Follow by Email

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Birth of a Book



Hi!
The Gypsy Thief is now alive and available for purchase. And I must say, the book business is not for the faint of  heart. I turned more gray this year than ever in past years. Thank goodness for Preference by L'Oreal (dark ash brown, thank you very much).
I find myself struggling to manage all of the details that go with the territory of a writer's life:
1. Publicizing a new book so the world will learn of its existence.
2. Hoping you can count on your friends and family to suppport you by buying your book and recommending it to their friends.
3. Knowing your book has two sequels, both completed, awaiting their turn for publication and not knowing for sure exactly when that will be.
4. Hearing voices in  your head of other novels wanting you to write them.
5. Trying not to stress and keep the faith that your baby will sell well enough so you catch the attention of an agent or a publisher so someone can represent you and your career, thereby taking off some of the pressure of all the promotion you have to do on your own.
6. Already working on chapter nine of your new series, the first of which is called Crescent Summer and wishing you could spend all your time in this new world you're creating and not have to worry about that stuff mentioned above in numbers 1-5.
Sometimes it feels like I'm walking uphill against the wind wearing cement shoes. It's a slow process and moves at a snail's pace but I have to keep plugging along and hoping The Gypsy Thief will be discovered by readers.
Please send some encouraging my words my way--I could use them!
 
Thanks!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hey, Scrooge!


Forgive me Blogger.com for I have sinned. It has been two months since my last blog post. This is ridiculous. Why can't I remember to blog more often? I need to do some hail marys and pay penance, I guess. In any case, I'm baaaaaack!
I'm entering into Scrooge phase. I am not a fan of the holidays. I like Thanksgiving--and New Year's Eve and Day are OK but I am not a fan of Christmas. It is too commercialized and I am not religious so that aspect doesn't appeal to me either. I hate the whole process of decorating a friggin' tree and shopping and wrapping presents. It just isn't my thing. But when you have kids (and now grandkids) you have to suck it up and deal. So I am trying. There is one cool thing about December though: my birthday! I'm a 12-12-12 gal! Yeehaw!!!! And, of course, this December is really special because according to the Mayans (or one of those peoples), the world is going to end on 12-21-12! YEEHAW! Seriously????? Sometimes I wake up wondering if the flippin' world didn't already end and someone just forgot to tell me.
My book should be out by my birthday. The Gypsy Thief is closer than ever to coming into the world. I just hope it happens before the 21st or I'm screwed. I will have spent six months in my bedroom writing Gypsy and its two sequels for nothing. I guess that isn't so bad though. Writing is a helluva a great way to pass the time.
I've seen Breaking Dawn Part Two twice now and am about to see it again this week for the third time. I never get enough of that stuff. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I have a girl crush on Stephenie Meyer. So sue me. Sorry. I'm feeling a little feisty. It's the whole holiday thing that's making me a little nutty (cue sarcastic comments from various family members here).
I have successfully rambled about nothing for five minutes now. But before I go, I have a favor to ask. I will speak up so the people in the back of the room can hear me:
IF ANYONE IS ACTUALLY READING THIS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY LEAVING A MESSAGE HERE OR ON FACEBOOK.
Thanks. If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to see it fall, did it make a sound?
OF COURSE. JUST BECAUSE NO ONE IS LISTENING IT DOESN'T MEAN I AM NOT SPEAKING.
OK. I'm fine now. May the force be with me. And remember: You are not allowed to drop out of a game that you're not actually playing yet...so persevere. Don't give up. Don't quit before you've even set foot on the field. As my mother used to say: "If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking till you do suck a seed."
Laters, baby...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Go for it!

 
 
I am so anxious for The Gypsy Thief to be born--to come into the world. I started writing it in January of this year and six months later I had three books. I never intended to write a trilogy--it just happened that way. I'm ready to introduce this romantic story of a magical necklace, a prince, a gypsy and the girl they both love to readers. And that thought is compelling me to talk about something important in this post.
I used to be an entertainment snob. I wouldn't watch a movie or read a book if it took place before 1960 (the year of my birth) because I assumed it would be BORING. I have never cared for history or the past--too haunting most of the time. I also turned my nose up at science fiction, paranormal, explicit material, young adult (after I grew up) and basically, anything that wasn't contemporary romance or travel narrative.
My friend Dana encouraged me to check out Jane Austen books and movies and so I did. I trusted her judgment. And I loved it all (OK, maybe not Persuasion, but I tried!).
My friend Jessica turned me on to Twilight (vampires and werewolves?? You're kidding, right?) and young adult fiction. Now I am a werewolf girl and diehard Twilight fan (I went to Forks on vacation this summer...need I say more?). She talked me into reading The Hunger Games trilogy and the Fallen series and I in turn talked her into reading the Hush Hush series (which I never would have given a thought to if I didn't know Jessica). I talked her into reading my favorite book of the year so far, My Life Next Door--and it's a young adult novel. Jessica loved it, too. I read that book a couple of months ago and the characters are still with me. I'm sure they're still with Jessica, too.
I said all of the above to say this: Don't be a book snob! Read everything! And if the world is talking and buzzing about Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight and The Hunger Games and so much more, READ IT. Don't say..."Oh, no thanks, it's not my thing." You're making your world a very narrow and closed off space in which to dwell. Be engaged in what the world is reading and listening to and watching. Read erotica! Read non-fiction. Listen to a little country music and some alternative. If I hadn't given alternative music a chance I never would have discovered my favorite band in the world: Muse. See a movie you wouldn't normally see. You might be surprised. I went to see a random movie last week called The Cold Light of Day and boy, am I glad I did. I loved it!
So...maybe you're not a young adult anymore (technically, for legal purposes, I'm not) but that doesn't mean you can't read young adult novels. Go for it! Don't narrow your world. Don't be a snob. Jump on the bandwagon. Read Fifty Shades of Grey. Fifty million people can't be wrong! read The Hunger Games. Read Gone Girl. Read Twilight. And, please, please, please...when it comes into the world in the next couple of weeks, read The Gypsy Thief. You'll thank me later.
Adios for now!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Melancholia


