Friday, January 19, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things



It's Friday! Are you ready to celebrate something? Then let's get this party started. Thanks to our indestructible host, Lexa Cain, and her co-hosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

Wow, it's been about a month since I posted for CTST. I've been trying to carve out more time for writing. However, time seems to be harder than diamonds and free time can be about as hard to come by.



Image: http://geologyrocks.tumblr.com/


But I digress. Let's celebrate:

The kindness of strangers.




Last week, Mother Nature dumped 14 inches of snow on our part of the world. I love snow. I love lots and lots of snow. However, my kids were scheduled to rehearse their play at 10 a.m. that morning, so I had to drag my sleepy behind out of my warm bed to shovel at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. I know. Boo-freakin'-hoo. 



Image: MWMS1916



Now the snow was light and fluffy, so I caught a break there. Still, it took me thirty minutes to carve a 4-foot wide path down the driveway to the bottom where the big-boy city snowplows had left a wall of solid snow and ice approximately 20 feet wide, 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Yeah, living on the corner sucks this time of year. The wall was so big I wondered if Wildlings and Whitewalkers were lurking on the other side. 



Image: Wikia Fandom



As I started to chip away with my shovel, a truck came by with duel snow-plows on the front, the kind of vehicle people hire for snow removal on their driveways. This guy stopped and with two swipes of his plow, he knocked that wall of ice all the way into my lawn. Ba-BAM! Forty minutes of back-breaking labor done in seconds. 




I was so stunned I just stood there and waved, grinning like an idiot. So THANK-YOU wonderful snow plow driver, whoever you are. You saved my butt. I would have never finished shoveling on time otherwise.

Has a stranger ever helped you out when you least expected it?  

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG and Flaming Crimes Blogfest



Happy New Year! And what's more happy than a crowd of stressed-out, insecure writers? Maybe a sleighful of elves on their way to Cancun for a Christmas-recovery bash? Well, you guys deserve it. Also working like Santa and his elves are our host, Alex J. Cavannaugh and his merry band of cohosts: Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria!

This month's fabulous question: What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?


I had an excellent plan. Pure brilliance. Ready? I was going to write even if I felt bad. Yep, I'm one of those wusses who might let an afternoon of precious writing time slide by because I stubbed my toe or sneezed extra hard. But no more!

It's time to buck up and type even with a pimple in my ear or a hole in my sock. Time to get some work flowing. Yeah, baby!





And then, on the first day of the shiny, new year, I got a migraine. That's what I get for making bold plans. It's a little like saying you're going to write, no matter what, and then a elephant drops out of the clear blue onto your laptop and then proceeds to eat all your pens, pencils, and spare paper. Really?

But it's okay. I have medicine. I have time to recover while my darlings tackle the insanity that is middle school. Best of all, migraines come with super-sleepy powers. Man, I could snooze through a howling blizzard--um, I think I did that already. Twice, considering the snow piling up outside.

What's my next brilliant plan? I'll let you know, right after my nap.

_________________




Prompt: What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?


So here's the deal. The family is out of danger, as are any pets. Heck, I'll even throw in the laptop, since that's another obvious save. So you have a second to grab something silly, not necessarily nostalgic. What would it be?

It's tempting to pick artwork. There's a ton of paintings, drawing, and sculptures by me and my kids that can't be replaced, but I couldn't carry it all and I'd probably be overcome by the smoke deciding which pieces to grab.

So the winner is:

My pillow. It's old, probably infested with bedbugs, but it's a ridiculously squishy contour model I'm not sure is made anymore. I take it with me whenever I travel, even if I have to give up suitcase space for other stuff, like say, clothes.







 Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304 
Digital Price: 4.99 
Print Price: 16.99
Rating: Spicy (PG13) 

BUY LINKS:

BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could've been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they're trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…





 About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:
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Want to read about other ridiculous items saved from a firey fate? Check out these blogs:


Blogger:



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How was your Christmas? Having a Happy New Year so far? 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things



It's Friday! Christmas is coming, the goose is getting stressed. Put another chore on the old woman's chest. (That's me-gasp, gasp.) In other words, with all the stoof going on, this will be my last post until January 3, 2018. But first, let me thank our host, by Lexa Cain and her cohosts L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

I ventured out to my favorite walking place in Durand park last Sunday. We finally got some snow, but since it was just a dusting, I figured it would be safe to take one last walk through the trees.




It was beautiful. The snow was coming down like sifted flour, coating everything including this huge, willow tree.






My favorite part was seeing the snow on moss. The flakes were so tiny and the moss was still green. Together they made a beautiful pattern I would kill to capture in a painting. The photos don't really do it justice, but that's my fault for starting this walk an hour before sunset.








