Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Miracles

I continue to be thankful for the things and people in my life. Not just in the month of November but throughout the year.

Thirty-six years ago at 3:34 am on a rainy November 27th morning I gave birth to my beautiful daughter, Jamie. I had no job and was taking on the job of a lifetime. I have not always made the right choices, nor have I been the best example, I have however done the best I could at any given time. There have been bumps along the way. I grew up as you grew up.

We were friends always, but you ultimately knew who was in charge. We argued but never went to bed angry. I allowed you to express your feelings. I encouraged you to try the things you love. Dance, gymnastics, and music.
We have always traveled. Even to exotic places. All over northern Michigan, to Florida, Canada, and St. Thomas. I hope we will continue to do that.
We enjoy eating. Our own food and in restaurants. I had fun at Iggy's even if the food did nothing for me. Aren't you glad you're not a picky eater?
You made me immensely proud when you graduated from college in May. I always knew you could do it if you put your mind to it.
You have provided me with a son-in-law and two beautiful children as well as a step-grandson and a granddaughter-in-law. 
Happy birthday Jamie Renee'. I love you more than you could possibly imagine. I suspect we have many more adventures still to come.
Love,
MOM

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Again I have fallen behind

Let me go back----Thanksgiving I was blessed to be with family and friends. Two of my beautiful nieces and their respective mates,  a mother-in-law to one niece, and a friend to one nephew. A small intimate gathering with lots of food and good conversation.

I am thankful that it was only the last ten miles of my trip home on Friday I had snowy roads. Once again I was able to travel without a mishap.

I am very thankful for the friends, writers, and professionals who are doing advanced reads of my next book for review. They have been most helpful.

I am thankful for friends who take time out of their day to go to lunch with me. And was lucky enough to have another friend join us.

Yes, I am thankful for all of that.
TTFN

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am a bit behind

On my 30 days of Thankfulness I have fallen behind.

Yesterday I was thankful for clear roads and a safe travels. I actually made my way through the mountains without mishap. I was able to navigate my way around Washington D.C. only to be detoured just over a mile from my destination by a serious traffic accident. While I was not looking forward to thirteen hours in a car I was grateful for a safe arrival.

Today I am thankful for judges who can see through ruses and get to the truth. As he ruled in my favor. I am glad it it over.

I am once again thankful for my nieces. One who generously opened her home to me and one who has designed a logo for my new company. Yep, without them I'd be lost.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

TTFN

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Smells of Baking

There is nothing better than the smell of home baked goods. I don't care if it's bread, cookies, pies, or cakes.  It is the smell of safety. My grandmother was always baking something. My mom used to bake, more than she does now. I love to bake, but baking for one is no fun.

I don't know if it's the mixture of spices or just the aroma of whatever is baking, it just means home. Holidays are a big time for baking. This year for the first time in a long time I want to bake. I want to make cookies, and banana bread. I wan to bake pies and anything else I that crosses my mind. Maybe even make fudge. Those who know me, know this is out of character, because I try to avoid baked goods.

But for today, I am thankful for the wonderful aromas of home baked goods.

TTFN

Friday, November 16, 2012

Simple Things

Yes, I am thankful for the simple things in life. A walk in the woods or on the beach. Kicking up fallen leaves.     The wind in my hair. I like making things for others. Holding hands or cuddling are always nice.

Life doesn't have to be drama. It doesn't have to be difficult. Just look for the simple things. A flower, a bird, anything in nature. Skipping rocks or skipping rope.

I'm thankful for the simple things in life. A smile, or hello from a stranger can go a long way. Doing something nice for someone else is a boost to your own self-esteem.

TTFN

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Storytelling



I am thankful for the ability to spin a yarn, tell a story, spark someone's interest. Words make the world go round. I know people who are gifted storytellers, but would never think to write a word down on paper. I know people who write stories and should not. I think those who can do both are doubly gifted.

Each time I finish a novel or short story I know a part of me goes with it. Every time I send it out to be read, I am tempting the rejection fates. I know not everyone who reads my books will like them. I also know my fan base is growing, which means I must be doing something right.

I thank God daily for the ability to arrange words to make things interesting to others. I know there is a reason I've played word games all my life. Words intrigue me. They are probably the most powerful weapon...for lack of a better word...people have.

What you speak can help or hurt. Choosing your words wisely is always the best. I am thankful, I can do this.

TTFN

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Friends

I am thankful for the multitude of friends I have acquired over the years. While I don't see some as often as I'd like, I think about them.

I have friends I can trace back to kindergarten...yes, Louise, that would be you. Over the years we have moved in and out of each other's lives, but that doesn't mean I don't hold her dear to my heart. We shared those things that only small children can.

Then there are the impetuous friends I collected in my teen years. Some are still around (yes Shelley, you are still around albeit in another state), others have moved on. Those I care deeply about I can find on any given day. I keep in touch with a few. I've lost track of many. But they helped shape me into who I am.

College...that was a new and at times frightening experience. Guess what, it brought a whole new set of friends. Some I've not heard from since we graduated a lifetime ago. About a half dozen or so are still in my close circle of friends and though we don't get together as often as I'd like, I know if I needed them they'd be there. (Deb, Joan, Vicki, Sue....I know where you are).

Somewhere in all that I became an adult. I have friends from when I was first starting out as a single mom, in a new neighborhood. I cherish them. I became friends with neighbors, community members, and teachers. All of whom had an impact on my life. And if Nancy and Sally didn't meet me for lunch once in a while I think sometimes I'd still be lost.

Then there are the friends and colleagues I made in my teaching career. Some are parents, some are neighbors, some just worked with me in some capacity or another. This list is way to long for me to mention everyone, I know I'd leave someone off and I wouldn't want to do that.

Finally, there are those whom I've encountered in my life as an author. While they may only have made their way in briefly, I am honored to be counted  a friend, Jama, Kelsey, Ashely, Kortney, Cesya, Sherrice,...and that list goes on and on.

Never to be forgotten are the friends I've made in South Carolina, Mark, Megan, Joe, Jane, Linda, David, Karl, Kathy.....that list too is a long one. I am looking forward to seeing all of them again soon.

Yes, today and everyday, I am thankful for friends. While I profess to hate people, I know I'd be lost without my friends. God bless you each and everyone.
TTFN

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Compassion

I am thankful for compassionate people and a community who has shown support for a young mother, whose baby girl is dying. The out-pouring of love, prayers, and general concern has been overwhelming. In this time of year when we are most thankful for families and friends, losing a loved one is hard. Losing a child is devastating. Losing an infant is horrendous.

