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Thank You.

Ask and you shall receive.

I did, and I have. Thank you.

Several friends have stepped up to beta read for me. Thank you all so much. Watch this space for more updates.

Watch this space

It’s (Almost) Time.

I’ve put this off for as long as I possibly can. And, I mean, I’ve really put this off a long time already.

It’s time to publish my first novel. It was supposed to happen last year, but life got in the way (and I let it). Now, I’m putting on my big girl trousers, getting some woolly socks for my cold feet, and facing my fears.

I have one request first. I need a couple of Beta Readers. (Beta Readers get to read the story before anyone else, and they tell the writer what works and what doesn’t – simples.) I’ve made some significant changes to the telling of the story since last year, and I am far too close to it to know if it still makes sense.

That’s where you come in.

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Before reading Turning Point
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After reading Turning Point

If you’re interested in helping a writer out, let me know. My request is that you finish before Thanksgiving. It’s approximately 89,000 words, roughly 330 pages. If you’re interested, and you can read it in the allotted time, reply here, or send me a message, and I’ll get back to you right away with details.

Watch this space, it won’t be long!

 

 

Live Music Vampires

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Pre-show excitement. I bought a t-shirt! Photo credit: Steve Smith

The high-pitched guitar riff of “Today” kicked off Smashing Pumpkins’ set last night in Houston. I was on my feet before the first note came over the speakers. Ready. Eager to connect with the music, to feel the sound in my chest, in my soul. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat. Not the song or even the performance – Billy Corgan killed it last night.  As did James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlain, Jeff Shroeder and the rest of the touring musicians. Even in the heat – that James complained about plenty. It’s okay, as a fellow Midwesterner, I get it. It’s hot down here. Anyway. The first two songs of the set, the speakers didn’t seem to be turned on for the lawn (which is where we were, “the cheap seats”). About three songs in, it got louder, but not heart-thumping loud. Not engulfed by the sound and unable to refuse its calling loud. But, louder than the first two songs. I guess.

We’ve been to this venue several times. We always get lawn seats and even though we’re far away, I always feel connected to the music. I crave this connection, so I keep coming back for more. Live music is supposed to be life-giving. Last night, on the lawn, that magic spark never came through. Part of it was the sound issues, part of it was they played several new songs that I wasn’t intimately familiar with, and that’s on me. But mostly, it was the crowd. Our little group was the only group on our feet in our section of the lawn.

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Sleepy lawn seats. Photo credit: Steve Smith

Let me repeat that. Billy Corgan was giving that guitar all he had, and we were the only five people in our section standing. 

Talk about  d r a i n i n g…

“The World is a Vampire…” Corgan droned about a third of the way through the set. I feel you, Billy. The people on the lawn last night were live music vampires. They drained the joy, the indescribable spark you get when everyone is feeling it all together, right out of that show.

I’m sorry Billy, James, Jimmy, Jeff and crew, I wanted to feel it. I wanted to revel in the sound you were throwin’ down last night. But there was something missing up on the lawn.

Next time, I’ll spring for the good seats.

* * * * *

A footnote: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were amazing. I knew the Oasis stuff, but that was about it, really. And yet, I loved it all. It was still daylight, everyone was sitting down but singing along. I read an article that framed Noel as a pompous jerk who berated the crowd. He didn’t come across that way where we were. He was funny, gregarious, and I think he was even a little bit smitten.

 

 

Magazines

I have some exciting non-novel writing news: I’m in two articles in two local magazines!

I am a little nervous to share my writing with you, but hey, they’re already printed so I guess it’s a little late for nerves.

The magazines are Explore Fulshear and Explore KatyIf you live locally, you may receive one of these in your mailbox (with some geographic restrictions). If you don’t get one, and you are interested, let me know and I will figure out where they can be found.

The first article, From the Ashes, is my personal experience of the September 11, 2001 tragedy. My resilient husband, Steve, and my amazing friend, Phyllis, feature in this article. It was not easy to write, but even all these years later, it was cathartic to go through it and express my feelings about that day.

FTA Title Page

The second article, On My Honor, is about Girl Scouts in our local area. You might recognize one of the cuties pictured.

OMH Title Page

Thank you for clicking the links and having a read. I hope you enjoy what you see.

(Article links are from the Explore Fulshear edition. The Explore Katy articles can be found via the magazine links above.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oooooh.

Okay. It’s time for something juicy. A little exciting. A bit…revealing.

We'll be back after these messages.

I’d like to brag a bit about my graphic designer. Her name is Sondra Fowler and you can find and follow her on Facebook at DotandSondra and DigitalDoodles.

Sondra redSondra Bunny

Sondra has a BFA in Graphic Design and is as comfortable working in ink as she is in pixels. She moved to 98.5% start-to-finish digital work from scanned in ink six years ago when she moved to a Wacom Cintiq. She’s done everything from CD cover and label design and book covers to logo work and T-shirt design. She is currently working in 2D animation for a personal project and she is always open to new clients and new design/art experiences.

