Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 26th 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Phew, it’s been a heck of a few days, and even though I hate to say it, I’m waiting for the last shoe to drop. “IT” usually comes in threes, right (or in my case, multiples of three)? Seriously, what are the chances of having two funerals in one day?

Screwy streets!
Paulie, Dani and I went out to PA for our friend Carl’s mother’s viewing on Tuesday night. Let me tell you, I do not enjoy driving in Pennsylvania. The roads in Bristol are so screwy, I, and the GPS, couldn’t figure out which road was the correct one. I had to do a few Uies, and after my third attempt to get on the correct street, drove over the little island to get there. I’m sure the whole tie I was cursing “damn PA signage” the drivers around me were cursing “crazy Jersey driver”. By the time we got to the funeral home, I was twitching.

St. Michael's
Yesterday’s funeral was at the Ukrainian church in Manville (the next town over), but then the burial was all the way in Jersey City, an hour away. Don’t get me started on the hearse driver. You’d swear he’d never had to lead a line of cars. The yo-yo blew through the EZPass lane at one of the tolls, leaving half of the funeral procession in the dust, right at the point where the driving directions got complicated. By the time everyone found the cemetery, the service was over.

Oh, and that’s another thing, they started the service with less than half of the attendees present. Yeah, you guessed it, I opened my big mouth to the funeral director. The family was livid, and I can’t say I blamed them (at the funeral director, not me). This would have never happened if the director’s father was still running the business…I’m just sayin’.

I have a Slovak doll
just like this one.
My Ukrainian is SO rusty, I was only able to catch every third or fourth word during the service, but it was enough to keep me in place in the program. My friend (aka little sister), Christina, said she was impressed that I was following along so well. Dumb luck, I assure you. When you don’t use a language frequently, even if you were fluent at one time, you lose it. It’s a damn shame.

I desperately tried to hold on to Slovak, to the point I wouldn’t let my grandmother speak to me in English; but now that she’s been gone for over six years, my Slovak has deteriorated to next to nothing. My Ukrainian “family” is still around, but when I get a chance to see them, they all speak English to me. I guess they figure it’s been so long, I would have no clue what they were saying, and unfortunately at this point, they’d be right.

See, not easy to read...
My husband’s grandmother died in 1997, so my German is hopelessly lost as well. I am reduced to only being able to pick out certain words or phrases (as I do in French, Spanish, and Italian) to get the gist of what’s going on. As for Ukrainian, I was never able to read it, so there’s no hope there. Heck, lately I don’t even lay claim to having a command of English.

The knoll in the town center
Bar Harbor, ME
If I were ever offered a superpower, it would be for my brain to retain all the knowledge it has absorbed over the years. I have no problem recalling every minute detail of a day in August 1983, when I was with a friend in Bar Harbor and we played with a basset hound named Belle in the park in the center of town; or a trip to Great Adventure (Six Flags) on July 7th, 1977 with my aunt and her friends; or countless other obscure snippets of my life, and yet I cannot retain something which would be infinitely more useful. It’s frustrating to say the least.

How about you? Do you have something you wish you could remember better, or still be able to do? Do you have some trick to retain something you want to hold on to, or to get it back after you thought it was lost? I’d love to hear your stories.

I hope you have wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Easy come, easy go.

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, February 24, 2015

February 24th 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! I haven’t blogged in a few days, so I thought I should, however, it is going to be short & sweet because I have a ton to get done.

I didn’t get much done yesterday, because I wasn’t feeling well – my tummy doesn’t like it when we eat out a lot, and with being away last weekend, we had six meals in a row out. The visit with Lys was great, but of course, I had to deal with driving in snow. Well, what did I expect? It is winter, and I was in Vermont. Saturday night there were several cars in ditches – all ding-dongs in SUVs who were delusional and thought they we impervious to the bad road conditions. They didn’t get any sympathy from me.

We had dinner at the Vermont Pub & Brewery. Our server, Bunny, was a doll. The food was delicious, and it wasn’t expensive at all. They were even nice enough to let us bring in Lys’ birthday cake – and didn’t charge us a plating fee. Yup, we’ll be going back there.

