal marriage, aside from their financial issues. But hey, who didn't have problems with the economy in despair? And Wayne wouldn't have it any other way. He threatened that if she told a soul, he would kill her and their unborn baby.
"Promise me you'll do as I say or they'll be hell to pay, Morgan.  Do I make myself clear?"
She typically answered with a nod.  She was backed into a corner, given no choice.
She believed he'd make good on his promise. He'd brought her close to death many times before but then nursed her back to health after his rampage was over. His beatings came simultaneously when he had a strong buzz on. His alcohol of choice was good old Jack Daniels. Once he was able to see straight again, he'd "fix up" his wife, as he called it, apologize, and expect to start anew without any repercussions, as if it were perfectly acceptable to beat someone weaker than him.  There was always a reason as well.
"If you only hadn't said this, Morgan."  Or, "If you only hadn't said that."
It was never his wrongdoing.  In his mind, Morgan was the only one at fault.
She had planned to leave him once Peyton was born, but her plan went awry when he discovered her hidden stash of money. That was when the big beating came down on her, teaching her a lesson she'd never forget: don't ever cross Wayne Bishop.
And she didn't forget. Now, she learned to be more careful.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Paw Prints in the Sand

Introducing my latest book, Paw Prints in the Sand-Available on Kindle, Nook and in paperback on

Prologue: Precious Innocence

A dog is not a thing. A thing is replaceable. A dog is not. A thing is disposable. A dog is not. A thing doesn’t have a heart. A dog’s heart is bigger than any “thing” you can ever own.

The buildings are always the same; old rusty cages, the unmistakable smell of fear; desperate dogs begging for loving homes, their raspy cries echoing throughout the lonely and frigid hallways.

As you trudge up and down the aisles of a kill shelter, you see that each crate houses an abandoned animal whose yearning eyes plead while your heart melts into a roaring sea of helplessness. How did they get here? Why them? No one deserves this.

You want so badly to rescue them. You’d love to take all of them home, but of course, it isn’t feasible.

As you look into the innocent eyes of each dog, you know it’ll be less than a week before the older ones lose their life, and the young “vicious” dogs, as they have been stereotypically labeled, only have a few more days at most.

While you’re there, you can’t help but wonder, do they know? Is there any possible way the dogs realize what cruelty fate has in store for them? Admitting that painful truth to yourself is harder than you ever imagined.

The thought races out of your mind as quickly as it had entered. Not because you don’t care—God knows you care more than anything—but because it is too difficult to accept the harsh reality.

But, alas, there’s still that somewhat gratifying feeling of knowing that you are there to make a difference in at least one of their lives.

You have a spot, or maybe even two, in your home and more than enough love in your heart to accommodate these precious creatures and hopefully free up some room for another unfortunate stray at the facility in the process.

At least that’s how it happened for Chelsea and Anthony Shelton.

Chapter 1: Love Unguarded

There will always be detours in the fascinating game called life. Find the path to your heart’s desires, and stay on course.

 Chelsea and Anthony had been teenage sweethearts, who, like most at that young age, broke up for a short while to sow their oats before realizing they were true soul mates.

Before they got back together, they each dabbled in the party scene and enjoyed a few drinking binges, complete with the dreaded hangovers the next day, but realized that wasn't the permanent lifestyle they sought after.  Eventually, they found their way back into each other’s hearts in their early twenties and had been together ever since.

Both became successful, conscientious individuals and though they occasionally had arguments like every married couple, they respected and genuinely cared for one another.

They weren't considered glamorous by any means, but were definitely average in looks.  Chelsea had long, brown hair and light green eyes and Anthony was blessed with a muscular physique and full head of thick, sandy brown hair.

Married only four years, they’d already experienced their share of hardships with trying to start their family. They wanted nothing more than to have a child of their own, but after they both underwent a series of medical tests, the doctors revealed that it just wasn’t in the cards for them.  A major disappointment as since the day they were married, they’d always imagined sharing their lives with at least two children, and a family dog to complete the picture.  

With the support of their beloved family and friends, they got over the initial shock of their misfortune, and moved forward with plans to adopt a child. The downside was that according to the adoption agency, it might take years. And there were no guarantees.

Although they were understandably disappointed, they decided that in the interim they would still consummate the second portion of their plan. After giving it some thought, there was no valid reason to put their lives on hold.

They'd been prepared to rescue a shelter dog and each time they sat through the tear-jerking commercials on the television, they realized in their heart that now was as good a time as any.

It was an early Saturday morning when they drove down to the town shelter. The building itself rested at the end of a cul-de-sac, surrounded by nothing but trees and a broken-up parking lot to match the brokenhearted pups inside.

