Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Story Collection Volumes Available Now!

Louis & Clark Country Gifts in Westfield, MA is the exclusive retailer of my three Christmas collection volumes- Yuletide Stories, Always Christmas in My Heart and Together for the Holidays. The books are signed and dated for 2015 and are first editions.  Louis & Clark is located in the Hampton Ponds Plaza on the corner of Route 202 and East Mountain Road in the northeast corner of Westfield, MA.  The gift shop is loaded with wonderful things for the holidays and everyday! Linda and her staff are friendly and helpful and make the whole shopping experience rewarding. And there are usually homemade cookies on the table just inside the door! The fact that it is less than 2 miles from my home and is my favorite gift shop in town makes me happy because I believe in supporting local small businesses and I appreciate Linda's enthusiasm and willingness to help promote local people with something to offer the community. The books retail for $14.99 each.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

PS4 Mature Content Warning- Really?

I went with my husband to GameStop this afternoon to look at PS4 games. I chose a couple and we went to the register to check out. The girl ringing up the purchase says, "Are you all right with the mature content of this game?"  I looked at John whose hair is silver now and then I looked down at my purse and said, "Do I have to show you my ID?  I honestly think I'm old enough to handle mature content at my age." The girl looked up at us and kind of laughed and said, "I guess so!"

Ouch. So this is what it's like to be in the shadow of the Baby Boomers. 

Oh well, I am as young as I think I am and my brain still thinks I'm an awful lot younger than I really am, like maybe two and a half decades younger. 

I just thought it was very surreal having this girl who looked like she was fresh out of high school warning me about the mature content of a video game- there are commercials and programs on TV with much more graphic and offensive content than one of these games! I skim past worst crap on facebook!

Maybe she thought I, God forbid, was buying the game for my grandchildren? (Nonexistant, by the way, I am no one's Grandma!)  And my only child is 24.5 years old this coming month.

Basically, I think I can handle this game, but thanks for worrying about the state of my cardiac and vascular system health. I doubt I'll be having a heart attack or a stroke over this. 

I am, after all, a long time Tomb Raider player(among other games). I can still remember playing it on the computer before we owned a PlayStation console!  Now if that doesn't date me I don't know what else will, except maybe carbon dating, although I don't believe I ever walked with dinosaurs!


Friday, November 27, 2015

Last NaNoWriMo Weekend

While I finished my NaNo novel back on November 20th I have been editing it, something that usually gets done in December or later on, but I haven't been able to focus on any other project at the moment so I figured I'd tackle this massive chore. I was more verbose this year than I have ever been in a long time, since I wrote the epic Medina years ago for my best friend that topped out at 232,380 words. It was a contemporary romance about three brothers all in love with the same young woman. Two of the brothers are from the wrong side of the tracks while the third is a lawyer who had a different mother.

I am rooting Kelly on as she nears the 50,000 word goal. This year her story is progressing more smoothly. She's staying focused and getting the writing done.  Her story sounds interesting. I'll be helping her with the editing once it's done.

I need to further hack my story up, but right now I'm not sure what I need to remove. I'll get it cleaned up- all the typos fixed and the continuity issues corrected and the commas under control- and later on I can pare it down if need be. Right now it would probably be a 400 page trade paperback. a bit too hefty. 

Overall, this has been a different NaNoWriMo experience for me as I had a start and then a restart at the beginning of the month, and then we attended to write-ins whereas we have never attended one before. It took me longer to write this novel and I am still interested in it enough to reread it and edit it before the 30 days have passed. 

I'm already looking forward to next year's NaNoWriMo!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On Being Thankful

It's nearly midnight and I am winding down from a long day of cleaning and getting the house ready for the holiday tomorrow.

I've been editing my Nano novel- thinking I would be able to pare it down but the word count is going up instead of down as I clean it up and fix up some continuity issues. So this leads me to the first thing I am thankful for- I am thankful for this gift that I have been given, the ability to write with ease. For me it is like tapping directly into a muse who is a fount of ideas and the muse takes over and I just type. It's always been that way, even when I was young and would grab a pen and notebook from beside my bed and write in the dark so I wouldn't disturb anyone.

