Writing and Formatting and Publishing, oh my!

I love to write. I try to write when I have time, or don’t have time, or when I get in that mood where the words have got to come out or make my head explode. I don’t like dealing with things that happen without my permission, like words being indented, or skipping lines, or, worse than anything, page numbers. These, I have discovered, are the true enemy.

Last week, after many years of writing, revising, and fighting with my computer, I finally became a published author. I went the independent route. I like being independent. Except for the page number part, which, having a ‘Word-savvy’ mother, wasn’t the end of the world.

It’s neat to be able to go into Amazon and see my book. It’s even available in Kindle, so I’m not hopelessly old-fashioned. The whole process was actually pretty painless. I complain, but if page numbers are your worst enemy, you’re not doing very badly at all.

All in all, the writing took about six years, and revising took another year, and the publishing, a mere three weeks. I am hoping to beat that record by a year or two next time!

Please check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Chloe-Ms-Merrill-Berry-Hunter/dp/1499742045/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403206552&sr=1-2&keywords=chloe+in

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Memorial Day Biking

This weekend, people take time to reflect on what Memorial day means to them. Or they sit by a pool, or maybe plunge their hands into dirt and plants. This weekend we did a bike trip. Like any outdoor activity, it’s a bit dodgy because you never know who the weather will turn out. This year was great for the northeast. WP_20140525_001
It was a great ride, from Washington Crossing PA to a town called Upper Black Eddy on the Delaware, about 30 miles north. Our plan was to bike up to the Inn, rest up a bit and then look around a bit. The weather was beautiful. We didn’t bank on hitting what seemed like a few thousand miles of gravel and a fairly untamed towpath. That put the brakes on, literally. The trip took much longer and was more grueling than I would have preferred. I don’t really like gruel or grueling things so the gravel was a bit of a nuisance. The views were still amazing, even through sweat smeared glasses.

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We finally arrived at the Inn, a wonderful historic place on the edge of town called the Indian Rock Inn. It was going on five o’clock and we were sweaty, hungry and tired. More than tired I think. WP_20140526_004
After stumbling in, mumbling my name and receiving a real actual key which opened the door. We took showers, had a nice dinner which probably was not appreciated, and were asleep by 9.30.
The next day after a good breakfast and about 11 hours of sleep we were ready to head back. Oh, and don’t forget the Motrin. That was a key ingredient at both dinner and breakfast.
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The trip back, thanks to some good planning and riding mostly on the much better maintained NJ side, went quickly. In no time, After lots of sweating and huffing and puffing, I was back in my own house on my couch with my kitties.
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I wonder sometimes what possesses me to do these things, when I could be sitting in my swinging bench under my pear tree with a book. I guess we all have to have a bit of insanity in our decision making.

Too Many Cakes

It’s been way to long since I have written a post. I have lots of excuses. I’ve been working too hard, I’ve been lazy, I’ve been working on my book. Take one and run with it. But My Blog Buddy at thedomesticfringe.com just keeps going and that’s inspiration for ya. Check her out if you like clothes, jewelry, kids, humor, faith and many other subjects. So here it is 2014 and already May.
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Many of you may be thinking that there is no such thing as too many birthday cakes. Well, sometimes there is. In the last two weeks we have had three birthday cakes, mostly eaten, and have two more on the planning board.
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My daughters like to make cakes, so when one person has a birthday there are generally several cakes in the house. April is a busy month though so we have had cakes around until I am sick of seeing them. And that’s a big thing for me. This past weekend, we had my youngest red-head’s birthday. She turned 8, and wanted to copy her sister and have a Harry Potter themed Sleepover. I dutifully printed out Butter-beer labels, collected twigs for a wand making activity and bought crafty things to do, ’cause you don’t ever want to leave a bunch of 8 year old girls get bored, it’s just not a pretty sight. By 5.30 PM on Saturday we were as ready as ever. Snacks were assembled and the cake that my oldest had made was in the fridge (it’s a beach cake). I even curbed my desired to clean and let the major vacuuming go until the next day when I knew we would be wading in tissue paper and crumbs. Four 8-year-olds and two 11-year-olds in one house makes for a lot of noise. Corralling them is not n easy task either, kind of like herding cats. We all checked out the Butter-beer (root bear with labels) the chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts Beans. As for the activities, well the kids took some wooden dowels instead of my carefully collected twigs, and painted them, as well as some white tee shirts which I had gotten for the party.
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Because tee shirts can only take so much glitter and paint they decided to become pixie fairy’s and used up several bottles of glitter. Some is still in my daughter’s hair.
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Several hours and two uneaten pizzas later, we had cake, and cupcakes for the ‘eggless’ kids (There were two). After unwrapping presents and making more noise, they finally settled down to watch Frozen as my two friends and I collapsed on the couch. As it turned out only one party guest spent the night, and the morning after was calm and relaxing.
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Next we will be celebrating my father’s birthday, which was last week. I don’t think there will be as much shrieking at that event. Well, probably not.

