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The Bottom Line

June 9th, 2014 | Posted by Annette in Perspectives - (0 Comments)

In my life, I’ve noticed that most peo­ple go through a period of life where they blame oth­ers for what­ever injus­tice they believe has been inflicted upon them. I’ve been there myself, more times that I care to admit. I think it’s human nature to blame oth­ers. But I also think that it’s unproductive–even dam­ag­ing. Every­one has been through hard things. None of us really knows the life of another. Some people’s prob­lems are obvi­ous while other’s are hid­den. On top of that, life is never “fair.” But look­ing back­wards all the time, blam­ing fam­ily or even the world for our prob­lems won’t solve any­thing. I am reminded of an African Amer­i­can spir­i­tual titled, “Hold On.” The idea in the song is to not give up. Hold on! A line from the lyrics goes like this, “Can’t plow straight if you’re look­ing back.” In other words, mov­ing for­ward is much more dif­fi­cult if we hold on to the grudges of the past. Instead, work towards your goals instead of fes­ter­ing over past injus­tices. For­get or for­give past injuries, whether real or imag­ined. It really will make life eas­ier. Move for­ward so that you can work towards your dreams instead of your nightmares.


Unknown author

FACE IT, nobody owes you a liv­ing.
What you achieve, or fail to achieve in your life­time
Is directly related to what you do or fail to do.
No one chooses his par­ent or child­hood,
But you can choose your own direc­tion.
Every­one has prob­lems and obsta­cles to over­come,
But that too is rel­a­tive to each indi­vid­ual.

You can change any­thing in your life
If you want to badly enough.
Excuses are for losers! Those who take respon­si­bil­ity for their actions
Are the real win­ners in life.
Win­ners meet life chal­lenges head on
Know­ing there are guar­an­tees, and give it all they’ve got
And never think it’s too late or too early to begin.

Time plays no favorites
And will pass whether you act or not
Take con­trol of your LIFE
Dare to Dream and take risks.……
If you aren’t will­ing to work for your goals
Don’t expect oth­ers to.


March 27th, 2014 | Posted by Annette in Perspectives - (0 Comments)

Kent and LyndseyMost peo­ple have been touched by can­cer in one way or another. Whether it’s a rel­a­tive or some­one close to you, I think we all know the ter­ror of that word. At times it seems unspeak­able, and the treat­ment is just as dreaded, not to men­tion expen­sive. My nephew, Kent, recently found out that he has colon can­cer. At 25 years old, it was a shock­ing dis­cov­ery. Instead of wor­ry­ing about school and tuition, his con­cerns turned to things that should be reserved until later in life.

Chemo. That sin­gle word says so much. It’s poi­son aimed at killing the can­cer cells. Unfor­tu­nately, because it is poi­son, the treat­ment affects the entire body. Any­one who has seen chemo up close knows just how bad it can be, espe­cially when a patient is young. The kind of chemo given to the young is almost always more pow­er­ful and aggres­sive, mean­ing that it’s seri­ously toxic stuff, which leads to extreme symp­toms and longterm effects.

I’m not able to explain it myself. It’s too much and I am ill equipped to put such things into words. Thank­fully Kent’s wife, Lyn­d­sey, has taken the time to share a few of the details. If you would like to read about Kent’s jour­ney, click on the link HERE.

I wish we lived in a world where the sick could focus their atten­tion on get­ting well. Instead we live in a world where the sick have to worry about how to pay for treatment.

If you would like to make a dona­tion to help Kent bat­tle can­cer, please click HERE.

Thank you so much!


Sight Singing

March 24th, 2014 | Posted by Annette in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Sight Singing in Solfege

I’m in the process of adding a sight singing unit to my music stu­dio. In the future, these “work­sheets” will be found under my music stu­dio “sight singing” tab.

