Saturday, July 22, 2017

Project List

I've ticked several items off my Project List this week. Both The Fairlawn Investigation and The Victoria Wayfarer Investigation are now available on Amazon.com and as Kindle books. butterscotch-a collection of stories is also finally available as a Kindle book. It kind of got lost in the shuffle a couple of months ago.


Out is here at the house in its fourth print proof copy version. I did some Gordon Ramsey-type ranting after finding a minor continuity error in the very first chapter, but have calmed down and am methodically prowling through the book in search of any other issues that might still exist. It will be on its way to a real publisher once this final raking over the editing coals is completed. I am giving it a shot, despite my maybe not so well-known OCDism of wanting absolute control over my own work. Maybe I'm ready to let a project go out into the mainstream world. I don't know. If I change my mind, as I am often prone to do, Out will be self-published. I don't ever really know what I will do until I do it.


I have two new novels started, The Lakeside Manor Investigation (3rd in the Amberton Paranormal Investigation Society series) and Cherry (tentative title), and have just finished proofreading and editing a novella, Bending Birches which I might combined with several novelettes or short stories into another book, although I could complete the sequel to this novella and publish them both in one book...that's another option. I just don't remember what I called the sequel, but I did see a typed copy of the story someplace when searching for Lakeside Manor recently.


A few health issues have slowed me down this summer. I'm trying to cope with them and keep moving forward. I've also been doing a little more preliminary work in preparation for WhipCity Wordsmiths, the authors/writers group Kelly and I are launching in September. And I've been doing some beta reading for author friends, and catching up on other reading, too.


Crazy busy as usual despite everything going on! I don't feel as if I am quite on track where I want to be, but I'm not lagging too far behind at this point in time!





Sunday, July 9, 2017

What's New From My Kitchen Table

I'm awaiting the new printed proof copies of two paranormal investigation novels- The Fairlawn Investigation and The Victoria Wayfarer Investigation. Meanwhile, since last weekend I've pounded out a little less than half of the third novel in the series, The Lakeside Manor Investigation. The novels are set in the Burlington, Vermont/Lake Champlain area, but a lot of The Victoria Wayfarer is set at a seacoast inn haunted by numerous spirits/apparitions. Book three is back in Vermont, and will have characters that visited in book one returning for this investigation. Several of these characters are interesting because they are fictionalizations of my office manager and a co-worker. I just asked my office manager if I could reprise her fictional character in book three and received the nod to do so. My other co-worker was on vacation this week, so  I'll have to get her permission on Monday if she's back. Also, in book three I'm working in three characters from daughter Kelly' first novel, Parapsychology. She mentioned the founder of my novels' paranormal investigation group, plus referenced the group in her novel. I just had to look across the kitchen table to ask her permission to include her characters Holly St. Stephens, Milo French, and Jacob 'Jake' Euler, plus a mention of the head of their organization, Dr. Aubrey Winters. My book is set about a year before her book occurs.


Thus is the life of mother/daughter authors!


Yesterday I ran a couple of copies of Kelly's new novel, Teleport, downtown to Blue Umbrella Books where author Russell Atwood was behind the counter. He happily accepted the books to sell on the local author shelf at the store. And then he had a surprise for me. He'd recently learned that I collect vintage decks of playing cards. He'd found a deck of Louis L'Amour western theme (gunslinger) playing cards while antiquing. The cards are a poker deck, mint in the plastic inside the box with great cowboy with drawn gun graphic on the box. I was thrilled (and maybe somewhat inspired to include a western in my writing experience in the future?) I was also happy to hear he has some writing projects going now that his schedule has stabilized. I really enjoyed his PI novels East of A and Losers Live Longer (which has an ending I never saw coming!)


