Busy Weekend? I had fun!

May 26, 2015

In real life, I’m more than just an author. Actually I’m a lot of things. I’m a widow, a mother, a grandmother, a best friend, slave to a cat, leader of the pack for a dog, artist, and a multitude of other things which also includes volunteer to the local County Fair and photographer for that Fair.

When I as eighteen, I found myself in the position of wife and mother, and at some point I decided that was it – no matter what happened, I would be wife and mother, and never much more than that. I was so wrong! I loved being both and I took both positions very seriously, but life keeps changing, and although both our girls are grown, I will always be their mother.

Being a widow doesn’t exactly negate my position of wife for almost 37 years. So am I still his wife? I know I’m his widow, but what happened to being his wife? I haven’t exactly figured that out. Sometimes I still feel married. I still feel like my husband’s wife.

But over the years, I’ve  added to my life, and before my husband died, I became a professional photographer. I’ve become  a journalistic photographer, which to me is fun! And being part of the county fair is tons of work, but again, it’s fun, and it’s a way of giving back to the community.

So I spent two days of this weekend doing photography work for a county fair sponsored event. Then Monday, I spent it as a friend and we all went fishing! Hey, we are all standing not more then a few feet from each other, on my one friend’s father’s pier, using the same bait, etc, and I caught the least! Go figure! We had fun! We laughed, joked, played, cheered, and did all those friend things. I cherish those moments.

So I was crazy busy doing stuff  this weekend but enjoying all of it! To say I’m tired is a serious understatement, but it’s a good kind of feeling. When I sat down to look at my emails and check the web… I found this! Blank white book w/path

I’m loving it! And I’m sure you are wondering why it has such a green cover. Does this explain it?

**The elusive dream of his own ranch rested before him, a reality still shrouded in a morning mist that reflected the green of nature, of money, of success, and of a future.**

It’s a line from the story and I’m thrilled!

A Rancher’s Woman has gained all sorts of accolades for its historical accuracy and its story, including being placed in an American Indian encyclopaedia. So I’m crossing my fingers and hoping this new book, A Rancher’s Dream, measures up.

 

I’m an author, but I’m more than just an author. I’m a person. I also happen to be right brained, which has colored my entire life. And I was the math major in school? It was pictures with numbers.

This weekend was a mini vacation for me. A chance to get away from my computer for hours, and spend it with friends. A chance to be me, not just an author. Nothing earth-shattering happened. No great fodder for another story – just county fair friends and other friends, just time away filled with laughter. We all need those moments.

Being the photographer gives me privileges and access behind the scenes, but it’s really about friendships – many are over 20 years old. And those friends don’t look at me as anything special – I’m just me, just another volunteer that makes it all possible.  And fishing? I can tie a square knot and bait a hook.

Of course one of my friends, while we were fishing, was playing music via her phone.  To the right, to the left, walk it out… I can’t do it when I’m not holding a fish hook and bait. The fish didn’t seem to care that we were playing music, we caught a ton!

What did you do?


Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2015

 

 

P1030812

Happy Mother’s Day to all women. Some mothers have two-legged children and some have four-legged ones and some were smart enough to avoid the situation!. If they have eight or more legs…I don’t want to know about them! (shudder)

 

 

 

 


From Life Comes Stories

April 30, 2015

Be Kind!

It started with my local writer’s group meeting that was combined with a multi-city event and open mic night. I read a scene from my upcoming novel, A Rancher’s Dream. And later I read a scene from A Rancher’s Woman. When I came home, I jumped on the computer for a FB book release party – I was LATE for my turn as party hostess! The Authors of Main Street (of which I am one) just released their 10 book boxed set, Love Blooms on Main Street. So we had a great reason to host a FB party and invite all our readers.  It’s always fun and slightly chaotic to do one of those parties. (The boxed set is 99c for a limited time & it’s close to $30 worth of e-books in that set! So it’s a super deal!)