I keep saying I'm going to blog more often but then I forget. That's not good. But here I am again. I'm in a bit of a melancholy mood today. Have you ever had the feeling that you're not in control of your circumstances? That your freedom is constrained by outside forces? And what's more, everyone in the world knows something that you don't...like, they know the secret to happiness and you want--more than anything--to be in on it, too? That's where I'm at today. Got a good old case of the blues. I'm free but I'm not. I've got that restless feeling--that classic Sagittarius feeling--of needing and wanting to spread my proverbial wings and move westward. My spirit is restless.
I spent some time studying a map today. I have always loved maps--my whole life I have been fascinated by them. And today I carefully studied my AAA atlas of California (and a peek into Orgeon). I want to live on the west coast and something about northern California is calling to me. I want to live near the ocean in a small town. I'd like a fresh start. I considered Rhode Island--I do love that state--but the only drawback is winter. I want to avoid winter as much as possible. Everybody who knows me knows I don't like to be cold. Cold hurts. I love heat and warmth and the sun. And I love the ocean. My oldest son lives in San Francisco and he loves it there. It would be cool to be closer to him. Plus, I think he misses his mom a little though he might not admit it--haha.
I think once The Gypsy Thief is born and enters the world, I'll feel better. This holding pattern I'm in is making me crazy. I'm supposed to see my novel for the first time next week in the form of an actual book which I can hold in my hands. I will probably fall apart a little when I see it the first time--you know the feeling--when you hold your baby that first time. You can't believe he'/she's finally here. I'm so anxious to get Gypsy out into the world. I'm hoping the universe will help make it a success so I can make my living as a writer. I must keep the faith.
I've been listening to Taylor Swift's Speak Now album a lot lately. I know she has a new album coming out this fall but I don't see how it can top Speak Now. It is a truly amazing album. Every song is a winner but one in particular really cuts me to the bone. It's called "Long Live" and it really resonates with me as if she knew my history and my future and wrote a song about it. Thanks, Taylor, for an amazing song. Why was it never released as a single? It is truly Grammy-worthy.
One more thing...you know how we all have that 'one that got away?' Well, mine got away 33 years ago and I still miss him to this day. Sadly he passed away 10 years ago. I hope wherever he is, he checks on me from time to time like I checked on him (without his knowing) at least once a year for 23 years. I dreamt about him--again--last night. It was bittersweet. So many wrong turns and mistakes and yet, for the three years we had together, so much good to draw upon. It may sound pathetic, but at the age of 51 (and 33 years in), I guess it's my destiny to never get over him. I've never loved another since.
OK. I should end on a high note and try to get out of this maudlin state I'm in. I'm going to get myself a glass of lemonade and find a good book to read. That always makes me happy. So, until next time, folks!
Laters, baby...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Books, Books, Books!!!


As I await the finalized cover of my book, The Gypsy Thief, I've been reading for pleasure. I started writing a new novel (three chapters done so far) but I stopped briefly to re-edit Gypsy as it goes into the printing process next week. All of the interior design elements will be inserted (the scene change logo and the decorative logo at the start of each chapter as well as the two hand-written love letters that appear near the end). So I've been reading some amazing books and I want to share them with you all now.
I just read the Fallen series by Lauran Kate. So good and I recommend them highly.
I'm currently reading the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick and book one is blowing me away-- I am OBSESSED.
I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased two books by Megan Hart: Deeper and Tempted. I think they are Fifty Shades-esque judging by the back cover text - whoa, baby!!!
And I want to remind everyone to read On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. AMAZING!
Also, if you've never read The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, you simply must. Every human on earth should be required to read it by law.
OK. I shall dash and get back to reading Hush, Hush. SO GOOD.
Oh, and I'm waiting anxiously for the mail to come--I ordered 28 books from Amazon (OK - 19 of them aren't for me--they're being sent to my sister in Tennecrazysee). Can't wait to see if any come today!!! By the way, I used my Amazon points and my total for 28 books was only $19.06! YES!!!!
Happy reading!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pacific NW


So, it took using a different computer to realize there's nothing wrong with my blog. It's my computer that's all jacked up--imagine that. I'm hoping that I will be able to read your comments finally!
Tom and I had a great week in the Pacific NW. Our first day was spent checking out downtown Seattle, which looks totally Star Wars-ish when approaching it from the south. I got a parking ticket my first day ($40) because I couldn't figure out the parking machine. I thought I had paid for two hours and five minutes but it turned out to be two minutes and five seconds. Dang!
Day two we drove up to the Olympic Peninsula. Talk about breath-taking vistas! I've never seen such American beauty. Crescent Lake is unreal--so beautiful! We arrived in Forks, home of Bella and the vampires and spent two nights there. We took the Twilight tour and saw where all the characters live. Early one morning I went to the high school and walked the track. We saw an elk! We went to the sporting goods store where Bella works and the restaurant she frequents with her dad. We also went to La Push where Jacob lives. LOVED IT. The beaches are stunning. We saw pelicans!
We took the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island and visited the Naval Air Station there. Tom loved that. We also visited the naval base at Bremerton and visited the picturesque town of Port Orchard, home of the prolific author Debbie Macomber. I could live in that town. Tom thought it would be the perfect place for someone in the Witness Protection Program to live.
We returned to the Seattle area and spent another day sightseeing and went up in the Space Needle. Saw where Christian Grey calls home--Fifty Shades, baby! We spent a day checking out the town where Twin Peaks was set, even having cherry pie and a damned fine cup of coffee in the Twin Peaks Diner (and I don't even like cherry pie!). We then headed to the town where Northern Exposure was set--so awesome. It was perfect until I got another ticket: for speeding this time at the exorbitant cost of $411.
Our last day we drove up Mount Rainier. It took forever to get there but it was worth the drive. Tom got out and made snowballs which was so weird considering it was in the 70s, temp-wise. The drive coming down the mountain was FRIGHTENING and I had a mini melt-down which Tom had to calm. But we survived and all in all, had a fantastic time!
So, I shall close here...watch this space for the unveiling of my book cover for The Gypsy Thief!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Forks, Here I Come!