I am so proud to be part of a community that can come together. I'm just sad that it always surrounds a tragedy. I'd like to see it happen every day. No other reason than we are all human. We all have feelings, and just a smile or friendly hello can make someone's day.

Today I am most thankful for people who demonstrate they have compassion. It's a vital part of human nature. It also shows me we are not a lost country as the media would have us all believe.

Many hugs, prayers, and blessings to the Parrish family in this terrible time.

TTFN

Monday, November 12, 2012

Siblings

Yeah, I'm thankful for my siblings. Being the oldest means I have tormented them all. It also means I get it back. I'm thankful I have them. They've taught me much about life.

While we have each traveled a different path we are always there for each other. We don't always agree. We still bicker and snipe at each other, but when it comes right down to it I know I can count on each of the them.

Love you all. I'm glad I'm the big sister.
TTFN

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Warm Sunny Days









I am most thankful for warm, sunny days. I am a person who thrives in the sun. Getting a chance to walk in the sun in November without a jacket and still in my sandals. That to me is a bit of Heaven on Earth.

I appreciate the seasons, but know I suffer from SADS-Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome. I also know for me, if I am not careful it leads to depression. Since I don't like where depression takes me, I try to avoid it.

I feel energized when I have the chance to get out and walk. I prefer long walks in the woods or on the beach,(beach walking starts in just over seven weeks) but I settled for the strip mall in town today. I was on a mission to find something.(I did get part of what I was looking for). So, I parked at one end and walked to the other and back. I used to walk the strip mall because four times up and down was a mile. Today it was just vigorous walking once and back. Then I was off to WalMart, where they did not have the other item I was looking for. Ugh. I know where to get it though.

Today, I am most thankful for warm, sunny days, to walk.
TTFN

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Friends and Inspiration

Last winter while wandering the beach at Kiawah Island I met the most amazing woman. Her name is Kathy Smith. We talked for a while and quickly became friends. She told me about a charity run by her son and I checked it out. I was so impressed I asked if I could become a sponsor. As a result I give 10% of my earnings on Cold Case: Sleeping Dogs Lie to Tanner's Totes.

I have held high hopes of seeing Kathy again this winter. I would love to get to know her better. Today I received an e-mail from her. She continues to amaze me. However I'm going to provide links to her son's blog so you will understand why.

http://www.tannersmyth.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-hero-my-father.html  You need to read this one first to understand something of what Tanner has grown up with.

Then you need to read this one for what is currently happening. http://www.tannersmyth.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-final-chapter.html


Kathy does not know if she and Craig will be able to make the trip to Kiawah this winter. I can understand why. This will be a long road for them. The one thing she told me in the e-mail today was not to feel sorry for them. I don't I am amazed at their resiliency. I admire the strength of the entire Smith family. I am proud to call Kathy a friend.

I am thankful for the inspiration they all are.

TTFN

Friday, November 9, 2012

Seasons

I am thankful for the changing seasons. As much as I am not a winter person I can appreciate the beauty of freshly fallen snow, or the first real snow of the season. In all honesty the only snow I want to see is on Christmas morning and I really only want a light snow then.

I love the spring when trees and flowers are budding. My allergies might not, but I love the reawakening of the plants. They are no longer winter dormant.

Summer is my favorite season. If if could be summer all year long I'd be happy. I love hiking and swimming. While I can hike in spring and fall, there is something about a summer hike through the woods that is different.

The leaves changing in the fall are beautiful. No one who has seen their splendor ever forgets it. The rustling of the fallen leaves when you walk through them lets you know it is time for the trees to prepare for winter.

Yes, today  I am thankful for the seasons. The seasons of the year, as well as the seasons of life.
TTFN

Laughter

I am thankful for the ability to laugh and those who provide me with the opportunity. It matters not whether it's baby laughter, the belly laughter of my nephew, or that of my grandchildren. Laughter is contagious. My life is currently full of laughter and for that I am most grateful.

I have heard that laughing burns up 35 calories every time you do it. If that is the case, I will lose weight in no time. I do know you can't be depressed if you are laughing. I also know I feel better when I'm laughing.

So, take time to share a laugh with someone.
TTFN

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Unexpected Surprises

Election day came and went, however I had a dear friend tell me that she did not like the candidates for school board and as she stood in the voting booth was frantically thinking of who she could put for a write-in candidate. Yep, you guessed it, she wrote me in. Most likely the only vote I got as I was not running as a write-in candidate. I was not running at all.

It's nice to know that someone thinks enough of me to even consider I should sit on a school board. I guess after all my years of teaching I could do the job. I've just never considered it. It would also require that I stay in the community during the winter which would not work for me.

Over the years parents have come and gone. However, it's the ones you least expect it, who are the ones in your corner. I've had parents who haven't always seen eye-to-eye with me, but I've never had a confrontational parent. I think the biggest part of that is I listen. I may not always agree with their point of view, but I do listen.

I've had confrontational students. I listened to them too. And the funny thing is, those are the students who have come back as adults to ask for my advice and opinion.

So yes, it was unexpected anyone would think to write me in as a candidate for school board or any other position. But, it meant a lot that she did.  Thanks, Julie.
TTFN

Health

Today I am thankful for my health.While at times it is rocky, I am really doing quite well. I know being a diabetic has all kinds of complications. It affects the heart, the kidneys, and any other organ that gets in it's way.

I've come a long way to getting my sugars under control. I'm the girl whose A1C-three month blood test-has always been between 8.3 - 11.3 none of which are good. My most recent one done about two weeks ago was 7. See me do a happy dance. I've also lost a pound in that two weeks.

My blood pressure while not crazy, is not as normal as I'd like, but then this is me. My new doctor--actually a nurse practioner is awesome. She listens to what I have concerns with. She also agrees I know my body better than anyone else. I live in it. Or with it as the case may be.

While we are still doing some things that have been neglected, I am feeling better. Which means I'm functioning better.

So today...which is actually yesterday, I am thankful for good health.

TTFN

Freedoms

I am thankful for the freedoms won by our military over the years. I am thankful for the right to choose my government. I am also thankful for the women who risked their own lives, to earn me the right to cast a vote.

I am thankful to my forefathers...several of whom have held the highest office in this country for doing just that. I cannot imagine aspiring to be President. I cannot imagine the risk to family and friends should you be in that position. It is one not to be taken for granted.