The ride home was a bear. The weather was fine, but I had only gotten roughly twelve hours of sleep over a seventy-two hour time period, so I was whooped. Paulie had to drive the last hour because I couldn’t do it. (I usually do all of the driving wherever we go because my husband drives around all day at work, so it gives him a break.)

When we got home, I had a nasty surprise. My poor kitty, Sunny, had some kind of stomach bug and got sick all over my bedroom. Let’s just say it wasn’t pleasant having to clean up the mess, and leave it at that. She seems to be doing better today, so I’m relieved. She’s the sweetest cat ever, but she’s thirteen, so I really get worried when she’s not feeling well. I’ll tell you right now, I won’t handle her passing well. She’s my baby.

Speaking of passing, I have not one, but two funerals to attend. My friend’s mom died and the viewing is tonight and the funeral is tomorrow; and another friend’s aunt died – the woman has known me since I was an infant, so she was practically my aunt as well – and the viewing and funeral are at the exact same time. I need to divide and conquer. Tonight I will be going out to the viewing in PA for my friend’s mom, and tomorrow I will be going to the one for Aunt Julia (Teta Jula). The mass is in the next town over from me, so that’s good, but the actual burial is over an hour away, so I’m not looking forward to that, but whatchya gunna do?

Okay, I have to make sure all of our funeral appropriate clothes are ready, and then I have to run to the grocery store. I hope you have great day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

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.

Friday, February 20, 2015

February 20th 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Funny story – as you know, Paulie, Dani & I are going up to Vermont this weekend to celebrate Lys’ birthday a week late. We are leaving before daybreak tomorrow and coming home Sunday night, so obviously, we need a place to stay Saturday night. So on Monday, I logged on to the Marriott website, selected the Burlington-Williston Fairfield Inn, where we usually stay, and booked our room. However, just as I finished the reservation, something wiggy happened with the computer.

When the confirmation of my reservation still had not arrived by yesterday, I called the hotel directly to confirm. Susan, the hotel’s manager picked up the phone. She laughed when she heard it was me, and said she saw on my Facebook page that I was coming up for the weekend. She was probably wondering why I hadn’t made my reservation yet, but I had, or at least I thought I had. It didn’t matter, Susan got everything straightened out, as she always does.

When we brought Lys up to school in January, there weren’t any rooms available at the Fairfield Inn, so I had to book at another Marriott up the road. It was nice, the people were nice, but it just wasn’t the same. I LOVE the staff at the Fairfield Inn. They make it feel like my home away from home. I’ve stayed there so much over the past two years, most of the staff knows me by name, and I theirs. Other than my issue with room keys (which happens everywhere I go), there are rarely any problems, and if by some freak chance there is a problem, they are on top of it like white on rice.

So, if you are ever up in the Burlington Vermont area, and find yourself in need of a hotel, I highly recommend the Fairfield Inn Burlington-Williston at 2844 St. George Road in Williston. It’s about fifteen minutes from Burlington. It’s right off of Route 89, and there are a ton of shops and restaurants all up and down Route 2A (St. George Road). The rooms are clean, the staff is amazing, there’s a pool (if you happen to be there during the tiny window when you can swim in VT), and they serve breakfast.

I told you I would tell you about yesterday’s photo challenge. My daughter, Dani Rose, took that photograph, and believe it or not, that’s her eye. I guess you could call it a self-portrait. Those eyelashes are real – they are so long you could practically braid them, and even though you cannot tell by the photo, her eyes are such a dark brown, they are almost black – a far cry from the light grey eyes she was born with (which lasted all of two weeks).

Initially I thought she would have blue eyes like her brother. PJ is the only one who has blue eyes, and I’m still a little baffled by that. My eyes are blue and Paulie’s eyes are hazel (½ blue, ½ brown). By my calculations, the gene pool for eyes should have been ¾ blue, ¼ brown, so how did only 1/3 of our children end up with blue eyes? I realize brown is more dominate, but still…

All three kids have different eye colors, each beautiful in their own right. PJ’s are that rich azure you can only compare to an August sky. Lys’ are a warm brandy with gold facets that have you picturing sitting by a roaring fire in a mountain cabin; and Dani’s are like a finely polished chestnut wood, deep, rich, mysterious.