OK...so Tom and I are off to Forks, Washington, bright and early tomorrow morning. I've been embarrassing the poor child all over town telling people we're going to Twilight country to hunt for vampires and werewolves. He prefers that I say we're going to Seattle (which we are). It sounds more fun to say it my way! I even dyed my hair jet black and am wearing pale make-up so I can blend in with the vampires!!!!I look total goth but no worries, folks...it's just a stage I'm going through like my 'Il Divo' stage a few years ago and my 'I Want to be an Olympic Ice Skater' stage a few years before that and my 'I Want to be a Flight Attendant' stage and my 'I Want to be a Nurse' stage (I was eight at the time). Other stages of my life have included--but are not limited to:
I Want to be a Russian Linguist (too hard)
I Want to Move to Maine (still seems like a nice concept)
I Want to be a Spanish Teacher (I still want this one)
I Want to be an English as Foreign Language Teacher (I still want this one, too)
I Want to be a Stock Car Racer (I was 12 at the time - too scary anyway)
I Want to be a Celebrated Chef (That's so last year)
I Want to be a Broadway Star ( Can't sing opera but, boy, if I could...sigh...)
I Want to be the One Who Solves the Jimmy Hoffa Case (It's only a matter of time)
I Want to be George Clooney's Second Ex-Wife (Cuz Hollywood marriages just don't last)
I Want to be the One Who Cures Tom Cruise of His Mental Illness So I Can Have My Tom Back (Because, deep in my heart, I still care...he just needs some of Brooke Shields' left-over meds)

I'm sure there are other things I've wanted to be over the years (I wanted to be a police officer for five minutes after I got out of the Marines but then I remembered why I was happy to be a civilian again and I got over that fast) but for now, all I want is to be a writer...so that's what I shall do...

Laters, baby!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Gypsy Thief: Coming in Sept. 2012


It's been more than a month since I rambled! But I have something to ramble about today!
The first volume of my young adult trilogy will be published in September. The trilogy has been named "The Talisman Trilogy" and the first book is called "The Gypsy Thief." Here is a short teaser:

The day high school senior Laura Calder picks up a golden disk from the ground she unwittingly begins a fateful journey that catapults her into a web of deceit and revenge pitting two European royal families against one another. Though she falls for a handsome British prince, it is her love for a mysterious Portuguese gypsy that threatens all she holds dear—and with an evil duke hell-bent on carrying out a vendetta set in motion more than 300 years ago, Laura must make a heart-breaking sacrifice to save the people she loves even as she tries to decipher the golden disk’s mysterious messages.
I'm probably going to start my own website and I guess I will have to learn how to use my Twitter account now! Ha! When the time comes I will let you all know how to purchase your copy of "The Gypsy Thief." It will be available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Booksamillion.com and other online retailers. It will be both electronic (on your Kindle or Nook) or you can purchase an actual paperback copy. It's pretty long so I hope you'll feel like you're getting your money's worth (ha!). I think it will be more than 400 pages long when it's all said and done.
The other two volumes are complete but they have not been copy edited yet. They will be released six months apart. I hope I can get all of my friends and family and acquaintances, former co-workers, enemies, lovers and haters, pets, police officers, kings, queens and former classmates to purchase a book when it is released in September. I will be relying on word-of-mouth to get my baby noticed. I have big plans for "The Gypsy Thief." I want to see it on the big screen starring Austin Butler (Andrew), Diego Boneta (Miguel), AnnaSophia Robb (Laura), Christopher Egan (Tristan) and the delightfully delicious Colin Firth (The Duke of Easton). So help a sister out, please! Details to come!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ramblin' Woman




I haven't blogged in a while because, quite frankly, I didn't have anything on my mind to talk about. To tell you the truth, I don't have anything to talk about now, so this is what happens when Kellie doesn't have anything to talk about but she decides to ramble anyway...well, I don't think anyone actually decides to ramble because then it wouldn't, technically, be considered rambling--it would be words formed from actual thought and since no actual thought is going into this post, then I am, in fact, rambling. When I call someone on the phone and I get their voicemail/answering machine, I ramble. Not on purpose, mind you. But there's something about the phone being answered by a disembodied voice that completely unnerves me. My dear friend Dana can attest to this, because, over the years, I have left some seriously screwed up messages on her machine. My friend Melissa can probably attest to this, too, cuz I've left her some as well (and, if I'm being honest, I've called myself and left some long-arse messages that were meant to be helpful, i.e., sending myself a reminder to do something or pick something up from the store, etc., and later when I've played back the message for myself, my eyes, not to mention, my ears, have glazed over from the absurdity of my own message to myself). And now I've taken to texting messages to myself, especially in the middle of the night, and this is only because I'm sometimes too lazy to get up, turn on the light and write down whatever pearl of wisdom I want to remember in the morning. But I have this new iPhone and I often hit the wrong keys so I end up with some weird-ass messages in the morning. It used to be even worse before I figured out how to turn off the auto-correct function. I once sent a message to myself during the night to remember Tom's ornithologist appointment in the morning. Google that one, folks. One of my favorites was my middle of the night grocery list reminder which included, among other things: breast milk, Egypt, Iceland and cheetahs...also known as bread, milk, eggs, ice-cream and cheese. Which reminds me, I need jelly, not to be confused with JetBlue airlines which is what comes up when I start typing jelly. No more auto-correct for me. And I should stop texting messages to myself in the middle of the night and just get up, turn on the light and write down my message the old-fashioned way--with paper and pen. Of course, this poses a whole new problem and that is--I absolutely cannot read my own hand-writing. Dana: remember when your ex tried to read one of my letters I'd sent you from Spain and he thought it was in Spanish, but it was just my illegible hand-writing? That was awesome, considering you don't speak or read Spanish so why would I write you a letter in Spanish? Ah, fond memories. On that note, I will stop rambling and close here. Can you imagine how different this post would have been if I'd actually had something to say? Me neither.
Laters, baby.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Greetings


