• I'm Not Catching On

    I used computers before anyone ever believed they would be small enough to be in homes. I bought one of the first ones, where all the programs used DOS to manage them. When the Internet first came on line, I signed up, anxious to open my world to the wider expanse of knowledge.

    I did all this, not because I am a great web surfer, with time to find all the fun and cute sites, or the videos which make me laugh or leave me in awe. I did it because I was a compulsive writer then, and I've remained obsessed all my life. But I prefer stories based on fact, and rather close to real life for the most part. Not necessarily in my reading, that varies, but in my writing, I gravitate to realism, even with my historic fiction. It stems in part because, in my wandering path through life, I found reality is often more amazing that fantasy. The characters, the incidents and events, even the world surrounding us, is so completely fascinating that I don't really need to look beyond it to find stories to write about. So computers were a perfect companion for recording my words and finding information.

    As time passed, and my writing took me down an obscure, rock strewn path on another adventure, I found I had to become a promoter for myself. Okay, now there is a real-life subject that does not appeal to me. I don't really want to promote myself. I am doing it because I made an effort to publish, but its really torture. When people find my dull, little self interesting, I wish I knew their secret, because I need some interesting points to discover about myself.

    Then as I try to follow others, who seem so much more interesting, I find myself off on tangents that cut further into my time. And worse, I find myself following links that take me and my little computer screen off onto weird places. I am not sure, but I think I might have just signed up for something. I don't know what I did, I put in an email and password and had a screen pop-up that said CONGRATULATIONS! What the heck were they congratulating me for? Did I just sell my house for a $100.00? Win a $1000.00 a week for life? Or heaven forbid, sign up for ObamaCare, making me number 10 in the nation to achieve the impossible? I don't know. I figured I got further into it than I really wanted and decided that it was time to hit the close button and move onto something else, anything else. If a moving van shows up in the driveway during the coming week, I'll assume the worst.

    I was perfectly happy using the internet for research. I love the access I've found to so many different things, including old books scanned on to the Net to peruse. But I am not always catching on so well to this social media thing. Even the website blogging stuff is beginning to wear on my brain cells as I find myself sucked into things that I can barely understand. I love being social, I just don't understand how something as impersonal as a computer constitutes socializing. True, its a joy reaching out to people from across the country and the world, to make friends by sharing emails. I love that I have another way of offering a little assistance to someone, even if they live half a world away. But it still doesn't quite fit with my notion of socializing. I want to see the expressions, hear the tone of voice, watch the gestures, and best of all, have that intermittent contact in a hug, a pat on the back, a consoling arm over the shoulder or for those who mean so much, the kiss.

    For all these other things, I think I rate somewhat as a muddler. At times, trying to manage my way, I feel a little like I'm wallowing in a mud puddle. I may have created entire links and blinks that are working there way across the universe, attempting to connect with aliens on other planets. But the problem remains, I don't always realize what I've done. There should be more warnings on these things:

    You are about to enter a site where your deepest, most personal information

    is revealed and splattered across the Internet

    for the amusement of others.

    I hope I have not yet done that, but I cannot say for sure. Of course, that is not the world's greatest crisis because I just am not quite exciting enough to really tantalize anyone yet. The world is more likely to engage in a great simultaneous yawn than jump with excitement. But I do hope, at some point, I catch on to what I am doing before I put my home up for bid on CheapHouses or some other equally frightening site.

    At least, if anyone even bothers to peek in here, they can jump over to the old home page, click on the link at the beginning, and join the great contest to receive a personal copy of SOMETHING TAKEN. That is one thing I've done that might generate a little excitement for someone. I've heard, and I am even beginning to believe, its pretty good. So if you need a little diversion, jump over there, click on it and go to the Goodreads site and take a chance. I do hope you win! No strings attached either, just a chance to share.

