Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31st

Hi, it’s Christina –

Happy Monday! First I want to start by wishing my hubby a very Happy Anniversary! We have had our ups, and we have had our downs, but I could not imagine going through this roller coaster called life without you! Love you!

Now, although I usually avoid political or religious themes here in my blog, occasionally I can’t seem to help myself. So, if you have no interest in some local town politics (and I can’t say I blame you), you can skip this section. I will not be offended. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind comments, so I could understand a different perspective.J

So the latest thing that has our snooty town’s panties in a bunch, is there is a restaurant, which features off track betting, being proposed to go on a site in the north section of our town. This section of town has no houses close by it. There is a government depo, several businesses in an industrial park, a wholesale landscaping business, a hotel, a self-storage facility, a gas station, and a brake shop.

I just don’t get why everyone is up in arms. It’s not like a brothel is moving in, although if it were, I’m sure it would not be the first one in our town’s checkered past. Seriously folks, get a grip and think about this logically. The building has been vacant for over two years, so the town has not been able to collect any taxes from it. Any new establishment in town, which serves alcohol, would be policed more stringently. Plus it’s a well-known and reputable company who is handling the gambling portion of the restaurant. You don’t have any beef going to the Meadowlands Racetrack, do you?

Now, if betting is not your thing, and it’s definitely not mine, then just don’t go. If they don’t have patrons, they don’t have a business. Also, with this particular site, if you play the odds (pun intended); the place will not be there for very long. Think about it. In the past thirty years, this site has had at least six changes in ownership. The only place that has flipped more times is the County Line Inn location. The track record for longevity is quite dismal, so chances are, even if they do get past the planning board, their residency will be short lived. Seriously folks, aren’t there better things you could be expending your energies on?

Okay, I’m done. I just had to let it out so I wouldn’t bang my head against a wall.

Now, on a more positive note, my friend and fellow author, K. Edwin Fritz, has finally finished his long awaited sequel to ManHunt. Woman Scorned, I believe, will be release tomorrow. I shared the teaser he posted on my Facebook page, so if you’re interested, you can check it out. WARNING: it’s a horror novel.

Alright, unless I plan on pulling an all-nighter, which I don’t, I need to get back to editing. We’ll tackle the writing challenge tomorrow. I hope y’all have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 30th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Guess what I did last night? I went out with a group of friends for dinner, and to listen to some guys from my high school’s band play. Me, the perpetual homebody, the veritable hermit, went out and partied. I haven’t done that in forever. We had a blast, but today I have such a rip roaring headache.

It’s just not fair. For the most part, I don’t drink. If we’re home and having a picnic, I may take a cooler, but then my girlfriends laugh at me because they know they’ll be getting half to three quarters of it, because I won’t finish it. At Christmastime, I make homemade Irish Cream, and I will have a little bit of that – usually in my coffee or hot cocoa. If we’re out somewhere, I may try a taste of something someone else is having if it sounds interesting. Like last night, they had this raspberry beer on tap, and my husband got one of those little sample glasses to try it. He took a sip, made a face, and put the glass down on the table. So, with that reaction, I had to taste it. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I can’t stand beer. I think it tastes disgusting, and I can’t see how anyone could possibly like drinking skunk urine (that’s what it smells like to me). Anyway, the raspberry beer wasn’t half bad. I’d still never drink a glass, but a sip was tolerable.

One of my girlfriends had a Cosmo, and it smelled good, so I took a sip of that as well. I was surprised, it tasted almost as good as it smelled, but again, I wasn’t ordering a whole one. Plus I was driving, so there was no way in hell I was going to have any alcohol in my system. So, as you can see, I’m a real lightweight when it comes to drinking, yet after a night out, I wake up the next morning with a hangover. Again I say, it’s just not fair.

The “morning after” aside, I had a great time last night. At one point, I looked around the table and realized half of my closest friends were there to celebrate my birthday with me. Bec (and Lenny), Fran (and Carl), Sharon, and Dina all were able to come. Now if Barb, Barb (and John), Karolyn, Kelly (and Wyatt), and Nadia had showed up, I would have been over the moon. (I love the significant others dearly as well.) I can’t remember a time when all of my friends were together, in the same room, at the same time.

