Monday, November 20, 2017

How To Be A Band Mom

Now that marching band season is over, we move onto concert season. As a band mom, I will fully admit to hoping at each game our football team loses so we don’t have to continue to march in December, when it’s cold. My penance for those terrible thoughts is helping to fit about 150 boys and girls for their concert attire.

Here are a few things I learned:
  • It is easy to tell which kids have gone to sleep away camp—they’re the ones who start stripping in the hallway in front of everyone.
  • Boys have no idea what size they wear. In some cases, I’m not sure they’re even aware they wear clothes. This makes fitting them, with their neck and sleeve and pants sizes, time consuming.
  • Girls, on the other hand, have shirts and skirts that come in one size, despite their many curves and body differences.
  • Making sure the boys can sit in the pants they are wearing is important, and saves the band teachers from many embarrassing last-minute conversations before a concert. However, trying to find a way to explain that to the boys so I don’t get sued, takes all of my English-major skills.
  • Best follow up question when I tell them to sit? “I don’t sit when I play.” My answer, “Do you plan on sitting in your car to get here, though?”
  • You know what also takes all of my English-major skills? Trying to explain to the girls, in semi-public, why the shirt or the skirt in their typical size not fitting doesn’t mean anything body-image wise.
  • Coming up with the correct words to explain to freshman girls that their boobs might get bigger during the four years they will be wearing these shirts, and therefore, these shirts should be a little roomy, is also a challenge, especially when they don’t know me.
  • Boys look like penguins in the tuxedos—especially when the pants don’t allow them to sit.
  • The girls look like they’re Amish. Or like nuns. They are neither.
  • Asking the boys to replace the jacket and pants on a hanger is the perfect way to find out which kids’ parents clean their rooms.

For all the parents who come to the concerts this year, unless you plan to volunteer for next year’s fittings, I’d suggest you don’t say a word about what the kids are wearing, especially in my earshot.


Monday, November 13, 2017

NaNoWriMo Here I Go!

For the first time, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. That stands for National Novel Writing Month. Writers all over the world commit to writing 50,000 in 30 days. There are online incentives, libraries and public spaces that open specifically for the participants, and a network of people who encourage each other.
I’ve never wanted to participate before, because November is an impossible month. With holidays and school breaks, those 30 days boil down to maybe 20. And 50,000 words? It always sounded impossible. But this year, I decided to do it at the last minute. My attention span is sorely lacking and I have a lot of writing projects that need completing. So I decided, why not?
Besides, I’m awesome with a deadline. 50,000 words boils down to 1,667 words per day. I round it to 1,700 to give myself a little breathing room. I’m like our rescue dog. We have an electric fence so she can run in the yard without a leash. She knows where the “fence” is, and creates her own set of boundaries—about 6 feet inside the electric fence—so she doesn’t mistakenly bump into it. That’s me. If I write at least 1,700 words a day, I can’t possibly not hit my goal.
50,000 words, added to the 30,000 words I’d already written, means I’ll have a complete manuscript when I’m done. Or so I thought. The problem is those are the number of words I have to write. We don’t edit during this time, so those words are not necessarily my best words. And because I’m working on a manuscript that’s been giving me trouble from the beginning, and I didn’t prep ahead of time for this challenge, well, there are problems. My biggest problem? My heroine. I’m two thirds of the way done with this book and she still doesn’t have a purpose. I mean, she’s a good foil for the hero, but as an independent woman? Yeah, I’m stuck. So I already know I’ll have to go back and figure out why she exists.

But it’s a start!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Changes

“Never a dull moment!”
“When one door closes, another opens…”—Alexander Graham Bell
“Is the glass half empty or half full?”
“May you live in interesting times.”
Those phrases/quotes are some of the common ones we use to describe our lives as things change, opportunities present themselves or chances are lost. Indeed, I agree with all of them. In fact, I’m pretty sure several of them flitted through my mind this weekend when I found out my old publisher, through which I published four books, will be closing in June.
Nope, not my current one. They are doing great and I’m publishing—and selling—books with them. In fact, my next book, Five Minutes to Love, is coming out sometime in the spring and I’m currently waiting to see a galley copy so I can make copy edits and then get a specific release date. No worries there.


The other publisher is lovely, small and very concerned with the future of her authors. She’s going out of her way to help us, provide us legal releases so our rights revert to us, and help us with anything we need. And readers can still buy those books as long as they are on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
My first reaction was actually excitement. Because there are now so many possibilities! I have lots of plans, which I’m keeping to myself for now, but ultimately will reveal in the future. I have terrific people to advise me and I’m taking things slowly when I can. In the meantime, when in doubt, edit. I have been going through one of the books and re-editing it (you can never do that too many times), because I can’t do anything with it until it’s almost perfect.
So stay tuned, because I hope to have more book announcements in the near future.
In the meantime, if you love to read, here’s a giveaway you might enjoy:

Giveaway Details...

What: $400 & $500 Black Friday Amazon Shopping Spree Giveaways

When:  Nov. 6-22, 2017.

