Just Get It Done . . .

ThermometerIt’s only 10 am and the temperature is already 86 degrees. It’s going to be another hot one in the south.

With all of the book buzz lately, I’ve been asked several times if I’ve pre-ordered, GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee. I haven’t yet. I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD in high school and I’m almost ashamed to say it, the book really didn’t stick with me. But neither did CATCHER IN THE RYE, THE GREAT GATSBY, or any other of the books I had to read for school. I just read them and got it done.

I’ve gone against the self-publishing grain, removed all of my books from other outlets and went completely with Amazon. Three reasons, 1) I’ve always had more sales with Amazon 2) Formatting eBooks in different formats is a pain in the butt, and 3) within days of my books going on other outlets, they showed up on “free book” websites. It was pirated within days and there’s not a lot one can do about it. They are sites outside of U.S. jurisdiction. Pirating sites aren’t a big deal to authors who are already a name, but to someone like me where every sale counts, it is bothersome. Who knows how many sales have been lost because of these assholes stealing someone’s work. Not just mine, but collectively. I’m sure the number is staggering.  I think that’s the way of the world these days. I read something once, “What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.” It rings so true today.

Having three kids in college this fall is certainly a financial and logistical challenge. Tuition, books, insurance waivers, on-campus housing, off-campus housing, countless online forms to fill out, food, gas, the list goes on and on and on.  I’m thankful most of the work is done online or I’d have hella writer’s cramp.  When I tell people I will have three kids in college at one time, they ask me how hubby and I can handle it. I can’t answer clearly. We don’t know. Just like most things in life that have to be done, we just get it done.  Do we sacrifice? Not as much as we probably should. Are we in debt. Heck yes, but we get by.  Could we do it without each other? Nope. It’s a twenty-six year partnership, a life promise made a long time ago. Has it been smooth? Nope.  Would I change anything about it? Nope.

I guess I’m writing this because in December, Joey, our oldest graduates and although the city he grew up in offers many opportunities in his field of study, he may choose not to stay here. I’m sure he’ll do well wherever he ends up, but I’d like for it to be in the south. It’s not my decision though.  Dammit!

Hubby and Lizzy are in Raleigh at the ASA State Softball Tournament. Her first game is at 12:30. I printed off the bracket yesterday and hope to follow along as they win their way to another State Championship. Jimmy and I are at home, where I hope to whiz, bing, bang my way through cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping. Just get it done. Oh, and there are at least twenty red-inked pages in my computer bag that need to be typed up and spit shined.

Someone is setting of firecrackers as I type. I just heard them. I know the neighbor we affectionately call “Psycho Skippy” is on the case and soon the cops will show up. :). Goodness know he’s sent them to my house enough.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Why I finally read Allegiant by Veronica Roth . . .

Allegiant Okay, I’ll admit it. I purchased Allegiant by Veronica Roth the day it arrived in the bookstores. I read both Divergent and Insurgent over one weekend and I was ready to dive in (after Lizzy read it, of course).

Being the bibliophile that I am, I’m always checking out what’s new with books, especially by authors I love. Did you know that DUNE, by Frank Herbert was written fifty years ago? That’s FIVE ZERO people!!! I had no idea it was older than I am.

Anyway, getting back to the topic, I must confess I was lured to the dark side by Amazon Reviewers, some of whom DID NOT PUT SPOILER ALERT in their reviews before giving away a MAJOR PLOT LINE!!!

I couldn’t stop reading the reviews. It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t peel my eyes away. How could she do it??? Our beloved Tris???

I never opened the book.  This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. The final episode of Sons of Anarchy still sits on my recorded shows list with the ending of the show unwatched. Yes, I know Jax dies, but if I didn’t witness it, it didn’t really happen. To me Jax is still alive. Call me crazy. I’m okay with that. :).

Anyway, while I was on the cruise to Alaska, I had to take a time out and just sit for an hour or two. I think it was Thursday. Insurgent was playing on HBO and I watched it. I meant to go and see it in the theater, but as with most movies, I missed it.  I’ll buy it when it comes out on DVD and watch it on a bigger TV, for sure.