So, the band did really well last night. I did bust their hump a little. Once when Craig went to take a break, and I told him he must be getting old, because back in their high school days, they could play for hours without stopping; and then once when my friend Gary was singing and I made him spit out his gum. He has a great voice, and it gets muffled when he has gum in his mouth. I vaguely remember yelling at him for the same thing when we were younger. Craig’s daughter was also singing, and let me tell you, she had an incredible voice. Her tone was so pure, it was amazing. So, if you ever have the opportunity to hear “The Craig Leach Band”, and you like 60s, 70s & 80s rock, go see them. I think you’ll enjoy them.

Now, I did have one big surprise last night, Gary, who I have known forever, and always refer to as “my friend from high school”, was never actually in the high school at the same time I was. He graduated before I even got to the high school. However, because the few friends he had who were younger than him were the same few friends I had who were older than me; we ended up knowing each other. All these years, I thought Gary was a grade or two ahead of me, not five! It’s a little strange believing something for a long time, only to find out that’s not the case. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to say, “Gary is a friend I met when I was in high school” now. LOL

I should get going, because I still want to give you a new writing challenge, and I’d like to get more done on my editing project. I’m getting closer, but I’m still not done. ARGH!! I hope y’all have a Super Sunday, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Write a story containing the following three: Quest, Midnight, Promise

Because of a promise he had made to a dying friend, James was now on the quest of a lifetime. Around midnight, two weeks ago, James and Tom were at a bar, having a drink after they went off duty, when Tom told James he had just learned he may have a son. The news had floored James. He and Tom had become fast friends when they met at the Academy, nearly twenty years ago. They were stationed together, and together they climbed the ranks within the department. Ten years ago, when they both made detective, the best friends became partners.

In all that time, Tom had never told James about Becky, his first love, the girl he had wanted to marry, but her father had forbidden it. The man was so against a union between Tom and his daughter, he literally packed up his family and moved them away.

Trying to be creative with a mondo headache, is not working to well for me today. Sorry.

Your Next Challenge is:

Help, I’m shrinking…

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29th

Hi, it’s Christina –

The cobwebs are refusing to leave again this morning, but since I have been up for an hour already, fog brained or not, it was time to get writing. I will, however, forego the writing challenge for just one more day. Not because I don’t want to answer the last challenge, but because I seriously doubt my ability to come up with a new challenge.

I don’t want to do a photo challenge, which would be easy considering I have several photos stockpiled, because every time I do a post with a photo or a link, FB only distributes to around 2% of my followers. If the photo is being used as supporting detail to the blog post, I can just tell the folks on Facebook to hop over to my blog if they want to see pictures; but if the picture is the actual challenge, I feel obligated to post it, and then no one sees it. I can’t win this one.

I forgot to tell you something yesterday. I will admit, when it comes to getting the mail, I’m seriously lax. The way our mailbox is situated, the area around it is usually a swamp, especially this time of the year. Getting the mail requires you to get muddy. However, since I was anxiously awaiting my final proof of Corporate Blues, I was checking the mail regularly.

In Wednesday’s mail came an official letter from the township addressed to, what I thought was, my husband, so I opened it thinking it had something to do with our taxes or something. I was wrong. The letter was not for my husband, it was for my son, who happens to share the same name as his father. The letter was from the mayor congratulating my son for making the Rider University Dean’s list for the fall 2013 semester.

So, I call up my son, and open the conversation with “I have a bone to pick with you!” I tell him I received a letter and inadvertently opened it thinking it was for his father. I read the letter to him, then accused, “You never told me you made the Dean’s list!” He said, “Mom, I told you I got straight As.” To which I replied, “But I didn’t know you qualified for the Dean’s list since you were only a part time student.”

He admitted he didn’t know either, until he received a letter from the Dean congratulating him. Then I told him, he wasn’t getting the mayor’s letter, I was putting it up on my fridge. He laughed at me, and told me that was fine since he had the letter from the Dean. My son did not have the easiest time in school. His grades were average at best, so for him to have made a college Dean’s list, it is a major accomplishment. I am so proud of my baby boy!! Sorry, proud mamma moment, I had to share.

Okay, it’s now nine o’clock and I have to start editing. I hope y’all have a fantastic Saturday, and happy writing!

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 28th

Hi, it’s Christina –

Today’s going to be another short and sweet post with no writing challenge, because, due to some wacky things going on with my computer, yesterday’s editing did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. I don’t get it. Everything was fine, and I was plugging along, then things stopped highlighting, notes wouldn’t come up right, I’d be typing a comment and it would disappear. It was weird. Thankfully I got it to save, and I rebooted my computer. Please keep your fingers crossed that I won’t have the same issue again today.