This morning I finally got around to setting a radio appearance date with Bob Plasse. I suggested that he have Kelly and me on his program for several reasons- we'll have 30 novels and story collections self published by the time October 24th, the date we agreed upon, rolls around, we're probably the most prolific mother/daughter authors in Westfield, and she and I just established a group for authors & writers in Westfield called WhipCity Wordsmiths which has already had a soft launch with a core group of local authors and writers, but will have its official launch in September after things settle down from vacations, kids out of school, traveling and summer activities and events.


I did find a second version of The Victoria Wayfarer and beyond that I'd been working on years ago...read two thirds of it Friday night and yesterday before concluding that while it has a ton of good stuff in it, it wasn't really going anywhere definitive so that must be why I'd abandoned it in the first place. I still won't delete the file, but I will most likely consign the printed manuscript pages to recycle in the near future to downsize the clutter in the dining room.


Otherwise, today we looked at four potential first homes for Kelly- but each one had various issues from the first one needing an entire gut job to the fourth one having a mysterious small puddle on the cellar floor with nothing dripping above it and no crack where seepage could come up through the floor beneath it. Just kind of weird in an empty basement. The second house was cute, but had an open staircase to the basement in the kitchen, and multiple small rooms in the basement that gave it a totally claustrophobic feel, plus tall Dad whacked his head on an oddly place low header which put him in a bad mood. House three was all knotty pine and 70's Aztec gold and would need a ton of reno work to make it suitable for Kelly and her myriad collections- plus it was dark and dingy and smelled weird- like old and musty and damp. Sigh...still looking...


Finally-the fog of RA is lifting so I'm feeling more productive after 5 or 6 weeks of barely being able to haul myself to work and get the editing and revision work on the two paranormal novels done. Feeling more productive!


Had to break out my Dell netbook to post on the blogs today- my HPStream has Alzheimers (memory issues)...not enough memory. I can write on it, but when I try to get into my blogs to post it just sits and spins looking for memory it doesn't have. I'm rapidly reaching the conclusion I need a real laptop with a ton of memory and disc space! I'll put it on my wish list!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Search for Amberton Paranormal Society Investigation #3

I am nearly finished with editing, proofreading, and preparing the first two novels in the Amberton Paranormal Investigation series for self-publication. I knew I had started a third in the series and a fourth, but I searched through the computer files and found The Rose Hall Investigation and then the Persian Garden Theater Investigation...but when I opened them, I discovered that they were the same story with different titles. Rose Hall is supposed to be the third novel. Both Kelly and I remembered reading what I'd written so far, and could recall that it followed the events of The Victoria Wayfarer Investigation. We knew how it started and what was happening so far- but we couldn't find the file and were finding too many Rose Hall Investigation and Persian Garden Investigation binders int he dining room-all with the same story beginning in them that was not the right story.

So, I very carefully opened every file associated with this series of novels and read the beginnings. There were, curiously, two Rose Hall investigations saved  and when I opened them they were both The Persian Garden beginning! I was getting extremely frustrated with myself.

So, the other night I very carefully scrolled down the list of titles in my computer files...and found a file titled The Lakeside Manor Investigation- and guess what I found? Yup, this is the story we remembered as being book three, and it even says it is the third in the series under the title...so I guess Persian Garden comes fourth and Rose Hall will be fifth in the series.

I need to get a little better organized around here and not keep putting the same story in binders with the same name and different names!

By the way, Kell and I couldn't find a Lakeside Manor binder...anyway, mystery solved and moving on!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Jury Duty & Proofreading

Well, jury duty is a pretty darn good place to accomplish some much needed proofreading and editing! I took the vampire novel with me and got through several chapters. This is version #3 in print...and still I am finding stuff that needs changing and correcting. There are missing letters and commas. Sigh...sometimes I think there is a gremlin at CreateSpace that deletes random letters when it's transforming the file from word to PDF or whatever it does.

I was going along great guns, but there were only 2 cases scheduled in Chicopee District Court today and both settled without going to trial. I was there all of two and a half hours...well, 3 hours total because I got there just after 8AM without running into expected traffic and road construction delays.

