Life · Writing & Publishing

If I Won Powerball…

Apparently the Powerball payout is crazy high again. I remember last year in January it was ridiculously high, and we bought the employees Bill and I had working at the bakery a bunch of tickets just for fun. I never thought for a second any of us would win, and of course we didn’t. This morning on the way to work, the local radio station was talking about how virtually no one wins, but it is fun to think about what you would do with the money if you did.

Of course I would buy a house, pay off our debt, pay off our parents houses, put money in CD’s, etc, etc….but what about every day life?

I’m not huge on traveling. Sure, I would one day like to see other places around the world, but I don’t really LOVE living out of a suitcase, or having to leave my dogs at home. I’m all for SOME travel, but not a lot.

I would no longer go to either of my two jobs (no one punches a clock to make someone else rich because they WANT to!) but I would continue to write. I would write books upon books upon books….even while most people would probably be on a permanent vacation, I would need to write.

Here is the fun part: Thankfully I don’t need to win the lotto to write books. Sure, I would have more time, but I can still write.

So with this said, I’m starting a new project. It started about two weeks ago, but someone cracked the screen on my PC (probably me, but possibly a toddler), and it has been with the geeks at Best Buy. I just got it back a few hours ago.

I want to introduce you to the new project, starting with the historical fiction book, so here is the pitch:

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For almost 200 years, the story of Lavinia Fisher has been handed down from generation to generation. Now, in the new millennium, tour guides throughout Lavinia’s hometown of Charleston, SC tell her story to hundreds of tourists each day. Some claim she was Americas first female serial killer, others claim she never killed anyone at all, while still others believe she was a witch. Some people believe her ghost lives on and can be seen around Charleston after dark. Many secrets were taken with Lavinia to her grave when she was hung on February 18th, 1820. I will tell you the story, you decide for yourself who was the real Lavinia Fisher.

Intrigued? I hope this makes you interested. Of course I will share more as I work on the project. I keep referring to this as a project because it had more than one part to it.

My first goal is to write a non-fiction book about the jail where Lavinia and John Fisher were held and eventually hung.

I then want to write a historical fiction version of their story.

To start the project, I’ve been poking around the jail, and I will tour it inside next week with my friend Beth. I will leave you with some pictures I’ve taken!

No, I’m not usually a selfie person, but I accidently flipped the screen to me and went with it. Bill came with me to look around. When a wagon of tourists passed by, he told me I should jump the wall and onto the wagon yelling “Go! Go! Go!” as if I was escaping the jail. I’m pretty sure we don’t want to scare the tourists driving our economy away like that!

Given our move in 66 more days, I need to work as quickly as I can to get all my research in before we leave. Of course we plan on coming back (hello: book tour!) but the majority of the leg work must be done in the next two months. With this I must leave you to go schedule some research appointments!

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Life

It Sounded Like A Good Idea…

Lots of things SOUND like a great idea, but then I get myself into whatever it is, and realize it wasn’t such a great idea after all. Prime example = getting my tubes tied sounded brilliant. The reality? Well, I’ll get to the horror of that in a moment.

Let us start at the beginning. In the beginning, lots of women walked around claiming to love being pregnant. They carried on about it being the best time of their life, their friends exclaimed how they were “glowing,” life was wonderful, and they were so sure they would be sad to see their bump go.

THIS IS A LIE.

I hated being pregnant. I got sick, I was always tired, I felt like a beached whale, and I was generally miserable the entire time.

Nothing about me glowed.

Nothing about me loved waddling around at high speeds, trying to get shit done during my short bursts of energy.

Nothing about me wanted the bump forcing me into perpetual yoga pants to stay  a bump.

I.WAS.MISERABLE.

I could go out on a limb and guess Bill was miserable too, but he as already affirmed this on more than one occasion….and to many people.

I digress. Here is a picture of the end product of the last pregnancy. Totally worth it! (Photograph by Selena Stoney – Newborn Photographer)

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When we were sure we were done having our own children (something I was never so sure of as I was when I was in labor both times) Bill and I decided we needed a more permanent method of birth control.

