Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Writer Emerges From the Pits of Doom!

Pardon the gore-covered fingers as I type this overdue blog entry...I've been busy! I entered the Pits of Doom months ago and have finally battled my way out, gutting several stories along the way. One didn't make it at all...it bled out all over my feet and now my shoes have a stiffness to them they didn't have before.

So, I revised and revised and revised again that tormenting beast known as my short story collection. I even ripped its skin loose and created a new one in is likeness, but better. GIMP is now my new BFF. We might get matching tattoos.

Seriously though, it has been quite the journey to get the book this far and at one point, I almost considered just seeing if a publisher would want to publish it for me so it could be out of my hands. But then I realized this whole process was a giant learning tool to make sure future works of mine are really in the best shape possible before subbing them out. I always think they are but there's usually a handful of typos lurking among the hot mess of "perfection." There's probably still some hiding in wait amongst surviving words, and I'm okay with that. I don't like it, but I'm okay with it.

So now, it is time to wash away the trace evidence and get ready to press the publish button. It's been real.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Freebie


I was going through some stories on my flashdrive and thought: why not give out a story for free, in the spirit of the season?


Trick or Treat
When I was twelve, I went trick-or-treating with my friends Chris and Andy.  I went as a bed sheet ghost and they went as a pair of hobos.  We started off the night from their house after their mom made us eat Spaghetti O’s and white bread slathered with butter, her attempt to fill us up on good food so we wouldn’t eat so much junk. 
            Back then, trick-or-treat hours were longer and we had pretty much free run of the town, before the weirdos of today that get their kicks lacing candy with drugs or razor blades.  People were more generous then too, dropping fistfuls of candy into our bags, or in our case, pillowcases.  We used pillowcases because they wouldn’t rip open like the ugly plastic bags they sold and if you dropped it, the candy wouldn’t fly out like it did with the plastic pumpkins. 
            We hit all our neighbors, shrieking the old refrain “Trick or treat!” at every door, laughing until we were hoarse.  Anyone that dared give us fruit or raisins or (God forbid) toothbrushes would find the self-same items left in their mailboxes or flower beds.  It was our subtle way of ensuring that they’d give out candy the next year.
            Two hours into it, another group of our friends met up with us and we hit their neighborhood.  If it was safe for them, it was safe for us.  In the dim streetlight and excitement of unsupervised fun, I lost all track of where I even was.  I followed my friends from house to house, growing more tired.  I dragged my pillowcase behind me, barely able to catch up to everyone else. 
            As we neared the middle of the block, I spied a tiny house out of the corner of my eye.  It was wrapped in shadows from tall oak trees and the yard looked more like a wheat field than grass.  As I stared at the house, the porch light flickered then glowed a faint amber.  I stood, transfixed by the house for no good reason at all.  After a moment, I glanced down the street but my friends were nowhere to be seen. 
            So many thoughts filled my head and a tickle of fear shimmied its way up my back as I realized I was lost and alone.  The lone thought that stuck in my head and spurred me on was:  If I get this house, I’ll end up having more candy than they will.  
            Gathering up my courage, I clutched my loot bag to my chest as I crept toward the old porch.  As I stepped into the shadow of the trees, all was darkness except that amber beacon calling me.  I raised my leg up onto the first step and gritted my teeth at the wood creaking under my weight.  Step by step, each creak and groan brought me closer to the candy.  Finally, I made it to the door, a cold sweat dripping down my shrouded brow.  With the last of my courage, I knocked once-twice-three times on the splintery door.
            After the longest, quietest moment, the doorknob turned until I could hear the click of the locking mechanism.  With a moan, the door opened.  I held my breath, unsure what would be on the other side.  A vampire?  A monster?  A zombie?  I squeezed my eyes shut, not wanting to see it, whatever it was, but I managed to whisper, “Trick or treat.”
            A voice that sounded like the wind replied, “Oh, such a scary ghost you are.”
            I opened my eyes and saw an old lady, not much taller than me, but thin as a toothpick standing in the doorway.  Cheeks flushed with relief, I smiled behind my sheet.  “I’m not a scary ghost, I’m a friendly ghost.”
            “Indeed you are.  I haven’t any candy, but perhaps some coins will do?”  She shuffled back behind the door and out of sight then returned with an old velvet pouch clutched in her claw-like hands.  “Open your bag, son.”
            I opened the pillowcase, my courage fully restored when I felt the weight of the pouch land on my other loot.  I knew the guys didn’t get money from anyone, they’d be jealous for sure when I showed them later.  Remembering my manners,  I cleared my throat.  “Thank you ma’am.  I hope you have a happy Halloween.”
            She smiled at me, her wrinkled face bathed in the amber glow of the porch light.  She waved to me and shut the door as I tromped down the steps and back onto the sidewalk.  I turned back for one last look and the porch light crackled and went out, leaving me in darkness again. 
            I made my way to the corner, stopping at each house for candy.  As I turned down the next street I could hear Andy hollering my name.  I hurried toward the sound of his voice, glad to find they hadn’t hit many more houses than me.
            “Bobby!  Where the heck were you?  We looked everywhere for you!  We thought for sure you were lost and your mom would kill us!”  Andy shook his finger at me as he tore into me.
            “Its okay you guys, I’m alright.  I was just at that little old lady’s house around the corner.  She gave me a pouch full of money!”  I couldn’t resist gloating.
            One of the other kids shot me a funny look, like he thought I was lying.  “What old lady?  There aren’t any old people in this neighborhood.”
            “Sure there is.  She lives in that little shack about halfway down the block.  She’s gotta be at least a hundred…”
            His eyes grew large.  “Bobby, nobody lives in that house.  The last lady that lived there died over thirty years ago, my dad told me.  The windows are all boarded-up and there’s ‘Keep Out’ signs and everything.”
            The rest of the night, we said not a word about the house or the lady.  I spent the night at Chris and Andy’s and we decided I had the biggest haul, but we didn’t even open the pouch.  The next day, we rode bikes back to the street and sure enough, the kid was right.  The windows were all boarded-up, there were ‘Keep Out’ signs everywhere, and the bottom step was missing all together. 
                       

