Life Lessons From Judy, Beverly, and Jean #MFRWAuthors #5

Dear Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Jean M. Aul,

Thank you so much for your guidance with this shy, introverted young girl.  I was seven when I began reading Beverly’s books about Ramona, Beezus, and Henry, but at the tender age of twelve discovered the more grown up books about teenage life.  Thanks to you, I managed to avoid the stupid mistakes teenagers do, such as jumping to conclusions before gathering all the facts, petty jealousies, and being afraid to take chances.

Thank you Judy, for writing books with Life Lessons in them, from everything about wanting to be popular to being ashamed of someone’s family.  Most importantly, I learned how to talk to boys!  I also loved how you showed how getting caught up in hormones can lead to a more ‘adult’ relationship, though I vowed never to do that in high school.

Thank you Jean for showing me how a woman should be treated during her ‘first time’, and through your books, learned more about Early Man and regretted my decision to stay away from anthropology/archaeology.

Sincerely,

A Devoted Reader

PS:  I also learned about talking to boys through the works of Rosamund Du Jardin and Anne Emery, whose books I would dearly love to reread.  Their books, as well as Judy’s, influenced my desire to write about relationships and to have a series.

Lavryl Spencer influenced my desire to put social issues into my books, and it’s thanks to Brynn Paulin and her Cress Brothers series that I even ventured to put a menage and light BDSM into one of my books.

As of yet, I have no idea where the ghosts and fairies were inspired.  My still-no-finished zombie story was originally influenced by the second season of The Walking Dead, of which I watched maybe the final four or five episodes of that season.

What About You?

Update On My Mother and Our Roof:

Mom is being released on Thursday!  She’ll still have outpatient PT twice a week, but Dad is very thrilled to have her home again.  

Dad is also a little down, since he just learned the Japanese lady he’s been shuttling around for the past ten years has decided to move back to Japan in April (she turns 100 on April 5th).  He’s losing his income and the company of a very vibrant woman who shares his love of classical music and enjoys having him explain some of our English idioms to her.

As for our roof….I couldn’t find a good ‘before’ picture, and the workers finished putting the shingles on the front half on Tues.  Apologies; it was gray and cold when I took the 3rd picture.  The first one, I wasn’t able to zoom in.

Before:

 

During:

After:

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“If I Were A Rich Author…” #MFRWAuthors #4

Were you singing along to Fiddler On The Roof also, when you saw this topic?

Ahhhh….one of my favorite ‘what if’ games…..what would I do if money were no object?

-Open a bookstore, complete with cafe.

-Spend a week or two (or more!) in Orlando, and have fun at Disney, Universal, and Sea World.

-Get that eyesore of a green house torn down and replaced with a nice garden area.

-Get our brown house patched up; the junk hauled away; my office set up; heat, electricity, and the bathroom pluming installed/turned on, so it is usable.

-Buy that baby grand piano I’ve always wanted.

-Expand my kitchen and maybe improve our master bath?

-Have an unlimited promo budget, so I could pay for events the day they go live, and I’m not at the mercy of the waiting list.

-Eat out waaay more often than we do now.

-Buy my parents that mountain cabin in Estes Park; the townhouse in Vancouver, BC, and the condo in St. Pete, Florida, so if anyone in the family wants to travel, accommodations are in place.

And of course, pay off my house and have reliable transportation!

I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?

What would YOU do if a windfall suddenly landed in your bank account?

Our roofers have arrived!  Our materials landed on our front lawn two weeks ago, but then nasty weather set in, including a snow storm.  The snow melted yesterday, and this morning (Thursday), the crew arrived!  Yay, because with the snow, the tiny spot above our kitchen sink began leaking again.  

Sigh….now I can only hope that fictional windfall comes true one day, because now I have to wait 20 years before I get a new kitchen!  Here’s hoping we’re able to pay off the roof loan sooner!

Time Management??? #MFRWAuthors #3

This week’s topic:  Reading, Writing, or Living?

Can’t I do all three?

There are only 24 hours in the day.  So obviously, there are priorities in a busy author’s life.  For instance, I’m also a full-time mom, spouse, and grandma, and once a month I’m the pickle in this family sandwich, since my mom is currently in a rehabilitation center, learning how to walk again after a fall last June.

I spend at least 7-8 hours sleeping, more if I can swing it.  Let’s face it; I don’t like to get up until my body says it’s had enough.

Two hours a day is spent online, checking social media, clearing out two emails, and updating my blog, which includes writing this post and any other posts.

It takes me one hour to prepare dinner, and another hour to eat it, catch up with the various family members.