When they ambled in through the double-glass doors, the middle-age volunteer greeted them with a personality as lively as a crumbled piece of that parking lot. Barely acknowledging their arrival, she merely pointed the way toward the gray, metal door that housed the dogs. Then she buried her face in her fitness magazine.

This establishment was known as a kill-shelter, and Chelsea speculated that to volunteer in the facility, it was probably better off that one didn’t show any emotion, as demonstrated by the detached woman occupying the front desk.

With so many dogs being neglected, abandoned, dumped, abused, and everything in between, there are never enough facilities to provide shelter for all of them. What adds to the devastation is that often shelter dogs fail to get adopted due to their seemingly aggressive behavior, even if they were once friendly on the outside.

Nine times out of ten, something changes their disposition once they get locked up. Their personalities shift, whether it be from the fear, the isolation, the confusion, the cold cement floors, or the lack of toys. Or it may be from being bereft of exercise, deprived of love, or simply because they can smell the death of their canine peers from the euthanasia rooms. The necessity to survive causes them to lose their trust and more importantly, their confidence.

The unfamiliar noises and lonely environment do nothing to mollify their fears. Since they appear aggressive, the likeliness of them finding a good home diminishes. It’s the same doleful story in every facility, yet their population continues to increase daily.

As the door slammed behind Chelsea and Anthony, it resonated, setting off a chorus of frenzied barks from the distressed occupants. The couple walked gingerly past the countless rows of crates, trying their best not to frighten any of the dogs, each one looking more desperate than the last.

Had it not been for one dog’s demanding howl, Chelsea might have run out of the building empty handed. The absolute realization and heartache was too much for her to bear.

But that howl.

It was the single thing that caused her to laugh when she was on the verge of tears. That demanding howl, combined with the act of the dog maneuvering his scrawny paw through the cage in a sincere effort to grab her leg, as if to say, “Hey, get over here. Come be my new mom.”

Aside from his disheveled exterior, he was indubitably striking. Like most shelter dogs, he was in dire need of a thorough grooming, as his knotted hair was course and his skin flaky. The hardened goop under his eyes appeared as if it hadn’t ever been cleaned.

Underneath that tangle of golden fur was a bright-eyed, energetic sweetheart of a dog. His fox-like ears bent forward toward his light brown eyes, which revealed an expression that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but hope.

His sparkling personality shined through like an illuminating star, and those same hopeful eyes translated a heartfelt story that words would never be able to accurately describe.

In the cage directly across from him sat a more demure canine that appeared to be his twin. She wasn’t nearly as vocal, but just as stunning, if not more so. Her golden fur was also knotted right behind the ears, and her paws were caked with mud, presumably from yesterday’s rainfall. She sat erect, the previously white tuft on her chest now gray and soiled. Both of the dogs had clearly been neglected even before they had arrived at the shelter.

Chelsea had already made up her mind when she turned back to catch Anthony’s eyes, who was grinning from ear to ear. He didn’t have to say a word.

“Both?” she whispered, knowing her husband well enough to read his mind.

He nodded. “Absolutely.” Though he was a man broad in stature, he was normally not flagrant with his emotions. This time, however, tears pooled in the corners of his hazel eyes. Apparently, the dismal environment was heart wrenching for him as well.

While they discussed it, another volunteer turned the corner and greeted them. This one seemed to have notably more compassion than the woman occupying the front desk. She smiled warmly at them before realizing that they were interested.

“Have you decided on which dog you’d like to take home today?” she asked Chelsea. After helping out at the shelter for so many years, it was easy for the volunteer to recognize the vibrant sparkle in Chelsea’s eyes that could signify only love at first sight—the special kind that often transpires between human and dog.

Chelsea couldn’t wait for Anthony to speak, so she took the lead. “Yes, please. We’re interested in these two.” She pointed to the female and male. The male was ignoring the conversation, focusing on reaching through the bars, trying to grasp the shoelaces on Chelsea’s sneaker.

They asked the volunteer a number of questions, including whether or not the dogs were related, wondering if perhaps they were brother and sister. The volunteer said that, to the best of her knowledge, they were not.

She informed them that they had been surrendered within two days of each other. The male’s age was estimated to be approximately a year and a half, while the female was about a year old.

Both were unmistakably purebred Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers. They had all the markings, the white tuft, the fox-like ears, the pink nose and lips, and the light eyes that matched their golden coat.

While some families have no other choice but to surrender their dogs because of hardships, financial difficulty or medical issues, these dogs were given up needlessly.

Apparently, the male was given up because he barked incessantly, and his owners couldn’t handle the atrocious noise level. They admitted that they didn't have the time or the patience to train him.

The female was turned in because she wasn’t housebroken yet, even though that was due to no fault of her own. Rather than train her, the previous owners argued that dogs should instinctively know how to take care of business. They voiced their frustration and said they wanted her out of the house as soon as possible.  The shelter took her in that same day.

