Friday, January 30, 2015

January 30th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! WARNING, I’m about to drop a four letter word. I don’t do this often, especially not this four letter word, but it is unavoidable at this time. I’m sorry if I offend any of you, but here goes…

After Sunday, I need to start a D.I.E.T. There, I said it…ugh!!! You see, I just found out that my oldest friend in the world – meaning we were thrown in the same crib together, not that she’s old; she’s actually seven months younger than me – is getting married. So, if I don’t want to look like a beached whale in, most likely, the very last bridesmaid’s dress I’ll ever have to wear, drastic measures need to be taken.

Fair warning, I get cranky when I’m hungry, and I have a sweet tooth the size of Mount Rainier. This isn’t going to be pretty, but I’ve done it before.

One of my best friends, Rebecca, got married almost nine years ago, and I dropped 30 lbs before her wedding. In July, we went dress shopping, and I ordered and paid for a dress 2 sizes smaller than I was at that time. Bec got married Labor Day weekend. I did need to take a little bit of a breath, but her sister was able to zip me up without any trouble, and the dress looked great.

Although I haven’t been told a date yet, I’m fairly certain I have more than six weeks to lose the weight this time. I’ve been complaining forever that I need to lose 50 lbs, and even though I knew it would be better for my back and hips, I wasn’t really that motivated. Now, I have the motivation. If I’m going to pay over $100 for a dress, the dang this is going to look good… well, as good as a bridesmaid’s dress ever looks. Lol.

I’m going to be smart about it this time. There’s going to be nothing on my “forbidden” list, because that will just make me want it more, and lead to eminent failure. Also, I’m going to start small – two cookies instead of three, replace one of my iced teas a day with water, add one more veggie to a meal (we do a meat, a side, and one veggie for dinner now), add some whole grains, add more fruit. See, not too terrible, right? Doable, no? Now it’s just a matter of implementing… Wish me luck.

Oops, I almost forgot, and I usually start my blog with things like this. I want to wish two of my dearest friends, Sharon & Kelly, a very happy birthday. I love you ladies, and I hope you have a fabulous day!

Well, I’m hosting Superbowl this year. Not that I give a fig for either team, but I enjoy throwing parties. It is going to be unusual this year because I’m fairly certain the entire household will be rooting for the same team. Not that any one of us is a Seahawks fan, but we all have an aversion to cheaters, so none of us will be too torn up if Seattle trounces.

So what is your opinion on this whole NE Patriots cheating? Am I the only one out there who thinks, because they cheated, they should have been automatically disqualified and the Colts should have won by default (not that we have any Colts fans in the house either)? ANY other sport, if you are caught cheating, you’re out and your opponent (or whomever comes in second) is deemed the winner. Why is it not so in football?

Don’t they have rules in place for situations like this? This can’t be the first time something like this has happened… oh wait, it’s not, is it? Haven’t the Patriots been accused of cheating before? I also vaguely remember some scuttlebutt involving The Oakland Raiders, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Huston Oilers eons ago, but I can’t recall precisely what happened in any of those cases.

What, did they run some type of demographic which said the viewership of a New England vs. Seattle game would bring in more revenue than an Indianapolis vs. Seattle game? Pathetic if that is the case, and then the only way we could show the NFL we are not happy is to hit them in their pocketbooks, but I have no clue as to how to go about doing such a thing. It’s not like anyone is going to boycott the Superbowl. If general opinion matches mine, we’ll all be watching just to see the Patriots lose.

Okay, enough ranting, I’ve got stuff to do before I have to start my running around. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Use the following – a flat tire, a moose & a radio

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, January 29, 2015

January 29th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Yeah, I know, it’s been forever. If it’s any consolation, I have been busy. All of my books are available on Nook again. I am also trying to get them up and running on Kobo, but I keep running into problems. They won’t load correctly. I couldn’t get the chapters to break properly, so it didn’t look right. Then I finally figured out how to fix it – sort of – and then I found a bunch of other issues.

The most annoying one was, for some unexplained reason, when I started a sentence with a quotation mark, the Kobo program put a space between the quotation mark and the first letter. I had to go in and manually change each and every one of them. When I FINALLY finished, I couldn’t get a preview of the book. I gave the Kobo team access to my books, so they could try and figure out what is going wrong.

