Ten Years from Now . . .#MFRW


 

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 32 – Ten Years From Now

So, here’s my top ten wish list for ten years from now.

  1. BE CANCER FREE – I hope that I never have to go through this or any other form of cancer ever again. I have made drastic changes in my diet, my work load, my habits, and my mental state. I hope and pray for that day to receive the status of SURVIVOR. I’ve made it through treatment, but the Status of SURVIVOR doesn’t  come until I’ve been cancer free for three years.
  2. BEST SELLING AUTHOR – I plan to continue to get my books out.  I have enough books in the queue to keep me busy until I’m in my nineties and that isn’t counting any new ideas I get between now and then and you KNOW that new ideas will come. In Ten Years, I plan to have at least twenty books out! BTW, watch here because I have something coming soon.
  3. MOVE TO FLORIDA – My husband will retire in ten years and I am hoping we can move to the sunny Gulf coast for the next five or so years. This is in discussion, or in his mind – we won’t talk about this anymore because he doesn’t have any desire to live on the coast.  We’ll see.
  4. HAVE TRAVELLED  – In ten years, I hope to have traveled to many wonderful locations on this beautiful earth. We plan to take more cruises, in addition to visiting places in the United States that we have never been to like The Grand Canyon, Scotland, Ireland, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, the Biltmore Mansion, Cape Cod, Washington DC, and anywhere else we decide to go. I’m not sure about those travel trailers, I see people that get in a Winnebago or whatever the latest brand is and take off.  Not sure how I feel about those.  I think I’d prefer to get to the location and stay in a hotel room. However, having said that there is always those news reports about bed bugs . . . that’s enough to creep even the hardiest of souls to avoid hotels.
  5. HAVE AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE – I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to be so fatigued that just walking out side to get into the car makes me feel. A few years ago, I was active. I could do 60 minutes of cardio at one time. I am out of breath just doing 15 minutes now. This sucks! I will work on improving my physical state so that if I felt inclined, I could run a 5K. Not saying I want to,  but I would be able to. If I attempted that now I am afraid I would collapse of a heart attack. If we go to Mexico, I want to be able to climb the steps of Tikal. I want to be able to hike up Ben Nevis. I want to be able to walk the beach – whatever beach and not worry that my husband would have to drag me back the way we came because I gave out. I might even start getting out on my bike! Can you imagine a 60-year-old me in biker shorts, gray hair, crash helmet, barreling towards you,  head down, pedaling like my butt’s on fire???  It’s an exhilarating thrill that I haven’t felt in a while.  I want to feel that again.  I want to feel healthy again.
  6. SPOIL GRANDKIDS –  Right now our daughters are both single. There isn’t a grandkid in sight for the near future. But in ten years, I hope that will change. I hope they both find mates that love them and treat them like the gems they are and of course then they make beautiful grandbabies for me to spoil. Maybe by then, I’ll forget the Millenial attitude. Probably not, but there’s a chance.
  7. CELEBRATE OUR 40TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY –  although technically, in ten years from now it will be 42 years of marriage so I guess this one will have to have already been checked off. OK, so then we celebrate our 40th with a Cruise to the Western Carribean and I have lots of pictures to share. That will work!
  8. SOLD 1 MILLION BOOKS – Everyone has to have a goal right? I mean if you shoot for the stars and clear the trees then you’ve made progress.
  9. HAVE A CLEAN TIDY HOME – OK, I’m not Suzy Homemaker. I’d never pass the white glove test but I do like things neat and orderly.  We won’t talk about the clutter – moving on. Let me just say this –  2 adult children still living at home! I may have to seek professional counseling soon. My OCD twitch is getting worse every day.
  10. DISCOVER THAT THING CALLED SPARE TIME – Alright, I shared last week that I had to totally change my schedule. It’s supposed to be a much more relaxed pace, not pushing myself constantly. A lifetime of Type A personality is difficult to change. I’m working on it,  but I still haven’t managed to get everything – even the shortened to-do list – accomplished within my 24 hour day. Where do you find this “spare time”? Is there some secret store somewhere that you purchase it? Is it some contract you sign in blood with a devil? ‘Cause this chick ain’t afraid of no crossroads demon. Have you discovered how to clone yourself? PLEASE, somebody, let me in on the secret! Taking time to relax and unwind in theory sounds like a good plan for mental health. IN theory. IN reality, it’s a fast track to guilt if I chill on the patio knowing that: a) my book is not finished, b) all of the other books aren’t’ finished c) there is more housework to be done d) I should really tackle those bills e) laundry, the neverending story, f) . . . you get the idea, right?  It’s not as easy as it sounds.