On a more positive note, the proof of Corporate Blues arrived yesterday, and it’s all systems go. I placed my inventory order, and it should arrive here on the 8th, four days before I actually need them. YEAH!!

I did remember to post the next three chapters of Faerie Tale Queen on Facebook yesterday afternoon, so chapters 7 – 9 will be going up today. I would have just done them all in one shot, but I think FB would have had an issue with it. So, at least you’ll have all the chapters clumped together, if you’re looking for them.

Out of curiosity, how many of you are planning on reading along? If you could just leave a comment (“me” or “I do” will suffice) so I can get a general idea, that would be great. I’m pretty sure I know who some of you are, but I’d still like to see who else will be yelling at me if I don’t produce a new chapter every few days.

Sheesh, even my “short and sweet” still manages to take up an entire page. Okay, I have some serious editing to do, so I should go. I hope y’all have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 27th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

I didn’t get as much done yesterday as I had hoped, because a Notary emergency came up. A friend of mine needed to have some documents Notarized and she was only free yesterday afternoon. She’s a CPA and works a zillion hours a day this time of year. So, I put my stuff on hold so I could go and help her.

On our way back, we stopped at the grocery store, so by the time I got home, Dani was home from school, so any chance of being able to get more editing done was out of the question. I need quiet to edit, and there is no quiet when people are home in my house. I figure the change of plans only put me about an hour or so behind schedule, so I should still be able to make up the time, if not today, then over the next two days.

What are you going to do? Things happen. I’m just glad I was able to help a friend when it was needed.

Yesterday’s detour also made me forget to post the first few chapters of Faerie Tale Queen on Facebook, but I remedied the oversight this morning. The prologue and chapters 1 – 3 are now up, and later today, I’ll post 4 – 6. Then I’ll be back on schedule, and you’ll have all 16 chapters before NaNoWriMo starts on Tuesday.

The raffle on my blog now has four entries. I wish more of you would enter so I could get some feedback from you on how it’s working. In order for folks to qualify for the raffle, they had to “like” my Facebook author’s page – which earns them one entry, and make a comment on my blog – which earns them another entry. These were the only two requirements, but there are other things they could do to earn more entries.

The thing is, I think I did something wrong when I set it up, because even though two people have entered and have been given two entries each, I cannot find the comments they left on my blog. See, this is what happens when you have a technological ditz trying to do something that involves technology. Oh well, live and learn, right?

I should get going considering I have 103 pages to do today instead of 81. I hope y’all have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was (I cheated and used one of the prompts from Tuesday night’s writing group):

Write a story about a Ghost and something Red (it can’t be blood).

Clara strolled leisurely through the garden. This had always been her favorite time of the year, the time which fell between tulips and sunflowers. Those magical four weeks when everything was still green and lush before the merciless August sun scorched the land.

Clara paused and stared in wonder, for even as dusk loomed, the chubby bumble bees were still diligently at work. You would be hard pressed to find a human, with a body was so disproportionate, work so rigorously. Heaven knew her husband never had.

She left the bees to their business and continued her walk. As she rounded the corner, the gazebo came into view, and her breath caught on a sob. The site never ceased to awe her, especially in July. Many a time she would sit on the marble bench in its center, cocooned in the ivy wound stone columns, surrounded by fragrant roses. The gazebo was her solace, her refuge, her escape when times got bad, and near the end, they got really bad.

With trepidation, Clara made her way toward her favorite, Martha Washington, the rose bush her mother had given her as a house warming present when she and Dylan moved in. Of all the roses, this one had been her favorite, velvety red petals, blooms the size of her palm, and the most Heavenly scent.

Although she knew what would happen, she reached out her hand to stroke one of the lush petals, but her fingers never made contact. They never would again.

Your Next Challenge is (words chosen at random from book titles on my bookshelf):

Write a story containing the following three: Quest, Midnight, Promise

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 26th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

I’m having some serious issues shaking the cobwebs out this morning. My day started in a panic when I woke up at 6:45 because my alarm didn’t go off. (Dani’s bus comes at 6:46.) I ran into her room like a crazy lady yelling, “Get up! Get up! Get up!” I’m so proud of my teenaged daughter, who got up, got ready and got to school on time, and didn’t grumble once about having to rush around like an nut because mom overslept.