One hour to clean up the kitchen.

I watch 2.5 hours of Nostalgia TV in the mornings (one of those hours is about to drop off) and 1-2 hours in the evenings.

I squeeze in my writing time between laundry loads twice a week, so let’s say that’s 3 hours a day I actually WRITE.

Let’s see…..I think I’m up to 18 hours….

Every Thursday, I’m at karaoke for 2 hours, and on Saturdays, it’s 3.  So we’ll average it out to 2 1/2 hours.

That leaves me four hours to grocery shop, lunch, clean house, and run any other errands.  Oh, and I have choir practice on Wednesdays, so there’s ninety minutes…..church on Sunday, so there’s another hour.

Lately, I’ve been reading my way through the Game of Thrones, and depending on my *free* time, I’ve been enjoying at least an hour, if not two, a day curled up on my couch with my comfy fleece blanket across my lap.  Sometimes, I even end up taking a nap for two hours.

Did you catch that?  I’m now up to 27 hours.  Oops, something has to go.  And I didn’t even mention the hour it takes me to get ready in the morning.

Thankfully, some of the time the housework doesn’t get done, outside of the KP and laundry.  But thankfully I have a daughter who helps out, since she’s not working at the moment.  When she returns to work, I’ll be on total Grandma Duty after school, in order to make sure she does her homework and give her some attention.

So I really don’t want to give up my writing time….my reading time…..or my ‘living’ time.  Fortunately, I’m able to squeeze in some of my reading time either before bedtime, or before it’s time to fix dinner.  I can do my writing after lunch, and of course, I’m not giving up my karaoke or getting together with friends.

Yeah, I want it all…..and some days, I need to clone myself in order to accomplish it.

What about you?

 

 

Ah Memories….#MFRWAuthors #2

Remember when we rode our bikes without helmets, were gone until the streetlights came on, drank out of the hose when we were thirsty, and just walked up to our friend’s door (or even in the back yard!) to see if they could come out and play?  What happened to all that?

Honorary Member of ‘The Gang’

We moved into our house when right before I turned 5, and the following year, my dad put up my swing set and built me a tree house.  And because our yard was the only one in the neighborhood without any trees in the front yard, it soon became the kickball field for the older kids in the neighborhood.

My parents stipulated playing in our yard was fine, but they had to let me play, too.

My mother soon lived in fear of our picture window or even car window, being shattered by a baseball or soccer ball.

One kid fell out of the tree house and broke his arm.  Another jumped from the five-foot platform and broke his ankle.  Was anyone sued?  No; it was their own darn fault!

I was allowed to play outdoors with them until the street light by our driveway came on, or in the evenings on the weekends when it was the optimal time to play Hide and Seek or ‘Ghost In The Graveyard’…“Ghost in the graveyard, can’t catch me…no sir, no sir, no sir-ee!”

As we grew older, the older kids began calling themselves ‘The Wea Woodlands Gang’, and since my yard was still the best one, I was an honorary member, even if no one made ME a shirt or gave me a fun name!

When our dads came home from work, especially the ones with trucks, we’d all run down to the end of the street and flag them down to pile into the back of the truck.  That dad would graciously drive to the other end of the street to the school bus turn-around, then drop off kids at various houses.  Of course, we knew another dad was due any time, so we’d run down to the entrance of our neighborhood and do it again!

Another fun activity was playing ‘Pickle’ with anyone playing ‘Catch’ in the street.  The object was to run from one player to the other before he could catch the ball.  If you did, you were ‘safe’.

One year, my BFF and I pretended our neighborhood was a town.  Each driveway was something different, where we pretended to gas up our bikes, get groceries, visit a store, or go to the beauty parlor.  Another time, a large black snake had been killed in the road; it soon became a contest to see who would dare run over it, especially once the head was separated from the body.  Then the ‘dare’ was to see who could ride their bike through that space.  Morbid, yes, but when you’re seven….hey, we thought we were pretty daring!  I don’t know who finally picked up it up or if the buzzards finally got it, but it provided us with at least a few days’ worth of scary fun.

Later, when a new family moved in and put large boulders in their yard, it became fun to play King of the Mountain, and see who could go from one rock to the next without touching the ground.  The larger of the pair had a slick section, and we’d spend many happy hours sliding down it:)  It’s still there, but it’s been obviously rotated, since putting in a new driveway.  Just doesn’t look the same, and I’m amazed at how ‘tall’ we thought it was back then, ha ha!

