The End…

the end is near

No need to panic. This is not the end of the world. Kim Jong-Un did not drop a nuke on CPAC, much to a certain journalist’s chagrin. Washington DC did not implode with the release of both a Republican Congressional memo and the Democratic Congressional memo essentially saying the same thing (rant for another day about how Congress is the governmental body…there is no Republican Congress and no Democratic Congress, just Congress…but I digress.) There was no catastrophic global event ending civilization. The Olympics are OVER, but even that is not THE END.

No, what I’m talking about is the joy and sorrow of typing out those two tiny words THE END when writing a novel. Now, I may be getting ahead of myself since so for my trilogy, I’ve only been able to type the words TO BE CONTINUED at the end of two books. But dear readers, I am in the home stretch and I can see THE END.

Yes, book 3 of Greylyn the Guardian Angel series is less than 2 chapters from completion. Whereas the story was initially going to be 4 books, I just couldn’t drag out my heroine’s struggle for another 80K words and decided three books was quite enough. Everything in threes, right? Star Wars installments come out in threes (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, & Return of the Jedi – the only ones that truly count). There were three Lord of the Rings. Three initial Indiana Jones movies (and should have stuck with just three, but that’s another rant entirely). All good things seem to come in three’s. So Greylyn will also be a trilogy.

Where was I? Oh, yes. THE END.

Truly I was going to hold off on the celebration blog post about THE END but got a little tipsy with the next step to seeing Greylyn off to the presses. I ordered the book cover! Wish I could reveal it here, but the lovely artist Yvonne Nikolova from Ammonia is working on it as we speak, or more correctly – as I type.

For months I struggled with THE END. Something was amiss, but a bad case of writer’s block and an overbooked family schedule kept me from seeing the light (see above light at the end of the tunnel meme). Just needed some perspective.

Now, I “see” the end. All the little tendrils of the story over three books coming together. Now I’m sure there will be some things not neatly tied up in a bow for the readers, but I’m fine with that because I want my readers to continue dreaming of the characters and the story long after their eyes see 

So it is with great joy, and a few tears that I tap out the final words in the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series. These characters, this story, have haunted me for decades. Life got in the way and prevented me from putting the words to paper (or to computer screen if we’re being literal) for so long, but Greylyn, Kael, & even Jasper never left me. They screamed and beat against my skull until I could make time for them to come out to play.

Now they have been unleashed, and soon their story will be available for all to read. Or no one to read. If someone picks up my story, I will be thrilled. If no one does, that’s fine too. Because this has never been about bringing Greylyn to the masses. It has been an exorcism of my own demons. A story that had to be told where good and evil must co-exist and even work together, where love breaks the barriers of good and evil for its own sake.

In the words of Supernatural’s Chuck…

It’s a Conspiracy

I tell you…it is indeed a conspiracy. What the true motives are, I cannot fathom. But the truth is out there…

My kids are devoted, dedicated, and driven to…

Drive me nuts!

Today, I need to write. And by “write” I mean “write, edit, write some more, edit…repeat”. I’m on a deadline, and yes, this article wasn’t the one with a deadline so technically, I’m procrastinating from my original deadline of edits for a short story I’m contributing to an anthology. Story is done, just need the edits finished so I can send it to the editorial committee.

My goal was to take care of all that this weekend. Who was I kidding? The kids are out of school on the weekends!!!!!

Now usually my weekends are insane. There are games, matches, swim meets, parties, …. With 5 kids, I’m quite busy. But THIS weekend was supposed to be a smidge different. So I incorrectly thought… Oh, I can get stuff done that didn’t get done during the week due to various reasons (mostly, kids’ doctor appointments, kids’ this, that, and the other – in other words, the usual stay-at-home mom tune).

Two of the five rugrats are at the NC State High School wrestling tournament with Dad. Down to three. The teenager on crutches got a friend to pick him up, so that makes two. Oldest is barricaded into the attic teenager man cave with the Xbox, so that’s down to one. The baby girl.