We were out the door and pulling out of the driveway by 6:59, and got to school at 7:08. Needless to say, I did not have time for a cup of coffee before we left, and even though I have had two already this morning, they don’t seem to be working. I don’t do it often, but I think today warrants a third cup.

Although I did not have time to wash the kitchen or bathroom floor, I did get the entire house straightened up before the survey people arrived yesterday. They were two lovely ladies, one of which was here from Brazil, and shocked me when she admitted she was thirty years old. I would have sworn she was a college student here doing an internship. Anyway, they stayed exactly an hour, asked all sorts of questions about the personal care products we use, and even took photos of some of them, then handed me a $100 Visa gift card and left.

Let me tell you, that was the easiest $100 I have ever made, and I have decided that since steak is on sale this week at ShopRite, and my family is coming over for dinner next Sunday, we will be grilling steak for dinner (yeah, I’ll have to freeze the steaks, but it will only be for a few days, so they’ll taste fine). So, I need to get thirteen steaks, thirteen nice sized baking potatoes, a few fresh crowns of broccoli, and I’m going to as my mother-in-law to make corn, since everyone loves her corn.

So all that’s left is my birthday cake, which I’ll pick up from Costco late next week, and everything will be done. Costco makes this layered chocolate trifle cake that is absolutely TO DIE FOR. It has layers of dark chocolate cake, dark chocolate mousse, light chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, and shavings of white and dark chocolate. It’s an orgasm for your mouth. It takes great restraint not to pick one up every time I go to Costco. Heck, one time I was craving it so much, I threw a party at my house so I had an excuse to purchase the cake. True story, LOL.

Since there are only five days left until April 1st, AND on April 1st I will be starting Camp NaNoWriMo again, AND will be working on Faerie Tale Queen, AND I will be posting a chapter every few days on Facebook so you can read along, AND since this is a continuation of November’s NaNoWriMo story, I will post three chapters every day on Facebook between now and April 1st, so you can get caught up, or refresh your memory, and don’t have to hunt through all my old posts in order to find the story. (Yes, that sentence was an editing nightmare, but it served its purpose.) Please remember, the chapters posted are exactly as I have typed them, they have not been edited AT ALL, so there are bound to be MANY mistakes. If you’d like to point any out, that’s perfectly fine, and I don’t mind, but know I haven’t even reread the work yet, which is something I do before it goes to the editing phase. There are still holes which need to be filled, and I have to go back and tweak some things as the story unfolds. Okay, enough said, I’m sure you can figure it out.

I did manage to get the one editing piece off to its author yesterday, so today, it’s on to the next one. I’m currently on page 307 out of 630. That means I need to edit eighty-one pages a day. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but trust me, it is. Depending on how many edits there are per page, the average is about fifteen pages an hour. One saving grace on this one is, the author has been getting my edits in installments, so for this second half of the book, I can abbreviate my comments and he’ll know what I mean, or simply highlight something and not even have to leave a comment because he’ll understand.

On that note, I should get going since I need to be on page 388 before I can call it quits for the day. I hope y’all have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

That was the most bizarre combination I have ever seen…

I love mutts. I find they are a much more desirable pet than a high-strung, high-maintenance, pure bread. One of my mutts, Mitzi, was a combination of a Shepherd, a Sheltie, a Pomeranian, and a Corgi. She looked like we stuck a German Shepherd in the dryer and shrunk her. She was the sweetest and smartest dog ever, one I doubt I will ever stop missing. Now we have Colby, who is a Collie Golden mix. He is a gorgeous dog. He looks just like Lassie, but in varying shades of gold.
I also recently saw a puppy who was a mix between a Pomeranian and a Husky. Oh my goodness, talk about a beautiful dog. He was the size of a Pomeranian and had the same hair like a Pomeranian, but he was black and white like a Husky, with a Husky’s piercing blue eyes. I know I have said that after Colby’s gone (which won’t be for at least another ten – twelve years), that I didn’t want any more dogs, but after seeing that Pomeranian/Husky puppy, I would have made an exception.

Now, those are all instances of a mutt combination which has turned out incredibly well. There is one I remember quite distinctly that did not turn out as well. Baby was my mom’s best friend’s dog. Please don’t get me wrong, Baby was a very sweet dog, but she was the most bizarre combination I had ever seen. She had a snout, if you could call it that, like a pug, the tiny head of a wire haired terrier, the fur of a border collie and the body of, well, a potbellied pig. She was hideous looking, but extremely lovable. 

