Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Not really my kitchen
Good Morning! Today is my last day before insanity starts, so I am going to spend it getting my house organized. A bomb blew up in the kitchen, the waste baskets are overflowing, and I have a boatload of laundry to do… to name just a few. I also need to go grocery shopping, and I need to go back to Costco because when I got there yesterday, the pharmacy was already closed, and I needed to pick up a prescription.

I’m in a bit of a quandary. When I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, I said I was going to be working on a new story, Taming Tate, but I still haven’t finished Faerie Tale Queen. I’m thinking one last run through NaNo and FTQ will be finished, but I feel guilty working on the same book for three consecutive NaNos.

However, I do have some extra incentive to finish FTQ. Remember the NYC publisher, who wanted Corporate Blues, but I rejected the contracts he offered? Well, he came back again with a contract I would have accepted, but I had already published Corporate Blues. I told him I was working on FTQ, and I would give him first swing at it. If he accepts it, we’ll go forward; but here’s the catch, I have to have it to him before the end of July. If I spend July on Taming Tate, I won’t have time to finish FTQ.

I know this probably sounds like a no-brainer, but here’s the catch. Just like with Corporate Blues, Faerie Tale Queen already has a cover I love, and I assigned it ISBN#s. If I go with the publisher, my cover will change, and I have wasted the two ISBN#s because they will have to be reassigned. Am I being short sighted? Should I just suck up the money I spent already and go the traditional publishing route again? Hah, I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t even know if they will accept FTQ. What do y’all think? I’d really like to know.

On another topic, my $0.99 Sale went well, but I fell shy of my goal of selling a hundred books, by eight books. I really thought the sale didn’t end until midnight tonight, but when I checked Amazon this morning, the price was back up to $2.99 (I lowered the price from $4.95 to $2.99 a little over a month ago). I know there are still several hours left before the end of the month, but I doubt I’ll sell eight books today. I did break the top 10K mark overall on the Amazon ranking list, and the top 500 mark for historical romances, so that’s something.

I can run another sale for, but I think I will hold off until September so I can run the sale for both UK & US at the same time. Also, if I don’t go the traditional publishing route, I can include FTQ in the promotion.

What I’m really hoping for is that one of the fifty-tree copies of A Second Chance that sold will generate two more reviews so I can qualify for a different type of promotion. A friend of mine told me about it, and he sold over five hundred books during the promotion, and has been selling several books daily since the promotion.

Unfortunately for me, they won’t even consider promoting a book until it has ten reviews, and I have been stuck at eight for quite some time now. I don’t understand it. Why don’t folks review books after they have read them? It takes less than five minutes, and the reviews don’t need to be anything elaborate. A few sentences and you’re done. Yet less than 2% of the people who have read A Second Chance, have written a review for it. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of being a writer, because I have absolutely no control over it. Sometimes this whole marketing thing makes my head spin.

Enough! I babbled so much yesterday, we never got to the challenge, and I don’t want to do that again today. I hope you have a marvelous day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

There was this one time…

There was this one time, many years ago, when I had wanted to pack everything up and move to Florida. I was working for a company which had offices in Jacksonville, and I would have been able to transfer. I would have had to pay my own moving expenses, but I didn’t care.

For months I poured over real estate listings, maps and school reports. I researched and carefully put together my pitch so I could sell my husband on the idea. I narrowed the list down to three possibilities. Each of the houses was in the best rated school district. Each home had five bedrooms, one for us, one for each of our children and a guest room. Every house had a pool, and one even had a dock for my husband’s fishing boat.

I got comps for our house here in New Jersey so we could get a good idea of how much it would sell for. Between the sale of our house here and the new one in Florida, our mortgage would have been less than $50K. The taxes for a year on the Florida home were the same as one month’s taxes on our New Jersey home. I would have been able to afford all the bills on my salary alone, and my husband would have been able to start his own business.

