Monday, April 30, 2012

Scattered Thoughts From a Tired Mind

What do you think of the title? I wrote it because I didn’t get much sleep this weekend, and I figured I’d snatch a few of those scattered thoughts and write them down.

Are you ready?

Let’s see if you can keep up.

*flashes a tired smile*

Last week was ‘Administrative Professional’ week. On Monday, I received flowers and won a six-inch sub, which was cool and yummy. And then on Wednesday, my supervisor (the owner’s wife where I work) and I went to this bar-type lounge here in town where they were giving away door prizes. We also received a free dinner and a drink ticket. The back dining room where we ate must have had sixty plus administrative professionals there as well. I met a few people, though, I can’t remember their names now (I’m terrible remembering names at first), and I won a Biodegradable/ECO-Friendly cleaning kit that came in a cute little carrying bag. I wanted to win the Minnesota Twins tickets so I could give them to my coworker, Bob; however, a girl at my table won them instead. But all and all, it wasn’t bad being there.

When my supervisor had advised me she signed us up for that little shindig, I was hesitant about it. That kind of stuff is not my thing, but I’m also open-minded and almost always willing to try new things, so I went along with it. I’m glad I did because it’s another experience–a memory, I’ll have for the rest of my life.

My computer has been locking up on me so on Saturday I had to get a tech to fix it, which took all morning to do. And then, there was a formatting problem with the edits my editor sent me. I had him go over a rewrite I’d done for, Beyond the Eyes, and over the first chapter of, Dark Spirits. So that took a while to iron out. Needless to say, I didn’t get much accomplished with my writing projects. I’m hoping to finish the last touch-ups on my manuscript this week, get it copyrighted, and send it to my formatting team. My cover artist can’t finish the back cover until the formatting is completed. But things are moving along. Hopefully I’ll have a release date for my book soon, and then you guys will know when it’ll be available.

Work was slow last week, however, this week I have the end of the month and fuel assistance to do, which I’m not looking forward to. But the cool part about where I work is when it’s slow, the owners don’t have a problem with me working on my writing stuff or looking on Facebook.

Yeah, they’re pretty cool, and I’m fortunate to work for them.

So last week I did some research on marketing and a plan on how to get the word out about my book is taking shape.

Well, there you have it. As Forrest Gump would say, "That’s all I got to say about that."

I was thinking about posting my first chapter in this blog, but I’m still debating whether to do it or not.

What do you think?

Do other writers do that?

I know when it goes on Amazon, you can look inside my book and read it, so I don’t know if it would be redundant to also post it here.

Things that make you go, ‘hmmmm.’

I hope you have a good Monday. I’m taking my tired ass to work now.

Thank God for coffee. It always puts a smile on my face. :).
 
 
 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Guest Author Interview

Today I’m interviewing KC Blake about her new book called, Witch Hunt, which is the second book in her Witch-Game Series.

When and how did you start writing?

I was twelve, and it was a matter of boredom. My parents were on a bowling league. They would drag me to the lanes every Tuesday night. We didn’t have the money for video games, so I had to entertain myself. While my brother was getting into trouble, I was sitting in a corner, writing. Once I discovered how incredible it felt to create my own world, I couldn’t stop.

What can you tell us about your latest book?

Witch Hunt is the second in the Witch-Game Series, but you don’t have to read Crushed to read this one. Each book has a new set of characters and a new game to play. Witch Hunt follows Starr Hughes, a pretty teen reporter on the school paper who tries to find the truth behind a secretive game the popular kids are playing. She soon discovers that not only are witches real, they need her help. Someone is using the game to steal their memories, their powers, and perhaps even their lives. Starr is determined to catch the bad guy before he can hurt Dylan, the gorgeous boy she has a major crush on.

Which character has been your favorite to write for so far?

Jersey Clifford in the Rule Series beginning with Vampires Rule. I love him because he can say or do anything without remorse. He’s complicated, quoting poetry before he rips someone’s guts out. Even people who don’t fall in love with the book tell me they loved his character.

You have written about witches, vampires, werewolves, and wraiths. What’s next?

My hunter series is going to have a variety of new things (new to me anyway) like Reapers and vengeful spirits.

What are you working on now?

I always have several projects going at once. Currently, I am doing a massive rewrite on Shifters Rule, editing the next Witch-Game book (Raven’s Claw), and I am outlining Bait which is the first in my brand new hunter series.

What is your favorite YA book?