Even though all three books are uploaded onto their system, I only did this for Corporate Blues. Be darned if I am going through and correcting line by line the other two. Heck, Taking Chances is over 120K words!

I don’t get it. It’s not like I’m a novice with creating e-books. I’ve been doing this for three years, with very few issues. Kobo, which is supposedly the easiest platform, is giving me the most angst. Hopefully I’ll hear back from them today, and the remaining two books will load without a hitch. I have invested just shy of sixty, that’s right 60, hours already, and I don’t even have one book live on Kobo. It took me between three and four hours to get all three books live on Nook.

I also took this opportunity to re-edit all three books. It has been years since I’ve read them, so I was seeing them with fresh eyes. Thankfully there were only a few small errors, but there was one in Taking Chances, which had me doing a head smack. Even though I’m pretty sure none of my readers would take the time to do the math, something jumped out at me. (No, I’m not going to tell you what it was. If you didn’t catch it, then that just proves my point.) I corrected, what to me was a grievous error, and all is right with the Bradford world again.

This brings me to a question for all of you. Even if you do not chose to do today’s writing prompt – even though I think you would have fun with it, I did – I would like you to reply. My question is, how closely do you pay attention to small details while you are reading? Do you stop and say to yourself, “wait a minute, that doesn’t add up” or go back and do the math?

I think I have always done that, and now with writing and editing, I do it even more. I’m down right terrible with it. I have even, while reading a series, gone back to a previous book in the series, to check something – back in book one you said he had three sisters, now in book four he only has two, where did he lose a sister?? You get my drift.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons Simply by Chance is taking so much longer to write than the first two books in the Bradford Series. I have come to a decision. I am going to get one of those large evidence boards like you see in TV cop shows, and I am going to map out my books. Characters, relations, homes, staff, distance between each point of interest, timeline. This way I will be spending less time going through my previous books to figure out if something I’m mentioning in a current book gels.

Speaking of writing, which is something I should be doing WAY more of, I had an idea. I bounced it off Annie Acorn, my publisher for all things non-novel, and she liked it. I want to know what you think. (Yikes, I’m asking y’all to respond to three different things in one post.) Here’s the idea – a project I’m going to call Bradford Shorts. Would you like to hear how Aaron & Suzanne got together, or how about Derrek & Anna, or Patrick & Arianna? I’m not sure each of these couples warrant an entire novel, however, a short story or novella may be just the ticket. I would sell each one separately and in a boxed set. As the Bradford Series progresses, I’m sure more secondary couples will arise, and with them subsequent “shorts”. So what do you think?

Okay, there are some things I need to get done before I have to leave to pick up RV. One of the things is calling the courthouse to see where my jury duty papers are. Last year, I was called for jury duty, and it was supposed to start on the same day I started with RV. They let me postpone it until this year. Even though I know it is supposed to be either the first or second week in February, I don’t know the exact dates, and I have not received notification. I need to be able to plan accordingly, so not knowing won’t cut mustard; hence the phone call.

Alright, let me boogie. I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is (stolen from my friend Keith. Since we didn’t have our writing group this week because of the snow, this was one of our “homework” assignments – I’ve also posted my response below, if anyone is interested):

A dog's (or cat's, or horse's, etc) perspective/ interpretation of experiencing snow for the first 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.

My response:

You said the “O” word. I heard it. Out, out, out. We’re going OUT. Yeah, I like out.
Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. Why are you taking so long? Quit looking for your glove, you’re not going to find it. At least I hope you don’t find it, or you’ll start yelling.
Come on, come on, come on. Open the door already, I gotta pee! Hallelujah, it’s about time. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.
Whoa, what? That stuff wasn’t here last night. What is it? It smells…Ahh, cold, cold, cold, on my nose, on my nose. Get it off, get it off, cold, cold, cold, on my nose, get it off.
Wait Mommy, what are you doing? I don’t want to go out there. No Mommy, don’t make me. It’s cold…umf. Why would you do that? It’s… it’s…fluffy.
Is that a ball you have? Throw it. Throw it. Throw it! I’ll get it, I’ll get it, I’ll get it. I got it, I got it, I got it. Where’d it go?
Another ball? Throw it. Throw it. Throw it! I’ll get it this time Mommy, I’ll get it. I got it, I got it, I got it. What the heck?
You’ve got another one? Where are all these balls coming from?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 15th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get back in the habit of reading. I used to, on average, read three full length novels a week, and that’s while I had a full time job. You may think that is a lot, but when you chose a book over watching television, and you are a fairly quick reader, it’s not as unrealistic as it sounds. I’d curl up in bed around eight and read until eleven or so – twenty-one hours a week, 7 hours a book, roughly 50 pages an hour. See, not that impressive now that I broke it down for you.