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why I'm not writing right now

  1. I've got the worries. MRI for my neck is scheduled for Thursday and I fear a) surgery is the only option and b) even surgery won't help.
  2. Um, my neck hurts. See above.
  3. I've got a wicked case of the "Everything I Write Is a Steaming Pile of Poo." Is there a cure for this? *awaits answer*
  4. I brought the wrong flashdrive.
That's it in a nutshell. Now for a walk to clear my head.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

On the Second Day of Hallowe'en My True Love Gave to Me...

I have to take time here to get mushy. Last night after a particularly frustrating day of work, I came home to the most epic gift I have ever received: a Halloween 'advent calendar' in the form of a bookshelf. The hubby started working on this epic gift in January and kept his secret VERY well! He told me how he hollowed out each book, painted some of the spines, found images to glue, sanded and painted a bookshelf...all for little old me. I opened the first book last night to discover an adorable jack o' lantern ornament from Arkansas and today's book contained a framed piece he made out of some of the lines of the books he cut up and the image of a *cringe* spider. This man gets me. I try to say it often, and sometimes in strange voices...I love this man.



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Props to cover artists everywhere

So when I came up with the notion to self-publish a collection of my own short stories, I knew right away what the title would be (Hair Baby and Other Weird Tales) and what the cover would be. Easy peasy. Until I searched images online for book covers that have cat eyes on them. Holy heck, three looked EXACTLY like the cover I worked so hard on and then, a writer friend posted a link to one of his covers on Facebook and of course...cat eyes. That scrapped the eerie-green-cat-eyes-on-a-black-background idea. Now what to do, what to do?