Hearing their heartbreaking stories further confirmed their decision, and it took only moments for Chelsea and Anthony to fill out the necessary paperwork.

Within an hour, the dogs were on their way to their new home, finally given a second chance at enjoying their lives as they should, which was an opportunity many other dogs are never granted.

Sadly, the pair was hesitant to meander out of the facility. Both dogs tucked their tails between their legs, both were frightened and shy—most likely stemming from their stay at the shelter.

But once they walked outside with their new owners, the warm breeze wafted a plethora of new scents to their keen noses, allowing them to do what came naturally to them—just be dogs. To a dog, smelling the scents of other dogs, humans, or creatures that had visited a path before them is a luxury in itself.

Hearing the natural songs of the wildlife, even smelling something simple such as flowers that are in bloom, is a wondrous joy. To them, each unique scent tells a captivating story and is a vibrant indication that they are still alive, and more importantly, it signifies that there is hope.

Before long, the two dogs slowly began to wag their tails with unbridled enthusiasm. Moments later, they even danced around each other, demonstrating the customary canine greeting that initiates a friendship and builds the foundation for an everlasting relationship. It was a sight to remember.

Before leaving the shelter, Chelsea and Anthony had been advised that the female had been spayed, but the male had not yet been altered. So the first thing they did once the adoption was finalized was make an appointment at the vet to have Spice neutered. The appointment was set for the first of March, three weeks after his adoption date. Sugar wouldn’t have to go to the vet for shots until a month later.
Copyright © 2012 Elizabeth Parker
Designer of LVJewels Buddy Bracelets -Click Here to order your bracelet today!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

MS Word I Help- Final Week -Tutor Thursday

As promised, here's the final instructions for Step I of Word. Congratulations-you finished!!

Small disclaimer here. I'm in no way employed or affiliated with Microsoft. I am not selling this information-it is completely free. While I've made a genuine effort to ensure the quality of this manual, there is no warranty provided and I disclaim any accountability and liability for any damages resulting from the utilization of the data provided in this manual or products described in it. All sample exercises and files are fictional and any similarity to real people is strictly coincidental.

Change Case

Inserting a Table
Converting Text to Table
Converting Table to Text
Hiding Gridlines
Word Count

Change Case
SUPPOSE THAT YOU HAVE JUST TYPED AN ENTIRE SENTENCE AND REALIZE ONLY NOW THAT YOUR CAPS LOCK WAS ON. You can easily change this by selecting ‘Format’ from the toolbar. Then change ‘Change case.’

The following screen will appear. From here, you can then choose ‘Sentence case’ to make the above sentence appear normal again.

There is an option to create a more exciting background to your layout if you plan to use your document on a web layout or browser. To add a background to your documents, click on Format>> Background to view the following screen.

You are brought to your basic color dialog box for which you may or may not be familiar. To choose a background color, just click on the color of your choice. For even more choices, (can you stand the excitement?), click on the “more colors” or “fill effects” options to enhance your choice.


To choose a theme for your document, click on Format>>Theme. On the left will be a list of the titles of the themes and on the right you will see a preview. Just click on the theme you would like and Click Ok.

Inserting a Table

This is a great tool for many reasons. Primarily, many worksheets or surveys that you see every day are either created in Excel or believe it or not, Word. The advantage to using a Word’s table is that if you already in a Word document, you can add the table, survey or worksheet right there. No need to create a whole new document. Secondly, the table in word can be a stand-alone table or an actual excel table!

To insert a table, simply click on Insert Table to add a stand-alone table. In this next screen, choose the number of columns and the number of rows you wish to appear in your column. (If you change your mind later, you can always add or delete rows and columns).
It should look a little something like this:

If you need to delete any cells, highlight the cells you wish to delete. Then go to Table>> Delete >> Cells. The following screen will appear.
You can then choose the layout of where you want the remaining cells to be positioned.
To insert additional rows or columns simply highlight your existing table, then go to Table>>Insert>>Columns to the left or right, or rows above or below or cells.

To Merge cells (combine two cells together), highlight the cells you wish to merge and then click on Table>>Merge Cells.

To Split cells (Put a “table like” cell inside of another cell). Highlight the cells you wish to split and click on Table>>Split Cells.

Converting Text to Table

Word has included a neat little feature to save you some time….and a lot of aggravation. Suppose that you have just typed a full paragraph, but realize that you want this in a table. All you need to do is highlight the text and go to Table>Convert>Text to Table.

The following screen will appear:

Choose the number of columns and/or rows you wish, along with the column width and where you want to separate text. I.e. separate text at ‘Paragraphs’.

Your paragraph will now look like this example:
Choose the number of columns and/or rows you wish, along with the column width and where you want to separate text. I.e. separate text at ‘Paragraphs’.
To make matters even easier, you can take the above table and convert it to text as I will explain in…….