So, hubby and I were unable to upgrade to first class on our direct flight home from Seattle to Charlotte, so I thought I’d download some books. My antique NOOK does not allow downloads from any other site except B&N (I’m so ready for a REAL tablet), so I reloaded the Kindle app on my tiny iPhone 6 and went book shopping. I bought ALLEGIANT. Hubby and I hogged the outlets from the time we arrived at the airport until our flight boarded, despite some major stink-eyed looks from other travelers. I was determined not to run out of battery.

To make a long story short, I read the entire book on my iPhone while flying practically the length of the United States. AND I LOVED IT!!! How could those reviewers get it so wrong? It wasn’t slow in the middle and the ending was perfect!!!

Lesson learned, in this case anyway. I still haven’t read those Shades of Grey books and it is because of the reviews. Baby steps, I suppose.

I guess while I’m at it, I’ll pick up BURNED, by Karen Marie Moning. I started it months ago, but stopped for some reason that I can’t remember, after that I’m sure there are other books marked where I left off at some time or another. I know A DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R. R. Martin is on that list as well.

Got to sign off for now. I hope ya’ll have a good evening.


Let’s Talk Reviews

Car Crash 1What I thought would be a normal day started out as anything but. Here I am, minding my own business, stopped at a traffic light and a Toyota SUV rear-ends my car. Not just my car, but my new baby! I was stunned for a moment but then I realized what happened. I got out of the car to see if there was any damage, but not before mouthing “what the f***” to the woman driving the Toyota.  She rolled down her window and said sorry.

There wasn’t any visible damage, but I told her I was going to pull into a nearby parking lot just to make sure. I go through the intersection and turn into the parking lot, expecting the Toyota would follow me. That’s what responsible people do. But this crazy woman just keeps on going down the road. Oh heck no!

I rip out of the parking log and chase her down. Lucky for me I have 350 hp and caught up with her quickly. She was going to the same store as I was. How convenient. I won’t go into what I said to her in the parking lot of the store, but I know I scared the crap out of her. Good. I’m glad. Stupid people.

An hour later at another store, I see her. I don’t try to avoid her, but I only have to get a few items. I come out of the store to find that she’s parked right next to me. Now, she’s either the dumbest woman around or she was going to have a comeback.  Well, bring it sista, ’cause I was ready. She seemed shocked to see me, even though I was parked there first. She didn’t say anything else to me, but I gave her a constant stink-eye while I was loading my purchases into the trunk.

A reminder people  – when you rear end someone, please take a moment to stop and exchange information. Otherwise you might be chased down and dressed down by a crazy lady who doesn’t give a rip if you have kids in your car.  I know I’ll feel bad about my behavior and my bad choice of words later, but right now I’m still a bit angry.

Joey and Jennifer are coming over for dinner tonight. Of course I have to entice them with steaks on the grill, but it will be nice to see them. Lizzy is still at the beach.

Okay, on to Book Reviews. I need them. On Amazon. If you have purchased my book or took advantage of the free Sunday downloads I’ve had recently on Amazon, please take a moment and give a review. You don’t have to leave a detailed review, just rate it and say you enjoyed it, if you did. I hope you did. It would mean a lot to me.

Today, I finished all of the red-ink edits and added a few words to the novel.  I also created a matrix of characters, plot, sub-plots and scenes. This should get me to a solid ending.  Finally, after months of not writing, I’m excited to be working on this again.

I found a new shady place to write during lunch. I used to write at the park and ride at a mall nearby my old job so when I got the new job, I had to do some scouting. Let’s hope the Marriott security doesn’t boot me out. :)

As usual, Sunday is a day for laundry and I think I need to go do some. I’ll talk at ya’ll later. Have a great rest of the day.



Flag May we take today to temporarily forget our normal struggles and feel blessed that we are born into such a great country. May your day be filled with family, friends, and food. Have a wonderful weekend!