I tried a blood-red misty fog over a picture of the real Zoey (the cat in "Hair Baby") but it just looks ridiculous.  Then I tried blood spatters and smears which looked even worse.  I'm struggling not only with the concept, but also the program to create it.  I give massive, massive props to cover artists near and far, of every genre.  Your job ain't easy.  Next time you see a cover that knocks your socks off, take a moment to silently thank the cover artist.  Heck, track them down on Twitter or Facebook or wherever they may lurk online and give them a proper thanks. A writer's work is hard, I think an artists work is harder.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

An Interview With the Artist

Today, I present to you an interview with the amazing Jill Hejl, the illustrator of my book Haiku Horror Stories.

CB:  Thank you for letting me interview you! You know I've been following your progress in your 365
challenge. How do you keep yourself on-task to art each day?

JH:  Well, it's hard! It's a commitment that I made to myself that I wanted to honor, but probably announcing it publicly made the possibility of letting a day slide by impossible! ha! I think to myself, you HAVE to get it done! The weekends aren't as bad, but during the week when I work full-time, and don't get a chance
to start until 8 p.m. or later, it is sheer force of will that says, I've GOT to go paint or draw a picture.

CB:  Do you remember the first piece of art you sold? What feelings and thoughts were going on inside
your head and heart?

JH:  I think the first large sale I had was a huge, oversized planter and it's accompanying dish that I painted and sold at a local gift shop, Sasso's, in the late 90's. I remember feeling giddy and excited doing it, because I secretly only wanted to be an artist, and here I was actually doing just that--making something up in my head and getting paid for its creation. It's really something having a dream start to break out of its bud and come true. You don't quite believe it at first.

CB:  What is your biggest fear you have about your art?

JH:  Hmm. Biggest fear...I suppose you worry that you will run out of ideas. I sometimes feel that way when I'm not feeling well. I'll say to my husband, that's it, there's nothing left. He reassures me it's because I'm sick and the ideas will return. Thankfully they always have. It's strange as well, because I will have that feeling even when I have notebooks and piles of post-it notes lying around with all sorts of ideas on them, but they don't "strike me" at the time--I can't bring them to fruition if I don't feel them. It's kind of like having a
closet full of clothes, but feeling like you have nothing to wear.

CB:  You talk about food on your blog quite often. What is your dream meal including one appetizer, one
entree, and one dessert?

JH:  Oh, that's tough, because I am a big foodie. Appetizer--I'm a big ceviche fan, so either that or a delicious seafood bouillabaisse EntrĂ©e--I had some of the most phenomenal pork belly tacos not long ago--I feel like I could have eaten a zillion of those--with cilantro, thinly sliced red onion, avocado chunks, and lime juice--dripping in deliciousness. For dessert even though gluten bothers me, I'd go with some French pastry--flaky layers filled with hazelnut cream or frangipane (almond paste). Yum. There's a dessert at the famous Angelina's in Paris called a Mont Blanc. It's filled with chestnut cream. Now THAT would be a high contender, I'm sure.

CB:  Where would you be enjoying this meal and with what three people?

JH:  Well, preferably Paris or sitting on some ocean beach. You never said if the people currently had to be alive, so I'll go with my 3 idols, Julia Child, Benjamin Franklin, and Al Pacino. After all, part of what makes a meal delicious is the company and conversation. (-;

CB:  Where can people buy or commission your work?

JH:  People can contact me via Facebook, through my blog, www.livedrawpaint.blogspot.com, or through email at jillhejl@comcast.netjillhejl@comcast.net.

CB:  What is your favorite “oddball” moment from the shows you've done?

JH:  I'd have to say it was last year when somehow my tent was positioned on a nest of cicada killers! I was fighting those huge babies off all day! Wait, I think I was going to do a painting of that. Thanks for helping me remember that crazy experience! ha!

CB:  If you could give a newbie artist one piece of advice, what would it be?

JH:  Believe it yourself. I mean REALLY believe in yourself and listen to your own voice. Sometimes you'll sit there and watch others sell tons of stuff or get tons of compliments or Facebook "likes" while you get a fraction of that. It can hurt, but you have to keep remembering that it doesn't matter. In other words, don't worry about being popular. If you're a true artist, it's far more important to honor the nature of your own talent.

CB:  What’s the greatest compliment anyone has given you about your artwork?

