I'm doing a happy dance in my kitchen right now; literally falling off my dining room chair as I type this. All month - well since the New Year - I've felt that January was going to be THE MONTH! I had a positive feeling and a smile on my face, even despite a lot of negative things that happened to me this month. I told myself, they're not going to get to me. I won't let them - and yes, despite getting to me at first, I was able to let them go quickly and actually smile about it. Without the 'title', I now have less responsibility. If things don't go right, so what! It's not my fault anymore, because I'm not 'the title' anymore. I continue doing my very best every day, keep my personal chit-chat to a minimum, and now I'm totally reaping the rewards! I'm not the one that's stressed out beyond max, like the past five years - AND this has been the BEST selling month for the Kindness of Strangers EVER! I'm actually so close to selling 100 books this month, I can TASTE it! Not that selling what I've sold isn't great, it so fantastically is! (Yes - I made that up). That's why I'm dancing on my seat. If my kids weren't sleeping, I'd be bounding up and down the stairs, screaming excitedly at the top of my lungs! Woo-hoo!
I could seriously plant a huge, fat, kiss on those buyer's cheeks and squeeze the heck out of 'em. Now - if they like it, I think my head would explode! No new reviews though - not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing, but it's still ok.
I feel like the little engine that could! I keep saying to myself, 'I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...' and things keep happening.
Now if only my kids would do well in school - getting two teacher phone calls in one month (one for each child) isn't very good. But I'm going to try and stay positive - going to tell them they can do better and I will help them (my children of course, not the teachers, lol). They're both very bright kids; they know exactly what they're doing. I don't want them to lose out, so positive thinking onward. If it can work for my book, it can also work well with my kids!
Wish me luck! Happy Wednesday everyone!!
I know this topic has absolutely nothing to do with writing, but I did make a promise to myself this year that I would write something every day, even if it's a blog entry. So here it is.
I'm fat. There I said it. I will freely admit it. I do not feel comfortable in my own skin. I have a hard time breathing when I walk a certain length. I have a hard time going shopping for clothes so much that I actually hate it. Seeing my size increase as much as it has, bothers me. Some may say, well then do something about it. I have, sort of. I've cut down on soda - which has been a HUGE staple for me these past ten years. I rarely eat junk food, sweets bother me and make me feel all icky inside. But I do imbibe at times. I look at my pantry and in my fridge and see what's in there and it makes me cringe.
Chicken Helper, Tuna Helper, Hamburger Helper, canned tuna fish (Light), spaghetti (cheap-o brand, not even whole wheat), Hunts spaghetti sauce, box-o-rice (white, not even brown or multigrain), and other obvious no-no's if one wants to lose weight.
Why is my pantry filled with so many bad things? Well, as I realized last night while grocery shopping, I can't afford the 'good things'. My budget right now is so tight, I'm lucky I can afford the things I bought. No wonder the US is having such a crisis. Those on welfare and receiving food stamps (I'm assuming), can only afford the junk - unhealthy foods - because they get more for their buck. If they bought health foods, it'd eat up all of their money and they wouldn't be able to feed their family. When you have a family of five and you're grocery budget is less than $150 a week, you can get more to feed the family when the food is cheap and completely processed. It's so awful. Why can't healthier foods be cheaper? Why does a salad for dinner have to cost more than a few boxes of spaghetti and sauce?
A Salad in cost ...
1 cucumber - $.89
1 red pepper - $.69
1 green pepper - $.69
A head of lettuce - $2.39 or a bag of lettuce - $2.50
Total: $4.66 or $4.77
I hate to say this but, that salad won't even fill my family up. They'd be looking for more. I didn't even include tomatoes or other salad 'staples'.
So let's switch it up and compare what I normally would spend my $4.77.
1 and 1/2 box of regular spaghetti - $1.50 or whole wheat pasta $2.39
1 can Hunts spaghetti sauce - $.98
1 tsp of Parmesan cheese x 5 - $.76
Total: #3.24 or $4.13
For a meal that will fill my family (meaning, they won't be looking for something else after dinner), I'm even saving money. But it's not healthy, not at all. Even with switching to the whole wheat pasta, I'm still spending a little less, but the meal is still essentially the same. Pasta is really only good for people who can burn off the calories.