So, in an effort to keep my NYR, I downloaded a bunch of free books on my Kindle and my phone. By having them on my phone, they’re always with me. So whenever I’m stuck waiting, I can whip out my phone and read while I wait. Perfect example, when we were headed up to Vermont last Saturday, there was a horrible accident on Route 87 which had all lanes, north and south, closed. I was literally in park on the highway. Normally traffic gets me agitated and aggravated, but this time, I pulled out my phone and read while I waited, glancing up with every page turn to access the traffic situation (you’re lucky if there are 40 words per page on your phone, so I was looking up constantly).

One of the free books I downloaded was Harper Lin’s Killer Christmas. It is the first book in the Emma Wild Mystery Series, a four book set of cozy mysteries. Emma is an internationally renowned singer who has broken up with Nick, her “Hollywood’s leading man” boyfriend, and has gone back to her little hometown in Canada for the holidays; basically to lick her wounds. She has pretty much been avoiding her town because that is where her first true love, Sterling, the boy who broke her heart, still resides and is one of the town’s detectives.

Emma is in town for less than 24 hours, when Emma is in her sister’s café, Chocoholic Café, when she is recognized by a fan. Emma graciously chats with the fan while they were waiting for their drink orders to be filled – picture Starbuck’s. They get their drinks. The fan takes a sip, exclaims, “This tastes funny”, then drops dead right in front of Emma. Turns out the fan, also named Emma, grabbed the wrong drink. The poisoned drink was intended for Emma Wild. Of course, this turn of events brings Emma back in contact with Sterling, and an old flame gets rekindled. This all happens in the first couple of chapters, so I’m really not giving much away.

When I got to the end of Killer Christmas, I did a WHAT? WAIT! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?! ARGH!!! Then I did something I rarely do, I purchased the entire Christmas Collection boxed set – thanks to a B&N gift card I received. This required me downloading the Nook app onto my phone – no small feat for someone as technologically challenged like me, but I was motivated. After several attempts, I managed to accomplish it, and by eleven last night, I had completed the entire series. They’re not that long. However, even though the stories are not massive, each character is fully developed and relatable. A few things unfold a little quickly, but all and all, it was an entertaining read.

The entire series is narrated by Emma Wild, and the style made me think of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. Emma is quirky, funny, sometimes self-deprecating, and thoroughly enjoyable. I recommend not doing what I did, and just get the entire boxed set right from the get-go. It’s only $5.99 for all four books. This was my first foray into “cozy mystery”, but it won’t be my last.

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

Your Next Challenge is:

You find a strange metal object with a button on it – you press the button…

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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January 13th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! As predicted, yesterday was not very productive. I read a little, I wrote a little, then I just vegged in front of the TV. I feel relatively human today, so I’m hoping I can get some quality writing done before I have to leave at one.

So, you know who Amy Poehler is, right? Actress, comedian, starred on Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation among other things, host of the Golden Globe Awards with Tina Fay. Well did you know she’s also the co-founder of this group called Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. It’s a website and an organization for young girls and women young at heart. Their motto is “Change the world by being yourself”.

This was my “shiny object” of the morning. I’m not a huge SNL fan, and Parks & Rec did not make the short list of TV shows I watch, so I really knew little of Amy Poehler other than she was a popular and talented comedian. I had gone online to wish those born today a happy birthday, like I try to do every morning, and when I was finished, I saw an old classmate of mine had posted this clip. I clicked on it, and was intrigued enough to look up her organization. Check it out for yourself. There are some interesting articles.