JH:  That it's unique and that it makes them think and/or makes them happy. That's a great trifecta! (-:

Jill has also participated in many of the projects from the Brooklyn Art Library.  You can look through some of her digitized work here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Time Slips Away Like a...Something or Other

Oh August, you went by so quickly.  My day job sapped quite a bit of my time, energy, and enthusiasm but I'm back now and have my feet planted on the floor and my head is in writer mode. Except for when I have to be in crafter mode.  Or teacher mode. 

Let's see what's new, I've signed up for a festival and will be selling my jewelry along with some neato aluminum or copper wall art.  I'm even venturing into the realm of hair accessories, so that should be interesting.  This is one of the pendants I'll be selling.  (if I can bear to part with it)



I was a very good girl and turned my contract and class handouts in incredibly early and I even have been putting together the kits for the steampunk-inspired necklace class I'm teaching in November.  Yes.  November.  Can I NaNoWriMo and teach a class in November?  I hope so.  Every year, I declare that I will win and this year is no exception.  I want to say "I finished!"

The collection of horror stories I'm self-pubbing is coming along nicely and I'm thinking it should be available just in time for Halloween.  (because I don't have enough to do) 

I should be posting an interview here soon and, as promised, a free story.  Speaking of stories, I had a request for a rewrite of a flash piece but unfortunately, it got rejected.  My skin is getting thicker (ewww!) because it didn't hurt my feelings too much and I got so much good advice and ideas out of the critiques.  I'll let the story mellow while I digest all of the readers' comments and make it into a longer piece.  Making lemonade out of life's lemons.  That's what we've gotta do as writers.  (just don't squirt yourself in the eye!)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hey blog, I'm back!

Well, last we spoke, I was taking all of July off to get stuff done and I'm pretty proud of how well I did.  Yes, Facebook lured me back as did Twitter, but I wasn't spending every waking moment posting or scrolling, so hey, that's progress.  Several of my "must-do" items did get completed and I've begun one that's been lingering for years on a shelf...the dreaded pile of story ideas scrawled on a napkin, the first page of a genius story that has been abandoned to time and forgetfulness, handwritten stories complete but in need of a red pen.  Who knew I had so much backlog?  (and that so much of that backlog was utter crap?)

July was a sad, strange, entertaining month.  I lost a couple family members, discovered strange health issues, and I ended the month going full Indiana Jones into the dense woods and not finding a lost military fort, but a mess of poison ivy.  *cue the violins*  And now in August, I sit with steroid-induced "moon face," restless brain, and an insatiable appetite.  Next time I decide to relive dreams of discovery, I'll wear a hazmat suit and spray the entire area with weed killer beforehand.  

The hubby and I took a weekend trip to Michigan to enjoy the beach and blueberries.  In addition to the sunburn my poison ivy got, I was nearly taken out by a 9 foot wave.  I'm not a strong swimmer, nay, barely a swimmer at all, so to experience any type of wave in open water was horrific.  I survived, gasped and sputtered on lake water, but it was fun and a bit exhilarating.  So yay, I was brave and I can't wait to do it again.  Maybe next year I'll try boogie boarding. 

Right now I'm trying to slow my brain down enough to hammer out a rewrite to a short I subbed.  Kind reader comments have got me feeling great, but terrified that I might screw the entire thing up.  But, I'm brave, so I will shamble on. 

So that's what's been going on while I've been silent.  What's in store for the rest of August?  An interview, a free story for you, a lot of writing, and some silliness.  It is good to be home!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

See You In August...Don't Forget to WRITE!

I'm writing with tired, dried-up eyes caused by the Arctic Breeze that whips through my office all day...every day.  One of these days, I'll learn NOT to wear contacts to work.  I've been squirting eye drops in to no avail and here's hoping I can remove them tonight without causing permanent damage to my eyes.  Although, I do have two eye patches, so I'm prepared.

With my impending July Challenge, I'm anxious and excited to avoid social media for an entire month.  I'm sure I'll miss birthdays and adorable cat photos and the endearing rant or two, but for the most part, I think it'll be freeing and less negative.  To help stay away, I've even decided to write solely on paper or on my mini because the battery drains way too fast if I have an internet browser open.  Sneaky girl.