Second, I am grateful for my daughter- she is amazing. She is intelligent in a very analytical black and white sense like her father. She is techno savvy whereas I am not. And she has inherited the writing gene from me. She is the best of both of her parents and I am proud of her accomplishments so far in life.

Next, I am thankful to have a job in this country where jobs are outsourced to foreign countries while so many people are desperate to find work.

I am grateful to have a roof over my head and food on my table.

I am thankful for family and friends who make my life fun and interesting.

I am thankful for my two cats who keep me calm and leveled out when I'm on the verge of stressing out.

I'm thankful that there are still people who like to read.

I'm thankful that while this country has continuing racial issues that we are not at war among ourselves and can pull together and present one united front when we have to. his is a huge country with a lot of people living in it coast to coast. We're blending in more and more cultures yet when something terrible happens we are one country, one people.

I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving as you count your own blessings tomorrow. I know I will continue reflecting upon mine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Christmas Story Time and Christmas Memories

Now that I've conquered the NaNoWriMo challenge for November I can start thinking about this year's annual Christmas story. I started writing an annual story back in 1997 or so, when Kelly was still in elementary school. I stopped for three years after my mother passed away in 2000 and resumed in 2003. Some years I write one tory, some years 2-3 stories. It depends on free time and inspiration factors.

After I finished my NaNo novel this year I wrote an 8600 word Christmas story based on the characters in the novel, celebrating Christmas Day three years into the future. This would most likely end up as a bonus story at the end of the novel since you would have had to have read the novel to know these characters and their back stories.

I've been feeling nostalgic about the Christmases I shared with my family growing up in the 60's. It was a more innocent time and families were closer, not everyone running off to do their own thing, or connected to their cellphones and disconnected from real life. It was a time when towns really decked out Main Street with garlands across the road every hundred feet or so- lights and bells and conical-shaped Christmas trees in the town I grew up in, lights and wreaths in the bigger town north of us. It was always an adventure to eat dinner on Saturday night then pile into the car and drive around town and the surrounding towns looking at how people had decorated their houses. This was the era of the big bulb lights, real laurel and evergreen roping. There were no giant inflatable decorations in front yards. There were snowmen in the yards, decorated sleds or ice skates on the porches, candles with colored bulbs in the windows, an occasional colored spotlight illuminating a front door wrapped like a giant gift with foiled paper and a wide band of ribbon and a huge bow. The town I grew up in had a pond in the center of town and on this pond there was a raft, and on the raft was a lit and decorated Christmas tree. This was the era of shopping downtown so all the storefronts were decked out for the holidays. I remember one shoe store in Northampton had an animated Santa. I just loved him as he turned from side to side and waved. There were also either painted flat wood or fiberglass nativity scenes on most town greens back then that reminded us of the reason we celebrated Christmas. People did not find them offensive. The nativity scene in Easthampton where I grew up was beautiful and fueled my love of camels. So did the fiberglass camels in West Springfield.

I have been trying to get back in touch with the magical feeling of Christmas morning when I was little. I remember having to wait in my bedroom like my brother and sister in their rooms until our parents got up. We'd be talking back and forth, kind of loudly because our parents' bedroom was at the opposite end of the house from our bedrooms- "Do you think he came yet?" we'd ask one another. Finally Mom would appear at the end of the hallway and Dad would shuffle past in his Santa boxer shorts over his flannel pajama pants and his red sweatshirt, dressed to play Santa. And then it was a shoving match as we dashed up the hall, hearts pounding with excitement to behold the lit tree, the real aluminum tinsel glittering and flashing, the mountain of gifts beneath the tree, the bulging stockings hanging from a clothesline tied between the coat closet and front door doorknobs. We all had our favorite place to sit. We always had at least one cat and the cat would join us. We'd open presents and then stockings. Mom always got a box of Yardley English lavender soap-her favorite. Dad always got Brylcreme in his stocking. We got jars of paste, bottles of LePage glue, crayons, pencils, bubble bath and small toys in our stockings. My favorite gifts were received over several years-my Pebbles Flintstone doll with the plastic bone through her topknot (I have her downstairs and she still has her bone!), my '63 titian ponytail Barbie doll 9which is probably why nearly all my female lead characters are redheads- Pebbles and Barbie were a huge influence, and my maternal grandfather had a passion for redheads besides!), my Pushmi-Pullyu that talked from the Dr. Doolittle movie, Larry the Lion who also talked, and my Sears copper-colored child-sized Kenmore range- oh, I loved that stove and the toy pots and pans I got to go with it. I "cooked" up a storm on that thing! And my white and pink Columba bicycle and when I was older, my green Columba bicycle. We had to go out and ride our bikes even with snow on the ground and freezing temperatures (This was back when Dad's had to build the bikes, usually on Christmas Eve- God bless his heart staying up late and building three bikes- that is real love!)