$900 Giveaway Page:  https://wp.me/P2H01p-7EQ

$500 Giveaway Page:  https://wp.me/P2H01p-7F2

$400 Giveaway Page:  https://wp.me/P2H01p-7F5


Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween!

In celebration of tomorrow’s holiday, I’m spotlighting one of my books, which features a Halloween party given by a costume designer and prop department. Have you read it yet?

The last thing Valerie needs after escaping an abusive marriage to an alcoholic and rebuilding her life, is a broody, secretive, standoffish man. But that’s exactly what she gets when she becomes a makeup artist on the set of a hit sitcom and draws the attention of the series’ star. 

John Samuels hides a terrible past—a life of abuse and neglect. A successful acting career and the affection and support of cast, crew and friends, does nothing to convince him that he is anything other than an unlovable monster.

Will he learn that the life he’s been living has been built on a lie or will he be doomed to repeat the sins of his father?


Here’s an excerpt: As they pulled up in front of Michelle’s apartment, Valerie gasped. The prop department had transformed the entire exterior of her building from a 1960’s era apartment complex to a gothic haunted house. Broken tombstones littered the front yard, webs draped themselves across windows and ghostly faces peered out of windows. Mannequins dressed like Victorian skeletons rested under trees and against the entranceway.
John and Valerie entered the apartment as strains of ghoulish music played in the background. Although she’d been inside this apartment many times, tonight she didn’t recognize the place. The prop people had converted Michelle’s living room into an old library, her dining room into a ballroom and the kitchen into an old laboratory. On the floor of the library lay a fake blood-soaked carpet with the outline of a body. The walls resembled old oak paneling and antique-looking books sat stacked on small tables. Wall sconces provided dim lighting and created creepy shadows. Pleather-covered chairs provided ample seating for those monsters and goblins who wished to chat.
Moving into the ballroom, cobwebbed-covered chandeliers hung in corners and a long buffet table filled with food sat against one wall. As they walked over to it, Valerie laughed at the food — spider sandwiches (crackers and caviar), eyeballs (peeled grapes), witches brew (soup) nestled side by side with more traditional fare. In the laboratory, Michelle had set up the bar, along with axes, butcher knives, smoking test tubes and green goo. Sweaty monsters, whimsical animals and brightly colored devils danced, laughed and mingled through the rooms. 
Valerie weaved back and forth among the guests in the ballroom on her way to greet Michelle, while John headed to the bar in the laboratory. The music thrummed through her veins. Her heart beat in time with the bass drum, her breath flowed to the underlying harmony. A Frankenstein staggered into her, leered at her cleavage and rubbed against her in an erotic dance. His arms tightened around her waist and his whisky breath suffocated her as it puffed against her face. She pulled away from him as he laughed, shoved a Bloody Mary into her hand and careened off toward the other end of the room. Valerie looked at the red liquid and her stomach convulsed. She shuddered as the glass slipped through her fingers. It thumped onto the rug, the tomato juice a bright red stain on the beige carpet. The whiskey smell still moored in her nostrils, the icy chill of the glass still impressed in her fingertips, she swayed, no longer in time to the music.
A familiar curly wig caught her eye and she watched as John moved between the masses. He placed a hand against her back and tipped his head down to her.
“Are you alright?”
Valerie massaged her stomach to relieve her clenched muscles as she let him lead her out of the dancing crowd to the side of the room. With a deep breath, she nodded. John led her into the middle of the room to dance. His large form buffered her from the guests. As the B-52s began to play, Valerie relaxed and let herself get caught up in the music.




Monday, October 23, 2017

Placeholder

The problem with writing a weekly blog is I have to write it weekly. That’s how I maintain and hopefully build my followers. But what happens when I have nothing to say?

Now, if you know me, you know I ALWAYS have something to say. Whether or not I say it is another story. As a writer, I spend a lot of time staring at a blank page. Eventually I find something to say and I fill the page with words. But readers don’t see those words until I’ve rewritten and edited the heck out of them, not to mention run them past critique partners and editors. I can’t do that with my blog.

For the past couple of weeks, my blogs have been political. There’s a time and a place for that and I try not to get political too often. I could probably get political every day, but my blog is supposed to provide entertainment and an escape from the world’s craziness.

I was going to write today’s blog post about what I’m doing as a writer, except I’m deep in edits for my upcoming book and really, I can’t imagine anyone being interested in those (if you are, I apparently use too many pronouns and I’m trying to figure out how to fix that—there, now you’re up to date).

No one in my family is doing anything particularly funny—College Girl is fine and has finally discovered the perks of having an English major for a mother; Banana Girl wore minions-riding-unicorns-pajamas for Spirit Week’s Pajama Day today (I’m pretty sure she won Spirit Week for that); and the husband is no longer singing in the morning.


So consider today a placeholder. I’ll try to be funnier and more interesting next week. In the meantime, only eight more days until I have to share my chocolate with random strangers knocking at my door.