Converting Table to Text

Amazingly, just as you can convert text to a table, you can also convert a table to text. Suppose you create this big, beautiful table that you are proud of (the spreadsheet kind, not the wooden kind) and your boss begins to tell you that he/she wants it to be in letter format, not a table. Well, now you can just change that back to text. No problem. All you do is highlight the forbidden table and follow these instructions.

Hiding Gridlines

Easy enough, but just in case you are wondering. If you have a table, but do not want the actual lines in the table to show…Highlight the table, go to Table>Hide Gridlines. The Gridlines will now be hidden and this option will now be dimmed. To show the gridlines, go back to Table>Hide Gridlines (it should now NOT be dimmed) and the table will have gridlines.


Sounds like a song…but its not, as far as I know. This option, you may already know if you are familiar with Microsoft products. In case you do not…

Let’s say that you have just inserted a symbol, but have decided you did not want it there. You can just go to Edit>Undo (or the counterclockwise arrow on the toolbar). But, if you now decide you want it there after all, you can click Edit>Redo (or the clockwise arrow on the toolbar, if it is there).

Word Count

Whether you are writing a report for school, or a column for your businesses’ newspaper, this feature will save you a lot of time! All you have to do to count how many words are in your document is:

1. Highlight the paragraph(s) you wish to count, or you can highlight the whole document by selecting Edit> Select All.
2. Go to Tools
3. Word Count
4. A dialog box will appear showing you the following information in a matter of seconds!

This section is designed to familiarize you with the available Help menu that is included with Word. It is a very concise tool for helping you do many of the functions available. At the very least, it will explain how the functions are utilized.

Once you click on ‘Help’ located on the toolbar, you will be brought to the following screen where you can ‘Search for’ help in the search line.

Once you enter your item in the search line, a new dialog box will appear with some choices to choose from that most closely resembles the issue or question you are having. Make your selection and then follow the instructions on the screen.

One other feature that is available in the Help menu is the word ‘About.’ All this does is let you know the version of Word that you are currently using. This is helpful if you are ever trying to ask for assistance, but do not know which version you are using. The person that is assisting you may need to know this information, as each version differs from the next, so it will help narrow down the issue at hand.

Copyright © 2010 Elizabeth Parker

Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, Bark Out Loud!, My Dog Does That! Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil's Door and Faces of Deception

Thursday, April 26, 2012

MS Word Help-Tutor Thursday

Since I have been providing technical support for a while now, I've received many phone calls and emails from friends, associates and even strangers seeking help with Microsoft Office.  While I'm no longer able to provide support, I did create a technical manual to help in these situations.  I've decided to post it here, just in case you're looking for some assistance!  I realize this is more than just a preview- it's actually the entire book!   I'll post part II next Thursday. 
Small disclaimer here.  I'm in no way employed or affiliated with Microsoft.  I am not selling this information-it is completely free.  While I've made a genuine effort to ensure the quality of this manual, there is no warranty provided and I disclaim any accountability and liability for any damages resulting from the utilization of the data provided in this manual or products described in it.  All sample exercises and files are fictional and any similarity to real people is strictly coincidental.
That being said- hope this helps!

Today's part covers the following:

From the beginning…Word for the Novice
The Differences Between Save and Save As
Font-Style, Shape, Size
Spell Check
Find and Replace
Bullets and Numbering
Justification and Indentation
Inserting Page Breaks
Inserting Page Numbers
Inserting Date and Time

From the beginning…Word for the Novice

Microsoft Word is a limitless word processing program that provides you with the tools to make great documents, reports, business cards, mailing letters and much more.

To open Word, double click the Word icon on your desktop, or by Selecting Start>Programs>Microsoft Word.

You will be brought to a blank screen resembling a blank piece of paper. To begin entering information, you can start typing on this blank page. If you want to go through a specialized wizard for formatting letters, resumes, memos, faxes, etc., click on File>New. You will be brought to a new screen, enabling you to switch between tabs. From here, select the document you would like the Word wizard to help you create. You may want to experiment with each choice to see which type work for you. Just double click on the icon of your choice and follow the steps the wizard provides, hitting ‘Next’ after each screen.

On the bottom right you will notice there is an option to create a new document or template. The difference between them both is that a document is specific to one occasion, i.e., a one-time letter to your friend without formatting. A template will create a document that you can use various times, providing that you choose SAVE AS after each change. For example, Fax Letterhead. This will always contain your header and footer information, along with any additional detail you add that you want to appear on all your faxes. I will explain SAVE AS later in this book.