I had all my ducks in a row. The children were all behind me on the move. I was excited. I presented everything, full color photos of the property and all, to my husband, and he wouldn’t even look at it. There was no way he was going to move away from his family. It didn’t matter that I had made sure each of the houses would accommodate for an extended stay from them, or even my offer, that when the time came, they could move in with us. He wouldn’t budge.

This is a true story, and as you can probably tell from my tone, it is one that still bothers me. Instead of having a nice new home in Florida, my husband having his own business, and our kids being able to go to college at greatly reduced rates, we are still here in New Jersey, in our fifty year old little ranch which does not have the same property value as it did ten years ago, paying exorbitant amounts on mortgage, taxes and college. I love the man dearly, but sometimes his shortsightedness makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

Your Next Challenge is:

You visit some place you have not seen since you were a child.

You have ten 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, June 29, 2014

June 29th

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Yesterday we were up early (summertime early, not real life early) and out of the house. Lys needed to be at work for nine, so Dani and I dropped her off and…ready for this?... headed to the mall. That’s right, I voluntarily went to the mall.

We got there around 9:20, which I thought was good, because I thought they opened at 9:30. I could swear, when I worked there, we opened at 9:30. I was wrong. They open at 10:00. Now I’m at a mall, with a fifteen year old who was woken up five hours early on a summer Saturday, and all the stores are still closed. Yikes!

I suggest we walk to the furthest store from where we are, to kill a little time. (My idea was to start at the furthest store and work our way back to where the car was parked.) Anyway, five minutes later, we get to the opposite end of the mall, and lo and behold, Vera Bradley’s door was open. They were having a huge sale, so I wanted to stop in and see if I could find anything.

As if I wouldn’t. I got their Grand Traveler, a huge weekender bag, which will be perfect for my trip to Dallas in August. It was available only in a few select colors, and in my opinion Venetian Paisley was the least annoying, but $120 bag for $60, I wasn’t going to be too picky. I also picked up two cosmetic bag trios – one to give as a gift, and a towel. The towel was free with a $100 purchase, so it and the other cosmetic bag trio, Dani is putting away to give to me for Christmas. Not bad, I get three Vera Bradly bags in my pattern (petal paisley) and a towel in my pattern, for $20. I think Dani will get the bargain of the season award this Christmas.

After we were done at Vera Bradley, we still had fifteen minutes left before all the other stores opened, so Dani ran our purchases back to the car so we didn’t have to carry them around the mall while we shopped. When she got back, we hit Bath and Bodyworks, swapped out a lotion Lys got as a gift for a scent she actually liked, and I picked up some stocking stuffers – they were having a buy three, get three free sale. Then we were finally able to get to the stores Dani wanted to go to. 

She did some damage in Forever 21 and Love Culture. Dani got some shorts, a bathing suit, some really cute tops, and a hat that says “Selfie” on it. She was a happy camper. We then bid ado to the mall, and made a quick stop at Barnes & Nobel to pick up her summer reading book. They had three of the books on the suggested list, and of those three, Dani chose The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, not because the story actually interested her, but because it was the shortest of the three books. 

The child absolutely hates to read, which I find sad. I’m hoping, like what happened to her sister, one day she’ll find a book which sparks her interest, and she will begin to see what she has been missing. I guess to each her own, but I couldn’t imagine not reading. 

Even though The Alchemist was not on my “must read” list, because it’s the one Dani chose, it is now. I have read every single book each of my children has had assigned to them for summer reading, so I really don’t have a choice. The story seems interesting, so hopefully it won’t be too painful. A few years back, Lys was assigned that “cups of tea” book, and I was pulling my hair out trying to get through it. I never could understand what all the hype was over that book.

On our way out the door, we spotted a sign for iced drinks, and I asked her if she wanted one. You know, a peace offering after making her pick a summer reading book. I went over to the café section of B&N and ordered us two Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccinoes. Oh my word! I am not a Starbuck’s fan. I think their coffee tastes burnt, but these were YUMMY! I’m sure they contain about a zillion calories, so I need to limit myself to one a month, and only during the hot months.

