Yep, I did it again!

As is obvious, I have changed my page format. The last one seemed to be hard to read, difficult to navigate and seemed to scream at me every time I looked at it. I promise I won’t change it again, soon.

Bloggerverse citizens, how often do you change your page? I like the simplicity of many of the blogs I follow, so rather than suffer from blog envy I am tweaking (not twerking) my page theme. You know-going for that respectable author thing. What ever that is?

Hubby is going to be out of the house tomorrow for a several hours so I will be glued to the computer pounding out pages of the new story I am about 60 pages into. I have a ton of research to do on post civil war reconstruction-glorious. David McCullough said the interesting thing about history is when it was happening no one knew how it would turn out. Writing, research, music, wine and chocolate-note to self, have to remember to let Millie out to do her business.

A fun way to discover the history of our country is with a “National Parks Passport.” Chuck and I started with the small one and once it was filled we moved to the larger binder. It is a great way to see the country and find places you would never normally visit. 20160429_135443

When we know we are taking a trip we pull out the Passport and see what is nearby and plan our trip with these places in mind. As a history geek, I have learned so much about places in Nebraska and the Dakotas I would never have known about.

You can purchase the large binder or small book at the visitor center, usually near the stamp/sticker kiosk. What you do is head to the visitor center at a National – Park, Memorial, Historic Site, Battlefield, Reserve, etc., find the Passport kiosk (ask if you don’t see it right away) and there you will be able to stamp your passport page with a date/time stamp that has the name of the place you are visiting and now you have a permanent memory. You can also purchase a beautifully made sticker specific to the location. We have been to places so off the beaten path the date on the stamp had to be changed and the stamp pad re-inked. 20160429_135349

I remember once Chuck and I were heading into a visitor center in the Chiricahua National Park and just before we got there these two boys hopped out of their car and raced each other to the kiosk. That gave me the idea of purchasing them  as baby gifts. I’ve several young friends I’ve given them to who’ve let me know they use them all the time.

It is a very good way to discover the amazing places in the USA and appreciate the lessons we need to learn. Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas is a place every American needs to visit.

I told Chuck we should be Passport travel guides and have our own show. Right? I mean, come on we have this thing down and it would so feed my travel bug.

So my blogger friends do you have any special way you make your travel plans? Do any of you use the Passport?

Cheers!

-N

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Learning as I go

This whole self-publishing and self-marketing thing is a world I’m trying to fit into. Searching and researching what others have to say, what they’ve done and what’s worked takes lots of time. I know I will grow with this as I work at it and find success. It is a challenge I am enjoying, but it often feels I am spending a lot of time and thought delving into this process and not on actual writing.

I’ve run an Amazon price promotion on my eBook and once the print book is out on Amazon I am planning a promotion that links print purchase with a eBook discount. What have been your experiences with these types of promotions?

So…time to jump back into my current work in progress. Time to happily wallow in my fictional world with some side trips to my blog.

My twitter peeps have been terrific in following me, and my word press blog followers are adorbs. Just loving the idea humans want to read what I write in this computer letter.

I’ve shared in previous blog posts about my sweet Millie and how she stays with me while I’m working. Sometimes she will get up, come over and nudge me for a head rub, then lay back down. Here is a candid photo my hubby took of us today.

It’s us doing what we do. me and millieGosh I love that dog.

She is so pretty, smart and still very playful. A funny thing about her is she loves water, especially sprinklers and when we use the sprayer on the hose. She bites at it, barks at it, and runs through the water getting soaked. She does the same thing when it rains. Our last GSD didn’t like the water at all.

Her 1st birthday is in June so I’m thinking we need to have a party! What do you think? Will you join us for a blog party?

A question for you writers and authors out there. What do you do with your notes, print-outs and book proofs when you are finished with them? Do you keep everything together or just hold onto a few things. Do you only save the computer files? Just curious what you feel is necessary to hold on to.

Cheers!