Before I go, let me mention a review I left on Amazon for Michael S. Gardner's Ruination: A Short Story.  This story is so very good and so VERY gory (beware if you are squeamish, seriously).  At 99 cents, it is a steal.

Let me also mention the movie Mama.  It finally came up in my Netflix queue (no, I don't stream...I'm weird like that) and while the movie had some problems, it creeped me out.  Two feral little girls fending for themselves in a cabin and an overly-possessive ghost.  Seriously, creeped me out.  I kind of saw the ending coming *spoiler!* because Lilly was just too much in Mama's world to function in the "real" world.

Okay, so I'll see you in August unless something SPECTACULAR happens and I just need to blog it out.  Have a great summer!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My July Challenge

Well, June is nearly over and I'm sitting here wondering what to share on Ye Olde Blog.  Let's see...  I had quite a few rejections come through and most (again) say things like "well-written" and "strong voice" but my work just don't fit what they're looking for.  Someday!  *shakes fist at the sky*  Someday they'll want me!

So now, I have to get back to work sending out stories to new markets and writing fresh material and working on those big novel-sized projects that keep collecting dust.  And that takes time.  Which brings me to my next topic:  My July Challenge.  What is it?  Well, it is just me on a mission to write a lot without distractions like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and online shopping and well, even the blog.  If I post anything, I think I will allow myself to post word counts and maybe paragraphs from works in progress.  Maybe.  Those could be "gateway posts" leading to hours of my life wasted watching the potty-mouthed Sylvester the cat in all of the "Wake Up Kitty" videos on YouTube (again).   Aaand...I just watched hedgehogs and cats getting baths.  See?  This is why I need to stop.  I'll post again before July, have no fear. 




Friday, June 7, 2013

Trying New Things (again)

If you've been following my blog *pauses to listen to the crickets* you know I'm big about doing new things and being 'brave.'

In keeping with this quest of mine, I agreed to read my poetry in front of someone other than my cats and my husband.  And it was fun!  The initial quivers I had over reading my work to strangers with my...unique voice just melted away after the first poem.  I think it might have been the intimate atmosphere that really helped.  If you're a writer and/or poet, I would recommend finding small poetry readings in your area as a testing/proving ground for yourself.

Also in line with 'new things,' I mowed our grass last night.  No big deal, but I haven't mowed a yard in over twenty years.  I think I surprised the heck out of the hubby by stepping up and offering to do it and I did a very mediocre job of it, at best.  But, I tried.  Will I mow again?  Hmm...the hives I'm enjoying today make me say no, but you never know.

Since I've last posted, I've sent out a few short stories and a handful of poems and have gotten two very kind rejections in return.  I'm halfway to my goal of subbing to 10 places this year (stories, not poems) and am scouring the interwebs for more viable markets.  I've gotten one set of remarks from a beta on my collection and have been working on those adjustments while picking away at bigger projects.  OH!  And I made the sane decision to sacrifice one vacation day for each Friday that I am off this summer.  That means I can keep those 2 precious hours of mine AND get a Friday to write.  I envision a very productive and happy summer.  Hope you have the same.



Sunday, May 12, 2013

What's Up

The end of the semester nears, which means I will be working four 10-hour days soon (we close on Fridays for about 8 weeks).  The lovely 2 hours of writing/revision time I get each day will be gone and I'll be forced to either hole up during my lunch break or stay up later each night.  Decisions, decisions...  But at least I'll have Fridays to myself to write.  (cue the dirty dishes to wash, the laundry to fold, the floor to vacuum, the toilet to scrub...)

Last week I screwed up enough courage to send out a totally fresh piece of flash fiction to a market and while I wait, I'm trying to work on another longer piece.  I say trying because the antihistamines are kicking the life out of me.  Yes, that lovely sun allergy has returned along with the pleasant weather.  After finishing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure yesterday, hives broke out on my hands and face and scalp, etc and I got all swolley.  (yes, I know swolley isn't a word, but it totally fits)  Gonna be a long, itchy summer.