Had a good weekend...drove my car in the parade with a WWII fighter pilot as my passenger and his lady in the backseat. It's always nice to participate in the parade even though I always fear accidentally stepping on the gas instead of the brake and mowing down the flag guard who leads the parade. But no casualties! Later, when the parade ended, we gave a ride to another veteran back to his car. A cool dude--probably in his 70s...getting close to 80--who mentioned he learned to fly after he left the military. And in a priceless moment, he turned to Thomas and said, "If your parents give permission, I'll take you up in my plane." The look on Tom's face was awesome--pure fear. Not that he's afraid of flying, but the thought of going up alone with an elderly veteran was enough to give him a heart attack. Whe he gets home today from school, I'm going to tell him I gave permission and he and Ray will be heading up on their flight this weekend. He will freak...but then again...he kinda knows me...I spazzed when his dad told me he was taking jet skiing. But it's nice to play head games with your kids from time to time.
After the parade we had a cook-out with new friends. what a great time...telling stories, eating too much and sweating in the heat. I personally love the heat but no one else likes it. I always say, hot might be uncomfortable, but it doesn't hurt. Cold just plain hurts! So looking forward to summer.
I had a lovely vacation planned but due to a problem with the state of Ohio (godforsaken state) I cancelled my plans in case I have to pay a big sum to Ohio. So, I will take a couple of weekend trips this summer with my traveling buddy, Thomas, who wants to get his temporary license--oh, dear lord. And now, I shall dash and continue on with The Shadow King, which is underway. I do love living in fantasyland--I highly recommend it to all!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stuff I Hate


Gotta give equal time to the hate club. Here are some things I cannot abide:
Personalized license plates - they're pretentious and annoying (usually someone's bragging about something or saying something religious--those are the ones who'll be the first to flip you the bird if they think you cut them off) - their only redeeming quality is they're easy to memorize if you need to call the police on 'em.

When someone one ups you. If you did it once, they did it twice; if you got six stitches, they got sixteen; if you went on a Caribbean cruise, they went on a Mediterranean cruise--twice; if you saved a lot of money at the grocery store, they got their stuff free; if your car flipped over once, theirs flipped off a mountain; if your labor lasted 12 hours, theirs last 12 days. If you went to the state fair, they went to Disney World. OK, so  you get the point. And all of those things I just typed...all the same person.

When people talk loudly to their kids in public places and their conversation goes something like this: "No, Henry! We do not hit our little sister. We tell Mommy about the problem and Mommy handles it. Henry! Use your inside voice--remember? That's the quiet voice. Henry! You must not bite Olivia. Remember we talked about biting and biting is for eating our food. No, Henry, you may not have M&Ms. Remember we talked about how sugar makes you hyper and you can't get to sleep for naptime, but if you would like some flax seed, Mommy will buy you some. No, Henry, you may not have any more Matchbox cars until you stop sucking your thumb, wetting the bed at night and biting Olivia. Yes, Henry, when the new baby is born I will let you hold him. But remember you cannot help him hold his breath when he gets hiccups like you did for Olivia and almost killed her. Yes, Henry, Daddy will play with you when he gets tonight from his very important job. Remember how we talked about how Daddy is a superhero and he fights bad guys. Yes, Henry, you can have the damned candy and if you're bratty sister doesn't stop crying, I'll bite her, and if you pee the damned bed tonight you're going to sleep in it because Tide is damned expensive. And if you don't stop your sucking your damned thumb, you'll have beaver teeth and your thumb will fall off! And, no, Daddy doesn't have time to play with you because he's screwing the nanny and his secretary (who happens to be the same person, but that's a different rant) and no, you can't hold your new baby brother when he's born because I am going to SEND HIM BACK! And Mommy is allowed to drink before bedtime because she doesn't pee the bed and no, you cannot taste Mommy's drink because Mommy drinks big girl drinks. I KNOW IT LOOKS LIKE WATER BUT IT"S NOT! GOOD-NIGHT, Henry."

OK, so I probably hate a lot more stuff, but I think I'll stop here. I lost control for a moment but once I eat my flax seed, I'll be fine. But first, I have to Google flax seed. I don't think I know what it is.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stuff I Love


I love it when people aren't afraid to show their passion or excitement for something. My friend JDQ is never afraid to jump for joy when one of her favorite authors has a book coming out or when a certain member of the royal family makes news (as long as it's for something good). These are just two of the many things that will make her jump for joy. I love her enthusiasm!
I love to say certain words and to hear other people say them like tango, fandango, mango, merengue (the dance--not to be confused with meringue, that weird egg white stuff), passion, passionate and a word I may have made up: passionista.I am a passionista. Oooh, the more I say that word, the more I love it! I also like zodiac, Canada, banana, luxury, luxurious, wow, koala, kitten. I know there are more but I can't remember them at the moment. I'll know them when I hear them. Oh, I love the names Miguel and Javier.
I love the sound and the feel of a purring kitten. How can you not love a kitten?
I love popcorn. I could eat it every day--Orville Redenbacher's tender white with melted butter and salt. Ooh, yeah baby!
I love just about anythng associated with the ocean: seashells, seahorses, sailboats, sand, starfish, light houses, sharks, dolphins, whales, seagulls, waves, pirates (but only the Jack Sparrow kind).
I love everything associated with the sky: airplanes, the moon, the stars, planets, aliens.
I love the taste of coffee in things like cake, cookies, frosting, iced beverages. I love the smell of coffee, too.
I love peanut butter and Nutella on toast and I have it every morning for breakfast.
I love iced tea - just plain tea--no sugar, no lemon, no other flavoring--just plain, strong, dark iced tea.
I love Spain--the food, music, landscape, language, art, architecture, people--everything.
I love Il Divo - they're just plain talented and HOT!
I love Dancing with the Stars. Guess I will have to go to Zumba on Monday nights now until it starts up again in the fall.
I love chocolate.
I love books.
I love romance (kissing is a great way to spend some time, huh?) Kiss is a funny word.
I LOVE MUSE. They are the greatest band in my musical universe--hands down--the best!
I love Katherine Jenkins.
I love lemons and palm trees.
I love hot weather.
I love to play Scrabble.
I have an obsessive love for maps.
I love perfume and make-up.
I love purses.
I love cheese.
I love European accents.
I love my Iphone4.
I love marching bands.
I love fireworks.
I love Jacob Black. If he were 30 years older and real, I'd marry him.
I love going to movies. Someone recently told me he preferred going to movies alone. He lied.
This is just the tip of my iceberg. I know there's more. I didn't mention my kids and grandson because that goes without saying.
Next time...things I hate!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Juices are Flowing