I use solfege con­stantly when teach­ing voice stu­dents. It’s such a use­ful tool for ear train­ing and can be equally use­ful in teach­ing stu­dents to read music. These work­sheets have been designed as a resource for teach­ers and may be copied for inci­den­tal, non-commercial use.


sltdgabcThe first step to sight singing is to learn to sing a major scale while using the hand signs. Engag­ing the hands while singing will increases your under­stand­ing and reten­tion. After you have mas­tered the scale, try mix­ing up the pitches. After you have the pitches and hand signs down, move on to the worksheets.

Sight Singing 1.0 in the Key of C. Under­stand­ing the rela­tion­ship between Do and So.

Sight Singing 1.1 in the Key of C. Under­stand­ing the rela­tion­ship between Do, Mi, and So.

Sight Singing 1.2 in the Key of C. More prac­tice under­stand­ing the rela­tion­ship between Do, Mi, So.



Key Signatures in Major Keys

March 15th, 2014 | Posted by Annette in Educational | Music - (0 Comments)

To view a PDF work­sheet out­lin­ing key sig­na­ture, click on the link: Major Key Sig­na­tures

All musi­cians must learn to iden­tify key sig­na­tures and play within them. In par­tic­u­lar, sight singing requires a clear under­stand­ing of key sig­na­tures. This is because the solfege scale is move­able and stu­dents must learn to find “do.” This is done by iden­ti­fy­ing the key of the song. If a song is in the Key of C Major (no sharps or flats) then “do” is on “C.”

Keys with Sharps

Mem­o­riz­ing the order of the sharps can eas­ily be done by using the fol­low­ing mnemonic device:

Fat Cats Go Down Allies Eat­ing Bananas. (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#)

The name of the key is 1/2 step higher than the last sharp.

For exam­ple, in major keys, if the last sharp is F#, the name of the key is G Major. That means that “do” is “G.”

If the last sharp is C#, the name of the key is D Major. That means that “do” is on “D.”

If the last sharp is G#, the name of the key is A Major. That means that “do” is on “A.”

If the last sharp is D#, the name of the key is E Major. That means that “do” is on “E.”

Keys with flats

Mem­o­riz­ing the order of the flats may be done by using the fol­low­ing mnemonic device:

But Even A Dumb Goat Can Fly. (B flat, E flat, A flat, D flat, G flat, C flat, and F flat)

The key with 1 flat (B flat) must be mem­o­rized. It is the Key of F Major. In the Key of F Major, “do” is “F.”

Sub­se­quent flat keys may be iden­ti­fied by nam­ing the sec­ond to the last flat.

For exam­ple, if I have a key with 2 flats (B flat & E Flat) the sec­ond to the last flat is “B flat.” The name of the key is B Flat Major. That means that “do” is “B flat.”

If I have a key with 3 flats (B flat, E flat, & A flat) the sec­ond to the last flat is “E flat.” The name of the key is E Flat Major. That means that “do” is “E flat.”

If I have a key with 4 flats (B flat, E flat, A flat, & D flat) the sec­ond to the last flat is “A flat.” The name of the key is A Flat Major. That means that “do” is “A flat.”

There has been a lot of inter­est in my scale sheets. As promised, I just added the minor keys. To get to them, sim­ply search under my music stu­dio tab, or you can click HERE

Have a great piano prac­tic­ing day!


Thanksgiving Rolls

November 20th, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Thanks­giv­ing is almost here. I love this sim­ple roll recipe. It’s a lit­tle softer and sweeter than most and doesn’t take much effort. In other words, yum! (Feel free to cut the recipe in half.)

