Thursday, June 27, 2013

Step 2: Get Book Edited

  Have you ever felt like you've been beaten down? That feeling like you are tired and sore and don’t want to move. There could be many reasons for feeling like this. Maybe you are sick, or maybe you are just exhausted. Or maybe, just maybe, you just got Book #2 back from the editor.

  Okay, okay. So that is me. And that is the way I feel when I start reading my editors comments on my beloved second book. But before I get ahead of myself let me start from the near beginning.

  A couple months ago I did some serious searching for an editor. I found one with good references and credentials and contacted her. Before long I sent her my first ten pages. She edited them and sent a recommendation of the type of editing she would do back. With her comments she added her quote for what it would cost to do the whole book. Ms. Editor also stated that usually she quoted high, that once she got rolling along she might come in an hour or two below what she quoted. All is good.

  Within those ten pages she had a small concern about point of view. In an attempt to teach myself better control of point of view I started writing a New Adult Contemporary Romance. Every one of those I read is written in first person. If you follow my ramblings you know that I’m not the biggest fan of that, but my bird brain thought it might help.

  At first she informed me that if I got the manuscript to her by the end of April she would most likely have it edited by the second week in May. I stripped a few (near 1,000) words away from my baby and sent it off to her. A few days later she sent me an email explaining she was leaving for vacation the second week in May and thought it would be best if she didn’t get started then quit in the middle then start again when she came back. I said okay. Let’s face it, I’m not on a deadline. Yet. Off on vacation she went and when she came back two and a half weeks later she started on my manuscript. The next time I heard from her she gave me a brief what’s up, told me what a great vacation she had, and then said she may not have it done within the next couple weeks. Ms. Editor stated she had to travel for a few days.

  Now, I am a red head. I do have a short temper sometimes. When I read that email I about lost it. But I also have a brain. Do I really want to make the person reading my manuscript mad? No. I simply told her that if she didn’t finish it by then that was okay. Amazingly she finished before she left town again.

  I will tell you that when I wrote this book I was in there with the characters. They became my friends. I looked forward to seeing them and talking with them daily. This book consumed me. Sometimes during conversations with people I would zone out and think about different things to do with the characters or plot. So when I handed over my story, and my friends, a small part of me went with it. Anticipation built, as did stress and anxiety.

  When she returned the manuscript she sent a seven page editorial letter stating her thoughts and ideas. She mentioned some good and more bad. J I understand most of her ideas and will try to comply when revising Book #2. Then I started reading the manuscript with the comments in track changes and I found myself discouraged. Finally page 32 she wrote a positive comment. I find it hard to sit there and see my baby, my book, questioned and torn apart. Sadly I can only read twenty or thirty pages and I have to quit. On top of that her final cost was more than what she quoted. *smh*

  I know that a good part of her comments and ideas are right, and I will conform to them. It’s just hard to swallow and can be a little overwhelming at first. Or every time I start reading the track changes! But I have run into a couple good ones and that makes me feel better.

  One other thing made me smile. I didn’t notice any comments about the point of view so I questioned her about it. This is her response, “No I actually didn’t see any problems with the point of view in the manuscript, and I was looking! The rotating third-person POV is very tricky to do so I suspected I’d find some issues with it and I found none! To the point that when I wrote the editorial letter, I even forgot to mention it because you did it very smoothly (kudos!)   Yay! I did do a little happy dance after I read that.

  So there you go. I am trying to be a writer. One day at a time, right? J

 Have you encountered something difficult to swallow lately? How do you handle criticism? Do you have any advice for me?

W.P.I.- Dealing with the criticism was hard, but walking in the garden always makes me feel better. The daylilies are showing off their pretty little faces, the blueberries are close to picking, and the gardenias are filling the air with their heavenly scent. The heat here takes a toll, so I try planting heat tolerant plants. Butterfly bush, daylilies, geum, achillea, gaura, knock out and drift roses are all heat tolerant plants that bloom nicely in the heat of the summer.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Family Vacation

  This is going to be one of those rants that has a lot of pictures in it. Hey... Don't judge me. I've been in a vehicle for nearly thirteen hours and I'm really afraid of talking much. I'm fearful I won't make much sense. As I sit here and try to make a sentence with the Charmed One my words are non comprehensive. So be thankful I'm choosing to do it this way. :)

  I just got back from my vacation (debatable if that is the right word.) It was a whirlwind, and I need a vacation from my vacation. I didn't even get a nap. And I love naps. So let's begin while my words are somewhat coherent.

  When we left we had to drive through torrential rains and winds. We stopped along the way and found this treasure in West Virginia between raindrops.