LoveBlooms_200x400

Then I opened the writer’s group blog page all prepared to post something wonderful, entertaining, and exciting. While sitting here in the back end of the house, usually a very quiet spot, I contemplated exactly what I would post. I had been asked at our meeting how I conjure up characters and create stories. Everyone was curious. So I sat here thinking how I would explain it. To me, it’s all very simple, because so many things come from real life events (not necessarily mine), and characters can often be a sum of impressions.

Suddenly there was a series of sounds that resembled first metal being hit and then scraped except softer, almost muffled. HUH? OMG! Did someone hit my house mate’s parked car? Or maybe the muted sound meant someone had hit my neighbor’s car which is parked a little further down the road. I jumped up, flew to the front of my house, and realized I didn’t have the cordless land-line phone with me, but I did have the cell phone in my pocket. I opened the front door and my house mate’s car looked fine. I looked slightly beyond and saw black globs in the street. A split second later, I realized it was a motorcycle and a rider. I dialed 9-1-1 and yelled to my housemate who was already asleep. Unfortunately dispatch probably heard me yelling, which probably sounded as though she  stood in front of those large speakers during a rock concert.

The cyclist was face down with his back slightly angled to me. I told dispatch to issue an ambulance. The rider was down and I didn’t see any movement.  Dispatch wanted me to see if the cyclist was breathing. Sorry, I don’t do blood and guts! From where I stood on my porch, I could already feel my stomach rocking. My dinner rolled around in there like a fleet of row boats in the Bermuda Triangle during a hurricane. My head answered the mayday call by swimming. (Thank goodness there are people who can do it, because I can’t.) Dispatch understood.

My house mate walked out with a high powered flashlight and said he couldn’t see any movement, but we weren’t supposed to touch the body. I’m not stupid, nor is my house mate. Never touch anyone who is out cold like that! After such a fall, he could have broken his neck or had a injury that could be made worse. (This sort of situation isn’t the same as someone passing out cold on the living room floor.) Yes, the helmet was in place.

I’ll save you the gruesome details.

The cop took my statement and informed me they might want a written one. Not much to say. I heard noise, opened my door, and found this. Then told us to have a seat on my porch and wait.  And so we did for about 2.5 hours.

Once the cyclist left in the ambulance, the crash team took over. Interesting. It was almost like watching a CSI team in action. Except even watching that stuff on TV upsets me, so watching it in front of my house… I was shaking the entire time.

The team figured out what he hit, where the cycle touched down and how far he probably flew through the air.  Standing on the sidewalk and walking off the distance. (My dad taught me to do that as a kid, and it’s usually reasonably accurate. I figure he probably flew close to 57 ± feet (or 18± meters), or did he flip off when his cycle hit the ground? If so then half that amount.)  But he was maybe 15 feet (or 4.5 m ±) from his cycle and the cycle was perpendicular to him.

Here’s the thing that got to me more than anything else… The cop said most people would have looked out their window and gone back to bed. They would have left the man lying there, rather than calling for help. OMG! How could anyone do something like that? People would ignore the obvious? How horrible and callous! Has our modern society created a bunch of self-absorbed people?

I’m normally up until almost dawn so sitting outside didn’t mean I’d lost any sleep – just some editing time. And I’m fairly certain if I had asked, they would have allowed us to retreat inside where my house mate could have returned to his bed. This isn’t exactly the big city – it’s more like a small town. They had my name, phone number, and they knew where I lived.

I’m not reckless! There are several things that would keep me from sticking my nose outside, but there’s not a single reason that I can think of that would prevent me from calling 9-1-1 for help. Maybe that’s because my daughter had been a first responder  for years.  Could it be that my inside tract has given me a different perspective? I don’t think so. I saw a fellow human lying in the road. I saw someone who needed help – the kind that I couldn’t give. But I knew who would help and it only took a phone call.

All I ask out of life is some peace and quiet so that I can write. It never happens. But we must remember that life is so fragile. We all need to smile more often and tell those wonderful people in our lives how much we love and care about them! Our days are numbered, and we don’t know when they will end.

And people wonder where I get my ideas for stories.

(Re-posting this blog from the writer’s group http://amongthewaters.wordpress.com)


In Paper! Isn’t it beautiful?