7 cups flour (may use up to 1/2 cup less if desired)

2 pack­age active dry yeast (If using bulk yeast: use 5 tea­spoons slightly rounded)

2  1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 tea­spoon salt

2 eggs

In mix­ing bowl, com­bine 3 cups flour and yeast. Mix. In sauce pan, com­bine milk, sugar, short­en­ing, and salt. Heat over medium heat until short­en­ing almost melts, stir­ring fre­quently to pre­vent scorch­ing. Add milk mix­ture to flour and yeast and mix imme­di­ately. Add eggs. Mix. Grad­u­ally add remain­ing flour and knead into soft ball. I use an elec­tric mixer with a bread hook. No work. So easy. By the way, you can’t really knead dough too much. The more you knead, the softer the bread. After knead­ing is done, place dough in greased/sprayed bowl. Spray top of dough with cook­ing spray. Cover loosely with plas­tic wrap and let rise until dou­ble in size. Punch down. If desired (for softer rolls) let rise again. Punch down and let dough rest 10 min. Roll out as desired. See instruc­tions below for a few ideas. Place pre­pared rolls onto greased/sprayed bak­ing sheet(s) or in greased/sprayed bak­ing pan(s). Spray rolls with cook­ing spray and cover loosely with plas­tic wrap. Let rise 30 min­utes or until dou­ble in size. Care­fully remove wrap. Bake at 350 for 10 — 15 min­utes or until golden brown. Remove from heat. But­ter tops and enjoy. Store left­over rolls in fridge in air­tight container.

Carrot Cake Recipe

October 5th, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

This is my favorite car­rot cake recipe

In mixer, com­bine wet ingredients:

2 cups gran­u­lated sugar

1 1/2 cup olive oil

4 fresh whole eggs (I pre­fer cage free, partly because my hus­band audited a chicken farm once and he came home with a few hor­ror sto­ries. Ever since, I can’t bring myself to buy reg­u­lar eggs.)

In a sep­a­rate bowl, com­bine dry ingre­di­ents together. (Mix dry ingre­di­ents well)

2 cups pas­try flour (You can actu­ally use reg­u­lar flour, but pas­try flour is better.)

2 tea­spoons bak­ing soda

1 tea­spoon salt

2 tea­spoons cin­na­mon (I tend to use a lit­tle extra.)

Add dry ingre­di­ents to wet ingre­di­ents. Mix well.

Add 3 cups finely ground car­rots. (Use a food proces­sor) Fold car­rots into bat­ter and blend well.

Add 1/2 cup finely chopped wal­nuts. Fold in. Blend well.

Pour into pre­pared 13″ x 9″ pan. Cook 50 — 60 min in pre­heated oven (300  degrees). Check cake to make sure that it is done. Cool com­pletely before frosting.



1 1/2 pounds pow­dered sugar

12 ounces room tem­per­a­ture cream cheese

1 table­spoon REAL vanilla (Use the good stuff)

2 ounces room tem­per­a­ture margarine

Whip ingre­di­ents together until smooth and creamy. (If the frost­ing is too dry, add a lit­tle more vanilla.) Frost cake when cool.



I decided it was time to add a scale unit to my web­site. When I’m teach­ing, I gen­er­ally reach for my tat­tered old scale chart and make a copy of it for my stu­dents. It is dif­fi­cult to read AND it’s get­ting old. That’s why I have decided that it’s time for a new and improved solu­tion. As I add these scale/chord work­sheets, I will make a post so that any­one else in need of this resource will get the notice. :D

Scales, Chords, and Arpeg­gios for all key sig­na­tures, begin­ning through advanced studies.

Each work­sheet con­tains: a five fin­ger pattern, primary chord pro­gres­sion, octave scale, con­trary motion scale, 2 octave scale (the same fin­ger­ing as 3 — 4 octave scale), and tonic chord arpeggio. 

* The fin­ger­ings listed fol­low uni­ver­sity standards.