-N

A flurry of good

I’ve posted recently about Chuck’s lay off and his job search. This has been the soundtrack running in the background of the last few weeks. He had an interview with his first choice, then got a call back from them for a second interview and was given the non-official thumbs up. 20160416_201738_resized

We had a celebration dinner with Chuck’s buddy Bob and his wife Kim at the Silver Saddle Steakhouse. It was old, had great ambiance, wonderful food and was packed.  20160416_203418_resized

We talked and laughed together while enjoying the fact that Chuck had worked hard at his job hunting and almost by accident found a position he was perfectly suited for.  He and Bob were both glad Chuck found something here in Tucson so they could continue to golf, target shoot and talk hunting.

Last Friday Chuck was called and officially offered the job. They contacted him this morning about coming in to do his new hire paperwork! God was smiling on us!

The second bit of good was receiving the proof of my paperback last Monday. I spent this last week taking my time as I poured over the story looking for formatting, typo and grammar issues. I found a few things but overall it was in great shape. It was a surprise how different it looked in book form and the things that stood out on the page.  As I was reading through it, the story captured me. I got involved in it again, the way I did when I was writing it.

Today I plan to work on those corrections and get the final draft ready for the reading public. When it is ready I will post the link here and on my Facebook author page.

Another good thing was my hubby becoming a fan of Don Massenzio’s books. He read Blood Orange and has started on the Frank Rozzani Detective novels. It’s great he loves reading as much as I do. It’s also cool he found books he likes written by a blogger friend.

Shout out to Don!

Cheers!

-N

 

I know you missed me!

It’s been a few days since my last post and I know you’ve missed me-haha.

I spent some time helping Chuck clear out crap from the back half of the acre and store some things designated for a yard sale. I moved my sewing/quilting things into the space in my office that was opened up after most of my books were boxed up (sniff) and stored. I still have a bit of research material, since my current books are historical they require a lot of time delving in the time period to make the story work.

Yesterday I succumbed to my allergies. I’ve been a sneezing, coughing fool and yesterday it nailed me. Actually had a sore throat and a fever. I was an achy, pain in the butt. Enough of that! It makes me sound like an old human. We stopped into a Walgreens at 1st and River to pick up my allergy nasal spray and the guy at the check out was so fun. A very cute guy who was dancing and smiling brightly as we came to the check out. After being cheered by him as he rung up the purchase, I said I hoped his day went fast. His response as he shuffled away was it had so far. If I had been more with it I would have gotten a pic for the blog.

Today, after the run into town to take care of selling our dive stuff on consignment and buy my allergy stuff we came home and I sat down at the computer only to find out Prince had died. This stunned me since he is the same age as my beloved hubby Chuck.

The flu? Really? So I sit here, puzzling on this and wondering how I make a difference in the life of another human.

I did have a wake up call about my writing. Going through the proof copy of my book I found some formatting issues and typos that will be relatively easy to fix. What it did was confirm the due diligence every story requires. The happy harp playing, birds gaily singing, sun brightly shining moment…I saw my words in print. It took a moment to wash over me, then I jumped up to hug Chuck.

A question for you writers out there: When did you feel you were an author?

Cheers!

-N

 

Wine and whiskey

Today started so nice and mellow. A cup of coffee on the back porch while watching the birds swarm the bird feeders, and chase each other around chirping brightly. Chuck repeatedly tossed a toy for Millie who loves the daily morning fun. It really was rather dreamy and chill for the three of us.

I am refurbishing some metal outdoor chairs with new paint and padded seats, very Pinterest of me, so a run to JoAnn for vinyl for the seats was in order. I already had purchased the paint so this would give me all the supplies I need to begin.

While out we also had to make a stop at Planet Scuba on First Ave. to drop off two unused BCD’s for consignment. In case you don’t know what a BCD is, it is a vest divers wear that holds the pressurized air tank and can be inflated/deflated to create neutral buoyancy underwater-buoyancy control device. Hopefully they can sell them for us. It would be great if we can get back to diving more, it is fun but we haven’t been able to do much of it. BCD’s are easy to rent from a dive shop, especially so if you are on an out of town dive trip. It is much better than trying to pack and check with the extra weight. My mask, regulator and fins are personal to me, one is fit to my face-no leaks, one goes in my mouth-not sharing that one, and one fits my feet perfectly. The rest of it I can handle renting.

