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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Carrie Fisher

It seems as if 2016 has been a terrible year for celebrity deaths.  The expected, the sad, and the sudden.  They were all sad and they touched many people in different ways.  My younger brother visited the memorial outside David Bowie's New York home multiple times.

But, the ones that touched me the most were that of Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds a day later.  To lose our princess and rebel was sad enough.  But to lose her mother so soon afterward was heartbreaking.  The upcoming Bright Lights details their bond that was so strong not even death could break it.

When I was a freshman in high school one of our first writing assignments in English class was to write a fan letter.  Prior to this I had never written one or even considered it.  Being the Star Wars fan/classic movie fan that I was I went with Carrie Fisher.  I knew of her career beyond Star Wars and had read Postcards from the Edge.

By the time summer rolled around I had more or less forgotten about the letter.  Then, one day I received a rigid envelope in the mail:



There was no note but that didn't matter.  It was an actual signed photograph - no printed card.  We had kept track of which celebrities sent replies to our letters in class.  I knew very few had received anything.  So, to get this photo in the mail meant a lot to me.

Flash forward 15 years or so.  Wishful Drinking opens on Broadway at Studio 54.  I had a second row center ticket to one of the first shows after opening night.  Apparently, I had missed her mother by about a day.

The show was great and I hope everyone gets the chance to see the HBO special.  There were things I had already known about (Debbie Reynolds being pregnant with Carrie during filming of Bundle of Joy) and things I didn't know (Reynolds was also pregnant with Carrie during Tammy and the Bachelor).

Afterward I made my way to the stage door.  Meeting someone I had admired for so long was an exciting moment for me.  There was a decent sized crowd at the stage door but it dwindled the longer we waited.  People left in anger.  I'll never understand that.  Being a little disappointed is okay but to be angry seems a bit overboard.  Carrie didn't owe any of us more than a great show.  And we got that.

Finally, the reason for her tardiness was discovered.  She had a guest.  The doors opened and out came Dustin Hoffman.  Some people tried to get him to stop.  Others ignored him as if he weren't a two-time Oscar winner.  I did neither.  As he passed me I said, "Hi".  He stopped, looked at me, and said "Hi".  Then he was gone.  Not the most exciting Dustin Hoffman story but it's certainly better than having none at all.

Shortly after Dustin left the guard informed us Carrie would not be posing for pictures nor signing anything other than Wishful Drinking items.  Which was understandable.  The number of people looking to make a buck off her signature must be astronomical.

She finally emerged and started signing and kvetching.  Carrie being Carrie.  When she got to me we chatted a little about the show and I let her know I had enjoyed it.  Then, it went a little something like this:

"You were my first fan letter."

"Did you get anything back?"

"Yes, a signed photo."

"When?"

"1993/1994."

"Oh, my mother handled it back then."

So, it was her mother who made sure I got my signed picture.  Another actress I had grown up admiring.  The knowledge added a little something extra special to the signed picture I had received in high school.  A picture I will always cherish.  More so now.

If someone you know is mourning one of these celebrities don't mock them. Don't roll your eyes. We're all fighting invisible battles. If something one of these people said/did/wrote helped them during a dark hour that is to be honored. Not maligned.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Rock of Ages

Just giving everyone a heads up that from now until Friday, December 9 there's a $0.99 sale over at Seasoned Romances.  It's a great opportunity to get to know 24 authors whose books are simply waiting for you.

Take a peek at all these great buys!






Monday, November 21, 2016

Somebody's Watching Me (Giveaway)

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

I've been promising a Victoria Wyngate giveaway for some time now and it's finally here!


From now until Wednesday you can enter for multiple chances to win signed copies of Hidden Angels: Wildfire Lake Book One and Scattered Secrets: Wildfire Lake Book Two as well as Long Road Home by Derek Keeling!  Also featured are a canvas tote bag from Darling Designs and a bookmark handcrafted by me!

Enter below and good luck!





Monday, November 7, 2016

Ricochet

Over the weekend I was pondering the state of my blog.  Where is started, where it is now, and where it's going.