She’s not a baby anymore (she’s 12), but still knows how to work the baby vibe with a bit of preteen angst thrown in for good measure. Despite being out late with a group of friends for a make-up swim team party (they all missed the original one due to illness so another mom and I felt bad and threw them their own little party), she is… wait for it…

and…

So, evil mom (see Cruella pic above), I’m complaining about being interrupted for the zillionth time from edits that I don’t really want to do instead of making the poor starving creature another meal. Eventually, the kids will make their own food.

Not feeling guilty about it, by the way. Yes, she’s bored. I get it. Been there. Done that. It may shock everyone, but I was once 12 years old too. And I was an only child so I never had brothers or sisters to help entertain me. Her brothers are out of the house (except zombie boy with the Xbox), so I get her angst. I do.

But before you start feeling bad for the little poppet, she does have a friend coming over a little bit later. I planned ahead because I knew I needed today to edit. I’m not totally heartless. She just has to make it through the next hour.

But I digress…the real point was that my kids seem to always know when I have something non-child-related important to do. And they always work to mess with that. Closed office door means nothing. Hell, closed bathroom door means nothing to them either.

I already know how the rest of the day is going to go. It’s been an episode on rerun every weekend that I try to write. Oldest will inevitably need to go somewhere, need money, need more food (seriously how does he eat so much and remain so skinny?). Second oldest will call/text needing me to pick him up from wherever and take him and friend to wherever else or “Can we all just hang out at our house?”. Middle two will be home mid-afternoon with Dad who will be tired from all the driving, but they will be hungry…very, very hungry. And sweet angel-blossom daughter will want me to take her and her friend somewhere or both will open the office door with that face…you know the one. The one that screams, “We Are Bored!” By the time I get even halfway done with edits, it will be uber-late and a tired writer is a crappy editor.

So, dear writer friends…good luck with your writing and editing today. My brain will be with you in spirit, but physically I’ll either be in the kitchen or in the car.

Ciao! I need to find out what is burning downstairs in the kitchen…

 

 

 

 

 

The Perils of Writing a Series

Dear Readers,

Bless your hearts for being so patient with me. The holidays were a chaotic mess and the beginning of 2018 has me doubting my SuperMom abilities, but for you…I will carry on.

***Now the Supernatural theme, “Carry on my Wayward Son, is floating around my head. This is good. I can use it for inspiration as the Winchester brothers are certainly inspirational.***

When I first envisioned Greylyn the Guardian Angel, it was a series, very episodic like a television show. I imagined my heroine as a cross between kickass Buffy the Vampire Slayer & the ultimate guardian angel Jonathan Smith from Highway To Heaven (if you’re not familiar with the series, check out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086730/). 

Supernatural started with the brothers facing off against various & sundry monsters every week. Greylyn could have a different guardian angel case every week, right?

So I started writing Greylyn episodes. Image may contain: 1 personAnd I researched the urban fantasy & paranormal romance genres and found episodes are not quite what the readers are yearning for. However, the readers do love one thing…a good series. Anywhere from 3 to 6 books in a series seemed popular. No more and no less.

In response, I went back to the drawing board. Cut the episodes and get to the meat of the story…Greylyn’s quest to save innocents from a specific evil (not just a new one every book) & the sexy dark guardian, Kael. Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

What I ended up with was a trilogy. Okay, originally it was 4 books, but I cut and cut until there were three. If Star Wars can work in trilogies, so can I.

Now I have 2 1/2 books complete. Was about to wrap the final scene of the third book, but something was amiss. I needed time & distance to see that I was lacking. Now I haven’t had time to implement the changes (but that’s a blog for another day).

Trouble is…when I started to query literary agents and publishers, I had the one complete book. Or at least I thought it was complete at the time. It’d been through countless edits, critiques, and reviews. It was READY!!!!! So that’s what I queried. But now that book 3 has me languishing in the wind, I know that book 1 needs some revisions to make it all connect.

It’s not that Book 1 wasn’t really ready. It was complete and nicely polished. But because this is a series, the books have to connect all the dots throughout.

Final analysis: I pre-queried. Honest mistake. Sometimes there is no way to know what you are going to write until you write it. If the books are in a series, a tidbit in book 3 has to mesh with the truth of the story and characters established in book 1.

