Random thoughts, inconsistent posting
| 2020-2021 Has been a year of writing. I joined a weekly critique group a few months ago. I didn't have them critique my book as it's outside their reading and since I only read once every 5 or 6 weeks, it would take forever to get through. I had a couple of beta readers who gave me great suggestions and loved the story.
After I completed the manuscript and it was ready to publish, I knew I needed a good cover and someone to format it for paperback and e-readers. I couldn't do it. I searched for a cheap publisher among the constant phone calls I received for my first book. I picked a publisher and had to deal with the constant up sale propaganda. I ignored it or talked over the woman's sales pitch to get to the point I wanted to make or understand.
We came to an agreement and I worked with the design team for a cover. I liked it. They published it and I got a copy. I wasn't ready for it to go live. I began reading the paperback and found mistakes I'd missed. How could I have missed them? I'd read the thing so many times.
Here I wasn't reading on a screen. I was relaxed and reading as if I had purchased it. Pencil and post-it notes in hand, I began to mark up things I came across. Resubmitting them I got them fixed. Then found two more. I gave up. No book is perfect.
Once I had the book done, the publisher set up a website for me. It's okay, I wasn't impressed. I thought my website was more interesting. I decided to do a little self-educating.
In marketing my first book, The Vanishing of Katherine Sullivan had gone into the secondary market. I came to the conclusion I was missing out. I needed to get into the market. E-commerce. What if I sold off my inventory and ordered more books from the publisher at half the retail price and sold them on my website. I wouldn't make as much money but I might sell more books and at least have a better profit margin. It's still a learning process.
I also thought that if I buy the used copies and sell them myself I get another bit of profit and that pays me instead of someone else. Why should they get the money off free/donated books? I can buy them for $3.00 or so and resell them on my site. Now I might not make a lot of money. but I do control the amount of business that comes to my site. It's a thought and we'll see how it goes.
You can see my new website at: www.christinaweaverauthor.com
the other website is www.christinamweaver.com
Check them out.
| This time of shut down has been productive for me. I have finished my novel and now I'm editing it. I've been posting and getting great critiques. Being able to post one to two chapters a week and getting immediate feedback has pushed me to be productive. I'm a Procrastinator with a P.
This novel will be published this fall. I'm hoping the title BENEATH THE ICE is a good one. I checked Amazon and there are a number of books with a similar title. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad. They are, for the most part, in the same genre.
Let me give you a brief synopsis.
While Detective Andrea Watson is watching ice blocks being cut from Blue Lake, she sees something in the ice that causes her concern. She discovers body parts encased in netting. She and FBI Agent Fletcher Peterson are on the search for a serial killer.
She deals with a misogyinistic police department, a pesky reporter, as well as a interested parent. Will she and the agent be able to find the killer before he kills again?
While helping others and reviewing their work I find my own writing is getting better. I honestly am talking my self into pitching it to an agent next month. Maybe I can bypass the self publishing route and get an agent and publisher.
I need help with crafting a pitch and query letter. The idea of that is daunting.
We managed through January and the first week of Feb. My husband had to go out of town. He called at least 3 times a night after I got home from work.
The second week of Feb she began to hide. I didn't know what that meant. She wasn't eating and I couldn't force her. Nothing I made her would tempt her. I found her in the corners of the rooms. I'd call and call and she wouldn't come out. When I held her she'd stay for a while then go away from the room we were in. When I called the Vet he told me she was looking for a place to die.
Three times I had to have my son help me search the backyard with a flashlight in the rain to find her in a corner some where. I couldn't do it any longer. I called the Vet and told him I had to bring her in to put her down.
I'm sure anyone who reads this will think I'm callous and hard hearted. I'm not. I cry at everything; cute kids, sappy love stories and pretty pictures. I will qualify my thoughts about Ariel. We had her for about 10 years and I couldn't count the number of times she bit me.
When we first got her it was probably 3 times a week. It wasn't just me, she'd nip my son and husband. If she were laying down next to the chair and you put your hand down to make the back go up or down, she'd think you were attacking her and bite your hand.
I was always careful. I usually got it at night when I turned over and would pull the covers over me. I learned to do it carefully so not to spook her. At times the biting wasn't a quick snap it was an attack and she didn't stop until I fought her off. Although I loved her, I wasn't attached to her.