When we got back home, I wanted to take a nap because I knew we were going to have a late night, and I still wasn’t feeling 100%. Just as I dozed off, Dani knocks on my door and tells me Lys needs to be picked up from work. They weren’t supposed to be done until four. This is the second day this has happened to me.

On Friday, she was supposed to be there until nine. I wasn’t feeling well, so I went and laid down. I was probably asleep for no more than fifteen minutes when Dani woke me up and said I needed to pick up Lys. It was 4:15. Not only was I feeling crummy and was now foggy from an interrupted nap, I had to deal with Friday rush hour traffic. Let’s just say, I wasn’t good company on Friday evening.

So, I go and get Lys, and then when we get home, I try again to take a nap. It didn’t work. After lying there for twenty minutes, I gave up. There wasn’t enough time before we had to leave to finish making the jelly I started on Friday, so I just chilled for a little while in front of the idiot box.

Last night, we all went to the town’s fireworks display. I had planned on sharing some photos with you, but for some reason, my phone is refusing to send them to my email. The fireworks were great, they even had a few I had never seen before which was cool. I bumped into a few folks I haven’t had the chance to see in a while, so that was great as well.

All in all, it was a lovely evening, but when I got home, I realized I never made the bed after I had stripped it. So there I am, at ten thirty at night, wrestling with sheets and pillowcases. Thankfully, my hubby is the one who puts the sheets on the bed because, with my back, I can’t lift the mattress from the bed to get the sheets in place properly. (Our bed used to be a waterbed, but now we have a regular mattress, which sits in the old waterbed frame, and I can’t lift it out of the frame to tuck the sheet under the corners.)

We finally get the bed made. I fall in, get comfortable, then realize I forgot to do something. So I drag my butt back out of bed, finish what I needed to do – five minutes before the midnight deadline, and then crawl back into bed. I was completely exhausted, but wouldn’t you know it, I tossed and turned for at least an hour before I finally fell asleep. I really hate when that happens!

Okay, I have rambled on for long enough, so we will do the writing challenge tomorrow instead. I hope you have a super day, and happy writing!

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Today is going to another crazy day, but what else is new? Dani and the dog around 1:00, Lys to work for 2:45, Max (my nephew) to work for 4:00. Glad I filled up the gas tank!

I was so aggravated yesterday. RV’s daughter had an eye doctor’s appointment at 2:45. We got there ate 2:40 and checked in. At 3:15 I asked what the holdup was, and was told the doctor had an emergency. They finally took her in at 3:50, and I don’t think they would have even taken her if I hadn’t pitched a fit. I thought it was rude and unprofessional. They should have said something from the get-go that the doctor was delayed, and they should have offered to reschedule. What I was tempted to do was give them a bill for MY time. If it was my own kid, or my own appointment, I would have made my displeasure abundantly clear. I abhor people who think their time is more valuable than someone else’s!

Okay, before it gets too hot, I’m going to go outside and pick a vat of mulberries. I have it in my pea brain that I want to make mulberry jam. The berries are yummy, and I think it’s a shame that every year the only ones who get to enjoy the mulberries are the animals in the yard. They have a grand old time getting drunk on the berries when they begin to ferment after they have fallen off the tree.

I’m going to look back through my blog to see if I have told you the stories. If I haven’t, I will tomorrow. They’re a hoot.

I hope you have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

The happiest corpse I’ve ever seen.

Actual photo of one of the themed funerals -
Yup, this lady's really dead
I was flipping through the channels a few weeks ago. It was a Saturday afternoon, there was no one home, and I had nothing to do. There was apparently nothing appealing on TV, and I became more and more frustrated as the numbers got higher. Then something caught my eye. I have no idea what channel I was on, nor do I think I ever heard the name of the show, but as far as I was concerned, it should have been called My Big Fat Creepy Funeral. 