Then I was distracted by my favorite thing- storm clouds, and one of my least favorite things, laundry. Took an awesome shot of a shadowy male head and shoulders emerging vertically from a fluffy white cloud. Behind him is the snarling face of a male lion or a Foo Dog- whichever one you prefer to see. I think it's one of the coolest cloud pictures I've taken since the Old English Sheep Dog puppy cloud and the black faced sheep cloud!

I should have jury duty more often...I can accomplish a lot sitting around doing nothing else constructive while waiting for lawyers to work the art of plea bargains and deals. In 35 years since the state of Massachusetts switched to the one day one jury system I've been summoned for jury duty numerous times...and NEVER have I  made it into a courtroom to even be considered as a juror. I am so bitterly disappointed in the system! However, I did find out today that if you're 69 you can write on your form that you no longer want to be summoned for jury duty once you're 70 years old! Woohoo! I don't think I'll be wanting to sit in a stuffy little jury room at that age anyway. So, the way it's been going, I doubt very much I'll ever sit in the juror's box and listen to a court case. Thank God for Perry Mason reruns that satisfy the desire for a little courtroom drama in me!

Back to editing The Victoria Wayfarer Investigation. Vampire novel is back in the holding pattern.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Slow Going

I've been sidelined by an especially bad RA flare. I am NSAID intolerant and refuse to take opioids because I don't like how they make me feel and I can't focus or think on them so have always refused- even after surgery! Not for me. Therefore, ice and heat as needed, rest, and not overdoing it because it affects my joints and tendons making me feel like a disjointed marionette with lose strings attached-wobbly and unbalanced.

I did make it downtown for an hour yesterday during Busker's Day to listen to some of the musicians playing on the sidewalks, to sit and chat with friends under the Artworks tent and to visit authors Melissa Volker and Tom Deady at the tent they shared on the green for the library's Summer Reading event. Then I stopped into Blue Umbrella Books to chat with Jessica and Joyce about the WhipCity Wordsmiths. I need the local indie bookstore onboard as we'll be looking to utilize their open floor space beginning in September. It was a beautiful sunny, hot but breezy day. I grabbed a soda at Runtz mini hot dogs stand where Marion Dunk and Chip were playing their guitars.

Came home and reclined in my chair with Revere purring on my chest. Did some more editing in The Victoria Wayfarer Investigation. I'm done with The Fairlawn Investigation but haven't corrected the digital version yet. Slow progress due to fatigue and low energy.

Kelly, meanwhile, was motivated by my editing Teleport to do her own read through and edits. Happy to say she has released her second novel and it's available on Amazon, but not yet in the local book store.

I plan on going to the Agawam Public Library's ReadLocal event tomorrow evening. It's Kelly's birthday, I have to work, so I'm hoping I'll have enough energy left at the end of the day to drop by and visit with the authors and see what's new with them, and maybe add to my pile of books to read!
Hoping to see some familiar faces there and meet some authors I haven't hd a chance to meet yet.

Kelly's a motorman at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. We took separate vehicles to Dunkin Donuts this morning as she had to leave from there to get to the museum and I had errands to run. She was dressed in her navy blue pants, black shoes, black vest, white shirt and motorman's hat, with her pocket watch and fob clipped to her vest and tucked into the vest pocket. She received a sort of startled look from the girl behind the counter and then a smile. Then all the patrons were looking at her and smiling. She looked like a living anachronism- because seriously, who dresses like that these days? It's fun to watch people react to her out of the context of the trolley museum, and I think she gets a kick out of being a walking advertisement for the museum.