Then I took a lot of pictures of flowers. There is a story that could go along with this, but for sanity reasons I'll just show it to you without words.

I found myself in Niagara one day and one simply cannot make a trip to Niagara without seeing the Falls. Well, this is as close as I got but I digress...

Did I mention I took many pictures of flowers?

My heart filled being able to spend so much time with friends and family. This is my Twelve Year Old Fan, who is now 14. Eek, I better get published soon!

When we tired of obligations to others Charmed and I took part of a day to ourselves and visited a nature preserve. Can you spot someone trying to hide?

And finally, one reason for the vacation, a wedding. Yes, unbelievably she said yes! The family welcomed her with open arms. My nephew and his new wife.

Do you call someone a niece-in-law? Could you find my hidden friend in the pic from the nature preserve? Have you ever been to Niagara Falls?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Doll Collection

  Growing up I had three brothers that kept me on my toes. We would bike; play games like basketball and football, or stuff like billiards or matchbox. Yea, this girl grew up with minimal in the girl department when it came to toys. Items such as dolls and dresses were few and far between.

  I think my mother tried to make up for the lack of feminism, but a little later on in my life. She started collecting dolls. By dolls I mean baby dolls and such, not Barbie or anything like that. She collected boy dolls and girl dolls, doll cribs and high chairs. When she collects something she goes all the way. After a few years a whole section of the living room was dedicated to the dolls.

  Skip ahead fifteen years.

  We visit my parents on this vacation. It is me, the Charmed One, my niece and the niece of Charmed. The two girls are 14 and 12 years old. We were sitting around talking and the girls start talking about the scary doll in the bedroom. My niece makes the same face the doll has. We all cracked up.

  My mother didn’t happen to be around during this conversation, but when my niece came in with various freaky dolls mom started looking confused. All of us laughed hysterically, except mom. After we wiped our tears of laughter and caught our breath we explained to her that we thought some of her dolls were a little scary. I wasn’t sure how she’d take the news, but she was okay with it.

  Fast forward one day and now she asked me to put them up for sale on eBay. J Maybe next time we come to visit this face won’t be staring at us as we walk in the bedroom!
It can be freaky!
  I know there are many scary dolls out there. These aren't too too bad, but in the right circumstance...

  Do dolls scare you? Did you ever collect dolls? What does a family member/friend collect that you think is scary? Interested in buying any of these? J

W.P.I.- Speaking of scary-One of my dogs has had a problem with ticks finding her. Although we put the flea and tick medication on them we still worry. When I found one on myself I started looking for reasonable/environmentally friendly solutions. What I found was this neat little concoction.
               Cut up lemons, limes, grapefruit, or anything citrus-y. Put into two cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil for one to two minutes, then simmer for an hour. Drain citrus water and cool. Spray on yourself and pets to keep ticks off. (Apparently ticks do not like citrus.) Keep refrigerated.

  *I tried this and so far haven’t had any problems with ticks!*

Monday, June 17, 2013

Food Hangover

  It was Father’s Day yesterday here in the U.S. I know that means something different for everyone, for my family it means a lot of food. So for most of yesterday and part of today I feel like I am suffering from a food hangover.

  It is a rare occasion that my whole family can get together considering I live in North Carolina and the rest of the brood live in New York. This year is the exception to the rule though because I am in New York. So for Father’s Day we decided to have a picnic.

  We got the whole family together, which is rare even if we are all in one area. Everyone brought a dish to pass, we did the barbecuing on the grill, and mom made her special dishes. Now I will add that every time we come home the gas grill miraculously runs out of propane. Every.Stinking.Time. The Charmed One usually does the grilling, this time was no exception. We were told that the tank had gas and away we went. Three different meats filled the big grill, both racks packed full. Two and a half hours later the meat still wasn’t done. There may have been propane in the tank, but the burners weren’t working correctly. Our 3 o’clock dinner turned into 4:30.

  It didn’t matter. We laughed, we ate, we teased and taunted, we ate some more. When dinner was finished cake was served. I even had a piece of that. Yeah, my low sugar diet is out the window during this trip. Needless to say I could’ve been plopped into a wheel barrel like a shovel full of dirt and wheeled away from the table. Hours later as I sit here I still feel like I could explode. I shouldn’t need to eat for a couple days.

  Yes, my Father’s Day involved a hangover of food. I cherished every moment, and will remember it for a time to come. Even if I can’t move too well at this time! Cherish the moments, my friends. 