When I took her into the Vet on Mar 15th, the staff showed my sister and I to a room. We went through the process and in a short time she was gone. I left her there. I didn't shed a tear nor did I feel sad until I walked down the hall and my sister said, "Look they lit the candle for Ariel." I realized they had turned off the hall light and pulled the blind down over the window of the door leading to the lobby while we were in the room. Now I saw the flameless candle they put out that said something about "When the candle is lit, an "animal" is going home, or something similar. That was when it hit me. I choked up thinking how sweet all the staff were to me during the hour I was there. They cared for us in spite of the fact I had no feelings about putting her down. I teared up because of their empathy and compassion. Bless them.
We all have to face it some time or another. This isn't something new to our family. My husband's parents died in 1981 an in 1991. My father past away five years ago. This is different.
In 2010 my niece posted her friend's grandma had a dog she was going to have to put down if she couldn't find a home for it. The picture showed a shih tzu. I thought cool! I'd love a little dog like that and we headed off to the grandma's house to get it.
When we got there it wasn't the shih tzu it was a little schnauzer mix. She was about four years old. I was told the story back story and felt sorry for the puppy. I didn't want to see it put down so I took it and figured I'd find another home for her. The woman named the dog Oreo. (My sister-in-law had named her shih tzu Oreo so I changed it to Ariel)
Because this dog (Ariel)had been through a traumatic situation, she would bite anyone who she felt threatened her or her possessions, I couldn't find a new home for her.
When my husband came home he bonded with her and we ended up keeping her.
The first few weeks she, slept under the covers at the back of my legs. The next morning she'd chewed through the back of my nightshirt. She chewed the edge of two of my sheets and pillow cases. We started giving her a milk bone at night and the chewing stopped. We never left any underwear in the open. All our dirty clothes were in the walk in closet or she'd chew the crotch out of them. My father came to watch her when we were on vacation. I warned him about leaving his underwear out of the suitcase. He didn't listen and two pair ended up with holes chewed in the seat.
I won't go into all her problems but to say that she bit me two to three time a month during the first five years we had her. Sometimes bad and other times very bad.(I got infections three time) Still my husband would not give her up.
The last four years the biting has gotten better, or I've gotten better at judging how to avoid her reaction. She's a loving dog. I don't blame her for biting. I don't know why she has this reaction, but when I tell her she's a "BAD DOG" and reprimand her, she is so sorry. She will lay on her back next to my neck and rub back and forth until I forgive her and rub her stomach. She'll lick my face and burrow next to me to make sure I know she's sorry.
This last fall she began drinking and peeing like crazy. Then began to lose weight. I recognized the symptoms and sure enough she's diabetic. We have been trying for the last couple of months to regulate her eating, drinking with insulin. You can imagine how that's going. I can't do it alone. She bites. She knows if she eats in the morning she's getting a shot. She will eat and run under the table and not come out. I have to go to work so I can't play her games. My son has managed to get her head down and give her the shot. I can't, I'm too afraid of her.
Last week she began shaking and wouldn't eat. We took her to the emergency vet on Saturday night after we came back home from having my husband's seventieth birthday party. The vet said she probably had pancreatitis. We took her home and fought with her to give her the pills and didn't even bother with the insulin. Then on Monday I took her to our vet. They did blood work and said she not only had pancreatitis, but her kidney's were shutting down and her sugar levels were over 500.
As of Thursday she hadn't eaten any real food since Saturday. She'd only eaten the bits of peanut butter we buried her pills in and forced down her throat. Last night she ate a half a hot dog and some bits of chicken. She is acting more alert and barking at the normal things. The vet said just keep her comfortable and go with whatever she'll eat until you know it's the end.
This has hit my husband the hardest. He isn't home a lot during the year and Ariel is so excited to see him. I usually take her with me to pick him up and she covers his face with kisses all the way home. When he gets his suitcase ready to leave she isn't happy and barks at him. I take her with me to the airport to drop him off. She's pretty sad for a while and sits on my lap.
I have never seen him this upset over anything in all the time we've been married. His sadness has affected me more than her demise. I won't miss her all that much. Her biting me has resulted in a disconnect with her. I love her and cuddle with her, but I didn't overly bond with her emotionally.
I don't know how much longer she will be with us and my husband has told me he doesn't want another dog right away. I just don't want one with issues. I want a dog from 10-20 pounds that I wont have to be afraid of.
Growing up I thought anyone over twenty-five was old. As we all know age is a perception, not a number. The years we live are only the calculation of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months we've had a heartbeat. They are an accumulation of all the knowledge we collect during this period. The way we take care of our bodies plays a big part of aging.
