Monday, February 27, 2012

Monkey Wrench

Last Thursday was a wonderful day for me because I got a really good job offer.

I had received the phone call around lunchtime, and to be honest, I was nervous as hell about it, thinking that I might have blown the interview because I thought I was babbling too much during it. In fact, the night after I had my interview, I fretted so much over it, I didn’t get much sleep. So imagine my surprise when I got the job offer and was told they’re excited to have me working for them, and they’re looking forward to it.

That has to be one of the best feelings in the world when somebody tells you that.

Now I have to figure out how I’m going to handle the monkey wrench this job threw into my writing routine.

I think it’ll be okay. I just have to schedule my routine around my working hours now, which will be 8-5 Monday through Friday.

When I was writing, Beyond the Eyes, I had a full-time job. So I know it can be done. I did tell Kevin, though, that our time together is going to be limited for a while because I’m determined to publish my books.

Last week, I had printed out a copy of my book cover with the testimony and blurb on it. Kevin took it to his work and showed his boss. His boss was blown away, and told him she wanted to read it.

It’s funny though, because his boss is worried that once my book gets published, I’m going to make a ton of money, and then Kevin is going to quit on them.

I had to laugh because realistically, that’s not going to happen. I mean, there’s always that possibility, but honestly I don’t expect it to happen.

Not that I don’t believe in my book.

I totally do.

But I’ve read you have to have several books out in order to get a financial boost from them. So hopefully, people will like my first book enough to want to read the second and third one. And then I’ll write a different book (I already have several ideas floating around in my head), and so forth.

But it’s really not about the money.

Yeah, my dream is to make enough off my books to stay home and write more books. But honestly, I just want to share my stories with the world because I think they’re really good stories.

Anyway, I start my new job tomorrow, and I’m excited about it because I think I’ll like it.

The atmosphere, the person I’ll be working for, and the job itself, suits me really well. So hopefully everything will work out.

I do have to figure out a schedule to stick by, not only for my writing, but for everything else as well: grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, eating.

I did tell Kevin since I’m going to be working full-time, we’re going to be taking turns cooking, and he'll have to help me around the house.

He agreed and was cool with that.

So now, my next journey begins.

It’s an exciting time because not only did I get this wonderful job offer, but my book(s) are going to be published this year (hopefully the first one will be sometime this spring).

And yeah, I’m scared to death about putting myself out there where people can easily criticize my work, or me for that matter. However, I know every writer/artist has been criticized, which does comfort me because I know I’m not alone in this. I also know, if you love what you do and have a passion for it, nothing is going to keep you from doing it, even when a monkey wrench gets tossed into your plans.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tragedy Strikes My Town

On Monday, we had our first real snowstorm this winter. It wasn’t too much snow, but enough to have to shovel and make the roads slick with ice.

We’ve been very lucky this winter because usually it starts dumping snow on us in October, and we can’t see the ground for six months, just piles of snow, higher than you can reach. Not to mention, the temperature being 40 below for days at a time, if not weeks.

So, yeah, this winter has rocked. It’s been the best winter of my entire life.

On Monday, my town was hit with a tragedy, and we’re all still reeling from it.

Two teenage girls from our town were in a horrible car accident, due to the icy roads. The 16-year-old, who was driving, died at the scene. The 17-year-old girl is in critical care with a severe head injury.

How I found out about it was Kevin had called me from his work and told me a cop had stopped by and asked for Kevin’s female coworker. It turns out; the 17-year-old girl was her daughter.

Yeah. I know.

Imagine the fear and heartache she must have felt when the cop relayed the news to her. . .

And then you have the 16-year-old who died.

Her parents were in Florida when this happened.

God, can you imagine being on vacation, and getting a phone call that your 16-year-old kid died? That has to be one of the worst things in the world to happen to a person–losing a child. And this poor couple not only had to deal with the loss of their child, but also had to deal with the chaos and stress of getting back home.