Okay, enough of that. Today I have to get over to Costco to pick up Lys’ cake. When I’m finished, I’m hoping the temperature will have climbed to at least double digits, because I have to clean out the car. At the moment, it’s 3° and that’s without the wind chill. If it doesn’t warm up some, the heck with it, we’ll be driving in a messy car. It’s just too dang cold to be out there for any length of time.

Just so you know, we are leaving around 5:30 tomorrow morning, so there is very little chance I will be able to get a blog post done before I leave. However, I may be bringing my computer with me up to Vermont. I haven’t decided yet.

Alrighty, let me boogie. I hope you have fabulous day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Who turned off the heat?

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, February 19, 2015

February 19th 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Greetings Earthlings! I’m so foggy today, I feel like I’m from outer space. The whole 3:38 obsession has started again. My very own personal witching hour. Oh joy.

So, how did y’all do on the photo challenge yesterday? Pretty cool picture, wasn’t it? Did you look at it closely… I mean really closely? Did you see someone watching you from the door? I would love to hear what you came up with. Please don’t be shy, I PROMISE, no one will judge you – and if anyone dare try, they and their comment will be off the site so quickly, their pen will spin.

I don’t think I’ve done this before, but I’m actually going to give you another photo challenge today. Then tomorrow, if you’re good and leave a comment or two, I’ll tell you the story behind the picture. For the few of you who already know, shhh. I will tell you one thing, this photo is hanging on the wall in my family room.

Form the favorites and retweets, I know you writers out there are reading the challenges, but you haven’t been brave enough to post yet. Two things – one, it’s supposed to be a #morningworkout to jump start your creativity, it’s supposed to be hopelessly flawed, with bad grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes, and booboos in general; and two, if you are worried about your work being out there, the time stamp on your comment ensures you are the owner of it with the sole rights to it. It’s like it’s automatically copyrighted – at least that is my understanding of the law, but I’m fairly certain, I am correct. US attorneys, feel free to jump in and clarify.

Here’s an excerpt – for lack of a better title – of Copyright 101:

“Many people assume that everything posted on the Internet is public domain, probably because our law used to protect published works only if they displayed the proper copyright notice upon publication. The law, however, has changed: neither publication nor a notice of any kind is required to protect works today. Simply putting the pen to the paper or in the electronic medium, putting the fingers to the save key creates a copyrighted work. Once expression is committed to a tangible medium (and computer media is considered tangible), copyright protection is automatic. So, postings of all kinds are protected the same as published printed works.” From

I could use that only because I gave you the source. Think back to when you did book reports in school. With a citation/footnote you were allowed to use what someone else wrote. It now works the same on the internet. If you write something, someone else can use it, but they have to give you credit or it’s liable. The laws are evolving as the internet is evolving, and I would wager they will become much more in depth than they are now, but even now, your creative responses to the writing challenges are protected.

Okay, I want to get a few things done around here before I have to leave. I hope you have an amazing day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

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, February 18, 2015

February 18th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning… barely. I’ve been thanking, tweeting and retweeting since five this morning, and I’m done for the day (except for the tweet about the blog). If I don’t watch, this could turn into a full time job.

I will be spending today (and probably tomorrow) rereading Faerie Tale Queen, so I can get myself back into the story so I can finish the last few chapters. It is so close to being done, and it’s driving my absolutely nuts that I keep getting pulled away from it. This story should have been finished MONTHS ago at this point.

I am not going to say anything more about the completion date until it’s ready to be released. I can’t do that to myself or to you again. Originally it was supposed to be out last summer, then before Christmas. Now it’s February and it’s still not done. I feel like such a slacker – but I’ve been busy, honest.