So there you have it, ten goals that I will be working towards in the next ten years. I’m trying to chill. I”m trying to get things accomplished. For some reason, they seem like polar opposites to me. Good thing I’m not dead yet,  ’cause I’m still a work in progress.

Thanks for stopping by. Find what other authors in this blog hop have to say their dreams are for ten years from now here:

14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually when I get to it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

A Typical Day #MFRW


What? Twice in one week? What’s going on?

It’s nice to flex that blogging muscle, just like when you’ve been inactive for a while, it feels good to stretch and feel the slight soreness that lets you know you’re working.

I had planned to blog on Wednesday – because I was really psyched to share a few things. Unrealistic as it was a nonstop day.

I finished two beta reads this week and have started on a new editing job for a favorite author. In addition, I’ve been trying to get as many words down as I can. They don’t come as easily as they did prior to cancer treatment, but they are trickling in. I had my follow up visit to the radiologist now that the burns have healed and I am starting a 12 week Strong Living program next week.  This has nothing to do with today’s blog, I”m just excited to be able to get out these days!

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 31 – A Day in My Life.

I’ve decided to give you a compare and contrast of the before and after cancer days because it really does change your life and make you see what’s important.

Prior to April 20:

  • Get up at 5:30 am. Make breakfast, pack my husband’s lunch. Drink coffee.
  • 6:30 shower, dress and get ready to tackle my day. Mental self-talk in the shower.
  • 7:00 to 9:00 Start on my MLO job. Go through admin stuff, check the website for inquiries, reference and respond. Drink more coffee.
  • 9:00  – noonish Take a break from MLO job, open WIP, Editing job, go through emails. Get crack-a-lacking on the writing.
  • noonish to 2 – Housework, errands, get back on the writing  – OMG I haven’t eaten anything yet today. This coffee is starting to get to me on an empty stomach. HEY, what’s in the fridge? OH, look I have this, and this, and this, oh and that sounds good.  How did it get to be 3 in the afternoon? Where has the day gone?
  • 3 -4 Afternoon round for MLO job. Go through company emails.  Feeling stuffed – gee, I wonder why?  I only ate 2 meals in one sitting because I hadn’t eaten all day and no, I have NOT had too much caffiene. I still have five things on my to do list and I need more coffee.
  • 5 – 6 Wrap up any open files – editing, writing, company stuff. I don’t feel so good. UGH, I have to start fixing something for dinner. I’m not hungry. Of course not –  you just ate! But I need to fix dinner. What’s on the menu? Darn it, I was supposed to thaw out the chicken. What else do we have?
  • 6 – 630 dinner
  • 630 to 7 clean up
  • 7 – 9  watch TV/ visit with hubby/ housework
  • 9 ish – crashed on the sofa, awakened by family member to get up and go to bed.

Simple right? Yeah, not like I created my own stress or anything. Did you know that high stress is one of the commonly shared things with over 60% of cancer patients? Hmmmmm.

A Day in my Life now:

  • Get up at 5:30 am. Make breakfast, pack my husband’s lunch. Drink coffee.
  • 6:30  Sit down and read, meditate – take at least 15 minutes to get my head on straight for the day. shower, dress and get ready to tackle my day. Sometimes I still do a self-talk in the shower, but more days it’s trying to encourage myself and speak what I’m thankful for. Have something for breakfast. Breakfast is still a challenge for me but I make a point to eat something.
  • 7:00 to 9:00 Some days, I go back to bed. My stamina is still pretty low. Most days though I spend some time reading then start on my writing or editing. Go through admin stuff, check the website for inquiries, reference and respond. Limit myself to 2 cups of coffee. For the last two weeks around 8 o’clock, I’ve been doing a low impact cardio workout that only lasts about 15 minutes. Sadly, it’s about my limit right now but I hope that stamina will begin to increase.
  • 9:00  – 10:00 I try to schedule my numerous Drs appointments for the mornings. If it’s a day for an appointment, then the drive time will eat up most of the day until afternoon. Whatever time I get back, I start on the MLO job.  I have a small snack around 10-ish whether it’s a pack of nuts from my purse in a waiting room or piece of fruit.
  • noonish to 2 –  Lunch –  something light. Most often a salad with some sort of protein in it. Snack wraps, . . . I could start sharing about some of my new recipes if anyone was interested. My diet has changed drastically between cancer and now diabetes and I’m still learning. I am seeing a nutritionist in a couple of weeks, hopefully, I’ll have a better idea of balance with these new dietary restrictions. Again- cancer sucks!
  • 3 -4 Check back on the company site and see if there is something I will need to tackle the next day. Do a little housework, sometimes just one or two simple chores. A couple of days a week, my afternoons from 2 until 4 are work at my office, but that’s only 2 days a week. I’m grateful that I still have the job and I hope to increase my hours gradually.
  • 5 – 6 Wrap up any open files – editing, writing, company stuff. I need to fix dinner. What’s on the menu? I start on my menu plan –  I work up a balanced menu for the week.
  • 6 – 630 dinner – conversation and catch up time with my husband
  • 630 to 7 clean up – sometimes.  Or I have my grown children do it.  After all, I cooked.
  • 7 – 9  Relax, unwind. Have conversation. On Wednesday, we watch Master Chef. On another day we have been watching American Grit. I don’t really watch much TV.
  • 9 ish – Read, sometimes I play a game on my kindle. Look at Pinterest – the bottomless pit.