Some writers plan out every word they write. Perhaps series aren’t a problem for them. For me…I plot in my head, write down what I have and then let my fingers do the walking & talking. Sometimes they go off the beaten (plotted and planned) path. But I know in my heart that my typing fingers will not lead me the wrong way. The most efficient way to write? Probably not. But it’s how I roll.

So series can be a pain in the tush to write. Readers love them though. And sometimes the story is just too big for one novel.

My take away from this experience, my lesson learned…do not try to query or independently publish a series without every book in the series complete and ready to go. If an agent or publisher had snatched up book 1 already, I’d be in quite the pickle now and constrained by the truths as they were presented in book 1, which would mar book 3 and the ultimate ending for my readers. That would’ve been a shame.

After this experience, I swore off writing a series again, but…never say never. There are a few (okay, a lot) of story ideas floating around in my noggin ripe for series potential.

My advice for other writers…if you’re going to write a series, either plot every aspect out and force yourself to stick with the plan; or wait until the series is written before ever querying or self-publishing. Your readers will thank you.

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Miscellaneous Rantings of a Busy Woman/Writer

Dear Readers,

I hope you are still out there. My sincerest and deepest apologies for neglecting you these last couple of months. Sometimes everyday life catches up with you and all else, all your good intentions, all your dreams for launching a successful career/hobby/anything go straight out the window. What seemed like a couple weeks of craziness over the holidays turned into couple months of non-stop activity. Mostly family obligations…having five children, it’s not unusual for things to get out of hand or be hit with something out of the blue.

Maybe there needs to be a specialized time management course for moms still trying to hang on to some semblance of a life and pursue their own hopes and dreams. Would love to teach it, but I need to learn it first.

And that brings me to my thoughts for today…they are all over the place. I could make myself nuts with the multiple To Do Lists in my noggin, but today is a day for therapy, not stress. Today…I’m completely unfiltered. My comments are 100% off-the-cuff. Whatever insanity my fingertips taps out on my pc that show up on this page…hey, it’s Miscellaneous Whatever Day!

So what’s on my brain today, unrelated to my writing, unrelated to the short story I’m working on for another anthology, unrelated to somehow getting my oldest son into college (and finding a way to pay for it), unrelated to my children’s school stuff and sports schedules, and all that day to day stuff that has been crowding every second of every day and clouding my brain…

Let’s see what’s behind the curtain.

Had a last minute rescheduling of my son’s basketball game, so I sat down on my bed with my pc in my lap and the tv on. Unproductive, I know. But it got me to thinking.

Sleepless in Seattle was on. A romantic classic that sends my hubby to the playroom with the kids to play Super Mario Brothers on his ancient Nintendo NES every time. The movie was towards the end, and I started wondering. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the movie went on a few more minutes and we got to listen in on what had to be the most awkward conversation in the world as Tom Hank’s Sam and Meg Ryan’s (oops, forgot the character name – Annie…that’s it!) sat down to get to know each other.

Tom: So what’s a gorgeous babe like you do stalking a widower and his son on the other side of the country?

Meg: Well, actually, I was engaged. Just broke up with the poor bloke a few minutes ago as we were having Valentine’s Day dinner and sipping champagne after picking out china patterns at Tiffany’s. 

Tom: Wait! You did what?

Later in the conversation Meg tries to explain that SHE didn’t send the letter to him that Jonah (his son) fixated on. It was her bestie, so she’s not really the stalker.

Tom’s eyebrows furrow. He pays the check, takes Jonah by the hand, and runs out.

Just a few more minutes of screen time would’ve been delicious, don’t you think? How many other movies would you just love to have 5-10  more minutes? No need for a sequel, because those are entirely pointless and overrated, and overdone in Hollywood (as Furious 7 plays on my tv now). Just a precious few minutes to give the audience insight into supposed Happily Ever After (HEA). That’s why I love books with epilogues. You get the “What Happened Next?” moment. Some movies should definitely have epilogues. 