While I acknowledge our VA hospital here is one of the best available, I still don’t feel totally comfortable with a VA doctor near my husbands junk…with a knife.

So I said I would take the bullet (see what I did there? you know, since he’s the Marine…..anyway).

Thursday morning we packed up both kids and headed to the surgery center. I was fully prepared to go in, get my tubes tied, go home, and in a few hours resume my life.

WRONG!

I could not understand why they were making such a big deal about not driving, working, signing important papers, picking up the children, etc etc, until I was waking up from anesthesia. The only way I can describe the pain is it felt like a sumo wrestler had ripped out my girl parts and was jumping on them. At one point the nurse asked me about my pain on the pain scale of one to ten. (I’m dying and she wants me to think of a number between one and ten….seriously???!!!!)

I couldn’t really give her a number because I couldn’t think straight with the pain and the anesthesia, so I told her I had given birth naturally to both my kids and did not need medication, but now I needed ALL the medication. She then gave me some cocktail and I was out like a light again.

I don’t really know how I made it through childbirth without any medication, but a simple 30 minute procedure caused me to need more than one type of pain medication and to have to take some at home.

Bill called my boss and told him I was not going to work my day job on Friday. He was MORE than understanding. I guess he saw me trying to be a badass and already figured I would be out. I did however go to my night job. I supposed I technically went to work the next day, but I did have ample time to rest. Bill was awesome and took care of kids and everything else at home. I did a whole lot of sleeping (and not as much reading as I thought I would with all that time off).

So here we are on Sunday evening. I have so much I wanted to read tonight, and even more I wanted to write, but at 8:07, I’m turning in so I can work tomorrow. If the pain keeps me up tonight, I can think about what a great idea I thought this whole thing would be, and how wrong I really was. In the long run, having your tubes tied is better for someone with endometriosis (which I have had) and I won’t have to remember to take a pill every day, but dang…that shit hurts!

Please remind me of this next time I have another “brilliant” idea….

Life · Writing & Publishing

Settling In!

While adding a new member to the family always requires an adjustment period, I’m happy to report things are going well with our new family member.

Talia thinks Liam is hers!



We love how much she loves him. She’s not the only one….


This is Addison. Her mom is one of my BFF’s.


Addison’s brother, Ellison….


Their talented mom, Selena. Selena is a newborn photographer and we were so excited to do pictures of Liam.



So far, this is the only one we have back. She’s so busy with sessions, it will be a few weeks before we see them all. This picture is one of my favorite EVER!

Here Selena was editing AND holding Liam while I used her oven.


So why am I using her oven? Well, she had a session requiring a smash cake. Even though we closed the bakery and are moving next May, I still make her smash cakes. The problem? Our oven caught fire last week.

Thankfully no one was hurt, and it didn’t happen while we were evacuated, but there’s nothing like waking up to the smell of something burning INSIDE your house. 

When I woke Bill, he insisted someone was burning toast. Um, there’s no reason we should be smelling someone’s burnt toast in our house. Sure enough, he went into the kitchen and the INSIDE of the oven was bright red. The oven locked itself shut as if it was on a clean cycle, and the only thing Bill could do was unplug the unit.

It took the fine people at GE almost a week to call us back. Our model wasn’t recalled, but they wanted to come look at it anyway. By the time they tried to finally come out, the landlord had replaced the unit. Pretty sure I won’t be buying any GE appliances anytime soon!

As if all this wasn’t enough, Bill and I started the next semester of school and Liam went to his first hockey game.


He basically slept through it all, even when daddy (Bill) was recognized as the Hero of the Game for his service in the USMC.




So proud of him!!!

I feel as though I can really get back to writing and querying over the next few weeks. I’m still tired, but not like I was when I was pregnant with Liam. November is National Novel Writing Month and it’s time for me to put out another novel! I’ll be sure to put together a bit about the idea and share with you over the next few days. Hopefully I can get out 50,000 words again this November, even with a toddler, newborn, school, and everything else!

Writing & Publishing

Why I Write

There is a Facebook group for everything now. Of course I belong to several writing groups, which I usually end up un-following because people complain so much or I don’t feel I am getting anything from the group. Today I stumbled across a post on a group I just joined and I was shocked by what I saw. The topic of discussion was basically how to get rich quick off writing novels…

I’m sorry, what?