No old Victorian as a dorm this time
for Lys. Her room is in the basement
of this building.
I texted a little back and for the with Lys yesterday. She seems settled, and she is jumping back into campus life with both feet. She didn’t mention her knee, so I guess it’s feeling better. Before Lys left Champlain, she was on their events committee, and yesterday – her first full day back at Champlain – she attended a committee meeting and will be helping to coordinate the winter dance. Six classes, committee work, plus required volunteer work, yup, it’s going to be a busy semester.

Dani is back to 100%, well maybe 95%, she’s still a little tired. She was supposed to start with tutoring yesterday, but I haven’t heard back from the school. I’m going to give them a call later to find out what’s going on. Her teachers have been great about her not having to make up a lot of the month’s worth of work she missed, but she still needs to learn the skills she missed. That’s where the tutors were supposed to help. Dani did say some of her teachers were out sick, so more than likely, that’s what the holdup was.

Can I ask you something? Why are guys so dang pig headed about going to the doctor’s? I get a text from Alex Sunday night telling me my son was sick and he wouldn’t listen to her, or her mother, and go to the doctor. At one point he scared her so much, she was on the verge of calling 911 because he couldn’t breathe. Luckily, she had an inhaler on her from when she was sick at New Years, and she got him to use it.

I don’t know if it was Alex’s continued pestering, Alex’s mom calling and threatening to take him to the doctor herself, me calling and telling him he was being a butt and if he didn’t take care of it now, he’d end up in the hospital for a week, his father calling, or a combination of all of the above, but PJ finally went to the doctor. He has a horrible case of bronchitis, is on antibiotics, an inhaler, and steroids. If he had just gone to the doctors when he started feeling sick, it would never have gotten to this stage. ARGH…men! I’m just glad he did go, and now he’ll start feeling better.

Okay, here’s the science portion of the blog today. I don’t know if I have admitted this to you yet, but I’m a weather geek. I think, if I had had the chance to do it all over again, I would have pursued a career as a meteorologist. Clouds, storms, and weather anomalies fascinate me. I am a Weather Channel junkie. A few weeks back I was watching, and they had a piece on about ice spikes.

Ice spikes have a tendency of occurring in bird baths. They happen when the temperature drops quickly and water freezes from the outer edges of a container toward the center. As the edges freeze, the remaining liquid gets pushed to the center, and is left with nowhere to go but up, and it forms ice spikes.

Now, since there was no way in you-know-where you would find a bird bath on my property, I thought I would put water in a half-pan and put it on my back porch to see if I could get an ice spike to form. But, as it often happens with me, I never got around to doing it. We have a cooler outside, by our garage door, that has not yet found its way inside. The cooler has cup holder indents on its lid. Yesterday’s rain filled those indents with water. Last night the temperature dropped from 38° to 18° in a matter of hours. Here are the results. How cool are these??

Yeah, I realize you are probably not nearly as fascinated by these as I am. I’m a dork, I fully admit it. So, have you ever seen these before?

Alright, I’ve bothered you long enough today, and I really do want to get some writing done. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Make me cry…

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, January 12, 2015

January 12th 2015

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! I’m SO happy I don’t have to go anywhere today. It’s cold, there’s a wintry mix falling from the sky and wreaking havoc on the ground, and I’m wiped from driving to Vermont and back (plus playing pack mule while I was there).

We made one pit stop on our way up to Burlington. We brought lunch to a 95 year old relative, “Uncle Rudy”. (I think he’s actually my husband’s third or fourth cousin, but I was not going to allow my kids to call him by his first name.) He is a fascinating and brilliant man, even still at 95, and a lot of fun to be around. Even though you don’t know “Uncle Rudy” personally, I can just about guarantee you own something he invented and probably use almost every day… your microwave. Pretty cool, huh? Unfortunately, like many inventors, he made his while working for a large company, who, in turn, took all the credit for his work. If you were in the military, you can also thank Rudy for his work with sonar and radar. See, I told you he was an amazing guy.

Lys was funny on Saturday. She was fairly quiet the entire way up Route 87. Then when we got off the exit which would lead us to the Essex/Burlington Ferry, she removed her head phones and sat up straight. By the time the first glimpse of Lake Champlain came into view, she was practically vibrating in her seat, with a huge grin on her face. I know she was chomping at the bit to get back on campus, and I’m sure it was disappointing to be so close, but have to wait until the morning.