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  • Chaos Rules Here

    I often wonder if I should be doing this. After all, with a mind like mine, perhaps it should be not left on its own to ramble. I wanted to do a Book Giveaway from Goodreads, so that more people might have the chance to read my book before I release the second of the sequel. Its on its way, just finishing up the last of the edits and proofreads. I was blessed to find an editor who not only is reasonable, but often makes suggestions which make the whole better. The joy of publishing on my own, they cannot threaten me with a refusal to publish if I don't heed their advice. However, I have never believed I acheived perfection, so I am always open to suggestions. In the end, they have combined their efforts to give me the opportunity to make my work better.

    But I've noticed a few things as I try to keep up with all those suggestions that are flung around from various sources for Indy authors. Number one: I have a feeling that there are far more people taking a chance with this new technology that have a bit more financial security than me. Everyday I receive a host of ads telling me the path to success for promotion, for writing, for editing, even for time management!

    Its hard to know what to think of all the available resources. True, with unlimited funds, I could probably buy my way to success. I could find out exactly what makes an agent take notice, if only I pay the agent to notice it. I can learn how to write a plot and the scenes. Of course I wonder if I didn't know the plot of my story from the outset, what I would be doing writing at all. The guy who has sold thousands and thousands of books he has self-published, will give me his tips for successful promotions, if I fork over some money. And guess what I fork over the money for? Being one of the thousands that purchase his books. I don't know, it sort of reminded me of the old Amway program.

    So here I am wondering if all these great programs will help make a better product. In the end I decided my money would be best spent on an editor. If I put something out there, I want it to be good enough not to offend anyone. I might still miss that little typo, and there may still be the one little formatting issue that didn't quite work out right, but in the end, I hope its as close to top quality as I can make it.

    And for those brilliant minds who want me to spend money on time management--HA! That is not going to happen. There is not enough money in the entire Federal Reserve to achieve that. Its the one thing that's a given in my life, organization is just never going to gain the upper hand around here. I work full time, I have a huge yard with several separate gardens, I take in strays, I build things, run model trains in my backyard, restore old equipment, volunteer at a museum, and find my friends and neighbors always calling on me to 'help' with another project. There is little reason to manage something I have so little of. Of all my precious resources, time is the most elusive.

    There are other reasons for this impossible notions. At work, I can schedule crews to get the work done in record time, but I can't explain how I do it. I'm an end results person and so I focus on that. Then there is the mind which is not always under my control. I could say I intend to blog once a week at such a time, but the schedule will fail as I am off pursuing some other task my mind has suddenly decided to take an interest in. Someone once suggested I make notes. I did, and after a wasted hour trying to find them later, I decided I'd give up that notion. Nor can I be one of those who says, I will spend an hour writing every night, starting no later than seven pm. That's not likely if the well stops, the sprinkler breaks, a friend calls in crisis, the dogs get ear mites, or any other of life's interferences. Maybe if I am ever granted the priviledge of writing for a living, instead of mundane jobs to pay the bills, I will manage to get organized.

    And then I think again, and realize, it's just not a likely scenario -- chaos rules here.

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  • If I Rush the Story, I Might Give up a Part of Myself

    When I used to write, I did it because it was a my little world to enjoy. I started young, I needed a place to escape and writing and reading provided me with a somewhere to allow my thoughts to roam and blossom. With reading, I traveled around the world, I lived through historic events; I felt the cold and hunger of those less fortunate and lived like royalty. There was a whole world waiting for me.

    Then I learned to print. I moved onto cursive writing, took typing on old manual typewriters that jammed the keys and had the ribbons dry out to become faded glory. When personal computers arrived on the scene, I owned almost one of the first models. I can't program my VCR, I don't want an I-phone because I don't have the time to figure out how to answer it. But I learned to operate a computer when the only way to communicate with it was using DOS language and Windows were still just something to look out.

    And all of this developed because I wanted to write. I endured countless recriminations for not focusing on proper letter structure because I could have cared less about the individual letters, I wanted to connect the words. I wanted to write stories. Expressing myself verbally was never a strong point since my reading comprehension exceeded my speaking ability. So I may have known that I could obliterate someone with my writing, but I was obviously incapable of pronouncing those words. So I took up the pen to celebrate the entire spectrum of vocabulary. I even read dictionaries for enjoyment.

