April 24, 2013

Where I am on This Wednesday!

      Well, I have successfully been so excited that everyone has moved on and found other things to do rather than listen to me be excited about my novel being published. So, I will blog.
      The book has been approved by the printer and I will have a "proof" copy in my hot little hands late next week. If the proof copy looks good I will have my hands on my book soon.
      For all the people who have said that they didn't know I had a book I will explain how this came about. I wrote a book in about 2008. I always wanted to write one and the story just poured out of me. Now anyone who knows me knows I love to talk. Well, I love to write even more. Yes, it is possible. I actually wrote a book and started another.
      Like a good wanna-be writer, I got hold of the names of all the publishers I could and promptly sent out the "query" postcards and letters. Some publishers want a postcard that says basically 'yes or no' regarding if they are accepting submissions. I did get a few sample chapters through that process, and actually got some great positive feedback from a few, but alas no one was ready to publish.
      I had a few people read it, friends and family. They all said they liked it, but you always have to wonder if they are being nice or if they really did like it. My husband didn't read it because he was sure it was a 'girly' book. After it was read by a few, it got shelved while I tried a bit more to get a publisher. Several told me to try again in the future.
      Welcome to the future. My neighbor,an avid reader, got roped into reading it and the next morning she appeared at the door very bleary eyed and told me not to rest until I got it published. She was very flattering and genuine. I tried again. I got a bite. I am getting my novel published. It will be up as a Kindle book and in paperback, the new style, not the chunky old type.
      Now I wrote this book in a word program on 8 1/2 by 11 paper, like ya do. I printed it out for easier editing and to pass it around. Since 2008 I got a new PC, lost some disks and in the end the only copy I had was the hard copy. I retyped the entire novel, under a deadline, and my husband, who paid way more attention in school than I did, proofread it for me. I can't say how wonderful it was when he appeared after doing a few chapters to apologize for never having read it and told me it was surprisingly good. Heh heh.
     So after much typing, and retyping and reading and some more typing and some fixing and submitting and formatting and formatting more, (I know that's a run-on sentence, it's proving a point), my book went to the printer to be printed.
      Can you tell I'm excited?
      Something I never thought about, but duh, I sure should have. The book is 250 pages on printer paper. When I had to reformat it for paperback size the page count jumped to 672! That's almost as big as Sandburg's Lincoln. Damn! I was shocked, as was everyone I talked to who read it. They all said it reads so compelling they never noticed. Wow.
      Excuse me now while I try to calm down enough to sleep sometime in the future, after all I still have to work in the morning.
    Also, groundhog update. Apparently my cage was too terrifying and I have not seen the beast in a week as of tomorrow. Whatever.
      Sorry, no pictures today, but I will have some soon!

April 23, 2013

Book Cover is done and approved!

Hello! Okay, now I am seriously excited. My cover is done for my upcoming novel! This is a big step for me, the book is now finished and edited and will be going to the printer soon! I hope you like!

Here's the back!
The blank part at the bottom is for UPC's and ISBN #'s. How exciting!

April 17, 2013

Dirt and Decks and Stumps. Oh My!

      My retyping is completely done on my novel and it is now in the hands of the proof-reader. I have started my next book and been doing some cover changes, but I took the morning off from all of that to get some yard work done. I wanted to mow and be available when the animal control officer paid me a visit with a cage to trap the creature we have named Bubba that is living under my beautiful deck.