I remember my parents and others in later years who dressed and seemed OLD to me.My perception now is different. Even those in their late eighties and nineties dress and move like they're in their seventies. Look at Betty White, still acting and getting around in her nineties. That's now, but a couple decades ago many died in their sixties of "old age."
What is "OLD AGE?" What makes us afraid of it, laugh nervously when we speak of it or work desperately to stave it off?
This week my husband of forty-seven years turns SEVENTY Scary, is when I look at that number. Fearful when I see the process of aging unfold on his thinning hair and lack of hearing (even with the hearing aids he hates to wear).
My husband doesn't slow down. He is a master carpenter. He built homes for the starters to the million dollar mogul. Everyone got the same dedication to perfection, no matter what the client could afford.
He"retired" a few years ago when we moved from Minnesota to Oregon. Finances were tight so he went back to work. Not building houses but doing odd jobs for people. Then was hired to travel the USA doing inventory for surplus bearings. He's enjoyed the travel but in the last year was gone 285 days. A bit much even for him.
January 25, 2020 We had a party to honor him. Did I mention he cooks? No I didn't, Some men/women are good at grilling, or cooking meat. Some might make baking pastry their forte or making pies/cakes. My husband does all of that. He puts that perfection into whatever he decides to make. Not always does it turn out perfect the first few time, but he keeps at it.
Let me tell you how many batches of rolls he either threw out or we gave away because they didn't look or taste the way he wanted them to. He was attempting to make a roll that was as light and yeasty as a friend who is a master baker. I think his rolls are just as good as a Parker House roll you get at a fancy restaurant. Not Paul they have to be just as good as the Parker House roll.
Let's get back to his party. When I decided to have it I wanted it to be a surprise, but knew he wouldn't go for it. He has to have his hand in everything aspect of it. When I told him my plan his first question was, "Who's cooking the dinner?" I told him and he raised his eyebrows and said, "I'd better do it and he can assist." I told him it was his party. He still wanted to plan and cook the dinner.
On Friday, He met with the our friend who makes amazing rolls. Paul questioned him on the dough as it looked too dry (as I said he'd been making rolls now for a year). All night long he worried about the roll batter not rising enough. Sat morning he went to the Lodge and made another batch (of 160 or so) that has the right texture. It was a good thing he did. When he went to bake the first batch they didn't raise right and even though they tasted ok they were more dense than the one he'd made.
The menu changed from a turkey dinner to chicken fried steak because he read that was the number one Sunday dinner across the USA. We planned the party and Saturday my daughter, sister and I decorated the venue. When someone asked me if this was a formal dinner I laughed and said, "It's slightly casual with class." I knew most of the people coming would dress as if they were coming to church. Some in suit and tie, others in sport jackets and button down shirts. The women would all wear skirts and dresses. By some standards that might be considered formal.
That night we served three types of appetizers. I had a video of Mary Maxwell's invocation for Home Instead who is all about aging. Each table was dismissed to go to the buffet table where I had servers dished their food and a beverage table, for coffee and water. When the main dinner was finished the staff served the desserts which were three flavors of small bundt cakes, a friend made. They were amazing, the flavors were carrot cake, chocolate with a peanut butter, butter cream frosting and bits of peanut butter cup on top, and a lemon poppy seed cake with lemon curd in the middle and lemon butter cream frosting.
Thankfully the staff I hired, helped wash and put away all the dishes (we have a commercial dishwasher at the Fellowship Lodge). All the left over food was divided out and I could leave with the comfort we left it cleaner than when we got there.
I sat down when I got home and couldn't get up without pain. My feet and legs relaxed and has been hurting all Sunday. Thank goodness for Tylenol PM.
It was good to hear the compliments on the party, from the people who came, on Sunday. I just received a voice mail from a older man who thanked me for inviting him and his wife and how much they enjoyed the entire party form the food to Paul's birthday speech.
Here we are almost halfway through the month and I’m still wondering how my Nanowrimo story will work. I was gungho with the beginning. I always am. I have an end. I have a middle (the dreaded middle). Now I’m stressing about my characters.
Are they too cardboard cutout? Have I put the perp in too soon? How will my MC change enough or do I need her to change or just gain more experience from this.
Maybe this really is a novella not a full novel. Here is where I lack confidence. I don’t really have anyone to ask. Most people I know are in the same boat or rowing behind me.
I have all these partially written novels in my files. I seem to start with a great plot idea then it fizzles.
I probably need to find a writing partner or two who will help me overcome this.
