Friday, October 16, 2015

Something New

It's been a while. I know, I am a lousy blogger.

Life has been a little on the busy side: Myrtle the Younger is now a senior in high school and officially an adult, Myrtle the Elder is trudging her way through college, and I am trying to figure out this book promotion/marketing thing. That part is harder than actually writing the book! All of this is on top of my day jobs. (Yes, plural jobs. I ditched one, so I currently have 6 jobs that I claim. I'm trying to whittle them down, but I gotta bring home the bacon, people.)

As I've mentioned before, I am an Occupational Therapist. This title accounts for 5 of my 6 jobs, one of which is private practice. Today I had the opportunity to speak to about 20 college students about health and wellness. We covered a lot of territory in just over an hour, including posture, breathing, stress management and a few other challenges that the average college student (really, all of us humanoids) deals with in this day and age and the effect of those challenges on health and well-being. Things started out a bit on the random side (typical of me) but then we got down to the nitty-gritty and all was good.

Personally, I had a great time and was sorry for it to be over. The students seemed to really enjoy the discussion and asked great questions. I've done other speaking events before and nothing beats having an audience that appreciates your efforts and participates.

I have another event coming in November. This time I'll be presenting my book. It's one thing to present information that I've taught to patients for over 20 years. This will be a new opportunity. I've never been to a book review, I have an idea of what I should say, but I'm open to any suggestions. (Hand-holding is welcome, too.)


Monday, September 7, 2015

One Month Down...

It has been one month since I put myself out on the cliff's edge. Publishing my first book has been scary, but satisfying. And strange.

I knew people would want to read my novel. Out of morbid curiosity or whatever the excuse might have been, friends and family are doing just that. I even (kind of) expected that my mother and the Myrtles would read it. Myrtle the Elder reportedly read the prologue on the plane to see The Boyfriend for Boot Camp Graduation. For some reason, she was embarrassed by what she read and wanted an assurance from the author that the rest of the book was all right for her to continue. (Yeah, right!) Myrtle the Younger gave the Elder grief over that little fact. She's a good little sister. (Myrtle the Younger is the child who stole all  of my smut books at the tender age of 12 because she was bored. She be well-ed-yoo-ma-cated.)

I never expected to be responsible for my father-in-law to read his first romance novel. At the ripe, young age of 79, he did just that. Surprisingly, he not only bought and read my book, but bought and read a second one which caught his eye. (We are getting his vision checked, he claims the blurriness might be related to cataracts, but I have my doubts.) Anyway, his expert option was that I did a good job. That means a lot to me.

I did get a 5-star review on Amazon. That was a absolute thrill. And I've heard from a couple who have read, or are in the process of reading, and haven't heard anything negative yet. I need more reviews. Anyone?

So here I sit, one month into this journey, and I struggle to figure out "What's next?"

First and foremost: I'm exploring options for promoting If You Touch My Mind. I am open to suggestions.
Second: I'm continuing to write. I have two novels in various stages of progress. The sequel to IYTMM is called Keep Your Eyes On Me. It is sitting around 54K words with a goal of 80K. The second book is called Healer and is not related to IYTMM. It's sitting about 63K.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Gremlins Are Gone!

As far as I can tell. This being my first attempt at publishing, there are lots of ways for me to screw up. A final check-list might have been helpful, but, alas, no such critter appeared on my computer screen.

I did have to take the publication down for a period of time. I forgotted to insert the ISBN numbers on the copyright page. I'm not sure what the consequences are of not having them, but I done fixed it. At least it's fixed until someone else points out another colossal error or omission. Stay tuned 'cause I can assure you that I have missed something really important.

So, let us try this again, shall we....

And...I am pleased to announce that gremlins moved out of the Kindle version and the book is now available on ebook. Getting those gremlins out of the house was a true test of my sanity. Ultimately, I ditched the converted file that Kindle uploaded, and do my own upload from my original file. Everything seems hunky-dory now. At least until someone tells me otherwise (see above).

Now it's time to figure out the promotional aspects of this venture. If you have any suggestions, please share.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Drum Roll, Please!