Unless your last name is King or Rowling, you, my currently unpublished friend, have a long road ahead of you. Also, you’re most likely never going to be on easy street.

True, writers CAN make a lot of money, but it’s unusual. I thought about why I write….no it’s not for the money. Anyway, here are a few reasons:

  • I HAVE to write. I had an interest in writing at a young age, and I think about it daily. When I was running the bakery, I hated not having time to write. It ate at me daily and I felt incomplete. I had stories in my head needing out, and no time to write them down.
  • I have a story to tell. My own story is not yet book-worthy (hence this blog) but I imagine characters and the stories they would tell if they could. I like the approach of “not everything has a happy ending.” I think too many books out there end with “happily ever after” so I like writing about reality. Prince Charming doesn’t always win the girl.
  • My characters drive me nuts! Sometimes I forget the characters I develop in my head are not real. No, I don’t need to discuss this with my therapist (though I’m sure she would get a kick out of it!) but these people I invent are important to me. They have a story to be told, and I want to do them justice and see it through. Because my fiction usually deals with injustice (such as sex slavery/trafficking) I feel I need to tell their story to raise awareness of the issues I find bothersome.
  • It’s a form of therapy. For many people, writing is therapeutic. I deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Most days I do well, but there are some days I need to do something to get through the rough patches. Burying myself in writing helps get my mind off the depression. While some people may need to write letters to people they may never send (which is actually a GREAT therapy) I just need to work on one of my writing projects.
  • I want my kids to know they can do anything they set their minds to do. Writing a novel is something a lot of people talk about. It’s a “one day” type of activity…. “One day, I’ll write a novel.” For me, I’ve written a novel and am working on publishing it. I want my children to see they can do whatever they want and to be proactive about completing the project. Publishing is something I’ve wanted to do since I can remember.
  • If I didn’t write, I would face even more depression. I think a lot of the stress felt while I ran my own business was because I had no time for me and the things I like to do. It started to eat at me after awhile and affected other parts of my life. Sure, I’m sad to have closed the bakery because when I wasn’t stressed, I enjoyed being creative in the kitchen….but I’m much happier being creative on paper!
  • It’s who I am! Unlike many people who identify with their job (i.e. an accountant who became an accountant because it pays the bills) a writer is who I am. I can’t separate it from the rest of me. Just like Bill (hubby) is a Marine, and will be for life, even though he is no longer active duty, he is always a Marine!

No where on this list do I list fame and fortune as part of why I write. Yes, I have made good money copywriting, yes I would like to see some return on my time for writing my novel, but it’s not WHY I have to do it.

What is your passion? Is it writing? Soap making? Hunting? Why do you do it? I really feel as though doing something for the money, fame, and fortune puts you on the wrong track! Tell us what you think in the comments.

Life · Writing & Publishing

Busy BookWorms!

So you may have noticed there was no Monday Book Club yesterday. If you did notice, I apologize. I have been reading less and writing more this week. (Don’t worry, Talia is still read to every day. Sometimes we get to read the same book 50 times in one day!)

First, I’m working diligently to get my novel, “Seeking Sita,” edited and polished and then off to the proofreader (aka my mom) before I submit to Pitch Wars. What is Pitch Wars? It’s the chance to be chosen by a mentor who is usually a literary agent, to help you perfect your manuscript for submission to literary agents. The odds of getting picked are slim, but I am still hopefully for the opportunity, and even if I do not get picked, I’m that much closer to getting my work edited professionally and off to the right agent.

This said, I met up with an acquisitions editor this week (I love these kinds of Monday morning emails) who is interested in my idea for a non-fiction piece on Elizabeth Thorn. Ms. Thorn was six months pregnant and left to care for Evergreen Cemetery during the Civil War. When the Battle of Gettysburg was over, she returned home to find she had hundreds of bodies, already decomposing, in the July heat, to bury. She did this and carried her baby to term.