My Uncle Pete, Dad's older bachelor brother always joined us on Christmas Day. He got a box of cigars and one of those big packages with the various sausages, cheeses and crackers. He had a Polaroid camera which fascinated us all as we watched the pictures develop. I can still smell the developer after all these years! It stung my noise but the magic was so powerful watching our images emerge from a fog on the paper we didn't mind the stink of the chemicals. Uncle Pete always wore a white shirt and a necktie on Christmas. Mom usually wore a dress. I can't remember what my Dad wore, probably one of his plaid work shirts and slacks. The three of us kids wore corduroys and sweaters or turtlenecks.

Dinner was a feast. Mom ordered Table Talk pies- apple and mincemeat, from the corner variety store. They arrived at the store and we received a phone call to come and pick them up usually the day before Christmas. Although the store was in walking distance Dad usually drove there, not risking one of us dropping a pie on the way home! I remember the big Coca Cola display signs with Santa Claus in the store. Mom had gotten one sign for us one year from the storeowner- it was about eighteen or twenty inches high. She hung it on the coat closet door with a bunch of Dennison holiday cut-outs from W.T. Grants. There were Gurley Christmas candles shaped like snowmen, Santas, angels, carolers, a street lamp, a tree with silver glitter, and nativity figures on the divider between the living room and kitchen, also bought at Grants or Bradlees.

I am full of reminiscence tonight. I've been reading Reminisce and Good Old Days magazines and enjoying the stories, all the memories of Christmases past. Maybe all of this will help inspire me to write this year's annual Christmas story.

My most favorite memory of my own daughter was when she was eighteen months old, dressed in red long johns and bootie slippers, her hair longer than she wears it now , curling at the ends, still golden blonde. She is standing at the tree which is loaded with Hallmark ornaments and in her left hand she is holding her favorite ornament, a clear red acrylic heart- she always called this an apple for some reason. The sweetness and innocence radiating from her in the picture is breathtaking as she reaches for another ornament that has caught her eye. Children grow up so fast, the magical aspects of the holiday fade and become memories. Suddenly we are the adults who make the magic happen.

I don't know for sure what I'll be writing about this year...but it's been wonderful revisiting all these fond memories of Christmases past.

The Look My Cat Gave Me Was Priceless!

I love the Portuguese flannel blankets sold by the Vermont Country Store. Kelly has two on her bed, we have two on our bed, and there is one on my chair in the living room, and another twin size plaid one somewhere in the house that Kelly had on her bed when she was younger. Revere loves the red tartan plaid blanket on my chair and has claimed it as his own. He was getting miffed with me when I'd take it at night and throw it across my feet in bed because sometimes I get cold and can't warm up. I recently bought myself a twin size gray plaid blanket so I don't have to borrow "his" blanket. At the same time I bought one of their Portuguese flannel nightgowns in the same red tartan plaid as "his" blanket. Tonight I was chilled after coming home from the NaNo write-in so I put the nightgown on. When I opened the bathroom door and he saw me the look on his face was priceless. He recognized the color (I don't know what color he sees it as but he obviously recognized it) and plaid pattern. I can't begin to describe the exact way he looked at me, but it was a combination of surprise, confusion and a desire to curl up in my lap and take a cat nap! "Mom" was wearing "his" blanket! I had to show him that I hadn't harmed his blanket by cutting it up- it's still on my chair in the living room. But he is definitely not a stupid cat- he's an excellent pattern matcher!