      Now, Bubba is a fluffy cutie, when viewed like this, from my kitchen window, He has eaten off all the tops of my spring flowers however, and is losing his cute rapidly.
      I did get a lot of yard work done, but have not seen a trap dropped off yet. While I wait I will tell you the story of my beautiful deck.
      On the west side of my poor neglected house there was once a collapsed fence and wild wisteria and weeds. And dirt, several different levels of dirt. The view into this area from the house and the beautiful screened porch we built was terrifying, not to mention the constant upkeep. After several years of scratching our heads trying to decide how to deal with the area, we devised a plan. The job was huge for just my husband and I, but we pulled it off and now we have a fantastic deck and a lovely place for a big groundhog to sunbathe.
      Here's the view from the yard up the side of the house when we bought the house. This picture was taken in early March, before anything leafed out. It was a jungle by May. This was also before we screened in the porch.
Before even thinking about the deck part we had to remove The Stump. The Stump was a petrified mass left over from a legendary evergreen that once housed eagles and could be seen for miles, at least according to neighbors. It had been hit by lightening and fell across the yard years ago. All that remained was The Stump.
      My husband spend several days cutting and digging and cussing and fighting, but the stump would not be budged. Eventually we hired someone who finished off the digging and we rolled it down to the lower level of the yard. It was much too big to cut up or move so it is now buried there, deep in the yard to be petrified for all time.
      Once The Stump was dead and buried we set to digging. We spent more time leveling off and moving dirt than anything else. It was backbreaking and when we thought we were finally finished we realized we needed to go down several more inches. We snapped out for a bit, then went back to digging. We replaced the fence then the framing finally began.
Big fans while building decks are great! Cools you off and keeps the mosquitos at bay.

While building the deck we had to replace the roof, so right in the middle of our lumber mess some roofers came in and added their own piles.
It all began to take shape eventually. As we put in the deck we decided that the garden had to be included, it put us out until November working on the whole project, but the following spring was fantastic!
I know I'm going to get one question... the pink hose is from Amazon. All of the furniture is hand-me-downs, really. I painted the patio set. You can actually paint that soft mesh stuff, and two years later, left out all year, it looks fine.

 I have moved the lavender from the planter there, last fall. It went too crazy for me.

This was taken two years ago. My garden is just waking up this year, there are buds everywhere and the little river birch on the left, lower level is getting really big. I will be taking this year's pictures soon.
I hope you enjoyed my deck project!



April 8, 2013

My new web page!

      As you may have noticed, I have a book coming out very soon, probably, hopefully around the beginning of July. Maybe you can all be reading it over the Fourth of July weekend! As part of the fun of putting out a book I've now got a web page! It has my name and my picture and some really sweet things written about me, and I didn't even write them all myself! How exciting!

      Other parts of the experience, and lesson learned: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. I had finished my book some years back and did a bunch of submitting. I got many suggestions and some really encouraging feedback, but no offers to publish. I printed out the book so that I could carry it around, and lost all electronic copies through computer crashes and life. I have almost finished retyping the whole book, an experience I am strangely enjoying, and it is now being fed to the proofreader, and coming back. Thank you Word for a great grammar and spelling checker!
      I got in touch with one of the publishers who had asked that I try again at a later date and it worked! After years of trying, it all paid off. Maybe I just needed to give it a rest.
      I am thrilled and terrified and I can't wait to see it in print!

Please check out my web page. It has the description of my upcoming novel:

     I hope you all had a great Easter! Here's a picture of my youngest grandson from last year, it's such a pretty picture!      
Here's one dying eggs this year. Our spring has been slow in coming so we did not search outside for eggs this year.

April 1, 2013

Dining Rooms and Novel Rewrites!