I’ve made some improvements  and I know there is plenty of room still for more improvement.  I don’t stress over what’s not done. I will do what I can today, the rest will have to wait. My stamina is improving ever so slightly each day but is still pretty weak.  If you compare the two,  there are a few things that you may notice are different.

Reduced coffee.  I can’t quite give up my coffee, but I have cut down considerably.

Reduced stress. I just can’t go there. I really don’t care if twenty other people are running ninety to nothing with their hair on fire.  I can’t. My life is valuable to me. I’ve been given a new lease on life and I am going to make the most of it. At my own pace with no apologies to anyone ever again. I’m alive and I’ll take each day and be thankful for it!

Reduced irons in the fire.  Nope my house isn’t spotless. The laundry isn’t caught up. The dishes occasionally pile up. I need to dust. Nope, I’m not making any record breaking pace for writing, editing or  the paid day job. I still have to juggle a lot of Drs visits and tests. I need down time.  I went for thirty some odd years with little to no down time.  I can’t anymore.

Me time.  This is a whole new thing and it still feels awkward and uncomfortable.  I have a little breathing room, it’s nice!

It’s like I’ve become more Jamaican mahn. Don’t worry. Every little ting, gonna be alright. It’s all good mahn. The sun will come up tomorrow and we get to do it all over again and if it don’t, it don’t matter anyways. So chill. Enjoy the sunshine,  the  cool breeze, the people in your life –  that’s what is important!

Here  are the links for other authors in this blog hop sharing  a glimpse into their day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually, when I get to it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

How Do You Do That? #MFRW


So, you know how I said I was debating about just using the bloghop prompts? I have this OCD issue . . . leaving things undone is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  There is no way I can go back and do over all of the weeks I’ve missed,  but I can still use the posts

One of the weeks that I missed was Week 11. Plot Away. . . My Writing Process. 

Oh boy, this is going to be difficult!

LE SIGH!

I definitely need to improve my process. I have numerous books that haven’t been published and I need to get on the ball!

THE PROCESS:

  1. The Idea Garden – every great story starts with an ideal. Every idea doesn’t have to be great. You can have five writers use the same basic plot and write five different stories and one of them might be great. Take for instance romance- the basic plot of any romance is boy meets girl, they fall in love, *complications* they live happily ever after. The thing that makes each story unique is that *complications* bit. An inspiration for an idea can come from anywhere – prompts, pictures, people at Walmart.
  2. Plotting or Pantsing – I’m a Planster. That is mostly a plotter with a bit of pantsing. I take my initial idea and make a rough outline. For the WIP that I’ve been working on and revising, this process has been a bit different than in the past. I’m trying to write a better book. The wonderful Karen Docter gave me a few pointers which I have taken to heart, revamped the plot which was weak leaning towards lame, scrapped most of what I had before and began earnestly writing in this new method that makes more sense to me. My new method is using the W Plot method. I am embarrassed to admit that I had to go through the course 3 times before I got it. Well, I think I got it. Time will tell. Making sure that I hit the nine major points,  I then begin to write. It takes me a while to get from one point to the next because there could be ten chapters between the two points. Or in later sections, it’s only five chapters between points. The W does not have to be symmetrical! Nobody told me the plot has to be symmetrical. You’re warned, so don’t be leaving some comment in the review that says the pacing isn’t the same when things start escalating and moving faster and faster until the climax. I’m just going to leave that.
  3. Write the Words – Write LIke the Wind BullsEye! This is the nitty gritty day to day word count. I’ve only recently been able to get back into my author’s chair and have clear thoughts to be able to focus on my plot. Hey, don’t judge me! Chemo brain is a very real thing. Just another little thing cancer robs you of. There were days, it was like I was absolutely stoned out of my mind. Not that I would know what that was like. *Cough cough*  The point here is that I’ve been back to writing this week. My story sits at 52,764 words and I have about ten more chapters to add. I can’t tell you how long it will take me because it’s a new world for me. I don’t know what my new normal is. I don’t know which days are going to be good days and which are chemo brain days. Yesterday I got 1200 words down, then was sick the rest of the day including when we went out to celebrate our anniversary. JOY!
  4. Revisions, Beta Feedback, and Editor woes! – To be honest, 50K of the words have already been revised. I will have to get new beta readers because I had asked my beta readers to read back in April before I got my diagnosis. *Hangs head* It’s been a long, long arduous four months and my journey isn’t over yet. AS soon as I can get the other chapters done, I’ll send it off to my betas and then make corrections before sending to my wonderful editor.
  5. Covers! –While the editor is going over my book it’s time for cover creation! Unfortunately, what I had originally planned for this cover isn’t going to happen because medical expenses are astronomical. The out of pocket isn’t anywhere near the total charges which are over $100K, but still, I don’t know where we are going to come up with the thousands we need.
  6. Correction Center – It takes me a while to go over the calls made by my editor. As an editor myself, you’d think the calls are easy to go through using Word, but it’s so easy to get confused and lose track of where you were, especially now with this brain fog!
  7. Release the Kraken! Or erm, your baby – the project that you’ve toiled over, created the world for your characters to live, made your reader love them or hate them, all of the dirty deeds you’ve done to your characters in practice runs or in the final print, it’s finally ready for reader’s eyes. You pray, you chew your nails, you have a few drinks while laughing nervously and alternately crying, and have a few moments of “I finished a book!” before the “Get your butt in gear on the next one” hits.