By the way- the blankets are the best flannel blankets I've ever owned, and the nightgown is soft, warm and cozy! Pricey but they are durable and well worth the expense because they last (one of them has to be fifteen years old at least!) and don't pill or fray.  They're manufactured to keep writers (and their cats) warm- at least in my world!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chilly Nights and Cats

Last night while Kelly was working toward her word count goal for the day for NaNo I wrote an 8,547 word Christmas story using the characters from my Nano novel and setting it three years into the future. Tonight, as the temperature dropped into the low 20's here on the mountain in the northeast corner of town I edited the story while she pounded out her goal word count for today. She's making steady progress toward 50,000 words and my fingers are crossed that she'll reach the goal and be a winner this year-and then she will be able to get her two free copies of her book. I'm anxious to read it!

My long-haired gray and white cat has been super affectionate today. Although he's a longhaired cat he gets cold on chilly nights. When he comes to bed with me he'll literally fling himself down against my side or my hip and then nestled himself in until he's comfortable. It doesn't matter if I'm comfortable or not as long as he is! His tuxedo big brother also likes to sleep with us. Revere has to have my hand and wrist under his upper body and head. He pins my arm down and sleeps on it. He's got his own idea of comfort. I'm surprised I get any sleep at night with the two of them jockeying for position. occasionally Riley Beans will actually throw himself down right on top of Revere! John more or less sleeps through all this feline maneuvering throughout the night. I suppose I could close the door and shut them out like Kelly does every night, but I grew up with cats and have always shared my bed with one or two felines. John's gotten used to it over the years-even though he wasn't a cat lover by any means when we got married. He didn't really care for cats until we adopted big old tiger tom cat Marty, a stray that had hung around at my mother's and loved Kelly. John found a feline buddy in Marty. We had him for ten years until he developed cancer and we had to say goodbye to him.

On cold nights there is nothing better than a furry friend to curl up with. I might just call it an early night tonight and not burn the midnight oil, just crawl into bed and bask in the warmth of my fluffy companions.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

NaNo Novel Done!

I finished writing my NaNo novel last night close to midnight. I was going to quit, went and updated my word count, then decided there really wasn't that much more to write, a couple of hundred words, and just sat down and got it done. Then, because I was so brain fried and tired I went back in and updated me word count, using the full word count (what I had previously posted and what the ending word count was now being combined because they were added together-spiking my word count up into the 234,000plus range! Yikes! I knew I had to fix that mistake and fast or quite a few people in western MA would be squawking Saturday morning about my word count jumping up 117,000plus words in one day! I'd have thrown the western MA writers graph way out of whack!! I finally found where I could edit my novel word count (I had already validated my novel for a win.) I typed in the 117,129 figure and it dropped my bar graph back down to where it should have been. This evening Kelly showed me where else I had to fix it to make everything right again for the state word count.

I am just glad it's done. Remy and Lissa have told their story. It wasn't the one they were going to tell originally, but this is the one they wanted to tell. You can't stop your characters from telling their own story, all you can do is more or less take dictation as their voices come into your head. It's done. They're happy. I'm happy.

Now I can  get back to doing the final round of edits on the published books to make them as perfect as possible . I'm slowly getting there while waiting for my copyright applications from the Library of Congress to be approved for all 16 books I self-published this summer and earlier in the fall.

And now, with this all done, I am going to go dream up some new stuff while I sleep!

First GoodReads Giveaway Has Ended

My first GoodReads giveaway ended at midnight last night with 866 people interested in obtaining one of the ten free copies I had offered. GoodReads sent me the names of the winners and the books are signed, packaged and read to mail ASAP to the winners!

I really enjoyed having the giveaway and will offer another in the near future. I picked up some followers on that site as well which makes me happy. As noted once before, I really am terrible at self promotion!

Overall- it has been a positive experience so far.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Strange Tapping at the Window


A curious thing happened tonight while I was sitting alone at the kitchen table writing. It was raining out so the rain was a pleasant background noise. I had sent a message to my friend Carol to let her know that two packages were being shipped to her home in Nashua tomorrow. Her mother had passed away on Saturday. We attended the funeral yesterday. When I got home I sent a donation in memory of her mother to the hospice facility where she died. Then I decided that I wanted to do something for her and for her daughter Emily who is our goddaughter, so I went to the local Memory Lane lamps website and ordered a Memory Lap for her with a beautiful shade with flowers and butterflies on it. Then I chose a butterfly-shaped light called Angel Wings Butterfly for Emily.