I am thankful for the service men and women still giving their all to keep those freedoms I so cherish intact. I do know the sacrifices you make.
TTFN

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nieces and Nephews



I am thankful to have been blessed with an abundance of nieces and a couple of handsome nephews. It is not often they are all in the same place at the same time. It was the first time my youngest niece was able to be home for Christmas. She saw snow for the first time, up close and personal.

They have been a delight to watch grow up. They are successful and talented and I am so very proud to call them family. While the niece and nephew by marriage are not in the photo nor is my grand-nephew, but that doesn't make them any less in my heart.

I love you all.

TTFN

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Most Important



Yep, my daughter. The most important person in my life. She has become the woman I always knew she could be. She had brought me more joy than I ever imagined and helped me grow up.

She is the mother of three, a wife for twelve years, has a full-time job, coaches high school gymnastics, is a graduate of the University of Phoenix, and finds time to spend with her children at their sporting events. She is the unofficial photographer for her children and their biggest cheering section.

While I have my moments and give her fits, I know she has my back. We don't see each other as often as I'd like, but we talk, text, or e-mail daily. We keep in touch. She is also my biggest fan.

When she took on bullies this fall, I couldn't have been more proud. I believe that part of her life it getting back to normal, but haven't taken her pulse there lately. She saw a wrong and stood her ground to make it right. She continues to make a difference for many.

I was going to wait to put her on my list of thankful for, but her birthday isn't until the end of the month and I didn't want her to feel left out.

Jamie Renee' you are and always have been my biggest reason for living. I love you.

TTFN

Differences



I am thankful the two people above are a part of my life. The young man in the photo is my nephew. The young lady is a former student and friend. Unbeknownst to me, the two of them met at Acorn Buddy Camp, a camp for handicapped children.

One year at Christmas I posted a photo of my nephew and Jen commented she missed him and how did I know him. My question was how do YOU know him? He is my nephew. Funny how small the world can be.

This past summer I took Jen with me when I went to visit my sister and nephew at their cabin. It's the first time Jen and Ryan have seen each other since Ryan aged out and was unable to attend the camp anymore.

While both have handicaps, they are the happiest two people I know. They have taught me much about looking past the disability and seeing the person. I am thankful for the education they have given me.

I love you both.
TTFN

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Grandkids



I am very thankful for my grandchildren. They keep me young. Above is Megan Leesa. She is not only a stellar athlete, but also an academic all-star. Today I have the privilege of watching her run in the state cross-country meet. The only girl representing her team. She is ninth grade.


Above is Jason my handsome youngest grandchild. He is sixth grade this year. Also a stellar athlete, running cross-country this year for the first time. He's played Jr. Rams football, basketball, and baseball. Like his sister, he is an academic all-star. He's my bashful boy.


Last but definitely not least, my eldest grandson, Eric and his beautiful bride Angelina. They have recently moved to Michigan and I hope I will get to spend much more time with them.

Each of them adds a dimension to my life I would never have expected. I am so thankful they are all a part of my life. I have been blessed.

TTFN

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Life




I'm thankful to be alive. Each day is an adventure. Some days are struggles, some are triumphs. Life is what you make it and for the most part mine has been good.

I have been blessed with family and good friends. I have friendships that span a lifetime. I've lost friends over the years we've grown apart and gone our separate ways. But those who have known me and are still around are the ones I count.

Life has brought me ups and downs. There have been more ups and I choose to celebrate those. Finding my career path as a teacher/mentor, being a mom, becoming a grandma, and finally realizing the dream of being a writer those are the things I celebrate.

Each of them has brought me joy and I am thankful for every one of them. A lot of children have crossed my path in the years I taught. Some are grown now with children of their own and I can count them as friends.

There have been tragedies, because life has those too. I choose not to dwell on the losses. They were only there to make me stronger.

Today I am thankful for and celebrate life.

TTFN

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mom and Dad




Yes,  I am thankful for my parents. They have been together almost 60 years now. I have probably been their biggest trial. Still they love me unconditionally.

They told me the world was my oyster and I could be whatever I wanted to be. I wanted to be a writer. Knowing that I had chosen one of the hardest industries to make it in, they still encouraged me. They also told me I needed a back-up in case writing didn't work out for me.

They put me through college where I became a teacher. They stood by me when I chose to raise my daughter alone. They helped me get started in graduate school and when I finally got that coveted teaching position, they bought a house for me to live in. I later was able to purchase it from them.

Without them, I wouldn't be the person I am today. They have instilled in me the belief that you choose your friends for who they are not what they have.  That I should always treat others as I want to be treated.

Even when I falter on the path I've chosen, they stand behind me. They may not always agree with my decisions and I'm sure they've questioned my sanity over the years. But they never give up on me. They know I'm a work in progress.

Love you, Mom and Dad.
TTFN

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Something New



I am going to blog the entire month of November on the things I'm thankful for. I hope some of you will think about the things you are thankful for.

It seems sad to me the only time of the year people think about what they are thankful for is November because of Thanksgiving. There is so much throughout the year to be thankful for.

While I am beating on my keyboard during National Novel Writing Month in an effort to crank out 50,000 words of a novel, I will also be following up on my Behind the Scenes of a Novel articles at hubpages.com. I plan to keep very busy.

I am also seeking a new  publisher and or an agent. So, not letting grass grow under my work. I have a line on a company if I choose to remain and Indie author. I am not closing any doors and am keeping my options open.

So, look for 30 days of thankfulness in November.

TTFN

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crushed





Pretty much how I feel right now. Do to circumstances beyond my control, I've lost my publisher. Oh, wait. I am supposed to have a book coming out next month. Well that isn't going to happen now is it? While that is one blow, I got the second one today.

I had signed up to be part of Book Tour 2013--100 cities in 100 days. I had chosen to be in Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC and Columbia, SC. As of today, that too has been cancelled. Backers could not be found and the first one scheduled for January had only five people signed up. Wait, that means no book sales.

I've already battled a  misdiagnosis of a heart attack this week. I don't need this. We are supposed to be keeping my blood pressure down in the normal levels. This is not helping.

I am working on a query letter to go with my synopsis. I will let my publicist see that and we will go from there. I am looking for a new publisher. That will be good as ARCs-Advance Reader Copies were just about ready to go out. Once those go out, I'm looking at about a four month turn around to publication. That's providing I can find a publisher who does not want to make a ton of changes. I have a cover. I've been through the first round of edits. Second rounds come with the ARCs-or at least they used to.

Finding book signings is another thing. I was hoping for the Johns Island Library or Indigo Books while I was there. Now I'm not so sure. I was also in the process of putting my older books into ebooks. I may continue with that. Get those out there and hopefully generate some income that way.