I read a NL today that got me thinking (again) about perspective. How we feel about ourselves as a person and a writer. Here's a little background about me.
I was always over weight. Growing up I was the FAT girl. I wore dresses (in the 50'-60's) to school and they were homemade tent dresses that Momma Cass made famous. All it did was accentuate my figure. To my mom I was a disappointment. Her mother constantly berated her about me telling her it was her fault I was fat and to do something about me. She tried, but I idolized by dad, what he ate I ate. He worked, I read.
I was fat, and after I married, it got worse. I won't go into the issue there, but my self-esteem dropped and I read as an escape, voraciously. At forty I was over 300 pounds. I was working and saw a girl who had her stomach stapled. I watched her lose weight. My husband watched her and encouraged me to do the same. I did.
What a change it made in my life. I never reached my goal of 145-155. I got down to about 185 or less and then I stabilized. I received compliments and attention from the men I worked with. This strengthened my self confidence. It had been non existent for all those years and I slowly gained it. I wasn't FAT anymore. No matter what that scale said, I wasn't that FAT person anymore.
Stress and job situations caused me to nibble, I constantly ate crackers, pretzels, cookies at work and slowly gained weight. It never got too high but I struggled at over 200. HOWEVER, I had changed. I was not FAT. Yes the scales showed a number I wasn't happy with, but I wasn't FAT. I dressed in nice clothes that people complimented me on. I worked at a clothing store so I chose great outfits that others copied, I wasn't FAT.
I joined this writing site and worked at becoming a writer. This also gave me confidence, I published a book, now 2 and I'm dieting again. I may get down to that 145-155 at some time and all it will do is keep me healthy. Hopefully not having that weight on my knees and legs will keep me from having knee replacement that my sisters and daughter have had. Still that will not change who I am. I am a published author. I write good stories and help others to accomplish their goals.
This last year I helped a woman I met on another site who lives a few miles from me. Eventually she asked me to rewrite her novel and she'd pay me. I finished it last month. Another woman has asked me to rewrite her autobiography and I'm working on that.
There is still that little Fat girl in a corner. She will never go completely away. That niggling that I'm not good enough, still haunts me, but it gets knocked back into the corner when I get a "Good Job" from something I wrote. When I give a critique and they say thanks for the suggestions, it helps. Every time someone reviews a piece and likes what I wrote. That fat girl stays down.
I think its looking at your own perspective. Losing the weight won't change you all by itself. You have to accept that change. It was a struggle for me and I made big mistakes. I thought I was hot stuff for a while, I had all this attention I'd never had and didn't know the first thing about how to respond to it. I shudder now at my actions and thankfully there were people around me who loved me and guided me through it.
I accepted the new body, the respect it afforded me. I looked people in the eye and didn't make fun of my body before they did. I compliment people on their choices. I support writers here because I know the struggle of learning to write good stories. My perspective had changed from the FAT girl who can't do anything right, to the semi-confident woman who is a published author and helps others to achieve their dreams, no matter what that dream is.
I found this prompt on another site:Set-up: Father loses high level job, mother cannot work due to physical challenges, and teenage daughter, an only child,is a senior about to submit college applications and did not apply for aid - would not have qualified given her parents income. The parents have done a poor job of saving as they lived paycheck to paycheck.
They are breaking their news to their daughter this evening…
Briefly, make us feel the dialogue…
Here's what I wrote:
Gina stared at her dinner plate in silence. Her parents weren’t talking as they normally did. Her mother would be telling them about her crafts she’d sold on line. Her dad usually regaled them with work antidotes. Tonight there was silence.
She looked at her mother for the umpteenth time. Had she been this pale and I didn’t notice? The food in her mouth tasted like sawdust and she took a drink from her glass to wash it down. Did her mother see the doctor today? She didn’t remember an appointment on the calendar.
The sound of her father dropping his fork on his plate broke the silence like a Chinese Gong. “Gina, we have something to tell you.”
Gina froze, then let her hand lower the fork to the plate. No sound. She stared at her father’s sad expression then at her mother who played with her food as she’d done all dinner.
“What is it? Did you get bad news from Mom’s doctor?” She reached out her hand to lay it on her mother’s arm. There was no response.
“No, it isn’t that.”
“Then it’s all good. Nothing is worse than that.” She smiled at them both forcing her voice to a high pitched false tone of joy.