  How did you celebrate Father’s Day? Did you bring a smile to that special man’s face? Was there waaay too much food involved? Did you have a food hangover?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


  It is 10:32 p.m. when I started writing this. Various emotions are swirling through my mind. I'm pretty much exhausted. I contemplated for a few minutes on just re-posting one of my older blogs, but you deserve more than that. 

  I'm getting such a late start because I was packing. Before packing I was doing laundry, feeding hoggish hummingbirds, mowing the lawn, setting timers for sprinklers, and watering vegetables to name a few. Before packing I had to go shopping to get suitable outfits to pack. I'm exhausted my peeps! 

  Early in the morning we will take off and head back to New York. It has been a year and a half since we've been back, but I have a nephew who is getting married. I guess it it time. The wedding is an outdoor wedding. I pray that it will be nice out, but it is New York we're talking about. It will be interesting. 

  Friends and family told us to bring jackets. :( For the record it has been in the upper 80s and low 90s here. Jackets are not high on my list. So put a check mark next to the jackets and sweatshirts. I had to shop for an adequate outfit to wear to the wedding. I'm not a big shopper, but it was actually fun. Put a check next to the wedding wear. Then I packed the essentials- shorts, tee's, sweats, jeans. Check, check, check. Check off the personals and the shoes. 

  Also check off the Apples to Apples game, P!nk CD's, and the ever important Nook. A check is marked next to the computer and the notebook I sometimes write the current novel in. 

The happy couple!
  I think I'm almost set. Only a few more hours we will be on the road. This time the road leads us to a happy couple who will take their next big step in life.

  *As I write this there are very unfortunate people that are trying to pack their lives into anything they can and get out of their homes because of the wildfires in Colorado. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you during this horrific time. 

  When was the last time you had to pack? Did you have a check list? How many items did you forget? Do you have any tips that make packing easier?  


Thursday, June 6, 2013

If I Could Talk To The Animals

  Everyone has a talent of some sort. Really. I believe it. It may be minor, like, oh, I don’t know, walking and chewing gum at the same time. I say that’s minor yet I’m not sure I can do it. Hmm. Now I’m getting off track. *steers herself back* There, that’s better. What am I rambling about today? My talent.

  I talk to the animals. J

  Now hear me out before you think I've totally gone off the deep end.

  I have two dogs who are my children. I’m totally in tune with them, and apparently I didn’t realize how much until recently. One of the dogs is a rescue. The other night she came in the living room and sat off to the side of me. After a few seconds I noticed she was staring at me. I looked to her and said, “What’s the matter girl, do you need some water?”

  The Charmed One happened to be in the kitchen and heard me. The next thing I heard was, “Are you for real? There is no water in their dish.” Within a couple seconds Charmed started singing, “If I could talk to the animals…”

 For the record the other dog, who is completely spoiled, gives the water bowl one swat when it’s empty. It’s almost as if she is saying, “Damn people, is it too much to ask to have a bit of water in the bowl?”

Me talking a cardinal back to life after it hit a window.
  Recently I did a landscape design. It turned into a big project so I sub-contracted a landscaper I know. I was setting the plants out where I wanted them planted and a male cardinal was singing away. Within a couple seconds I found myself answering his call. I swear they say, “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheese!” The cardinal answered me back every time! Here I am hollering about cheeseburgers while the landscapers stop what they’re doing and look at me. One of them started calling me Dr. Dolittle. Little do they know I talk with the birds all the time.

  One last quick one. The really spoiled dog of mine does not like the new furniture we got. It seems that it is a little taller than the last couch we had. Now that she is a little older she has lost some of her gusto. When she wants to get up she’ll stand there and stare. Both seats on the end are recliners. I’ll tell the Charmed One she wants the drawbridge up, so Charmed raises the foot rest of the recliner part way and up goes the spoiled one! When she wants down, if Charmed isn’t paying attention, I’ll say, “Drawbridge down, peas!” The dog then slides down the bottom half of the recliner and gets down.

  So now that you know a little more about my crazy life I’m sure you’ll think your life is normal, huh? At one time my bf told me we are the only normal ones! Heh.

  What is your special talent? Are you in tune with your pets? Do you try and figure out what birds are saying? Do you answer them? J

W.P.I. - The landscape I designed was pet friendly. My client has five dogs that roam freely in the back yard. All plants are non-toxic and free of thorns. They are more durable to animal traffic as well. Do you have any plants in your yard that could harm your pets?


Monday, June 3, 2013

Critique This! Please?

The Sister Pact
            Sydney sat in her favorite spot on the porch of the weathered beach house, the salty air sticking to her skin, the oncoming storm blowing in. She closed her eyes when she heard the creaky door open. All the preparation in the world couldn’t prepare her for this. She lifted her teary eyes to meet those of the woman standing in front of her, the nurse.