I can officially say "I am published." If you had known me 20-30 years ago, it is the last thing you would have expected to hear from me. But, I have become an author.

For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath:

( might have to cut and paste. There's a link thingy on here...Somewhere...Oh....)

That did it! Yea Me!

Moving on. This is a contemporary romance set in Texas with a psychology-fantasy bent that I like. Being a romance novel: body parts are mentioned, scenarios are established. God gave you an imagination, have at it.

Gentlemen: It's a romance. It probably won't kill you, but I understand if you opt to not take the risk.

As mentioned in my previous post, I am still having issues with the ebook version. Some gremlin decided to change the font size during the conversion. I don't know when that will be available, but I will share as soon as the gremlin moves out.

Some important requests: Please read, Please share, Please write a review, Please (gently) critique.

I own every error in that little novel. I have tried to do it justice with the help of many: Daddy Hawk and Gun Diva, FAWN, Mimi, the spouse, the Myrtles, and a host of dear friends (some helped willingly and knowingly, others not so much).


Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Am Working On It, I Tell You!

My little book is 9/10 of being a reality. There. I've said it.

What about the other 1/10, you ask? Sigh.

In case you haven't noticed, I am not the most "techie" person around. Sure I can navigate my way around most programs and devices with deceptive ease. I can figure out documentation systems, and basically put my 2c whereever I can plug it in, but when it comes to html, zip, unzip, jpg, tif etc, I am clueless. Actually, it is more accurate to say that I just don't care about that kind of "stuff." It's much like legal jargon. Whatever.

Anyway, my attempts to self-publish have resulted in several headaches of the "techie" sort. After formatting, uploads, corrections, re-uploads, cursing, and proofing (not necessarily in that order), I have the non-virtual version of my little book ready to rumble. The virtual version...well, that's just sitting in it's own special barrel of pickled monkeys.

Someone please 'splain to me how the perfect spacing and font-sizing that appears in the non-virtual version, can get so royally screwed in the virtual version. Hmmm? Anyone? Yes, I am aware that the different screen sizes might make minor adjustments, but to take ONE section (and only ONE section), change the font size (New Times Roman 12 to New Times Roman 20ish) and recenter the text into a non-sensical mess DOES NOT COMPUTE, PEOPLE!

I tried to correct the mess. Following the instructions under the supervision of my techie-ish spouse, the html shows that all is perfection. No problemo. So...I upload again (6 times)...Now the one section font change has expanded to the next paragraph, which was perfect before the corrections.

So...Here I sit, waiting for a response from the help desk...twiddling my thumbs. Slowly going insane.

Stay tuned.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Patient? By What Definition?

Hey! It's been a while. Been busy on all fronts. It's tough keeping seven (yes, seven) jobs in line but it keeps the hubby in chips and salsa with a roof over his head. Anyway, KB has kindly reminded me to blog something, so here it be...

I. Am. Not. A. Patient. Person. Period.

This tiny bit of information may surprise some of you, especially those who are used to seeing me crochet quietly in a corner pew on Sunday morning, but it be the absolute truth. I hate to wait. I hate lines. I hate sitting still. I must be doing something or I will go ABSOLUTELY BONKERS. Hence the crocheting.

Crochet is probably the one thing that keeps me out of prison. With a hook and yarn, I can sit for hours, listening to the TV or a sermon or whatever. I can even allow people to ask me what I'm doing and not go insane. (Can't do that with a book) Crochet clears my head and can follow me where ever I roam: sitting, standing, walking, and driving (Uh-huh. Don't judge, you texting fiends!).

But crocheting cannot help me now. I must play The Waiting Game. Why? you ask (out of fear of an answer).

Because...I am waiting for my proof to arrive. Yes, folks, my little contemporary romance novel, with its pretty little cover designed by Myrtle the Younger, is in the hands of an independent publisher and I anxiously await the arrival of my little proof. I received an email this morning that it is being shipped as we sit. (I chose the cheap delivery, which of course takes longer.)

