Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Can You Hear Me Screaming?


Okay, this is the point where you've discovered a partial novel that you started a few years ago, you've read it through, you've edited it and added a couple new chapters and printed out a nice, polished hard copy and now you take a break. Rummaging around,you find an old legal pad with a few pages of sketchy handwritten notes so you start reading them and tick marking places where you've already included that thought or idea or scene in the text. And THEN you realize, from reading the rest of the notes that you wrote that this novel is NOT going in the direction you'd originally planned it to go, and where you are now is NOT where you really ought to be because it will work so much better following the original game plan. Therefore, in your head you are screaming so loud you think the entire world must be able to hear you...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!.

Can you hear me screaming?

Tomorrow, after sleeping on this huge disappointment, I will be essentially scrapping 33,000-plus words, 64 single spaced pages and starting this novel as a blank slate because this one got off the block fast but lost momentum just past the first turn.

The good part is that I may be able to salvage parts of it as I go and incorporate those chapters into the new and improved version. Plus I also did a lot of character development since this past weekend and know these characters and how they'll act and react. And I even did some research on herbs and witches and related matters. Maybe something better will come of this in the long run...but still I needed to get this scream out of my system tonight.

Tomorrow is a brand new day...I need to keep telling myself that.

Tomorrow is a brand new day...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Baking Cookies and Creating a World

Today, while the house was quiet with Kelly still in Boston at the anime convention and John outside doing chores as spring gets underway, I baked a batch of tollhouse bar cookies and then sat down to create the world that will be inhabited by the characters of a new novel that's in the works. The characters are already formed from the clay of imagination but their world was rather sketchy and needed some definition and development.

Today was a good day to get that done.

Tomorrow when they ask me at work how my Easter was I'll say, oh, I made cookies and created a new world. That's what it's like to be a writer.

Sometimes a story starts with a locale or a house or a car or an event. Then the characters spring to life. Sometimes it's the characters who start clamoring to tell their story who come first and then you have to scramble to assemble their world- their locations, homes, environments, home towns, places they visit or hang out...I don't often use real locations in my stories but occasionally a fictional location will resemble a real town or area. I prefer having fictional settings that I create and populate.

I think the only novel I've written that has real places in it is Life Skills which is set in the Hampton Beach/Rye/ Exeter/Portsmouth area of New Hampshire and the characters travel into Kittery, York, Ogunquit, Wells and up to Freeport Maine.  The setting of The Subtlety of Light and Shadow is the Adirondacks Lakes region but the lakes aren't real, only Saratoga and Glens Falls, New York really exist.

So, I created a little seacoast town in Maine where this novel is set, plus its history. And I had to create some new minor characters, like supporting actors and walk-on actors who perform their one thing and leave the stage. I suppose writing is like staging a production- building sets, telling a story, directing a cast- and making it all come alive in the theater of the reader's mind.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Yard Work

I thought I'd be doing some writing this weekend, but pleasant weather and a lot of twigs and branches down in the yard persuaded me that it was time to help John do the spring clean-up while we had a chance. The hawthorn trees are treacherous with their thorn-spike branches.

It all went pretty quickly. I had time to hike out to the edge of the ravine and shoot some pictures of the brook. It's not as full as I thought it would be. The reservoirs on the other side of the mountain are fairly full still, despite the lack of snow. John had told me the brook was over the banks not too long ago.

Somewhere in that brook there is a rock in the shape of a heart. During a drought one year Kelly and I hiked up the bone dry bed of the brook snapping pictures and looking for dinosaur footprints in the shale. I have one three-toe print I found hiking previously. I really didn't see the heart rock until I downloaded the pictures to the computer and was editing them. I sort of jumped I the chair when I saw it. Then, I had to create a visual map from the pictures, the order that they were in to try to find the rock again. Its somewhere n the area where the brook branches like a little oxbow. It's located about two houses up from ours but I haven't been able to pinpoint the location.

I have a vague idea, but the brook has to be bone dry because I'm going to have to pry it out of there to bring it home to put with the dinosaur footprint.

The other issue is that I can't hike anymore on uneven surfaces- it kills the soles of my feet. So, I don't know if I'll ever have that heart shaped rock for my collection of rocks...