So what else is lurking inside my little brain today? While we’re on the topic of movies…does Hollywood have ANY NEW IDEAS???? Seriously…Furious 7 is on (see above). The only movies being created seem to be sequels, prequels, remakes of classics movies and old television shows (bad remakes), remakes of movies that should never be made in the first place, and endless superheros with more Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) than acting.

I beg you, Hollywood…take a chance and go with an original idea for once in like forever.

Seriously, I haven’t been to the movie theater since Serenity (movie basically serving as the epic epilogue for the television show FireFly). The only reason Furious 7 is on my tv screen right now is because it’s Sunday afternoon and nothing is on television; and I like to have some background noise when I’m not in complete writer’s trance and the words are flowing.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to glance up and ogle Vin Diesel, The Rock, Jason Statham, and Paul Walker (RIP). Hollywood, please give me a reason to fork out the megabucks and go to the theater.

Anyone else disturbed by commercials with cannibalistic food? I no longer purchase Cinnamon Toast Crunch or PopTarts because of their commercials.

And DO NOT get me started on the bears and toilet paper commercials. The company did not need to “go there”.

Another issue I have with commercials…it’s always the dufus guy with the smart, hot woman who knows it all. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in feminism and all, but the man-bashing (overtly and otherwise) needs to tone it down a bit. Sad thing is, some guys probably don’t even notice or care that they are being made fun of non-stop in television and movies.

Mostly though, commercials have amazingly obnoxious people in them. Does this actually sell products? 

Don’t even get me started on Flo and the amazingly even more annoying sidekick, or the former Verizon, now Sprint, guy (and the new Verizon guy), …this list can go on forever.

And that’s the most political I promise to ever go with this blog. Yes, I could use this little platform to preach and screech to the world, but no one wants that. It’s also the reason I stopped watching Hollywood self-congratulatory award shows. My use for watching television and movies is to be entertained, not lectured regardless of the topic. Also, couldn’t they spend more time and effort making entertainment rather than patting themselves on the back. Entertainment industry, try entertaining again.

Wow! Did not intend this to be a whine session about Hollywood. Let’s try another topic…

Moms & Dads: Anyone else miss the days where kids could just play a sport for fun? When did it become necessary for a child to specialize in a sport and receive year-round training from the age of three or four? It’s a mega business here in North Carolina, and I imagine we’re not the oddball state in that. I’m just as guilty. If my kid likes a sport and shows some aptitude at it, I’ll fork out the dough and time for training, practices, games, travel, whatever. The minute they no longer enjoy it though…we are done! If they want to casually play a sport, even better. Loving the fact that my oldest returned to recreational basketball his senior year of high school. Why? It’s just one more item to tack onto the calendar. Because he’s just having FUN! And isn’t FUN what it is all about?

Anyone still hanging in there with me?

So there’s nothing earth-shattering in my blog today or any day, but this was an especially free of context, free of rules, free of anything remotely important in the overall scheme of things. Just a rant, because sometimes we just need to push out all the garbage in our brains in order to reset our minds. Today, I could’ve focused on the short story that is lacking its ending, regardless of the looming deadline. I could’ve focused on the mountain of laundry piling up in the washroom. I could’ve researched independent author publishing aids and learned how to market my books. But I didn’t.

There were a million things I could’ve done today, but I needed to just “be”. Let the nonsensical stuff infiltrate my brain and run around, crashing through all the more important or pertinent tidbits demanding my attention at all times. Of course, glancing up from my pc to the vision of Jason Statham and Vin Diesel battling it out doesn’t hurt either. Yes, I know…the sequel rant above biting me in the butt now, but the movie really is only good for one thing…ogling the guys.

Thanks for sticking with me through this maze of incoherent ramblings. Sometimes a writer finds he/she can no longer write what’s needed, what’s wanted. Some call it writer’s block. And that is a correct term, but sometimes one simply needs to let the chaos fly in order to reset the brain for another, hopefully productive week. My days may seem mundane to some as a stay-at-home mom, but I love all the chaos it entails. I love trying to inject my own creativity into my routine by aspiring to be a writer in addition to SuperMom.

Some have compared a woman’s brain to the internet with thousands of browser windows open at once. 