I'd sent a message earlier this evening to let Carol know to watch for the packages as packages have been stolen from her neighbors porches recently.

I was typing when suddenly there was a series of taps on the dining room window as if someone was standing out on the deck tapping on the window with a finger. It was loud enough that my husband heard if from the living room. And the cats also heard it and came to investigate the sound. Both of them sat on the file box on the stool I have in front of the window so they can bird watch when they get bored (they're indoor cats). The tapping was obviously something since all three humans and both cats heard it and knew it came from the dining room window. I had gotten up and turned on the deck light and there was nothing outside.

And then I received a message from Carol letting me know that she had gotten my message.

It made me wonder if Carol's Mom had come to say goodbye to me before leaving this plane for the next. It was just the sort of tapping sound someone would make to catch a person's attention. It was odd that it happened just before Carol's message came through- when her thought were heading this way after mine had gone her way a little earlier.

There have been no more taps and everything is now quiet.

(I wonder if a curious phenomena like this happened to Edgar Allen Poe and inspired The Raven?)

NaNo Write-In

Kelly and I went to our first NaNo Write-In this evening here in Westfield. It was a warm, rainy evening- perfect weather for grabbing a hot coffee, a handful of Munchkins and settling down to pounding out nearly 4,000 words in less than two hours. We met a very nice woman, who arranged for the write-in. Wish there had been more local writers able to stop by and write for awhile, but the three of us accomplished what we needed to do tonight.

Made plans to do this again next Tuesday night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Funeral

Well, today we are off to a funeral in Peabody- my former college roommate and best friend's mother passed away last week. This is a sad day for us as now we have both lost our mothers, and for women who have been close to their mother's through the years it is a loss that resonates throughout the remainder of ones' years. My mother died in October 2000 and there are still days I ache to pick up the phone and give her a call to talk about everything under the sun and then some, and then ask her advice and wise counsel on other matters. I see her and hear her voice in me and it's jolting at times, comforting at others.

My best friend's mother was an RN like my mom was. She was a school nurse. She raised a son and daughter and had her share of joys and heartbreaks before Alzheimer's began to plunder and rob her mind of memories. And then she was diagnosed with lung cancer, three primary tumors. Terminal. From the time she was diagnosed to her death was less than one month. She was a smoker. Diabetes and its myriad complications killed my mother.

My heart aches for my friend today. I have had fifteen years to adapt to being without my mother. Her journey along the path of sorrow has just begun. I hope she knows I'm there and will walk beside her into the future- will always be there for her.

Monday, November 16, 2015

NaNo Novel Progress

I hit 100,000 words tonight. I'm not quite finished but I'm getting there. If this was a trade paperback it would be over 341 pages...more like an epic than a novel. I need to go back and clean it up and do some major editing. But that will have to wait until it's done.

Kelly and I might attend a Write-In at the Dunkin Donuts at Little River Plaza where they have some round tables in front of a cozy gas fireplace. It would be the first time in the four years that I have been doing NaNo that I would actually make it to a write-in. I'd be interested in meeting some of the other awesome western MA writers who have boosted our collective word count over the 3,000,000 mark in just 16 days! We rock NaNo once again!

Of course western MA has produced a lot of amazing writers like poet Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, songwriter Arlo Guthrie, and we can even claim Edgar Allen Poe as he lived in Boston briefly, I believe- but it may have been before he took to writing to earn his living- to name a few off the top of my fried brain. There are many, many more (contemporary) but I can't for the life of me find another name in the swirling sludge in my head. I really need to get to bed and let my brain sleep and refresh. If only my nose was a refresh button! I would be pushing it constantly! Ha Ha!

before I stagger off to DreamLand I need to relate this- I had a phone call that made me happy tonight. A few weeks ago I sent copies of Love Me Knots to my mother's cousins Ginny and Judy. Ginny's been trying to call me for a week and a half now and we've been playing phone tag. We finally connected tonight. She had something to tell me. She wanted me to know that she is NOT a reader. (She was quite emphatic when she said that and it floored me-I cannot fathom anyone in my family not reading! But there she's been all along! Go figure!) HOWEVER, she continued, she HAD READ the book, taking it out on the side porch a couple evenings and plowing through the five stories- sweet little romances all of them- and SHE ENJOYED the book! She liked it! And she wanted to thank me for thinking of her and sending it. That just made my day! And she too recited the mantra I hear about many of my books, "I don't read but I couldn't put it down!"