                                                                            
I'm happy to report, and hopefully not jinxing myself in the process, that my creative juices are flowing. I have already written the first three chapters of "The Shadow King" and it feels awesome. There's something about living in fantasyland that appeals to me. But three books in, I can honestly say that it doesn't really feel like a fantasy anymore. Have you ever had a chat with a friend that involved celebrity gossip and acknowledged that you were talking about the celebrities as if you knew them personally? I do it all the time. My main characters, Miguel, Laura and Andrew? I now think of them in real terms. I wonder if Stephenie Meyer felt that way about Edward, Bella and Jacob? And how about Suzanne Collins with Gale, Katniss and Peeta? (J.K Rowling and Harry Potter and his pals, too--I can't remember their names....Hermione? and that red-headed boy...Ron?). Anyway, I've invested five months with these characters and now they are like real people to me. And right when I think I know them inside and out, they do something unexpected and take the story to places I hadn't planned to go. But I love where they take me. Sometimes they put me in a bind and I wonder how I'll write my way out of it, but I let them dictate the journey and I just drive the bus where they tell me to go. I'd like to think that since I'm the one in the driver's seat then I must have all the control. But that is definitely not the case. Three books in, my gypsy, my prince and my girl are in charge. I just do what I'm told. So...I can't wait till they are out in the world...I can't wait for you to meet them. And in case you all think I've lost my marbles and have gone off the rails...well, maybe I have...but in a good way. And now, I must get back to "The Shadow King." He's waiting for me...Laters, baby!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Monday


Happy Monday...or is it? The weather is gorgeous and my roses are in bloom already (sounds like a song a la Seal). I have not had much sleep this weekend thanks in part to the VERY loud party hosted by the neighbors that started at 11 p.m. Saturday and went all night to sometime after 5 a.m. Sunday. Not that I sleep much anyway...but still...I like having the option.
Today I am going to begin writing book three of my trilogy. It's called "The Shadow King" and this is the one where I have to give everbody their happy ending (except for the bad guy. I've never killed anyone in a book before but this could be a first for me! We shall see. It depends on how much he pisses me off this time around). Book one takes place is Rhode Island, book two in England and this one will take place in Portual. Road trip anyone?
So I shall begin..I will go into my happy (scary) place and hope all goes well. I will continue to blog as time passes and I hope to have this baby written in two months or so.
One more thing: tonight is the final dancing on DWTS so go Katherine and Mark-I vote for them every week!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Seasons' Greetings!

                                                                         
Hi! I missed a couple of days of blogging because I was deeply ensconced in the world of "The Gypsy Thief." I finally got the edited copy from David (the mystery editor man who lives overseas) and I had to implement all of his suggested changes. It took many hours of reading, accepting or rejecting his suggestions and I was quite wiped out (mentally) when I finished. Then, after all the changes had been implemented, I had to kick back and reread the entire book and try to pretend that I was not the author and that I was seeing it for the first time. Not easy to do although I have to admit, my heart raced and my stomach churned a few times when I read the action scenes. I took that as a good sign. As soon as I finished my final read-through, I sent my baby off to the Big People. The BP's are a little daunting--they scare me. Now I have to wait and wait and wait...
On another note, today is a gorgeous day. It actually feels like summer is coming. Summer is my favorite season--it always seems full of possibilities unlike winter which seems like the END! Have you ever noticed that we can use the words summer and winter as verbs (The Kennedys summered in Massachusetts and wintered in Florida) but you can't do the same with fall and spring? You can fall down and spring back up (both are action verbs) but no one springs in Ohio or falls in Vermont. I mean, maybe they do, but they wouldn't say it that way. Just a weird, random thought I had about the four seasons. I love language and the way words change meaning depending on their context. If I had it to do over again, maybe I'd be a linguist.
Before I forget, I was concerned that no one was reading my blog because I had no comments, but I've sinced learned that people are leaving comments but for some reason, I can't see them. There must be some technical problem. I'm thinking if you type the address of my blog on your address line and hit enter, maybe that will help, rather than clicking on the link that appears on my Facebook entry. Not sure but thanks to all of you who have left comments. I wish I could read them!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Having My Baby

                                                                                
Writing a book is a lot like having a baby. With the baby, you've got the moment of conception (hopefully it was 'fifty shades' of mind-blowing, blinding, deafening ecstasy) and then nine months of waiting for the big pay-off: a healthy, gorgeous baby boy or girl that will bring you a lifetime of joy (we'll forget about the teen years for the purposes of this blog post).
It's very much like that with writing a book. Conception begins in your head when a character's voice begins to speak to you and that voice won't hush until you acknowledge it. So you sit down in front of a blank computer screen and you let that voice speak to you through your fingers onto the screen. And over time the words take shape and a story forms and sub-plots develop and your main character introduces you to other characters and things happen to them (good and bad) and then one day, you've got say...450 pages (and in my case, an unfinished story which means you're gonna have to write a sequel...which, after another 400 pages still isn't finished so now you've got a trilogy --holy cow!!!!!!!! TRIPLETS!).
Now you're looking at your baby and wondering...what now? So you send out 75 queries (birth announcements) and hope someone will want to read your baby. And then the rejections slowly trickle in. Now if this were a real human baby being ignored, the mama bear would be popping some serious caps in some arses, but since this a manuscript we're talking about, we just have to suck up and deal. So your underwear drawer starts to fill up with rejections and you try really hard not to take it personally. You tell yourself, well, Harry Potter got rejected over and over again and so did the Twilight series and Tracey Garvis Graves' stunning "On the Island," so you tell yourself...hang in there...success is coming. And the time passes and you start doubting your parenting/writing skills. Because giving birth to the manuscript wasn't enough--now you have to wait until a publisher or literary agent grabs your hook (the hook is the first paragraph of a query letter. it is followed by the synopsis paragraph and concludes with the author bio paragraph). So you wait and wait and sometimes you have contractions (not to be confused with a contract which is every writer's goal), i.e., a publisher telling you (TWICE) how much they loved your baby (book) but for some reason not committing to it. And so you wait some more.
So while you wait, you think maybe I can make my book better. So you hire a professional editing service to overhaul your baby and then you wait three more weeks for the results (that's where I'm at now). And on the eve of the delivery of your baby you receive a message that someone BIG wants to meet your baby. So now you're fifty shades of freaking...waiting to get your baby back from the spa and hoping he/she looks awesome so you can send it to the BIG people. Yeah, I'm a nervous mother today...stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Bungalow in My Head