We stayed at a different Marriott than we usually do. I decided to use my Marriott points to pay for the room, and for some strange reason, the more expensive ($$ wise) hotel was less points. It was nice and all, but I think we’ll be going back to our regular Marriott next time. The people were very nice, but it just didn’t feel the same.

We did meet a nice family while we were eating in the hotel. After driving for six hours, I just didn’t feel like getting behind the wheel again, and Lys wasn’t even hungry, so Paulie and I decided to eat at the hotel. We bellied up to the bar and that’s where we met Valerie, Dustin and their son Mason. Mason is a junior at UVM, the college across the street from Lys’ college. We chatted while we were eating and watching the playoff game. I thoroughly enjoy meeting nice people.
Yesterday, we got Lys moved into her new dorm…not without issues, of course. LOL. Her key card worked for her room, but not for the front door of the dorm. She was not the only kid this was happening to either. So, until the locksmith can get there today and fix it, she and the others will have to rely on the RA and other residents whose keys work. Her new room is TINY, and in the basement. The one saving grace for us was there was an elevator in the building, so we didn’t have to lug all her stuff up and down stairs; and for her is it looks like she will be the room’s only occupant. There’s still a second set of everything in there, bed, desk, dresser, but she’s making due.

Okay, I’m sorry. I tried, but I’m so tired right now, I can’t concentrate on writing anything more, let alone coming up with a writing challenge. I’ll babble at you later in the week.

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

Saturday, January 10, 2015

January 10th, 2015

Hi, it’s Christina –

Let the insanity begin! Good Morning! I only have a few minutes, so this will be short and there won’t be a writing challenge either.

Lord I’m tired. With Lys out of commission because of her knee, I was the one hauling junk up from the basement yesterday so she could pack for school. At roughly seven last night, when all the bins, bags, and unpackable stuff (mattress cover, lamp, mirror, decorations, TV, fridge, etc.) were piled up in the family room, I realized there was no way all Lys’ stuff plus four of us were going to fit in the car.

My sister-in-law, bless her heart, said Dani could stay with her for the weekend. So I asked my hubby to remove one of the back seats so we could fit everything – now that Dani wasn’t going, we didn’t need her seat taking up room. He removes the bulky, heavy, seat, turns, takes three steps, trips over a cinderblock - which is frozen to the ground - at the edge of our driveway, and goes flying. What a helpless feeling, seeing someone you love falling, and knowing you can’t do a damn thing to stop their fall. He landed like a ton of bricks, whacked his knee on the ground and his face on a cooler we have outside, but thankfully, other than a couple of bruises, he seems to be alright. I guess we’ll know for sure when he wakes up. Hopefully, this was not a sign of how our weekend is going to play out. UGH!

Okay, as I said, I only have a few minutes. I have to go hop in the shower real quick, roust everyone, get the last few things in the car (Paulie didn’t want the TV in the cold overnight), then hit the road. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and happy writing!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

January 8th 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

1) Chunk of ice in the corner of the window, 2) Ice all along the
bottom of the window, 3) Ice ferns in between the double panes
of glass in our front picture window. (Just watched a Weather
Channel show where they talked about these.) 
Good Morning! Can you make out what this is a picture of? How about the second one? The third one really was a surprise because of the double insulated glass. All three were taken from my living room. It’s a whole rip-roaring 5° out there this morning. Someone remind me why I still live in the northeast? I’m just glad we aren’t moving Lys in today. This morning it was -10° at Champlain. On Sunday morning, when we are moving her in, it’s going to be a balmy 20°. Better than -10°, right?

It wasn't quite this bad, she
only bent the curtain rod.
Speaking of Lys, my lovely daughter got confused yesterday. She thought she was 90 instead of 19 and slipped and fell in the shower; whacked her ribs and her knee. The ribs were fine after a bit, but the knee, not so much. I posted a photo of her at the hospital yesterday, but she freaked, stole my phone and deleted the picture. Complete overreaction if you ask me, but whatever… You don’t know how tempted I am to post the picture here, but I’ll be good.