“I’m sorry, Gina, it’s almost worse than that.” He gave a long pause and stared toward the kitchen door as if he couldn’t look at them. “I lost my job. They laid me off due to budget cuts. I got a severance package, but that won’t last long if I don’t find another job quick. With your mother’s bills,” he paused again, this time his eyes met Gina’s. She saw tears well up behind his thick lens. “I’m afraid, we can’t help you with college.” The words came out like air from a balloon.
Gina didn’t speak as the ramifications processed in her brain. No college. She’s just talked to her counselor and had a list of colleges to apply to. She wouldn’t qualify for them. She’d have to go to the local community college and work at part time jobs just to pay for those.
“I’m sorry honey.” Her mother put her hand on top of the hand on her arm.
Gina jerked it away. Heat flowed from the top of her head to the soles of her feet. “No you’re not sorry.” The sound exploded between clenched teeth. “You’re not sorry when you took the vacation to Yellowstone. Or the week to the Bahamas and all our other vacations. I know I went too, I had no choice. I had fun, but now I’m paying for it!”
She stood, her chair wobbled on two legs and fell with a crash. "It was your choice. You did it for fun. Then it was over and I have a mouse hat with a big bow, pictures of me swimming with dolphins, and standing in a tunnel with a shark swimming over me. " Her voice trembled and she swallowed. “What will that look like on a job resume?” She leaned her fists on the table. Tears rolled down her cheeks, "I know how to have fun, but I didn’t prepare for the future. I thought you had been putting money away for my college fund. When I asked about it, " She looked at her dad’s bent head, “You! you told me Not to worry, you’d take care of it.” She stood straight. “I guess you did.”
Holding her head up she strode to the stairs and when she was out of sight ran up them and threw herself on her bed.
|It's time for the Minesota State Fair I'm flying out of Oregon to MN this afternoon. My daughter and I are spending the day checking out the new foods and picking up our favorites:
Reuben dogs( I make them at home, Keto friendly)
Fries, Corn, Nuts
Sweet Martha's cookies (I'm taking them home for my son)
Fried Cheese curds or cheese pronto pup (one or the other, not both)
We bring zip lock bags and containers to bring the extra home. We try to share everything so we don't get too full but get to taste the new things. I don't want to gain the weight I've struggled to off in anticipating this day.
I have my fit bit charged so maybe walking will counter some of the food intake.
I love the Grandstand where you see all the booths with things to buy. Olives and Garlic
pillows(My Pillow guy is there. I need a cover for my travel pillow that I forgot)
So many things have not returned. The cost and there was a time, people couldn't afford to go to the fair AND shop. The economy is better now so I'm hoping there will be new booths of things to look at.
I brought just a small carry-on. If I buy too much I can bring home one of my daughter's suitcases full of stuff
Do you attend your State Fair? What are your favorite foods and things to do? Do you have any traditional foods/booths/rides you do when you go?
I sent the manuscript to the client last night. I had to do a major rewrite on Monday night. Her ending read like the rest of the book whining about her guilt and her love for her dead husband. I wrote the ending so the moment they finally admitted their feelings, then gave a little more conflict and a moment when he fell off the ladder and was sent to the hospital and she tells him she loves him forever. (Trope)
This was quite an undertaking for me. There was so much wrong POV inserted, storylines of non essential characters she just wanted in this story. I'd tell her over and over write their story in a different book.
"I just want to show the change he made after meeting the girl." Fine but it isn't part of the Main Character's story. This is a romance between two people.
She is writing this based on real people. She doesn't understand her characters. As a reader I asked questions she couldn't answer. The reader is going to ask the same questions. If there isn't an answer in the book they are going to disappointed and throw the book out. I don't know what she'd going to think of my ending. It is what it is.
After all this is her story. What she leaves in or takes out is her business. If I read it and it reads bad, I don't want my name on it. I may have enhanced some of the story line but ultimately it's her story.
Next month I start working on the next biography rewrite. It's going to be harder. How can to you tell someone that in this day and age the word "abuse" has a very physical connotation. She had very little of it in her marriage. It was more emotional and non verbal abuse. She's intimated all these years it as "horrible abuse." For her, yes, when people read it, they are going to be less that sympathetic. UNLESS I can SHOW her feelings in all this.
I told her if she and I don't cry when reading this neither will the reader.
I guess my challenge is making this story about her life emotional and interesting.
MY Blog: www.christinamweaver.wordpress.com
Follow my journey writing a crime story 35 years in the making
MY Blog: www.christinamweaver.wordpress.com
Follow my journey writing a crime story 35 years in the making