The story is interesting to me, though as I talked to the current caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery earlier today, we may have a problem with the book. It seems another book, backed by the Evergreen Cemetery board, is already being published. The caretaker doubts the board will give me reprint rights on photographs. Now I have to craft an email to the acquisitions editor (who already seems like a dream to work with!) and explain this to her.

Finally, another reason I am not up to date on my  reading is spending time with family.

Saturday we took Talia and Tremor to Lost Dog Cafe on Folly Beach. It’s a dog themed, dog friendly breakfast and lunch spot. Tremor had a blast and enjoyed his bagel and eggs.

Bill had the dish on the left, and wouldn’t even wait for me to take a picture before he started to eat…this place is THAT good!

Then Monday, Bill started his “Learn to Play” classes at the local ice skating rink.

He hasn’t played in years, and it has taken a toll on his body each time he gets on the ice, but he really loves it!

Talia loves watching Daddy (and Doritos). She is CERTAIN Daddy is a “Stingray” (our local hockey team……for the record, at 18 months, every hockey player is a Stingray!

After the initial shock of daddy in hockey gear wore off, she was excited to watch him practice.

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This also happened this weekend. Why she decided to climb off the bed into the laundry basket, I don’t know, but at least it was clean!

On top of all this, I have started another blog to focus on children’s books. It’s live, but does not have much content loaded (yet)! Be sure to bookmark www.LittleBookWormBlog.com if you have little ones!

How was your weekend? Anything exciting this week?

Life

How I Ended Up On The FBI Watch List (Probably)

Okay, so I don’t know for sure if I am actually on the FBI watch list, but it’s a pretty safe bet. Here is what happened:

It started with Isis…the cat, not the terrorist group. In 2010 when I was at the pet supply store with my yellow lab, a kitten up for adoption reached through the cage and started petting my dog on the nose. Her name was Izzy and I took her home. At the time, I was plotting a book (I am yet to write) about ancient Egypt. I had studied some of the goddesses from the era and loved the name Isis. It meant new life, which is what this kitten was getting.


Here is a picture of Isis with our iguana “Hulk.” He has since passed away of old age, but he was pretty cool!

Around the time Isis came home with me, social media started gaining popularity. Of course I was posting pictures of my sweet kitten, left and right. This was also the time the terrorist group started becoming popular. Since we all know the FBI and NSA watch social media, I was sure it was too late to change her name….I was already on the list, I’m sure.

Fast forward to this week. My friend Kim (also a writer) and I were helping each other on some story telling aspects as well as doing some of our own research for our novels. Using social media (we usually talk through Twitter or FB Messaging) we discussed how to blow up a large number of people outside a garage as well as how to traffic small children into the sex trade in India. Do you see the problem here?

Both of these instances are for research for books and not because we actually want to blow anything up or traffic anyone…however, a recent article revealed certain “target” words (target is actually one of the words) used on social media will land you on watch lists.

Keeping in mind my husband is a US Marine and we both LOVE our country, we are rather safe. I may be made of Italian part, but I am 100% American. There is no where else I would rather raise my family. Bill and I are lucky, we are living the American dream, and would never pose a threat to our country or fellow Americans. Even still, I can only imagine what the FBI/NSA/Etc thinks when they look at my social media. I can just see their faces if they were to access my browser history…….and it’s all in the name of literature! (How else can I write the next great American novel?!!!”

I worry one day I will end up in some predicament where my computer is seized and they look at it and think something is going on that really isn’t! I only hope I will be able to explain myself should the FBI come knocking!

Anyway, in other news, today was Story Time for Talia at Barnes and Noble. Daddy brought her because I had to see my shrink first thing this morning (she isn’t your typical shrink….we have a very friendly relationship, and I should probably start thinking about a good Christmas present…).

I met them at the bookstore and I was able to find Night by Elie Wiesel. Instead of waiting for it to come from Amazon, I whipped out my coupon and member card and made the purchase. (It is still cheaper from Amazon if you can wait.) I should have it finished for the book club on Monday, so make sure to follow the blog!

Talia picked out two books to read (well, for us to read to her) and Daddy found her a Dr. Seuss hat!