There is actually a place, somewhere down south, which does themed funerals. Yes, you heard me correctly, themed funerals.

So, the story which mesmerized me, like an accident along the highway, was about this southern socialite’s passing. She had had everything planned out with the funeral home beforehand, and let me tell you, she was the happiest corpse I had ever seen. There was not a casket in sight. Instead, she was lounging on a settee, ankles crossed over really adorable pumps. She wore a lovely flowing mint chiffon dress, adorned with two strings of pearls, and a matching bonnet. In her hand, a mint julep. The atmosphere of the wake was that of a garden party. I guess Miss Whomever wanted to host one last shindig before she went the perpetual Derby Day in the sky.

Your Next Challenge is:

There was this one time…

You have ten 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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Sorry I have been M.I.A. for a few days, but I had to spend every spare second finishing the editing assignment. I am happy to say, as of eleven o’clock last night, I’m DONE!

It was a wonderful story, and I’m thrilled he wrote this sequel to his first book. All the loose ends left in the first one were tied up nicely. Maybe “loose ends” isn’t the best choice of words, because the first story did end well. Perhaps unresolved issues would have been a better way to say it. There was even one point, near the end of the story, which brought a tear to my eye – it was a truly moving scene. I can’t wait to see the book when all the edits are complete.

As soon as I’m allowed, I will tell you all about the book. I do feel really bad the editing took me so long, because now the author has an extremely small window to finish the edits before his deadline. Thankfully, he only has the last few chapters to revise, and from the notes I gave him with the first batch of edits I sent, he very well have already fixed some of the issues, even without my final edits. Regardless, he still has a few grueling days ahead of him to meet deadline.

On the home front, Dani and her dog-sitting assignment are going well, Lys began training for her new job, and PJ finally sold his motorcycle! It has been a hectic few days around here. Lys has been dropping me off, and picking me up, from work so she could have the car to do whatever running around she needed to do, and to get Dani to her dog-sitting gig. She’s also has had to bring my nephew to work because my sister in law is working, my brother in law is away on a business trip, and my in-laws are on a mini vacation in AC.

Then, when I come home from work, I have to drive Lys to her training, and then pick her up when it’s over. She was supposed to be finished the first night at nine, but she didn’t get out until after nine-thirty, and then last night, she was half an hour late getting out again. By now you know, I’m not a night owl. Nine, ten o’clock at night, I want to be home, not waiting in my car for an extra half hour because the director is chatty and can’t tell time. Whatever, I can suck it up for the next few days, then starting Monday, Lys will be riding the bus to and from work, so it will no longer be my issue.

For the next few days, I’m going to take it easy. The only writing I’ll be doing is this blog. I figure it’s best I recharge, because in less than five days, Camp NaNoWriMo starts, and I’m going to need all the energy I can store to get through it.

On Monday, the sale started for my Kindle books. Now through June 30th, all three of my books are on sale for only $0.99. As luck would have it, Amazon featured A Second Chance as their “Deal of the Day”, so the promotion got some free advertising. Yeah! I’ve sold twenty-six books during the first three days of the sale, and my overall ranking on Amazon has jumped considerably, so I’m happy with that. I’ve also had an increase in my number of books borrowed, which I think is kinda cool.

Here’s a rare sales pitch. The books are less than a buck. If you haven’t read them, and you need something to read while you’re sitting by the pool or at the beach, why don’t you grab a copy now? The price won’t be this low again until right before Christmas. Okay, I’m done.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

You are a tasty treat in a bakery display.

No don’t look over there. Those are cupcakes. Anyone can make cupcakes. They’re nothing special. Come down this way. Look over here. 

Cookies? You’re looking at cookies? You have got to be kidding me. Why would you even pause at the cookies when I’m over here, flaunting my light flaky layers and luscious hazelnut whipped filling? Have you no taste for decadence? Is your palate so uneducated you cannot appreciate epicurean ecstasy? Peasant, why am I even expending my energies on you? The effort is making my chocolate curls unravel.