(true story - other than Colby, the pictures were pulled from the internet, and are not the actual dogs, but as close as I could get.)

Your Next Challenge is (I’m going to cheat and use one of the prompts from last night’s writing group):

Write a story about a Ghost and something Red (it can’t be blood).

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25th

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good morning everyone. Yesterday was day two of not moving from my chair, and doing nothing but editing. I’m so close to being finished with the first one, but at 9:30 last night, I just couldn’t do any more. Other than bathroom breaks and food breaks, I worked for eleven hours straight.

Today, immediately after I finish this blog, I’m going to make Dani’s lunch, and then I’m going to start cleaning up the house. I only have until one, because I have to hop in the shower, and then clean up the bathroom afterwards. The folks doing the survey are supposed to be here from 2 – 3.

After that, I’m doing a run to the grocery store. Did you notice I only said Dani when I mentioned making lunches? The only reason she’s getting lunch is because a PB&J is a perfectly acceptable lunch for her. She even puts in special requests for it from time to time. Even though my hubby loves peanut butter, has a big spoonful nearly every night as his midnight snack, he wants a sandwich, with meat on it, for lunch. However, since I have not gone to the grocery store yet this week, there are no cold cuts in the house.

He’ll live. He’s a big boy. Heck, he’ll probably enjoy the prospect of a hot lunch as a change of pace, even though he is a bit out of practice. In an effort to save money, I’ve been packing his lunches for almost two years. On those weekdays when I wasn’t home, Dani would get up early and make him his lunch. I do have one concern; I hope his work schedule today puts him somewhere close to a food source.

If I have any energy left after the grocery store, I will finish up the edits, and get started on the next batch. Three more days of not moving from my chair, but I’m still hopeful I will complete at least two of the projects.

Oh, one last thing, don’t forget about the raffle on my blog. There are like ten prizes to give away, and only two entries so far, so your chances of winning are pretty dang good. As I said, lots to do today, so I should get going. I’ll have a new writing challenge for you tomorrow. Until then, I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Since I literally spent the entire day yesterday editing, I really have nothing interesting to chat about this morning. I did get a tiny reprieve when I realized everyone was coming over next Sunday (the 6th), not this Sunday (the 30th), so the shopping and planning can wait until next week.

Okay, off to make lunches, and then back to editing. I hope y’all have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Write a story containing the following three elements: An Amusement Park, A Monkey, A Flat Tire

When I was a kid, there used to be an amusement park called Jungle Habitat, a few hours away from my home. It was very similar to the safari parks at Six Flags or at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. However, you had to drive your own car through the park, not a park bus or tram like they have now. The funniest thing was, you actually had to sign a waiver saying you wouldn’t sue the park if the animals damaged your car in any way.
Since we did not have the greatest car, this was not really an issue. Seriously, how much damage could an animal do to your car? Well, as long as you didn’t hit it of course, but driving five miles per hour, most people could stop in time before they hit an animal.

My mom went over the rules. Don’t open the windows. Don’t feed the animals (kinda hard to do if you had followed rule one). Do not leave the car under any circumstances. Got it. I’ll behave. Let’s go. I was so excited.

At first there wasn’t much to see, except a bunch of trees and the rag-top convertible ahead of us. Then, as we made our way further along the winding dirt road into the park, I spotted my first animals, a herd of gazelle drinking from a pond. They weren’t doing much, but I was bouncing in my seat, and I had lots of time to watch them, because the rag-top stopped to take pictures. When we came across the zebras, hippos, and elephants, I really started to go nuts, face smooshed up against the back seat window, pointing, tapping, and talking a mile a minute. When my mom let out a funny squeak, I looked toward her, and there, staring her right in the face, was a giraffe.

This was the coolest day ever! Then we drove through this fence/guard post thing that made me feel like we were driving onto the set of F-Troop.

I have no talent for “short” story. Must be the Irish in me. LOL. I was getting there, I promise, and like all true stories, I’ll finish my tale.

The drive through the fence put us in the big cat section, and there were tons of big cats… sleeping. There wasn’t a single one moving around. The most exciting thing I saw in that section was a lion stretch, reposition his head on his paws, and promptly go back to sleep. Now, in their defense, it was the afternoon, the sun was beating down, and it was hot. (Yeah, remember the no windows rolled down rule? And remember I said we had an old car? No air conditioning, but I was a kid.)