Yeah, that about sums up the process. Of course, I’ve omitted the psychological process of going from the brilliant idea when you feel absolute genius to useless failure to chasing dreams to the determination to see this through to the end. But that’s a whole other post.

My process may be different from everyone else. I’m trying to focus on one project at a time. A quick update on progress – Roxy Sings the Blues is the current WIP that I have about ten chapters left to write. It was supposed to be finished in April then my world fell apart.  Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening is written. I’ve been holding off on that one until I get my major points in book 2 far enough to feel comfortable that I am not going to need to add that bit to book one or omit that other bit that foreshadows book 3.  Realm Wars series is basically waiting on me to finish book 1, which is a prequel to Passion’s Price and Faere Guardian. I got hung up on Egyptian gods and their system and fell into a research pit with that one and shelved it. Guess what? Soon I will dust them off and get them out there.

Anyway, now you know my publishing goals for the next year. Three of those were supposed to go out this year, but CANCER. Anyone who feels the need to comment on my slow writing can suck it!

You can find previous posts in this series here:

 

 

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Old School Reader


Hey, I’m back!

It has been a while. The radiation treatments were totally kicking my butt for a while there,   but I survived and am making my comeback.  This week has a been a learning curve in what my new normal is going to look like as my stamina is measured in micro bursts. It will increase, however slowly.

I debated about borrowing the prompts for this on my own schedule, or jump back in since I’ve missed so many weeks. A good friend said just go for it and jump in again so here I am.

Welcome to Week  30 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge: Paper, e-book, or audio?

Quotidiandose does not own the rights to this image. All rights reserved to http://amysvintagethoughts.blogspot.com/2012/01/broken-resolutions-stack-of-books.html

I am old school, I prefer to have a hard-copy print book in my hands.  Whether it is hardbound or a paperback, I prefer the print copy to an e-reader. That isn’t to say however that I don’t own an e-reader because I do. It has nearly 300 books on it, many of which I have started but not finished. When I have a print book, I will read it through. I usually have a couple of books that I alternate between but lately, it is all I can do to focus on one.

I have been working my way through the digital material as I have been spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. *ROLLS EYES*  By mid-August, I should be able to leave a dozen reviews.

There’s just something about the smell of paper and the gratifying sense of touch to handle the print copies.  I own a shelf full of first edition books which are part of my treasure hoard. There are only a handful of authors that I care enough to get first editions. A couple of my prized first editions: Arabian Nights. YES, the 1704 edition! I don’t dare handle it too much, as it is delicate. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Then I have some more modern first editions by Karen Marie Moning and Clive Cussler.

One of my greatest thrills is going to author events and getting signed copies from other authors. Sometimes I trade my book for theirs, which is a complete thrill to me that they think my book is worth trading theirs for!

I’m not much on audio books other than when I am listening to them at the gym and since I haven’t been to the gym for a while. . . .  yeah, that’s a whole other story. I have listened to audio books during my cancer treatments. I got through 2 Clive Cussler books, a Stephen King, and Anne Rice.  I find though that if I am doing anything else, I lose my place in the story and have to rewind and listen to that part over whereas with a print book I am less likely to get lost.