Also, in case you are wondering….the kitten is STILL here. Today he is helping me write….

I have been averaging about 5,000 words a day on my novel “Seeking Sita,” so maybe the cat isn’t a bad idea after all…..

Military Spouse Life

My Child The Rock Star Fish

It’s official, Talia can no longer go out without her sunglasses….she’s famous!

Sort of!

With all the pets we have, we should really have our own parking space at our veterinarians office. I LOVE our vet. He and his daughter take the absolute best care of our zoo.

We stopped in the other morning to pick some items up and The Citadel mascot, a bull dog named “Boo” was there for a checkup because she is pregnant with some pups. The local paper was there taking pictures, and Talia got in on the fun. Yesterday, we saw the article on the front page of the local newspaper!

Of course, the timing could not be funnier. I JUST got finished a four month fight with The Post and Courier and now my kid is in the paper. The P&C has an insert they toss in everyone’s driveway every Tuesday morning in a plastic bag (because of the perpetual rain in Charleston.) We do not read this insert. It’s not an actual paper. It is essentially garbage. I guess the idea is they want to entice you to subscribe to the paper. About 4 months ago I started calling each week and asking them to stop. If everyone who did not read the silly insert did this, we would cut down on the waste in our area. I’m not a super tree-huger or anything, I just don’t like paper being wasted, not to mention the plastic bags. Every Tuesday they threw it in our drive, and every Tuesday I called. Then I started emailing. Then I started calling supervisors. FINALLY, this past Tuesday, no paper. By Saturday, Talia was IN the paper! Anyway!

Here is the link!

Here is Talia going out of the house in style…

So to celebrate, we had lunch at Olive Garden….because, bread sticks…

Daddy is serious about Talia’s coloring skills. Also, big shout out to my goofball cousin, Joey, whom Talia calls “Uncle Joey.” He was drinking a martini the other night and did not give Talia the olives. So, in pure Talia style, she took the extra bowl of olives the server brought her, and then proceeded to put the ones she was not going to eat, in daddy’s drink. I guess she thinks olives go in drinks now. Thanks, Joey…..

Today we were invited to a pool party at my friend Missy’s house. Missy and I took Talia to meet Trisha Yearwood and her sister when the Garth and Trisha concert came to town. Sadly, I did not get to go to the concert. I was so so busy with the bakery, we had to give away our tickets (it was Valentine’s weekend….we were slammed!)

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Missy and her hubby have an in-ground pool, and Talia firmly believes she is a fish….

Also, it is worth mentioning, we gained a new family “foster” this weekend. I say foster because I’m still fighting to not keep it.

Last night our next door neighbors called Bill at about 9:30. They wanted to know if one of our cats got out because they had a “cinnamon colored” cat over at their house. All three of ours were accounted for, but because they are older, Bill offered to take a few pictures to post on the Facebook page for our neighborhood. I told him to not dare come back with a cat. He kept the promise he made to leave the cat there as he ran out the door. When he came back, he revealed a picture of a kitten only weeks old and NOT cinnamon colored.

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The kitten could not be any cuter, but I was instantly sure it was a stray. It’s only a few weeks old…maybe 8?

I was relieved Bill had not brought the cat home….but sure enough, at 11:00 pm, the damn phone rang again. I didn’t even have to ask…I knew it was Ted next door. He told Bill his cat was trying to kill the kitten and asked us to come get it. Bill tore out the door, carrier in hand, and brought back the cat.

One of the things I LOVE about my husband is his caring heart…..that caring heart however has already brought home too many pets. It’s been here 24 hours now. No one on the Facebook page is claiming the cat and Bill went and named it. He’s calling it “Puck” like a hockey puck, because he’s all over the place! He also let Talia play with it. I have a feeling I am going to lose the battle of the Puck….

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Despite all the activity around our house, I’ve managed to get a LOT of writing done on my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo. Tomorrow (Monday the 4th) I will talk a bit more about it during Book Club. I will review the book I read over the week and talk about the passing of Elie Wiesel. Be sure to sign up to get notifications in your email box each time I post!

For my American friends celebrating this weekend, please have a SAFE and fun weekend!