Hard to say. The first one I loved was The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, but recently I fell in love with the Mortal Instrument Series. Even as we speak I am re-reading City of Bones. Cassandra Clare is an awesome writer.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read everything you can get your hands on. Take a creative writing class and read books on the subject. Most of all, write every chance you get. You will learn to be a better writer just by writing and reading your own work.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would it be and why?

Kristen Noah from Crushed. She’s a tough cookie. I like her attitude and how she’s on the cusp of being a bad girl.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and can only have three things, what would they be?

I learned a lot from watching Survivor. I would want a sharp knife, unlimited matches, and a warm blanket.

If you had only one wish, and you weren't allowed to wish for more wishes, what would that one wish be?

That my books would be enjoyed by millions.

When writing your stories, what do you struggle with the most?

The first chapter. The first page. Actually, the first line. I have a terrible time beginning a book. It has to be just right. I have to find that perfect flow and set the mood that will carry the book to the end.

Do you ever have doubts about the story you're writing? If so, how do you overcome those doubts?

I have doubts when I first start a book. Usually I just keep pushing and writing until I find that perfect beginning. Although there are times when the story continues to elude me until I give up and move on to another story.

How can someone find you online?

I am all over the place. Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and a few others. My blog can be found here: http://kasi-kcblake.blogspot.com I have contests, a variety of posts, and samples of my books there. Feel free to check it out.

Thanks, KC, for stopping by, and I wish you well.

Side Note: I don't like this new Blogger set-up. I had the questions in bold and for some stupid reason, it screwed this post up. Therefore, I couldn't use it. Why couldn't they just left the other version alone? Gerrrr.
 
 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Blue Room

I work with a very nice guy. His name is Randy. He’s six-foot tall, built like a biker (he does own a beautiful Harley), salt and pepper thick hair and wild eyes.When he walks into a room, he’s like a gust of wind blowing through a still meadow on a hot summer day. He tends to be boisterous when he talks, but I really like working with him because he has a good heart.

(I don't know why I'm describing him to you, but hey, you have a mental picture of him now, right?)

Last Friday at work, he was telling me about the "blue room." It’s a room in the Manor, which is a care facility for the elderly, where the residents go when their number is up.

"Can you imagine walking by that room every day, knowing that’s where you’re going to end up?" Randy said to me with a shudder. "It’s almost like cattle waiting in line to be slaughtered."

I was horrified when he told me that and made a vow to myself I would do everything in my power not to ever have my dad or step-mom go out like that. In fact, if I have the financial resources to make their last days on earth and their transition from this world to the next, a happy and wonderful experience, I will.

Nobody should leave this earth like the people going to the "blue room" does.

I understand each situation is different, and there are people who are so heavily medicated with Morphine, they’re not aware of the environment they’re in. However, I’d still make their environment peaceful and enjoyable, even if my loved one was in a comatose state. Instead of him or her hearing the sound of beeping machines and smelling the stale hospital air, I’d put some beautiful music on and fill the room with yummy smells. I’d even read to them.

Maybe I’m a dork for thinking this, but I believe people in a comatose state can hear and smell what’s around them. The reason why I believe this is because I was once in a coma for three days, and I remember hearing people talking around me and smelling the air. Of course, there are blind spots in my memory during those three days, so I don’t remember the entire time I was in the coma. But still, it would have been nice to have woken up in a much better, less frightening room.

I’m going to backpedal here because I don’t want the people who are reading this to feel bad if they do have a loved one in a nursing home, or have had a relative in one. I understand there are people who have Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, and you have to put them in a care facility. That’s a totally different situation. I’m just talking about the people who still have their wits and are aware of what’s going on. Also, what I just said are my own personal opinions and beliefs. It doesn’t mean I’m right or wrong. It’s just how I feel.

Anyway, Kevin and I are fortunate enough that Alzheimer’s and dementia doesn’t run in our family, or cancer for that matter.

Well, my mom’s dad did die of lung cancer, so it does run in my family, but not on my dad’s side.

I’m babbling.

I know.

I’m just still stunned about the blue room.

It bothers me.

It really, really bothers me.

So much so if I ever have the time and power to change it, I will. I’ll call it "Operation Blue Room." So the people who are dying can have a wonderful, joyous experience, when they step out of this world into the next one.

Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face. :)
 
 
 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Scrambling

Things seemed to have been kicked into high gear this week, and I don’t know why.

