Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: Am I Full Of It?

The past two years, I've heard of people selecting a 'Word Of The Year'.  I've never formally done this; my 'word', if you will, has been 'breathe', since I run on an ungodly amount of stress.  Some of it is external, but quite a bit is internal.  I think that's why, as I look back to this crazy year we've had, 2017 will be the year of extreme selfishness on my part.  As you scroll down, you'll see why.

Jan:  I was cheeky enough to offer an idea to a neighboring county's magazine, and was knocked back down to earth by having to rewrite it.  Very humbling experience.  You'd have thought I'd learned.  My mom lost her BFF, and I went home for the funeral and to reconnect with friends.  I also sent Kira off to an editor AND contacted my cover artist.

Feb:  Had another humbling experience while singing a funeral.  Spent this month doing edits, and received a nice shiny cover for Kira's Slice of Pizza (Chosen #4 of Kenzie's sci-fi series), which then released on the 23rd:)  Watched a very strange Super Bowl; Patriots came back from a 21-3 score at halftime to being down 28-9 at the end of the 3rd quarter, to win the game in Overtime, 34-28!

March:  Spent the month reformatting all my self-pubbed titles, so the interior copyright page matched on all.  Spent a week with my mom, doing a video inventory of all her jewelry, plus drove up to Indy for granddaughter A's choir concert.  Set up at the Eagles Craft Fair, and surprise surprise....someone had dropped the ball on the advertising.  We were competing with another craft show in the area, and hardly anyone was at ours.  I'd sung the praises of it to two other authors, who were not too happy with little to zero sales.  Plus, had a 'WTH' moment when my CA story was deemed 'too dark and twisted' for the gentle readers, and would I be willing to revise it?  I ended up writing TWO stories in two weeks.  Yes, I was furious.  K decided to move in with his friend C, in order to help out with her financials.

April:    Spent another week with mom, who was flabbergasted at my thought process while I was writing story #2.  Had a good Chrism Mass practice, even obtained copies of CA.  I was so blown away by seeing it, I apparently forgot to pay home to an email which put my nose out of joint, since it implied I'd done it on purpose.  HELL NO I didn't do it on purpose!  Again I was furious, and was by now, 2nd guessing my decision to be a part of this project.  But, I'd promoted it; worked hard on all 3 stories, and by God, I was going to see it through.  Found out about a free Vendor's was a bust.  Again, the organizer dropped the ball, so there were no signs or any advertizing.  Then I took NE Riggs to Kentucky with me, and a huge storm knocked out the power in the surrounding counties.  I only sold one book, and that was to an aspiring author I'd met the night before during the panels.  In fact, N and I weren't sure we were going to make it home, but by the time we arrived closer to Evansville, the water level had gone down.

May:  Our brown house was broken into, so Ed brought over another key.  Plus, he told me to go ahead and clean both houses out; just give him a percentage.  I was heartbroken to learn that all the LPs in the green house had been stolen, save for the 5 I'd already pilfered!  I also set up at the Farmer's Market, Birds of a Feather, and at B&N with the other RCW members.  Attended the Indy 500 and when Takuma Sato of Japan won, we joked about 'being in cahoots with Japan, not Russia'.  K also moved back home, right in the middle of Rendezvous traffic, having realized C was only using him as an in-home baby-sitter for her son Z.

June:  Spent the month emptying out all the computer crap in the Brown House, and hauling stuff to the scrap yard.  Set up at the 1st Friday; collected A and J for the summer; and apparently ticked off a fellow author without knowing about it.  I honestly thought we were joking around; I'd wanted to read her new book, but when I read the 1st page, it was so badly edited, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it.  K wanted to read MY new book, so we did an even swap.  Apparently my offer to 'take a red pen' to her baby didn't come off as joking as I'd thought.  Granddaughter A began heavily campaigning to live with us, since her mom had lost her housing.  Took Miss Alex to Brown County for her birthday, to go horseback riding.

July:  Spent 3 weeks at my parents' house, house-sitting while they visited my sister.  Volunteered at an event, and enjoyed myself.  I was also blogging heavily about the new season of Big Brother.  Step-daughter came down for 4th, and promptly got into a shouting match at a woman across the street.  Granddaughter A pleaded with her mom to be allowed to live with us, and after much discussion, her mom agreed.  I got in touch with the school to see what needed to be done in order for us to enroll her.