The next F-Troop gate (for those of you who don’t recognize the reference, it was a hysterical 60s television show about American soldiers and Indians, in the West, in the 1860s) led us to a baron, dusty, sandy area. Although I don’t remember why, but for the sake of the challenge requirements I was going to say a flat tire, the little red rag-top in front of us stopped. There must have been something wrong with the car, because there was nothing for them to take pictures of in the area, so there was no reason to stop.

Anyway, we noticed some movement in the distance, which slowly came into focus. It was a troop of baboons, and they were sauntering right to us. At first it was exciting, even though their butts freaked me out a bit, but then it turned real ugly, real quick. They were on that rag-top like white on rice. Within seconds they had pulled off the car’s windshield wipers and were chewing on them, the car’s antenna was ripped off, and several were picking at the convertible top. My mom swerved around the car and headed straight for the exit. (She did stop to let them know a car was in distress in the monkey section.)

Okay, enough procrastinating, I need to get to work. Until tomorrow…

Your Next Challenge is:

That was the most bizarre combination I have ever seen…

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23rd

Hi, it’s Christina –

Quick, quick, quick and no writing challenge today. I’m down to seven days, and one of those days needs to be spent cleaning my house because I have people coming over to do a study (they are paying me $100 for my opinion on products I use). If it wasn’t a of friend of my S-I-L who was doing it, I probably would have said no thank you, but they needed ten folks in the area, I don’t have to be using their product, and I don’t even have to try their product. A hundred dollars for an hour of my time, and all I have to do is talk… sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

So the house has to be cleaned for that, and also for Sunday when everyone comes here for my birthday dinner. Plus I have shopping to do for the dinner as well. I’m hoping I can cram everything into one day so I can spend the other six editing. I should be finished with one today, so that will give me five days to finish the other one, and start the third one. I’m not going to rush through any of them just because it would be easier on me to have a clean plate going into April. It wouldn’t be fair. I’ll just spend April a little sleep deprived.

Okay, let me boogie. I’m so close to being finished with this one edit, I just want to have a check in my “done” column. I hope you have a glorious Sunday, and happy writing!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22nd Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Guess what? This is my 300th Blog post. Holy cow!

I forgot to say it Thursday, so I’ll say it now… HAPPY SPRING! So did you go and get your free Rita’s on Thursday? I forgot completely, and Dani didn’t say anything. I guess it’s not as big a deal o high school kids as it was for the middle school kids. Dani and her friends would walk to Rita’s on the first day of spring, and then I’d have to fight the traffic to pick them up. I’ll admit, I’m not overly sad the tradition has been broken. Lol

It’s Saturday morning, and every flat surface in my house is not covered with sleeping teenagers; and guess what, it won’t be tonight either. Amazing, right? The pack of kids slept at Adam’s last night, and tonight they are all sleeping at Shauna’s. A whole weekend without teenagers… man is it quiet around here! Now, please don’t get me wrong, there aren’t five to seven kids sleeping here every weekend, but one or two is more the rule than the exception.

I did receive my proof copy of Corporate Blues in the mail yesterday, and it proved to me I’m an…idiot! When writing, and then editing, you have your work double spaced because it is easier to read and review. However, when you format the book for print, it’s supposed to be single spaced. Wanna take a guess what this dummy forgot to do? Now Corporate Blues is a hundred pages shorter, which means the alignment and font of the writing on the spine of the book is off. I had to shoot Matt an email this morning to tell him of my mistake, and to begggggg his forgiveness. I so hate making mistakes which cause more work for others! On a positive note, since the book is smaller, I was able to reduce the price to $10.95 from $14.95, so that makes me happy.

I figure I have two and a half to three hours where I can work this morning before I have to go and pick up Dani, but after I get her, we have running around to do, so that means the rest of my day is shot. I have made a lot of progress. Do I think I’ll finish all three edits and the review in eight days? No, but I should have two finished. Other than my blog and a few hours this morning fixing my print file, I have been doing nothing but editing; six to seven hours straight, every day, of nothing but editing.