The sad thing is I have a media opening for this book. It should be the one that takes me out and makes me a national name. Now I am back to square one. I don't want to self-publish again. That gets me nowhere.

I will pick myself up, tomorrow and get moving on all this. I know this too shall pass.
TTFN

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Reality Check

Many of you who follow my blog know that I am a diabetic. I generally watch what I eat and keep close watch on my blood sugars. I also check my blood pressure daily. I've spent the past five years losing 100 pounds in an effort to be healthier. I am not yet at the weight I want to be, it is a constant struggle, but I feel so much better.

Today I took a friend and we went to Holt, MI to do an anti-bullying video with my daughter and some of her friends. It was a beautiful day, the park was gorgeous. We all got in our places, my son-in-law was our videographer. After about 30 minutes or so, I knew I needed to sit down.

I felt a bit dizzy but thought it would pass. They filled in my spot and continued doing the video. Things did not get better and eventually 9-1-1 was called. Just lying flat on the gurney seemed to help. I had eaten some candy thinking at first that my sugars were low. Not the case. That meant my blood sugar was bottoming out. While it didn't get as low as the last time I had this issue, it was low.

Three hours in the ER and I get told by a doctor that at sometime I've had a heart attack. Seriously??? Why wouldn't I know this? I've had echocardiograms, EKGs, and a stress test but never has any doctor told me that I've had a heart attack. Since I don't have high cholesterol, I was shocked.

Since they could find no reason to keep me, I was released. I drove the 2.5 hours home with the friend who'd come with me. We stopped for dinner. I was home about 3.5 hours from the time I left. I generally don't stop for food.

I know I will be checking on a new doctor in the morning. Depending on how well I sleep, as to whether or not I teach at the college tomorrow. I have canceled a shopping trip. I will be following a more regimented eating program and will continue to monitor my blood sugars and blood pressure. I don't want this issue to arise again. Especially since I will be gone all winter.

I am currently fine, just tired. I'm sorry for stressing out family and friends.
TTFN

Friday, October 12, 2012

Murphy's Law




Yes, when it rains it pours. I'm full of cliches' today. It all started with the conference disaster. I got home and learned my furnace wasn't working. Managed to get the through the week-end and called furnace company on Monday.

Yikes!!!!! Need a new furnace. This one is only 11 years old. But the electrical circuits are dead and the motor is not right. Not to mention  it was not vented properly when it was installed. I have a guardian angel somewhere because in spite of everything, the house has not blown up. So, I apply for loan.

YEAH!!!! Loan is a approved, with a 10% extra charge. However it can be rolled into the loan. Okay I'm good with that. Not what I was hoping for, but this too shall pass. They will let me know the next day about installation.

Yesterday came and went, I called. No return call. The call came this morning. Furnace will not be in until next week and then we have to look at an installation date. Ugh. To make matters worse, my small space heater in the bathroom, went belly up this morning. It has been replaced.

It has reached 68 degrees in the house. So, I am not freezing. It's only a little chilly. I will figure out what I'm going to bake and the oven will heat this place up.

So, while all is now under control with the furnace and heat issues. The next thing falls apart. My publisher tells me there are going to be some internal changes in the publishing company. I can live with this and understand completely why they are happening. However, the book I have coming out next month most likely will not be coming out. I am still awaiting ARCs (Advance Review Copies). I have people waiting to read and review for me.

I now feel like my writing future is out of control. I am a wreck. I am six chapters completed in book three in this series. I have a feel for where this is going. I did not plan for it to be out until 2013, so no issue there. I have plenty of projects to keep me busy. Most of them related to ebooks.

It just seems like someone else could use a little bad luck. I'm willing to share.
TTFN

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Woe is Me

Okay, I've put the conference behind me. It's time to settle back into work. Getting ready for my classes at Saginaw Valley State University this week. Working on my hubpages articles, my novel, and blogging. I am also continuing to work on my house.

I awoke yesterday morning to a cold house. I conceded it was time to turn on the furnace. I did and was busy with laundry and other housework. About 7pm last night I thought it felt chilly in the house. On checking the thermostat, I discovered it was only 62 in the house, but the thermostat was set at 68. What's wrong with this picture. Being me the first thing I did was check the propane pig. Not the issue it's 60% full and since it's a 500 gallon tank, that means I have close to 300 gallons in it. The furnace is not turning on.

I crank up the space heater in my living room and turn on the electric fireplace in my bedroom, closing the door to that room knowing it will heat the room to a toasty level. I managed to get the heat to 64. Since I don't mind it cooler for sleeping, I was good with that.

Took my computer, account book and crawled into bed in a room that was close to 80 degrees. Finished out the September books so I could pay bills having to do with the books. Sleep was great.

Called my parents this morning with my periodic request for dynamite. Often I feel dynamite would solve all this issues with my house. Mom laughed and told me to push the reset button. Okay, I have no clue what I'm looking for. It's supposed to be on the furnace. Yeah, right, I'm going to be able to find it.

However, dutiful child that I am, I grab a flashlight and enter the dungeon.(I have a Michigan basement. You enter it from the outside.) First I checked the circuit breakers, none of them were tripped. On to the furnace, okay I'm not taking it apart to find a reset button. I wouldn't know how for starters. So, I dug the small space heater out of the closet....at least the bathroom would be warm. Turned the fireplace back on, and the space heater in the living room. I have achieved 68 degrees in the house. Oh, I did turn on the electric heat upstairs. I set it at 60. That is probably helping...provided it works.

Tues. will see a furnace person in here showing me where the reset button is. Cost I don't care. I don't want to be cold any more.

Taking a good book to bed with me tonight. Y'all keep warm.
TTFN

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bouchercon 2012

This is supposed to be THE mystery writer's conference. WRONG!!!! It is for mystery readers so they can meet their favorite authors and maybe a new one or two.

I paid for this conference in December, 2011. I was really looking forward to going. They had an all star line-up. Mary Higgins Clark...life time achievement award; John Connolly to emcee; Robin Cook; Les Roberts and some of my Facebook friends, Rhys Bowen, John Gilstrap, C. Hope Clark. I was going to at least hear some of them speak. I booked my hotel in December so I would be sure to have a room. There were to be about 1800 people at this conference. Cleveland, Ohio was the host city.

Every year since 2009 I've heard people rave about this conference. It's where mystery writers go. It is the be all end all of mystery writer's conferences. It's been on my bucket list. So I skipped the Midwest Writer's Workshop and the Writer's Police Academy to attend.