Yup, pretty much what
I was picturing.
All I could think about is my daughter, back at school, in Vermont, in the winter, with snow and ice on the ground, in a dorm that’s a few blocks from campus, having to navigate on crutches. No bueno. Just in case, I brought crutches with us to the hospital. I had a medal set in the garage, but they were too tall for her; so much to her chagrin, I grabbed an old wooden set. Conveniently, they were too short for her, so she hobbled her way out of the hospital. It took great restraint not to brain her with the crutches.

Pretty ain't it. Someone should have
trained the nurse how to apply it. He
didn't have a clue. I rewrapped it for
Lys when we got home.
The good news is, nothing is broken. The bad news is, x-rays only show bone. She’s in an immobilizer, and is supposed to rest for the next few days. If it is not feeling better, she’s supposed to go and see an orthopedic and have an MRI. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

So, here we are, two days before we have to move her into her dorm, and nothing is packed, she is having difficulty negotiating stairs, and will be in no shape to actually move anything. This is going to be a LONG few days.

While Dani and I were bringing Lys back to school, Paulie was supposed to be home working on repairing tiles, which have come loose for some reason, in our kitchen. (He figured it would be the perfect time, no one in the house, walking on the floor he was trying to fix.) I told him, in no uncertain terms, that if Lys was incapacitated, he was coming with us, and the floor would have to wait. There is no way Dani and I would be able to move all the stuff on our own. As it is, the mini-fridge is going to be a struggle. I asked Lys to enlist some of her more muscular college guy friends to lend a hand, but she is reluctant to bother them. I think she wants to tread lightly for a little while. Her friends weren’t real happy when she left, and I think she feels like she needs to make amends for it. Personally, I think they’ll just be happy to have her back.

Oh well, I should boogie. I want to get some stuff done around here before I have to go to work. Guess what I’m doing at work today - wrapping Christmas presents. My favorite thing in the world…NOT. RV’s granddaughter is coming over this weekend, and her presents haven’t been wrapped yet. There wasn’t enough time for me to get them done before Christmas, and since they weren’t seeing her until January, there was no huge rush.

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

Your Next Challenge is:

Where is that sound coming from?

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.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January 7th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Hi-de-ho. So, how is 2015 treating you so far? Here, in New Jersey, we are getting our first real taste of the winter season. The temps took a nose dive, we had snow – just a little – yesterday, and today I woke up to 8° - YUCK! Thankfully, I don’t have to be anywhere today until 12:45, so the ice encasement my car is currently in, will have time to melt. Chiseling out my car is not my idea of enjoyable exercise… not that I find many forms of exercise enjoyable, but you get my drift.

Like I’m sure most of you, thanks to the internet, I have a number of “friends” whom I have never met. The other night I was chatting with one of these friends, and we got in to a discussion of basically, “What would you do if you came into a boatload of cash?” (I even made that your writing challenge for today.)

We talked about worthy causes for donations, and different things to do to actually make a difference in someone’s life. In a nutshell, I told him it didn’t matter what I would do with the money, if he ever had any, he would have to do with it what HE saw fit. He’d need to find where his passion lies, and then follow his heart.

It was a fun game. He’s an interesting person to chat with, and I enjoyed our hour’s long back and forth. However, I guess because it’s the way my brain is wired, I couldn’t let go of our game when we said goodnight. I even dreamed about it.

Obviously the first thing I would do is pay off all my personal debt – my mortgage, outstanding medical bills, my daughter’s college tuition loans, and reimburse the kids for any college related expenses they paid for themselves. I would also put $25K into accounts for each of my children, earmarked as “wedding fund”. If they don’t use it by the time they’re 35, then they can use it however they see fit.

I’d get each of the girls a reliable USED cars so I wouldn’t have to drive them around anymore or they would have to borrow my van (new cars they will need to earn on their own, this way they would appreciate it more). I would also trade in my minivan… well, maybe not. It does come in handy for schlepping my daughter back and forth to college. 

But, I would definitely get a car. I’m SO tired of driving a minivan. I’ve had one since 1995, and I think a 20 year sentence is more than enough punishment. Now, to be fair, I’d have to get my son something too, but he already has a car and a Jeep, so I was thinking a (again used) jet ski. I’d make sure they received these items as birthday presents. Yes, they would be extravagant, but they wouldn't draw any red flags.