We each have our own preferences! One thing I do like about ebooks though is the price. I can get three books for every one of my print copies!

You can find other author’s take on this top here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you read? Which format do you prefer for your books?

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Memories in the Corners of My Mind #MFRW


This is week 21 -A Childhood Memory

 

I don’t know if any of the others participating in this blog hop have this problem, but with every prompt comes a flood of questions. It takes me a good while to go through the questions and decide if they are valid or not. This is a process that started with me way back, . . . yeah back to my childhood days just shortly after the stone age.

How far back? What topic? I mean, a scary memory? fun memory? life lesson learned? funny memory? sentimental? How can I narrow it down? Should it tie in with last weeks post about movies?  Does it tie in with writing somehow? What does this have to do with writing? What if . . . . and then I have to tell my brain to SHUT UP! This pattern emerges somewhere before kindergarten.

I learned fairly quickly to keep them to myself as I often got in trouble for asking too many questions. That is a whole other post and that’s not the memory I decided to share. That will go under the category of my mother, learning to deal with ADD, and a creative mind. Maybe I should do that.

Anyway, the memory I decided on is one I will never forget.

I grew up in a small town south of the St. Louis metropolitan area. It’s a rural area just outside of a small town. In the midwest , e get hot summers, sudden thunderstorms and are always ALWAYS aware of the possibility of tornadoes.

The morning started out as any summer morning. It was my job to go out and pick strawberries. My parents had June bearers, which means they put on fruit for about three weeks heavily then are done for the season. School had just let out the week prior and it was my parent’s method to make sure I knew that I wasn’t going to be a slacker. Chores had to be done before my fun started. Most of the time, picking strawberries was an easy task as I love strawberries and I would wash about a pint for myself and eat them. Cost of labor, right? Plus it was a nutritious breakfast. Trust me, I wasn’t thinking about nutrition at that age, I was thinking strawerries – yummmm!

While picking the berries, about three forths of the way down the row – the row was about twenty feet long and three feet wide – I reached for a big juicy berry when movement caught my eye inches from the berry. A snake! Not some little five inch snake, NOOOOOOO! It was a full grown three to four footer. I know now that it was a king snake, not harmful but tell that to my ten-year-old self. OH heck no! He could have the rest of the berries. I grabbed my buckets that I had filled and ran to the house. I set the berries on the counter and realized there was one more bucket out there. Out there where the snake was. I had to go get it. It was going to rain and I needed to get them. Berries don’t keep well once they are picked.

Anyone watching would have thought that the entire garden was infested with cobras. It may as well have been. I knew from experience of where we lived, snakes could move fast. We had a few blue racers around the yard, we had the occasional copperhead show up, and black snakes were common. It could have been anywhere.

Two steps, then looking all around. A couple more steps, watching the vines and foliage around the beans, the cucumbers, the tomato plants. There weren’t any vegetables on them, but there was foliage where a clever snake could hide. I could see the bucket ahead about ten feet away. The closer I got, the slower I moved. My heart was in my throat, pounding out a tattoo of terror. I was bending, reaching for the bucket when I saw it less than three feet away, slithering from the strawberries towards the neighbor’s yard through the fence.

AAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHH!

I grabbed that bucket and ran like my clothes were on fire.

Three gallon-sized buckets of berries sat on the counter. I wouldn’t eat any. Dad wouldn’t know that I didn’t finish. I would offer to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the garage, anything that didn’t involve the garden area or snakes.

I finished my other chores then hopped on my biketo meett up with my neighborhood friends and do the all important stuff of summer vacation. (Which roughly translated to riding our bikes till exhaustion, stealing grapes from Mr. Winslade’s vines that poked through the fence, swiping apples from Mr. Eaves tree that hung over his fence, more bike riding, finding a shady place to stop and talk about what else we would do over the summer, more bike riding until our parents were home, and what we’d do the next day.)

I couldn’t tell you what time of day it was other than at noon Mike’s mom would call him for lunch. That was our cue that it was lunch time. I’d cycle back home, grab a tuna sandwich or peanut butter, drink a gallon of tea then vacuum mom’s big rug in the front room, wash the dishes then run back out the door. When Brooke’s dad pulled into the driveway it was time to head home. My dad would be pulling into the drive shortly after his. That meant it was time to clean up and start on dinner. I offered to cook dinner in order to get more allowance. I liked to cook and every kid needed money to get pop and candy at the local gas station.

Dad asked about the strawberries. I said yes, I had picked them. “Was that all of them?”

“Was that all of them?”

“Ummmmmm.”  I’m a terrible liar.

“Well,  I picked all the way down to the telephone pole.”

“Why didn’t you finish?” He showed no emotion, no anger, just a simple question.