Anyway-some signs of spring observed today- fat robins, plump buds on the trees, birds building nests, 4-wheelers tearing up the woods...sigh

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Lovely Day Despite Chronic Pain

Today is a lovely day. Spring is definitely in the air (my nasal allergies tell me so). The male cardinal is trilling his mating song in the large oak tree just off the deck. Blue jays are mock fighting in the woods. The cat (Revere) is driving me crazy because he wants to go outside desperately to roll on the back cement sidewalk to scratch himself, but I can't let him out because Jon's spread some ant poison down because the little ants are already in the house in swarms (happens every year- we live in the woods). Riley is fine with all the excitement of springtime around him. He's sleeping...he's most active in the evening, wanting to play and cuddle.

I try to enjoy every day of my life despite having to live with chronic pain. Sometime it just gets too overwhelming and I have to take a downtime day and just stay in bed and do nothing. That is what is happening today. I have a lot of stress in my life right now due to my husband's loss of job which has been our major source of income for 32 years. He has not yet found a new job although he has been trying, looking since his job was eliminated. Today he has been unemployed for one month. He's depressed and discouraged. It worries me because I have health issues that flare up and are debilitating at times (stress is a trigger) so I don't know how much longer I can actually keep working. I try to maintain a low stress lifestyle. I've cut out a lot of things I used to enjoy doing and focused more on things I can do that don't overtax me physically and emotionally.

I like what I do but my job is stressful because the health care field is constantly shifting due to new rules and regulations and constant changes initiated by health insurance companies. Some days it is like working in a pool of quicksand because you just don't know where the firm ground is anymore. And as you are struggling in the quicksand you have people shouting at you because they cannot get the medicines their doctors prescribe for them because insurances only cover generics first and foremost so if a patient doesn't have a pharmacy claim for a covered generic they cannot get the name brand medicine. Doctors don't comprehend this because drug reps sell them a line of goods- "Oh, this is covered by such and such an insurance now as a tier 2...". Well, tier 1 is that generic the patient needs to try before his insurance will consider paying for the tier 2. And that is just one of the hurdles to jump. With all the Medicare fraud that's been perpetuated through the years Medicare is now so difficult and rigid to deal with it can take over a month to get someone a hospital bed or a wheelchair because the doctor's office has to document medical necessity in clinical records-which means chart notes during a face to face visit, which means the sick or disabled patient has to actually come into the office to meet with the doctor so all seven required elements can be documented in a chart note. Then that chart note gets faxed to the supplier who must submit it to the insurance for approval. If anything is missing it gets kicked back to the supplier who turns around and wants the missing information immediately- and we might not have it, so the patient has to come in again which makes everyone angry and frustrated.

I love my job and I can perform it most days, but when I am having a major flare-up I have to take a crash day. Yesterday I was miserable with burning pain in the back of my neck, across my shoulders and down my spine. There is also a hot spot on my lower right back that started as slight muscle spasms but is now a constant dull ache. This health issue also aggravates GI issues and I didn't feel good yesterday and it has continued into today. My joints and muscles ache, I have random cramps and muscle spasms. And fatigue plagues me constantly. It's all spilled over into today. I didn't sleep much last night so am even more tired. I need a down day just to rest.

So today- a beautiful, lovely day- I am lying in bed with the sunshine striping the bedclothes trying to rest and stay quiet and let my body recover- and not think about Kelly going away to Boston for the next four days and John's interview for a job tomorrow and the work piling up on my desk because I could not get out of bed this morning and function due to chronic pain...it will be a lovely quiet day...I hope.

One last thought- I manage chronic pain with meditation, rest and Tylenol. I would never consider opiods because I've never liked how pain medication makes me feel and have always refused to take it even after two major surgeries. I'm NSAID intolerant so all the anti-inflammatory meds are out. I'm allergic to codeine and prednisone. My options are very limited so I have to manage with mind over pain and Tylenol extra-strength once or twice a day.

Today I will lie in bed and let my imagination roam- and maybe some story ideas will develop so when I can get up and function again I'll have enough to do to keep my mind on work and writing and not on chronic pain and how it can suck you down into a dark pool at times. I prefer to live my life in the light of optimism and hope.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Is Writing a Form of Insanity?

My office manager came in this morning, having read my post about how I was crying and laughing and then crying again as I wrote certain scenes while completing a novel this past weekend. She told me that Danielle Steele had been on a program this morning she'd been watching prior to coming to work and Steele had revealed that she had called her publisher all in a tizzy because her main character had just killed her best friend- and she'd never seen it coming! Now I don't feel so bad.

As a writer, your characters take on a life of their own and they steer the story- and you never know what's going to happen next! I'm glad I'm not the only author who is continually put through the emotional wringer by my characters who don't always act the way I thought they would when I created them.