So here I sit. Blogging. I should be leaving for work. Now.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Time to move forward.

Update on the writing contest: I didn't win.

Am I glad I entered the contest? Yes. Did I get a good critique? I think so. At least my feathers are not too ruffled.

I did get a passing grade (if you will call it that). The lowest scored item related to my synopsis which I must admit I threw together in about ten minutes. I got several top marks in some important areas. Yea me!

Ok, moving on. It's time to get to work. I have some good critiques to think about. I do not agree with everything mentioned. But that's good. The critiques are opinions and I have my own. For the most part, I'm going with my gut.

So be on the lookout for a forthcoming announcement in the hopefully not too distant future.

Now to figure out how to publish this puppy.

Go me!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Texas Springtime Road Trip

I just returned from another trek around central Texas. It's good to be Texan.

Last fall, my grandfather passed away at the ripe age of 93. It is through his family that I have roots growing in Texas since the 1830's (Texas became an independent republic in 1836.) After he died, the family decided to scatter his ashes at the old family plot on privately owned land and scattered wildflower seeds in the plot and along the highway to make the location of the plot a little more visible. (We hoped.)

With wildflower season in swing, we decided to make an Easter weekend trip south. Luckily for us, Myrtle the younger announced she had an extra credit assignment due for German III, giving us the opportunity to kill multiple birds with one stone. How, you might ask? German settlements are scattered throughout central Texas with a famous German restaurant in Walburg and a large settlement in Fredericksburg which also happens to be the wildflower capital of Texas.

So off we go with our first stop in Walburg to fill up on saurbraten, schnitzel and a few other German delicacies which I can't spell because I never studied German. Myrtle took her assigned selfie with food and off we went on our quest for wildflowers.

Along the way, Mimi (the resident genealogist) realized we did not have pictures of her grandparent's gravesite in her database (72K names, people!) and guess what happened to be on the way to Fredericksburg--you guessed it--the cemetery.

I love cemeteries. The older the better. In fact, I have a peculiar talent. I find dead people. Put me in the middle of any cemetery and give me a name to hunt for and I will find them in record time. Turn up the heat and humidity and I will find them even faster. It's fun and it drives Mimi crazy. (How do you do that?!? IDK.) The last time I was at this cemetery was in 1985 when my great-grandmother passed away. I did not go to my great-grandfather's funeral in 1992 (Mimi did). That being said, an argument ensued about where their burial plot was located. Guess who found the marker in less than one minute? Yup, went straight to it.

Mission accomplished, we proceeded to Wildseed Farms to see fields of poppies and bluebonnets. Absolutely gorgeous!

After spending the night overlooking Lake Marble Falls, we headed north to Burnet (pronounced burn-it) County where the family plot is located. Since we did not get permission to go to the plot beforehand, we just looked through the fence. No sign of wildflowers in the plot, but along the highway there was plenty of evidence that our seed scattering was productive. Yea!!

Now Mimi wants to get five pounds of seeds for each departed family member and scatter them at the highway and at her property. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When I grow up...

Like many people I know, I am at a crossroads in life. Since 2012, I have been laid off from two jobs and have spent the last year and a half trying to find the right opportunity.

Now, I hear what you are muttering under your breath. "But, T., you are an occupational therapist. There are tons of jobs waiting for you out there." Yes, there are tons of jobs. (well, not TONS but several) About half of them are pediatric (which we established a few months ago that I am NOT a pediatric therapist--see You're Going To Find Me A Job, Right?) or they are places which I have said I would never consider for multiple reasons.

I get calls from recruiters daily. Some are really entertaining. All of them make me wonder how recruiters make a living. (No, I am not interested in an ock-u-pat-shun-ale ther-a-pest position in my TEXAS. Do these people know how big Texas is? San Angelo or Corpus Christi is a LONG commute from the Dallas area.) I also find it somewhat amusing (not really) that all of the job descriptions advertised are interchangeable so I can't tell what skills are being sought. (Am I a fit? Can't tell!)