            “Sydney, you two had a deal. When the time came you were to leave. Your sister wanted it this way.” Sympathy filled her.  
            Tears left Sydney’s eyes. She gave the nurse a nod then ran next door to her house. Off went her shorts and tank top. On came the jeans and tee. She grabbed her black studded boots that went half way up her calf, and her leather jacket. Syd searched for calm.
            Jake looked through the window of his bar and watched waves crash against the sand. It was a family owned bar, handed down through the generations. The clientele ranged from bikers to businessmen, rich to poor. Such a mix could be dangerous, but this place just seemed to make everyone equal.
            Something caught his eye. He fought a smile when he saw a motorcycle start the twisting descent down the hill. The driver eased the bike through the curves, even if the speed was a little too fast. Jake watched the motorcycle hit flatland and pick up speed. His smile faltered when it seemed the bike was going too fast to turn in. At the last minute the driver leaned into the turn, pulled in the parking lot, and parked the bike. As soon as the helmet came off waves of long brown hair fell past the woman’s shoulders. Jake found himself smiling. He couldn’t help it; this woman always did that to him.
            She stepped into the bar and ran her fingers through her hair, trying to take away the always fashionable helmet head. His smile faded when she looked to him. Her posture was tense, her familiar easy smile nowhere to be found. As soon as she sat down he went to her. “What’s wrong?”
            “Hey to you too.” She let out a breath and wiped her eyes.
            “Sydney, talk to me. What is it?” Suddenly it all kicked in. Her twin, Savannah.
            Sydney inhaled a ragged breath. “Can I get a drink here, barkeep? I’ll have a shot.”
            Jake put the cloth down on the bar and grabbed her hand. “Is is Savannah?”
            Sydney nodded and closed her eyes. She was trying desperately not to lose it. “Please, Jake?”
            Jake held her hand and stared into her bright blue eyes. “I’m sorry, but I promised Savannah that when the time came I wouldn’t let you do this. She knew you would want to drink. And from what I just saw watching you on the bike I’m definitely not serving you. You’re reckless enough.”
            Sydney felt lost. Now, of all times, she needed to be with her twin. This stupid agreement they made was supposed to make it easier on Sydney. Now Syd only wanted to be next to her sister in her biggest time of need. They were twins. When one hurt so did the other. She bowed her head and started to cry again.
            Jake came around the bar and wrapped his arms around her, letting her cry. After just a minute she stood abruptly and turned to leave. “Syd, wait. Where are you going?”
            “I can’t stay here. I have to go.” Before he could say another word she walked out and drove off. Sydney drove the motorcycle fast and hard. She needed to feel the wind against her face, the fresh air in her lungs. She just needed to feel. Finally she made it to her favorite spot high above the ocean and parked. As she eased off the bike she felt lighter. Somehow the weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

            Jake found her at the cliff above their house. She sat near the edge, her knees pulled up to her chest. He sat down behind her and pulled her into him. “I’m here for you, now and forever.”
            “You don’t know how much I love that. Why did we make this agreement? I can’t handle it.”
            “You made this agreement because she knew when the time came you would spaz.” He hugged her tighter.
            “When do I ever spaz, Jake?” Tears left her eyes as she looked out to the tranquil ocean.
            “Do you remember when you saw a spider in the house last year? You called every bug man within a fifty mile radius until one could get out there right that minute. It was one spider. That was a little spazzy.” A slow smile came to him.
            “The thing was bigger than my fist!” Sydney turned to him. “I love you.”
            “I love you too. I just got the call.” His words hung in the air while she tried to absorb them.
            “And? It’s over?”
            “Yes. She had a girl.” His smile widened. “And a boy. They are both healthy.”
            “She had twins?” Sydney’s mouth dropped open. Jake pulled her to her feet. They laughed and cried in each other’s arms until she finally pulled away. She gazed into his bright eyes and smiled.
            “Now, when do we start our family?” He gently rubbed her cheek.
            “How about now?” Sydney stood on her tip toes and placed a long, sultry kiss on his lips as the rain started to fall.

  That is the last short short story I entered for competition. The competition peeps wanted a surprise ending. I gave it my best shot, and once again lost. This was a twenty four hour contest so editing is limited to what I can do myself. Obviously I added pictures to this blog just for show! Feel free to critique. Any form of objectivity would help. 
  Do I just suck and need to hang it up? Do you have any advice for writing a short short story? Did it at least make you smile?