That is 100% accurate and more so for moms. Sometimes, to get back to SuperWoman or SuperMom status, we need to clear out the junk and just be silly. Today, was that day for me.

I sincerely thank you for tolerating my ramblings today. My promise to you, my dear readers, is to re-commit to writing more informative, more entertaining articles for you in the future. And, if there’s a topic you’d like me to touch upon, please email me or leave a comment here. The only way this blog makes any sense is for me to address what my readers want/need to read about. So I’m here at your pleasure.

Sincerely,

KC (the C stands for Chaos)

 

 

First publication under my own name…

Doing the happy dance here! Why, you ask. Because there is finally a book cover with my own name on it (along with some of the most fabulous romance authors out there today).

For a few years, after leaving corporate America to raise my kids, I wrote as a ghost writer. Mostly cozy mysteries, one romance, and an urban crime novel for an ex-rapper who never paid me…but I digress. It was wonderful to write again, but somewhat disappointing to do all that work, get paid pennies (if at all), and have someone else slap their name on the cover.

Now all that is over. On November 24, 2017 the latest edition of The Bowman’s Inn anthology was released to the public. And, for the first time ever, my name (not some pseudo pasted on the cover by a client) was included on a book cover. Yep, that’s me! Second name on the top!

The Bowman’s Inn is a fantastic collection of romance stories all surrounding a quaint inn/restaurant/pub with a most exotic and unusual bartender. Valentine, aka Cupid, serves up non-alcoholic cocktails to inspire true love soulmates to connect.

All the authors put their own spin, but everything connects back to Cupid and his lady love and owner of The Bowman’s Inn, Mandy.

This edition of The Bowman’s Inn includes romantic tales of true love and the sometimes painful process to find and keep it.

Please check out the book, link to Amazon is above. And please, if you purchase it, write a review. Authors live and die by reviews, or lack thereof.

Thanks to the lovely ladies  with The Bowman’s Inn for allowing me to contribute to this amazing anthology. Check out their other novels, and previous editions of The Bowman’s Inn.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=The+Bowman%27s+Collective&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=The+Bowman%27s+Collective&sort=relevancerank)

Authors:

Roxanna Haley

https://www.amazon.com/Roxanna-Haley/e/B00XZC10BS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4?qid=1511979782&sr=1-4

D.L. Hungerford

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_6?ie=UTF8&text=D.+L.+Hungerford&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=D.+L.+Hungerford&sort=relevancerank

RA Winter

https://www.amazon.com/By-RA-Winter/e/B00PMF26SC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

E.D. Vaughn

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_3?ie=UTF8&text=E.D.+Vaughn&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=E.D.+Vaughn&sort=relevancerank

 

 

Bowman’s Inn Book Cover Release

book cover

I am SO EXCITED for the book cover reveal for the latest in the Bowman’s Inn anthology series! Why am I so excited?

  1. The Bowman’s Inn has a fantastic group of authors contributing their own romance short stories that I LOVE to read. Seriously, these ladies rock the romance writing!
  2. These lovely authors took a chance on a newbie author…ME! Yes, that is my name on the cover alongside the incredible Roxanna Haley, DL Hungerford, RA Winter, and ED Vaughn. ***happy dancing here***
  3. To be included in an anthology with such powerhouse romance writers is thrilling and humbling. I can’t thank them enough for allowing me into their world of Cupid-inspired cocktail drinks and colorful characters.
  4. After being a ghostwriter for so long, it’s AMAZING to finally see my own name on a book cover.

So, friends, be on the lookout real soon for the book release. It’ll be a wild and wonderful celebration!

And if you haven’t already, check out the previous editions of the Bowman’s Inn anthology series. 

A Lesson Learned – Luckily Not Too Late

Hello, Readers!

I’ve missed you. I’ve missed writing lately. To say that I’ve been lax on my blogging duties would be an understatement. I’ve been lax on a couple other things, too. Namely…my own writing.

But this is not a lament about writer’s block. This is my Public Service Announcement to all the hard-working folks out there that allow themselves to get caught up in the right here/right now/hustle&bustle lifestyle. We all have a ticking time bomb in our lives…our own bodies. Misuse or mistreat your own body and more than you will pay the price.