I started this blog over two years ago as a way to detail my journey through the query trenches.  The ups of requests and the downs of rejection.  But, along the way something changed.  My world changed.

Thanks to Pitch Wars, WFWA, and Book Splash my world suddenly became a lot larger.  I wasn't fighting in the trenches alone anymore.  Suddenly, I had a whole tribe that I didn't realized I'd been needing for a long time.

As that tribe grew my need to help them grew as well.  Giveaways and promos started working their way into my blogs and twitter.  It became a little less about me and what I was up to.  And that's fine.  If we don't grow and shift then we became stagnant.  Who wants stagnant people?

I don't know how the blog's going to grow going forward.  You'll find out as I do and I'm looking forward to discovering what's just over the next crest.  2016 has been a year of great change for me.  Over the summer I became co-guardian to my handicapped sister.  My role in her life hasn't changed but I can now legally make medical and legal decisions for her.  I've also been working on pushing out a lot of the old - both physical and less so.  I've also made decisions on how to deal with the negative in my life.  We'll see how that last one goes.

In the meantime I do have a giveaway coming up - I just don't have all the deets yet.  Hopefully in the next week or so.  I'm thinking about doing it the rafflecopter-ish way where every like/follow is an entry.  So, keep your eyes open for that.

Let's see where the world ricochets us today.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Shout

Just a few shout outs for today:

My friend Cristin launched The Notable Woman - a blog and podcast "for women who are making big impacts through volunteering, education, art, science, religion, civil rights".  Have something to say?  Get with Cristin!  I met Cristin when we both worked in the theatre's scene shop at Cedar Crest College!  A few years back she was presented with Cedar Crest's alumni volunteering award (I may have nominated her) thanks to her work for Superstorm Sandy victims.

Cristin's husband has launched The Actor CEO Podcast which features interviews from industry pros.  If you're an actor or just writing a book about one be sure to check it out.

If you're looking for something more about the issues be sure to check out The Ty Johnson Show over on Soundcloud.  Ty is the husband of a former middle/high school classmate of mine.  

In a few weeks time Victoria Wyngate will have a few new releases and I'm hoping to have something here to celebrate it.  Stay tuned!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Let it Go

On Friday, July 1 I decided I was going to get ahead of the curve.  Shortly after arriving home after work I started the laundry in the hopes of getting it done early.  Enjoying the three day weekend was a priority.  

As soon as I opened the door to the basement I knew something was wrong.  It smelled hot and damp.  The further down I went the more humid the room became.  I started to wonder if a Hellmouth had formed down there and I'd need my own Scooby Gang.  Finally, I found the culprit - the water heater was spewing water.  Puddles of it were forming on the concrete floor and condensation was dripping from the air ducts.  I don't know how long it had been ejecting its water but it couldn't have been too long since I'd been down there Thursday evening..

Keep in mind this was Friday evening before a three day weekend.  We were able to get someone out to stop the leaking and drain the tank.  But, a new tank wasn't going to happen until Tuesday, July 5.  No hot water until then.  Fun.

But, we survived and on Tuesday someone came out to install the new water heater.  Everything was going well until the dishwasher was turned on.  Sadly, the nineteen-year-old dishwasher had joined the water heater in Silicon Heaven.  Annoying and expensive but no big deal.

Upon hearing about the second mishap my coworker commented on how things happen in threes.  Well, I wish I could things didn't happen in threes.  But, they did.

On Wednesday our neighbor was home having a new fence installed.  When I got home from work it was off to Lowe's to find a new dishwasher.  Everything was okay until the phone rang.  It was our neighbor.  The AC unit was on fire.  Yup, FIRE.  If he hadn't been outside who knows what would have happened.  Along with an electrician who just happened to be in the neighborhood they managed to put the fire out with a garden hose.  It was contained to inside the unit and there wasn't even a mark on the siding.

We managed to get someone out the next day but it took them until Monday to finish the job.  Sometimes we had AC - sometimes we didn't.  A lot of time was spent out of the house (with PLENTY of water left for the cats).

All of this forced me into clean up mode.  Stuff had gotten wet or knocked over in the basement.  Some stuff was tossed but I decided I needed to give online yard sales a try.  