On that note, I am going to cut this short and get right to it while the house is quiet. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

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, February 17, 2015

February 17th, 2015

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning. It’s another snow day in central New Jersey. The main roads all look clear, but I wonder what all the back roads look like. A while back RV and I discussed that if the kids have off because of snow, then we have off, but I’m not sure if she’s changed her mind or not. I’m waiting for a phone call to see if I have to go to work today or not.

Honestly, I’d rather have the day off, but not for selfish reasons. I really don’t want her out in this weather. The last thing she needs is to slip on an unshoveled path. She’s supposed to have therapy today, but with the wind blowing the snow, I don’t think they will be able to keep the walkway clear enough to be safe. It’s her call, but…

So, since this really is supposed to be a blog about writing and not just me, I am going to try to dedicate at least a portion of it (other than the writing challenge) to writing or books or marketing your books, whatever. It’s only right.

Today’s writing related topic is writing itself, and if you are a writer, your need to get in the habit of writing every day, not matter what. The only way to get good at something is to practice, but let’s face it, life tends to get in the way. There is a tool out there which you may find helpful. A friend of mine, and fellow author, K.Edwin Fritz, put together this spreadsheet to help you form good writing habits.

The spreadsheet tracks for you how many words you’ve written every day, and it also tracks how much time you have spent reading (the best writers read veraciously), and how much time you spend on other writing related endeavors (ie: social media marketing, editing, appearances, etc.) You earn points for each thing (not that the points get you anything other than a feeling of accomplishment), and you can see how you stack up against other writers – a friendly competition to push yourself to reach the next rung on the ladder.

The sheet is on its second reincarnation – he made it a lot easier – so there are only two dozen or so writers signed up at the moment, but if the last sheet was any indication, that number will climb exponentially over the next few months. The time couldn’t be better than to jump on board. It’s FREE, and it offers you – the lonely writer – a sense of community. Please consider signing up today.

Well, I should get ready, just in case I do have to go to work today. I hope you have a terrific day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

What is up with the wildlife today???

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, February 16, 2015

February 16th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning. I spent most of yesterday not being able to see really well. I think it was a combination of old contacts, being tired and the pollen from the flower shop. I pitched the contacts and resorted to wearing my glasses – something I rarely do.

My one point of vanity, I’ll go out in public in sweats, I’ll go out with no make-up on, but I will not go out in my glasses. Other than the residual effects of being teased as a child, I honestly can’t see well out of them. I’m so blind normally that, even with the glasses, I have virtually no peripheral vision. Walking is a bit of a challenge, and driving is out of the question. That in combination with my eyes running like faucets all day, kept me house bound.

Paulie was a doll. He ran to the grocery store for me – something he detests. He picked up stuff for dinner, stuff for me to make the kids for lunch, and Visine for my eyes. He can be a really good egg when he wants.

Today the eyes are better, but I’m not putting in my contacts until right before I have to leave. Today I am going and getting new tires put on the car. I have a 12:30 appointment. The tires are LONG overdue for a change (they should have been done last winter), and thanks to a little overtime for my hubby and my working the weekend, we can swing getting new ones. This will give me peace of mind for our trek to VT next weekend. If we run into a little weather, the tires won’t be an issue.

Since I started my Twitter campaign thirteen days ago, I have 400+ new followers (90 yesterday), and have had 600+ retweets (150 yesterday). Things are starting to explode on Twitter. My ranking on Amazon is in the 100K range, and Taking Chances jumped from 6M to 200K, so I guess something’s working. Even with the increased volume, I have managed to come up with a system which works for me, so it is not taking me any addition time. I can get all recording, the thank yous, my book promotional tweets, and retweets/favorites of others, all done in three hours. Then I come and do my blog, and tweet the Author’s morning warm up, and I’m done with all my “marketing” stuff between 9 & 10 in the morning. That means I have a minimum of three hours to write, four days a week. For now, I’ll take it.

On that note, a scene popped into my head and I want to get it down on paper before it fades away. I hope you have a marvelous day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Did that snowman just move???