Sometimes it's strange to live in so many very vivid worlds. I am always walking through the real world observing, listening, picking up tidbits of conversation, settings, differing characteristics and personal quirks to give my characters true to life presence in the novels and stories they populate. Sometimes you are omnipotent, overseeing entire towns and areas of the globe or just households or studio apartments...and most of the time the characters come alive on page and drag you along on a wild ride!

I have fun with my friends and with my family, but I have even more fun with the characters I create! Sounds weird, but as long as I keep the real world and the universe in my head separate I should be okay! (Sometimes I wonder if the ability to write is a form of insanity- like multiple personalities, only those personalities don't possess you in reality, only emerging on the printed page? Maybe it's when the characters in your head start appearing to you in real life and speaking to you and causing confusion between what's real and what's make believe that writer's start drinking or whatever? I don't know- haven't reach that point yet and I've been writing for 40 years and do not drink at all. But I do have very vivid dreams and some of my dreams have come to life in stories. Oh, and as I am lying in the dark waiting for sleep to come I see peoples faces- total strangers, and they morph one into the other while I'm thinking well, that's an interesting person...future characters trying to get my attention, maybe?)

I don't know where this gift I have comes from but I'm 100% certain I was born with it and didn't just acquire it in school or at my grandfather's knee. It's always been there, a part of me. And my daughter has inherited it so it must be genetic.

Wherever the ability to write comes from I hope the well of imagination never runs dry because that would be enough to drive me around the bend- not being able to write another story or book! I'm pretty sure that would drive me crazy!

So, whether it's a form of insanity, a genetic trait, a divine gift granted at birth or an eccentricity I feel fortunate to be a writer and an author every day. Long live the written word!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Talon Series

I have set aside two almost completed novels to work on the 2/3s completed third book in the Talon series. I need bran candy!

The first book in the series was based on a series of four Halloween short stories featuring offbeat Bryce Briscoe and cold as ice Medical Examiner Dr. Giles Talon, who just happens to be a grim reaper with a hot side to him.

I wrote a novel based on these four short stories in the third person and submitted it to The Golden Heart contest in 2012. For my first time entering a novel in a contest and not  really used to writing romance I did better than I thought I would.

Next came a major rewrite of that novel, changing it to the first person viewpoint of Bryce, a girl who has been labeled a "freak" all her young life. In book one, Talon: An Intimate Familiarity, Bryce is struggling to survive on her own in the city of Revere. A guy from college, her one and only real friend in the city, tells her about a night clerk job opening at City Morgue, and though it's right up her alley she doesn't get it, at first. But she meets elderly Medical Examiner Dr. James Everett who befriends her, takes her under his wing and gets the job for her. Then she meets frosty yet preternaturally handsome raven-haired Dr. Talon, he of the ice blue eyes and icy demeanor. They have a volatile relationship from the get go with Dr. Everett acting as a buffer between them. Yet Bryce is attracted to Dr. Talon and gradually realizes that he ahs been on the periphery of her life since she was a little girl- but how can it be? He hasn't changed an iota while she has grown up.

Book One is about Talon neglecting his duty to train and instruct Bryce in her role. he leaves her floundering and confuses her, and angers her. Bryce rides an emotional rollercoaster as she's drawn toward the handsome doctor and he repeatedly pushes her away. Yet she has erotic dreams where the doctor visits her apartment. And oddly enough, the grim reaper seems to be shadowing her, too. As she struggles to understand what is going on in her life she finds herself drawn into demon realms that terrify her, yet she discovers heretofore unknown things about herself.

After s near fatal accident Dr. Talon begins to reveal things to Bryce but he has to disentwine himself from the evil spider Dr. Liliya Romanenko's possessive web. Meanwhile, Talon impregnates a willing Bryce before he's completely free of Liliya who goes ballistic and knocks Bryce into a terrifying realm.

By the end of the first book, Bryce knows she is Talon's chosen portal, the doorway through which the souls he harvests pass through into Heaven. And to escape a demonic beast she crosses through herself into Heaven to slam the door closed to keep it out when she has no other choice-which sets off a furor in Heaven because no other portal has ever done such a thing- allowed herself to die to protect the portal that is her. But Bryce isn't just your ordinary portal- she's also half spirit, a gift from her Guardian angel who gave her the special glow that allowed Talon to recognize her as a potential portal before she was even born on earth. She's unique and that's why Talon and Bryce have such a volatile relationship- she's more than he's ever had to deal with before, and she's really not fully aware of who or what she really is.