“Dad! There was a snake. I could have been bitten. He was huge!” My heart began to race.

“Well, I’m sure he’s long gone so go out there and finish up.” As a parent, I can appreciate this now but at the time, I would have sworn my father was sending me to my death sentence.

“But, I started cooking dinner. Mom will be home at six.”

“You’ve got time. Just go finish up. It shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes.”

I knew there was no reasoning with him. I knew he was right, I had seen the snake leaving. But what if he came back? What if he was waiting for me? What if he wantto curlurl around me and constrict me then eat me whole like Kaa?

I grabbed an empty bucket and walked, head down, towards the strawberry patch. My steps weren’t cautious like before, what did it matter if the snake shot out like an arrow and latched onto my leg. If I were going to die,  then it was going to get me one way or the other.  I knew exactly where I had left off.  The telephone poll was about a foot behind the place I stopped. Plus for anyone who has ever picked berries, it’s easy to see there are red berries here but not there.

I knelt down, picking the berries as quicly as I could. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, seeing a few green bottoms when I dropped them into the bucket. I knew dad would have something to say about that, reminding me that they needed to ripen. I stood, one foot on either side of the patch, so that I could move quicker down the row. There was only about four feet of row remaining and if I managed to get to the end of the row without being bit by a snake, or the imagined tangle of multiple of snakes that I knew were just waiting to strike. My heart pounded as I filled the bucket.

The end was in sight. There was only about ten inches of row left. I could do this. I might survive after all and not end up with the epitaph on my tombstone: Done in by strawberries and the snake that resideth therein.

A particularly large berry, at least four inches wide, red and luscious. My mouth watered remembering that I hadn’t eaten any that morning. Maybe dad would like some strawberry shortcake for dessert. I reached for it. Confident that I was about to cross the finish line unharmed and return to the house victorious.

Then the brown stick that was laying at the end of the row curled up and moved.  I had been bent over, knees slightly bent, one foot on either side of the row  as I worked my way towards the end. I shot up arrow straight, eyes wide, shaking like a leaf. This was not a king snake nor a black snake. It was a copperhead. Copperhead’s are poisonous.  I didn’t dare move. Any movement might make it strike.

I was frozen. Well, aside from the shaking bit. My jaw clenched tightly as I  stared at the snake. I couldn’t let it out of my sight. I couldn’t turn and run. I couldn’t move.

“Stay still, don’t move.” Dad’s voice behind me was both comforting and disconcerting as I detected a note of seriousness in his voice that wasn’t usually there. Slowly, he walked down the path between the strawberries and beans. One step at a time, stalking his prey. When he was just about even with me, he raised the hoe overhead and held it there for a minute before bringing it down with every bit of strength he had. In one move he had chopped it’s head off, picked up the tail end and tossed it behind the neighbor’s garage, then picked up the head with the hoe and flung it in the same direction.

“How about we have some ice cream with our shortcake tonight?” He nodded towards me as he used his hoe to cut a few weeds from the beans. ” Don’t forget that last berry, that’s a beaut!”

I let out a deep breath as I plucked that last berry, grabbed my bucket and walked as quickly as I could towards the house.

My father’s two joys were gardening and fishing. I am grateful that he  taught me about gardening even though I didn’t listen half as much as I should have. I’ve had to learn some of his wisdom through my own trial and error. I am glad that I was his “fishing buddy” for many years. He didn’t often talk, but occasionally. . . occasionally  he would offer pearls.

We had our differences at times, but my dad was always my hero. I miss him terribly.

That night after dinner we enjoyed our strawberry shortcake, and dad made sure I got the biggest berry. When I sat down on the sofa reading a book, I overheard him telling mom that he was proud of me.  That I finished the job even though he could tell I was scared. He had followed me out, going to his garage/ work shop. He watched me out the window for a few minutes and he knew the minute I saw that snake.

My wild imagination often got me in trouble as a kid. Asking a million questions also got me into trouble.  My father was far more patient than my mother. His method of dealing with my questions was to answer them to the best of his ability until he could find something else to distract me.

At some point in our lives, all we have left of our parents are our memories. We sift the bad and keep the good, choosing to hold onto the moments that shape our lives.

Father’s Day is coming up soon, if your father is still with you do something to honor him. Take time to visit him. Share a memory that means a lot to you with him.

Ironically, this wasn’t the memory that I was originally going to share, but it’s the one that came up. Perhaps another time I’ll have the opprtunity to share about the tornado.

Until then, go check out what the other’s are sharing on this blog hop!

 

Leave a comment below  then visit the other authors. Write on my friends, write on!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book #MFRW


Greetings everyone! It’s a been a while since my last post and even longer since I made an MFRW post.  Life has been – different. I’ll address all of that later, but for now . . . . on to the fun stuff!