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, February 15, 2015

February 15th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning. Because Mother Nature is pms-ing again, I’ sitting here in my pajamas, listening to the snow plough making colossal potholes, drinking a mega mug, and writing this blog, instead of being on the road to Vermont. This is the second year in a row this has happened, and as you can probably guess, I’M NOT HAPPY. So I have to do this hear…

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! In just a few short hours (10:58) you will no longer be a teenager. I’m so sorry we couldn’t be with you on your birthday again, but at least this year you have Tori there to celebrate with you. We’ll see you as soon as we can. We love you, and hope you have a fun day!

We’re not getting any significant snow, and neither is Lys, but the path between the two of us is getting slammed. Now if the kids didn’t have school on Monday, like pretty much the rest of the country, then I may have attempted the trek. We could have got there whenever, gotten a hotel for the night, and taken our time for the ride home on Monday, but we couldn’t.

Our kids lost President’s Day to the last snowstorm – you remember the one - Juno – the snowpocalypse that only ended up dumping 3” of snow, but they closed the schools the day before because of the 24”-36” predicted snow. Yeah, that one. Sorry MA readers, I know you got hammered during Juno, so your school closings were justified, but ours really weren’t.

Not seeing my kids on their birthday, does not sit well with me. The first time my mother didn’t see me on my birthday was my 24th, because I was leaving for my honeymoon; and the next time was for my 40th when Paulie and I were in New Mexico for our “why the heck did we get married?” weekend. Only twice in 48 years. I have now missed two in 20 years for Lys, and I don’t like it. We still have a perfect record for PJ and Dani…

I got home from the B&C early yesterday, around 3:30. The snow started around 1:30 and things slowed down in the shop after that – which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I left we had three mixed flower basket arrangements, two - three red roses and mixed flowers in a vase arrangements, one - six red roses in a vase arrangement, one six red/six white rose in a vase being hugged by a teddy bear arrangement, and two red and white dozen carnation wrapped bouquets left – and that was it. So only nine last minute shoppers would be able to get something beautiful, everyone else would have to make do with grocery store flowers.

Can you believe it, my feet are still aching this morning? Yesterday my back was a little sore, and so were my legs, but my feet actually hurt. I think I stood more in the past three days then I have in the past month – over 18 hours of standing. Think about it, unless you’re a hairdresser or a cashier, you get to sit down for part of your work day, and hairdressers sometimes get breaks between clients where they can sit. Not so much in a flower shop. I truly love going in and working for B&C when they need a hand, but there is no way I would be able to do it all the time. I guess I’m just too old, too fat and too out of shape to handle it. Lol.

After things settle down a little, I’m going to pop back into the shop and snap some pictures. I’ve been talking about B&C and the folks who work there so much, I thought it would be appropriate for y’all to “meet” them. The only one who I won’t be able to get is Nick, because he’s headed back up to school.

As much as I love flowers, I don’t want them purchased for me. Other than my wedding ring, I don’t wear jewelry often, so that’s not a good gift. I love chocolate, but I’m trying to lose weight. I don’t wear perfume. So, as you can see, my hubby doesn’t have it easy for Valentine’s. This year, my Valentine’s gift from my hubby was a nice dinner. He made filet mignon wrapped in bacon, sautéed mushrooms and onions, baked potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and candied carrots. It was very yummy, and the perfect gift.

Okay, off to tackle the 99+ Twitter notifications, then I think I might take a nap. I’m whooped. I hope you have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Angry tears…

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, February 14, 2015

February 14th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Short and sweet today because I only have half an hour to write and post (with links and pictures).

The staff at B&C are work horses! Holy Crow!! I literally stood from 9:00 am – 7:45 pm. My feet hurt. My back hurts. Cripes, even my hair hurts. I cannot even imagine how they do this 360 days out of the year.

A zillion more orders were taken, some made right on the spot. Several were so incredibly beautiful, I just had to take a moment to stop and admire them. In the midst of all the joyous Valentine’s frenzy, unfortunately there was some sorrow as well. There will be no rest for the weary once Valentine’s Day is over, because several funeral arrangements will need to be made. Luckily the viewing is not today or having flowers for it would have been a challenge.