Now you might say, “So what? I work at my job for eight hours a day, every day.” I usually do three, or at the most four, hours in a row because, other than my eyes usually start to cross after three hours, I find I get more and more witchy with my comments, and I don’t like to do that, it’s counterproductive. I may have had to highlight the exact same mistake sixty-eight times, but the author has not been made aware of, nor been given the opportunity to correct, said mistake. However, since I’m under a deadline, I am pushing on and making a conscious effort to quell my poison pen, so the comments will be helpful and not a reflection of me getting cranky. I’ve only had to backspace and correct one so far, so it’s working.

Now, that’s not to say I won’t make the occasional tongue and cheek comment like “So how did that desert taste?” when the author wrote desert instead of dessert, but that’s just my style of editing. We all do silly stuff like that, it doesn’t mean we are a bad writers, it means we are human, and that’s what editors are for anyway, right? (Remember I told you in one of my books I inadvertently had “piece” of mind instead of “peace” of mind, and since my character was not berating someone, nor offering a chunk of grey matter, it was the wrong word.)

Okay, it’s time for me to put my nose to the grindstone. I hope y’all have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

The tunnel stretched on and on…

Charlie clutched his side, bent over, and took in gulps of air. He needed a minute to catch his breath, but he wasn’t sure he had a minute to spare. They were close, he knew it. He knew his only chance at escape was at the other end of this never ending tunnel. With one final breath, he straightened and forged on. His legs and lungs burned, but he couldn’t stop until he reached the highway.

It can’t be much further, can it? How the hell did I get myself into this kind of mess? This shit only happens in the movies, not to real people, not to a nobody like me.

As he ran, he replayed the events of the past forty-eight hours in his mind. The strange email, the encrypted message, the scrolling list of figures and coordinates. It hadn’t made any sense. It had obviously been sent to him in error, an error someone has now realized, and was now trying to remedy.

Your Next Challenge is:

Write a story containing the following three elements: An Amusement Park, A Monkey, A Flat Tire

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Friday, March 21, 2014

March 21st Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Somehow I have managed to anger the Facebook gods again, because my “people who have seen this post” has dropped from the high two-hundred / low three-hundred range to the under one hundred range. I know it’s just a ploy to try to get me to pay to boost my page, and I will not get into how unscrupulous I believe that practice to be because you’ve heard me rant before, but it still fries my cookies! It just seems a little too coincidental they always manage to do this to me when I have something I really want my readers to see – the release of a new book, an event, a sale, a raffle, whatever. Okay, I’m done.

I’m happy to report, yesterday was very productive, even with a mid-day distraction. If the next several days can be as productive, I just might be able to clear my plate by the 30th as planned. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Okay, since I want to stay on track, I’m going to get right into things today. I hope y’all have a fantastic Friday, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Cloud watching…

I’ve cloud watched for as long as I can remember, even if I cannot remember who got me started. It’s enjoyable. It’s relaxing. It’s free entertainment. Most importantly though, it is a spark to the imagination.

I have no idea how many bunnies or fish or dogs in the sky I have seen over my lifetime. All were fun, I’m sure, at the time, but they hardly kept a prominent place in my memory. There have, however, been a few cloud images which I think I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

When I was ten years old, I was lying on the grass trying to teach my four year old cousin the art of cloud watching, when a giant shark cloud ate a ship cloud. The coolest part was my cousin saw it happen as well. Then, when I was fifteen or sixteen, one mild fall evening, some friends of mine and I were lying on a hill looking up at the moon and chatting. Slowly the clouds started rolling in, and one of those moisture rings began to form a glowing circle around the moon. Within minutes the clouds started to form shapes. It still makes me shiver remembering the moon completely encircled with skulls.

The best cloud story to date happened just the other night. I brought the dog out one last time before I was headed to bed. The moon was full and the clouds were wispy. Then the most amazing thing happened. One cloud took on the form of a child’s face, and another took on the form of his arms and hands – fingers and all. There was an actual look of wonder on the child’s face, and the arms were outstretched the hands cupped. (Picture hands accepting Communion.) Between the child’s face and his cupped hands was the full moon.

This actually happened the other night. I was so mesmerized; I stood outside until the clouds had completely dissipated. Then I rushed in to tell my husband what I saw. At one point, the details were so crisp, it looked like a painting. As I said, you could see the wonder in the child’s face. His hands, you could see each finger distinctly, and then they cupped and his arms stretched out as if he was trying to capture the moon in his hands. It was so unexpected and so beautiful, it really moved me. I doubt I will ever forget the image.

Your Next Challenge is:

The tunnel stretched on and on…

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.