Slowly, I started listing various items on Letgo and Facebook and I've had some success.  So much success that I was able to replace the laptop that fell on the floor last year.  Entirely paid for with yard sale money.

Also, I've come across an interesting cast of characters.  People always looking for a deal.  Scammers.  Crazies.  Of course all of these people led to something else - PLOT BUNNY!  

Not only have I been able to start unburdening myself of clutter and the past but there's a new manuscript in the works thanks to all of this.  

Bad things may happen in threes but the silver linings come in sixes.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beautiful

Recently a member of the book community said this to a fan:

"you should go eat your last Dairy Queen Blizzard and then hang yourself in the closet".

Just no.  Absolutely no.  He made this comment to a woman because he felt she was overweight.  And, it was his place to say so in the most disgusting way possible.  I won't say his name because he has gotten enough attention at this point.  And, his career is circling the bowl thanks to this comment and the many that followed.

The rest of the community could not stand by and let this happen.  Blogs were written, people offered their services for free to erase this man's presence from any upcoming releases, and Harper Sloan and Felicia Lynn even had an "Ice Cream Social" at their local Dairy Queen.

Out of all of this madness Blizzards Against Bullies was born.  Founded by author C. L. Champlain the group's goal is to get Dairy Queen to take a public stance on the issue of bullying through a petition.  The movement is growing every day with people reaching out to authors with larger followings and celebrities.

We all live in glasses houses - every single one of us.  No one is perfect.  So, to stand back and suggest someone take their own life because they don't fit your idea of beauty is horrific.  Suicide shouldn't be offered as an option.

I was thirteen when my cousin took his own life after battling with manic depression for twenty-three years.  I saw the ripple it sent through my family.  The son of my godparents.  The godson of my mother.  Anyone who has been touched by suicide can tell you what it's like to try to pick up the pieces later.  The pain.  The questions.

To suggest it so cavalierly boggles my mind.  There's enough ugliness in the world.  Let's not add to it.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Five O'Clock World

Not too much to report these days.  I got a "not for my list" rejection the other day that I'm not overly heartbroken about.  I put up my bonnet and it got left behind.  No worries.  We all know what happens to that the owner of the hat in the end.


I've spent my morning tidying up my query list at querytracker.com and as soon as I got notes and edits back from readers I'll be tumbling back into the query trenches.  My goal is to be ready before Pitch Wars.

There's another giveaway cooking but I don't have all of the details yet.  But, once I do I think you'll be pretty pleased with what For the Love of Books and I have in store for you.

The Book Splash Cruise now has a pretty and...uh...splashy website.  I definitely recommend checking it out.  There are only 38 cabins left for the the 2017 sailing on Princess.  The current list of authors, models, and photographers is listed (subject to change) as well as the itinerary.  Don't dawdle.

I have a few other things on simmer that I can't put out there yet but I'm always thinking about what comes next.  Giveaways, projects, or whatever.  Stay tuned!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Find My Way


It's been over a month since my last post which was my birthday giveaway.  Once again I want to thank all of the people who entered and everyone who was highlighted in the giveaways.  Once again they are - Derek KeelingSteffy RogersPhoebe FoxCarlos R. SavourninSherri CrowderAngelWingsEmbroideryAllthingsessentialWeina Dai RandelVictoria WyngateSusan HaughtRyan Kelly, and Normandie Fischer.  Give them some likes, shares, reviews, and of course sales!  And also a huge shout out to my international partner-in-crime for all her help.  Shenanigans go global with Rosie

Speaking of Susan Haught  - I recently had the pleasure of diving into her A Promise of Fireflies.  I think I was up until about 5am reading it and I didn't want to put it down.  I had to keep going forward to see what was going to happen next.  The book became slightly personal when it was revealed one of the characters had served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne - the Screamin' Eagles.  My late father was in Vietnam with the Screamin' Eagles.  I don't know much about his time there as he never spoke of it.  He might have revealed more as we got older but I was eighteen when he passed.  The opportunity simply never came.  However, the book did spur me into doing a little Googling and I found this.  That's my dad on the far right.




