Monday, April 2, 2018

Book Deals and Treadmills

I'll admit it. I'm a couch potato. A desk chair dud. Find me a place to park my derriere and I'm in it, getting all comfy, cozy. It's the downside of being a writer and retiree. That and binging on junk food. However, I promised myself if a got a book deal (it's been four years since I signed my last one), I'd make an attempt to live a healthier, more active life, i.e. dust off the treadmill and get to walking. To clarify, I've been on the treadmill, take walks with the dog, and such, but nothing regular. I'm determined to change that. Cross your fingers for me. I'll need lots of cheering on!

And yes, the time is here, folks. I signed a deal last week with Black Opal Books, a very nice independent press, stamped with approval by Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. My mystery, BURIED IN SIN, (previously titled Grave Maker Blues), will see the "light of publishing" sometime in 2019. It's been a long road to get here. Lots of hard work and buckets of sweat. And I am excited. Really, really excited!

Of course, the work is never done. Writing is a cycle, an on-going adventure. Sort of like that treadmill. You gotta keep walking to stay alive and healthy. That said, I'm stepping away from the desk and laptop to get my routine started. And maybe while I'm at it, I can plot my next mystery!

Enjoy your week! Happy reading πŸ˜€

Friday, February 23, 2018

Authors Love Other Authors: These Are My People.

Today was Author Brainstorm day for our crew of author ladies. Once a month. It's become our thing and we love it! Now, I'm taking the opportunity to talk about the benefits. Gatherings are energy-boosting, confidence-building, and lots of fun. Let's face it. Writing can be too solitary. Reaching out to connect with others who think like you and understand what you're experiencing is the best! 

So, what is there about group gatherings to rave about?  I'll answer that by sharing the details of my day:

9:00 am - Arrive at venue, grab a cup of coffee, engage in a bit of small talk before digging in. (There were only four of us this time, but we have seven in our group.)

9:20: Each of us takes a turn to talk about what we've accomplished since last month. That involves everything from a work in progress -- novel, short story, etc. to works we've been subbing to publishers or querying to agents. We even engage in our share of gripe sessions. Yes, *gasp*. We gripe a lot. Getting published is gruesome, the process moves slower than an ice glacier! It's humiliating -- grow a thick skin, because feedback can be brutal! But we always remain hopeful. It's how we roll! Okay, back to our agenda. Sometimes, one or two of us will have a chapter or two to share for critiquing. (emailed earlier in the month to give everyone a chance to read before the meeting) I had two chapters from a manuscript I've revised. It's so helpful to get feedback. Trust me. SO valuable. 

Today, we reviewed my chapters, another writer's chapter, and a third writer's ideas for a continuation of her WIP. We offer our suggestions to each other. Sometimes, this is an eye-opener. Sometimes, we are just too close to our work to see what might be there. It takes someone else's perspective. Also, stop and think about it. As writers, we are often too much in our own heads. We may be thinking the details about our story, but they aren't always coming out on the page. Readers have that "huh?" moment and can tell us what's confusing to them. We do that for each other. Love that! And finally, one of our authors is a published super star! (We all aspire to be her one day.) She talks about her crazy schedule of manuscript due dates. She is juggling four...yes, count them, different contracts. Some of those due dates are clustered together because, yeah, publishers don't check with each other to coordinate due dates. As IF. She's overwhelmed and vows to slow down to have no more than two contracts on her plate at any one time. I'm sure her family appreciates that. 

12:00 - break for lunch. Oh yeah! We must eat. :-) Today it's delivery from Panera. Okay, so we continue talking about our work while we eat. Yes, we can multitask. LOL.

1:00 pm - We talk about upcoming events - author-related. We all belong to our local chapter of Sisters in Crime. Another valuable idea for writers -- belong to a writers' organization. When you get published, this connection can help promote your work, network for you and put you in touch with writer conferences, maybe give you discounts on costs. And if you're trying to get published -- an organization can be your cheerleader, a "tour" guide in the publishing world, and so many other services. 