I had a small taste of that last April when my mom died, and I had to get two plane tickets right away. The whole experience sucked. Now imagine going through that experience while trying to compose your grief-stricken self enough to where you don’t shatter into tiny pieces all over the airport, and on the plane, continuously bawling your eyes out.

*deep breath*

It’s just too heartbreaking to even go there in your mind, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, the 17-year-old girl is alive, and it doesn’t appear like she has any brain damage. She is in a coma, and her brain is bruised and swollen. From what I understand, the doctor(s) put a tube in her skull to drain the fluid out, in an attempt to relieve the pressure. That’s all I know so far.

I just hope she pulls through this, and will be able to deal with the aftermath of it all. Because if you think about it, she doesn’t even know her friend is dead.

How’s that going to affect her?

Nobody knows what those two were doing before the car had spun out of control and crashed into an SUV.

What if the girls were just being silly teenagers, goofing off, right before it happened? Will this girl, who survived, feel guilty and blame herself for the accident?

We just don’t know, but I hope she doesn’t. I hope she gets through it all. And if I’m in a position to help her, since Kevin works with her mom, I’ll do it.

Sorry for the somber post, but if you have any teenagers in your life, please remind them to be careful when they drive. I don’t want anybody to have to go through this. In fact, you be careful out there too.

Have a safe and fun weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Cover Reveal

Here it is. My book cover.

Yay!

Check it out.
 
 
 
 
 
What do you think?
 
I wanted it to be a haunting, creepy cover, and I think the cover artist did a good job on the imagery. Her name is Stephanie Bibb. Here’s her website address http://www.sbibbphoto.com/ . She’s great to work with, and if you mention that I referred you to her, I think she’ll give you a discount.

Anyway, I already have a testimony for the back cover of my book, which is great. I’m still working on the blurb, but so you have an idea of what my book is about, here’s what I have, starting with the testimony:

"A thrilling, wholly satisfying first book to a new young adult series. It will keep you wanting more." –Valentina Cano, Carabosse’s Library

Paige knows evil exists in this world, but she never imagined it would want something from her.

After seventeen-year-old Paige Reed hears a ghostly voice whisper a haunting message about herself, Paige’s life takes a nightmarish turn. Unwilling to tell her friends about the supernatural occurrences happening in her life, Paige feels more alone than ever–until she meets Nathan Caswell.

Nathan is not only hot, but seems to peer into Paige’s soul, evoking a magnetic energy between them that cannot be denied. But he’s no ordinary guy. He tracks dark spirits, and becomes alarmed when they set their sights on Paige.

And then there are the two power-hungry dark spirits who believe Paige can find King Solomon’s magical ring for them, because when her father was alive, he was close to finding it. If Paige doesn’t comply with their demands, they’ll kill her.

Paige is forced to dig deep into her father’s past to see if he knew anything about the ring, and unearths shocking secrets about him and his bloodline. With the past and present colliding, Paige is only sure about two things in her life: she needs to outwit the dark spirits to stay alive, and she’s completely and helplessly in love with Nathan.

This blurb is just a rough draft, and I might tweak it some more. However, I thought you should at least know what my book was about.

It’s a really good book, and I’m excited about it.

Oh, and the book is called, Beyond the Eyes because the eyes are the windows to your soul. So look at the cover again, and think about it. That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t want to spoil it for ya. :)

Happy Friday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bathing in The Sink

On Saturday, Kevin pulled off the old surround around the bathtub. But before I go into that story, I want you to know I’m going to pull an Edith Bunker on you.

Do you know what I mean?

Remember that show, All in The Family?

Well, if you don’t, Archie Bunker’s wife Edith would tell Archie the whole story before she’d tell him the actual information he wanted to know.

I know a lot of girls do that, whereas most guys will just tell you what actually happened to them instead of explaining the events that had led up to it.

They’re like, "Yeah, I cut my finger on a knife. It was so deep I could actually see the bone. I slapped some Super Glue on it, and it’s all good."