Let's start with, I could not get my books in the book room for sale. My publisher had no luck and they would not even answer my publicist. How am I going to get my name out there if I can't get my books where they can be seen? I was even willing to transport the books.

Then I was told since I registered early I could probably get on an author's panel. I could speak about stories in small towns, the trials of getting from self-published to published, the list goes on. I kept getting up dates on how the panels were coming.

Do I want to donate for the silent auction? Sure I'm all for that. I put together a basket with a hand made afghan, four of my books a coffee mug and two types of cocoa mix. Money collected was going for the Cleveland library system. I believe in supporting libraries.

Nothing on the schedule until opening kick off at 7pm on Oct 4th. I'm good should arrive in time to do that and be there for sessions on Friday and Saturday and finish up by noon on Sunday. Then two weeks before the conference I learn the sessions start on Thurs. at 11 am. Say what????

Followed by a letter asking me what I want to volunteer for???? Why am I volunteering at a conference I paid to attend????? But I sent them a list of things I'd be willing to do.

Day before I leave I get one session to take care of and they put me in the hospitality room for two hours. I could be missing a session I really want to play waitress????? Okay, I suck it up. I can do this.

I leave after teaching on Wed. and drive until 11pm landing at a Hampton Inn in Sandusky, Ohio. Not the best night's sleep but I write that off to being excited about the conference.

Arriving in Cleveland, every road my GPS wants me to take is blocked. I finally get to the hotel and get parked. Oh did I mention no one had told me it would cost me $24/day to park in the hotel lot. I go in register and they hand me a nice zippered bag filled with  books. Wait, why? Because our authors are giving them away.

I attend the first session. Southern ladies and their writing. It is at this point that I discover this is not a writer's conference but a readers' conference. These people on the panel are giving anecdotes about writing and how they happened to set their books in the south....all but one was a southern lady. The other was a northern transplant. While they were entertaining, this is not what I had hoped for.

When the session was over I checked at hotel registration to see if there was a chance I could get into my room early. Not likely. Check in is not until 4pm and at the Marriot Rennaisance they adhere to that.  So I went to the hospitality room. OMG.....diabetic coma here we come. Cookies and chips. Not a yogurt, slice of cheese, or hard boiled egg in the house and no fruit. I've not eaten since 8 am and it's after noon.

The schedule does not allow for lunches. I am discouraged. Bought $10 worth of tickets for the silent raffle. Attempted conversation, but I was the outsider. Not made to feel welcome. Which surprised me, but then I was not a featured author so I was no one. My books were not in the book room so I was not considered a real author.

Finally I could check into my room. Room....supposedly a suite. It was a meeting room with a murphy bed. You know those beds that come out of the wall when needed? Seriously unwelcoming. I could not use my laptop as I refused to pay an additional $14/day for internet. It was free if I wanted to stay in the lobby. I did not. Next item was to find food. I took my bag of books to my car, then went in search of food. By now I have a splitting headache and am not pleased at all. I find a food court in a mall adjoining the hotel. Seriously???? Anyone who knows me at all knows I really hate food courts. I got a six in sub, some chips, and a bottle of water. Thinking this is too much bread not enough protein. But the other options were worse. Took the food to my room and spent the next 10 min. trying to get the door to lock. Got the door to lock and headed for my overnight bag in the car.

By now I not only  have a headache, I am frustrated to tears. I refuse to cry. Get my bags and the book I had brought to read. Leaving my laptop in my trunk. Moved the car so I would not be trapped in the morning.

Back at my room, we have the door not locking issue. I refuse to touch the TV for fear they will charge me for that, too. I forgot to ask at the desk. I opened my book to read and ate my meager dinner. Then I changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed with my book while texting a couple of friends. Finally by 9pm I had made the executive decision that this was not worth it, I was leaving in the morning. Set my alarm and attempted sleep.

I am NOT nor will I ever be a city girl. Street noise was constant and I was four floors up. I had shoved a chair in front of the door. Not feeling all that safe. I tossed and turned. I was up by 6 am having slept all of two hours. I was checked out and on my way out of Cleveland before 7 am. I was home by 1pm.

I am crossing Bouchercon off my bucket list and marking it total waste of time. I did get to hear Robin Cook speak, but was not close enough even with my telephoto lens to get good pictures. This conference is for a chosen few authors to represent themselves. The rest of us are out of luck. It is misnamed. It is a READERS conference. It has nothing to do with writing.

TTFN

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life in the Slow Lane

I'm sure wishing life was moving in the slow lane. Homecoming was last Friday night. The opposing team audience came in droves and wore orange shirts because it is the favorite color of the young girl who was being bullied. They also had banners signed by the entire school they represented. Two other area schools sent representatives to show support, also. The stands were packed and there was pretty much standing room only.

My daughter came home for the first time in 17 years to attend. The hostility from locals was so bad she went to sit with the opposing team audience. I was met with hostility as well. While not all the kids are bad and we never said they were, the senior class of 2012 voted a young man with Downs Syndrome as their King. No it was not a joke. The young man is popular and well loved by his classmates. We left at half-time.

While the big bullying issue has made media attention all over the world. My daughter is still working to get her non-profit set up. She is working on a video montage of people who have been bullied and some photo shoots.

I on the other hand am off to Cleveland for Bouchercon 2012. A conference I have been looking forward to for a long time. I have misgivings about going, but I will make the most of it.

I am working on book three in the Macy McVannel series. While I've dealt with a cold case murder in book one, bullying in book two, book three will tackle abuse. All things you find in small towns as well as big cities. I've been a bit remiss at writing and keeping up with my hubpages on what happens behind the scenes of a novel. Too much life going on, I guess. I will use my time in Cleveland to network and work on that novel.

I am about half way through my semester at the University. While I'm going to miss it when I'm done, I'm going to be glad to have my time back so I can get ready for my winter trek south. It's already too cold here for me.

I am ready for long walks on the beach and the sound of the ocean 24/7. I am ready to immerse myself in writing and just relaxing. I am ready.

My second book in the Macy McVannel series is due out the end of November and I am looking forward to that. I am looking forward to the three book signings in Georgia, and South Carolina. I still have much to do for that.

Meantime, curl up with a good book, have some cocoa and immerse yourself in something outside of life.
TTFN

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WOW

I have not blogged in days. I am not even sure where to start. I've been living in a whirlwind for the past week and it's not over yet.