I don't burn off calories sitting on my butt all day working in front of a computer, answering phone calls. Nor, by the time I get home after my hour drive, do I have time to do anything but get dinner made, children's homework complete, showers/baths, and children to bed. I'm sitting down again at the end of the night, exhausted. I'm lucky I burned off a total of 100 calories in my day.
But that's just me. I have to make a lot of changes, I'm sure, to make it work out the way it's supposed to. Until I make those changes, I'm just going to remain fat and unhealthy.
Changes I have to make - cut down the drive time, sitting time, computer time. Add more exercise. Unfortunately I'm not able to do that ... the times ya know? Need the job, so have to keep the ride, sitting time and computer time. Exercise will just have to be factored in there somewhere, just have to figure out where.
But anyways ... I'm done with this topic. I kind of got myself into a tangent and need to step away before I say something that will get me in deep doo-doo. LOL
Obviously I am the reason for my problem and the only way it'll get fixed is if I fix it. So send me your recipes for healthy living and cooking. Send me your encouragement and advice. I can certainly use it ... especially if you're in the same boat and have figured out a way to make it work.
But yeah ... send me some recipes!
My husband comes home around 5:50 in the morning, and most mornings my dog goes crazy, waking everyone in the house. But this morning was different. I don't know if my dog knew I was exhausted, or if he knew I had had a bad day the day before, but he didn't do his usual crazy barking. As a matter of fact, my body is so used to waking up from his bellowing bark that I woke up naturally, on my own. As I strained to hear the tinkling of the tea kettle as my husband filled it with water to make his morning coffee (instant ... how he can drink the stuff I have no idea!), I found myself falling back asleep.
As I lay there, sleeping, my dream took me in front of my home computer. On my monitor displayed Amazon's DTP page, where an author can go to check how many books they've sold for the month. At first there wasn't a change from what I had seen the night before; 52 books with 2 books returned, real total 50 books. I clicked on the six week report (which gives the author their average royalty amount for the six prior weeks) and noticed my totals didn't add up to what it had been prior to my dream. It said $10,000. I clicked back to the DTP report and saw that my total went from 50 to 100, then 200, then 300. Every time I clicked the F5 button on my keyboard the number of books sold jumped up by over 100 books. I was floored!
Just as I was going to excitedly tell my husband about my 'best seller', I woke up. But I woke up with a smile on my face.
As the day progressed, it was a very busy day at work - but for some reason I couldn't get that smile off my face. No matter how many phone calls I took from clients who were upset or had troubles, I felt my voice melting their anger and their tones seemed to change immediately. Perhaps it was my perky attitude today? Perhaps my smile eminated through the phone? I don't rightly know.
Once I came home and after the kiddos were off to bed, I checked my e-mail, checked a few other things, and was directed to GoodReads (a friend request). I accepted the friend request, and noticed that my ratings were different, so I checked out the reviews on my book (The Kindness of Strangers), and saw that someone had left it a 3 * rating. No written review was given, but seeing a 3 * rating was all it took to bring my smile right back from a grin. I know some people pooh-pooh over a 3 * rating, but I'm estatic! Someone read my book!! Someone read it and even somewhat liked it!!! How fantastic is that?!
I ALSO noticed another book was listed under my author page, and I saw that a short story collection I had submitted to was now listed in GoodReads as well. How extra specially exciting is that? For me, wicked, extra special! LOL
So, today started off wonderful and, since I'll be going to bed shortly, also ended up wonderful. And to think ... it all started off because of a dream ...