At the end of the first novel they are locked out of Heaven while debates rage as to what to do about both of them. But Talon and Bryce have formed a bond despite the difficulty they have getting along, and they have a baby boy on the way. Talon has struggled throughout this first novel to understand human nature and be more flexible. He is not a human being, he is a supernatural being, yet he discovers what human emotions are all about in this novel while desperately trying to understand his portal whom he is fiercely protective of and bound to.

Relationships are hammered out and established that will carry through into Book Two, Talon: A Sense of Familiarity.

Book Two begins with Bryce having just moved into Talon's brownstone home in Revere. His household staff- Adrian Fox and Vera Cotton are Guardians he has allowed to take on human form and they help him to protect Bryce. However, with their relationship established and the new little reaper conceived, the demonic realms are attacking Talon and his portal more fiercely. Bryce is learning what abilities she has in the other realms- she can shoot jets of pure white energy from the palms of her hands, she has her own guardians she can summon, she is a supreme healer, and later she wields a blazing sword of blue fire...and she can fly once she gets her angel's wings because she is both a portal and an angel as she gains more of her spiritual gifts.

After a terrifying attack on Bryce Talon decides to take Bryce someplace she really loves where they can celebrate her twenty second birthday. Her friend and fellow City Morgue clerk, Ed Wrisley, is consulted by Talon and he gives the chilly ME an idea how to thrill Bryce by suggesting he take her to Camden Lake where she spent summers with her family. It's her favorite place. So he makes all the arrangements and they go tot he lake for a week to celebrate her birthday. Bryce has never had a good relationship with her family-parents, older sister and twin older brothers. At their first romantic dinner they are interrupted by her parents who happen to be vacationing at the lake. Bryce is upset and wants to be left alone. Talon persuades her to work on her relationship with her family and she reluctantly agrees. They are attacked at the lakeside cottage, and Bryce is injured by a demon disguised as a rogue reaper- he pierced her hip with his scythe, placing a toxin inside her that will drive her to murder Talon in time. They are still locked out of Heaven and on their own, but Dr. Everett who passed away in Book One and took his place in the Heavenly Council, and who has a special place in his heart for both of them, returns to earth in human form to help Dr. Talon devise an antidote to the poison. Meanwhile, Talon has proposed to Bryce during a romantic canoe and picnic day while dressed in vintage clothing, giving her a stunning ice blue diamond ring. And then he buys her a lakeside cottage for her birthday after she falls in love with it.

They return to Revere. Her father who has pancreatic cancer dies just after they arrive at his hospital room- and he sees his daughter and his future son-in-law in their supernatural forms, and crosses through Bryce who allows him to see the baby in her womb. He tells her the baby has red hair and pale blue eyes. Bryce continues to mend fences with her remaining family. Meanwhile the toxin is still affecting her. Talon and Dr. Everett frantically work on an antidote at Central Hospital.

Talon and Bryce host a huge Labor Day weekend get together at their Camden Lake house with Bryce's  mother, sister Brittany, Brittany's good-for-nothing boyfriend Josh and their two babies, plus his five daughters from five previous girlfriends), Dr. Everett, their household staff, Ollie and Ed Wrisley and his girlfriend Tessie, whom Bryce knew from the secondhand clothing store where she used to work. Things go well until little Savannah drowns after she slips out of her life vest. Dr. Talon struggles to save her life, but when it looks as if she is too far gone Bryce infuses the tiny girl with a big dose of her own spirit, bringing her back, but placing herself in danger by running her own spiritual battery low. Dr. Everett has to whisk Bryce to Heaven for an emergency visit to her Guardian Angel who gives her a big dose of spirit- but even this big dose of spirit does not stop the toxin from driving Bryce to kill Talon in the near future. She has killed hi once before but was unaware of the fact that she was the being who had killed him. She used her healing powers to bring him back and that is what she has to do when it happens in the present time (time is elastic in the demonic realms). She kills the man, the being whom she loves- and then she struggles to bring him back like she did once before.

In one last climactic battle- a distraught Bryce abrades the tattoos Talon has given her that allow him to track her every move so he can find her quickly wherever she may be-and she is taken by a brutal demon who wants to kill Talon. She is badly injured and tortured when her longtime friend whom she loves dearly, Ed Wrisley is murdered before her eyes and she can do nothing to save him. Another human is also murdered, one who Talon once had an affair with. It is almost more than Bryce can emotionally and psychologically and physically cope with- and then Talon arrives. It is in this scene where Bryce leaves her mortal body and takes on her own incorporeal form to battle with Talon against the demons who murdered her best friend. And it is here that Talon kneels before her and acknowledges her as the superior being- which doesn't sit well with Bryce at all.