I recall this happening during my previous flower shop experience. Folks don’t just give roses for Valentine’s Day, they give ALL flowers, and with the sales volume rising exponentially this time of year, come February 15th most shops are completely out of ALL flowers, and anxiously awaiting a delivery. This shop is no different. We have red roses still, and a smattering of other flowers, but that’s about it.

Monday’s delivery is going to be massive because it will basically be restocking the entire store – flowers, greens, fillers (baby’s breath, waxflowers, etc), vases, boxes, cello wrap, you name it. I guess it’s a good problem to have. I’m just glad I’ll have time to recuperate before my services will be needed again.

Okay, I have to go get ready. I was seriously debating wearing roller-skates to work today, but I think I’ll just go with sneakers. I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

This is the gift I give to you…

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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

February 13th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! I had a blast yesterday at B & C. I was there for four hours and I took a boatload of orders, made up several dozen single rose packets so all the panicked teen boys who come in on Saturday and just grab-pay-and-go. I helped one “doe in the headlights” customer and even came up with something prolific for him to write on his card. I boxed, I wrapped, I chatted, I laughed. Yeah, it was a good day.

One of the cool things was seeing several of my friends names while boxing up orders for today’s deliveries. All I have to say ladies, is your significant other has great taste. The flowers are GORGEOUS! You’ll love them. And I was good, I didn’t read a single card – except for the one I wrote.

Today is going to be a challenge because it will be an eleven hour day, but I’m still looking forward to it. When I showed Ron (the owner) and Carly (one of the designers) yesterday’s blog post, they were thrilled. Carly laughed at me because I called the experience exhilarating. I told her if she only did it a few days a year, she would see it from a different perspective.

Carly is a phenomenal floral designer. She made up this one bouquet yesterday which was absolutely stunning. It consisted of various exotic flowers, and such a vibrant array of colors, it simply took your breath away. I won’t even bother praising Ron, his stuff is consistently picture perfect. He pairs things you would never expect, and the results are remarkable. Okay, so maybe just a little praise, but don’t tell him, he doesn’t need an ego boost. JUST TEASING, he’s a sweetheart and I love working with him.

Ron’s son Nick came home from college so he could lend a hand. This was great news for me, because it meant I didn’t have to de-thorn a single rose. This year my hands won’t look like they’ve broken up a cat fight. Nick’s a rose cleaning beast. He flies through the zillions of roses in nothing flat, but then again, he was brought up in the business, so I guess it’s to be expected.

I’m not sure if there will be a blog post tomorrow morning or not. I have to be in the shop around 8:30, and I’m sure today is going to whip my butt. I am going to try, but I’m not making any promises.

Now Sunday, I know there won’t be a post. We – Paulie, Dani and her boyfriend Randy, and I are leaving for Vermont at 5:00 am. That will get us up to Lys by roughly 11:30 (depending on the road conditions). We are going to take her out to lunch, give her her birthday presents and her cake, sing Happy Birthday, eat cake, then turn around and come back home. I’m hoping to get back by 10:00 pm.

Crazy, I know, but not seeing my baby on her birthday last year truly bothered me, and as long as Mother Nature cooperates this year, I not going to let it happen again. The real bear of it is going to be the high of -11° with wind chills in numbers I don’t even want to think about. It’s times like these I really wish she had accepted the invitation from Austen Peay in Clarksville, TN. LOL. Then again, if she was down there, I wouldn’t be seeing her on her birthday. Oh well…

Okay, I need to go get ready for work. I hope you have a fantastic Friday the 13th, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

I love you to the moon and back…

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, February 12, 2015

February 12th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Well, I’m better, still not 100%, but definitely better. Just in time too.

For the next three days I get to play florist. For obvious reasons, this time of year is crazy busy for florists, and our local florist, B & C, is no exception. Normally Ron, the owner, brings in a few extra drivers on Valentine’s Day itself to help with deliveries. That was what I was originally supposed to do last year, but it came up in conversation that a zillion years ago I briefly worked at a flower shoppe, I was asked to help in the shop itself.