So between bouts of sleepiness, feeling fuzzy-headed, and clarity I hope to manage a readable first draft of something very soon.  (soon being before the 15th so I can submit it to a market)

I'm also hoping to have my collection back from my beta readers at the end of the month.  Scary and exciting!

There you have it.  If I'm not here very often over the next few months, forgive me.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sucking out the poison!

The sting of a rejection hurts.  I almost wish they left physical scars so we writers could compare past injuries.   I can see two crusty old writers belly up to a bar, exposing flesh.  "See that one?  Yep, got that when I subbed to Tor."  "That one?  pffft.  That's a scratch compared to this one I got from subbing to Cemetery Dance."

Anywho, I got a big old sting last night and I pouted and whined and sulked more than I have over anything in a very long time.  I even coined a phrase:  fanken crappenstance.  (it felt right at the time, but now the meaning is elusive)  When I woke up this morning, I was ready to set all of my flash drives on fire and just walk away.  Honestly, I was.  But writing is a drug.  It is a lover.  It's a damn part of me and even if I did walk away I wouldn't get too far before scrounging for a pen and something to write on.

We writers are a cursed group.  We're gamblers and charlatans and we enjoy pain.  We must, or we wouldn't keep coming back for more. 

Right now, I'm sucking out the poison from last night's sting so that I don't waste anymore time or tears over what's now ancient history in the wide world of submissions.  I've got vampires yelling at me to pay attention to their stories and there might be a small ladybug hollering expletives at me too, she has a small voice so it might just be the wind.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Black Cats and Book Covers

So, the last few weeks I have been working pretty much non-stop on my first collection of short stories,.  (pssst...it is called Hair Baby and Other Weird Tales and I'm shooting for publication in June)  The table of contents is sorted out, the interior looks good, and there's just one last story that needs completion before I hand it to the beta readers. 

From the moment I decided to self-publish a collection, I knew what I wanted the cover to look like and spent countless hours messing with a photo of my cat, Zoey.  She's a great gal, that Zoey, but her image isn't very dark nor disturbing.  I mean, look at that smile!
So I tried making her white spots black and added red to her eyes, which just eneded badly, especially with that grin of hers.  Luckily, this weekend we were in Le Claire, Iowa and stumbled upon a shop with a dark, brooding black tomcat.  My hubby took a picture of that cat, and ba-dah-bing...it is now the cover!  I'm still fine-tuning it, but will post it soon.

Speaking of Sunday, my old nemesis has returned:  sun-induced hives.  Today my eyes, nose, ears, hands, etc. are so itchy I just want to cry.  I think a trip to the doctor and maybe the dermatologist might be in order because I don't want to live my life stuck inside every day of my life.  Until I can get those appointments booked, antihistamines will be my comfort along with a lot of 100 SPF sunblock.  A certain hubby told me I should start wearing all white linen and be like Doctor Moreau, but linen wrinkles too easily and I am not handy with an iron.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ernie, Sunny, and Me

I had my first author event at The Book Mouse over the weekend and had so much fun!  They have a chinchilla named Ernie and a big cat named Sunny that Jill, my illustrator, and I pestered all afternoon.  The staff was awesome and I sold a few books, so the day was a success!  I can't thank them enough for having us.

This event was just the kick in the rump I've needed to get back into my bigger writing projects.  I think it will be fabulous to return to The Book Mouse with my very own collection of short stories, just in time for Halloween.  Perhaps Ernie won't hide from me next time?

 



Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Unexpected Things You Discover When You Clean

So, the dust layer on my bookshelves has gotten thick and I decided for my Spring Break (yeah!) I'm cleaning the office.  Scrap by scrap, book by book, I'm dusting and purging. 

I'm a month shy of being 39 and I like to buy children's books, especially if they're about witches or have a horror element to them.  When I was a wee child, I had some really cool books (possibly from the Weekly Reader program?) and most of them now grace my bookshelves; yellowed, torn, stained, and written on. 