Speaking of Changes . . .

Today is one of the laziest days I’ve had in a long time. I got up, made breakfast -which no one ate, so I don’t know why I bother :( -, and drove Lizzy to the mall. She purchased a few items and back home we went where she proceeded to pack for a few days with friends at the beach while I sat down on the couch and watched mindless tv for four hours.  I haven’t had a day where I’ve done absolutely nothing in a loooong time.

Later, I logged on to a few writing forums that I used to frequent years ago and saw many new names and a few familiar ones that have hung on. I don’t bother to post much on them, never did really, because most everything I posted either got ignored or taken out of context because I’m not a liberal socialist or anywhere close. That’s okay though, I know I’m not the norm in the writing business.

I clicked on some author blogs I used to read regularly and they were just as pitiful as my little blog. Some of them have disappeared entirely. Everyone used to blog back in the day, but now I suppose everyone Facebooks, Tweets, or Instagrams.  I do too (except Instagram), but I guess I need a few more characters most of the time and so, the blog is necessary.

Then I went to a site that list literary agents. Many new names and then I realized, it has been about five years since I queried agents. Wow, time has flown.

I added a word tracker to the blog for my latest novel. Hopefully, that will give me the kick in the ass I need to write on a regular basis. I have ten red-inked, practically bleeding, pages that I need to get typed before I move on.

I know I wrote this on my long-lost blog, but I’m not a first-drafter kind of writer. If I wrote a real first draft completely and then go back and fix it, I wouldn’t be able to. It’s too daunting. I get each chapter the way I like it before I move on. It what works best for me.

So, since vacation is over and with only one kid left in the house (on a regular basis), I have no excuse not to put my ass in the chair and get back to it. Wish me luck.

Oh, and as for the comments being turned off on this blog, I can’t help it. There is so much trolling going on these days, I think I’ve lost at least four hours of my life deleting spam comments, most of them in Russian or Chinese.

I hope everyone has a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!



Things . . . They Are A Changin’ . . .


My New Baby!

Whelp, so much for the resolution to blog more. Sorry about that. It’s been a busy year. In November I handed down my old vehicle to my youngest and thankfully last driver. So goodbye Big Red Truck and hello sporty new Black Camaro! I love driving this car. So new and shiny! I also accepted a new job with another company. Better pay, better benefits, and less of a workload. Take that old company who doesn’t believe in it’s employees!!! Training required me spending five lovely weeks in Racine, Wisconsin in February and March, which is fabulous this time of year there, with it’s frigid temps and piles of snow.  I met many wonderful people and became very close (too close at times) to my new coworkers.


Lots of high school softball and lacrosse, and both Jimmy and Lizzy went to Jr/Sr Prom.  Lizzy made All Conference, All District, and I’m assuming All State for softball for the last time. She also won the Athlete of the Year Award. Jimmy finished lacrosse without getting too beat up. Earlier this month, Lizzy graduated and will soon be off to college.


Jeff and I, with Lizzy at Senior Night


Jimmy Lacrosse


Lizzy at Prom


Jimmy with Jennifer (sister)








Jimmy, Lizzy, and Prom Date


Joey at Graduation


Lizzy with her Athlete of the Year Award


Jimmy driving my baby to Prom








Hubby and I just got back from a wonderful cruise to Alaska with friends. I’m pooped, but ready to get back to the old grind, which will begin tomorrow. Here are some of my better photos from the cruise:


On the way to Juneau


Mendenhall Glacier


Mendenhall Glacier


Coming into Juneau




Davidson Glacier


Davidson Glacier


Davidson Glacier


Davidson Glacier


Davidson Glacier


Davidson Glacier


Misty Fjords


Misty Fjords


We also attended our nephew’s wedding. As I said, it’s been a busy year, but tomorrow, it’s back to the old grind. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.



HAPPY 2015 !!!!