Hope to write something today...it's been awhile because RA also causes mental fog apparently- can't stay focused which is a huge disappointment and frustration. It's also worrisome because if this is progressive, then how many more years do I have to write if I'm not going to be able to think and get into the zone I need to be in? That, to me, is scary stuff because writing is my passion and I don't want to lose it!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Just Doing It- A Writer's Group Emerges

Well, Kelly and I have been kicking this around, and at first I was all No, no and NO, I will not even attempt this...but people kept asking and expecting, and I am not the kind of person who likes to disappoint, so I reconsidered and we kicked the idea around some more. Next, I reached out to a few local author friends and acquaintances and received enthusiastic responses.

Next came the formulating of the group because there are a million writers groups out there where writers of various skill levels sit around a table and write to prompts and then critique one another's work and maybe discuss a subject and then go home and do their own thing until the next meeting with possibly no contact between members in the interim.

I once belonged to a group like that. It rapidly grew tired and monotonous.

Therefore, on the membership applications I asked what each applying member wanted from the group and a lot of them said they wanted to learn something, improve their writing, and enjoy socializing with other authors/writers and developing a camaraderie among local writers.

I took all this input and created a group that will be member driven with a moderator for each meeting- a member volunteer or one assigned or selected at the preceding meeting who would basically act as the referee/ringmaster and make sure the topics remain on writing and writing related matters and not gardening and an exchange of recipes. Members will be given an opportunity to discuss their current or past projects, their triumphs and dismal disappointments. Everyone will bring something to the table, And occasionally we'll have fun flash fiction prompts and write and do the traditional critiquing, back patting and ego stroking if so inclined, and grow comfortable with one another.

I want authors/writers to step up and mentor new and young writers, and beta read for members who are seeking feedback on their projects. Kelly and I have accepted the application of a book reviewer who might have time to write one day in the future. Picking the brain of a book reviewer- what author doesn't want to know exactly what makes them tick?

I also want the group to host several local author fairs over the course of each year, host read-ins at bookshops and other locations as allowed, and we would have one all-day writer's retreat with a potluck picnic just to have fun and talk among like minded people about writing, and maybe other things because it will be a very relaxing day. A possible segment of the day might be Sparks- where we sit around an bounce story ideas off one another trying to spark someone to write something outside their wheelhouse or comfort zone.

I want this group to have full membership participation- members don't have to stand up and lecture on the pro and cons of traditional versus self-publishing or whatever, but everyone should have a voice that's heard.

So, from No to Go...WhipCity Wordsmiths is now a reality. The public is welcome to read the blog, but only approved members will be given author access to post n the blog, and anything we deem inappropriate will be removed. Let's try to stick to topics on writing and related matters.This blog can be viewed by typing whipcitywordsmiths.blogspot.com into your browser. It's BLUE- you can't miss it!! (If you are a member and an author on the blog then you might get a different view of the blog as such since you can post n it)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mike's Trolley Stories

I just finished reading stories 4 & 5 set at the Connecticut Trolley Museum and written by Kelly's friend (and mine) Mike Brenner. I thoroughly enjoyed his stories. Kelly and I will be helping him ready his work for making the five linked stories into a book. This is Mike's first attempt at writing a book- and I was impressed by the quality of his writing, and the amount of research he put into making all the details in the stories as accurate as possible.

It also touched me because I am a New England girl since birth and every year since childhood there have been a couple trips to the trolley museum to ride the cars. And every year since I was a little girl the motorman has given a speech about how the museum owns the right of way all the way to where the trolley park once stood and how they hope one day to lay down the track and make a little park at the end of the line. I'm in my late 50's now. They did make the current line longer- a mile and a half in length. It was shorter when I was a kid in the 60's. But, I doubt I'll live long enough to see the Connecticut Trolley Museum's dream come true.

Anyway, I really loved the stories- I laughed and cried and felt warm fuzzies and cold chills. I disliked the bureaucrat and loved Trolley Three and many of the other characters. They all seemed familiar to me.

Good job, Mike Brenner! Even if this may be your one and only attempt at writing a book you pulled out all the stops and brought the trolley back to the barn after giving this reader one heck of a ride on the rails to the dark side and back!!

Bravo!