After these two stops we were right across from Total Wine at Wetmore and Oracle in Tucson so it made sense to stop in for wine and whiskey. Chuck also picked up some cigars. I was trying to find a really good red wine and out of the corner of my eye I saw a young man who was at the Bordeaux tasting a few months ago and I knew he was well versed in reds. So I took off to find him. A sales person asked if she could help me and I told her who I was trying to find. She said, “That’s Justin. Let me call him.” In just a moment here he came.

After telling him what I was looking for he directed me to an Italia20160414_122841n, a Spanish and an Argentinian. He was so helpful and attentive, so I asked him if I could take his pic for my blog and explained I would be sharing about my day. He said sure and so here is Justin. Should you visit that location and need assistance he is the man for you. Not only is he knowledgeable he is cute too.

Love the long hair!

At the check out we were helped by a very fun and cool woman named Megan who approved of the bitters we bought and confirmed our impression of Justin. We left with a box full of spirits and the joy of meeting two very nice humans.

It was a fun day.

Cheers!

-N

So ya’ll, let’s talk

Well it appears life went on while I had my head wrapped up in stuff. Stuff, that’s all I can say to describe it.

Chuck’s interview went okay, he felt positive and now we wait and see.  I hope they call him. He is still putting the applications out there. He and I cleared my office library of most of my books. I only kept my research materials and the fiction hardback book shrine. Chuck’s Clive Cussler and Louis L’Amour, and my Janet Evanovich and P.D. James for example. They comfort me.

The big bookshelves are moving out and I will make a sewing corner in here. It really will be my woman cave!! I will have writing, music, books and sewing. The wine cabinet is around the corner. He may never see me again.

I ordered the proof copy of my book and look forward to seeing it and making sure it is the best it can be. Looks like it will be available for sale by the first of May. When that happens dreams come true. I will post a link at that time.

We had dinner Friday with Rick and Jayne Kelly, our long time neighbors, at Bubb’s Grubb (yes it is a real place and so Catalina.) We’ve watched each others kids grown up. It was so relaxed and fun, and Jayne and I decided it needed to happen more. The weather was starting to change, cooling off and sprinkles, which makes Jayne and I very happy. She and I are both cold weather fans. Before you say anything about us not knowing what cold weather is Jayne is from Minnesota and I lived in northern Japan and North Dakota. It is just our nature, and we commiserate when it gets hot here.

Saturday was a day spent running errands, cleaning around the property and enjoying the cool temps. Millie rode around with us for most of the day and when we stopped into Rawhide Feed store in Catalina for finch seed, she sat very well next to me while Chuck shopped. Some people came in the door and I heard “there’s a live animal.” The said they were on a scavenger hunt and one thing they had to do was pet a live animal. As they petted her they took pics for proof. I asked if they would email me the pics for the blog but I haven’t heard anything from them. If I get the pics I will post them.

Saturday night was spent watching my hillbilly buddies on “Mountain Monsters”. I freakin’ love those guys. They make me laugh out loud at their antics. I would love to crash through the woods following Wild Bill and Huckleberry.

Sunday started out very relaxed with coffee on the back porch, then we went to worship at Casas Church. The music was amazing and while the pastor was talking it started to rain, and I’m talking a roof pounding deluge. It was so cool. The rest of the day it rained off and on and when our friends Bob and Kim Violette came over for dinner, we sat eating, listening to jazz and the rain. Perfect.

Filled the bird feeders, had coffee and did some yard work. Now I’m at the computer.

So ya’ll. Tell me what you did this weekend. Now, here we are dear readers. I changed my page theme this morning. What do you think?

Cheers!

-N

Questions for Beta Readers

All my beta readers be aware. Great description of who they are and what they do to make the book better.