I’m doing the last touch-ups on my manuscript, but it seems like it’s taking forever. Also the company that’s going to be formatting my book needs to know when I’ll be sending it to them because spaces are filling up quickly for May.

Yikes.

I shot an email to them and said I’ll send my manuscript as soon as I can and to put me down for the end of May, just so they can pencil me in. I’m sure it’ll be done before then, but I wanted to give myself more time.

Oh, by the way, I got another testimony for the back cover of my book. Here it is:

"Beyond the Eyes is haunting yet passionate. This breakout novel is quick and hip, a saucy must-read."–Charles Land, Judas Pistol

Pretty cool, huh?

I thought of a great idea to put after the ending of, Beyond the Eyes –a sneak peek of my next book, Dark Spirits. I just have to figure out what scene to use that won’t give away too much information.

My wonderful cover artist has been patiently waiting for me to send her the blurb and testimonies for my book so she can finish the back cover. I was finally able to do that on Wednesday. However, I think she needs to wait until the formatting company gets the exact number of pages that’ll be in my book before she can finish what she needs to do.

As you can probably tell, I’m learning this stuff as I go. I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to help others through my own experience so it’ll be much easier for them when they go through it.

Anyway, I’m so glad it’s Friday. I have a ton of things to do this weekend besides my writing stuff. Fun things like vacuum and dust the house, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.

I’m not being sarcastic.

*grins*

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Making Progress

This weekend went so fast.

What’s up with that?

I did finish reading my book, however, I need to go through it one last time because the page numbers are off, and I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my work. I want it to be the best it can be. I also managed to work on a marketing plan and even joined Twitter, which was a big step for me since I don’t even own a cell phone.

Yeah, you read that right.

No cell phone.

Kevin doesn’t own one either.

We don’t even know how to use a cell phone. So I’ve been putting off joining Twitter for a long time since I don’t have one or know anything about texting or whatever. I’m just glad I can use Twitter on my PC.

I have a camera that does videos. To be honest, it’s a crappy camera, but it works for now. On Saturday I was messing with the video program because I wanted to take some videos and post it on my blog. So I hopped in my car and filmed where I was going. The video wasn’t too bad, but I think I’ll wait until I make a better one of my town. Unless, you want to see my first attempt at filming where I live. If you do, let me know and I’ll post it here. But my thoughts on doing it was so you could see my world and get to know me better.

Here are the mistakes I made while filming . . .

1.) While I was filming, a cute little yappy dog had escaped his house and ran right in front of my car. It scared the crap out of me. I turned the camera off while I checked to see if the dog was okay. The dog was fine (thank God), but I had to start another video and in the second one you can see that same dog chasing alongside my car.

He was relentless.

I almost called him a little bastard, but said "thing" instead because I was trying to mind my tongue while filming. But afterwards I thought I should just be myself and act how I normally would.

2.) The second mistake I made was calling a grain bin a grain dryer when I drove by it.

Duh!

*slaps hand on forehead*

I don’t know why I said that.

3.) My last mistake I made was trying to film another dog and the camera totally missed him.

Oh, and I didn’t put my seatbelt on so you can hear this, ding, ding, ding, noise.

LOL.

I’ll have to remember to wear my seatbelt the next time I try this.

It’s hard doing a video while driving though. I was going to ask Kevin to drive while I film, but he was busy working on rebuilding our front porch.

Maybe next time. If not, I’ll do it myself.

No big deal.

Anyway, last Friday morning I spoke to our local bookstore owner about my book. I showed her a picture of my book cover and had her read the blurb that will be on the back cover. She was impressed and thought the cover of my book was cool. And, check this out . . .

She’s totally going to support my book by stocking it in her store and getting the word out about it. She also told me I should do a book signing there.

Book signing?

What if nobody shows?

I told Kevin the stories I’ve read about authors sitting for hours in a bookstore and nobody showing up to get their book signed or buy a book.

How embarrassing would that be?

It would be totally embarrassing.

Kevin told me there are two people at his work that would show up because they really want to read my book.

Hmmm. I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.

Well, it’s about that time to be off to work. I hope you have a wonderful week. I’ll talk to ya on Friday. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Another Task Accomplished

My editor is done with my edits.

Yay!

He told me the ending was terrific, and I have a book many will identify with and love to read.

Isn’t that cool?

I was doing a happy, Snoopy dance after I read his comments.

When I told Kevin, he smiled and asked, "So what does that tell ya?"

I shrugged. "Um, that he likes my story."