They never go into detail about where they were, what they were doing with the knife, what kind of knife it was, how they ended up cutting their finger, and what their reaction was when it happened.

Not me.

I like to tell the whole story. However, I’m not one of those people who go into every little detail and drone on and on about it.

I’m not that bad.

I don’t suffer from diarrhea of the mouth.

Thank God for that, right?

Okay, now here’s the story.

Six years ago, Kevin and I bought an old house here in North Dakota. At the time we lived in Prescott, Arizona, and a coworker of mine was selling this house really, really, cheap. To make a long story short, we sold our nice modern house, made a healthy profit, paid off our bills, moved into a cheap one bedroom apartment for a year, saved our money, bought this house outright from my coworker, and moved here.

(Whew. That was a mouthful.)

This house was built in the thirties, and we’ve done quite a bit of work to it. Of course, there’s still work that needs to be done, but we figure we’ll get to it when we get to it.

It’s no big deal.

The surround around the bathtub was one of those projects that needed to be done, and we finally started tackling it on Saturday. Now I understand why Kevin has been dreading doing this project. Check this picture out.


Our tub looks so small, huh?

It’s not though.

This is the state our tub is in at the moment, minus the debris in it (we cleaned that out) and a couple pieces of drywall Kevin has put up, because we ran into a plumbing problem.

There’s corrosion on the pipes, and we don’t have the skills to fix it. I think a plumber is going to have to saw off that pipe and make a new one so we can thread the new handles or whatever on it.

So now Kevin and I can’t take a shower or bath because that’s the only bathtub we have. Therefore, we have to bathe in the sink.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much done with my writing projects this weekend.

Kevin had to pull the old surround off the wall, knock out the old drywall, and put new drywall in. Not to mention, there was a huge mess to clean up.

We still need to put drywall on the wall where the exposed pipes are, and then put the new surround on.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on in my world right now. I imagine I’ll be spending an evening or two, finishing this project with Kevin, once the plumber fixes our problem that is. I just hope it’s today because, although taking a bath in the sink is better than nothing, I still feel kinda grungy.

Maybe I should do what the hippies do in Prescott–take a bath in the creek.

Do you think?

Not.

I think I’ll stick with taking a bath in the sink, thank you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Block of Time

I’m an organized person.

At least I’d like to think of myself as one.

I have a system down for cleaning my house and doing laundry. I have a place to put our receipts so I can gather them together and balance the checkbook. I go to the grocery store on Mondays because that’s when the food truck comes, and so on and so on.

You get the idea.

However, since I decided to self-publish, I had upset my writing schedule and became scattered brain.

Before the self-publishing journey I’m now embarking upon, I would crank out two chapters or more a week.

Yeah, I know.

Some people can write a book in a week if that’s all they do is sit at the computer and write. I’m not sure if I’m one of those people because I haven’t tried a full-out writing marathon. But writing two chapters a week while still dealing with everyday life is pretty good, I think.

Sure, I’d love to write a book in a week, or month even, but at this time I’m not in the position to find out if I can. So I need to work with the situation I’m in now, and organize my time more efficiently so my writing schedule doesn’t suffer like it has been for almost a month now.

How can I do that?

It’s simple.

Schedule a block of time for it.

When I was working full-time, I came home, made dinner, and wrote. By doing that I finished the rough draft to ‘Beyond the Eyes’ in three months, which isn’t too bad.

I had set a block of time for my writing and established a daily routine. It became second nature to me. I didn’t even have to think or force myself to do it, like brushing my teeth at night before bed. It was a habit I created that benefitted me tremendously.

Now though, since I’ve been putting all my energy into self-publishing, my writing schedule for my third book has been all messed up. Not to mention, I haven’t read a book in a month, which is not good. Every writer needs to be constantly reading.

On Tuesday, I had spent a good chunk of that day writing chapter thirteen for my third book.