Vacations:

My parents took us to Colorado, King’s Island Amusement Park, and to Florida, esp when my grandparents moved to St. Pete Beach.  It became my ‘Summer Home’ for ten years, and I have very fond memories of that place.  When Grandma passed away in 1995, my last visit was to her funeral.  I still hope to return someday, and return to the Tiki Gardens, Treasure Island, St. John’s Pass, and Madeira Beach.  Also to Pass-A-Grill Beach, where no matter where we went to eat, a trip past P-A-G Beach was *always* on the way back to Grandma’s house!

What are some of YOUR happy childhood memories? 

Update On My Mom:

She was allowed to go home today for half a day!  The social worker inspected the house, and deemed it satisfactory for Mom to get around (my dad has spent the last 6 months moving things around, making a ramp for the wheelchair she uses, etc), and she not only was able to use her walker in the house, but was able to do things for herself that she hasn’t been able to do, pre-falling.  Dad took her to her hair appointment, then out to dinner, before returning her to the rehab facility.  Answered prayers; my mom is getting back on her feet!!!

As far as the vehicles go…..Dad was able to get the van fixed, and says he knows what’s wrong with the truck; just hasn’t gotten around to fixing it yet.  I asked if I was needed this month; Dad said he’d let me know.

“I Can’t Believe You’re Not Published Yet!” #MFRWAuthors #1

Welcome to a new year, a whole new set of topics to cover!  This week’s asks the questions, ‘Why Do I Write?’  ‘What are my ultimate goals?’

First of all, if I couldn’t get these stories out of my head and down on paper, my head would explode.  At first, it was just for fun, and to see if I was capable of writing something longer than a twenty-page term paper, but something inside me became unleashed as I kept writing.

More stories demanded to be told.  Other characters decided to share their ‘lives’ with me.

Then one day I was happily scribbling away while my husband was in surgery, and a woman asked what I was writing.  I told her, and we had a wonderful chat.  I didn’t let her read any of it, since it was notebook #3 of one story, plus I could barely decipher my own handwriting!  But she seemed interested, and it encouraged me to keep at it.  Three years later, I finally let a new acquaintance read one of my stories, and she passed it along to another friend.  They both expressed their astonishment at the fact I wasn’t published yet, so the wheels began to turn.

It’s one thing to have close friends love your work, but complete strangers, whom you’ve barely known a few weeks?  I bought my first Guide To Publishing book, found out about an upcoming workshop in my area, and signed up.

At first, I wanted to publish just to see my name on a book.  But then people, even complete strangers, bought my 1st baby and raved over it.  So I decided to do it again….and again…and my simple desire to see my name in print morphed into a desire to make a success of this publishing thing.  I knew I wasn’t going to be a ‘flash in the pan’ author, one who quickly rises to the top of everyone’s ‘radar’ but then fades a year or two later.  No, I wanted a slow and steady climb up that ladder of success.

I just didn’t expect to creep along at a snail’s pace.  Oh sure, there were some hurdles….publishers folding, KU killing the small press, then tweaking their algorithm, hackers figuring out how to cheat the system.  But it’s now ten years later and I’m still here.  Book #25 arrives in a few short months, plus I have four partials to finish.

It would be nice to hit the NY Times Best Seller list, but for now I’m content with my few awards, a growing number of repeat customers, and the fact I’m continuing to learn this ‘publishing thang’.

Want to know what others think? 

Happy New Year!

Update On Mom:

She’s now been in the rehab facility for 2 weeks, and is getting stronger!  She spends 20 minutes per day on the stationary bike, plus told me she’s walking longer lengths every day.  Her spirits are good, and she’s even begun hosting a small Bible Study with another lady who has missed being in the company of Christian Fellowship!  God works in mysterious ways:)

In other family news, both my parents’ vehicles need work; the ‘check engine’ light is on, and Dad has hooked them both up to his Code detector (I don’t know what you call it!), and thought he’d fixed the issue, only to have the light return the next day.  So he’s going to consult a mechanic…..and the one he’s trusted for years went out of business last year.

Looking Ahead To 2019 #HappyNewYear

Welcome to a brand new year!  How did I do on last year’s goals?

-Write #5 of The Chosen  Not even close.  DID write a time-travel and start 2 more stories in this series!

-Promote Whispers Anthology Yes!

-Limit my craft fairs and set up only at:  Not very limited, lol!

     -Author’s Fair in April (sold 4!), in addition to a local event (cancelled)

     -May:  1st Friday (sold 8!) AND Opening weekend of Farmer’s Market (sold 6!)