As I dusted them, I realized:  this is where it all began for me!  These books in the photo especially.  I've read and re-read so many times.  I've traced the amazing drawings on these pages.  My style is so similar to these books, it is making me wonder...is this the writing path I should follow?  Should some my short stories really be turned into childrens books?  I mean, I've been told I'm "horror lite" so maybe I should aim my work at helpless kids.


The Ghost of Windy Hill by Clyde Robert Bulla, Grandpa's Ghost Stories by James Flora, The Mixed-Up Witch by Wayne Carley, The Boy Who Turned Into a TV Set by Stephen Manes, Mummy Jokes and Puzzles by Heather Rosen, Zed and the Monsters by Peggy Parish, and The Mysterious Zetabet by Scott Corbett, and of course, The Monster at the End of This Book



Perhaps when I'm done cleaning The Pit of Despair (aka the office), I'll consult the Ouija board and it'll advise me what to do.



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Did you reboot?

I've had training as a helpdesk person where I work and the first thing we always have to ask a caller is "Did you reboot?"  If the caller hasn't, we then ask them to do it.  This Techno Magic usually fixes whatever issue they are having and then the caller thanks us and goes about their merry way. 

The last couple weeks, I've been struggling with my writing, revising, and life (in general) and yesterday, I determined that I too, need a reboot.  My boss gave me the go-ahead and here I sit, in my pajamas after the best night of sleep in a long (very long) time.  Today, I'm rebooting myself:  no looming To-Do lists...no self-imposed word counts or editing.   I've got my iTunes on shuffle and not skipping any songs.  I'm even going to nap.  Heck, I might even read for fun. 

If you have deadlines or a cram-packed schedule or just a lot of crap on your plate, take some time to reboot yourself.  If you take a full day, a week, or even a few minutes with the bathroom door shut...do it.  And don't worry, sometimes you need to reboot more than once for the magic to work.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Challenge!

Okay, so recently I posted about being brave and now I'm really walking the walk. 
  • I've schedule an author/artist event at a local book store for the end of March and I'll be contacting the local newspaper for an interview regarding the event. 
  • I am now an official member of The Horror Writers Associaton (at the affiliate level). 
  • I decided to query several small presses to see if they would be interested in publishing my collection "Hair Baby and Other Weird Tales."  If they are not, I'll be self-publishing that. 
Now, I challenge you to do something that scares you.  Write a story.  Send that story out to publishers.  Sing in front of a group.  Teach a class.  Skydive.  We spend too much time worrying about what will happen IF we do something.  Sure, we might get rejected or sing off-key or students may tie you up and lock you in a closet or your parachute might not open.  But what if you get accepted or blow people away with your performance or the  students love you or you get to float through the air and see how small the world is???  If you just sit there worrying, you won't ever find out.  So do something.  Tell me and the handful of readers on this blog all about it.  (that's brave too!) 

I'm throwing down my hot pink, bedazzled gauntlet...

*Note:  Carey Burns will probably never skydive in this lifetime

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An Apology to My Stories

I'm Carey Burns, I'm a writer, and I'm a mess.  I have four flashdrives for my writing.  Four.  With multiple versions of all of my stories on each of them.  That's a lot of stories.  So finding something I'm working on is a chore in itself.  This week, I'm on an organizational kick.  I'm wiping out old versions of stories and getting down to just two flashdrives:  one working and one backup.  I know, I know, there's some Cloud out there and other services that will gladly store my stuff, but I'm paranoid and don't embrace change easily.  I still have 3.5 inch floppies!  (that sounds wrong...)  Anyway, the point is, I'm making a huge effort to treat my stories better than I have been.  Next up is getting all of my handwritten scribbles in some sort of organized fashion.  That might take a while.

In other writerly news, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and join the Horror Writers Association (HWA) as an affiliate.  Once my dues are processed, I'll be official.  The rest of this year I'll be working like mad to climb to the ranks of active member status. 