Just so you know, writing a third book to a series is not easy because you have to remember things/details from your last two books and intertwine them into the third book. Also, I don’t want to disappoint the reader, or myself for that matter. That’s why on Tuesday, after I was done with that chapter and read it, I wasn’t happy with the results. So on Wednesday, I spent part of that day rewriting that chapter, and then sent it to my critique partner. She thought it was a good chapter; however, I still feel kind of uneasy about it. But the good thing is, it’s a rough draft, so I’m not going to fret over it.

Anyway, I realized this week I need to start doing blocks of time for everything I want to do. Otherwise, my third book is going to suffer if I don’t, and I can’t have that. I’d like to have the whole series published by the end of this year, and start on a different book.

In order to reach that goal, I’m going to figure out the best time to write my chapters during the day/night, and do nothing else but that. I’ll probably set a time limit on it as well, like write two hours a day, or whatever suits me. But this doesn’t just apply to writing my third book. It also applies to everything I need to do: research, blog posts, marketing, book trailer, helping other writers, reading, blurb, etc.

Did you catch that last one?

Blurb.

Yeah, I still need to finish it, and to be honest, I haven’t worked on it at all this week because I’ve been so frustrated with it. I’ll get it done though, and when I do, I’ll write a post about it (like I had said in my previous post).

So this is my next step on the self-publishing journey.

Organize my time.

Of course there will be hiccups along the way, and I’ll have to readjust my schedule, which is fine. Just as long as I keep writing my books AND keep reading books, I’ll be golden.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Resistance

I never really thought of myself as a person who resisted the way of things.

Do you know what I mean?

Remember this prayer? "Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

When Kevin mentioned that prayer the other day, it was like somebody reached over and thumped me on the forehead.

No shit.

Duh.

For years now, I’ve been resisting a lot of things in my life because I narrowed my vision on a different life, instead of accepting the life I have and being content with it.

I told myself I didn’t belong here, living in a farming community of 1,800 people in rural North Dakota, using the following reasons:

1.) They think Arizona is a wonderful place and don’t understand why I moved from Arizona to North Dakota.

2.) People here don’t understand me, and during the six years Kevin and I have been here, there has been nobody we’ve connected with. We have no peeps.

3.) Some of the people here are prejudice. I’m not, and feel more alienated from them because of it.

There are a few more reasons, but the above three are the ones I’ve been battling with for a long time now, which has caused me to resist the life I have right now instead of trusting in the universe that I’m where I’m at for a reason.

Whatever that reason is, I don’t know, but it’s time for me stop resisting it, and to keep in mind if in the future I’m meant to be somewhere else, a way will present itself, right?

The same goes for my dream of becoming a novelist, and making enough money from it so I can stay home and not have to work for somebody else.

I recently learned I can’t put all my happy eggs in one basket, if you know what I mean. I can’t base all my happiness on my books.

It’s not healthy.

I have to stop looking through the telescope at the life I want, and find the joy in the life I have now.

I have to trust in it.

That doesn’t mean for me to give up on my writing dream and what I want out of this life. But what it does mean is, I need to relax and stop resisting where I’m at right now.

And to be honest, despite everything else, this is a wonderful town I live in. I don’t have to lock my doors, there’s only one stop light, most people are nice, five-year-olds can ride their bike to the store to get a pop without us worrying about them.

So yeah, I think the advantages and disadvantages level out, it’s just a matter of which one I’m willing to focus on the most. And trust me, focusing all my energy on the disadvantages is not the way to go.

Anyway, I wrote this post and put it out there for you to read because I thought maybe somebody who is reading this might be going through a similar ordeal. Also, it’s part of the self-publishing journey I’m on, and I want to share every piece of that journey with you, which includes doing battle with the conflicts within myself.

I have another battle I’ve been struggling with for weeks–the blurb.

Once I conquer that, I’ll write a post about it and share with you how I did it.

Trust me, those of you who are planning on self-publishing will want to read it because writing a blurb is harder than writing a query.