April 7, 2015

It’s here or it’s coming – I have no clue! I just searched on Amazon for it and didn’t find it listed in paper yet. Oh, I promise I will scream its arrival from the rooftops as soon as I know for certain. Then it will take about a six weeks (I think) for it to come to local bookstores. You might have to ask your bookstore to order it. Or jump over to my contact page and drop me a line about your local bookstore. (That way my book manager can make certain that your bookstore is on the distributor’s list.) And it will also be a available in large print for the over 40 crowd who can’t stand to read that tiny print!

Isn’t that cover pretty?

 

arw 3d

 


Paper and Distribution

March 31, 2015

I’m going to paper!

I’m not just going to paper, I’m going to bookstores. I’ve got a distributor. I hired a manager.

It’s a long story. I know the person, and I’ve known her for a million years. Not quite but most of her life she’s been part of mine. One of those people who have been in this industry for 20 years.

Maybe it was kismet. I was at the point that I knew I needed to make some changes. Being a minnow in the big ocean is very precarious and this year I said I was going to change some things. Last year’s hectic pace of writing and publishing was not something I wanted to repeat. There had to be a better way.

But what? I didn’t come into indie publishing with a name behind me, yet I’ve done extremely well. Still, I’m not where I want to be. So keep writing? Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity. I fit those words to a T and I knew it. I also didn’t want to give up my indie status and control.

I’m a novelist, not a web guru, or a marketing genius. Say SEO to me and I cringe. Key words scare me. Tagging? I’m computer challenged and totally techno challenged. I needed help!

Happenstance put me and this other person emailing abck and forth one evening. I admitted I was lost in the deep blue sea. She was on the verge of contacting me to ask to be my manager. She’s got the connections and the know-how! She wanted my books!

PLEASE!!! Take them! Actually, they are still mine, but she’s going to manage them!

Does it sound easy? I’ve busted my butt for days getting things to her and collaborating on things like covers. Original stock from the cover? Oh, I found it! That computer crash last year did some weird things, but it’s amazing what I had backed up on flash drives and salvaged.

So A Rancher’s Woman will go to print. My newest historical A Rancher’s Dream will also go to print. They will be available in e-form on Amazon and at your local bookstores. And my wedding vow books will be combined into one fat paperback and will also be available. My contemporary westerns will follow and eventually my River City books will go to print and into distribution.

So here I am in this whirlwind and I know almost nothing – that’s why I hired her! And she told me to write the diary of Clare Coleman! I will! I am!

Oh, to not worry about all the small stuff and concentrate on my writing will be heaven. But right now, I’m in edits and I’m thrilled that A Rancher’s Dream will soon be available.

 

 

 


Parent, Human, or Author?

March 16, 2015

I’m in that limbo state. I have one book done and ready to be published and the other is with an editor. That means it’s time to clean my house. UGH!  I’d almost rather do anything to avoid the cleaning process. But alas I’m a female in charge of my own house. I don’t have a staff which means I get to clean it.

I’ll admit I bought a big bottle of that deodorizer spray stuff the other day. I guess I’ll  start on the living room. I don’t have a den. I live in my living room. It’s used constantly!

Those three little cute kittens have turned into three cats and they all have claws! I’m not happy. The world is over populated with cats and no one wants them. I can’t seem to give them away and I’ve spent a fortune on them. They are neutered /spayed with all their first shots. I can’t afford to de-claw them and I’m not happy about them climbing my furniture. It’s one thing if whoever adopts them keeps them as indoor cats and another if they ever let them go outside. De-clawed cats cannot go outside.

My other problem I have a housemate who loves cats. My old male was on a strict diet and he was still too fat. Now he’s super fat!  Please stop feeding him! With excess cats in the house, he’s over eating, and he has access to the other cat food.

Being in limbo gives time to think. I got to thinking about the fact that some of my parenting skills were probably lacking. Well, babies don’t come with printed instructions on their butts. I did the best that I could at the time. I know I was a better parent than my parents and I also know that no one is perfect. If I could turn back the hands of time… I wish I was less serious. Really!

I always took time to be with my children. I spent hours playing with them on the floor, reading to them, helping them with homework, and showing them how to do things. But did I continue to spend that time playing and laughing? I think as they grew, I backed away in an attempt to teach them to be self-sufficient.