2:30 pm - wrap up and schedule a date for next month's gathering. I head home and crash. My brain is both psyched and exhausted. Lots to digest. Loads of inspiration to dig in and do more...right after I take a nap! Haha. 

Until next month, when more fun will be in store!

Happy writing and reading :-) 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December Challenge: Day 16 - Holiday Favorites

Holiday favorites. Everyone who enjoys the holiday season has them. Traditions, food, music and all give us memories, many sensory ones. So, what are your holiday favorites? I'll share if you will!

Holiday song: Carol of the Bells, but really I like them all!
Holiday cookie: cut-out sugar cookies, but only my mom's recipe which calls for powdered sugar instead of granulated
Holiday drink: eggnog, spiked
Holiday decorations: the stockings, definitely. They have our names, growing from two to five with our kids, and now we add one more with our grandbaby Henry!
Holiday tradition: Christmas Eve party with family and friends.
Holiday movie: Christmas Vacation

Okay, your turn!

Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Friday, December 15, 2017

December Challenge: Day 15 - Guess Who's Coming to Christmas?

   Guess Who's Coming to Christmas?

No, it's not Sidney Poitier. Don't know the movie reference? Look it up. Having special people, your family and friends gather together makes the spirit of Christmas come alive. And if you could invite any three people to your house on Christmas day, who would they be? I've been giving this some serious thought. I mean, we're talking about Christmas, right? My favorite holiday must have the perfect trimmings and people to enjoy the moment. So, who would I pick? Besides the ones already coming, that is 😊. For this list I'm going with people who are no longer among us. Kinda like ghosts of Christmas Past. Ho, ho, ho, E. Scrooge!

1) My parents. I'll count them as one since, well, they're a set. The last time they were alive and together was 1990. It would be nice to chat, share stories, give them hugs and kisses, introduce them to their great grandson Henry. Just be there. Yeah, I'd really like that.

2) Claude Monet because I love his paintings and I love French. Maybe we could parler en francais while he paints an impressionist scene of my family Christmas gathering. Cool gift, don't you think? Oh, and I could ask him about his obsession with painting sunsets, lily ponds, and hay mounds. πŸ˜‰

3) John Lennon because for one, he's my hubby's absolute favorite musician, and second, he'd sing his "This is Christmas" song to add to the holiday spirit. Then of course we'd introduce him to our son, Sean, named after his son Sean. I'm sure Johnny would share his stories of Christmases with the Fab four and his days in Liverpool. What could be better?

So for NEXT year...

That's my list. Now, what's yours?

Have a great evening!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December Challenge: Day 14 -- When You're Too Tired and...

I'm sorry but I'm about done for the day. I addressed and made out thirty cards. That counts as writing, doesn't it? No? Maybe just a little, tiny... Ok. I give. How about a photo of my trees? They are awesome and should be recognized even if they have absolutely nothing to do with writing, but I did decorate, lots of decorating. *Puffs out chest*. Hey! How about this? If I list how to say Merry Christmas or happy holidays in other languages, would that count? Just a few, though. Like I said I'm done, pooped, finito.

Merry Christmas!

Felice Navidado

Joyeux Noel
Buon Natale
Frohe Weihnachten
God jul

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December Challenge: Day 13 - Are You Happy Yet?

Time to write and I haven't any ideas in mind. This has been a pretty big challenge, posting everyday this month. It's like anything you do over and over until it loses the same effect. Right? I mean, how many times can you listen to the song "Happy" before you're not so happy? 
(Yeah.You KNOW I have to go there!)


Cause I'm happy.🎡

Clap along if you feel like Christmas is in the room.🎢
Cause I'm happy.🎡🎡🎡
Clap along if you feel that holiday is here for you.🎢
Cause I'm happy.🎡🎡🎡
Clap along if  you hear those steps up on the roof.🎢
Cause I'm happy.🎡
Clap along if you believe that Santa is really true.🎡🎡🎡

Here come bad news, my Christmas cards aren't sent.🎢
Well, that's okay, I've got days, but no more than ten.🎢
Yeah, and all those gifts missing under the tree. 🎢🎢
No matter what, I'll be fine, just wait and see.🎢
Here's why...