Seriously.

Now I want to leave you with a quote by Prentice Ritter, played by Robert Duvall in the television western Broken Trail:

"We’re all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house. Birth ‘til death. We travel between eternities."

Take care you guys. I’ll be back on Friday. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Tuesday Night

On Tuesday night, Kevin was looking at a picture of an airplane on bing, clicked on it, and got a malicious computer virus called ‘System Check’.

Yikes!

It’s bad, bad, bad, you guys. So be careful when you go surfing the net, looking up things.

This virus can block your internet and stop you from downloading or installing removal tools, which it did with Kevin’s computer. So I went on my computer and found a website that had directions to try to remove the virus. Kevin tried it three times, and it still didn’t remove it. Then he called Dell and talked to a guy from India.

The guy was really nice. He tapped into Kevin’s computer and started removing the virus. When he got to the last step on removing the malicious virus, this was what he said, and how the rest of the conversation had played out.

Dell guy: "Mr. Ford, I see you haven’t paid for our Dell technical support team. For only two-hundred dollars, I can get rid of this virus for you."

Kevin: "I’m not paying you two-hundred dollars. I’ve already spent a lot of money on this computer, and I’m not going to continue doing it."

Dell guy: "But Mr. Ford--"

Kevin: "But nothing . . . Look. I appreciate your help, but I only use my computer for games and looking stuff up. I don’t need a computer."

Dell guy: "But a computer is like a car, Mr. Ford. Sometimes you need to spend a lot of money for parts and to maintain it."

Kevin: He laughs. "I can’t drive my computer, and I own a 1964 Ford truck. The parts for it are cheap, and I can fix it myself."

Silence (I’m guessing the Dell guy was momentarily speechless because what do you say to that?)

Kevin: "You know. If you had told me this up front about the two-hundred dollars, you could have saved us both a lot of time."

Dell guy: "Yes, Mr. Ford. You do not want to pay for Dell’s technical support?"

Kevin: "No."

Dell guy: "Very good. I will undo what I already have done now."

Kevin: "I appreciate your help. I know it’s not your fault, but I’m not paying two-hundred dollars to fix this computer. I’ll unplug it and be done with it for all I care."

Dell guy: "I understand. You have a goodnight, and good karma to you, Mr. Ford."

When Kevin got off the phone, I offered him a couple suggestions on how we could fix his computer, but he was so annoyed with the whole situation that he didn’t want to talk about fixing it.

"Can you believe, that Dell guy only had to press one button to eliminate the virus from my computer, but wouldn’t do it until I paid him two-hundred dollars?" Kevin ranted.

Yeah. I know. It sucks.

Afterwards, I went upstairs to take a shower. When I came back down, Kevin’s computer and the router were unplugged, and he switched out my monitor for his big screen monitor. He told me he almost took the hard drive out of his computer because he was so disgusted with it. And then, for the rest of the night, I had to listen to him rant about how evil computers were, and that they were a detriment to society, followed with examples to support his claim.

I know he can’t stand computers, and if it was up to him, we wouldn’t have them. However, I love my computer, because in this day and age, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do effectively, without it. I also love looking things up and learning new stuff. Kevin respects that though, which I appreciate. He told me that night, he doesn’t expect me to feel the same way he does about computers, and he’s glad I don’t change my opinions to fit his. And then he continued with his rant.

That was my Tuesday night, and Kevin’s computer is still unplugged, sitting on his computer desk.

Oh, and since he unplugged the router, my computer can’t recognize my IP address, so now I have to disable, and then reenable my computer in order to get the internet. I don’t know how to fix it, but right now I’m not bothered enough by it to do anything about it.

Anyway, If you get a pop-up window saying your computer has been infected, and you need to download their program to get rid of it.

Don’t.

I think Kevin thought he was downloading a picture of an airplane, when really it was the virus. So if you need to download something, be cautious because it might be infected with that virus.

Happy Friday!