In this example, we will just choose a blank document.
  • A few important things before we begin. As a rule, I recommend that you save your work in intervals of every ten minutes. Also remember which folder you saved it in! This is not required, but you’ll find it to be imperative if you plan to work on sizable documents. There is nothing more frustrating than working for three hours on a document, only to have your computer decide it wants to take a nap, and there’s no sign of your work ANYWHERE! Believe me, I have done this and have never forgotten it. So, make a mental note before anything else, to save your work.
*There is a feature called auto save that automatically saves your work for you in a recovery file. This feature should also be checked. To do this:

1. Select Tools>Options>Save.
2. Select the Save Auto Recover check box.
3. In the minute’s box, enter the interval for how often you want Microsoft Word to save documents. More information is recovered if there is a power failure the more frequently it saves. Should be about every 5-10 minutes.

The Differences Between Save and Save As

If you are saving the document for the first time, clicking File>Save will open a dialog box, as shown, allowing you to choose which folder you wish to save in along with the file name, and type. If you have already saved the document once, clicking ‘Save’ will cause the screen to flash, and your documents updates will have been saved.

In Save in: Click the Down arrow to the right to select the folder you wish to save in. In File Name: Type the name of the document.

Choosing Save As type is for:

When you have created a template or document, typed in some additional text (or took some out) and want this document to be saved without changing the original template, choose ‘Save As.’

If you want to password protect this document, in the ‘File>Save As’ dialog box, choose Tools>Security Options.

If a password is required to open the document, enter a password in the ‘Password to Open’ text box. You will be prompted to enter it once more.

If a password is only required to modify the document, enter a password in the ‘Password to modify’ text box. You will be prompted to enter it once more.

You can have a password for both, if necessary.

When you have made all of your choices, select ‘Save.’


Toolbars are a nice, easy way to make changes on your document in a single click. If you want some items to appear on the toolbar, click on View>Toolbars. From there you can select many different options so that they appear at all times. Click on each of them to see the options they give you and choose the ones that you want.

Font-Style, Shape, Size

You may already have in mind a particular font that you use. For this example, we will use Californian FB. If you wanted to change the text to Californian FB on a document that is already completed with an Arial Text:

1. Highlight all the text by clicking Edit>Select All. This will highlight all text in the document.
2. Click on Format>Font. The following dialog box appears:

3. Choose the desired text from the down arrow in the font field. You can also change the font style, size, color, underline style and special effects if you click the down arrow in the Font Style field Size field, Font Color, Underline Style fields. Experiment also with the Effects field by checking each option off and viewing its appearance in the Preview field at the bottom of the dialog box. (If you want to ALWAYS have this font style, size, color, etc., click the Default button on the bottom left of the dialog box).
4. When you have chosen your desired Font formatting, click Ok and you will be brought back to your document.

You can also select your font before you type anything on the document by using steps 2-4.

Please Note: When you change text on a document you have already formatted, this font change may ALSO affect the spacing and formatting of your document. You will want to look over your document to make sure the spacing and formatting is correct.

Spell Check

Whether you have completed your document or you are still creating it, you can have Word perform a spell check for you to locate any errors and suggest replacements. To do so, simply click on Tools>Spelling and Grammar. One of the two screens below will appear depending upon whether a grammatical or spelling error exists. The upper box will contain the actual text from your document. The bottom box – (labeled Suggestions) will contain either grammatical suggestions or possible words that may fit what you may have meant to spell, (or it will simply say No suggestions). You then have four options. They are:

1. Ignore-Ignore Word’s advice as you may have typed it exactly as you want it after all, for example an acronym or name of a company.
2. Ignore Rule -Ignore the rule that Word suggests.
3. Next Sentence-Skip to the Next Sentence
4. Change-If you agree with Word’s suggestions. This will automatically change the grammar in its location.

You may also see the following (as shown in the above box).

1. Ignore All-if that last name is listed many times.
2. Add-Add the unaccepted text into Word’s dictionary so that it will not appear in spell check as an error.
3. Change-Use this if you made a mistake and accept Word’s suggestions. Since there may be more than one suggestion, make sure you highlight the one you want to accept before clicking ‘Change.’
4. Change All-If you realize that you have incorrectly spelled a certain piece of text incorrectly, click ‘Change All’ to correct any duplicates of that text.

Find and Replace

There may be times when you have written or are reading a document and want to find a specific word or phrase, perhaps a distinct word that you wanted to revisit. To find it easily, select ‘Edit’ from the toolbar. Then select ‘Find.’ From the dialog box that appears, type in the word you are seeking. If there are multiple instances of this word, you can keep clicking ‘Find Next’ until you find the correct instance.

