Sunday, February 25, 2007

Book Festival, meeting publisher and wonderful breakfast story

Okay - I posted that the SC Book Festival was this weekend and that I had met my publisher, Karen Syed. Most delightful woman to talk to. She told me now that I'm published with her, I can submit other short stories to be published - so that's pretty cool - If I have a short story I want published, I can submit - now I'm stoked about getting my stuff out there.

Saturday afternoon, I attended one of the workshops that was available to those preregistered to the festival. It was Dick Cote's Promotion 101 - how to promote yourself and your books. It was an excellent workshop. One of the items he mentioned doing was to have a website, so that is next on my agenda as far as promoting myself. I've found a website I can order mini CDs (another idea) for like $20 bucks for 100 of them. I hope this week to get website up and running, although I'm not sure how long it will take me. Supposedly this free site I'm using is supposed to be very easy and anyone can do it in half an hour or less. I just need to have an idea of what I want to put on the website, and what to call it - scary things but I'm sure once I figure those things out, the setup should be very easy. (I'm using Blue Voda for my website design - so as soon as that is done, I will let you all know. Probably link my blog to my website and vice versa.)

Now being in Columbia for two days, I have a local restaurant that I like to go to and eat breakfast. The restaurant is called Lizard's Thicket and it is home cooked meals, country cooking type food. When I go for breakfast, I always order the creamed chipped beef on toast with a glass of chocolate milk. Yesterday I was feeling the need for some fruit, so I added a banana on the side. I was enjoying my breakfast when this group of three people sat down at the table next to me. Two women and a man. He was very animated and I couldn't help but eavesdrop on the conversation. He was talking about the business or company he works for renting the Atlanta Aquarium for their awards banquet or something fancy - black tie affair.

He tells these two women that they (he and his wife and all the other people at the dinner) had to stand up and wait around. So they finally get to the buffet, and he looks down; there is beef and chicken and vegetables on the buffet - and other sides and stuff, but no fish. (By this time I'm snickering to myself due to the fact that they are in the aquarium and there is no fish on the buffet). He says he is in the mood for fish, so he proceeds to start pointing at the displays behind the servers and tells them he would like that and that and that for dinner. The women are cracking up by now and I was too but not out loud. Then the waitress comes to take their order. He wants an egg and cheese and somethng and mushroom omlette and the waitress shakes her head no at the mushrooms. He starts in on about no mushrooms. I just looked over and made a comment to one of the ladies about him being fussy and she said that was normal for him. I said I could tell by the way he was talking about wanting fish and there was no fish on the buffet. So they invited me over to their table to hear the rest of the fish story. I refused because I really needed to head to the convention center to get to my duties at the book festival.

They kept urging me over and finally the second lady just got up and started moving my food and stuff to their table. So here I am sitting among strangers eating my breakfast. I had my name badge on for the book festival (but that comes in a bit later).

So he proceeds to finish the story of the dinner at the aquarium. After they ate, he and his wife went looking at the displays and they found one case that is supposed to be a rare shrimp like from Africa with only 5 or 6 in existence (my daughter confirmed this as they just went to the Atlanta Aquarium about two or so weeks ago). He was looking in the case and didn't see anything, but then he saw the little eyes looking at him and someone hollered shrimp, and he and his wife were pressed up against the glass. He was very animated telling this and the three of us (me and the two other women) were just giggling away. So his wife wants to go look at the beluga whale display. After they disengage from the crowd, they went to the whale tank. He said one was up at the top (probably getting air or something), one was doing flips or spinning around or showing off and the third was swimming towards the glass. His wife was reading the placard and told him, "You better stand back because they eat penguins and if they eat you, they wouldn't need to be fed for a week."

Now here we all just break out laughing. So fish story over, they start asking me about my name badge and volunteering for the book festival and all. Somehow the conversation came back to my story being published and they were so fun and questioning. They bought my breakfast for me because I was a published author - how cool is that? - I had printed off about 8 copies of the story for some friends who had no internet access or no way to order through the internet and had sold them at the same price as online ($1, although I ended up losing money on that deal, but it was exposure for me) and had sold 6 locally, had two copies in the car - one that I had already signed for another friend to put in the mail and the other one not signed or anything. So I went out to the car and got the last copy and signed it and gave it to them. I got exposure and got a breakfast out of the deal.

So overall, the weekend was well worth it, even though I am having problems getting out of bed and walking around due to having stood most of Saturday and yesterday. My low back and left hip and knee are giving me fits. I can barely put my weight on the left leg to get up from a sitting position to stand but once I'm up, I'm okay - it's just the initial getting up and getting off the bed in the mornings. I do hope this shall pass and that within a week or so I'll be back to semi-normal - lol.

Okay - that is it for me today - see you all in the postings - E :)

SC Book Festival and weekend

So this weekend is the SC Book Festival and this is my third year as a volunteer. I had a blast yesterday although I'm paying for it today. I'm very out of shape and have so many parts of my body falling apart. My left hip, knee and foot are really giving me a fit.

I've seen so many people I know from the area this weekend that it's been a blast. I got to meet my publisher and she is definitely not what I pictured her to be but hey - I'm sure I'm not what people expect me to be either.

Be looking for the fast fiction posting tomorrow sometime since Karen will be traveling - it will be tomorrow evening - but I'll be looking for it - (see Karen Syed's blog - per link on side) in order to find out what the contest theme is for this month -

Anyway - figured I'd post something since it's been a while - see you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nothing new to report

It's been a couple of weeks now since my son's trip to the emergency room for the metal washer thing on his finger and I've had no real news to report.

I did enter the Fast and Frisky contest but did not win; at least I did get a calendar story written. February's isn't as easy to write but I need to write it anyway. What is the calendar story, you ask? - Hum - okay a friend sent me a calendar for Christmas - The Haunted Realm - she purchased a calendar for herself and suggested we write a story a month based on the calendar pictures/descriptions - so all my places are supposedly haunted or have creepy stories to them (who doesn't love a good ghost story or a mystery?). January's worked right into the fast and frisky contest for Echelon Press (she is doing a Fast Fiction contest every month - with the theme being Fast and F..... - whatever it is for the month - like October was Fast and Freaky; November was Fast and Fatal; December was Fast and Festive; January Fast and Frigid - you get the idea) --- anyway as long as Karen keeps posting the contests, I'll enter them. Hey, if it means I win and get a story published, even if in ebook format, then I'm game. The next posting should be February 26, which seems like a long time to me but it is only the middle of February now and the 26th isn't too far away. I guess I can wait another 12 days to find out what the next Fast Fiction contest will be.

I've been judging some stories for the derringers (via the Short Mystery Fiction Society forum on yahoo) and that's been interesting - so far 6 of 7 stories have been judged by me and all of them are written in first person and have been okay; the last one did kind of pizzazz me but the stories seem so lackluster considering they are all supposed to be mysteries and haven't really been too mysterious. Maybe they will get better as I go through this process. I've never had to judge stories for awards before, but being an editor for the Magazine of Unbelievable Stories has helped in this aspect. I guess being an editor and having to pick stories for the magazine is kind of like judging and it is very subjective. What I may like, the next person may absolutely hate. I am trying to be fair and partial to all the entries, not judge too harshly and give anyone zeros across the board, not that I've had any stories like that, but you never know. I'm trying to judge fairly and it is hard with the complete difference in stories and writing styles from each person.

So I guess that is it for me on the no new anything to report - lol - long-winded for nothing new here - see you all in the postings - E :)

Monday, February 05, 2007

An interesting thing happened on the way to fixing dinner tonight

Funny thing, I had just popped dinner in the microwave and had asked son to put his father's clothes in the dryer for him. No problem. Benjamin starts putting the clothing in the dryer and guess what he found? No, no critters in the washer. His father left a metal washer (I'm talking steel) in with his clothing. No big deal, right? Well this was a metal ring (see picture) that had been engraved with husband's nickname (he did the engraving at work - the piece of metal for lack of better word for it is - metal washer - was from his job also) --

So Benjamin finds this metal washer and proceeds to go upstairs to watch TV before dinner. He comes back downstairs within five minutes of getting upstairs with none other than this metal thing stuck on his middle finger. His knuckle was already swollen so the ring was not sliding off at all. I was concerned because his finger was dusky colored, not a good thing to someone who has been a medical transcriptionist as long as I have and the fact that I couldn't get the thing off without hurting my baby concerned me more.

So, first thing - get some dish detergent and soap up the hand and finger to hopefully slide the ring off. Nope didn't work. Okay now the finger is really turning colors, almost bluish in color. So call EMS. Yep, they show up in my driveway with no lights or sirens since it wasn't a real emergency just scary. They put some lube all around the ring and try to slip it off. Nope, knuckle is too big to get it off. Benjamin was in pain. Humm, think. Don't we have a ring cutter in here somewhere? Yep, found it but the ring cutter is too small to grasp the metal ring. Okay we've exhausted our methods. Only other solution, take him to emergency room so they can remove it. Ride in the ambulance or you take him in private vehicle. I'll take him since I had to pick up daughter from church since no one else at home.

Benjamin and I head to church to pick up Hailie and her friend and her friend's nephew. Hailie is a bit shocked to see me as she hadn't called me yet. So I go in to get her and have to tell her the situation. Benjamin is in the car and slightly embarrassed knowing that Hailie's friend and the friend's nephew will be getting in the car too. Then had to talk to one of the ladies from the church who adores Hailie. Gave her my business card with web address for my story (yeah, sales me at work too - got to sell my story - lol). Okay take friend and her nephew home and then head to the hospital.

Get to the emergency room and sit for a couple of minutes before they put in the vital signs room - take his temp and blood pressure. Instead of sending us back to the "emergency" part of the emergency room, they send us back to what they call "fast track" which is supposed to be nonemergency emergency room type visits and gets you in and out fairly quickly. A nurse, an aide or secretary and either a doctor or physician's assistant are usually back there. Tonight we had a PA. So we go in the waiting room for like less than two minutes. They call us back (the nurse did) and we coming down the short hall and the PA asks what the problem is and they both look at his finger like, hummmm we don't have anything to remove that from his hand. We may need to send him to intermediate care.

Now the fun begins - he doesn't belong in emergency, fast track has no tools or devices to remove a metal washer from a 12-year-old child's finger. So what do we do? Well first the PA lubes the heck out of the ring and finger hoping to get it over the knuckle. Nope, didn't work. So then she wants some dental floss. I knew what she was going to do if she had found it. No dental floss was found but she did find some kite string. She tries wrapping his knuckle with the kite string hoping to compress it enough to work the metal ring off his finger. That didn't work. No ring cutter (yep if things aren't tied down, they tend to walk away from that acute care part of the emergency department). Okay, think, who can we call with some tools that might work on getting this thing off his finger? Humm, I know (PA or nurse) - how about some bolt cutters. Call security see if we can get some bolt cutters. Good idea. Now, I've seen bolt cutters on TV but never in person and those things are very wicked looking in person. Like big pliers kind of but supposed to be able to cut through dead bolt locks and padlocks - ha!!! - well guess what - made some indents in the metal washer but wouldn't go through it. Okay this isn't working. Two security guys try to figure out what they can use. PA says, I've called engineering to see what kind of tools they have that might work on this. So security leaves for a few minutes comes back with a mini sawzall ring cutter type thing (electric and pretty wild looking). He puts the finger protector on Benamin's finger and shaky hands and all starts sawing through that metal where the bolt cutters had marked. He was nervouse as all get out here. So, he saws down. Then takes the bolt cutters and has to work another spot. Starts sawing down that way. He was very afraid at this point knowing that he wouldn't be able to go all the way down.

Engineering shows up with this huge sawzall type thing - nope first thing went through my mind - that will never be used on this metal piece to get it off - not on my life -no way. So one of the engineering guys (we had two security guys, two engineering guys, the PA, the nurse, the aide/secretary who wasn't that curious really, the cashier who didn't stick around much, Hailie and myself in this little section of the acute care area where Benjamin was on the little bed there) pulls out these two pocket tools. One being like a multipurpose type thing clamps, grips, you name it - I think it had it on there, and another tool that was mostly like pliers or something to get a good grip on the metal ring.

Lead security and lead engineer guy do this tandem thing where the engineer guy is holding the bottom part of the ring (the uncut part) while the security guy is using the other tool to work the cut part out - the wedge that he had sawed down as far as he could. Whew, piece one out of there but ring still on finger and not coming off.

Okay security guy picks up bolt cutters and makes another indent where PA had previously tried to cut through the ring with the bolt cutters. Again, in tandem, engineering guy and security guy work second piece out. Whew, second piece out but the ring is still firmly on Benjamin's finger.

Now we know eventually this thing has to come off. Third wedge cut with bolt cutters and then again the two men holding and wiggling the third piece out. Get the third piece out and finally the larger piece of the metal ring comes off son's finger - with a swollen, reddened knuckle and all but his finger is free.

Now here are the four pieces of the ring. Sorry the picture isn't that good. We have poor lighting in this house and every try created shadows on the picture. This was the best I could get.

You can't see all the pieces all that great but there are three small pieces and one large - this is sitting on a small notebook - one of those pocket sized pads - so the ring is not that big but big enough to slip over a 12-year-old's finger and create all kinds of problems -

Now you know the funny thing that happened on the way to fixing dinner tonight (this was Sunday, February 4th, between 7 and 7:30 pm when it occurred and we got home from emergency room and trip to Wal-Mart to get some medicine and an ice pack after 11 p.m. - almost 11:30 p.m. - (it is now 1:06 a.m. Monday, February 5th, when this blog post is being posted - lol -

I know it really isn't funny but these are definitely the things where stories come from. They say truth is stranger than fiction and I believe that - lol - see you all in the postings - E :)