He rolled his eyes. "It’s a damn good story, and he thinks it’ll do well."

I looked away, feeling my stomach roll with nerves.
"Maybe," I finally said. "But I won’t know for sure until it’s published and other people read it."

Kevin frowned and shook his head.

It’s true though.

I tell myself I love my story and it shouldn’t matter what other people think. But honestly, it does matter to me. I want the people who read my book(s) to have that pocket of time where the world around them fades away. Nothing exists except for Paige’s (main character) world.

Yeah, my goal is to be able to make enough money off my books so I can stay home and write more stories. But another goal I have, is for the reader to get lost into the world I create and to be entertained.

They deserve that.

You deserve that.

We all deserve that–to get a break from this world and to just unplug for a while.

When I know a majority of the people who have read my book(s) were able to do that, then I know I’ve done my job. Then I’ll be a happy camper.

Since my edits are done, I started reading my book, just to make sure I’m satisfied before I get it copyrighted. Of course, I’m nervous about the first three chapters, wondering if they’re captivating enough. However, I’ve heard other writers have experienced those same doubts.

I remember reading in Stephen King’s book about writing, his own apprehension with his stories. He said this one time he had his wife read one of them, and when he was anxiously waiting to see if she liked it, she looked at him and said something like, "Quit being so damn insecure." I thought what she said was funny, but it’s refreshing to know even Mr. King gets nervous about his work, probably wondering if people will like it.

Anyway, I’ve been so busy this week, I haven’t been able to write out a marketing plan like I wanted to, which sucks. I have been writing some ideas down, so at least that’s something, right? Hopefully I’ll be able to work on it some more this weekend and finish reading my book. :)

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Have a good weekend.

Talk to ya on Monday.

*waves good-bye*

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting Closer to Publishing My Book

I just wanted to let you guys know I’m guest posting on this blog http://www.srjohannes.com/ today, so hop over there and check it out.

Sorry. I don’t mean to sound bossy.

*grins*

The post is on book trailers.

Shelli was kind enough to invite me on her blog to do that post. She’s also a young adult author and a brilliant marketer. I haven’t read her books yet, but I’m sure they’re just as wonderful as she is.

My editor should be done with editing my book this week, and then I need to read it a couple times before I copyright it. After that, I need to get it formatted and get together with my wonderful and talent cover artist (Stephanie Bibb) so she can finish the back cover. Then I need to figure out how Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Createspace, etc. works.

Once I figure all this out, I’ll do a post on it and write the steps I took to put it all together.

I also need to start marketing this book.

I think I’ll work on a marketing plan this week. I already have some ideas written down, so I’m a little ahead of the game.

Last weekend, when I posted the cover and blurb to, Beyond the Eyes on Facebook, my heart was racing and I was shaking so badly. I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack. LOL.

I can’t imagine how my body is going to react when this book goes live.

I’m aware I’ll have not-so-nice comments regarding this book.

Not because it sucks.

I mean, I don’t think it sucks, nor do the people who have already read it. However, every artist who has introduced their work to the world has had bad reviews. So I know it’s inevitable it’ll happen to me as well, and I can't please everyone, right?

It’s scary though, because I’m an introvert, so I’m going to have to crawl out of my shell to launch this series.

But it’s totally worth it.

Not that I haven’t already said this like a million times, but I love this series so much that I’m willing to step out onto the battlefield for it.

Well, it’s already Monday, and I must be off to work.

I hope you had a great Easter weekend.

We had our T-bone steaks and it was oh-so-yummy. I got through my edits and finished chapter nineteen to The Devil’s Third. I also had to do something I should have done when I started writing this series, but didn’t do: Write out the rules to the paranormal world. So I spent a few hours doing that.

Anyway, I hope you have a good Monday and week.

Talk to ya on Friday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Yay It’s Friday

This week seemed to draaaaaag.

Maybe because it was a hard week.

My job had its trying days, but I got through it. And then I found out on Wednesday morning my niece’s childhood friend, Autumn, whom I’ve known since she was in kindergarten died.

I started crying, then had to force myself to stop because when I cry my eyes and face turns red and swells. I look all freaky and monstrous.

Seriously.

There was no way I could step out of my house and go to work looking like Hellboy, so I had to chant to myself: "Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying."

Autumn was only nineteen-years-old.

What had happened was she got drunk and accidently shot herself.

She was such a sweet girl.

I’m still in shock over it.