Cause I'm happy.🎡🎢
Clap along, if you feel like Christmas is in the room.🎡
Cause I'm happy.🎢
Clap along, if you feel that this holiday is here for you.🎢🎢
Cause I'm happy.
Clap along, if you hear that sound of steps on the roof.🎡
Cause I'm happy.
Clap along if you believe in the spirit of Christmas too.🎢🎢

Yes, enough silliness for one evening.

Hmm, hmm, happy🎡, happy🎡, happy🎡...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December Challenge: Day 12 - Coming to You Live from my Consciousness

My day recapped in a stream of consciousness... sort of. Should be interesting 😁

I hate mornings. My body is stiff. I have a sinus headache...must be the drastic cold, snowy weather. My head is a barometer! Coffee. I need lots of coffee to clear the headache and loosen the stiffness. I miss my younger self, sometimes. 

Relax while watching the news. Relax. News. Now, THAT'S a contradiction! I'm playing the odds in my head on who's gonna win that election in Alabama. Two cups of coffee and a bagel. I'm good to go. Max looks ready to go too! The wind is fierce. He doesn't like it much, but he takes care of business. 

Time to pay a visit to the Verizon store. Father-in-law needs a phone before he goes into assisted living. Explain the situation to the attentive sales person. Ask my questions. Say what?? I need the pin number??? Great. I don't know the pin number. In fact, I very much doubt HE knows his pin number! Note to self: tell hubby to bring parents' phone home so I can take it to Verizon and let them do their thing. 

Next, stop at store to buy gift cards for groomer and hair dresser. Tis the season! I couldn't manage without those ladies 😊. It's nearly noon. How'd that happen?! Lunch sounds about right. I'll join hubby in a meal before he leaves for work. TV? More election fodder and details about the bombing in NYC. It's something every day, isn't it?

Make copies of admissions packet, then it's time to drop it off at the assisted living facility. I do believe the temp is colder than this morning, AND the wind is kicking butt! AND of course I have to park a mile away 😒. Have a nice chat with the director. Meeting to sign papers next week? Check. Arrange for doctor to do final exam on father-in-law? Check. Inform her of furniture moving day and of father-in-law's move-in day? Check. Check. And we're done...for now. 

Home sweet home.  I think I'll take a nap. A short one. Got lots left to do. An hour later...🀣 I need to make a list. Shopping tomorrow for party supplies and other items. Too many items. I'm thinking of all the other "too many" situations. Like holiday decorating, addressing cards, wrapping presents...oh so many presents. Yeah, all that. 

The tree is messy. Lots of fake snow-covered branches lose a lot of fake snow. Just sayin'. Tree's up. My floor needs swept. I mean, how is this fake tree any less messy than a real one that drops needles? Drag boxes filled with all the Christmas decor out of the closet. Amazing how a nine-by-ten room's floor space is not enough for a half dozen boxes. Overflow goes in the hall. I stare at them for a minute. Maybe save some for tomorrow? Yeah, that sounds like a plan. 

Dinner for me? Couple of eggrolls. For Max? Kibble. Now, I can settle down and relax. Until the phone rings. The social worker. (She can't get ahold of hubby. I'm  person number 2.) Father-in-law is having a fit. He's confrontational, wants to go home, and hates everyone at the rehab center. I tell her if they can't get him to calm down, call me and I'll talk to him. Twenty minutes later... He won't listen to reason, even from me, now decides he doesn't want to go into assisted living. Oh, boy 😞. He tends to have these spells in the evening. Maybe sundowners? It's very frustrating and I'm having a meltdown. 

Glass of wine and it's all good. Until tomorrow. Then more errands. Taking Max to the groomer, shopping for those items on my list, visiting my hair dresser for cut and color, and, oh, how about those Christmas decorations? Yeah, tomorrow's another day!

Cheers, all! πŸŽ…