I have been on several interviews and I even walked out of one because they were insane. What I have learned is the healthcare climate has changed so much in the past five years that the company either wants a license with a pulse (which means I don't want them), or they want a new graduate that they can train the therapist to jump through their hoops (One of my soapboxes. Don't get me started.)

So, this leaves me wondering what my future as an occupational therapist might be and asking the question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" I've been asking this question for longer than I'd care to admit and still have no definitive answer.

For now, I continue as I have. I am on the books with three companies as PRN (as needed) of which two give me somewhat steady work. I have an interview in the morning and one next week for two more PRN positions. I am looking at private practice (which really goes back to the question about growing up). And I am writing and still waiting to publish the first novel until I hear back from the contest. (I have two more novels in the hopper. Obviously, I have too much time on my hands.)

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Just a Normal Saturday

Yesterday I spent an exhausting day with brilliant teenagers. It made my brain hurt.

Myrtle the Younger is in her high school's version of gifted and talented coursework, called Phoenix. She adores her Phoenix classes because they allow her to think light years out of the box. (And she is pretty darn good at that. I haven't understood a word that child has said since she was hatched.)

Every year the junior and senior classes spend months putting together a Phoenix simulation day for the sophomores and freshman. (The best part...everyone wears a costume.) The hosting classes have a theme (untamed forces) they work around, each with a theme within the theme (greed, dreams, fear, survival instincts, psychology, etc.). Her class theme was social hierarchy so they chose to create a prison complete with gangs and a tattoo parlor. (Isn't that what you think when you hear the phrase 'social heirarchy'?)

So yesterday I proudly send off my baby prison guard with a cute little bun. All I know was she was thrilled to be a prison guard so she could swat people with a foam noodle. (A mother's pride knows no bounds, despite having little understanding of the baby girl's thought processing.) I was assured that no one was hurt by her swats and she had a blast.

Now because I am the supportive parent, I was volunteered to be a chaperone. And upon arrival, I was informed that I was responsible for NOTHING. Yea! This event was completely run by the kids and my role was that of general adult. I can do that! And in return, I get pizza!

So I dutifully follow the three groups I am assigned to and we see the creative results of ten different Phoenix classes including Greed (a giant Monopoly game with robbers), Psychology (a psych ward where the students got to yell "give me my meds!"), Social Movements (a communist spy/blow up the Berlin Wall simulation), Finances (a stock market crash), Natural Disasters (a tornado clean-up), Failure (Amazing Race), Dreams (from happy rainbows and unicorns to LSD-inspired weird stuff to really bad burrito nightmares), and Survival Instincts (plane crashes into the jungle and now the animals are going to eat you). Yes, I have forgotten two, but that was the middle of the day and my brain was on sensory overload. Be assured they were fun and creative.

I came home and took a nap.

Otherwise it was a normal Saturday for me. How about you?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Confusion Is The Norm, Right?

I attended my first ever writer's critique group last night. It was an interesting evening to say the least. The instructions were to bring a chapter of approximately 2500 words to share and discuss.

There were five others present with material to discuss. One was new, like me, and the others were old hats with either published materials or at least few rejection letters under their belts. Overall, I was impressed by the amount of work they had completed and their feedback.

Now, I must explain a few things before I continue. Firstly, I am an introvert. Meeting new people--not my cup of tea. Meeting new people for the express purpose of criticizing...excuse me...critiquing my work--OMG! Secondly, I am a speed reader. It wasn't something I learned, nor can I really explain how I read, but one thing I do know--reading out loud is akin to torture. I do know I tend to omit or stumble over descriptors and words like 'the', 'to', 'a/an', etc. They are a waste of my time and energy in reading, so when I read out loud, I have to force myself to recognize their existence. (Books with a lot of descriptions get skimmed or put down pretty quickly. Give me action and dialogue! My brain will fill in the rest.)

Back to the group. After I read my prologue, discussion ensued. Major discussion. There were two or three different factions. Now I realize that many will not like my story (genre, concept, style, etc) and I should not take that into consideration or be offended. But on my right was someone telling me my prologue had no hook, that it sounded like a ghost story and mystery rather than a romance, didn't understand who my audience was and she would put the book down. (Not helpful!!) The person on my left said she had no problem with the hook and liked the intro but needed see how the prologue tied in with the rest of the story.

