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

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