Everybody says that to me about whatever book of mine that they're reading...


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Buttons and Books

I went to a button show yesterday. I'm doing a program on the theme "Cute As A Button" for my local button club in January. I was on the hunt for cute buttons at the show, going from dealer to dealer asking them to show me their cutest buttons. I discovered that we all have our own idea of what cute means.

Since it's my program and my card of buttons I'll be taking along I decided that the card should have buttons I like and consider cute. The card is filling with what buttonologists or buttonphiles call goofies and realistics. I have a little princess in a pink crown, a grinning pineapple wearing sunglasses, an orange elephant with yellow polka dots on his butt, a silly looking frog, a glittery winged adorable lady bug, a big-eyed crazy cat and more on the card already. I have to complete it by prowling through all the buttons in my own collection now since this was the last button show of this year for us.

I am researching the phrase now and will write a little piece about it.

Kelly updated my Good Reads page adding the pictures of both Talon books. We ran down the street to the gift shop to try to retrieve the unsold copies of Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales and swap them out for copies of Yuletide Stories since the shop has been switched over to Christmas and Thanksgiving now, but we missed the owner who had to dash out the door to get to her son's game.

After all the errands were run and the laundry was finished it was time to get back into the NaNo novel. I am, at the moment 94,104 words into my novel. I'm about ready to wrap it up but they have this last crisis to get through and then the wedding. I can't leave Remy and Lissa dangling after the long road we've walked together since their series of development stories. I owe them this chance to tell their story. I'll keep going until they're done.

I'm proud of Kelly for hitting the halfway point with her novel this evening! Way to go, Kelly!

Time to go wrap it up for the night and then off to bed. Mondays come too darn fast!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

71,000 Plus Words into NaNo and Where do I go From Here?

I have been typing like a fiend for days it seems. I have 71,421 words so far, and that doesn't include the 27,000 plus words I scraped after the first three days. So that's like 98,500 words written since the 1st of November on weekends and after working all day and running around doing stuff that needs to get done...and I don't really have a clue where this novel is going or how it will end.

Life Study is based n a series of short stories I wrote- the same characters, but in Life Skills they were a little younger, still in high school. I've changed what happened to Lissa from a bike accident that left her near death with a mangled left leg to an unplanned for child who is 9 years younger than her next oldest sibling, and she is her mother's love child by another man, but she doesn't know this. The man she has always known as her father does know this and he starts abusing her when she is twelve-thirteen years old after emotionally wearing her down.

Lissa is drawn to a troubled young man named Remy Brice who has had his own share of abuse in his life. He's nearly four years older than her and was still in high school when she was a student there, as a condition of his last arrest where he would have been charged as an adult if things had not gone his way for once.

Lissa has an emotional breakdown in front of Remy who understands better than anyone what abuse in the home is all about. He takes her in and is protective of her, drawing his Uncle, cousins and his cousin's mother into the circle of protection he builds around her- exposing them all to violence from her father and his friends, who happen to be policemen who do not hesitate to harass Remy because of his juvenile arrests in the past.

Remy, meanwhile is trying to move forward in his life. He is going to buy his uncle's bungalow and fix it up. He's busy restoring and customizing cars, making good money. He has goals and plans, but now he is modifying them to include the girl he has always adored--Lissa.

The novel is about how two damaged young people bond and struggle to find a path out of their troubled pasts into a brighter future together. Like in Life Skills class, life provides them with some real challenges that they must deal with and find a way through. They have rough spots, both have post traumatic stress syndrome but they have found ways to cope with bad days and look ahead to good days.

It's basically a love story about two young people who have had difficult lives bonding and trying to make a better life for themselves together-  and their struggles not to let the past haunt them.
How it's going to end? I have to clue!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Suppose You Wrote a Blog and No One Read It?