I'll try to make some sense of it. On Friday, Sept. 14th my daughter called me, not anything unusual in that. However she needed me to stop at the bank and see if an account could be set up to take donations. It seems the sophomore class at the high school in town, same high school my daughter had attended, voted a young girl to be the class representative at homecoming. All well and good you say. Not exactly. It was done as a joke. Pick the unpopular girl to make fun of her. To say the least, the young lady was devastated. My daughter who has children who have been bullied and who was horribly teased in high school was enraged. She set up https://www.facebook.com/SupportWhitneyKropp this page on Facebook.

Little did she know what would happen. For starters she does no know the young lady this happened to. The town was so enraged they rallied around the young lady. Her hair, nails, and make-up have been donated by one of the beauty shops, as well as dinner before the dance on Saturday night. A bridal shop in town donated her dress, shoes, and tiara. This will be a homecoming she will never forget. She has been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.

My daughter is completely overwhelmed  by the out-pouring of support and the stories being shared by adults who were bullied as children and still bear the scars. She is looking into opening a non-profit to raise awareness of bullying and bring programs to schools. She has talked to more national media people than she ever planned to in her life. Even questioning Ryan Seacrest when he called her. Like REALLY, Ryan Seacrest would call me?

All of this comes as the release of my newest book Crossing the Line nears. A book in which bullying to the extreme is dealt with. My publisher and I have talked about linking my book to the site my daughter will have for her non-profit and giving 10% of the book price to the non-profit.

We as adults need to set an example for our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Bullying is not acceptable. More teens commit suicide because of bullying than any other thing. It's why we have Columbines to remember and regret. We can stop it, if we start at home, in our neighborhoods, in our communities, and in our schools. This is bigger than one girl at homecoming. This is an epidemic in our nation. It's part of what drives inner city kids to gangs. They are bullied into joining, they are bullied in school so join because in joining someone will defend them. Many bullies are bullied and this is what they do to defend themselves.

Okay off my soapbox and on to other things.
TTFN

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Frustrated

I have waited several years to read a book about the growth of the county I live in. That it happens to be a murder mystery just adds to my wanting to read it. Tonight while watching Alabama run over U of M, I picked up the book and began reading.

I had to put the book down and know that I will never finish reading it. I cannot get past the grammatical errors. If you are writing a book for publication, get an editor. In fact, have several people read it who know something about grammar. The really sad thing, is the book is written the way people here speak. It is not a dialect it is just poor grammar. It is generations of poor grammar and has become accepted.

I truly believe this might have been a best seller outside of this county had someone taken the time to edit the work. This is what happens when people self-publish. I have self-published. I had at least two editors for every book I wrote and then went through the proof copy for final errors. I want people to get my best work and to take me seriously as a writer.

Now I will head to my book shelf to find something suitable to read. Ugh. I was so looking forward to this.
TTFN

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day of Class



Yesterday was back to the books for college students and instructors. I'd like to say it went off without a hitch. I'd be lying. I was on campus by noon. I had a wonderful meeting with my mentor for English 104. I walked across campus to the security office to get my keys. I have no parking permit yet so feared my car would be ticketed. I was lucky and it was not.

I learned at 4:15pm that my class was in a different building from where I believed it would be. Ugh. I had to scramble to get the testing material I needed so I could have the students take the Nelson-Denny Reading Test. This is a non-graded test that helps me to know where they are. We will take it again to know how far they have come. I managed to get all that and arrived at my classroom at 4:50pm. I was surprised to see most of the students already there. Class begins at 5pm. I had three who had already taken the test and sent them to the library to do some reading. An hour later we were done with the test and those who had already taken it were back. We went over the syllabus, introduced ourselves. They seem to be a good bunch. I am looking forward to Wednesday's class. On Wednesday we meet in the lab in a different building. If you don't think that's confusing....ugh. Ten minutes before my class was over I had students from the next class entering. How rude. It's a good thing we were about done.

Then I had to scramble as I had ten minutes to get back to the other building for my 7pm class. I gathered all the testing materials to take to that class. I had four students who had already taken the test. They were dispatched to the library. One student showed up an hour late as he had been waiting outside the lab. *shakes head* The class went well again we did introductions, and went over the syllabus. This class is currently at 14 instead of the 25 it could have.

Things in both classes went well. I think the make up of the classes is great. Not sure how I got so lucky. Unfortunately because of heat I chose to wear my sandals and not put on nylons. My right foot blistered, broke open, and bled. I am having trouble walking today. I have soaked it in epsom salts, put neosporin cream on it, and bandages. I've taken a couple motrins and I am keeping off it as much as possible. I still have Wednesday night to teach this week. Then I have a week off.

Aside from injuring myself. Things went well and I am looking forward to more time with the students.  All in all not a bad first day.

TTFN

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saying Good-Bye

Yesterday I did one of the hardest things a person ever has to do. That is to bid a last farewell to a friend. I had not seen Tony in more years than I care to count. Not since his youngest daughter got married. While the funeral was like old home week, as many of my former neighbors and friends were also there.

Life it too short to lose touch with friends. We have lost two from the old neighborhood in the past two month. Both were good men and good fathers and grandfathers. Both were a part of my life at that time. Both died suddenly. Diagnosed with an illness and gone before anyone could even comprehend the diagnosis. No time to prepare.

It was wonderful to see the children my daughter grew up with as adults. It was nice to meet their children. It's a sad day that we are that estranged. I'd love to see them more often and to be there  for them. I loved them as little girls, I admire them as young adults.

If you have family and friends you've not seen in a while, take the time to see them. Don't let another moment go by without making an effort to see them, talk to them and let them know you care.

R.I.P Tony Toth my old friend.

TTFN

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again



The above photo is Pioneer Hall on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University where I will begin the fall semester as an adjunct faculty member in the English department. I taught developmental reading and writing for eight years at Kirtland Community College. I am excited to be teaching again. I have wanted to teach at the university level, so I will be putting my best foot forward here.

While the commitment is only for the fall term I would be delighted to return in the summer or fall of 2013 if they have a need. I am excited to look at the curriculum and begin looking at the texts so that I know what I will be teaching. I know it will be English 103 and 104. That is reading strategies and study skills. Very similar to what I taught at Kirtland twelve years ago. I am excited to be back in the classroom.

Monday I go down to fill out the obligatory paperwork, get my photo taken for an ID, a parking pass, and whatever else is needed. I will have to have training on the computer program used for grades, and posting the syllabus. I also need to be brought up to speed on what happened during the August 2nd in service that was held for the staff teaching the courses I will be teaching.