Slimming is going well, I'm in week 6 of The SHRED plan and I am maintaining my weight but my clothes are fitting a bit looser.  Honestly, I'm a little disappointed that the numbers on the scale aren't moving.  This must be the mythical plateau of which dieters speak.  Lovely.

It seemed to me earlier today that I had another announcement-ish thing but I'll be dipped if I can remember what it was. 



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trying

Each year, one thing I put on my "To Do" list is to be braver.  If you would meet the me from 10 years ago and have her stand next to me, I think you'd see she was horribly shy and timid.  She would never dream of sending out any of her stories or talking to new people or *gasp* starting a blog to talk to people she didn't even know.  I'm pretty proud of how far I've come and how I've dealt with setbacks along my journey.  Each day I try so hard to be the girl I want to be and live the life I want to live. 

Yesterday and today, I did some pretty brave things.  I participated in Neil Gaiman's #KeepMoving and tweeted some pretty personal things.  Things I think I've been trying really hard not to express.  One thing, I miss my dad quite a lot and cry more often than you can imagine.  I've been filling my last 4 months or so of my life with so much activity that I don't really have time to dwell and grieve.  But I'm getting tired and worn-out.  I finally can admit that and I'm okay with it.  Now I will be taking more time to relax and enjoy life, savor the happy and sad times, and just be me again. 

You can read about this amazing project here.

So, now I'm sitting here in a dark room (damn you, motion-sensor lights!) and feeling afraid to hit the publish button, but I'm being braver.  So here...I...go...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Holy cow...I'm posting more frequently!

Surprise, surprise!  I'm getting better, I promise. 

I've been very busy lately formatting my Sketchbook Project and right now it is available on Smashwords.  It is called "Sounds Fishy:  Mermaid Haikus and Wisdom" and is free--free--free!  A lovely handful of quasi-naughty haikus and my own illustrations...just for you!  Hopefully soon it'll be available for Kindle and Nook, etc. 

Now that I'm finished with that formatting joy, I'm in the process of putting together my own collection of short stories.  Right now, I have just over 34,000 words accumulated and I'll be adding a couple more stories.  I already have the cover concept done and am getting a few new beta readers lined up.  With any luck, I'll have a PDF to give them within a week or so.  Then I can get back into my novel.

Slimming is still a work in progress.  I  haven't gained, but I'm not losing big numbers each week like in the first cycle of The Shred.  At least I'm losing something though, and feeling great.  Too bad my neck has decided to bother me again.  Ah well.  Just have to tough it out, I suppose.

On that note, I'm going to try to catch some sleep.  See you in February!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January is almost over...ooops!!

Hello there, Blog and Happy New Year!  This year has a lot in store for it and my head is already swimming...

First off, I need to announce that the Slimming is going very well.  Since April of 2011, I have lost 20 pounds.  It has been a long, sometimes difficult process, but I've got faith in myself that I can get down to my goal weight.  This is the ultimate birthday present to myself since nobody, and I mean nobody, can do this for me.  It feels very good.

Next, I need to say a huge thanks to everyone that has bought a copy of Haiku Horror Stories.  I'm humbled beyond words.  To celebrate, at the end of the month I will be giving away a free copy on my Facebook page.  By the way, I have an official page on Facebook so go ahead and like it if you would.

My Sketchbook Project got mailed in a smidge late, so I hope it makes it into the collection and they digitize it.  When it is available, I'll share the link here.  In the meantime, I am putting my own scanned copy into the proper format for Kindle and soon after, Nook.  It will be free-free-free!  Mermaids, haikus, and silly drawings by little old me...all for you and all for free.

I've resubmitted The Witches in the Walls to a publisher and I'm really hoping they like my twist ending enough to publish it in their magazine.  I've been living and breathing these characters for so long that they feel like my own family.  Not that I would do to my own family what happens to them...never.

If that isn't enough, I'm still plodding along with the novel and working on collecting a dozen or so of my "I don't think there's a market for this type of story" stories and plopping them into a self-published work.  I already have the cover art figured out (thanks to one of my cats) and have two possible titles to choose from.

Right, enough talk, it is time for action!  May 2013 be an incredible adventure!!!