Now I think the person on the left had a reasonable arguement and is often how I approach a novel. How does the opening/prologue tie into the rest of the book? I often don't see the connection until mid book or the end, but that's part of what keeps me going. One of the comments was that the character in the prologue needed to be the main character of the book. I've never heard that before and have read many prologues which did not include the main character. The prologue should tie into the main concept, but not necessarily the main character.


Monday, February 23, 2015

What Is This...Uhm...Stuff?

I am either the best wife ever or the worst mom ever. Not sure which, maybe both.

Queso is a food group in Texas and considered a perfect alternative to soup on a cold day. I normally make mine with cream cheese because I know what cream cheese is and can pronounce most of the ingredients. Now I am not necessarily a food snob, but I do appreciate fresh veggies, nice meat and real cheese. (I appreciate someone else doing the cooking even more.)

My spouse does not like my version of queso. He likes what I refer to as the glue version. I think you know that to which I refer.

Labeled as a pasteurized recipe cheese product and has a shelf life of infinity, it is known to melt quickly in the microwave into creamy yellow sauce without any needed additions. It also turns into glue within five minutes and contrete in ten. Clean-up can take hours.

I think it goes without saying that I do not purchase said product, so imagine my chagrin when I found a yellow box sitting on my pantry shelf. Yes, the spousal unit decided that, since I was going to the church youth super bowl party, he would indulge his craving.

Well, he forgot and the box has remained on my shelf, taunting me. Until today. A day known as sleet-magedon (or however you spell it). School is out so both spouse and Myrtle the Younger are lounging around. So after making the spouse breakfast in bed (he NEVER returns the favor!), I decided to eliminate the garbage from my pantry which primarily consisted of the yellow box of goo.

After making the queso, I watched as my spouse inhaled and my daughter laughed hysterically at speed of plasticization. Even the dog questioned the edibility of said product, although ultimately he will eat whatever Daddy eats.

I wonder who will clean up this...stuff. Anyone got a chisel?


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Another One for the Win Column

I am pleased to announce that my Sunday School class has yet again won Best Theme for this year's Crossfire Youth Annual Chili Cook-Off. I am not sure how many years we have won, but it be a bunch. I cannot say we are undefeated, but we are pretty darn close.

Although we have fabulous cooks in our class, each of which make a mean pot of chili, we do not go for the Best Chili. That being said, I do have to admit to being a bowl of red conoisseur and I side with the International Chili Society rules. Chili must have at least 1 pepper (other than black) and may consist of any variety of meat although the preferred versions are some flavor of beef. There are red varieties (Red Chili) and green varieties (Chili Verde). There are no white chilis (sorry to disappoint). Chili should also be not too watery (that's called soup in Texas) or too dry (that's called dip).

No beans or pasta or other such nonsense. It is acceptable to put your chili over beans or pasta, however THOU SHALT NOT MAKE CHILI WITH BEANS OR PASTA. (It's a rule. Trust me. I looked it up. See for yourself. Personally, I can tolerate a black or white bean, but kidney beans make me want to...well, let us just say I no likey.

Now with full disclosure, I have come up with an acceptable vegetarian version thanks to Myrtle the Younger. She became concerned the year that her sister, Myrtle the Elder, became a vegetarian and would have nothing to eat at the chili cook-off. I, being a good Texan, dutifully informed Myrtle the Younger that there was no such animal as vegetarian chili but she insisted that I could accomplish the impossible. So I masqueraded a spicy bean soup as vegetarian chili.

So what, you might ask, makes for a successful Best Themed Chili Cook-Off booth? Insanity, people. Much insanity, with an extra helping of details on the side. Our class motto is 'go big or go home' with plenty of room for 'what have we gotten ourselves into?'

This year's winning theme: FIRE IN THE HOLE!

Yes sirree, we had a mine shaft, mine car, and a dead canary. I would post a picture, but for some reason it no worky. So trust me, IT WAS AWESOME!!!