Now I’m no floral designer, but I can clean roses with the best of them. I also kick some serious butt in the customer service arena. I love it. For a few days a year, and ONLY a few days a year, I’m out in the hustle and bustle of retail humanity. In small doses, it is exhilarating and invigorating.

You get a unique perspective into the human condition when you work retail. I’m allotted insights I cannot get from just being out in public or from events like my book signings. Last year’s group of customers gave me traits I was able to incorporate into some of my characters, which made them more authentic. Experiencing the wide-eyed looks of confusion (or in one case terror) first hand when the men enter the shop, and then the sheer gratitude when you simplify their life by suggesting something perfect, is priceless fodder.

Three to five days a year working retail is just about all I can take. Luckily, it’s all I need.

I killed it yesterday on Twitter – well, “killed it” by my standards that is. I got fifty eight new followers, and over a hundred retweets. Considering previous days were less than a dozen of each, even you could say it was a banner day. Between the new followers, and going back to make sure I followed people who followed me, I am now getting around five tweets a second. There is absolutely no way I will ever be able to see all the tweets flying by, and I have resolved myself to just let it go. I scan through and see what catches my eye, then act on it how I see fit.

I am not going to let Twitter overwhelm me anymore. I can’t let it, or I’ll end up scrapping the whole thing, which I can’t do because my Amazon ranking has been steadily climbing since I embarked on this campaign. (Shameless Plug: My books would make great Valentine’s gifts for your Sweetie.)

Okay, I need to shower, do my hair and make-up and unearth my “sensible” shoes, so I should go. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

The morning fog caressed her skin as she stared out over the water…

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, February 11, 2015

February 11th, 2015 Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

WWIII still going on in my stomach today, so this blog will be short, and will be dedicated to my friend Ron Shaw.
Over the past several months Ron and I have built a strong, bizarre, hysterical relationship which I wouldn’t change for the world. I am a firm believer that God puts people in your path, at particular times in your life, for a reason.

Ron is an ex Atlanta police captain turned author after a near death experience he had a little over a year ago. He chronicles this experience in his first book Seven Fish Tree.
Since the release of his first book, Ron has exploded on the writing scene. Seven Fish Tree was quickly followed by The Yellow Bus Boys. He brings you back to 1964, when he and thirty-three other 6th grade inner-city boys went on a ten day trip. You’ll laugh out loud. You’ll cry. Buckle up, ‘cause you’ll be in for a wild ride. Oh wait, school buses didn’t have seatbelts in 1964.
On the heels of The Yellow Bus Boys came Transmutation – The life of a twisted cop. Unlike his previous two novels, this one is gritty and raw. No smoke and mirrors, he laid it all out for you to see.
His latest release, Cramped Quarters (I came up with the title, thank you very much), is back to his original – for lack of a better word – style. Cramped Quarters is the story of Mary, the ghost Ron and his wife Donna inherited when they purchased an old trunk at a yard sale. It is formatted like a snippet from a journal – entries of Mary’s antics and Ron’s reactions to what it is like living with a ghost.
When Ron’s not writing, he’s a Twitter fiend, and probably one of the most active Indie Author supporters I have ever met. He hosts a Monday night talk show on ArtistsFirst Radio Network. Actually, I have been interviewed twice. If you’re interested in listening to the two of us cut up, her are the links – Show1Show2.

Ron and I have LITERALLY spent hours on the phone – the man can talk – two months in a row I exceeded my allotted talk minutes on my wireless plan. It’s all good though. We have helped each other with our writing, computer issues, marketing issues. He has introduced me to several people I now consider my friends, and I have hooked him up with several talented authors to interview on his radio show. Ron and I are also two of the ten authors in the Spirited Tales anthology, published by AAPublishing, I told you about, which is going to be published soon. Yes, God definitely put Ron in my path, and I’m thankful.

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

Your Next Challenge is:

It was like I stepped into a 70s sitcom…

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.