Along those same lines is the ‘Replace’ function. Suppose you were typing a letter to Mr. Smith and you just realized his name is spelled ‘Smyth.’ You can look for all instances of ‘Smith,’ whether there is one or one thousand and replace it with the name ‘Smyth’ with just a click of a button. It makes life a lot easier! To do so, select ‘Edit’ from the toolbar. Then select ‘Replace.’ In the find box, you would enter ‘Smith’ to search for all instances and then in the ‘Replace with’ box, you would enter ‘Smyth.’ For this particular situation, you would select ‘Replace All’ but for other situations, you may only want to replace it one time, so you would just select ‘Replace.’

Once you select ‘Replace All,’ you will see a message that says:

Just click on the ‘OK’ button and you are finished!

Bullets and Numbering

To begin adding or numbers to a document for a formatted list as shown in these instructions:

1. Click on Format>Bullets and Numbering. The following dialog box will appear.
2. There are three tabs. Just select the format you would like, under any of the tabs and click okay.

You can also format the appearance of bullets you choose. To do this,

  •  From the above screen, click on any bullet format, except ‘None,’ and click customize.
  • The following screen will appear:
  • Click on ‘Bullet button’ to view the screen below.
  • Move your cursor around the screen to choose a bullet you like. For even more options, click on the down arrow in the Font screen.
  • Once you have found the bullet you want, click ‘OK.’ Then Click ‘OK’ again to return to your document.
  • This same method can be used for numbering; however, the screen will appear a little differently. 
  • Click on the Numbers tab and then click on customize to view the following screen.

  • Click on Number Style to change it what type of number style appears.
  • Start at- You can determine what letter or number you want to start at. On this screen, you can also change the Font, number position and alignment by just clicking on the corresponding down arrows.
  • Click ‘Ok’ and then click ‘Ok’ again to return to your document.
Justification and Indentation

If you look at the text in this manual, you will find that it is justified. The picture of above shows how an item looks centered (see the word “Centered”) and how the rest of the paragraph is justified so that all of the words end in the same spot on each line.

1. Select Format>Paragraph
2. On the screen that appears click on the down arrow labeled Alignment and choose how you would like to align your text.
3. On this screen you will also be able to modify indentation position and spacing.
Inserting Page Breaks

To insert breaks in your document:

1. Position your cursor where you want to make the page break.
2. Select Insert>Break.
3. The following screen will appear:
4. Choose the option that best describes how you want your page break to appear.
5. Then Click Ok.

Inserting Page Numbers

To insert a page number into your document:

1. Click on Insert>Page Number to display the following screen.
2. Choose where you want to position the page number and choose the alignment as well.
3. If your first page is a cover page, you may not want to start numbering on the first page. If this is the case, uncheck “Show number on first page."
4. Then click ‘OK.’

Inserting Date and Time

1. To Insert Date Stamp; Time, click on Insert>Date and Time.
2. Select the format of the date or time you wish to insert.
3. Click ‘OK.’
4. If you do not want this date to change every time you open the document, uncheck ‘Update automatically.’ For example, if you have inserted the date on a contract as “Contract Date,” you wouldn’t want that to change to the current date if you open the document to view it two years from the actual “Contract Date.”

To automatically insert normal greetings or closing lines to your document:

1. Click on Insert >AutoText.
2. Click on the type of AutoText you wish to insert and that is all. It is that simple!

For those of you who are thinking, “This is all too easy,” that is because Word is very user friendly. Once you obtain knowledge of what is available to you, there should be no problems working in Word. It may even be fun, can you imagine?

Now that you have mastered the basics, we can move on to some more interesting stuff, such as dressing up your document… in a tux. Just kidding, wanted to make sure you were paying attention!


If you are seeking a career in a printing company, this next topic may be of interest to you. As you can see, I am writing this in two columns worth of space, just like newspapers and magazines, which is what I will show you.

To have your document print in two columns, follow these easy instructions.

1. Type your document
2. Highlight the text you want to convert into columns.
3. Select Format>Columns. A dialog box appears, as shown below.

4. Choose how many columns you want under Presets. Or select the number of columns under Number of Columns.
5. If you want separate width and spacing for each column, you can specify this under Width and spacing.
6. On the right you will be shown a preview of how your document will look.
7. You also have the option to ‘Apply to: “This section,” meaning the text that you highlighted, “This point forward, “or the “Whole document.”
8. Voila, you have just created your first Newspaper article, and you learned how to spell “voila.” Things are getting better by the minute!

Okay- that's part I.  Stay tuned for next Thursday, part II.  I will go over:
Change Case

Inserting a Table
Converting Text to Table
Converting Table to Text
Hiding Gridlines
Word Count

Copyright 2010 Elizabeth Parker
Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, Bark Out Loud!, My Dog Does That! Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil's Door and Faces of Deception

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Faces of Deception

Free Preview! Now available on on Kindle!

Chapter 1: False Accusations?