    Yet writing is often the purview of the bright, attentive students, not the troublemakers in the back of the room, passing notes and shooting spitballs. So aside from one or two English teachers, who may have seen through my ruse of the class clown or troublemaker, no one took my passion for writing very seriously. It was just one more oddity added to my ever growing list.

    It did not matter all that much. I did it anyway. As long as I read, I learned, I researched. And then I took the information I learned turned truth into stories. Some came from my experiences, others from my dreams, and some came from my passionate imagination where I lost myself in a place in time, a situation, and told the story from the visions of it.

    So it turned out that the first book I published, was a little personal. It was part of my own experiences, enhanced by age and spiced with a little extra. But in publishing that first story, came the realization that I had to get word out about the book. I had to promote. A horrifying concept for a writer who was content with obscurity as long as I could keep creating stories. And the most frightening thing about that realization was that it required time.

    I don't have a lot of that. I abandoned television years ago. But I have to work, daily at a job that is best left without description. I have a huge yard, with gardens, lawns and all sorts of projects. I have my beloved pets, who I discovered were secretly plotting to take over the household. They have succeeded, I am getting well trained to fall for the look of pity and wistfulness, as they pretend their neglect. So they get more walks, scratches, hugs, brushing, etc. I surrender a little more of my valuable time.

    But I promised a sequel and though it was complete at one time, with some advice, I concluded it needed parts rewritten. That is always demanding because to change a portion of a story, means I must change my vision of it. I write from instinct, from years of placing myself into places and times. I live through the stories as a diversion from the day to day demands of life.

    So something has to give, and its a tough choice. Given a free choice, the job would go in a heartbeat. But unfortunately, I was not endowed with any great wealth and I am the sole income producer in my little happy world. So alas, that's not an option. One thing I will never give up is the quality of my work. I owe it to my readers, and mostly its the one thing in my life that I need to do for me. I have to give it my best because its been a part of me for so long. If I let my writing begin to slip, then it may be a sign of the downhill slope for everything else.

    And there are things that can't go untended in the homestead. Naturally the critters won't stand for anything less than full attention. The housework has already suffered--eh, just keep company on the patio. But when my little dog gets lost in the grass and the path through the garden becomes something more like a walk through the Amazon jungle, then I have to concede to those demands too.

    So I don't know what will be the end result. It may be nothing more than a delay in publishing. If so, then at least I'll be happy with what I put out. It maybe that something great will happen and somehow I'll find a willing hand to help put things in order around here. Or if miracles really do happen, maybe somehow, I'll get rich enough to take an early retirement. Yeah, well, its okay to dream about that too.

    The only thing I know, is that writing will be a part of me always. If it takes a bit longer to make myself happy with the end result, know that I have given it my best. That's my reward for writing, for having one little place where I can always grow and improve. The ultimate challenge because I always know I can get better, learn more, and hopefully pass it on to others. It is that place I need to reach for so that I never grow stale or become too complacent. Now if I can only be granted the patience to accept that, too.

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  • So now what?

    For a short time, I focused on writing. Lovely, glorious writing. Then I decided to do a free Kindle giveaway, hoping that it might get the first book of the series noticed. I was grateful for advice on ways to get the word out. Which, as I found, led to other sources which I diligently followed. In some ways it wasan't too bad, since I met a lot of really nice, great, helpful people. In other ways, it just demanded more of my limited time. And worse, it once again, cut into that valuable, and sometimes elusive writing time.

    Unfortunately bad weather was tearing our locale up and I just happen to be in a position that needs to be out in the bad weather trying to keep roads passable. There was a conflict of interest going on here, my interests were conflicting with their need.

    And now I am tired. Tired of overtime, tired of road washouts, tired of promoting, tired of knowing I am falling further behind in the home details--tired, tired, tired. I do know however that my overtime hours were appreciated by those driving the roads we repaired, again and again. But I wonder what I accomplished with the giveaway. I would be happy if even a few read the book, Something Taken and enjoy it. I hope if they do, they might find a way to let me know. Or if they don't enjoy it, I hope they tell me why. But I just don't know if that will happen.

