Thursday, March 29, 2012

Savannah or bust!

  I have spent the last couple of days in Savannah, Georgia. It was a nice little birthday getaway. I am very lucky to be able to do such things. While there I took a picture and posted it to Facebook. Along with the picture it said something about Savannah being beautiful anytime of the day. I also said it was my soon to be home. This prompted a friend to ask, "What, why the move?" It got me thinking...

  I spent the first twenty nine years of my life in western New York. I was raised in a town with a population around two thousand. I have great friends, family, and memories of that place, but I really don't miss it that much. I miss them. I don't miss the high taxes. I don't miss the economic slump, and I don't miss the winters.

  I now have spent the last ten plus years in North Carolina. It is a nice place. I am only a few hours from the beaches and an hour-ish from the mountains. Here's the thing though...I have never felt like this was home to me. I have a couple of close friends and that's it. That is my fault because I choose to live the life of a semi recluse! I have just never said, "This is it. I love this place." This is a stopping place for me, and now it's time to move on.

  All too often we are reminded how short life is. Sadly, I had a hard dose of that reality last year. Since then life changed drastically. I try to cram as much into one day that I possibly can. I am striving to reach my dream of becoming a published author. I am doing what I can because life is too short. Life's too dang short to be unhappy. I'm not saying that I am unhappy. I'm far from it. 

  But Savannah, well, Savannah just makes me feel a comfort I haven't felt in ages, if ever.  I am a whole new person in that city. I can breathe easier there. I am more energetic there. I am ME there. 

  The history of that city amazes me, and you can see it everywhere. The relaxing sounds of the click clacking of horses hooves on the cobblestone streets is music to my ears. The carriage rides are not the only way to see the city, but one of the more romantic! The "Squares" invite you to sit for a spell in the shade of Live Oaks. You'll be mesmerized by the fluttering Spanish moss hanging from the branches. The architecture is stunning. Are you starting to see my point? 

 I could go on, but I won't. I think you get the picture! Besides, this is only my point of view. I know how I feel, and how Savannah makes me feel. I have been there three times in the last seven months! They say home is where the heart is. Y'all now know where my heart is.   

What area do you call home? What makes it special to you? Will you ever leave it voluntarily?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stupid Genes

  I sat here the other day and thought, Ever since I started that blog I haven't had hardly any dysfunction in my life. I mean really, all sorts of weird things normally happen to me, friends, or family. Lately though...nothin. Wouldn't you know as soon as that thought entered my head, BAM, dysfunction reminds me it's just around the corner and is willing to leap out and grab me at any given time? 

  Ah yes, this time dysfunction appeared in the form of a stupid gene. I seem to have them pop up at certain times in my life. This stupid gene is the one that says, "That is do-able." Then I try it and it turns into a catastrophe that ends up with me in the emergency room, or urgent care. Yup, that's the gene that hit me, or shall I say bit me, the other day. It has been a few years, so I should have known something was due to come this way.

  There was one time years ago that I came home from work and found some Christmas lights had fallen from a window. Being in a hurry I didn't want to get a step ladder, so I grabbed the nearest thing I thought would hold me up for the two seconds it would take to fix it. My stupid gene kicked in, and I grabbed a ceramic two foot tall decorative vase. I turned it over and stepped on it. Within seconds I had the lights rehung, and then it happened. The vase collapsed into pieces, sending me tumbling to the ground. Ultimately I left the ER with twenty-four stitches in my leg where it had been sliced open by the angry vase. Oh yeah, I had a tiny fracture in my foot as well.

  A few years later my parents visited for Christmas. My mother's employer sent her a beautiful Thomas Kinkade flower arrangement. It had a collectible church as the centerpiece. Needless to say the arrangement was left at my house. It was too big for them to take back to NY, along with all their other presents. Eventually the flowers faded and it was time for me to throw the arrangement away. I tried to remove the ceramic church, but it wouldn't give. It wouldn't even budge. I worked and worked it. Finally all at once it gave way, sending the cross at the top of the steeple right into my chin. That would've easily been another trip to the ER. I'm sure it would have been a two or three stitch fix. I just bandaged it, and wear a scar on the very bottom of my chin because of it.

  And so the other day I tried to get the yard mowed before our daily afternoon thunderstorm hit us. I was given a metal welcome mat a long time ago as a gift. It has followed me from house to house. Last fall I put it down in front of my potting shed. Well, it was embedded into the ground, and wrapped up nicely with weeds. I wanted it out of there so I could mow where it was. I bent down and tried to pry it up with my right hand, my predominant hand, my strong hand. I tried...until I felt a tearing from my two middle fingers all the way to my forearm. Ugh. The stupid gene strikes again. No matter how many times I iced my hand and wrist it continued to swell. The next morning I headed to urgent care. Double ugh. The nice, funny(he did have a personality!) doctor told me he "thinks" it's just sprained. If it is not better by the end of the week I will have to have an MRI because it could be a ligament issue. Triple ugh. 