After I wrote about 2000 words for chapter 8 last night, I went through some of the papers on my desk from back when I was in high school. I admit a lot of the pieces I found weren't workable (some were so terrible I crumpled them into balls and played wastepaper basketball), but there were some short stories that I'm kind of amazed I wrote. Seeing the roughs made me cringe, but reading the finals really showed how much I improved as a writer. I miss those days; I had so many ideas and so much time to write. Ok - I'm done with my nostalgic moment :)
Sometimes things happen in your life that you don't expect. But then there are times that you are fully aware of something going on behind your back for not just several days, or weeks, or months, but sometimes even for years. Well a bump did hit me last week, but after I got over my initial shock (though it really wasn't a shock because I was aware of happenings going on behind my back for over several months, if not even for over a year) I moved on to bask in some actual good news;
My short story, Resurrecting Eve, will be included in a short story collection with other fine authors such as William Meikle, Daniel Pyle, Robin Morris, Robert Duperre & Danielle Bourdan (just to name a few). Because the majority of those authors have been doing so well independently, it really makes me feel like I'm part of a successful collaboration, and I'm really honored that my short actually was 'good enough' to join those other exceptional writers. I'm not afraid to say I'm kind of insecure about my writing. I have confidence one day and second guess myself the next. It's always an on-going battle. But this just makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.
I was so excited (after hearing the news last week), that I even sat down and wrote another short story for another contest (a Twist contest). I completed over 3000+ words in less than three hours. It did need some extensive editing and I'm thankful for David H. Burton and Dave Conifer, for their wonderful advice. Now it's the nail-biting time wondering ... will it be 'good enough' to join this second collaboration?
All this positive energy made me forget what happened to me on Friday, (that and some chocolate, and a long conversation with my M-I-L). Made me think of what happened in a totally different view. I didn't need to think of it as a negative, even though it was totally behind my back and, as intuitive as I am, I was the butt of someone's joke. Someone's year-long planning. But ... it's ok. :) I'm actually happy it happened because I know I did a good job, and whether or not it is felt unanimously by all parties doesn't really matter. I took a negative, and gathered all my positives, to make it into a positive. :)
That's my way of life ... always look on the bright side, even when the clouds are blocking your view.
I can't wait until the Unnatural Disasters collection comes out. Just from peers (& family & friends) reading it, I've received a lot of praise and support. A fellow writer (she doesn't write fiction), said I gave her nightmares, and that she was afraid to continue reading it but had to in order to find out what happened. She also said I reminded her of a young Stephen King. That last comment was the second time she had said that, and it never gets old! :)
So what's been positive for you? Can you turn a negative around, like turning that frown upside-down? I hope you have a wonderful week, everyone!
One of my goals for 2011 was to write at least 1000 words a day, and so far I've met that goal every day. I wrote a short story to be submitted to a collection yesterday (3200~ words), I've written at least three poems, and also two chapters for From Heaven.
My other goal was to start reading, which I'm doing also. Reviews are hard though ... I didn't make that part of the deal *whew*.
Anyways ... I don't have much else to say (that I can willingly share), so I'll end now.
Off to work, and maybe push out a chapter for From Heaven during lunch
I try not to let myself get depressed, especially in winter (it's easy to go stir-crazy in winter being cooped up indoors), but sometimes it's easy to catch the tail end of everyone else's depression and feed in to it myself. I am really getting tired of not being home and wishing I could be a stay-at-home-mom. I had a dream last night that my writing took off so well (I mean, wasn't like Stephen King or Alice Klebold or Stephenie Meyer type sales either, more like I was selling just enough books & eBooks to live comfortably), that my husband and I decided that I should quit my job. Mind you, I LOVE my job! I really do. I love the people I work with. I love my clients. I love everything about it! I just don't like the commute, or the long hours. I spend nearly 11 hours of my day either driving to work, working, or driving home from work. That's a long time not being home. I'm seeing my children's lives flash before my eyes. I went from seeing my oldest as a sweet, good-natured, young boy, to a swaggering, video game obsessed, attitude-ish, city boy. When did that happen? Why did that happen? It's not like my husband isn't home when he's home, because he is. So he's not out in the city running amuck or getting into trouble. He's home, watching his sister while she plays with her friends down the street, or he's playing video games. It depresses me that he's growing up. I look at my youngest son, who will be 3 at the end of this month, and I feel tears well in my eyes. Where did the time go? My daughter is still pretty much the same, and I want it to stay that way; but I see her breaking out of that baby shell, tween light slowly peeping through the cracks with her request for red highlights like the 'rockstars' and a crimping iron, and makeup and nail polish, and her obsession with shoes and clothes. She's only 7 ... what is going to happen when she's 10? Will she be the same little girl, still wanting to snuggle with mommy and daddy on the couch?It's hard. That dream last night made me really think, and it really hurt. I could picture smoke coming out of my ears. I wish I could clone myself and send the clone to work, and let my real body stay home and be with the kids. But then ... where does the writing fit all in there? If I'm supposed to be successful in this scenario, I've obviously got to output some books. I'd have to create another clone to sit there and write for me, but then there goes my hobby, something else I truly enjoy.