After taking quick Mother-may-I steps around the lake, I headed up some short, steep hills. The slippery snow hid a thick layer of dry leaves. Guess who fell and slid down one of those hills on her tush? That would be me. Yowch. I guess I'll be sticking to the paved road until spring.






This has been the year of outdoor mishaps for sure. After crashing my bike and capsizing my kayak, I guess a tumble down a snow-covered hill is a fitting way to end the year. Good thing I don't ski, or else this would be me: (Oh my. That was a total Pat Hatt sentence.)



Faceplant


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Love or hate snow? Have a favorite walking place? Taken any spectacular spills this year? 


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG and Celebrate the Small Things



Good December morning, everyone! Have you recovered from Thanksgiving? Gotten your Christmas shopping done? Writing anything during December? It's time to check in with the IWSG writing community and see what's up. A big shout-out to our fearless leader, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and his merry band of cohosts working harder than Santa's elves:  Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

Today's optional question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?






via GIPHY


Okay, y'all. This is important, especially if you are thinking about participating in the January 18 IWSG Twitter Pitch Party.

As of last summer, I'd never Tweeted, but I wanted to enter the first IWSG Twitter Pitch Party. So I did and to my happy surprise, my pitches got a few likes. I thought this was a fantastic way to kick off querying my novel, so I sent out my query packages straightaway. After revising this novel for years, I was so excited to have people read it that I didn't think about who I was sending it to.



via GIPHY


Now nothing horrible happened. In fact, something extraordinary happened. I got an offer of publication. Cue the high fives and pop the champagne, right? Well, not so fast. The offer was from a small publisher, not an agent. At the time of this offer, I had a few partials and a full out with various agents, and I knew it would be some time before I heard back from them. So I had to make a hard choice: accept the publisher's offer or pass and try for an agent.

What to do? Publishing offers do not come every day and this was a good match, but I had hardly begun my agent search. And that's where I wish I had handled things differently.

The right thing to do is decide what path of publication you want BEFORE submitting query materials and manuscripts.

If you really want an agent, query agents first. You can always query small publishers later if you change your mind. Research the pros and cons of getting an agent vs. signing with a small publisher before you participate in a Twitter pitch event. You may get likes from both agents and publishers, and you should know the difference.

Here's another pitfall. Suppose an author submits their work directly to a publisher and then receives a rejection. If they later get an agent, that agent can not submit a more polished version of that manuscript to any publishing house that has already rejected it. So an author can burn bridges without realizing the consequences.

My situation caused a lot of stress that could have been avoided, but in the end, I decided to try for an agent. There are days when this seems like an insane choice, since most agents say "yes" to about two projects a year after receiving 10,000 queries. So will I participate in the January IWSG Twitter event? Probably.

______________




This is a weekly blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain with cohosts L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

1. I thrilled to celebrate the re-emergence of our host! Glad to hear things are on the mend.

2. I survived the death of my computer without suffering a mental breakdown.


It happened on a Thursday. I was browsing through various news stories on CNN (when I should have been writing) and the screen went wonky. Lots of horizontal lines and black and white pixels twitching hither and yon. I knew right away it was bad. 


Glitch
Image: Shawn Allen

I didn't panic. I rebooted, got out a USB flash drive, and downloaded all my current writing projects. When my husband got home, he gave me a much larger drive, and I downloaded every file from Word, along with videos and images that date back to when our kids were babies.

He took the computer in to see if it could be repaired, but it was fried. I asked him nicely if he would pretty please pick up a new one at the university bookstore. (He's a math professor there.) A shiny new laptop came home.


Mac Book
Image: GB


We did have a problem with the password I chose. The computer refused to recognize it and my husband spent 40 minutes on the phone figuring out how to reset it. (Thirty of those minutes were spent on hold.) But after that, he was able to download my Word files, and I resumed working. Eventually. After Thanksgiving break. Not so much because we were traveling or I was slaving away in the kitchen, but because my youngest got sick.

So how's life with a new laptop? There are frustrations. I find when I'm typing fast, the curser will, without warning, skip back up in the text several lines and start adding letters in the middle of stuff I've already typed. And don't get me started on the new scrolling bar features. Whoever designed the disappearing scroll bar on the right of documents should be forced to watch nonstop episodes of  The Fresh Beat Band or some other suitable form of torture.
Fresh Beat Band by Boris Kravchenkowww.boriskravchenko.com347-341-9477
Image: MajesticEmpire

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Have you ever screwed up your query process? Would you have taken the publication offer or gone for an agent? Ever lose important stuff with the demise of a computer? Have a most hated television show?