Speaking of my late father - he died of cancer on December 26, 1997.  The doctors had told us to call the family on Christmas Eve but he rallied to make it through Christmas.  I'm bringing this up for an important reason.  While my father was a rather heavy smoker his lungs were actually clear when he was diagnosed.  Not that his smoking wasn't part of it - it does damage your immune system after all.  But, his cancer started out as skin cancer.  It's hard to tell in this black and white picture but my father was what is known as "Black Irish".  Meaning his complexion had more of an olive base than the "traditional" rosy one (like my siblings and myself).  We're warned that those who are "pale" (or porcelain as I prefer) are at a heightened risk for skin cancer.  While that is true it doesn't mean those with a darker complexion aren't at risk. I know I've blogged about this before and I'll blog about it again.  My father had the lymph nodes removed from under one arm on October 18, 1996.  I remember the date because it was my sister's 12th birthday.  By Easter 1997 he was back in the hospital and he was gone in December.  

People often don't take skin cancer seriously since it seems "trivial" when compared to other cancers.  And, it can be easily taken care of.  But, as my father's story shows it can be as deadly as any other cancers.

I had my annual visit to the dermatologist last week and I am pleased to share that no problem spots were found.  That makes it six years since my last "abnormal" mole.  And that's something I hope to never go through again.  Make sure you get checked as well and use protection if you're going to be outside.

I don't have much else as far as news goes.  Things have been quiet.  I have some queries out but I'm not pounding the pavement the way I had been in the past.  I'm waiting to get some notes back from readers.  After that it's back to the Fortress of Solitude to do some editing.  Then, I'll be diving back into the shark-infested waters.

The next episode of PubTalkTV is on May 2 and I definitely recommend anyone battling through the query trenches to check it out.  There's always good information to be had.






Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It's My Party Giveaway!

CLOSED

It's my party and I'll have a giveaway if I want to!

Just like last year I have presents for YOU on MY birthday and this year is bigger and badder.  I've divvied everything up into first, second, and third prizes and winners will be chosen using Random.org.  I'm headed into NYC on Friday to see Good to Go's Songwriter's Showcase and the winners will be announced when I get home Saturday morning.

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment with the best way to contact you.

And now for the part you've all been waiting for:

FIRST PRIZE:
Rediscovering Peace by Steffy Rogers SIGNED
The Breakup Doctor by Phoebe Fox SIGNED
Hidden Square by Carlos R Savournin SIGNED
Sweet Charity by Sherri Crowder SIGNED
Long Road Home - Derek Keeling
Tote Bag by AngelWingsEmbroidery
Pink Keyfob by Allthingsessential
Hand-crafted bookmark
Journal
RFID Passport Wallet
  
SECOND PRIZE:
The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel SIGNED
Wildfire Lake by Victoria Wyngate SIGNED
A Promise of Fireflies by Susan Haught SIGNED
Life - Ryan Kelly
Shopping bag by Susan Haught
Black Keyfob by Allthingsessential
Hand-crafted bookmark

THIRD PRIZE:
Uncovering Peace by Steffy Rogers SIGNED
Two from Isaac's House by Normandie Fischer SIGNED
Finding Faith by Sherri Crowder SIGNED
Long Road Home - Derek Keeling
Black Keyfob by Allthingsessential
Hand-crafted bookmark
Cosmetic Bag

Reviews and shares are the name of the game for everyone listed here. So, please leave them lots of love in return for their generosity! 



Saturday, February 20, 2016

Come Sail Away

Well, The Book Splash Cruise has come and gone.  I had a fabulous time aboard the Emerald Princess and being part of Princess's continued 50th Anniversary Celebration.  Being a lifelong Love Boat fan it was exciting for me to finally be aboard princess.  For the 50th Anniversary the cruise line debuted a new drink (I had three), tested passengers Love Boat knowledge with a trivia game (I won a bottle of champange), and gave us a disco-themed Love Boat dance party.