Anna Dobritt -- Author

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Questions for Beta Readers

What is a Beta Reader? The short answer is someone who evaluates your story. Long answer; they give you feedback on your story. They are like beta testers for software, looking for bugs and problems. A good beta reader points out holes in your plot, point of view problems, and chronology problems. They point out confusing areas and let you know if you’re describing things too much. They let you know when something just doesn’t make sense in the story. When they finish reading your book, the good ones include their comments either in the document or in a separate document. My beta reader made her notes at the end of each chapter.

Did the story keep your interest from the start? If it didn’t, why?

Were you able to determine who the main character is and where and when it takes place? If not, what needs…

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#AtoZChallenge: G Is For Ginger…

My daughter is a ginger. Her red hair is amazing and beautiful. She likes her hair but wishes it was naturally curly. When she was younger it was a brighter red, almost a strawberry blonde, but now it is a deeper red. This is a great post about “Ginger” mythology. Enjoy
Cheers!
-N

A Momma's View

Do you call redheads “ginger”? Do you? Oh, I don’t really like it, you know… But then it’s not a big deal. I have red hair and I love it. It’s a beautiful shade of darker red, not the orange-y kind of red. I sometimes wonder if I’m really a ginger. I always thought only the redheads with the more orange tone and fair skin are called ginger. Apparently that’s not the case, though.

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Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – Showing Up

This is my biggest issue with my writing – not letting other stuff distract me from sitting down with my story.

Live to Write - Write to Live

If it’s true what they say, that 80 percent of success is showing up …

80percentMost often attributed to Woody Allen, the maxim “80 percent of success is showing up” has earned its place in the collective cultural consciousness.  But, how does one actually “show up,” and is it as easy to do as it sounds?

According to a Quote Investigator rundown on the origins of the Allen quip, the context of the writer/director’s observation was a 1989 conversation with language columnist William Safire about how writers and playwrights who had actually written their book or script were well on their way to publication. Unfortunately, Allen also observed that the vast majority of people never write the play or the book. They just talk about writing it.

So, it seems that “showing up” isn’t the whole story. You have to show up with the work done. Trouble is, “80 percent…

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Changes-good or bad?

Distractions have been coming from all directions. I’ve been working steady on my book, and now that it is an eBook for Amazon, marketing has become my focus. I’ve also been setting up the print book and deciding the details for this. It is exciting but I’m still wrapping my head around the idea there are people who are becoming acquainted with my story people. I’m writing my next book now.

As I have mentioned in an earlier blog, Chuck was laid off and has since been a tenacious job hunter. He applied for unemployment benefits and is actively ticking off the job search web sites, local employers and looking in a lot of directions to find the next step in his career.

He had an interview today for a position that is almost custom made for my hubby. Chuck ready for interview 2 This morning he was in his robe, updating the resume, fine tuning his professional skills vitae, prepping for interview questions and determining what he wanted to ask in the interview.

We laughed that in all the online applying and all the rest of his efforts, he never thought about what to wear to an interview. He went through his clothes and asked me what I thought. I told him I didn’t think men wore suits anymore unless it was the appropriate work attire for that specific job, but jeans would be too casual.

I assured him the fedora worked perfectly.

So what do you think? Wouldn’t you hire this handsome man?

One thing that we did this past weekend was a yard sale. Since our place is a bit off the beaten path we had it at my nephew Kris’ place which sits right on a major road. We planned for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday went really well, and by 9 am we had been hammered with lots of people. There were three families participating which gave a lot of variety to the merchandise.

Chuck and I were able to move some big ticket items. These things are so unpredictable in what people are looking for or what might catchyard sale their eye.

We did have some yard sale pros give us some tips for future yard sales we might do. We plan to do another one in three or four weeks. A lot of this that wasn’t sold will be donated. It was fun to meet the people. Sunday was much slower, but we still had several visitors. One man said he saw the signs the night before and decided to come by. Another person who came by said she usually did her sales on Friday and Saturday, which I think Chuck and I will do next time. One of the best parts was getting to hang out with my great-nephew and great-niece. They are such cool people.

Well one last shot of the job hunter. He is ready to get out there and find that perfect job.  What a great man I have.

Chuck silly

I would love to hear your job hunting experience. Did you use a head hunter or peruse the classified?

Cheers!

-N