      What could dining rooms and novel rewrites possibly have to do with each other you ask? It's a bit far fetched, but not so strange really. I wrote a novel several years back. It's always something I wanted to do, writing a bit for a magazine or two in high school and doing a short story here and there. I loved writing, getting caught up in the emotion and not being able to type fast enough, having to interject a new event or character to make to the plot work better and more believable while on the fly. It's more fun than being a little kid telling a tall tale!
     I had my novel finished and printed and double spaced so that editors could make changes and remarks in the margins, used the right paper so it didn't smudge and all that jazz. I spent more time composing a letter of introduction than I think I did writing the book and off they went to all the romance publishers I could find.
      I have to say that I got only kind, and sometimes even encouraging responses, even had my novel compared to Cold Mountain, a story I love! But alas, no one was ready to publish an unknown like me. I did get the suggestion that I should add more "romance" to my romance novel, but they were suggestions that sounded to me like a few pizza men have to show up at the door before the real sexy hero of the story and I just can't write to the sound of sleazy saxophones going in the background of my story. Things like, "Oh, that's a great pizza you have there. Is there more pepperoni I'm not seeing?" Um... no.
       The book got passed around to friends, all of whom seemed to love it, then shelved. It's huge, a big old thing in a giant big black binder, not at all like a trim little Nook to read. It came up in conversation with a new friend recently and I dug it out and let her and a few of her friends read it. After her very enthusiastic response I decided to follow up and write to a couple of the publishers who had suggested I try again in the future. Since I submitted in like 2008 I tried again... and I got a nibble! It's an eNibble, but I'll take it. I'll get to publish my novel in an eNovel, but with a much larger royalty than self-publishing and a foot in the door for a printing if I reach a certain number of sales. I'm thrilled. Then, as if that wasn't enough, the last readers visited with candy and goodies and talked about my book characters like they were real, living people. It was weird, and fantastic!
     But I have discovered that since I last wrote, I have changed computers and the back-up copy I made of my book is ca-ca. (That's a cute word for crap). I have a hard copy of the book...thank God! So... I am completely retyping my entire novel. A rainy Easter was nice, without any family visit so I made a big dent in it. I have a timeline with the publisher, but it is generous and after I type this I am going out to the garden for a rare warm day in a dreary spring to relax my shoulders and not be typing. There's more to do than typing anyway, I have to come up with a cover, that works in color and black and white and fill out the copyright stuff the publisher sent. Stuff like that.
    One thing I have learned in life is that sometimes you think you're watching your ship come in, and that sometimes the watching is the best part. This novel and hopefully the next (I have a head full of ideas), is a journey. I'll be ready for the destination, but I won't miss the journey on the way.

   Now for those fans of pictures of my home, I present my dining room, where I did a lot of typing over the holiday! My dining room is one of my favorite rooms in the house, it was also one of the last to be painted a color. In every room in this house I knew as soon as I walked in what color it should be. Colonial blue in the kitchen, the room called for it. Deep brown in the bedroom (I need to get to know you better before I put those up), and yellow in the bath, because the tile is already yellow anyway. The dining room in a wood rose color, it's very close to what speaks to me, but more pink will be in the next coat. The room also holds some of my favorite things and some of the most beautiful things my husband has made.
      The biggest thing and the centerpiece of the room, although it has been cut down to fit this room, is the dining table. Originally the top was many boards, and it was smaller, but he was never happy with the results after a lot of work, although he loved the trestle underneath. One Thanksgiving many years ago we hosted the family for dinner. To accommodate everyone at the table we purchased a sheet of plywood to place on top of the existing tabletop. It was nice on one side and good and thick so it didn't tip. We put a pretty tablecloth over it and used it for long after the holiday. We already had eight chairs and everyone was seated comfortably. It fit well in the room so it eventually replaced the existing top permanently. It has since been trimmed shorter when we moved into this house, but it is still a huge and beautiful table perfect for cutting fabric and sitting around with friends with guitars.

 From the breakfast room side:

Another favorite thing in the room... my piano. No, I do not play, I tried, but it's not me. My husband plays very nicely. I have always wanted a piano in my house the way some little girls want to be a princess. The sound of live piano music filling the house, pounding out a hardy Christmas carol, were always in my dream. My sister-in-law said they are easy to get free. People buy them they lose interest in them, and they take up a lot of room. For the price of moving (don't try this yourself) and tuning it's so worth it. Mine needed refinishing, which I did myself. Total coast $300. Not chicken feed true, but for a piano? Here's a shot at the music school I got if from where it had been left at the curb:

 Here is it in my home:

 Another favorite item in my dining room is the hutch my husband made. He was so sweet and put the hearts on the doors I asked for!

And finally a couple of close-ups of pretty things I have collected over the years, a nice wooden highchair, because all grandma's need one, pretty tablecloths on the wall and lovely French doors. I hope you enjoy!