The one true extravagance I would indulge in, is something I have been dreaming about for decades. I had always hoped that, for our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I would be able to visit Greece and Italy. Well, our 25th is only two and a half months away, and barring a miracle, we won’t be seeing Greece and Italy any time soon. Eons ago, I had started a 25th anniversary fund, but necessities depleted the fund and prevented me from contributing more, but since no one knew about the fund in the first place…

I have always said, if I ever had any money, I would pave our church’s parking lot. We have a large stone lot, and in the less desirable weather, it can be a bit of a nuisance. Granted, this is partially a selfish reason, but we do have quite a few older parishioners, and walking on gravel, is not easy for them. Plus, when it snows, it is difficult to plow a gravel lot. No matter how much snow you remove, there will still be a layer there, and when it ices over, it becomes dangerous for everyone. Because this is a well-known claim of mine, I’d have to figure out a way to accomplish it without anyone knowing. Also, our choir robes are thirty plus years old, and their color clashes horribly with everything else in the church – but that’s a sore subject with our choir director, so I would have to give that more thought.

I would anonymously pay off loved one’s mortgages and other worrisome debts. Paramount to being able to accomplish this, I would need to keep any windfall under wraps. That would also mean I couldn’t do anything overly extravagant, or my cover would be blown. During the dark of night, I would place bags of groceries at the back door to our local food bank, so for one, our shelves would be stocked. I’d perform the same covert operation at our local animal shelter, supplying them with food, blankets and toys.

Then, because anonymity for me would be essential – can’t have all the crazies come out of the woodwork with their hands outstretched – I would probably get involved with a slew of charities, then just add funds to the money I help raise. I also gave a lot of thought as to how to offer scholarships and entertained training an elite black op military group to go in and wipe out ISIS.

See, I told you my brain wouldn’t let the game go; and once you start, it’s a lot of fun. Although it isn’t usually in the rules, I want you to sleep on today’s challenge, and then take it tomorrow. You’ll still only have ten minutes to write, but by doing it tomorrow instead of today, you’ll get to be more creative. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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

Your Next Challenge is:

What would you do if you came into a ridiculous amount of money?

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, January 3, 2015

January 3rd, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Two days in a row, I know, but don’t get used to it. I will try to post a little something often, but it won’t be like before. I need to become greedy with my time if I plan on finishing the two books I have started, and one more contemporary, plus at least another short for Annie Acorn Publishing, before the end of the year.

I have to submit my short story for the 2016 edition of Spirited Tales (as soon as the 2015 edition of Spirited Tales is available, I’ll let you know), plus a possible submission for either the 2016 Valentine’s anthology or a 2016 Romance anthology – we’re still tossing around possibilities. I have a story idea, but I don’t know if it will end up being a short story, a novelette, a novella, or an actual novel. Annie said to just write it, and we’ll worry about how to package it later. Love her! She took that stressor and blew it out of the picture. Now I’ll just be able to write the story until it’s finished, hand it over to her, and let her work her brand of magic. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as things become more concrete.

Although it’s three months away, I’m fairly certain I will be participating in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, so that, and possibly July’s Camp, will produce the next contemporary – which I think will be Taming Tate, unless some other characters start yelling louder between now and then. I need to finish and publish FTQ before April or I will not be eligible for the Princeton Author’s Day this year, and since I had originally planned for it to be out before Christmas, but life got in the way; it is now my top priority.

I will need to take at least day away from writing in order to get all my financials together for taxes. I do this all the time. I start the year off well, recording all my income, expenses, mileage, etc., then I get busy and the “office work” gets shoved to the back burner, and come January, I end up having to reconstruct ¾ of a year’s worth of financials. Then I curse myself for not keeping up with it because I can’t find all my receipts or the slip of paper where I wrote down my miles for my trip out to Bumblesquatch; and then I swear next year will be better, but I only seem to get better by a week or two. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be in my nineties before I have a system down. Pathetic? Lazy? Procrastination? Old timers setting in? Disorganization? Take your pick, any explanation would fit.

Okay, as I said, Faerie Tale Queen is my top priority, and since it is still ridiculously early on a Saturday morning, my house should be quiet for a minimum of two more hours, so I should get to work. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

It’s time to pack away the holiday decorations…

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.