    I have long given up that idea that I will ever get rich. I don't really care if I do or not. I'd most likely give a lot away if I was, I don't need much. I wouldn't mind having enough money to write all the time, though. I have this giant backlog of books in mind that I would love to write, from humor, to non-fiction, to contemporary fiction. If I ever figure out whether anyone actually enjoys my work, I might even go back over those few dozen novels already written and see about tidying them up.

    And while I was at it, I would love to get the patio done to get the PingPong table set up. The horseshoe pit is done, and the volleyball/badmitten net nearly in a permanant place. Then I could fill my yard up with people who just want to have a good time, who want to relax, who want to find a friend. Everyone's invited, I wish I knew more people since people are the spice of life (even if some make it a little more peppery than I personally care for).

    So God, if you're listening, I'm tired of repairing roads now, so could we cut off the storms? And if you want to find a way for me to have a few spare dollars, I promise I will use it to make others happy.

    And anyone else who stumbles over this site, if you by any chance read my books and it made you think, or made you happy, you can let me know. I don't think the pot of gold is about to appear but at least I'll be a little further along in satisfaction.

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  • The Silver Lining

    I've always been compelled to write. I sometimes attribute it to my parents. I spent so much time grounded to my room for a variety of misdeeds, that I had to find something to occupy my time. Back then most homes only had one TV and personal computers were still something in Science Fiction stories. So I spent a great deal of time reading books and writing. None of the full length stories exist today, but I have a notebook of scribblings, mindless comments and ideas. I'm pretty sure I was nuts back then, so that's not new to me either. I may not be normal, but at least I have been consistently abnormal.

    And I have consistently written all these years. Most my writing remained a background entertainment to give my straying brain cells an outlet. Since life required that I find gainful employment to provide food and housing writing remained a shadowy fixation. I was lucky enough to find a husband who loved adventures and was blessed with sense of humor, so I did not feel anything was missing. Now that he has gone on to the elusive dimension beyond what we know as life, writing once again takes up a greater part of my spare time.

    So after decades of closet writing, I decided to expose myself and enter a free contest. Up until that moment, no one had ever read any of the many novel length stories I had written. I did spectacularly poorly, not even moving through the first round. Hard to say if I am truly a terrible writer of pitches, or if the novels I submitted were a little too controversial. Yet the contest, as it turns out was less important than the benefits I received.

    Through that contest, I found the most wonderful group of people. They are inspiring, helpful, amazing, encouraging, hmm, I'm running out of adjectives here. I was tempted to slip into the background again, to go on blissfully writing for no one at all. But this courageous group of writers who suffer rejection, adapted their style, found agents, self published, discovered resources, shared lessons learned, and confronted so many obstacles and continued to pursue their desire to get their stories out, began to rub off on me. I've never felt compelled to publish as I am compelled to write, but some little germination of desire was implanted. And eventually, I produced my first novel through the resources available with the generous assistance of other aspiring and successful writers.

    The worst part was facing the promotion part. I truly don't enjoy pushing my book, since I have no idea if its something others would care for. But I can't start a project and let it languish. I either finish it to the best of my ability or I don't start it. With guidance and advice of this sensational group of internet writers, I've attempted to do what is needed.

    This little adventure led to finding more great people, mainly those who are willing to spend their time and effort to help others promote their work. One website www.freebooksy.com honored me by featuring my book on their main page as a free book to check out. Others offered a sensational ad without asking for anything. I was pretty humbled since I realize that maintaining these websites or blogs are no little matter. I don't care if they have dreams of one day finding a way to support themselves through their efforts or if they only did it out of their love of books, I just know I think they are as wonderful as those sensational writers who directed me to their resources.

    So the whole event comes down to the silver lining that is there when we search for it. I'm not sure I worry too much at the success of my book as long as I can give my readers something to enjoy. But all this help to a strange stranger, since that is really all I am, is touching experience for me. I feel so damned lucky to have found such kindness. In a world where too many only notice the dark clouds gathering, I love being able to spot that glow around the edge where I know brightness shines. Thank you all, for your assistance, encouragement and spreading a little happiness and comfort in your wake.

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