The topic for this week –  week 20 – is My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book.

I realize that many of my constituents (aka other bloggers participating in this blog hop not to be confused with political opponents vying for same geographic region) will probably reference some of the most recent book/movies such as Divergent, The Hunger Games, 50 Shades. Not me.

The subject is MY favorites.

There are many movies made from books, then made into screenplays. There are movies based on books.  Quite often I find that I greatly prefer the book to the movie. There are a few that have translated well to the big screen.

The Polar Express

It’s amazing what they can do with animation these days, isn’t it? Well, the book made me cry when I first read it to my kids, and that same emotion hit me when I watched it the first time. No, it’s not a sad movie. It’s a wonderful story. They were tears of joy, heartfelt compassion. Yeah, I’m a softie. I cry at commercials sometimes as well.

The Princess Bride

Inconceivable how anyone could not like this movie! This is one of the rare instances that I prefer the movie to the book. If you haven’t seen it, why not? GO – get it now. Download it on Netflix or Amazon and watch it. I’m serious!

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Based on: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Wang Dulu

Year published: Between 1938–1942

The novel is actually the fourth book in the Chinese author’s five-part Crane-Iron Series. This martial arts extravaganza is well-written, with a wonderful plot, great characters, action, drama plus it has Donnie Yen, Jet Li,  and Michelle Yeoh! Maybe you aren’t a martial arts fan, but this movie is worth your time. I never read the book for this one either but I saw an interview with Jet Li where he stated about reading the book and he was excited that it was going to be made into a movie. I’ll warn you though, most Asain movies don’t have a happily ever after. Often they are tragic. This book/movie – and the movie followed the book fairly closely – has a dynamic plot that engages the reader/viewer, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

It’s not just another cheap Martial arts movie – this one is worth your time!

Probably not what you would have expected, but there you go! I could list twenty others that I liked but these three are at the top of my list.

What’s your favorite book adapted to the big screen?

Leave a comment below and let me know. Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

Welcome to week 7 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  This is a makeup post, so the linky link for other authors will not work. 

This week’s prompt:

 Music to Write By

My musical choice is very much dependent on the mood of the story. For Roxy Sings the Blues, you can bet there is a lot of BB King and Eric Clapton.

While writing Kiss of the Dragon, I primarily listened to instrumental music.

My musical taste runs a gamut from classical, to Instrumental such as Tubular Bells, to some jazz, to Blues, bluegrass, rock, classic rock, some pop. but rarely does it include Country or rap. If you’re into that – great. I’m not. With everything, however, there are exceptions. I like Johhny Cash – he’s considered country.

My most recent playlist includes the following:

The video is shaky but I usually have  it playing in the background anyway.

 

How are you liking these posts?  Some are interesting to me, others are things I’d rather keep to myself about like my editing errors. Uffda!

You can find other posts in this series here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

My Social Media Hangouts #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

Welcome to week 15 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

This week’s prompt:

“My Social Media Hangouts”

Yeah, I was real original on that title, wasn’t I?

 

I would have to say, I probably spend most o my social media time on Facebook. I’m terrible with twitter, I have my posts set up to tweet automatically. Sometimes when I get a notification I will remember to go check and comment or share,  but most of the time it’s out of sight out of mind.

I will go over to Tumblr about once a month maybe. Last month I completely forgot.

I have an Instagram account but I haven’t shared anything on there in many weeks. I  no longer have a Linkedin account.

If you want to catch me online your best bet is Facebook or Pinterest. But I don’t think you can message anyone on Pinterest, it’s just a bottomless pit of distraction. Like for instance, last weekend I was looking for ideas for my office, wondering what I could do with a small space and purple walls.  I kid you not –  the walls are purple. I’m not really a purple kind of gal. Plus, I don’t think a dark color in such a small space is a good idea.

It’s about 7 feet by 12 feet. You can’t tell from the pictures but the walls “sparkle” with glitter.  I have no idea what sort of business was in here before me. Something girly I’m betting.  My furniture will arrive next week. I’m going to buy some white/sheer striped curtains to replace the purple. I have a couple of silver frames to go on the wall in which I have to display my license and some other legal documentation. I’m also going to try to find some art for the walls as well.  It’s not much, but hey, I finally have an office!  This is not an online hangout though. There is no internet connection at the location yet.

You can find me online at the following:

Facebook  Ellie Mack author

Twitter- @Mack_Ellie

Pinterest- Ellie Mack

My blog- Quotidiandose but if you’re reading this – you’re already here!