Aug:  Had a GREAT time at the Watermelon Festival!  Family drama ensued.  After being in school for 2 days, A went home for her Sweet 16 party.  D and I had to be in Indy on Monday, so let her take a personal day, so we didn't have to make 2 trips.  She had tonsiitis, so was out sick on Tuesday.  Wed morning, I took her to an ortho appointment, and she expressed a desire to be home schooled.  I told her no; J overruled me and asked me to look into it.  I sent off an app.  Thursday, A decided she wanted to return home.  We said no, and got my SIL on my side.  Thursday night, though, A announced 'everyone' was on her side.  I was furious, and on Fri, told the school she was going home.  Sunday night, after she left, I posted a vague vent on FB and went to bed.  Monday morning, I was called out as a selfish narcissist.  I was floored....took down the post and apologized to A for the drama.

Sept:  Attended three shows, and sales began to soar.  Reconnected with friend BJC from high school.  Emptied all but three appliances from the Green House:)  Officially signed with Stardust/Erotes Press, aka Hydra Publications out of Louisville, owned by Frank, the organizer of the Author's Fair.  Another 'WTH' moment; when I signed on, apparently other romance authors panicked, because my 5 orphaned books were *gasp* 'erotic romance', and OMG, they can't have their names associated with a 'smut' author.  Give me a break....

Oct:  Imaginarium was a blast!  Teacher's Pet rereleased, and I'll admit, I was a little stunned as to how I would buy my author copies.  But buy them I did....and went as Danaerys Targarian (Game of Thrones) on Halloween.  D was involved in an accident, which totalled the truck.  No one was seriously injured, thank God!

Nov:  Had a BLAST at the Christmas Toy and Hobby show, then came home for the Women's Retreat.  Discovered two friends were doing a signing at our local coffee house....then discovered my 'indiscretion' back in June.  I was floored as to why K was so mad at me....and then we patched everything up when I told her I'd had no intention of marking up her book; was absolutely NOT in 'competition' with her....quite the opposite!  I'd enjoyed the general story of her book, just wishing it had been better edited, IMHO.

Dec:  Spent a very quiet month, baking cookies, and buying presents.  Bought my spouse a new GMC truck, a 2017 'holdover'.  It's in my name, due to having the better credit score, ha ha!

See what I mean?  There's a saying if one person points out an issue, fine.  If two or more point out the same issue, then there's clearly a problem.  Maybe the person in Aug wasn't far off the mark?  Maybe it's not narcissism, but I've been extremely selfish and conceited this year?  

I shall try to correct this obvious flaw.  Am I really a self-centered, self-righteous brat?  This 'look back' has had quite a humbling effect.  And somewhat depressing.

Moving On To Happier News.....

Books Read:  58
       E-Book:  34
           Print:  22
            DNF:  3

Karaoke Songs Added:  140
                            Thurs:  53
                                 Sat:  87

Friday, December 29, 2017

Flashback Friday: Valuable Lesson Learned

Dec 2007:
I was happily relieved at the start of December.  I'd just endured a horrible 1st attempt at NaNoWriMo; I'd managed to 'win', but the experience had scared me and turned me into someone I NEVER wanted to be again.  I was also gaining confidence in my blogging skills, and turned my attention to baking cookies, getting ready for the holidays, and even moving my hubby back into the house.

Which sounds funny; in fact go here for the rest of the story.

I also discovered not everyone shares my sense of humor, but instead of simply skimming my post, two other fellow bloggers were caught by the Blogger Trolls and threatened to pull their support.  Which terrified me at the time; I mean, what new author wants to learn she's 'offended' her new friends and have them leave her high and dry?  I was supposed to be interviewed by one, and due to the 'controversy', she chose to interview someone else.  I took down the 'offensive' part of my post, but later stewed about it.  What happened to the 1st Amendment rights?  Who were these unseen readers who objected to song lyrics that had played at least twice a day on public radio stations across the country?  On a particular show on the weekend?  It made no sense.

I tried to be philosophical about it.  Maybe different rules applied to Blogger.  Maybe I had gotten such a swelled head about the release of book #2 and the fact I'd just written my 9th book, and hadn't taken in to consideration what I was doing.

After a week of carefully censoring every word I wrote, be it in an email, a comment on someone's blog, or even my own post, I wrote this post after being 'zinged' by a sermon at church.  It seemed to work; the incident had blown over, and all was forgiven.

It didn't take the hurt away; the fact I remember it at all is proof of it.

What Did I Get For Christmas That Year?
Colts pjs, a huge box of paper, some clothing, and candy.  Mom had gotten me a new coat, but it didn't fit, so when I took it back, I hit a sale and got a whole lot more!

Both my MIL and my mom ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, so this was also a stressful month.  Thankfully, both recovered!