                                                                             
I've come to realize--and admit--that I spend most of my time living in my head. I have a rich interior life and while I do believe this is a good thing, it's also a double-edged sword. I need to have a rich exterior life as well, and this is...challenging...to say the least. The life I live in my head is nearly perfect. I'm thin, rich, happy and passionately in love with some hot guy. In reality, I need to lose about 40 pounds, I'm definitely not rich, I have momentary bursts of happiness and...sadly...no guy--hot or otherwise. Before you start using your pinky as a violin bow, know that I'm not complaining. Every time I feel myself beginning to sink into a pity party, I immediately consider all the good things in my life--three great kids (they're a little weird, but who isn't?), a roof over my head, food on the table, good health, etc., so I know I have much to be thankful for. All that being said, sometimes it doesn't exactly make me feel fulfilled on a human level. For example, I am a romantic at heart. I love romantic movies and romantic music and romantic books (heck...I've written six romance novels!!!) but I don't have the real thing. Again, this is certainly not the end of the world--not being in a relationship beats having cancer or a child defending freedom in the Middle East or destitution any day. But still...there is a great deal of irony here--the romance writer who has no real romance in her own life. So that brings me back to living in my head. And it also informs my writing. I think one of the reasons writers write (and maybe I should just speak for myself here) is to fill a void in their own life. If I don't have romance in my life, then heck, I'll make it up. I get to live vicariously through all the fictional characters I create, and while a book doesn't keep one warm at night (unless you covered yourself with all 500 volumes of Encyclopedia Brittanica--and how uncomfortable that would be anyway) it keeps hopes and dreams alive. And as long as you're hopeful and dreaming, you're alive. Beats the alernative ( I like daisies as well as the next gal but I don't want to be pushing them up). So I will continue to live in my head even as I realize it's time to spend more time living in the real world. I will stick a tentative foot out the proverbial door and take a chance on something new. But if my creativity dries up, then I will know that what my friend Jessica saw recently on a bumpersticker is true: "Boys are Better in Books." And I will run back inside the bungalow in my head and keep making stuff up.

Monday, May 14, 2012

25 Things About Me


I've noticed that a log of bloggers post a fact sheet about themselves so people can get to know them better. My daughter is a faithful reader of US magazine and they also feature a "25 Things You Don't Know About Me" column with a different celebrity each week. So I thought I would post one, too (I mean this in the blogger sense, not the celebrity sense, by the way). I'd love to hear about you all out there (if anyone is actually reading this thing). If you've got 25 things or only 10 or one...let's get to know each other. Here's mine:

1. I love tattoos. I have three and I want at least two more (all on the left side of my body).
2. I like to smoke cigars occasionally.
3. I like cupcakes most when they have a surprise in the middle.
4. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
5. I believe in psychics and astrology - I'm a proud Sagittarius.
6. I love palm trees.
7. I hate to be cold, i.e., I hate snow.
8. I love the scent of citrus fruits.
9. I love kittens, especially when they're purring.
10. I knew Tonya Harding and her 'people' were responsible for the attack on Nancy Kerrigan before the media and authorities knew it (they should have asked me!).
11. My IQ is 140 (I know things I don't even know I know).
12. I can pee and cry on demand.
13. I love to drink Hershey's syrup straight out of the can by the light of the refrigerator in a dark kitchen.
14. I love Nutella and peanut butter on toast together.
15. I am a Twilight addict (Team Jacob).
16. I have been to 47 states (AK, HI and LA still await me).
17. I love to smell and touch books and press them to my face.
18. I once ate an entire bottle of Heinz ketchup in one sitting.
19. I love everything about wine except the taste.
20. I hate olives, raisins, cherries and mushrooms.
21. I won't eat anything that carries its house on its back.
22. Jello freaks me out because it moves. Food should not move.
23. In sixth grade I changed my name to Trixie Belden and signed all my school papers with that name (Google it).
24. I climbed the Pyrenees Mountains. Up and over. It wasn't easy.
25. I've written six books so far.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

                                                                               
Happy Mother's Day! It's a beautiful day and I'm happy to be in better spirits than yesterday. My darling daughter is off to Jamaica with her BFF Ali for a week. My oldest child better remember to call me today or he will be on my (s)hit list! And my youngest son is taking me to his favorite restaurant for dinner and I will be paying (hahaha--must be Thomas Day!). It should be a quiet week but hopefully a productive one. I expect to get back the finished, edited version of "The Gypsy Thief." I can't wait to sink my teeth into it. Last night I read random chapters of book two, "The Dark Prince" and I felt myself getting psyched and ready to delve back into that world. Book three, "The Shadow King" will be set in Portugal so I'm excited to be transported to that beautiful country for several weeks (if only in my imagination!). Luckily I've been to the real Portugal several times, including Sintra, where "The Shadow King" takes place, so I can draw on memory as well as a guide book for inspiration.
I shall close here and keep this post a short one...but hoping all you moms out there are happy today and everyday! Laters, baby (bonus points to anyone who knows where the expression "laters, baby,' comes from!).........

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Believe in Karma


Not a happy day in the land of random citrus. If I had read my horoscope first thing this morning, I would have known what a sucky day it was destined to be. I insulted the state of Ohio on Facebook this morning...but I didn't do my insult justice--I was too nice. Ohio sucks and should be deleted from the union. Long story short, I left my job in December (toxic work environment and poor management being the main factors) and I applied for unemployment (not sure if I qualified for it or not). Ohio turned me down. OK, no problem--that was the answer I expected. I didn't complain or try to fight their ruling. Then, a couple of days later, they changed their mind and decided I did qualify and let me collect unemployment for two months. and THEN...they changed their mind AGAIN and decided I didn't qualify for it after all and, oh, they want the money back (about $2200 plus change). So I appealed...and lost...I appealed again...and lost. The toxic place I worked didn't even have the decency to show up for the hearing...and still I lost? How is it possible that the bad guys win? I am the good guy here...the proverbial innocent victim...yet I have to pay. So now I have to see my attorney about this and hope he won't charge more than the state says I have to pay back. It's things like this that blatantly illustrate what is wrong with our government. There is a special place in hell for evil people (the a**hole at my previous place of employment who caused all this in the first place) and I hope karma is quick and I hope I get to hear about it. I do believe in karma...I do believe in karma...I do believe in karma...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Waiting for a Gypsy