Wow! 2014 is gone. While I’m not happy getting another year older, I’m looking forward to a fresh start writing-wise. 2014 has been my least productive year since I started writing, although not a day went by when I didn’t think about one of my work in progress novels. There are three of them, each over 10K words. I’m not really sure how that happened, but it did and 2015 is the time to get busy and fix them.

In 2014, my e-books started out selling very well, but sales soon went south. Not sure if I’ll do that again. I like having control of the process, but I’d like it even more if I was really into publicizing and marketing. I got good reviews, but there are so many books out there that is really hard to compete or stand out.

This year I plan to finish two of the three novels at least. That means writing every day, probably during lunch. The Camaro will be a bit tighter to work in than the F-150, but I’m sure I’ll manage. I will query agents with these and see what happens.

I need to re-capture the enthusiasm I had when I first started writing. I need to just write and quit thinking about the mechanics, to create without the boundaries I’ve put on myself from reading too many books on writing. I also need to update the blog more often. 2014 was a pitiful year for the blog. I lost my other blog in 2013. I have it on my hard drive, but haven’t found a good and fast way to re-install it yet.

On a personal note, the kiddos are all home on break. It’s amazing how small the house seems when everyone is back home. I love it though and it’s going to be tough to see Jennifer and Joey head back to school. On the bright side, at least the parking situation will get better. My back yard is a mud pit of rutted tire tracks. I’m sure the neighbors love us. Christmas was good as well.

On the day job front, things are changing. I got a new manager and I’ll that’s all I’ll say about that until the situation changes.

I do plan to read more books (real books and not e-books) and play less on my iPhone in 2015. I have $100 in B&N gift cards so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Right now the house is pretty quiet. All of the kids have yet to come home from their NYE parties and such. Being that I have so much more down time now that all of them are driving, I should be able to write more. But typical me, I wasted that time.

Well, everyone should be coming home soon and I have black-eye pea gumbo to make. TTYL.

Back To The Grind

This morning after moving the clock back one hour, I figured it was time to get my act together. I have at least three WIPs that have been shoved away on thumb drives, hours of work that will probably go nowhere. I guess I kind of lost the will to create anything.

Between the day job, two kids in college, another senior getting ready to leave, and a junior with less of a desire to further his education than I did to write all year, it’s been pretty hectic. There were another important things sucking up all the time . . . or maybe it was the stories I was writing. I just wasn’t that into them. They didn’t hold my interest. I needed something new and fresh, something that hadn’t been done for a while.

That’s changed over the past two weeks. I have a great new story idea. It’s a genre that’s not hot right now. I’m tired of riding those waves. I’ve already have the log line rolling around in my head, characters are starting to develop, and the plot is coming together. Best of all it’s a historical, which means research. Loads of research and I found a crap-ton of books on the subject, actual historical documents scanned and formatted as e-books free at Barnes and Noble. I can also use some characters from other stories. I haven’t been this excited about starting a project in quite some time.

Yesterday, I spent a few hours updating blog look. WordPress did away with the blogroll feature so I had to go old-school HTML in a text box. It’s back and will get larger as I get more time to locate the links that I had on my old blog. I also had to manually delete 27K, yes 27,000, spam comments in pages of 20 ea. I had my blog set to no comments, but I think one of the WP updates changed it. I’ve reset it to no comments again and will definitely keep a watchful eye though. If you want to comment on anything just go my Facebook page.

In other news, we got the packet to choose our benefits for next year at work. I felt sorry for all of the smokers. If they don’t participate in a smoking cessation program, their health insurance will go up $50 per month. This troubles me because, although I’m not a smoker, it is a slippery slope and we all have to sign an affidavit saying if we use tobacco or any kind of nicotine product or not. I can see future year targets of rate increases to being overweight, drinking any measureable amount of alcohol, and being inactive. I let HR know of my concerns, but there’s nothing I can do. It does remind me of this poem though:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.  – Martin Niemöller 1946

I know, I’m probably overreacting. I hope I am.

Whelp, I have to go do the evening chores. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.