Present Day:
The cold has found us!  It snowed Christmas Eve, just enough to cover the ground.  Our choir sounded wonderful, and while I was slightly croaky, my voice held.  Christmas Day was nice and relaxing; I fixed appetizers (meatballs and the Chicken-broccoli filling), then the ham later.  We played Cards Against Humanity well into the wee hours, and my spouse discovered just how twisted my sense of humor can get at times!

Did I mention my dad got me another large box of printer paper for my birthday?  Perfect timing, since we just ran out of the one he'd bought me ten years ago!

Tomorrow, we're heading to Lafayette to celebrate with my parents.  This year it's my dad's turn for the medical issues; he'd been complaining of knee pain, and after an X-ray, he was told he had an anuerism in that knee.  He had a CAT scan on Tuesday, and we're still waiting on the results.  I'm going to stay up there for a week or two.

I'll be back later with my annual 'look back' post, so have a very happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Flashback Friday: "Where Are We?"

Dec 1997:
For our 1st Christmas in the new house, Mom and Dad came down to our house that day!  We fixed ham, turkey, and all the trimmings, and had a very relaxed day.  The only thing that was slightly alarming was that Shadow, our Elkhound, decided to help himself to the ham.  Since we weren't sure if he'd also licked any of it, the whole platter had to be rinsed!  I think D was the only one who ate any of it; the rest of us (sans Dad) stuck to turkey!

When I got my pictures developed, I couldn't figure out where we were!  There were no pictures on the wall; nothing to resemble where we were.  Until I saw the carpeting, and realized we were in our new front room!

This may have been the year I started the tradition of baking, but I'm not sure.

Next Month:  Getting 'Snowed Out'!

Present Day:
My voice decided to leave, so I was unable to sing last weekend.  We did go see the new Star Wars movie and yes, I cried at one point.  Sunday, we went to Terre Haute and ate lunch at Popeyes, then went to Best Buy to return D's kindle cover and to buy the Teen a video game.

Voice has somewhat returned; I was able to hit all the notes.  My birthday went well; I baked cookies and went to the Washington Writer's Meeting, then met the family at Gilbert's for dinner.  I had the chicken portobella and brocolli, and Star Wars was on my cake.  Also fired up my new laptop:)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Flashback Friday: Rebellion Phase #3 and Heartache

Dec 1987:
Story Thus Far:
I was on a downhill spiral of self-doubt and rebellion.  I'd questioned my own desirability as a potential mate; I was depressed at the thought of having to take another year of general studies; my weekend traveling and trying to flip-flop my schedule for 48 hours had me stressed out; I'd just decided I was NEVER going to be a part of my boyfriend's family, so why the hell did I continue to go see him every week?  I'd gone to a bar with friends from my summer job and discovered a man had been nearly beaten to death outside our window.  We hadn't even known it.

The start of the 2nd quarter had me pissed off.  First, because I hadn't passed my Math class, so not only had to retake it, but 099 as well.  I was also taking a speech class; fine, I could handle it.  I'd decided to delay signing up for any more of my major classes, in order to get those darn Gen Studies ones out of the way.

I did talk CS into taking me to the winter dance, and we ended up at the same table as my 1st college boyfriend, a 'what-the-hell-were-you-thinking' moment when I realized who he was!  Ugh...I'd dated him?  I pretended not to recognize him, and he apparently didn't recognize me!  Thankfully, we were at opposite ends of the table, and didn't interact.

My 1st speech landed on my birthday, so I threw myself a party and demonstrated how to bake a Stir-n-Frost birthday cake.  Later, CS met us at the Olive Garden on 38th St to celebrate my 22nd birthday.  Turned out he'd been dropped off, and my aunt and uncle, who didn't live too far from him, ended up taking him home.  So no 'alone' time with him.

I also had to report to the police station, to give my statement about what happened that night in the bar.  The detective tried to scare me, saying the guy had nearly died, and all I was doing was laughing with my friends and playing darts?

Yes; I didn't even pay attention to whom else was in the place!

We flew to Florida for Christmas, and Grandma got sick.  My sister and I borrowed her car and went shopping on the beach, purchasing bumper stickers "No Guts, No Glory' for me, and 'If It Swells, Ride It' for her.  I tried to tactfully get her to buy something else, but she didn't 'get' the connotation until we were back at Grandma's!  To this day, I have no idea whatever happened to those stickers; we'd also bought two twisty necklaces, and neither of them came home.  So they were either accidentally thrown away, or misplaced.