And, she’s amazing.

Sondra and I collaborated over several weeks – she even helped me get more comfortable in the 21st century by introducing me to Google Drive and video chats – to get just the right feel. She tweaked it when I asked her to tweak it, and she created several iterations until the cover felt just right. She even created a Facebook banner for me.

If you’re looking for someone to help your book look amazing, or for any other graphic design work, I highly recommend Sondra.

Have I kept you waiting long enough?

Really?

Okay…here it is. My cover, by Sondra Fowler.

Final Cover 4-2-18 watermark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty snazzy, right?

Comment here or on Facebook to let me know what you think!

103,810.

That was the original word count when I “finished” writing my first novel back in December.

wordsThat’s a lot of words. I didn’t know I had that many words in me. Don’t get me wrong, I know I talk a lot. But…to get that many words out in sentences that form paragraphs that make sense in a story?

Wow.

But, turns out, that was actually too many words.

Shocking, I know.

So, I hired an editor. She helped me reduce the amount of verbiage I would utilize in order to carry my point across to the people who so generously decided they would do me the favor of casting their eyes upon my work.

Er. I mean, she helped me make my writing better.

So, now, nearly eight months later, it’s down to 93,155 words, according to Word.

That’s still a lot of words. But, I’m so happy for those that made the cut.

There is one more obstacle left…The Proofreader. She’s up this week.

Stay tuned to see if she makes any more cuts.

Cue maniacal laughter.

Fade to black.

 

Freezing.

cold feetIs it cold in here? Because my feet are freezing.

That’s right. Cold feet. I’ve got ’em.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written, and I am sorry, friends. It was spring break, so I missed a week, then it became two…then well, now it’s nearly July, so…here we are.

Over the last couple months, I have done a significant amount of work on my book. My cover is done, essentially (and I love it). I’ve had it professionally edited, and I’ve had a few beta-readers read it, too.

Now, I’m working on “final edits” (I put quotes around it because I’ve been working on what I’ve been calling “final edits” since like January…the edits are never final. Ever.)

Once the “final edits” are done, it’ll be off to the proofreader and maybe another couple betas…and then….then, I need to publish it.

Just do it already.

But, I’m scared. I’m afraid of failure. It’s your garden variety usual type of fear: What if nobody likes it? What if nobody reads it or buys it? What if people tell their friends not to buy it because it suuuccckks. (And, not in the good, vampirey way.)

What. If.

I’m feeling insecure. And that’s a hard thing to admit.

A friend posted a meme today that spoke to me. It said, “You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” It’s true. I’ve worked hard. The last hurdle really isn’t even a hurdle. I have a plan. I know what needs to be done…I just need to do it.

Deep breath.

Here we go.

Eye-Catching?

So, I got these headshots done last week. Whattaya think?

Would you buy a vampire book from this lady?

KMS Business Landscape HS 3 18

What about from this lady?

KMS Creative Landscape HS 3 18

Feel free to sound off in the comments (maybe I shouldn’t say that…but hey, what’s the worst that could happen? /slowblink/ )

 

 

Popcorn and Vampires.

So, what do I write about when I don’t have much to report? Do I put up a filler post? Something totally not related to writing, or publishing or vampires?

Obviously, my first thought was, “Yes!” So, I put the word popcorn at the top and started blathering on about not much. But, then I thought it would be fun to give you all a lesser known fact about popcorn. Like, isn’t this a cute idea, and aren’t I super clever?

popcorn picKeeping readers entertained and educated for weeks now, me.

I went to popcorn.org. That’s a real site, with some interesting information. Like, popcorn kernels can pop up to three feet in the air. I didn’t know that, did you?

Anyway, I decided that I wanted something with a little more bite, so I Googled, “popcorn and vampires” just to see what would happen. That’s when I discovered this kernel of info.

Have you heard of pellagra? I never had, until today, but apparently, it is a disease which appears to share many symptoms with vampires of legend: hypersensitivity to sunlight, aggression, pale skin with engorged, red lips, and refusal to eat food.

Pellagra is caused primarily by a dietary niacin deficiency. Cultures that regularly ate corn (as they did in the Americas back in the day), discovered that those who ate corn that had been processed with lime juice or that ate corn tortillas with beans didn’t waste away and eventually die (i.e. no vampires in the Americas). But, when corn made its way to Europe and began feeding the peasants, they didn’t know this. So, over time, people would develop pellagra and waste away. Thus the vampire legend was formed and flourished.

Nosferatu picNowadays, we turn to science to understand these symptoms and help people correct their diets and avoid vampirism, I mean pellagra.

Now you know how vampires and popcorn are connected. And also, now I feel totally justified in drinking margaritas anytime I have tortillas. It’s for my health!

 

Sources:

Corny Facts

The relationship of pellagra to corn and the low availability of niacin in cereals.

Of Vampires and Corn

How Eating Corn Can Turn You Into A Vampire

The Legend of Vampires – Pellagra, Corn and Niacin Deficiency

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