Why you ask did I retire from teaching only to go back part-time? I retired from teaching because it was time for me to move on to other things. One being writing, the other being to possibly teach part-time at the college level. I am working on both. Looking forward to the release of the second novel in the Macy McVannel series, working on a co-authored book, and starting book three in the Macy series. I am also looking forward to enabling students to succeed in college.

TTFN

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Liebster Blog Award



On August 5, 2012 Awakenings nominated RamblingsbyRebecka for the Liebster Award. I honored to receive this award.

 What is the Liebster Blog Award? 
“The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The Meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.” Wow! What a mouthful! Thank you Awakenings for honoring me in this way!
As with all blog awards, there are 'rules' so I will proceed with the 11 questions Awakenings left for me to answer:

1. Who do you admire most and why?
     Loaded question, I admire strong women. My family is full of them.

2. What is the best book you have read this year and why would you recommend it to others?
      Heaven is for Real. I think it answered a lot of questions for me and helped me to understand some things about myself.

3. Where do you get your inspiration?
    From life. Everything in life can be turned into a mystery. 

4. What is your favorite part of nature?
      Anywhere near water. I love the babbling of a brook or the pounding of the ocean surf.

5. Would you rather be a bumble bee or a butterfly?
       I think I'd prefer being a butterfly.

6. When did you first begin to write?
     I first began writing at age 10 or 11 when a teacher I had told me one day I would be in print.

7. What is your favorite sport?
      To watch, women's gymnastics. To participate in: swimming.

8. If you had a choice for a pet, would you rather have a gerbil or an iguana?
     Neither, I missed the animal gene in the family.

9. If you could be reincarnated, who would you like to be?
      I don't have an answer for this one.

10. Which would best describe you, a cool cucumber salad or a hot tamale?
       I'm most likely a hot tamale...just ask my friends.

11. What is the best food you ever ate and where?
        You know the best food is at potlucks prepared by family or friends. 



My five nominees for this award are:







Here are your questions to answer:

1) What is your biggest dream?
2) Do you have a plan for making it happen?
3) What keeps you going when you want to give up?
4)Who are your favorite musicians and why?
5) If you could invite anyone at all to dinner who would it be and why?
6) What's one thing you'd like to change about the world?
7)What is one small thing you can change?
8) Where do you see yourself in five years?
9) Who do you most admire and why?
10) What one thing about yourself would you share?
11) Which is more important making millions or making a change?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gold With Grace



Her journey started before this photo, but this is when I first met her. Actually it was about a year before this photo was taken. I have seen her workout in the gym with her leg in a cast. The dedication is phenomenal. This was at the banquet standing in the photo are an eight year old Jordyn Wieber, her coach John Gedderdt, and  my six year old granddaughter, Megan Leesa Kline. Megan competed for Twistars from age five to age 10. She quit when it was no longer fun. She was spending 17 hours a week in the gym. Jordyn was already spending more time than that in the gym.

This week in London, Jordyn has seen her chances for all around gold  be dashed. However even though heartbroken, she handled it with poise, grace, and well wishes for her two teammates who would go on. Today in London, Jordyn helped lead Team USA to the gold medal.

This is the epitome of grace, confidence, and beauty and she is a wonderful representation not only of the USA but also of Michigan and her hometown of DeWitt.  Congratulations, Jordyn! You more than earned this.
TTFN

PS This is Megan Leesa today.

She will start ninth grade in the fall along with her academics she will run cross-country, do high school gymnastics, and run track. 
Best of luck to you both in your futures.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Author Blog Hop



Authors supporting Authors. Please enjoy this interview with my guest author.

Author: Diana Hockley
                                                                                           
What title are you highlighting in this blog hop?
The Naked Room                                                             
Synopsis:
When classical pianist, Ally Carpenter, goes missing after a night out with friends, the implications stretch far beyond her disappearance.
Veteran detective, Senior Sergeant Susan Prescott believes that sexual predators may have abducted Ally. However, after two women with connections to the Carpenters are murdered, she realises there may be more to the crime than at first thought.
While Prescott puts all her efforts into solving the crime, those close to Ally battle their own turmoil. Friendships become strained and secrets come to light, as Ally’s terrified mother, Eloise, is forced to confront the lie she has perpetuated over 26 years. Cellist, Briece Mochrie – determined to discover what has happened to the girl he loves – is swept into a dangerous undertow of murder and revenge.
The kidnappers have their own agenda; Ally’s life is on the line.
What gave you the idea for the book?
I produce & present a weekly classical radio program and one night, I started wondering what would happen if the pianist didn’t show up for the performance. There would have to be a very good reason, so I set out to create one.
Who are your main characters?
Detective Senior Sergeant Susan Prescott, Ally & Eloise Carpenter, Briece Mochrie, Pamela Miller and Jessica Rallison.
Who is your favorite character and why?
DSS Susan Prescott because she has a lot of me in her!

Share one quirky trait of your characters.

Licentious thoughts!!
What was your biggest challenge writing this book?
Getting it finished.
  
Where do you live?
Boonah, a small rural town in southeast Queensland, Australia.
What's a cool, unknown spot? 
The Scenic Rim Mountains.

Tell us a little about an interesting landmark in your country.

Well, I guess the Opera House in Sydney, New South Wales, would have to be the most famous one.
What's the most well known city in your country and why?
Again. Sydney – or perhaps Melbourne because they’re big and can bully everyone if they don’t get all the entertainers and entertainment which comes to Australia. Brisbane – my nearest capital city, frequently misses out on top class entertainers.

What's a little known fact about where you live?
We live in the Valleys of the Scenic Rim  which is actually – and hopefully - dead  volcanoes.

Name two famous people who've been sighted in your corner of the world.
 The Duke and Duchess of York in the 1920s before he became King of England and Agatha Christie, the most famous crime writer of the lot!
What is the one thing tourists must do?
 Go to a Rugby League match in the city.
What's your favourite thing to do?
 Read and play with my rats.
What's your favourite restaurant and what type of food do they serve?
 The Dugandan Pub, around the corner from us. Everything from seafood to steaks.
What are you giving away on your blog?
 An e-book copy of The Naked Room and also will send someone a very small very Australian gift by snail mail.
Who is the author you are highlighting on your blog? Clarissa Draper, author of The Sholes Key
Where can readers connect with you?
Twitter: Cadfael18
Facebook: Diana Hockley

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Boy Some People Have Been Busy



My dear friend Wilson Jennings has been busy this week-end putting together a blog. Not an easy task when you are two people. But please do check them out http://www.wilsonjennings2013.blogspot.com. It's in it's infancy as a blog but I suspect there will be some awesome things there soon.
Best of luck, Wilson Jennings.
TTFN

It's Official

I now have a new website. You can access my blog from there. Check out
http://www.rebeckavigus.wix.com/penadream

You can buy my books from there, access my blog, my publisher's website, and go directly to Tanner's Totes the charity I sponsor.