At the end of this book Bryce gives birth to Talon's son and finally sets a date for their wedding.

Book three begins thirteen days before the Valentine's Day wedding. Talon has gifted Bryce's mother, sister and all the little girls with rings that help to protect them. Demon activity has increased as the wedding approaches- and Brittany's boyfriend is killed when a demon causes him to lose control of his vehicle and he rolls over several times in a ravine. Talon realizes that he failed to protect Bryce's sister's boyfriend and feels guilt about that oversight. And then they have additional devastating news...one of the little girls, the one who nearly drowned and was infused with spirit which allowed her to see Talon, Bryce, Adrian, Ollie and Vera in their supernatural forms, has removed her ring and been killed by a demon.

Meanwhile, Talon has offered the late John a position as a Guardian. As a guardian he will be allowed to assume a new human form and have a second chance at being together with Brittany and his seven little girls because Talon and Bryce are pretty certain Brit will fall in love with him all over again even tough she won't know he's really Josh. Talon did the same for Wrisley near the end of book two after he was murdered, he offered him a position as a guardian who will protect little Cayle Risley Talon, Talon and Bryce's baby boy. So Wrisley now resides in the brownstone with Adrian Fox, Vera Cotton and Rosemary Mullen who is Cayle's nursemaid. Josh agrees and becomes Cameron Lake, a high school friend of Josh's who's been working as an orderly in pediatrics at Central Hospital. As such he has to attend his own funeral in order to meet Brittany and the girls and begin to form new relationships with the eight females he loves so they ca all be together again- his big concern being that the state will take his five oldest daughters and place them in foster homes.

Bryce performs a risky maneuver when infant Cayle is kidnapped that infuriates Talon and stuns Dr. and Mrs. Everett with its boldness and dangerousness- but it works. She's upset when everyone is angry with her- and when Bryce is upset bad things happen so Talon has to suck it up and calm her down.

If there is one thing that never goes bad in their relationship it is the intimacy they share- they are both exclusively passionate about one another so the making up f their differences always sets them back on track.

Talon is busy fighting demons and putting all the necessary arrangements in place to get Cameron/Josh relocated closer to Brittany and the girls- buying an old farmhouse and renovating it so there will be plenty of room for a large family, a couple dogs and some cats and horses. He's also working to help Bryce's widowed mother find a new love and a happier future, and worked to help set her troubled twin brother's back on track.

And now the wedding day is approaching and Bryce will face the worst demon yet, one who nearly destroys her...

I really need to finish this third novel before I do anything else!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway-Cupid's Darts

Just a quick thank you to everyone who entered for a first edition signed copy of Cupid's Darts: A Sweethearts Collection. Seven lucky winners were chosen and their books are on the way this morning after a lovely drive to Southampton's post office in beautiful spring-like weather to mail them! I appreciate the interest in the book.

Monday, March 14, 2016

My Magical Life

Holy moly- this seems to be the hot book lately...raking in 5 star reviews- thank you, readers!! It's one of my favorites...I miss lugging around the hot pink covered manuscript copy. Don't know how many times I've read this book and I never get tired of it. Jazz makes me laugh and wish my cat could talk!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sitting Under the Gloom Tree

I feel like I'm sitting in the shadow of the gloom tree.

There is a lot going on in my life right now that is stressing me and making me unhappy. I struggled to put together the magazine I've done for the past ten years when I had no motivation to do it. It's done as of today but it is not my best effort and a huge disappointment, but part of that is because no one contributed this year and it was a huge struggle to work with what I had and make it good. I'm burned out and resigning as editor in April.

Usually I can sit at the computer and stories just flow out of me. I have two novels mostly written and a third started...and I sit here and cannot think.

There's just too much shadowing me...and my happy place is across a wide canyon.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The League Of Gingers

In a strange little critique a reader mentioned that all my female lead characters are redheads. Yes, the majority of them are, but Evangeline is a blonde in My Magical Life (although I believe in some of her past lives she was redhead but she's blonde throughout the novel), Jennifer Shelton (Lockout Rescue) has raven hair. But, in the whole scheme of creativity, why exactly would hair color matter?

I have a beautiful goddaughter who happens to have gorgeous red hair. One of my good friends also is a ginger. I'm blonde. My daughter has dark blonde hair. My sister is a brunette. I was a redhead when I was a little girl but then my hair turned pale blonde. I just like red hair. It's a personal preference and doesn't mean anything.