  With ice and pretty good medication I have been able to type, and can start to make a fist now. It has got a lot better in the last day, so I am hoping it is just sprained. Now, I read two blogs daily. One, which is my favorite, is by author Jill Shalvis. Jill is a brilliant romance writer. She has an awesome personality that transcends into her blog, and books.  She has incidences also where weird things happen to her that she calls her "Lucy" moments. I'm thinking I need a better name other than Stupid Genes. Can you help me out? That way when I have a story like this I can just refer to that title.

Do you have moments that make you wonder why did I just do that? Do yours make you end up in the ER, or doctor's office? What do you suggest I call these moments?


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just Breathe/First Excerpt

  I will be the first to admit that writing my first book was an experience in itself. I added certain events to it that happened in my own life. Events such as mini panic attacks. Now, I am not a doctor, and have never been to one for these certain symptoms. I am a self diagnoser, and mini panic attacks are the best I can come up with. My breaths would grow short, I felt like I was having cold sweats, and I just knew that I was dying. Thankfully that didn't happen, and after a while those feelings would pass. 

  So in my first book, "Eagle's Nest," we'll call it, Alexis Smith is the main character. She was given up for adoption at birth. Years later her niece, Emma Winchester, comes looking for her. By some weird circumstances Alexis and Emma are thrown together, and although Emma figures Alexis to be her aunt, Alexis has no clue who Emma is. Here is my first ever excerpt:
            Emma shook her head yes, but wouldn't speak. Tears came to her eyes. She stared at Alexis, taking everything about her in, because she knew Alexis was going to ask her to leave. Her breathing became more labored, and she started to cough.
            “Hey, hey,” Alexis reached over and grabbed her shoulder. Emma was leaning forward, coughing. “Emma, Em,” she rubbed her back as the coughing spell ended. Alexis handed her some water. “Breathe Emma, it’s okay, just breathe.”
            Emma sat up. Tears ran down her cheeks. She drank some water. “I am not going to leave.”
            “What?” Alexis asked as shock came over her.
            “I’m not going to go back, not yet.” She tried to take a deep breath, but couldn’t.
            “Emma, sit back.” She did as told. “Now close your eyes. Let your mind go someplace that makes you happy. It may be the beach, mountains, your friends, your mom. Picture it." Alexis paused.  "Do you have it pictured?”
            “Okay, stay there in that place. Just relax. Think of nothing but your calm place. It’s peaceful, quiet.” She noticed Emma’s breathing was getting a little better. “Now, breathe in.” Emma did as told. “Breathe out. Slow breaths, in and out.” After another minute of these exercises Alexis told her to take a deep breath. She did, as good as she could do considering her bruised ribs. “Better?” Emma opened her eyes. The sadness in them about broke Alexis’ heart. “Do you feel better?”
            Emma looked at her and shook her head. “Where did you learn how to do that? That was crazy amazing! Thank you.”
            Alexis smiled a half smile. “You’re welcome. Listen Emma, I would love to ask you to leave. Not because I want you to, but because it would be safer if you did. Something is going on, somebody is messing with me. The last thing I need is for any one of my friends to be hurt.”

  So that was one way I kind of tied my mini attack's into the book. I actually thought that I was going crazy for a while. That is until I got the wonderful opportunity of meeting Romantic Suspense author Carla Neggers last August. Mrs. Neggers had a book signing in Savannah, Georgia. She spoke about her just released that day book, "Saint's Gate," and many other things. I sat, listening and staring at her in awe as she is one of my favorite authors. She told a few personal stories. One of them included a "mini attack" she had in Ireland. (I kid you not, those were her exact words!) "What if planes stopped flying, and I couldn't get back to my family?" She went on speaking of her mini attack and I just smiled to myself. I knew right then and there that I was not the only one that thought this way! I also knew I was finally starting the right path in life for me...the writing path. That is her on the left, and the one on the right with the deer in the headlights look is me. 

  So, tell me. What did you think? Did it sound good to you, or are you tuning out now? Do you ever get mini attacks, or do you just think we're crazy?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

  Tomorrow marks the first day of Spring here in the US. Ironically, where I live, we went right to summer. That's too bad because I really like the spring season. I like watching the grass go from brown to a vivid green. I like watching things come alive. The transformation is wonderful in not just nature, but with people too.

  It's almost like everything has been hibernating, including people. As soon as the weather warms just a little, people come out of the woodwork stretching, and yawning as if they have slept all winter. Their attitudes and personalities are brimming as if the shot of warm fresh air was adrenaline pumped into their veins. They are energetic, and willing to tackle projects left behind months ago. New ones may even be started. Husbands and boyfriends scurry along doing yard work, building decks, or whatever it is that their mates want them to do. The significant others help or watch, smiling the whole time. Ah, Spring has pumped a new life into us.