We were even able to have our picture taken in the "iconic" life ring:


Okay, now that I have all the Love Boat stuff out of the way it's time for the Book Splash side of things.  As an admin of the Facebook group I had an insider's view to how hard Felicia Lynn and Harper Sloan worked to pull this off.  We were treated like royalty with barrels of swag and special events.  Author signings, "cocktail" parties, and more giveaways than I could ever imagine.  They've already starting planning the 2017 event and they're already close to being sold out.  So, if anyone is on the fence about going I defintely suggest giving Felicia a call.

A lot of the people in the group knew each other already before going but I went in alone and blind.  I only knew Felicia from our multitude of telephone and Facebook conversations.  I was welcomed by the group and came out not only with new contacts but also new friends.  I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Wildfire Lake by Victoria Wyngate (which I have already read and definitely recommend).  Victoria and Aimee LeMercie were my dining companions and we had many stimulating dinner conversations.   We also learned a lot from each other about this crazy business of ours.  And, I know that I have a friend for life in Rosie.  We're just two peas in a cracked pod.

I also had some great conversations with Carlos Savournin and Dave Demaske (usually at the bar or in Skywalker's Night Club).  I met so many great people that there isn't enough blog space to list them all.  Check out the Book Splash gang for yourself.

Sadly, into every life a little rain must fall.  And it's of the literal sense this time around.  The cruise was departing Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, February 6 and I had planned to fly down from New Jersey early on the 5th.  I had a 9:41am flight that didn't leave Newark until after 11am due to snow.  I had planned on going to the Flamingo Gardens but my flight landed too late.  This is actually the third time I've tried to go.  Someday.  However, we did have a great dinner at Cheesecake Factory before going on a ghost tour.

The next morning Fort Lauderdale was dreary and our first sea day was rocky and dreary (thank goodness for my QueasyBeads.  On Monday the waves were so high in Grand Cayman we had to go to a different part of the island to be able to tender over.  Ocho Rios was more of the same and it rained on our last sea day.  While the weather didn't want to cooperate it was still better than what New Jersey was dealing with at the same time.  I'll take an overcast day in the Caribbean over a snowy day in NJ.

Now, it's back to normal.  I had arrived at the airport in Fort Lauderdale just in time to take part in #pitmatch.  This newest pitch contest netted me two agent requests.  One has already turned into a rejection but that's just another part of the game.  Onward and upward.

Annnnd...my birthday is in less than two weeks and some of you may remember what that means.  GIVEAWAY!  I have a few awesome items ready for you guys on March 3 so don't forget to come back for that!



Monday, January 11, 2016

Eye of the Tiger

Gah!  Has it really been more than two months since I’ve written a post?  That ought to be my New Year’s Resolution – to be better about getting stuff out there.  There hasn’t been too much to report lately though.  I’ve skipped a lot of the contests and pitch events due to my missing files.  After I got the files back I thought everything was going to be okay but it wasn’t.  My computer savvy coworker put Windows 10 on my laptop and it was rejected like a bad heart.  When he took it off several programs disappeared – including my word processing program.  What’s the point of having my files back if I didn’t have a wat to open them?  But, with a little help from my friends (ahem...Felicia Lynn) I was able to get back on track and can get working again.


I also need to get back to twitter.  My tweeting has really gone down since the falling laptop incident and QueryKombat.  I need to get back out there and reestablish my connections and start making new ones.  The writing community is tight knit and we all need to turn to each other from time to time.

With all of that drama in the rearview it's time to start looking onward.  It's hard to believe that the Book Splash Cruise is on only a few weeks!  I'm flying down to Fort Lauderdale on February 5 and we're sailing on February 6 on The Emerald Princess.  As a big Love Boat fan sailing Princess is exciting to me.

As an admin in the Book Splash group I was tasked with organizing the Ghost Tour, providing information to the first time travelers/cruisers, and handling the giveaways.  The giveaways became a pretty large part of my duties and we had MANY as our sailing date grew closer and closer.  

I wanted to take a moment to thank and highlight everyone who participated in these giveaways.  And, to give you guys the chance the check them out.  I want to share them and I hope they get lots of attention and sales thanks to working with me.

Singer:

Authors:

Etsy Shops:

Thank you again to everyone!  Remember to check them out and share!