Writing from the black hole of anonymity tonight before going back to this year's NaNo Novel.

In my little sphere here in western MA I have accumulated a number of followers and fans. Most of them have free books lining their bookshelves. I can be overly generous with my family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. I have taken small stacks of books with me to appointments to gift the receptionists and lab girls. I gave books to the clerks at the post office who have helped me mail packages to the Library of Congress. I have left books in mailboxes at houses where people really decked their homes out for Halloween.

What I haven't done yet is get my books into the hands of an interested agent. Or a publisher.

I fail miserably at self-promotion. I am riddled with self doubt like Swiss cheese. You can hear the wind whistling as it blows through me.

It's a chilly, raw, rainy night here. I have had two bad nights of disturbing dreams. On Sunday night I dreamed I was in a Victorian era hospital/asylum like building, not as an inmate, but touring the place. The walls and doors were the color of cooked oatmeal. The cell doors were open. There was a man in a black suit walking ahead of me, the Administrator? He never turned around so I never saw his face. As I passed rooms/cells I would look into them. There were people who looked like zombies lying on their sides on the floor with tortured faces, using large knives to carved wedge-shaped chunks of flesh from the jaws and throats. It was not heart-pounding scary but it was disturbing enough that in the dream I had to walk outside. I was wearing a red dress. (In real life I never wear a dress.)

Last night I was riding a bike on a rather narrow bike path in a low gear so I was struggling along. About every twenty five feet or so there was a snake lying across the path. Different snakes. It made me apprehensive because I had to ride close to them or fall off the path. There was a girl riding behind me. Further along the path there was a great big yellow dog lying on the path we had to get past. It didn't seem aggressive but had small beady eyes for such a large dog. I reached the end of the path and recognized I was someplace I knew and wanted to peddle home on the main roads despite the traffic, but the girl who had been behind me convinced me it would be faster to get home going back along the bike trail. I woke up as we started back along it.

Both dreams didn't wake me up feeling terrorized- just disturbed and uneasy.

I don't know what they mean or why I am having such strange, vivid, unsettling dreams.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Writing We Will Go! NaNoWRiMo Update from My Kitchen Table.

Have been doing my NaNo Novel. Started one on the first and wrote like mad thru the 3rd then after some deep thinking overnight decided to scrap the 27,000 plus words I had written in three days and start anew. I now have 57,361 words written of this new novel. I met goal yesterday- seven days into NaNo (50,000 words), a new record for me. But I really did it in 4 days since I started this new version on Wednesday afternoon.

I am brain fried but happy because this is more like the book I had in mind although it is not anything like the synopsis I wrote. I will have to go back and update that.

Meanwhile, Kelly is doing well. She hit 15,000 words tonight. I can't wait to read her novel. It sounds interesting. A writer writes best when they write what they know. That's why it's so difficult when you're young- you don't have a lot of life experiences yet, but now that Kelly has been through college, has traveled and is more involved in trolley restoration and is working full time she is absorbing stuff like a sponge and able to write more because she has grown as a person and a writer. I like seeing how she's come along since her first attempt at NaNo in college. I'm really proud of her.

I know she gets frustrated with me because I can write so fast- but it's just that my brain is always going full throttle. And I can probably type faster that her. I made more mistake and have the tedious task of going back and removing my excessive commas and fixing up typos and grammar issues and so on and so forth whereas she probably doesn't have as many mistakes to correct because she takes her time and is more careful.

Anyway-NaNo is going well for both or us at this point. I'm about two thirds done. Still plenty of time before November 30th!!

Monday, November 2, 2015


NaNoWriMo has officially begun (as of yesterday) and I got out of the gate quick and wrote 13,156 words before crashing and going to bed at 11:11PM last night. Tonight I will not be so prolific but I hope to at least reach 14,000 before bedtime! Have no clue where this story is going because it's really different from how I envisioned it when I wrote the synopsis. Guess we'll see.

I laughed like crazy when I posted my word count last night- they predicted I'd complete my novel at my current rate of writing on Wednesday, November 4th! Ha Ha! That would certainly be a new record for me- 4 days! I've finished past novels in 15 days, 18 days and 10 days.

A-writin' I will go!