TTFN

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Break In Update

While no one is in custody. They do know that it is a group of three, two males and a female. They also know that they are driving a red van. I have no clue as to whether or not it is a panel van or mini van. I have notified my two closest neighbors.

My young man who was going to mow my lawn has turned up missing. I got a frantic phone call from his mother this morning and he did not come home last night or call. He was last seen with his girlfriend and she is not answering her phone either.

Can things just stop going wrong? I will probably drag myself out tomorrow early. I need a couple of plastic boxes for packing up my desk. I will get the gas for the mower at the same time. I'll mow as much as I can by hand and then get to packing up the desk.  I will stop at the local grocery store and see if I can get some egg boxes to pack up my china and get that done too.

I am going to keep busy.
TTFN

Thursday, July 19, 2012

When Home Isn't Safe




While this is not how it looks, this is how it feels. Last night person or persons unknown attempted to break into my house. It seems my arrival at home scared them off. All they managed to do was break the screen in the window. Nothing appears to be missing. No drawers were gone through. I have checked and double checked for missing items.

All electronics are where they were. All jewelry is where it belongs. All vital papers are where they belong. So, I know they didn't get anything.

The sad thing is that I heard them outside my window early on Monday morning. They must have been casing the house at that time trying to figure out the best way in. They picked my bedroom window as it cannot be seen from anywhere and there is a woods right there to escape into.

My house no longer feels safe to me. It is not a haven where I come to relax and get away from the world. It has been violated.

Many of my valuables have been packed up as I am downsizing in an effort to get my house ready for sale. I cannot imagine that the things I find valuable would interest anyone else. But nothing that is of great importance is gone.

I have locked the first floor windows that have locks. Because they are sliders, I have placed wood in the lowest three. I will be getting wood pieces tomorrow for the other three. Beware a hammer now will rest in my bed and I know how to wield it. Shooting lessons are next. First I will invest in a bow and some arrows, I am competent with those.

I learned from the state police trooper this morning that there were a couple of other attempts in the area last night. That does not make me happy. This has always been a quiet and safe area. But my house is protected from noise by lilac bushes and trees. The back of my house is bordered by an overgrown forest. My new neighbor has not done anything with that part of his lawn yet. Since it provides him with privacy, he might not do anything with it. As the other side of his house is also tree lined.

What I do know is that I look at home security much different now than I did just twenty-four short hours ago.

TTFN

Monday, July 16, 2012

As Promised




I'd like to introduce you to Wilson Jennings. Wilson Jennings is a writing team who grew up together. While they both have widely different backgrounds the creativity of them both will lead to some exceptional writing.  I am not at liberty to give out much information on Wilson Jennings, however you can find them at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WilsonJenningsAuthor

Check it out for updates. A blog will be coming soon. It is in the naming process. Much like all of their work it too will be a collaboration with both contributing to it.

TTFN

Friday, July 13, 2012

There's Someone New ...

coming to the neighborhood. I will soon be introducing a new author to our midst. I am excited about this author and the book they are writing.

Soon this new author will have a blog and a Facebook Author page. It's coming. Keep watching.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Kind of Writer Are You?



You've got an idea. How do you start? Are you going to sit down, map out the plot in an outline? Are you going to do character sketches of your characters? Do you know exactly where you want your story/novel/book to go?

If you are like me, you get and idea and jot it down. Then you mull it over and think about how it could get from point A to point B. Finally you sit at your computer and you let the words tumble out. That's called seat of your pants writing.

I do this until I get out all the ideas I have related to my topic. Then I walk away. Sometimes just overnight other times for days or weeks. During that time whenever I have a minute and a scrap of paper I pose questions, answers and other ideas related to my subject. I will write on just about anything.

My first book Secrets started with a character sketch written on the back of a placemat in a restaurant while waiting for breakfast to be served. I created the character my entire book would be based on. It took three starts and over  year to actually get it started and completed.

I often write on the back of placemats. I have been known to tear them up and leave behind things I don't need. Since my form of short hand is indecipherable to most I never worry that someone will get a hold of it and steal my idea. Best of luck to them if it makes any sense at all.

Sometimes I start with ideas and then get stuck. Those I put away. Sometimes I reread them and decide that  they will never work.Sometimes they need research. Sometimes I laugh because they are totally off base. But I have them. Most are in a shoe box. Many are left over from high school and college and will never be published. Some of the ideas from then are feasible even if they need serious work.

What ever process you use, own it. I listened to a speaker once who creates a calendar an pencils in her start date, the words she logs in that day and maps out when she will be at each stage of her work. She has it  down to when her editor will see the first draft to when it will get sent to her agent and then on to her publisher. That is too organized for this right brained person. I prefer flexibility.

I often treat my writing as a lover. There waiting when I am ready. Never complaining because I have neglected it. I always tell myself I will do better. I will write daily. It never happens unless I am deep into something or have a deadline that I need to meet.

Having read numerous authors and heard numerous speakers on the subject of how to write, I have learned it is an individual thing. There is no right way to write. Just like there is no perfect word count. Some of my chapters contain 2,000 words, some contain 7,000. They have any number of words in between. Most of my books run between 50,000 and 60,000 words. Does that mean I cannot write 80,000 or 100,000 words? No, it means I make sure my story has a beginning, middle, and end. Word count is a ball park. It's arbitrary. A 50,000 word novel is approximately 175 pages. Most of mine are over 200 pages. I must run over the 50,000 words. Oh, not an issue.

Take what works and make it yours. Write in a way that makes you comfortable with your characters and what they say and do. If it means going to a location go. I find I write best late in the evening when it is quiet. I also find that early in the morning is a quiet time. If I am on a deadline, I travel to my parents cottage on forty acres where the Internet does not work, nor does my cell phone. It is peaceful there and I can get a lot done. I found last winter while I was in South Carolina to be quiet. It is peaceful writing to the sound of the ocean. I was able to write at anytime of the day. If pulling your laptop into bed and writing like a fiend before starting your normal day works, great. Find the place, time, and spot that allows you uninterrupted time to do your writing.

Happy writing.
TTFN

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