Now for some antacid.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

A HUMONGOUS Leap of Faith

I have a confession to make: I should have myself committed.

No. Scratch that (although my family might think otherwise). Really, I have just made the biggest leap of faith I think I have ever made. And my mother knows nothing about it. (I am in so much trouble.)

It's confession time. I have been writing. (Duh! What do you think this blog is?) No. I mean writing. Like screenplays and novels writing.

Yeah. I've got about 5-6 projects in varying stages of development for about 1 1/2 years of work. (I kinda let my ADD out of its litter box and it made a big ol' mess.)

So...what's the leap of faith? Well...for one thing, just admitting what I'm up to is not second nature to me. Telling family, friends and strangers...that's HUGE. (I don't know why. It just is.) Secondly, and the biggie, I just hit the SUBMIT button on a writing contest. My first novel-child will be given to an anonymous judge for critique (MY BABY!).

Inquiring minds might wonder what the novel-child is about. I'm calling it a psychological romance which loosely includes sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. It is NOT a bodice-ripper/smut book/whatever you call it. Body parts and functions are mentioned, a few descriptives are provided to create the situation, but otherwise I figure (most of) you are adults with an imagination that may need to be exercised (if'n you so choose).

So far I have had three trusted souls read the entire manuscript and the responses have been encouraging. My baby brother was forced (and I do mean forced. Did I not mention this is a romance?) to read said work no less than three times. Aside from the fact that he abhors my main male character's name, Beau (which I offered to change to Horace exclusively for him. He declined.), his initial review included the words "oddly compelling" and something about paybacks for making him shed a tear (which he will deny to his dying breath but I have it in writing).'s out in the open. All I know is that sometime between now and June, I should have a critique that will help me finalize my novel-child for publishing. In the meantime, I must remind myself to not fantasize about winning the contest (but that would be SOOOO COOOOL!!!)

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I Have Been Chastised.

As I warned in my first post, I may not stick with this blogging business regularly. Between Holiday 2014 festivities, steady work during December and my multitude of other activities, I have been busy. Really, I have.

So when my baby brother, K.B./Daddy Hawk, demanded I get to posting on this fine day, I responded in my usual fashion-"I ain't got nuttin to say." His response was...uhm...encouraging (yeah, that's the word).

Anyhoo. He suggested I post a picture or something amusing. I would if I knew how.

So I sit here in my chair with my glass of wine (birthday prez from the hubby, Llano Gewuerztraminer, unpronounceable but very nice), listening to Treehouse Masters (I wanna treehouse!) at 9:30pm and my beloved fur baby (Chewy, Prince Mutley, Lord Chewmeister, formerly known as Joe) is whining. He wants to go to bed.

Did I mention it's 9:30? At least it's better than last night. Last night he wanted to go snoozeville at 7:30.

Chewy is a lab mixed with something, we know not what. He has achieved the ripe young age of 10 1/4 years and has refused to grow up. Except when it comes to bedtime. Do not confuse the dog with the facts. Bedtime is whenever he deems it appropriate.

So what happens when the hubby and I ignore the dog? Well...He mopes around for a while, looking longingly toward said bedroom until he realizes that Mommy and Daddy will not be coming to bed forthwith. He then goes to said bedroom, dismantles the linens and makes his hairy self cozy in one of several locations: Mommy's pillow, Daddy's side of the bed, or (his personal fave) the exact center of the bed.

The real fun begins at Mommy and Daddy's bedtime. Need I say that Daddy is usually the loser in the battle for real estate? I thought not. Alpha Mommy can usually walk in, thank the dog for warming her side of the bed and get in, but Beta Daddy is not so fortunate. The ensuing discussion between mutt and male usually consists of a staring contest, eye-rolling (on the part of mutt), begging (on the part of male) and laughing (on the part of yours truly).

About the time an accord is made and Beta Daddy is getting comfortable, the beloved canine insists he must investigate the great out-of-doors.

I'm not sure which will go first, but I have promised to bury them together.