Oh, what’s this? You’ve decided to grace us with your presence? Should I be honored? 

How dare you look at me with such indifference? Is that disdain I see? An éclair? You chose an éclair over me? Just as I suspected, neophyte. Well, enjoy your mediocre treat, I shall bestow my gastronomic pleasures upon more discerning taste buds.

Your Next Challenge is (from Tuesday’s writing group):

The happiest corpse I’ve ever seen.

You have ten 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.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23rd Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

I made mini strawberry shortcakes
Good Morning! I never got to my blog yesterday, sorry. Other than wishing a few folks Happy Birthday, I really wasn’t online. When I got up, I started working on the salad and dessert I needed to bring with me to the annual church picnic. By the time I finished making them, it was time to jump into the shower and get ready for church.

Ready for a shocker? My hubby came with Dani and me to church, and it was his idea. Two weeks ago, at Dani’s confirmation, we saw the sign-up sheet for the picnic in the vestibule, and I made the comment I would like for us to go. Getting my husband to go to church for something other than Christmas, Easter or a special occasion, is like pulling teeth, so I thought my request fell on deaf ears.

Then on Monday, my mom called and asked to borrow our cooler. I said I had to ask my husband because the cooler was brand new, and it was his Christmas present from PJ and Alex, so it wasn’t mine to lend. When he came home from work, I asked him. He said “No” and that we’d be needing it for the church picnic. Then he said, “We’re still going, right?” I was like, yeah, sure, I didn’t think of that, and tried to play it real cool, but I was doing the happy dance inside.

Now I have no delusion my husband will all of a sudden start wanting to go to church, but it was nice that he actually wanted to go this time. It’s a shame he doesn’t want to go, and I know if I push, he’ll just resent it even more. It’s a battle I choose not to wage, and I’m happy for the occasions when he does join me.

So, we had an absolutely fabulous day for the picnic. It was sunny, there was virtually no humidity, and there was a light breeze. I’d guess we had between forty and fifty people there, but it was hard to tell, with all the kids running in
I wanted you to see what a
cool house they had, but this
is the only photo I could find.
different directions, to get an accurate head count.

Carolyn and John have hosted the picnic for several years now. Their house is up the road from our church. It’s a lovely 200+ year old house on a beautiful piece of property. I did learn something new, the house was originally our church’s parsonage; one of our original ministers and his family lived there.

We did have one uninvited guest at the picnic. One of the church members was in the playground with his daughter when he noticed an enormous moth. He snapped a photo on his phone and brought it over to the grill, where I was helping John and Caroline with the burgers and dogs, and asked about it. None of us had ever seen anything like it, so in turn, we all went to investigate.
I was about two feet away. It really
 was almost as big as my hand.

I dragged Dani with me, and made her take a picture. Can you believe the size of this thing? That’s my hand in the photo (that’s as close as I was going to get – I didn’t want to scare it off, so others wouldn’t be able to see it too). I had every intention of sharing the photo with you this morning because it was something I had never seen before and I thought you would find it interesting. Then, while I was scrolling through this morning’s Facebook posts, I saw a post from one of my friends from High School. She posted a picture of a very similar moth which was on here screen yesterday. Then someone commented with a photo saying she had one on her garbage can.

Clearer photo from the web
Apparently these Mothras were appearing all over New Jersey, so of course, I had to go investigate. After several sites and oodles of photos, I think I have narrowed it down to a Citheronia-regalis, aka, Royal Walnut Moth, and according to the website, there have been confirmed sightings of the moth in our town (ironically a few doors down from my in-laws).

Okay, enough about bugs. Today is going to be a long day. In a couple of hours I have to go and pick up Dani, she slept over a friend’s house last night. Then we have to go do the dog sitting thing. After that, I plan on spending several hours editing. Hopefully, I will be able to complete the job today. Then I am going to take a nap, or at least try to, because I have to leave my house at ten tonight and drive to Newark Airport to pick up Lys. Her flight arrives at eleven.