“I know it was you, Montgomery. So help me if I find out that I’m right.” Carmine slammed his fist on the counter hard enough to cause the dusty cash register to bounce.
The shop had that musty odor that signified a professional cleaning crew had never stepped foot on premises.
“Boss, I’m telling you. It wasn’t me. Why would I steal from you? Huh? Tell me that. I’ve been working here too long for me to take anything from you and Donovan. I swear! You have my word.”
“Who else would've done it? The mice?” He raised his voice, causing his face to turn lobster-red and his eyes to transform into tiny slits. “Oh, I know. Maybe a mouse gently opened the front door without any signs of forced entry—perhaps they had an imaginary key—and stole money right out of the cash register and then quietly walked out.  Sure! That makes tons of sense. Why didn’t I think of that earlier? Then, that same rodent came back again and again, and not only stole money, but almost every expensive tool that we own. Is that what happened, Montgomery? You lanky lowlife!”
“No, I—I don’t know what happened. But, I’ll find out for you. I promise, I would never do anything like that. It wasn’t me.”
“Oh, well thank goodness we cleared that up. That’s great!” Carmine was infamous for being facetious. “You have a week to find out who is responsible. I’ll break your legs if I find out it was you. Don’t test me. You know I will.”
Ordinarily, Montgomery was an arrogant one. He looked like he belonged in a ’50s street gang, with his black hair slicked back and his smokes rolled up in his T-shirt. But he had the skills of a good plumber when he wasn’t high on cocaine, and that was the only reason he kept his job.
He was a little intimidated as Carmine’s veins pulsed on his forehead. They resembled bulging egg sacks that might hatch little aliens from them any minute. “If it was you, you better run and run far. I’ve taken enough of your horseshit throughout the years, but this is my breaking point. Do you hear me?” He threw a coffee can filled with nails at Montgomery’s head, purposely missing him by a quarter of an inch. “Next time, I’ll aim directly for your head and I won’t miss. That, I can assure you. Donovan is going through the videotapes and if I see your sorry ass on there, you’re dead.”
“You’re wrong, boss. It wasn’t me. I don’t know what I can do to prove it to ya, but I’m telling you, you’re wrong!”
“Fantastic. Then I’ll hire you back on Monday and maybe even apologize, but something tells me I won’t be doing any of that! If it was you, you won’t need a job where you’re going. Take my advice and watch your back, son. You’d better learn how to grow eyes in the back of your head. Now get the hell out of here.”
Carmine, the co-owner of South Side Plumbing for which Montgomery worked, always came across as though he'd been served vinegar with a side of lemons as his morning’s breakfast, even when not accusing his employees of stealing. It was rare to see a smile on his face, and if you did, it was most likely because he had a piece of food lodged between his yellowing teeth.
And though functional and sometimes even profitable, the plumbing business was just a facade.
Once, Carmine had actually made a modest living as a rookie plumber, who only dabbled in the drug scene every once in a while. But as with many drug users, his priorities in life shifted, turning his life of dabbling into a dependency.
Unable to handle the day-to-day responsibility of reporting to a higher authority, he partnered with Donovan, another drug user, though not yet an addict, to start their own company, though it was really a front. He needed to report his income somehow, even though a fraction of it came from dealing drugs. While the front of the shop looked normal, the backroom would be heaven to any drug addict lucky enough to stumble upon it. Upon first glance, it resembled a disorganized office. A wooden table covered with invoices stood in the middle of the room, the wood chipping off of both sides. Two metal chairs sat on either side of it, the kind that hurt to sit in after only a few minutes. To the left were a few shelves that held supplies—paper towels, pens, invoices, clipboards, and a few stray tools. What couldn’t be seen without closer inspection were fireproof safes that were carefully hidden underneath the floorboards or neatly tucked in the walls behind secret wooden panels. These safes housed scrupulously-measured bags of cocaine separated by grams, along with marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, oxycodone, and a myriad of other drugs.
As Montgomery walked out of the shop, Carmine shouted something behind him, no doubt some type of threat. But the door slammed before he could hear it. Montgomery knew Carmine would stop at nothing to get revenge—he’d done it before.
In the beginning of their joint venture, Donovan kept Carmine on his toes. Carmine and Donovan both worked full-time, but once Carmine’s social use became more of an everyday necessity, his work ethic became only a vague memory. Donovan knew Carmine had a problem when he started using drugs more than he sold them. His violent temper was often piqued when he couldn’t get his hands on a quick fix.
Though Donovan dabbled as well, he was at least able to exercise some self-control. He didn't depend upon drugs to get through his daily routine. Carmine, on the other hand, seemed to be losing his common sense with each passing day, so it was no wonder that he'd flown off the handle when his money disappeared, and then later that week when his tools vanished as well.
 A rumor had it that Carmine had injured people for less than theft, though it was a rumor Montgomery believed with all of his heart.
Montgomery knew that if Donovan caught anything suspicious on the security tapes, Carmine would make good on his promise. He only hoped Donovan, known for his levelheadedness, would step in and talk some sense into his uncontrollable partner.