                                                                           
Just a short post today. I'm feeling out of sorts as I await the completion of the editing of  "The Gyspsy Thief." I have to assume that it's taking a long time because my editor, David, is doing a thorough job. He supposedly read the whole thing through (127,000 words, which is like 450 pages, give or take) before taking on the task. He said it was interesting and well-written and kept his attention, so that's a good thing. He sent me his version of page one so I could assess his skills. I was totally impressed with his skills so I hired First Editing on the spot, even though I could've had it edited at a lower cost by a freelancer.And now I wait...and wait...and wait. The estimated time of completion is May 15. When I get it back, I will reread it and if everything looks good, I will begin the publication process with Amazon. Once I get that underway I will design the cover (I already know how I want the cover to look--I've seen it in my head a million times since January--I also have seen the movie version in my head a million times, but I'm getting ahead of myself!). I wish I could concentrate on writing and not have to worry about this part of it, but this is the indie version of publishing--like making independent films and CD's--so I have to suck up and deal...I will keep you posted!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Psychics

                                                                                 
OK, so I mentioned earlier that I had been to see Madam Jessica in Georgetown back in December. I want to mention a few other things she told me that were of great significance...
She said that I would be signing a legal document with a lawyer...Naturally, upon hearing those words I was dismayed but Madam Jessica told me not to worry...that it will be a good thing...(I know what I hope it is but I don't want to jinx myself).
She told me she saw three places in my future: New York, Chicago and/or California. I had just been to New York a couple of weeks before seeing her and I plan to go to California next month to visit Jordan (oldest child) but not sure of the Chicago reference...hmmm...
She asked me if I had recently either quit a job or started a new one and I told her I had quit my job the week before. Her response? "Good. Because that job was not the place for you...you are meant to be writing." Needless to say, that blew my mind.
She told me I  have a dark aura in my life that I need to be free of so I can let in the light that awaits...hmmm.
She also told me that I have three children (right on the money, lady) and that two of the children are fine and on the right path in life but one is in a state of flux (I'm guessing that's my youngest because he's still a child, technically, and the other two are adults. Jordan is in film school in CA and Kayla is about to start nursing school. Tom is a freshman in high school and dealing with peer pressure and growing pains).
So, all in all, she made me a believer. And then in February I went on that trip to Rhode Island and I saw another psychic in Newport. I think her name was Madam Maria. I figured I would get a second opinion, so to speak. The first question she asked me was this, "Did you just finish writing something?" Whoa! Yes, I did, as a matter of fact. I had just completed "The Gypsy Thief." That freaked me out. She also asked if something had changed recently about my employment (just like Madam Jessica). I told her I had quit my job and she said, "Good. You should have never been in that job in the first place--it was bad for you and it was crushing your creativity. Do not get a new job or your creativity will go away again." I have listened to her on this and I have not looked for a real job (I'm hoping and wishing I won't need one).
She also told me she saw me moving away somewhere new in the future but that I was not to change residences before two years had passed. Not sure why but I suppose I should listen. Psychics know best!
She saw me sometime in the future teaching...interesting...because I have always wanted to become a certified TEFL instructor (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). The other thing she said of significance was that I would meet my soulmate soon. Riiiiight--she did not, thankfully, mention the letter M or any letter for that matter. Time will tell on that one but I will not  hold my breath.
I'm wondering if I need a third opinion? There's a psychic out in Chagrin Falls and if she's worth her salt, she should see me coming!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Signs


That was the Portuguese flag, by the way, above my previous post...
In Februrary, a week after I finished "The Gypsy Thief," I took a trip to Rhode Island to walk in the footsteps of my characters. I stayed with my dear friend, Dana, in her gorgeous home which used to have an ocean view until her numbnut neighbors across the street built a second story onto their house (I actually used this in "The Gypsy Thief" - the people across the street from Laura's house did the same thing...what is wrong with people?). Anyway, I went to Portsmouth High School (where the characters attend school) and drove alongside the polo fields and the wineries. I drove out to the maze (this is aMAZEing) and into Newport along Ocean Drive. I went to Brenton Point, Easton's Beach and Gooseberry Beach...all the places where my characters went...it was fun and somewhat surreal. The weather was spectacular and the light was freakishly beautiful--there was a crisp clarity to every scene. The ocean was stunning and I really didn't want to go back to reality. I lived in Rhode island when my two older kids were babies so I was familiar with the area...it truly is exquisite on Aquidneck Island.
Dana and I took a day trip up to Portland, Maine, to visit her daughter, Michelle, at college. Michelle is Laura's middle name and her physical appearance is modeled after Dana's Michelle--tall, willowy, long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. On the way back to Newport something strange happened. I will recount the story now and maybe someone out there can shed light on the meaning of this story:
It was late, and dark, and I was driving us back to Newport. As we were leaving Maine and heading into New Hampshire, we made a stop at a service plaza to go to the bathroom and get drinks and a little snack for the drive. Dana checked out first at the cash register while I picked out a drink and cookies (or something sweet to keep me awake for the long drive). Then I approached the check out counter. The boy who had waited on Dana had stepped away to straighten a display and when he saw that I was ready to check out he walked up to the cash register and said hello. He was young (maybe 19 or 20) and had dark hair and dark eyes--quite gorgeous actually. He was foreign (Portuguese I would guess because there is a large Portuguese population in New England). I happened to glance down at his nametag and when I saw his name, I froze. I felt my face change and he saw the change in my demeanor and wrongfully assumed that he had done something wrong. I tried to counter my abrupt change in attitude with nervous chatter (I'm so dang good at this...right, Jessica?) as I fiddled with counting out my money. I was flustered and to this day, I wish I had explained myself to Miguel. I was stunned to be looking into the face of the character I had created a few short weeks ago--same exact face and same name, too. Is it possible to conjure up a fictional character just by pure strength of will? Well, I thought I had done just that. Anyway, I paid for my stuff and stepped away. Dana had been watching and wondered what was up. I explained as we left the store. I looked back over my shoulder as we exited and caught Miguel's eye, and smiled. It was damned freaky and once in the car, I admit, I cried a little. It shook me up...Either I have one hell of an imagination or Fate is just playing tricks on me. So, the question is...coincidence?...or a sign from the universe?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Trilogy