I'd taken my journal with me, to use as a guide while I continued to work on my 1st book, and made the mistake of leaving it out.  Mom found it, read it, and was none too happy about my 'private' activities.  She lectured; I sulked; I ended up saying whatever I could to get her off my case.  I was 22, not 12.  I never saw my journal again, and I was heartbroken.  Everything I'd written about JF and 1986 were gone forever, except what little I'd written in my tiny diary, along with my memories.  Later, I discovered Mom had placed it in a hiding place, but forgot to pack it, and Grandma found it.  She burned it.

My gifts that year included white sweatpants with 'Pepsi' down one leg, and a pair of furry bear claw slippers:)  I still have the bear feet; when one developed holes on the bottom, I stopped wearing them.  Can you tell I loved them?  I'd also gotten CS the Pink Floyd tape, Momentary Lapse of Reason, and copied most of it onto a blank cassette tape.  Still love the songs "Comfortably Nunb", "On The Turning Away", and "Learning To Fly".

Next Month:  Rebellion, Phase #4:  Driving Violation

Present Day:
Last night, we drove to Terre Haute to meet my parents for dinner at the Olive Garden, to celebrate mine and Kyle's birthdays.  Mom got me a Star Wars figure, some slippers, a pair of Christmas earrings, and an entire box of printer paper.  Kyle got some T-shirts.

Later, D and I went to Best Buy, and he bought me a new laptop, an ASUS.  Windows 10, Intel processor.

I've also managed to lose my voice, so no karaoke last night.  I have to get it back for tomorrow; choir is singing, then we're going to see Star Wars, plus I was planning to stay out late at karaoke, to celebrate my birthday!  I'm living on cough drops, Delsym, and kleenex!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Flashback Friday

Dec 1977:
I turned twelve:) 

We were all trying to learn The Bus Stop dance, and rumors were going around about the new film, Saturday Night Fever, and the fact you could see John Travolta naked in it.  Since I loved him as Vinnie Barbarino in Welcome Back Kotter, I wanted to see it, but as it was rated 'R', I knew I'd have to wait until it was broadcast on TV the following year.  Which meant, I wouldn't see him naked after all.

The airwaves began to buzz with the soundtrack to the movie, which my father announced Barry Gibb sounded like a 'skinny black guy holding his nose while singing'.  My sister and I were incensed!

"Barry Gibb is AWESOME!"

Christmas Eve, we traveled to Granny and Grandpa M's to celebrate.  My cousin and I convinced Granny to climb up in the attic and get Aunt Linda's formals out for us to dress up in.  We had a blast, then returned home for the Christmas Eve service at church.

Christmas morning was different.  This was the first Christmas where we had an actual fireplace, so our presents were under the tree in the front room, while the stockings were hung in the family room.  Mom had strung greenery through the wall studs (the new paneling hadn't been installed yet, so the chimney was visible), and Dad had put temporary nails up for our stockings.

I got my Lone Ranger doll ("action figure") and Silver, and I think this was the year our car broke down on the way to Great-Grandma's house.  Dad limped the car to the Zionsville exit, where the truck stop was, and a Good Samaritan, who happened to be going near Broadripple, gave us a ride.  We borrowed Grandma's car to return home that night, then the next day my sister and I had the run of the truck stop while Mom and Dad worked on the car!  I remember playing pinball, reading books, and when the car was fixed, Mom let us each pick a new doll from the gift shop.

On the 27th, we had our semi-annual get-together with Mom's BFF from HS and her family.  Peter, Tim, Vicki, Wendy, and I enjoyed playing a modified Cops and Robbers in the basement before going back upstairs and playing board games.

My hormones were beginning to blossom; I began to think of Peter as my boyfriend, and found out later he felt the same!

Next Month:  The Blizzard of '78!

Present Day:
The temps have finally dipped into the 30s....ugh.  Today we're celebrating Kyle's 26th birthday with steaks on the grill and cake:)  The birthday boy's on the KETO diet, so no cake for him, but he's making himself a peanut butter pie.  The rest of us will enjoy a small cake from the bakery.

Truck shopping, cookie baking, and gift buying has begun!

Cookies Baked:
-Chocolate Chip:  18 doz; 10 doz packed away
-Oatmeal Raisin:  5.5 doz:  3 doz packed away

Gifts Bought:
Went ahead and bought the stocking gifts first!  A few gifts have also been purchased.

Monday, December 4, 2017

December Reading Schedule

November was a rough month for me, career-wise:
-Finish Heart Song (NaNoWriMo project) Laptop died.  Writing is 'on hold' until January.  NaNo Word Count:  10,033.  Sigh.....
-Do well at 1st Friday event  Sold 5:)
-Do well at Indy Christmas Toy and Hobby Show 13 sold, plus sold out of 4 titles!  Now need inventory...
-Have successful Thanksgiving YES!  Nice and quiet.
-Start Christmas shopping Sort of....
-Lose another 5 pounds Lost 2!  Down to 231:)
-Take 'big items' to Republic on Nov 4th  Nope; due to wreck, didn't have the energy.
-Successful CHRP retreat  Check!