I’ll admit. I’m not in the best shape of my life, in the latter half of my forties, and with a lot of responsibilities…5 kids, elderly mom, hard-working husband, and a dog that still tries to trip me up or down the stairs every day. The world around us is going to h.e.double hockey sticks in a handbasket – just turn on the news…it’s awful out there!

I will also admit I have a very blessed life (see second sentence of previous paragraph). There is a lot to be grateful for, and a lot to worry about on a daily basis. I won’t bother listing them all here.

However, with all the hustle and bustle and 24/7 chaos of my life I did something that almost cost me it all. Technically, you could say it was more something I didn’t do.

I didn’t take care of myself. You know how when you go on an airplane, the flight attendants are specific about if the plan were to crash, affix the oxygen mask to yourself first before trying to help others? If you’re incapacitated, you can’t help others. Common sense, right?

Same goes for your health. If you’re sick, who takes care of the kids? Who takes care of your job? Who does all the things you normally do?

If you’re like me, you completely forget those questions and dive into the chaos every day regardless of how you are feeling. Who has time to be sick? Not me! Not anyone I know of.

That mentality could’ve cost me, and my family, dearly.

For over a week I felt like garbage. You know the commercial for the asthma medicine with the bear walking behind the guy with his arms around his chest making it hard for the man to breathe? That was me. I would wake up at night unable to breathe. Tried my husband’s asthma inhaler…nothing. Did I call the doctor? Well, of course not. I don’t have time to go to the doctor for myself. Instead, I have to take two of kids (2 separate days) to the orthodontist. There’s no time for me to take myself to the doctor. That would be crazy!

Until it wasn’t. Now, I thought I simply had caught hubby’s chest cold from a couple weeks ago. The theory made sense. So I finally carved out some time and drove myself to the urgent care center. They’d diagnose me with the same thing as my husband, give me some meds and send me on my way. Right?

Nope. That’s not what happened. Turns out my lungs were perfectly clear. My blood pressure on the other hand…out of this world high!

If I had not gone to the doctor…okay, I’ll be honest, I went under duress from my husband (sometimes he’s such a nag)…things could’ve gotten much worse. Unchecked, my bp could’ve led to a cardiac event (not sure why the doctor just didn’t come out and say heart attack) or a stroke. And, he’s not even sure I didn’t have a “cardiac event”. Still waiting on more scheduled tests to determine for certain. For the time being, the doctor prescribed bp meds. Funny thing…one day later (after a migraine) my bp bottomed out. Now, I’m not on the meds unless my bp shoots back up. Even my blood pressure is chaotic, just like my life.

Not looking for sympathy here. It’s my own gosh darn fault for not taking better care of myself. After a knee injury and suffering with carpal tunnel, I allowed myself the excuses to stop working out on a regular basis. Hence, I was not taking care of me. Also, I’m totally a Type A personality that is stressed to the hilt everyday with the chaos of running an 8 person household, while also trying to follow my dream of becoming a published author. Really, rest & relaxation are not common words in my vocabulary when they should be.

The lesson here, that I hope to pass along to my readers, is that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Now, I’m not saying to drop all your responsibilities at the door, and go for a spa weekend every week; or stop doing all that you do for your family, your friends, your job/career. I am most definitely not saying that.

What I am saying is to carve out a little “me” time. Perhaps take a 30 minute walk daily, alone or with a friend. Perhaps take five minutes before heading the door to meditate or do some yoga stretches. I bought my husband a FitBit a couple years ago that he doesn’t use…I’m gonna snag that for myself.

Most importantly…if you don’t feel well…GO TO THE DOCTOR! Stop by the local pharmacy and check your bp (most have the bp monitors and some have Minute Clinics where you can be seen by a nurse or doctor to evaluate your symptoms). You and your health are paramount! Treat yourself as well as you treat others that you care for. If your child or spouse or parent were not feeling well, you’d take them to them to the doctor. You wouldn’t ignore their symptoms. Well, then…stop ignoring your own health.

Truth is, if you don’t care of you, then you cannot take care of others.

And that, dear readers, has been my PSA for today. Love to all!