                                                                                 
So after the holidays the new year began--same as any other--except I noticed I was much happier. And my nails and hair started growing like crazy (imagine that -- one quits toxic job, one starts healing from unknown ailments). And I started having dreams about a gypsy. He was a teenager, Portuguese, and his name was Miguel. He was the first character to come to life in my head and he was soon followed by a British prince named Andrew. Eventually I found Laura Calder (the girl they both love--I stole her name from the Canadian gal who hosts "French Food at Home" on The Cooking Channel). I almost set the story in Michigan (because it's close and if I needed to do any 'research' I could road trip up there) but I changed my mind and chose Rhode Island. There's a large Portuguese community there and a lot of foreigners attend school there and have vacation homes there so it made more sense. And I knew eventually it would give me an excuse to visit my dear friend Dana who lives there. I began writing on January 11 and about seven weeks later...at 127,000 words, I just had to stop. But the story wasn't finished so I figured I was getting a two-fer. I took a little break to send out 75 queries to publishing houses and literary agents and while I waited for the rejections to pour in, book two, "The Dark Prince," poured out. And around the third week of April I had to quit because I was closing in on 115,000 words--and still the story wasn't finished. So now I have a trilogy on my hands.
I haven't started book three, "The Shadow King," yet, except for a poor attempt at writing the prologue but I will soon--as soon as "The Gyspy Thief" is on its way to publication. I had a publishing house tell me in two emails they loved it but for some reason they didn't commit to it, so I will have to resort to Plan B which is self-publishing. Self-publishing used to be considered literary prostitution but nowadays it has gained respect and legitimacy. The book "On the Island" is living proof of this. Travey Garvis Graves' beautiful book made the New York Times Bestseller List and the movie rights were just sold to MGM. GO, TRACEY!
I shelled out a large chunk of dough to pay for professional editing services for "The Gypsy Thief" and I am now awaiting its completion from my editor, David. I want my book to have the best possible start in life, so I'm giving it my all in order to bring it into the world in the best shape it can be.
When the times comes, I'm going to be asking for the support of friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors, former co-workers, enemies and strangers to help make "The Gypsy Thief" a success so I don't have to get a real job (because I function so much better in fantasyland than reality). I hope I can count on you all!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Letters

                                        

So I quit my toxic job in December to start a new chapter in my life. And in between the holidays my son and I took an impromptu trip to Washington, D.C., and we had an amazing time. Thomas is by far the best travel partner in the world because he is always game for anything--no matter how crazy. One of the things we did was visit a psychic in Georgetown. Her name was Madam Jessica and she invited us in for a 'chat.' Thomas sat on a couch behind her and I sat at her little table up against a wall. She was not able to see Tom's face, so she was unaware of his facial expressions as he silently reacted to some of the things she said to me. She told me many things that day but the standouts were these:
J: Someone in my life whose name begins with the letter J will have great success and that success will have a positive effect on me (My oldest son's name is Jordan and he's in film school in California--fingers crossed!).
D: Someone in my life whose name begins with the letter D will change my life profoundly (My first name is Danna so I'm hoping I'm going to change my own life).
M: Someone is going to come into my life whose name begins with the letter M and that person will change my life.
OK, so the letter M has been the tricky one. So far this year, four people have come into my life whose names begin with the letter M and each one has taught me a valuable lesson.
One M awakened me from an emotional coma and he gets props for reminding me how amazing romance can be (I'd kinda forgotten and had been living vicariously through books and movies for my romance)...sadly, he--for whatever reason--is unable to make me a priority in his life, so that romance isn't meant to be...but still...it was a proverbial wake-up call and I needed it. Now I know what I want.
Another M reminded me why you cannot go backward in life, romantically speaking. There's a reason why exes are exes and they need to stay that way (for the record I'm not talking about my ex-spouse whose name begins with a K--he's' still the ex and always will be, but still a good friend and co-parent to the offspring). So, anyway, nice try, M from the past, but it ain't ever gonna happen.
Another M was a blind date - nice guy but not the one for me. I think that was the psychic's (Fate's?) way of making sure I'm paying attention and trying to keep me on my toes.
And finally the M I'm hoping is the M that Madam Jessica was talking about, realizing, of course, that this is only May and there could be--potentially--many more M's this year...but the M I'm referring to came to me just after the first of the year. He came to me in a dream and is still with me. His name is Miguel Dos Santos and you don't know him yet, but I'm hoping you'll be meeting him soon. He is a figment of my imagination (and I didn't choose his name for the letter M...I swear! I wasn't even thinking of the psychic when I chose the name Miguel--it just happens to be my favorite Latin name for a boy). He is the gypsy in "The Gypsy Thief," the first book in my Young Adult trilogy. Miguel brought me back to life this year--he brought me out of a dark period and ignited my creativity and no matter what happens with his story, he's my hero.
My friend Jessica saw a bumpersticker recently that said, "Boys are Better in Books." Truer words were never spoken. I wish there was a real life Miguel (only 30 years older, considering Miguel is only 17 when the books begin) but until reality steps up to the plate, boys (and men) will reign supreme in fiction.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Explanation

Random Citrus...? So when I was creating this blog, the prompt kept rejecting every name I chose saying it was already taken. I found that hard to believe and so, because my friend Justin says I lead a random life, I chose random (apparently a lot of people use the word random in their blog address) coupled with the word citrus (because I doubted many people use the word citrus in their blog address) and came up with randomcitrus (I love the smell of citrus fruits: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, yummmm). I refused to believe that someone would have already claimed randomcitrus (if they had, I would have popped some serious caps up some serious arses). so , anywho...randomcitrus is alive until I forget I have a blog (like I've done with my other two blogs). More later....promise!

Welcome to my Blog

So I'm gonna try this blogging thing again. I think it's something like my third attempt. This is a test of the emergency blogging system.