What made me decide all this? My writing. The last thing we want to do as writers is be negative. As I’ve written about Cody Montgomery, the father in my wedding vow stories, I realized he was a much better parent than I ever was. Or did he have better children?

Children are children. Mine are as different as night is from day. What worked for one didn’t for the other. I could look at one and she’d stop. Her little lip would curl out and she’d dissolve into tears. The other… OMG!  I could rant and threaten and she didn’t care. She’d blow me off and keep on going.

Fortunately my girls have grown into wonderful adults and I couldn’t be any prouder of them. I only wish they were more supportive of my writing. They both seem to think I need a real job. It’s been an ongoing battle for several years.

Authors have a weird income that varies in amounts all the time. I’m still not selling millions of books but really those who do are a small minority. You can count them on your digits! The rest of us struggle to eek a living but I’m still in the minority who actually survives on my income. Very few authors can quit their day jobs and sometimes I wonder if I should have a day job, but that would take away from my writing.

I recently heard that the average author is lucky to sell 200 books. Really? I heard that five years ago. Is it still true? If that is true, I’ve never fit that mold! I have my many readers to thank for supporting me and buying my books. Statistics show that if they buy one, they tend to buy the rest in the series. Thank you! You are the reason I write.

A reader recently sent me a note asking about my next River City. “I do love the River City’s because they are like going home.  It’s like you know everyone there before you open the next book.  You know the city, the streets, the stores, the parks, you know everything!  I love it.” As I told her, I should have another coming out by fall of 2015.

I have a couple of stories in my head that I want to write and then I’m going on concentrate on my historical westerns. I never dreamed I’d write historical novels but I’m enjoying them. I like the research and exploring all the changes that took place in the second half of the 1800’s.

I have a strong background in horticulture and all those changes.  I would frequently lecture on Victorian, Colonial, or Medieval gardens. Maybe I’ll blog about that someday. Sometimes little tidbits on gardening appear in my writing. But I’ll leave you all with the knowledge that I was just a gardener. Very organic, because I couldn’t afford chemicals, and I really didn’t want them around. But I read everything I could get my hands on when it came to gardens and eventually became a master gardener with my local extension service.

If someone ever reaches the bottom of my barrel, they will discover I’m just a human with hopes, dreams, and an odd assortment of experiences. I’ve been a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, and like most people I’m still chasing that elusive butterfly. Like 99% of the population of the world, I’m still striving for something better, surviving what life tosses my way, and holding onto my dreams. But unlike most people, I’m writing the stories that are stuck in my head.


Bark!

February 27, 2015

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

Did you hear it? Bark! Bark!

 

Hush, you don’t need to bark.

 

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

It’s my job! Bark! Bark!

 

Shh, you don’t need to bark.

 

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

Something went bump. Bark! Bark!

 

Come back to bed. Don’t bark.

 

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

Do you hear it? Bark! Bark!

 

I can’t hear a thing if you’re going to bark.

 

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I can’t help it. Bark! Bark!

 

Shh, you don’t need to bark.

 

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I must protect my human. Bark! Bark!

 

Come back to bed. Don’t bark.

 

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

There was a noise! Bark! Bark!

 

How can I hear anything if you are barking?

 

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I must alert. Bark! Bark!

 

I know it’s your job to alert me of any sound.

I made that sound. I don’t need an alert.

 

You don’t have to answer the dog that lives a half block away.

Do you know what he’s saying? Do you even speak Labrador?

 

It’s the mailman. He comes every day.

He’s not stealing my porch or my mailbox.

 

The cat is allowed to play with his toy in the other room.

It’s his toy. There is no need to tell me about it.

 

You’re a chicken, a noisy chicken.

A super coward to the nth degree.

 

You’re not a watchdog. I never asked you to be.

A real threat and you are under the sofa.

 

You’re such a good girl. You scared them away.

Please let me sleep. You don’t need to bark.

 

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I heard a noise. I have to bark.

I can’t help it! Bark! Bark!

 

Aargh!!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 83 other followers