Anyway, on a lighter subject, I was told yesterday at my job we’d have today off.

Yay!

It was a pleasant surprise when the owner told us that. Hopefully, this Easter weekend will go slow and not zip by like some weekends tend to do.

Kevin wanted a goose for Easter dinner.

*gags*

However, the universe must have felt sorry for me having a not-so-good week because not only do I have today off, but yesterday I couldn’t find a goose to buy Kevin, so we won’t be having it.

Darn.

I was really looking forward to the greasy, dark meat, that tastes like liver and bile.

Not!

So now we’re going to have T-bone steaks for Easter dinner.

Woohoo!

We live in a farming community so the steaks here are awesome.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter.

Happy Friday!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Deprived.

We discovered a few weeks ago Kevin is allergic to sulfites. It does horrible things to his body: racing heart, fluid in the lungs, itchiness, hives, fatigue. It’s been going on for years, but we didn’t know what was wrong with him. For a long while we thought he had a gluten allergy. He stopped eating bread, and we basically lived off of meat and veggies for years.

Years!

But when we moved to North Dakota, he started eating whatever he wanted to, thinking it wasn’t a gluten allergy after all, but the stressful life we were living. So believe me, I was happy with that decision because it raised our food choices, and cooking a meal wasn’t so restrictive. However, he wasn’t functioning 100% and at the end of last year it all caught up with him.

To make a long story short, he cut out all sulfites from his diet, is taking a vitamin B supplement, and feels a hell of a lot better. He has no more of those spells and a lot more energy, which is wonderful, except . . .

(You knew there was an except in there, right?)

We now have to cut A LOT of foods, spices, and sauces out of our diet until he figures out what his body can tolerate.

*Big sigh*

So everything we’ve been cooking for the last three weeks is bland. He can’t have any onions, garlic powder or seasoning packets.

Nothing.

He can’t even eat pork because pork supposedly has sulfites in it.

Yup. That’s right.

No bacon.

*Sheds a tear*

But I’m not done.

The list goes on . . .

No eggs, no bagged potatoes. Only fresh potatoes.

No canned tomatoes. Only fresh tomatoes. So if we want tomato sauce, we have to make it ourselves, from the tomatoes out of our garden, which won’t be until later this summer.

No white flour because it’s bleached and full of preservatives (sulfites), which means no pizza, no homemade pot pies, no pies, no buttermilk biscuits or pancakes.

*Starts to bawl*

I’ve been supporting Kevin’s "new way of eating" by cooking and eating sulfite free food. And let me tell ya, my endurance to adhere to this sick-joke-of-a-diet is wavering.

Last week, I was totally craving onion rings.

Hardcore.

I ignored it for a couple days, but the craving grew into a snarling beast, biting into my thoughts until I couldn’t shut it out.

I completely folded.

Last Thursday after work, I stopped and picked up an order of onion rings at Eats and Treats, a Dairy Queen type joint. With a shit-eating grin, bag of yummy onion rings in hand, I went home, stood at the kitchen counter and wolfed them all down as if I hadn’t eaten in days.

They were sooo good.

After that, I realized I couldn’t stand shoulder to shoulder with Kevin on this Nazi food regimen. I just hope he discovers he can eat more things than he thought. Otherwise, one of the major enjoyments in life (yummy food) is going to be pulled out from under him.

Before this sulfite discovery, we didn’t eat a lot of junk food, and ate as naturally as possible. But at least we could have the things I’ve mentioned above and were able to go out to eat.

That’s another belly punching blow to one of the enjoyments in life.

Going out to eat.

As of right now, Kevin’s sulfite allergy is banning us from going to a restaurant. However, the gavel hasn’t been slammed on this insufferable way of eating.

There is hope.

Once Kevin figures this all out, I’m sure he’ll discover he can eat more things than he thought.

Anyway, I told him, I’d feel bad for eating the foods in front of him, he can’t have. He told me not to worry about it, and he doesn’t expect me to only eat what he eats. So Saturday, I bought corned beef (he can’t have it, but I love it, and it’s on sale right now) and yesterday I made corned beef and cabbage for myself. With the leftovers, I divided them up and froze them. That way I can pull it out of the freezer and have it for dinner when I get a hankering for it. I won’t though, make bacon when he’s home. I think that would be cruel because the smell of bacon alone makes your mouth water.

Well, this post is longer than I intended it to be.

Ooops.

I hope you enjoy your Monday. :)