     -June:  1st Friday (sold 2?), PrideFest (sold 4!), Celebration On Main ( 4) and Corning Irish Festival (5)

     -July:  1st Friday Went to InConJunction instead, with publisher (8)  Also did Lafayette Mosey (9) and Gallery Walk (6)

     -Aug:  Watermelon Festival (2) and GenCon (IF we get approved) Nope.  Did the Mosey (2)

     -Sept:  1st Friday (rain out) maybe Paletine’s event nope; Eminence Harvest Festival (4), and the Evansville Fairgrounds event.(9)

     -Oct:  Imaginarium (1), plus Collections Carnival Craft Fair (7)

     -Nov:  Indy Christmas Show (16(, maybe the Christmas Stroll No; opted for Rivet Craft Show (15!) 

     -Dec:  WCC Craft Fair (8) and Art Walk (4)

-Finish Heart Song Not even close

-Set up a few local signings at our coffee shop/brewery Nope

-Get our Green House torn down (not yet), and the Brown House emptied (getting closer!).  I’ve decided to move my office into the Brown House (provided the spouse approves!).

-Continue participation in the MFRW Blog Challenge 2018.  Kenzie had a good time, so maybe I’ll do it this year??  Or switch off every week?  Month?? Moved it to the WordPress site, so I didn’t have to keep logging in and out!

-Lose 5 lbs each month.  If I succeed, I’ll be down to 200 lbs by this time next year.  Starting weight:  232 Went the wrong way….240.  I blame the many weeks with the parents!

How About Those December Goals?

Do well at Washington Christian Center Holiday Vendor Fair  Sold 8:)

Do well at 1st Friday Art Walk  Sold 4, bringing my monthly total to 12, and the yearly one to….145!  WOW!

Lose 5 lbs (starting 241) Managed to lose ONE pound!  Even after the holidays!

Bake cookies

     12/3:  4.5 Doz Choc. Chip. 3 doz Winter Chip, 4.5 M&M

     12/4:  3.5 Doz Oatmeal Raisin, 3 doz Maple Chip

Bake cookies at Mom’s Nope; plans changed.

Send packages to Japan and Canada 12/20:  Got some put together!

Get my mother up and walking each day I’m there Nope; plans changed

Celebrate K’s 27th birthday (check!  Fixed him a large T-bone steak!) and my 53rd (check!  Dad took me to Red Lobster, and watched the Survivor finale LIVE!)

Finish buying Christmas Gifts Daughter took care of this, though there is still one more gift to be bought!

Write Holiday letter (Check!) and send out Christmas Cards Had Mom’s ready to send out on the 24th!

Get closer, if not finish, Hair Affair Got a few hundred words added, so yay!

Mail packages to Harlie and JDC  Not yet

Have a wonderful Christmas (Check!) and New Year’s Eve (check!)

New Year, New Goals:

-Write RiKar’s Redemption (The Chosen #5)

-Finish/add words to Heart Song

-Finish/submit Time Travel Trilogy

-Finish Paranormal Preacher

-Write new Bad Decisions story

-Hand-sell 150 Books (last year’s record 145)

-Pull titles from KU and learn D2D, plus maybe Audible?

-Buy Inventory and vertical banner

-Pay cover artist for CR

-Promote Catered Romance and have successful launch

-Set up at:

April:  Kentuckiana Book Fair and Dale Library

-May:  Art Walk, Farmer’s Market

-June:  Art Walk, Celebration On Main, Corning Irish Festival, PrideFest

-July:  InConJunction or Art Walk, Mosey Down Main, Gallery Walk

-Aug:  Watermelon Fest, Mall of America event (17th), ISUCon or Palestine

-Sept:  ISUCon, Eminence Harvest Fest, Art Walk, Vanderburgh FG, Saints and Sinners

-Oct:  Imaginarium, Carnivals Crafters Fair

-Nov:  ICGAHS, Rivet, Art Walk,

-Dec:  WCC, Art Walk

-Enjoy 35th Class Reunion

-Put new roof on house

-Finish cleaning out Green House and get it torn down

-Finish clearing out Brown House front room and start rearranging.  Also, turn on electricity.

-Participation In MFRW Blog Challenge?

-Lose 5 pounds per month (Starting weight:  240)

-Get Mom back on her feet and finish decluttering house

-Set up signing at local coffee shop/brewery/library??

-Watch SE 7 of GOT, plus keep up with shows online

Reading Goal:  200 books, including all of the GOT titles.

-Karaoke Goal:  Thurs:  Get through the W titles.  

                                 Sat:  Get through the R titles