Books Read:  3
            Print:  2
         E-book:  1

Weight:  Actually managed to lose 2 pounds!  Weighed in at 231:)

Overall Health:  Doing well, though my right thigh/hip has been bothering me ever since the ICGAH Show.  Maybe it's the way I stand???

Karaoke Songs Added:  12
                           Thurs:  6
                               Sat:  6

December Goals:
-Bake cookies
           -12/2:  Made 18 doz choc. chip
           -12/5:  5.5 Oatmeal-Raisin
           -12/9:  14 Dark Chocolate Chip, 3.5 Holiday Chip
           -12/11:  7 doz M&M
           -12/16:  5,5 doz Oatmeal-Raisin
           -12/18:  9 doz Winter Chip, 3 doz Butterscotch Chip
           -12/19:  7 doz M&M
-Christmas Shop  12/20:  Nearly finished!
-Celebrate 2 birthdays  Kyle:  Went to karaoke the night before, then fixed steaks on grill:)
-Write Christmas letter Check:)  Even had it printed!
-Sign/send Christmas Cards  Check:)
-Mail two books 12/14:  Tried to mail one; had wrong zip code.  Googled her; will try again.
-Buy inventory  5 copies HS, check; 5 copies BOBW, check.
-Spend a week with parents

Reading Schedule:
Tomb of the Moon-N. E. Riggs
Clayton's Star-Jillian Jacobs

Secrets and Lies (HOB #4)-Susanne Matthews
Back To School-Dylan Cross

Karaoke Songs:
Where Do Broken Hearts Go-Whitney Houston Sounded good:)
I Think I Love You-Partridge Family (David Cassidy tribute; died Nov 21st) Brought laughter and audience participation, lol!
Whip It-Devo Amazingly enough, this went well:)
Midnight Blue-Lou Graham 'Sang' it more like a rap, but not too god-awful!
Whiskey Lullaby-Brad Paisley/Allison Kraus Richard Goodman and I sounded good on this!
Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed The World)-Band-Aid Again, had fun with this one!
12/14:  Lost Voice
12/21: Sang a very gravely/squeaky I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas and Last Christmas.  Rotation was long, so left at 12:30; didn't think my voice was going to stand up for White Christmas!
12/28:  White Christmas was the only good one.  Voice is still iffy.

One of Us-Joan Osbourne Did well!
One on One-Hall and Oates Ugh...
One Step At A Time-Jordin Sparks Bleh....only did well on chorus.  Tripped over my tongue too much.
One Tin Soldier-Coven  Nailed it!  I was sooooo happy; loved this song since I was ten!
Lost In Your Eyes-Debbie Gibson  Nailed it!
One Toke Over The Line-Brewer and Shipley Slightly too low, but was told I did well.
One Way or Another-Blondie  Did well:)
Only The Young-Journey Nailed it:) Camera Batteries died, so will have to re-sing
Only God Knows Why-Kid Rock Wasn't too god-awful, lol!
12/16:  Lost Voice
O Little Town of Bethlehem Elaine sang it with me, and it went well:)
Only Time Will Tell-Asia Did well!
Open Your Heart-Madonna Nailed it:)
Operator-Jim Croce Did fine when I sang it an octave higher, but over all....ugh.  Tracy tried to help me.
Ordinary World-Duran Duran Nailed it!
White Liar-Miranda Lambert  Not too bad for 1st try; was trying to find another song in my limited range, since it wasn't quite 1 am yet.  Short rotation tonight.  Cat cut off the Christmas songs (my O Little Town was followed by Pam's Santa Baby and Elaine's All I Want For Christmas Is You.  She did allow Pam to sing Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.  So I'll be working in the other three 'O' songs in January, lol!)

Friday, December 1, 2017


I've had a heck of a month.

Laptop died; spent four days in Indy, then one at a women's retreat.

Took me three days to fully recover from that trip, plus another day of wallowing in self-pity from the loss of my laptop.

On the good side, I did manage to break the 10K level on my NaNo word count, so yay me!

Since there are 5 Fridays this month, I'm using this one as 'free' one, so if you're expecting a Flashback, come back next week.

I should have my goals up by Monday, and now, I'm off to restock my pantry shelves and bake cookies for the next three weeks, plus celebrate two birthdays.

Happy Holidays!