These late night flights of hers are going to be the death of me. I usually turn into a pumpkin by ten at night. That, plus the fact I hate driving at night. I’ll admit it, I’m getting older, and my night vision is not as crisp as I would like it to be. I find myself having to drive via the white line to try and avert my eyes from the glare of oncoming traffic. This only allows you to see so far ahead of you, but luckily my reaction time has not diminished much…yet. The minute I feel it has, I will avoid driving at night.

Alright, I have babbled on long enough. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

If household objects had personalities.

If. If? What do you mean if? I have a house full of objects with their own personalities, mostly persnickety personalities. Not one of them works when I want them to or in the way I want them to, and what’s really annoying is when they don’t get along with each other. For example, if I have the Keurig brewing my morning coffee, I can’t nuke a breakfast sandwich or we will lose power to the entire house. Now, I can literally have every other appliance going at the same time with no issue, but the Keurig and the microwave will not work together.

My blender is a bit of a hot head. It likes what it likes, and lord help you if you try to blend something it does not like. It loves making milkshakes, blends them to perfection. It is also a fan of smoothies and potato, bacon
, cheddar soup. However, whenever I try to make split pea soup, some calamity occurs and I end up with green globs dripping from my ceiling, cabinets, and my nose. Now, if my blender was a person, I’d be able to say I didn’t blame him. Not many people like pea soup, and the only reason I make it is for my in laws, but the blender is not human so it should not have a preference as to what it blends, right?

The Lazy boy in the living room, the one which was originally a gift for my husband, but I have since appropriated as my home base for all my writing, hates my youngest daughter. I sit in the chair with no problems what so ever. Others sit in it
with no issue. Dani goes to sit in it, the foot rest won’t go up or down. If she does manage to get the foot rest to work, and tries to recline, the chair tips over backwards. I swear, she’s not doing anything wrong. I’ve watched her closely. The chair simply hates her and doesn’t want her sitting on it.

Your Next Challenge is:

You are a tasty treat in a bakery display.

You have ten 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, June 21, 2014

June 21st Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning and Happy Summer Solstice! Today is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Well, that’s not exactly correct, today still only contains 24 hours, but a majority of those 24 hours will be spent in the light, a little over fifteen hours of light. Here in New Jersey, the sun peaked over the horizon at 5:30, and it is not scheduled to set until 8:32. Then if you factor in the light before the sun rises and after it sets, it will probably come to closer to sixteen hours of light. Sure beats the sixteen hours of dark during the winter solstice!!

“Solstice” is derived from the Latin “sol sistere” which translates to sun stands still, and has been a day of celebration around the world, since the dawn of time. Also called Litha, Midsummer (which never made any sense to me because it is the first day of summer), and St. John’s Day, to name a few. For the most part, the celebrations celebrate the power of the sun. Well, except St. John’s day, which is a celebration of John the Baptist’s birthday.

Even if you do not celebrate any of these (which I don’t), today is the longest day, and hopefully you were blessed with a beautiful day like the one we are having here in Central New Jersey. So go outside, enjoy the extra hours of daylight, work on a project or simply read a book; but while you’re out there, you may want to take a moment to pause and be thankful for all our sun provides.

I hope you have a blessed day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Summer has finally arrived…

The whirl of the lawn mowers and weed whackers
The buzz of the bees, the chirping of the birds
Children’s laughter as they run through a sprinkler or splash in a pool
The smells of sunscreen, bug spray and citronella candles
The taste of potato salad, watermelon, and burgers hot off the grill
Hot days and air conditioned nights
Blue Italia ice stained lips, and fingers sticky from melting ice cream
Tan legs, freckled noses and sun-streaked hair
The crash of the surf, the cries of the gulls, salt water on your lips
Summer has finally arrived

I swear I did not intentionally hold off on this challenge so it would coincide with the summer solstice.