  It's not just humans that awaken. Birds come to life too. The male goldfinches go from dull to a brilliant yellow in just days. Hummingbirds zoom into town with a pep that I wish I had a third of. All of the birds sing prettily and do fluttering dances of love through the air. Soon thereafter the circle of life continues as they bring insects and berries back to their nests to feed their young. Spring sprang new life into them also.

  Spring is one of my favorite seasons as plants begin to flourish also. Even the evergreens, who have been pretty all year, put out a new growth which give them a new dimension. Even better are the flowers. Oh the beautiful colors of azaleas, cherry trees, redbuds, honeysuckle, and verbena. Ah yes, the plants always delight my senses. The flowers sprung a new life into the dull landscape, making the view delightful.

  So there you have it. My Spring, sprang, sprung blog. I hope you liked it. We are exceptionally warm here. I saw a picture today on Facebook. It was from one of my favorite authors who lives in the mountains in California, and they got three feet of snow recently. 

What part of the world are you from? Did your spring come early? What is your favorite season? 


Monday, March 12, 2012

Hockey Hero

  I grew up in the frozen tundra of western New York. Each passing winter seemed to grow longer, and colder. I had three older brothers, so winter sports were a great way to make it through snowstorm after snowstorm. Sledding, skiing, and snowmobiles were all wonderful ways to not think about how cold, or how much snow the last storm dropped. There was one sport though that we couldn't do All of its relatives are popular too. On any given day people can be found playing pond hockey, street hockey, floor hockey, roller hockey, field hockey, or ice hockey. Yes, Buffalo and its surrounding area is definitely hockey territory. Even though I live in North Carolina now my favorite professional hockey team is, and always will be, the Buffalo Sabres.

  At this point I will lose all my male audience...sorry guys!

 They say when you write to write about things you know. My first book revolves a lot around an ornamental tree and shrub nursery because that is what I do in "real life." I had a story in me for many years that wanted to be told. I just didn't have all of the pieces until I tied my profession into it. After my first book I wrote a very short story for competition that was a contemporary romance. Then I started my second real novel. It is another contemporary romance that involves, you guessed it, a hockey player. This fictional hockey player's name is Logan Pearce, and Logan's fictional body looks a little like this-------;-)------------>           
Logan is fighting both Post Concussion Syndrome and his feelings for a young woman whose life, and arms, he stumbled into.  

  Yes, it can be kind of hard to get any work done if I have this image posted on my laptop when I write. It's tough, but I must press on! I am taking a class on writing a novel in thirty days. It is this novel that I hope to get done in that time, or close to it. 

  So, I'm glad I could share with you one of the things that keeps me busy, er, who's been keeping me busy. I'll let you know when Logan is free to play whatever sport entices you! Ah, the great escape is wonderful, isn't it?

Are you into any sports? What type of books do you like to read? Come on, spill!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Having a Bad Day?

  Well, it has been one of those days. It is a day off from my paying job, but I can't get anything to work right for my future dream job. I am jamming two horrendous classes in right now on top of my regular job, and blah, blah, blah. I'm not going to complain. Nope. Not me. Well...maybe just a little. ;D  

  So, I needed a pick me up. I was all over Facebook trying to find anything funny. Nothing happening there. I checked my emails both old and new, eh nothing. I even went searching for funny pictures. Sorry to say that nothing was doing it for me today. Until I found this...

 Without further ado...the one quick video I watch to make me laugh when absolutely all else fails. It combines two of my favorite things: dogs, cats, and funny music. Was that three? Oh, sorry. I told you I was never good at math! Come on, watch it. I know you will like it!

What brings you out of a funk? Do you read, watch movies, surf the net? Talk to me, I need a good distraction!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm Unplugging!

  That's right. I'm unplugging for a while. I have to quit all the things I love so much. At least for a little while.
I have to turn off my phone that is smarter than me. I have to quit tweeting, and texting, or anything else that starts with a t. I have to...gulp...not open my Nook. 

  Why? Because I am a product of my own craziness. I am a let's try this and that. Not a let's try one and see how it goes. No, that would be too easy. I am unplugging myself because I signed up for two classes that are going to be crazy intense. One will last two weeks. The other goes the whole month of March. I was fortunate enough to find that a highly respected writing organization was offering several classes throughout the month. I took an interest in two. Actually I took an interest in all of them but thought that two would suffice. For now. They just started and I am already stressed. And I hardly ever get stressed. Well... Let me just say that the only way I can accomplish this is to unplug the cell, Facebook, and television for a few hours a night. 
  That's right, the television also. Trust me, usually I am not huge into the tube. I have it on, but I don't pay a lot of attention. I am usually writing and will look up every here and there. There are some shows though that I do watch. Even then the reruns and not happening enough story lines are bothering me. So I do think giving up most of my television in March won't be too bad. I have a DVR, so sometime in April I will have a Kelly day of nothing but TV. Here's what I will miss, or will I?