Chapter 2:’Til Death Do Us Part

Tonight was going to be a superb evening for Montgomery. He and his friends had scored a deal on some cocaine and were having a party at Shelby’s house. He and Shelby had started dating—if you could call it that—a few months prior.  Their dates consisted of getting high on whatever drugs fell into their possession.
All of the cool people were going to be there. Artie, their main source, hinted that he was bringing along some ecstasy as well, and there was no way that Montgomery was missing it.
Just like Carmine and Donovan, Montgomery also frequented the drug scene.  It hadn't gotten to the point where his incessant need for drugs surpassed his ability to hold down a job, but he was definitely traveling steadily on the path toward addiction, similar to his parents. He used his upbringing as an excuse to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.
His father, Brian Allen Vendora, was a raging alcoholic who had never encountered a bottle he didn’t like. There was no way in hell he could ever hold down a job, and he frequently took out his frustrations on his wife, as well as Montgomery, and his older brother, Lewis.
His parents fought day in and day out. It wasn’t just tiny squabbles—their fights made televised boxing look like a sophisticated night at the ballet. Even as his mother’s face met the end of his father’s fist again and again, she clung to the old-fashioned theory that she should never leave, no matter how unbearable her life became.
Perhaps she couldn’t leave. Her suitcases were occasionally packed and lined up by the doorway, but somehow, some way, Mr. Vendora always discovered that his wife was planning on going on a permanent vacation—without him. And when he did, Mrs. Vendora wouldn’t be seen for days on end.
He saw his actions as punishment for her indecent behavior, and after a while, she succumbed to the old cliché—if you can’t beat him, join him. She started to indulge in more and more liquid meals herself. The two of them found solace in sharing a bottle of bourbon whiskey. From a distance, one might assume that Cupid had arranged the perfect match.
But Montgomery knew his mother drank to expedite her inevitable death, having decided it was impossible to make a clean getaway during in life. He questioned her poor choices and wondered why she never sought help.
Plus, the more inebriated that she became, the less she cared when her husband beat their kids to a pulp. During her sober days, she’d step in and take the brunt to protect her children, but that came to a halt when the tipped bottle became more important.
By the time Montgomery was fourteen, he had begun to scout out places where he could sleep overnight, especially during his parents’ drinking binges. They were usually too far gone to notice him leave, and by the time morning rolled around, he always returned with his parents none the wiser.
The next year, his father’s abuse landed his brother Lewis in the hospital, with bruises covering a good portion of his face and body. Once Lewis recovered, both boys left home to stay with friends. Lewis found a job first and then helped Montgomery get hired.
As bad as their childhoods were, once they were on their own, they were both surprisingly responsible. They found a small one-bedroom apartment on the south side of town, which they shared and split the rent. Lewis gave the bedroom to Montgomery, while he slept in the center of the tiny living room.
Lewis worked hard to pick up the pieces of his life, consciously refraining from alcohol and drugs. But Montgomery eventually gave in to his own self-pity and spent his free time drinking and partying like there was no tomorrow. He told Lewis that he had “earned that right.” It was only a matter of time before he began to experiment with marijuana, and then graduated to a few lines of cocaine here and there. After two years on his own, Montgomery was experimenting with heroin and any other street drugs he could get his hands on. It was a wonder that he was still able to keep a job, but he knew that in order to get his hands on drugs, he needed to work.
One night, after a full day of partying, Montgomery stumbled into the apartment that he shared with Lewis, breaking a lamp and waking his brother in the process. When Lewis told him that he had had enough and demanded that Montgomery get his life together, Montgomery began screaming in a petulant rage. He took a swing at Lewis, missed, and fell face down on the floor.
That was the end of the proverbial rope for Lewis. While he didn’t want to be responsible for tying the noose, he didn’t want to be an enabler, either. He had lived his entire childhood witnessing alcoholism and abuse. He didn't want to stand by to see his brother spiral out of control.
Left with no other choice, he packed his brother’s bags and gave him until the end of the week to get out, hoping it would be the motivation that his brother needed to get his life in order.
Unfortunately, it had the adverse effect, because Montgomery, then age seventeen, left the next morning without saying a word. From that point on, he rented rooms from people, lived with strangers that he met on the street, and sometimes, his home was nothing more than a cardboard box or a rusty, cold bench in the middle of a vacant park. He hadn’t seen his brother since. 
He never regretted his choice to cut ties —or at least he never let on if he did—and never tried to contact Lewis again.  When he acquired employment with Carmine three years later, he admitted that he considered his brother dead.

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Elizabeth Parker- Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, My Dog Does That!, Bark Out Loud!, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil's Door and Faces of Deception