Your Next Challenge is (scarfed from my writing group):

If household objects had personalities.

You have ten 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.

June 20th

I just realized I forgot to post yesterday's blog, so here it is, a day late:

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Well it’s Friday, and we made it through another week. I don’t know about you, but this week has been a little crazy. I feel like I’m running and running and running, but not getting much done. Unfortunately, today’s not going to be much different.

As soon as Dani gets out of the shower (yes a teenager on summer vacation is up and in the shower before 8:00 am), I have to hop in. Then we are headed off to a family from church’s house – out in the middle of nowhere. They are going to Chicago for ten days, and Dani is going to be watching their dog. It’s a pretty sweet deal. The dad isn’t going to Chicago because he can’t get off from work, so he will be home normal hours, but the mom didn’t want the dog left alone all day. So, Dani has to go over in the afternoon, give the dog a treat, let him out, and play with him for an hour, and she’ll get $10 a day.

Lys isn’t too happy about it because this is the family she babysits for, and she couldn’t watch the dog because she was in Florida, so she recommended Dani; but she thinks, on the days she is home and has to drive Dani up there, she should be getting ½ of the money. Ahhh, no. If she insists, then I’m going to tell her fine, but then she has to pay for the gas going to and from her training for her summer job. I’m thinking she’ll back down real quick.

I get it, she’s trying to make as much money as possible before she goes back to school, but come on. Her sister is fifteen years old, and this will probably be her only job all summer. I will make one concession, next Wednesday, Dani is going with me and won’t be available to play with the dog, so Lys can have the $10 for that day. Sometimes my kids make me twitch! LOL

After we get the dog deal hammered out, we are headed to DMV. I only have ten days left on my driver’s license, so I need to get a new one. I’m hoping I don’t have to come up with a hundred and two ways to prove I’m me. (Photo ID, old Driver’s License, Passport, SS Card, Utility Bill, etc.) It was absolutely ridiculous the last time I went to get my license renewed. I think they stay up late at night thinking up ways to make our lives more difficult. At least I will be going to the Flemington DMV, and the folks there are so very nice, pleasant, courteous, efficient… Can you believe I’m saying that about a DMV? Well it’s true. Ooo, perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything because now all the Jersey folks will go to the Flemington DMV and it will get crowded. No, stay away, they’re terrible there… J
Archie, the greeter in
Flemington, ShopRite

From there, we’ll be going to ShopRite, because if I hear “There’s nothing to eat in the house!” one more time, there will be bloodshed. There can be no complaining about the food if the culprit comes shopping with me.

My final project for the day is reclaiming my bedroom. We brought all our summer clothes up from the basement, but I hadn’t packed up the winter clothes yet, so my room looks like a bomb blew up in it. We have a tiny, forty-nine year old, three bedroom ranch. My hubby and I share a five foot long by two foot deep closet, in a fourteen foot square room. There is no room for two seasons of clothing.

Okay, Dani’s out of the shower, so it’s my turn. I didn’t leave myself the ten minutes needed to do the prompt, so you’ll get a new writing challenge tomorrow. I hope you have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18th

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Sorry folks, for the past few days I have been embroiled in two large projects, and for the first time, my blog was third on my priority list, but I just wanted to briefly check in so you wouldn’t think I fell off the edge of the earth.

I wanted to make one last push on the editing project I was struggling with, and I did manage to get some more finished, but I was not able to complete the assignment. I feel horrible about it. The book is really great, but I was having such a hard time focusing, that it took me an inordinate amount of time to edit each page properly. 

Honestly, I overextended myself, and my brain was fried. I should have never taken on the assignment, but the author is such a sweet, sweet man, and he is a talented writer, and I wanted to be able to help him out. Unfortunately, I let him down, and I let myself down. This is the first time I have missed a deadline, and I am more than a little annoyed with myself.