Revenge- I lose interest when the heroine is not in control.

Grey's Anatomy- Sigh. This season is filled with too much blood and gore and not enough                 McDreamy or McSteamy. The plot has lost it's relationship sparks.

Private Practice- Can the poor girl please have or adopt a baby already?

Modern Family- Great show. I will definitely miss you.

Raising Hope- Another show that makes me laugh out loud. Even better in the fact that it didn't drag out a possible love interest through season after season. See, it is possible.

Smash- You have only been on a few weeks. I was hooked, and then stepped back. Too many characters that have slept with someone else and mind games have me wondering why I watch it at all.  The only thing keeping me coming back is a new obsession with another Englishman. My how you have grown on me. Any my how I love the English/Scottish/Irish accent on nearly any man. 

Awake- Uh, not for long if I have to use my brain that much at ten o'clock at night. 

Last but not least:

Castle- A loooong sigh. I like you. A lot. Unfortunately I am too much of a romantic. Season after season I hope, and hope some more, that you will put Castle and Beckett together. Season after season I am disappointed. So much so that it has me wondering if I will DVR that, or it's competition. I am hoping that my work will be done by ten o'clock, but I can't expect that. I can't expect a happy ending from Castle either. Trust me, I love the wit, but is it too much to ask for more of this...
I had to make that especially large for some reason ;)  So that's it in a nutshell. I am unplugging every night for a while. I will plug in long enough for my blogs though. Thanks for stopping by to read my ramblings! If any of my friends see the little green light next to my profile on Facebook send me a message telling me to get off! I can give up some things easier than others!

Could you give up some of your favorite shows? What do you watch? Do you put too much on yourself at once? 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eagle's Nest

  I have to admit that throughout my life weird thoughts and idea's would appear in my head. Some I would make little stories out of. Others just found a nice little crevice and rested there. Sometimes they would come out and say, "Hey, remember me?" Either way these thoughts and little stories stayed in my head. Because that's where I thought they should remain. Deep down inside I thought there might be something wrong with me. I thought I may be a little on the crazy side. I guess I was just...confused. ------------------->

  I always liked to write. I never had a problem with English classes. (Although now I wish I would've asked more questions about the pesky comma!) I just never really put two and two together. (I was never really good at math!) I never thought to write down those supposed crazy thoughts and ideas that were going through my head. Enter Women's Fiction and Romance writer Robyn Carr. In one of her books she had a dedication that thanked her family for letting her 'escape.' She thanked them for letting her get the thoughts from her head and onto paper. 

  Finally it all came together. I wasn't the only one that had these things running through my mind. It all started to make sense. Slowly I realized that writing may be the only way those thoughts got expressed in the right way. I set out to prove to myself that I could do it. Every night I would come home from my full time job, and in no particular, play with dogs, read a little, and make sure I set an hour aside to just write. Some nights I wouldn't get that hour, but others I would get more. Finally after a year of playing around with words I finished. I proved to myself that I could get it done. 

  My first novel is a work of fiction. I have taken a couple of classes to try and better my chances of getting it published. Right now it is getting some editing done to it. That alone has me a little nervous as another opinion will make its way to me. I have a twelve year old friend (going on 28)  who begged me to let her read it. I only had to alter one chapter to make it suitable for her eyes. She loved it. That alone made me feel the time I spent on it was worth it. Now I want more. I want it all. I want this book published. 

   So far I have my first rejection under my belt. Phew. I am glad I got that out of the way! I am working on getting more writing credits, but in the mean time another thought crossed my mind. Self publishing. Hhmmm. I know that my first book will probably be my worst. I'm not saying I think it is a bad book. I'm just saying that I can already see a difference in  writing  between my first and second books. One option is to self publish. When I first started writing all I heard was how bad self publishing was. "It will be your doom!" It seemed every educational author I received emails from declared the self publishing industry the end of the world as we know it. Now, a mere year and a half later, they have changed their tunes. Every email I get now from them has something positive to say about self publishing. 

  I believe that if you could ask five different well known respected authors what they think of self publishing you would get five different answers. I think the book industry is changing so fast nobody really knows what to think. So, for me, I will continue to contemplate. I will send some more query letters out and brace myself for more rejections. Until then I am taking two classes during the month of March. One teaches how to publish your book on Kindle. For now I will continue to tell you that I wrote a book. Soon I will give you a chapter, if you want! If I self publish my first book it will be entitled 'Eagle's Nest'. If I get lucky enough to get picked up by someone I don't know what the title will be, but you'll be one of the first to know!  :o)

Do you read? Do you have an e-reader? Do you think self publishing is an acceptable form of publishing?