Bah! Stupid January blues!
Anyways - I've decided to help me write better, I've got to read more. Not that I'm going to steal a person's idea or whatever, but to get my brain moving. It's been in a fatty slump, not being used to it's fullest potentional, and it needs exercise. What better way then to read.
I'm not a very good reviewer, but I've got a lot of great books in my eBook library right now. I'll be making comments on goodreads, and probably briefly on here. I just feel guilty if something isn't my cup of tea ... how do you judge it? Do I just ignore it and make a review based on the writing?
For example: I wasn't a fan of the Twilight series. I wanted to bang my head against a brick wall. All my friends said it was the greatest book they've ever read and I just HAD to read it. So I did. A friend loaned me all four books and I read them in a four day weekend. I wanted to like them. I really did. But I found myself skimming pages because I couldn't stand the drone on and on and on and on. Why is he cold? Why is he gone when the sun is out? Blah, blah blah blah ... all I can say is DUH! I wanted to smack Bella. Her name was even annoying ... Bella Swan?! OH COME ON! Give me a frickin' break! But yet I still trudged through them. I think the story had potential. I liked the premise of it. I would have liked the fourth book had Stephenie kept it in Bella's POV the entire time, as she had done with the three previous books. But she changed it up and it felt wrong, oh so wrong. I was ticked off. Passionate. I hated it. But I still liked the story. Liked the 'idea' of what the books were about.
Now ... Stephenie Meyer isn't going to give a hoot what I think of her book, but the books I'm going to be reading soon, will be from people I know and like. So it'll be hard. Plus, I know how hard it is to be in this business (well, not as hard as those who have slaved for years and went through the traditional route. I've had it easy compared to them).
I don't want to anger anyone. I don't anyone to hate me because their book wasn't my cup of tea and I couldn't enjoy it because I wasn't interested in it. Would I want them to give me a 1 star review because they didn't like my book because it wasn't their cup of tea? No ... I don't think so. I would expect them to be honest though. Actually ... I don't think it would hurt me if I got a 1 star review. Reviews aren't supposed to be about the writer, they're supposed to be about the book and for other potential readers. What some might love, others might hate.
Sheesh ... I can't even make up my own mind. Now I'm just babbling so I think it's time to end this before I really put my foot in my mouth.
Have a wonderful day everyone!
Well last night Derrek and I rang in the New Year watching the movie, 'Accepted'. Great movie! We both actually stayed up, while Daddy slept on the couch. The other two munchkins rang in the New Year at their Great-Grandma's house, and I'm sure had a wonderful time.
2010 wasn't a terrible year, but it wasn't a great year either. While I was able to get my book out for public consumption, it didn't receive all the acceptance I had hoped it would. While it did receive some wonderful reviews and ratings, the poor editing really got the worst attention.
So, I'm determined to make 2011 my 'writing year'. I will get all my work edited professionally prior to they're releases. I will send out ARC's and hope they'll be well received. I will listen to those beta's that give their time by reading them.
Anyways ... I've got two WIP's I want to get out, and I've got plans to get The Kindness edited and re-released. I want to set a goal to read a ton this year too. Fingers crossed.
Well I hope everyone has a terrific 2011 year. :)