The other project was building another Indie author support network. I have roughly twenty folks in the group right now, and we are working together at getting all the kinks out for how the group is going to work, before we roll it out to other authors. Yeah me, the techno ditz, is trying to run an online group. Thankfully others in the group are tech savvy and are willing to assist.

On the home front, Lys arrived safely at my dad’s in Florida, Dani has finished school for the summer, and PJ just received notification he has made the Dean’s List again. Father’s Day was great. The boat only broke down twice while they were out, but the made it back to the dock in one piece, so it was a successful adventure. My garden is starting to look like a jungle, and I’ve been managing to keep my allergies relatively in check.

Okay, back to my projects. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you a writing challenge again by this weekend. Until then, I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! First and foremost, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, and to those men who step in as dads for kids that aren’t their own!

I love my dad, but to be honest, he wasn’t around much. My parents separated when I was very young, and I really didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my dad (except for the couple of years I worked with him at his fish market). It’s okay, I adjusted. He’s just not a “hands on” family guy, some people aren’t, and I find that I’m happier now that I have accepted that. Please don’t get me wrong, my dad’s a great guy. I love my dad, and I know he loves me, but there were times while growing up when a girl needs her dad, and he wasn’t available.

Luckily for me, I was blessed with another man who treated me like his daughter. No, my mom never remarried. I’m talking about one of my best friend’s dads. He scolded me, praised me, gave me advice, let me cry on his shoulder, laughed with me (and occasionally at me), and told me I was “being a jack ass” whenever I needed it. He was also the first adult who ever told me he was proud of me. He couldn’t have loved me more if I actually was his own flesh and blood, so you see, I really did have the dad I needed while I was growing up.

He even loved my children as if they were his grandchildren. He would pal around with PJ – oh you should have seen the two of them go-cart racing down the shore, they were hysterical. He always had plenty of hugs and a lap for my girls to curl up on to feel safe and secure.

A dad doesn’t go by where I don’t miss him terribly. Unfortunately, cancer took “dad” in November, 2007, and on that day, right before Thanksgiving, the world lost a truly great man. Again, don’t get me wrong, he was far from perfect. There were times when he was a “jack ass” himself, but his big heart and goofy smile made it all worth it.

So to my real dad in Florida, and my “other dad” in Heaven, I wish you both a very happy Father’s Day. I love you!

I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Use the following in a story: PLACE: a Library, EVENT: a power outage, SITUATION: you hear a scream

This was more than I bargained for. All I wanted to do was return a book to the library I had borrowed. I usually just drop it into the return bin outside, but I had forgotten to return the book before vacation, so now I had to go in and pay the fifty cent late fee.

Of course, I chose a day when just about everyone in town was at the library. I did not bother to look at the calendar before I left home, my only concern was to return the book before the fine went up to seventy-five cents. If I had looked at the calendar, I would have seen Gloria Grace, the famous murder mystery writer, was having a book signing, which meant the library would be a zoo. Ms. Grace always has a great turnout when she does her signings. How could she not? Not only are her books fabulous, she’s was born and raised in our little town.

I parked my car in the last available slot, tucked the book into my jacket, pulled up my hood, and sprinted through the downpour to the front door. When I made it inside, I was soaked from the knees down, and the hair which had escaped during my mad dash was dripping, but the book was safe, and that was all I cared about. There was no way I was going to shell out $28.95 to replace the book. It wasn’t really good.

I wove my way, through the throngs of people, to the front desk, avoiding the crowd gathered around Gloria Grace. I had signed copies of all her books, so there was no need for me to join in the foray.

I’m hopeless. I can’t write a short story to save my life. There was going to be lightening, the lights were going to go out, there was going to be a scream, there was going to be confusion, the lights were going to come back on, there was going to be more screams, and Gloria Grace was going to be dead on the floor – murdered like one of the characters in her novels.

Your Next Challenge is:

Summer has finally arrived…

You have ten 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.