C Major (No sharps or flats): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

Sharp Keys

G Major (1 sharp): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

D Major (2 sharps): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

A Major (3 sharps): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

E Major (4 sharps): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

B Major (5 sharps): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

F Sharp Major (6 sharps): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

C Sharp Major (7 sharps): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

 Flat Keys

F Major (1 flat): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

B Flat Major (2 flats): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

E Flat Major (3 flats): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

A Flat Major (4 flats): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

D Flat Major (5 flats): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

G Flat Major (6 flats): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

(Minor keys will be added soon ~ Annette 9.26.13)

Clean Indie Read

September 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Annette in Books | Marketing | Perspectives | Reviews | Writing Tips - (0 Comments)

Clean Indie Reachs Blog ButtonI have posted about this on face­book but decided to post a fresh link on my blog. The Clean Indie Read blog that started a cou­ple of months ago has got­ten off to a tremen­dous start. It’s a site that lists inex­pen­sive ebooks rated G, PG, or PG-13. As I have watched this blog get started, I’ve been amazed at how fast it has grown. It’s a great resource for both read­ers and authors. If you haven’t taken an oppor­tu­nity to check it out, here’s the link: Clean Indie Reads. The blog is run by the amaz­ing, Lia Lon­don.

Below is a list of gen­res posted on the blog as of 9.22.13.

Have you ever noticed how polar book reviews can be?

I loved it!”

Eh.… it was okay.”

Bleck! Who writes this stuff!”

Clearly, no book is meant for every reader. But as writ­ers, it is imper­a­tive to set our egos aside and deter­mine the valid crit­i­cism from the invalid. For me, a few steps have really helped with this process.

1. Write with a tar­get audi­ence in mind. This is impor­tant for so many rea­sons. Read­ers out­side your tar­get audi­ence will prob­a­bly dis­like (or at the very least, not LOVE) your book. Under­stand­ing this make it much eas­ier when neg­a­tive reviews come in.

2. Crit­i­cism is your friend. Become an ana­lyt­i­cal machine and turn off your ego. Once your pride is set aside, this becomes much eas­ier to do. Look at your work the way a lit­er­ary agent would. They’re crit­i­cal, tough, totally unin­ter­ested in your feel­ings, but very objec­tive. I admit this is dif­fi­cult, but it is not impos­si­ble. Learn­ing to set your ego aside brings a fresh view. You’ll see things you never saw before. An added bonus will be the abil­ity to spot sour­pusses. These are the review­ers with an agenda. Obvi­ously, sour­pusses offer lit­tle con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. And if it’s not con­struc­tive, what good is it? Toss it out.

3. Be objec­tive, even if it’s painful. If more than one reviewer says the same thing, look at the sit­u­a­tion again. Take plenty of time before mak­ing a major deci­sion. Think, think, think.

4. The Aver­age Jane (or Joe) are prob­a­bly the best source for con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. These are the review­ers that don’t have an agenda. They just decided to write a review. Per­son­ally, I think they are AWESOME! (thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to each and every one of them! Whether it was a review writ­ten for my books or some­one else’s. Review­ers like this are golden! Golden, I say! GOLDEN!)

5. Never allow crit­i­cism to put out your fire. Instead, use it. Dis­sect crit­i­cism. Focus through an ana­lyt­i­cal eye rather than an emo­tional one. (You’re a writer, so you have an amaz­ing imag­i­na­tion. Put your­self in the publisher’s seat. Think like a pub­lisher. Think like an agent.)

6. Most impor­tantly, ignore the mean peo­ple. For some rea­son there are a few out there chas­ing indie authors. (Weird.) Ignore them. Period. They’re just not worth your time. At least, they’re not worth my time. I’ve got books to write. Char­ac­ters to cre­ate. Plots to form and sce­nar­ios to twist. I’m busy!

7. Keep mov­ing ahead. Learn from your mis­takes. Embrace them. They are your teach­ers. Don’t beat your­self with a stick. There are plenty of peo­ple will­ing do that for you. Instead, keep working.

8. Write, write, write, write, write! You know you want to! Speak­ing of which, I’ll see ya later. I’ve got more nov­els in the works. Until next time. :D



The For­got­ten Queen is Annette Mackey’s most recent novel. Avail­able on Amazon.