I have a story somewhere in the archives called The League of Gingers in which nearly every main character with red hair is a part of this league. The league gets together a couple of times of year in one fictional location from a novel or another- and they just talk about their lives, their husbands/boyfriends and their kids if they have them and what's going on in their lives in general- and they have fun, going out to eat, watching a movie, having a big sleepover and gabfest. They all have differing shades of red hair, and they all have distinctly different personalities.

I guess I write about redheads because I find them more interesting, vibrant and dynamic then blondes and brunettes who are more ordinary in real life, although there are a lot more people with red hair these days than when I was growing up and the most fascinating family was a family in Northampton we'd see when going shopping there- a whole family of ginger-aired kids parading down the sidewalk. Maybe that memory is part of why I have a lot of female leads who have red hair. I don't know and I'm not interested in being psychoanalyzed to find out why I don't really like blondes and brunettes (although all the rest of my friends in real life are exactly that- blondes and brunettes and I love them dearly.)

When I write, it's not about hair color, although my male characters seem drawn to redheads because their hair is bright as a bonfire, flames like a torch in the darkness, etc. A lot of my male characters have black hair or dark brown hair, although some have dirty blonde hair (but I don't think any of my male characters is a carrot top, except one in a new novel I'm writing, and the Riley boys in the three Christmas stories featuring their family- Rusty, Pepper and Carmine.) When I write it's more the story that concerns me than a character's hair color. When I read a novel I'm not all that concerned about what the character looks like, I'm more into how that character acts and his or her motivation throughout the story.

Every writer has their quirks. I guess mine is that I like most of my female characters to be redheads- a private wink at Emily (my goddaughter) and Amanda (my friend) with their red hair-- something like Carol Burnett tugging her ear at the end of each of her shows to tell her family that she loved them. It's just a quirk, not a psychological issue and it shouldn't be an issue or stumbling block with readers. It's the story that involves these characters that should matter most, and whether or not it's well written. If a reader is so shallow as to be overly concerned about hair color then that says more about the reader than it says about the writer because the writer is writing the story and the story is what matters most.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall at a League of Gingers get together because Scarlett, Bryce, Amanda, Lissa, Eveleen, Pepper, Tessie, Jessamyn, Lucie, Abigail, Ellisan...etc.- they're all unique, vibrant, vivid, vivacious characters with their own strengths and weaknesses. The only thing in common that they share is they all have red hair, in different hues. (Point being I am not writing the same character over and over again- they are each a separate entity.)

Therefore, my response to that odd little critique is this- ignore the color of the character's hair and just enjoy the story that character is a part of. It's the story that matters, not the color of a character's hair. The writing is the art you should be focusing on when reading, and if you can't get past it then there are plenty of authors out there littering their writing with blondes and brunettes that you might not be so put out about.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Discussion Today with Archway Consultant

Had a nice discussion this afternoon with a publishing consultant from Archway, a division of Simon & Schuster, that helps authors publish their books. It's a big step up from CreateSpace where I self publish my books now. I would love to do this but with the financial upheaval due to John's job being eliminated (don't get me started on this again...still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth that big corporations can eliminate your job and there are no repercussions for them- they should be fined for every American they so callously dump to save themselves money! Argh!!)my plans to level up in the publishing game have more or less crashed and burned for the time being. So, I am discovering while corporate American suffers no repercussions from job eliminations, those affected by these downsizings and dumping the gray hairs (let's just call it what it is and drop the corporate gloss and BS) are rather devastating to those who no longer have an income, who have health issues and need medical care, and have plans for life in general that now are lost in limbo due to the uncertainty of finding comparable employment in a country that sucks at helping its own people work for a living.

Anyway-it was a very nice talk, he seemed interested in the book I'm just about finished writing and I could really get excited about having Archway back my next book like that but it's going to have to sit on the back burner for now until we see what the future holds in store for us financially.

Another dream in the holding pen of life. (But, I'll keep writing.)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Closing in on the Finish Line

Well, today I wrote the epilogue of the new, as yet untitled, novel. Now I need to go back and pick out certain characters and write these little blurbs about them to tack at the beginning of certain chapters to better define them. Kelly suggested this and I agree it would be a different approach to fleshing them out.

Then next will be the read through for continuity.

And then will come the filling in of material that needs to be better developed to carry the plot throughout the novel. (If you haven't caught this before, I write on the fly straight out of my head and seldom stop to take notes- bad me!) When I read a novel I never know what I'm going to find because when I take dictation from the muse in my head I really don't know what the heck is going on! It's always a surprise!

When all the tweaking and filling in is done I will have a pretty cool novel in hand- judging by the voracious rate my minion has read printed out pages on a daily basis! (She's not really a minion, but I've always wanted to have one and she comes close!)