You can find out where the other authors hang out as well by visiting them here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

Thank God for Grace in Editing!


badge-blog-challenge-updated

This is an unofficial blog hop challenge makeup post for #MFRW. 

This is officially the Week 2 assignment – Sorry Editor! My Common Writing Mistakes.

For my first book – Red Wine & Roses,  my editor had just graduated from Oxford and was between jobs. Since then she has landed a prestigious position with Elsevier and has been dealing with some major health issues between herself and her boyfriend.

Enter GRACE! My editor is Grace Augustine, author of the Acorn Hills Series.  Do any of you believe in divine connections? The day I met Grace seemed to be one of those connections. We were attending Romance Rendezvous in Cedar Falls Iowa. I gambled on being able to arrive in plenty of time by driving there and not staying over. It was close,  but we arrived in time. It was very close! Since then, we’ve become good friends.

Friends aside, Grace is a tough editor. I would expect nothing less! I wonder how much it would cost to have some muffins delivered to her each morning . . . . it might soften the task. If you find yourself in need of an editor, aside from myself because I do have slots available to edit next month and through the summer, I can strongly recommend Grace over at edits with a touch of grace.

Anyway, moving on to my mistakes. There are times when I really hate these prompts and this is one of them. Why is it necessary to air my dirty laundry???  Seriously, this is why we have editors because we all have common mistakes. *SIGH*

Misspelled words: Please let me clarify,  I know how to spell, but my fingers have a different plan when I’m typing.

  • Becasue =because
  • friend=freind
  • teh=the
  • nad=and

The use of semicolons –   it’s like someone spilled a bucket full of them all over my computer files.

Switching tense – one of my pet peeves as an author and as an editor. Yet, I do it myself.

Sentence fragments. We don’t think in complete sentences,  but when writing, we have to at least know the rules before breaking them. If the author is adding a bit for emphasis, sometimes it’s acceptable to use a sentence fragment but not when you are in the middle of a descriptive narrative. Recently, I sent the first part of Roxy to Grace,  she commented: this sentence makes no sense!  NO, it didn’t because I  didn’t complete it. I left off the subject of the sentence.

Recently, I sent the first part of Roxy to Grace,  she commented: this sentence makes no sense!  NO, it didn’t because I  didn’t complete it. I left off the subject of the sentence. I do this a lot, which is one of many reasons why I need an editor! Don’t laugh, you’ll need one too.

I remember getting so upset when my then social media coach read my completed manuscript for Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price and gave it back to me with a few comments. “Well, it doesn’t suck.  Where is the rest of the story? The reader doesn’t know the world you have inside your head. You need to write it down, showing them   everything else that is going on.”

I have loads of details inside my head of my characters, their worlds, the settings, their backstory, their pet peeves, quirks – but I sometimes am so anxious to get them down that I forget to write parts.

Sorry Grace, you’ve really got your work cut out for you! What issues do you have when writing your drafts?

You can catch the previous posts from this series here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

Binge Watching #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

This is an unofficial blog hop challenge makeup post. 

Week 3 – TV Shows I Binge

Netflix is an amazing tool. It is also easy to misuse.

My last binge was Mach 21, as I sat on the sofa wrapped in a quilt, sipping on Seven up, getting up only when I had to race down the hall to the bathroom. I can’t guarantee I even remember every episode that I watched because I think my brain made up a few.

To begin with, let’s cover the movies that I have binge watched repeatedly that are a series.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean:  – and I’m looking forward to Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Fast and Furious series – I’ve seen all but the last two.
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit
  • Narnia
  • Ip Man
  • John Wayne Movies
  • Bruce Willis Movies

Technically that’s not what the post is supposed to be about, it specifically stated TV shows. How can you exclude the movie marathons though?  Here is my list of TV shows:

  • Supernatural
  • How to Get Away With Murder
  • Criminal Minds
  • Hawaii 5-O
  • Burn Notice
  • Walking Dead
  • IZombie
  • Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Stranger Things
  • 13 Reasons Why
  • NON-Netflix binge – HGTV – whether it’s Property Brothers or Chip and Joanna Gaines if my husband is working and I get the tv remote –  it stays on HGTV all day long while I work on other things!

Yeah, that takes up enough of my time. The funny thing is,  the only regular TV things I watch are the news and well, the news.  I’d like to watch Master chef Jr but we have a class on Thursday nights. I’d like to watch the amazing race but we have a thing then.  I’d like to – this is why NetFlix is so awesome. I can watch when I can watch and our lives don’t stop just for a TV show. I don’t want to get too deep into that statement because if you think about it, it does but it does on MY timetable.

What shows do you binge watch? Was there such a thing as binge watching before NetFlix?

You can find my other posts for this challenge here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie