Monday, December 31, 2007

Hailie's pics of the Military Ball

2007 in review - Happy New Year

Everyone is making resolutions this time of year but I don't make resolutions because they are so hard to keep. Anyway - I figured I would take the time to sum up the year and what's happened with my family and me and my writing.

January - I won the Fast and Frigid contest on Echelon Press with "The Tulip Kiss" and my story was published the end of January. It was only a $1 but it was a publication, even if electronically.

February I entered the fast and Frisky contest, "Bride-and-Seek", also put on by Echelon Press but didn't win that or get published from that.

March I entered the fast and fancy contest, "Butterfly Halves", and Janelle won with "Hear the Wind Blow" and I got chosen to be published. Karen was asked many times when it would be published and I was told by the first part of May. So I kept on about the cover art. The first one she sent me was very goth and I didn't feel it fit the story at all. So got a second cover done - which was way more appropriate than and more appealing.

April I entered my story from February into the SCWW anthology. Waiting is the hardest thing.

Hailie went to Myrtle Beach with the youth group at the church for spring break - she had a great time.

May "Butterfly Halves" was published by Karen - finally - the end of the month - like the last Monday.

June - first part of June - Janelle and I had our fliers distributed at the Chicago thing - which is why I wanted to know when "Butterfly Halves" would be published so we could participate in that - I had already paid my $25 for some space to put stuff out. Of course, with ebooks, it's hard to really do much more than fliers and put on your blog or website or places online. It's not like you can hold a book in your hands unless you print out the pages yourself.

We also both entered the fast and foreign contest that Karen ran in June and the winner was a story that wasn't even written for the contest and had already won an award - so I had a rant about that and she made me remove my rant on my blog - so goes life - but I still have the words and they will never be erased.

The end of June I was fired from Karen's house because she did a very greedy interview on Mysterical-e ezine and I was totally appalled and told Karen so. There is no room in the publishing business for the publisher to be all about the money and not about her authors. Without the authors, she doesn't have a business. So because she didn't like my rant about her June contest nor my email to her about her interview, she fired me - reverted all my rights back to me and told me that was it - I was no longer published - oh well the cycle of writing and being published - I was published and still have that to my credit.

Both the kids went to Baton Rouge with the youth group from the church to help work on houses for Katrina relief. It was a definite experience that they will probably never forget. A long trip but they survived.

July I hear back from the anthology for the SCWW conference and my story, "Bride-and-Seek", was accepted for publication - woohooo - I made a full $5 for that story plus two copies of the anthology and if I attended the conference I would receive a third copy. With Susan from our group being in charge of the conference we were all told in our local group that we had better be there or else - so I had to go as a volunteer - well actually I had registered in June knowing that volunteers were comped the cost of the conference and all I had to pay was my room and whatever other expenses I had - like gas getting there - so it all worked out for that.

Hailie went on a trip with the girls' group to Kansas City, Missouri, for the Blume Conference - where over 3000 girls gathered for fellowship and teachings of the church as well as other areas in the world - they had a great time.

The end of July started band camp for the kids - three weeks of intense heat and working out to prepare for the band season. Normally we start school the first week or so of August but the governor had passed a law or added to our state laws that no school in South Carolina could start before the third Monday of August. Since school wasn't starting until the 21st of August this year, then band camp was moved from the middle of July to the end of the month which worked out better for the kids.

August school started and more band practices.

September - band competitions started - our school only competed in three competitions and we hosted one this year - our first that wasn't an upper state or state competition. Our band placed first in class in all three competitions. We took 2nd at upper state, behind Blue Ridge who wasn't nearly that good and are always expected to win and took 3rd at State - can't beat that considering last year we took 5th at upper state (have to be in the top six upper state or lower state to make it to state) and 11th at state. So we had a good band season.

October was the SCWW conference and it was awesome. I enjoyed the contacts I made, the workshops I got to proctor and attend and everything that went with it. It was a busy weekend but well worth it. I will be attending again this year.

November was a fast month - I don't remember anything really impressive about the month - except maybe it is the month Scoobee went missing (may have been the first part of December). We acquired Spazy Taz girl - a couple of months before this and she was pregnant by now and we had a hunting dog on our property causing problems the day before Thanksgiving and I had to call the pound to come get him because of the fights with him and Scoobee.

December what a month. First it was the month of parties - SCWW, Sisters in Crime, blind group, band, and an SCWW signing party at the bookstore - and then an after party at Bob's house - really enjoyed that. Fruit came in the middle of December and it was a ton of fruit to get delivered or made sure that everyone picked up when they were supposed to, but we didn't have too many who didn't get their fruit the first day. Christmas came with not too much excitement - kind of hard to be into the season when you can't do much for the kids or the family. But we survived. Bear gave everyone money and we did as we wanted or needed the next day. Hailie and I went shopping and on our return home - we had puppies (pictures to follow) - check out the video I've put together) -

So here we are about to ring a new year with 10 puppies, two children not here and me and my blog and my friends ringing in hopefully a prosperous and happy and healthy year - happy new year to all of you my friends, hopefully you will be successful and enjoy a great year. -- see you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Correction to puppies' count

Well after some checking and moving and feeding the mama, I finally got to look and count - she has 10 puppies - plus the dead one - that was a litter of 11 pups - big litter and I still think she had two mates - because the black ones were expected, the brown ones were expected and the white one - well he's the oddball - they are hungry little chaps and she's finally eating - now to get her to get up and go to the bathroom and stuff - we should be okay - E :)

We have puppies

Spazy Taz girl (the black dog that showed up on our property a few months ago) had puppies yesterday - The best count I can get is seven or eight. Daughter and I went to do a little Christmas shopping yesterday and upon our return, there were three or four already born. We checked her several times in the hour or so after returning and found that one of the puppies was dead - so don't know if it was born dead or died after birth.

Now here is the funny thing - she is black with some brown in her but she looks black from a distance - can't see the brown unless you are right next to her - with one white spot on her chest. Scoobee Doo was totally brown. We have had stray dogs on our property on and off but for the most part Scoobee and she have been the only two dogs around. There look to be two black dogs, two or three brown - can't tell when they are all trying to feed and some are hidden, one grayish looking (blackish with brown throughout it's fur) and one white pup with black spots. Weird. I think the pup that died was black -

Large litter for a first one

Last night I went to bed worried about the pups and Spazy Taz because she was kind of laying on the pups or who knows - the line from Gone with the Wind comes to mind - no Ms. Scarlet, I don't know nothing about birthing no (babies) puppies. I've not had a dog who gave birth to pups since I was 15 but at the time, the dog stayed in the basement and so I wasn't around when the pups were born since they were born during the night and before the first week was over, four of the five had died (three had died during the day while I was at school) and the other one wouldn't feed - we ended up taking the two remaining pups to the vets to help them feed but the little female wouldn't eat. So my puppy birthing experience is really not great.

So I got up this morning to make sure everything was good and had to call the vet for advice - Did you know it was recommended to feed the mama dog puppy chow while she's producing milk? I didn't and this is a good thing - the puppy chow has more nutrients in it and is better for the nursing pups and the mama too - so now I have to figure out how to get some puppy chow - because I just bought some Alpo gravy food and I'm strapped for cash until payday - guess I'll have to get some money from the bear and get her some puppy chow for now - oh well, so goes life.

Anyway - I'll be giving puppies away looks like around the end of January. So if you are in the area and would like a puppy, come on and get them - except one of the ones that looks like Scoobee (since he is no longer around and the kids want to keep one of them). Need to go check on the pups - they are pretty loud and whiny right now - more later (and hopefully I can get some pics of the pups put on here)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas - Christ is born

I have somehow lost the holiday spirit and I guess that's because of so much that has been going in with me mentally and physically this year that I have had no desire to participate in the holiday festivities. I have attended several parties with the writing group I belong to as well as our Sisters in Crime party earlier this month but alas, Christmas wasn't even celebrated much in our house this year. I didn't put any decorations up, didn't even put a tree up. I don't mean to be cynical or anything like that but it really has been a rough year and it doesn't feel like Christmas really - the weather here has been low 30s and some nights down into the 20s and then highs in the 40s and 50s one week and the next week we would have highs in the high 70s and then calm, cooler evenings but not cold enough to warrant the winter wear. And I guess I've never been officially diagnosed with SADD but it is definitely a mental illness that affects a lot of people and is very prominent around this time of year (wintertime is my least favorite time of year, although I do like fall because I have less allergy symptoms).

So I worked today which is nothing out of the ordinary. As a medical transcriptionist, unless you work for an office or a state facility, you don't get holidays. Hospitals don't close. So there should be work every day of the year, 24/7. That hasn't been the case since before Thanksgiving and the lack of funds and not being able to get out of the hole hasn't helped my mood nor has it helped me in feeling like it is Christmastime. But things are looking up. Anyway, the bear gave everyone a little bit of money to buy what they want for Christmas presents and that way no one is dissatisfied with the gifts they receive. Of course the kids want to go out right away and spend it so they can not be bored but nothing is opened the day of Christmas and we have to wait until the day after, when the stores will be crowded with everyone and their brother exchanging things, returning things, et cetera and the super big sales going on. So tomorrow I will battle the crowds with the kids and do a little shopping - will probably spend some of my money on groceries.

I knew before I could head to town and do any shopping I needed to get gas, so I decided to go get gas tonight. Took daughter with me and we were having a good time in the car just the two of us talking and cutting up like girlfriends. The only place in our town that was opened was Spinx and Hardees (which was kind of weird but heay - I'm glad they were). I wanted hot chocolate and had my freebie coupon (still have one left - if you purchase a Spinx travel mug for $2 you get four coupons inside for four free refills) and daughter was going to get hot chocolate but when she saw that Hardees was opened (it's catty corner across the street from Spinx - this is a very small town) she decided she wanted a shake from them and not hot chocolate. Spinx was crowded so we got some snack stuff, some sodas for later for bear (that's what I call my husband because he is like a bear hibernating all the time and growls just like one) and my hot chocolate and water - and gas. So I get up to the register with my coupon, my drinks and snack stuff and tell the lady I'm going to put $20 in gas as well and gave her my coupon for the hot chocolate and the cup was opened and brought from home and she asked me if it was a new cup - like I know not to open the cup until I've paid for it and then get the four coupons for later use - so I don't know why she thought it was a new cup. Anyway - we left the gas station and went over to Hardees which was kind of crowded too.

We had placed our order and then daughter looks at me and we were talking about things that had happened upstairs today. She asked me if I had sneezed earlier today while eating lunch or after eating lunch - and I had - had a sneezing attack about that time. She said she was lying on the floor near the TV and her dad's stomach had been rumbling and making weird noises and then I sneezed and she turned to him and told him his stomach just sounded like "ah" "chee" and he laughed and told her that I had just sneezed.

So we had a good laugh about that - my floors are pretty thin because when bear is on his cell phone he sounds like the adults on Charlie Brown or a bee buzzing, depending on how much he's talking, and he sounds like he is right over my head but he isn't really. He is a good 5 feet behind me - just a weird house we have.

I did have to deal with my son being bored today and we hadn't gotten up good when his friend called wanting him to come over today - so guess where my son headed before lunch was finished - to his friend's house.

Other than that whiney time from him, it's been a pretty quiet day. I hope to do a "year in review" kind of posting next week so everyone can see what's been going around here. Hope you all had a joyous day and got everything you wished for Christmas and hope you all got to spend the day with friends and family the way it should have been spent - see you all in the postings - E :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More on the unofficial good news - stories hopefully will be published soon

I've had contact with Randy's partner, Tom, and so far things are looking up and I've been put "in the pot" for an editor's position that will need to be filled (and yes it pays but those details haven't been worked out yet). So fingers crossed I get this position, plus get my stories published. I have to have a core of 15-20 right now but hopefully by the end of January or February I have all 50 of them and I think I finally have the idea that will work for the stories (thanks to my good friend Batya) - so who knows by the end of January - you may see me in your kids' schools supplementing the social studies curricula.

Anyway - I'm posting another call for submission for the 5-minute mysteries and hopefully some of my readers will submit stories -

Randy O'Kane posted a looking for 5-minute mysteries ont the Short Mystery Fiction Society forum on yahoo. I have had contact with both Randy and his partner, Tom - who works for an educational publisher. This looks to be an excellent opportunity if you can write very short stories - no more than about 4 or so pages (1500 words is probably too much as far as reading time goes)

Anyway if you are interested - here is the information that was posted and remember even though they are looking to use these in the schools, doesn't mean that they have to lack the usual information you need in a mystery.

--- In, "Randy" wrote:

I hope this is an acceptable post on this site. My company is
currently in the process of
launching a new web site which will be utilizing short mysteries in
an educational setting.
We are currently looking to find writers to submit stories for
publication as we need about
200 stories. We are hoping to work with organizations such as yours
to find qualified
authors to submit stories. If there is anything that you can do to
advise and/or assist us,
we would be greatly appreciative. Thank you in advance for your

Our submission guidelines:

1. We ALWAYS include the author's name with each and every use of
the story.
2. Only previously unpublished stories can be used.
3. Given that we will be using the short stories both for
electronic and audio purposes, we
will need full copyright.
4. We pay upon the story being scheduled for publication.
5. We pay $50 for each short mystery used.
6. Once we have accepted one of your stories, you are eligible to
upload other work to be
sold on our affiliate site.

Submission guidelines:
1. Stories must be about 1500 words.
2. Stories should be written for the sixth to eighth grade reading level. While stories
outside of this range might be purchased, preference will be given to those that fall within
it. In Microsoft Word, there is the ability to check for grade level prior to submission
3. The story needs to have the main portion of the story which includes at least 5 clues
and at least 3 suspects as well as the solution section.
4. We want to give the authors as much freedom and latitude to be creative as possible in
terms of theme, etc. Note that we will be using these stories in schools so keep that in
mind when dealing with sex, drugs and violence. It is okay to say someone died (that is
the who done it), but no need to get highly graphic unless it is crucial to the story.
5. No red herrings

Randy will be accepting submissions at the above address. The way this system is going to work is by ranking the readers - how soon you solve the mystery based on the clues and info provided in each line so make each word count. I am currently working a different aspect of the mysteries in that I've been wanting to do something sort of like "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" with each state as the mystery place. So when I get my stories worked up, they won't be murder mysteries but they will be able to supplement the school curricula in social studies and state history information - so I'm gearing my stories to 4th and 5th grade levels.

Hope to see lots of stories from here and the SMFS forum. I think they are going to try to do a new story a day so definitely need lots of stories. Good luck everyone. - see you in the postings - E :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Unofficial good news

I've been holding off posting this but I think I can post now, since I really did need to update my blog and put some good news around. A guy came on the Short Mystery Fiction yahoo forum and posted a link looking for stories, wanting to keep them about 1500 words, and to keep them at a 6th grade reading level or so. They are using the stories to put on the 5-minute mystery site (which will be up soon) and so I emailed him after the posting hit the forums. I told him my story idea of using each state as the mystery and writing a bunch of children's stories. I have all the information gathered and this idea has been brewing for a couple of years now (since Train of Clues won a shared second place on Armchair Interviews' fan mystery contest for Silence of the Loons, which came out at the time of the contest. I had that story edited by a professional editor, asking for advice on how to expand the story out, how to make a series of the stories, et cetera. She gave me some wonderful advice. So I've changed my mind about a dozen times about how to go about coming up with 50 stories that are different yet similar and getting the kids from one place to another without the stories feeling like fill-in the blank type things or cookie cutter stories.

I received an email from Randy saying that his partner, who is either an educational publisher or works for an educational publisher, was very excited about my story ideas. He asked if I would give him my phone number to pass to his partner so he could call me. I completed the first story Wednesday night during the last few hours of NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) and had a few more questions, so I emailed him again and put a little, btw - I haven't heard from your partner yet but I know he's probably busy and all. His partner, Tom, called me Thursday. We were on the phone for over an hour discussing my ideas and so my kind of like Where in the World is Carmen San Diego stories are being looked at a complete "Geography Mystery package" to be put in the schools, kind of as a supplement to the curricula in social studies, ELA and maybe science. Now I have to write the stories. I've written two for the 5-minute mystery site but the second one kind of sucks. I need to work on it and then write the other 20 (starting with about 20 to have on hand and then will go from there) so that we can talk more than just 5-minute mysteries.

So maybe within the next couple of years, these stories will be expanded out and will be in the schools complementing the curricula around the United States. Good news for me and this will keep me quite busy from the way Tom was talking. Let's just hope I can keep up the pace and get them turned around like he wants.

I have a new logo

What do you all think of my logo, designed by WillowRaven? She can be found on my sidebar on several locations - her blog, her ifreelance site and other forums. She is now getting lots of work coming in for her to illustrate some children's books and from the sounds of it, she will be very busy. I wish I were that talented to be able to do illustrations or make money from my artistic creativity (which I don't have; my son does but I only cross stitch and that isn't very artistic or creative - taking a printed pattern and following it to put a picture on cloth).

I like the soft colors of my new logo and I think the logo does say a lot about who I am. Read WillowRaven's blog posting here to understand how she came up with the design - see you all in the postings - E :)