Off to do the little blurbs bout these characters who wander through the pages raising havoc!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Up Late Last Night

For the past three nights I have been fighting a battle in my head- I had reached the point in my new novel where all hell breaks loose and knew there would be betrayals and shocks coming fast and furious as the clash between two powerful beings erupted into war. I had trouble getting myself to focus and write the chapters necessary to propel the book toward the desired ending. The other night I was just too brain friend to write much of anything. Last night I made myself sit down and just start writing and managed to get the two most difficult chapters written. It's not easy for a nice, easy going person like me to torture my characters mercilessly before pulling them damaged from the fire and healing them.

That's all I can say right now- some survived and some did not. Today, when Kelly reads those chapters after she gets home from work and volunteering at the museum, I will be able to gauge the impact of those two chapters- although it bothers me to make her cry, but that's how I'll know if the writing is powerful enough to move my biggest critic, daughter or not.

Meanwhile, having a more relaxing day after such a wrenching late night creating chaos and destruction in the world within my head-it's now in the computer and on paper...but the remnants are still fluttering like tattered battle flags in my brain.

Epilogue ahead...and then the massive job of reading the novel through and tweaking it to bring it all together because there needs to be a few things added or removed here and there to make this one all I want it to be- a thrill ride for the reader.

I'm making progress.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Brainfried and Babbling

I sat down to write tonight but my brain just wasn't that into it. I wrote maybe half a page. Sometimes that happens, especially when I'm brainfried (all one word in my book because when I'm like this, I'm just too tired to make it two words.)

I fiddle-faddled around doing this and that, played a couple games on my phone, changed my rings tones, ignored the house phone every time it rang (how did we ever become so popular with spammers, scammers, political hacks, charity champions, and Eversource (where I live Eversource is a monster utility in cities and towns surrounding ours, but we have a municipal gas and electric company, yet Eversource is always calling to discuss our power usage, etc. The caller always seems a bit flustered when we say "we're not a customer of yours so why exactly are you calling us?"

And now the NRA is calling. I'm tempted to accept their call and tell them all about my friend who blew his brains out with his gun. I'm sure they'd love to hear that story because to this day it's still a traumatic event in my life. And how about the female officer shot and killed on her first day of duty by an asshole with a rifle? I've walked the long blue line for two police officers in Springfield killed by guns in the hands of criminals. Tell me it's their right to shoot people and then sit down and shut up and let me tell you the cold, hard truth you ignore--There's someone out there with a bullet with YOUR name on it. You've just been lucky so far. (So has your mother, your kids, your best friend, your bank teller, the person who serves your coffee, the gas station attendant where you fill up, and tat jerk who just cut you off on the road. You've all been L-U-C-K-Y., so far.)

Anyway, we no longer answer our phone unless the caller ID identifies family or friend, and even then we have been fooled a couple of times by spammers who somehow use one of our names as the caller. If I don't verify the number as well when I see the familiar name I get really pissed off when it's not my husband and I'm not shy about letting them know exactly and telling them precisely where to go, track number, station name and everything in explicit detail. The same goes for my cellphone. You can go to voice mail limbo for all I care.

Okay, guess I just jumped up on my soapbox there, but it took me a long time to train my husband not to answer the phone every time it rang. He thought it was impolite not to answer the phone. I finally convinced him that what is actually is impolite are all these garbage calls interfering with our home life when we just want peace and quiet and to be able to relax at the end of a long day. These callers are rude and unwanted, so why exactly do we have to be polite to nuisances who invade our home like mice and cockroaches? So, call all you want- the ringtone is low and we'll just glance at the caller ID if we happen to be near the phone, or just  ignore it if we're not. If it's family or friends they know what to do to let us know. That's the way it is here.
 it's them

So, anyway, my brain is tired tonight from work where I had five things going at once and was still fielding calls besides. And I had a LOT of calls at work today...and yes, I get a lot of junk calls from those companies you see on TV pitching back braces, knee braces, wrist braces, etc. that are, for all intents and purposes, pieces of crap (read about them in AARP folks). Save yourself a world of woe- go to your doctor, have him/her prescribe whatever it is you think you need and if he/she agrees that you need it (back braces can actually cause you more harm then good by weakening the muscles you need to support your torso so you can remain upright! Confining those muscles, letting them grow idle in a brace will cause them to atrophy.). If you leave with a prescription in hand there are plenty of local businesses that can accommodate you and provide you a better item without bilking your insurance hundreds of dollars (thus reducing Medicare fraud and the resultant burden on your finances because Medicare takes such big hits with this junk- and I am talking $300-500 per brace- really- because I hound them right back when they call because I won't let my doctors prescribe stuff sight unseen and without knowing what Medicare is going to be squeezed for. It's not that surprising how uncomfortable these sales reps get when asked for this information, and how many cannot even provide it! (It just reeks of scam and fraud! How can you not have information, not even a one page flyer on something you're selling?) People think just because it's on TV it's good. There have been ads on TV for well over a half century or more and everyone knows you have to take everything you see on TV with a grain of salt because the world known as Media is a deceitful and manipulative place. Let's not be so na├»ve!

Okay, I really should crawl to bed and pull the covers over my head now. I have weary brain syndrome, and I'm hugely disappointed I was unable to focus enough to continue on with the book I'm working on at present...but it just wasn't happening tonight. This was what was happening....and maybe I should apologize for spewing all over this blog...but, hey, it's my blog and I'm allowed to be as tactful as Trump now and then- I mean, he plays in a public theater. I just tinker around in the theater of the absurd.

Hmm...is there a Society for the Prevention of Abuse of Blogs?

I'm sorry, little blog...I'll make it up to you. Maybe tomorrow, after I get some sleep....goodnight!

Photo Shoot

In the midst of chaos and turmoil we managed to find some humor.

My husband lost his job in a cold-blooded corporate mass layoff a week ago yesterday after dedicating himself there for 32 years. It was staggering, to say the least, and he has not been coping well with what he views as a betrayal and rejection of his loyalty to the company, but that's the No Heart way of big business these days.

So, he's been home polishing up his impressive resume and updating his Linked In page...and he needed an updated photograph (actually, ne needed a phot period since he never had one!) Therefore, yesterday afternoon I volunteered to take his picture. Okay, so I'm five five and he's six three and a half. I'm standing in bare feet, he has on hard soled slippers. The first few pictures seemed to be taken looking up his nose with him looking down at me so his eyes looked at half mast, like he'd just rolled out of bed or was just coming off a bender. Not good.

He's getting a little ticked by all the flashes in his eyes and comes up with the bright idea pf sitting down in the hallway in front of the paneled cellar door. Ah! Better angle, but now he's getting antsy and grumpy. So I launch into my Photo Shoot mode. I go, "Darling, work with me here! Show me that sexy 'Hire Me!' look! That's it! Work it, sweetheart! Almost there!" By now he is LAUGHING and I am laughing so hard I can't stand up straight! Click! Click! Click! As the laugh fest subsides I manage to shoot a series of three pictures, two of which show him looking relaxed and smiling.

He took the camera, downloaded the pictures, chose the one he liked best and uploaded it to Linked In- assignment accomplished.

Just call us Abbott and Costello...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Just Doing My Job

I did my job today. I do it everyday, always to the best of my ability with everything that I have at hand and then some when I need additional information. I did my job, got a response that was not favorable from an insurance company, and got screamed at, scolded and belittled in front of my co-workers because the insurance had denied a request because of their criteria and polices on this type of medication which is well documented. I felt bullied. I felt like I was being treated like a child- which I am not. I am an adult and I act like one in the workplace. It really goes against my grain when I do the best I can do with what is available to me, and I even go the extra distance and get as much information as I can before I tackle a difficult task and then, because it doesn't go the way a person wants it to, I am instantly to blame. I came so very close to just getting up and walking out today. My job is extremely stressful and hectic right now.  I am constantly interrupted throughout the day. I have recent stressors in my life right now that have pushed me to the edge yet I go to work and give everything I can to help people...and this happens. Well, my day was ruined and I am not happy at how I was treated because one person was disappointed and decided I was the one to lash out at. That was a huge mistake. I did my job. If you don't like the result I'm sorry, but it was an insurance thing, not my doing. I am still angry and upset tonight- and I am not happy.

The best part of the day was talking to grateful people I was able to help with various things. I seldom get thanked for what I do, but two people today took the time to thank me and tell me they appreciate what I do for them.

But even those two sweet people could not negate what one single person who is always telling us that we should treat one another with respect, that if we have a difference of opinion we should talk to those people quietly on the side and not yell at them in front of other people, did to me today.

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the apology due me but I do have something that I seriously need to think about now; and maybe she should think about what would happen if my choice is unfavorable. There aren't very many people who can multitask on a monumental scale, stay organized, work under constant pressure and put up with prima donna attitudes and chronic documentation failures and still get their work done. But instead of seeing that, I get yelled at for doing my job correctly.

Go figure.