Technology and Padded Pants

You might think this title doesn’t make sense. It does. Really. This past weekend, well starting Thursday actually, my boyfriend and I took a four-day biking trip in Pennsylvania. It sounded good. We drove to Pittsburgh, a five hour trip, and then parked and started biking to our first destination for that evening. It wasn’t a far ride. It would have been even shorter had we not gone the wrong way at first. This is where the technology part came in. You see, when we arrived in Pittsburgh, it was going on 4:30 PM. The sun was getting low by the time we started off on the trail (The great Allegheny Passage… more on that in my next post) When the sun goes down, it sets in the west. We all learned that in elementary school. Did I remember that? No. We started off enthusiastically with the sun right in our eyes. So we were headed west correct? That’s not the way to get to Maryland though. Did I remember that the sun set in the west? Nope. We spent several long minutes with the GPS on my boyfriend’s phone before I asked a nearby pedestrian, once we realized that something was wrong with our route. Okay, once my boyfriend realized something was wrong. I think technology is definitely addling my brain.

I bet you are wondering about the padded pants now. Simple. After realizing how many miles we were going to be biking (145 or so) and then realizing how even a 20 mile bike ride feels, I got these padded pants for cyclists. Yeah, they definitely work, but after 56 miles, even padded pants, and 3 other layers don’t cut it in the comfort department. (Biking is never very comfortable anyway)

So just keep in mind, when attempting a long bike ride, the sun sets in the west, and several pairs of pants should be worn at once.

Multitasking

I have always been a bit too much of a multi-tasker. Not necessarily a good one however. This time I think I have got it. I finished the last (maybe) edit/proofread of my book and handed it over to my very good friend to read and see if its mildly entertaining to her. That’s always a good sign of course. Even if its not exactly unbiased. In the meantime I have had a nagging idea in my head for some time. Several years I think, but it just wasn’t time to unlock the cage and let it out. I had to deal with my first one. Now that one is safely in a friend’s hands, ( I handed it over a bit like I put my daughter on the bus for the first time), I can relax and and let ideas flow forth. And they have been. I turned up the music which inspired the idea, and let it go. Needless to say, my hand was aching, but it felt very good. It makes me wonder what the next year will bring in my literary world. book

School…Duh Duh Duuuuh…..

It’s that time. How did it get here so quickly?? Summer just started didn’t it? Already I am seeing those ‘first day’ pictures posted by friends on Facebook. We seem to be starting a little later this year so we still have 4 more glorious days of summer vacation left. Not to mention that we plan to squash as much as possible into the remaining September weekends.

My kids are pretty excited. Well, as excited as kids get about school. At least they haven’t attempted to lock themselves in their rooms. I, on the other hand, have been having school dreams. I’ve had at least three in the last week, and I am pretty sure it’s because my oldest is going into MIDDLE SCHOOL. I have to consciously keep my conversation away from school supply lists and school clothes, because the girls just don’t want to hear it.

If my next post includes deep breathing exercises, interspersed with mutterings about 3 ring binders not being big enough, I am sure there will be many parents breathing deeply right along with me.

What has your family been doing, or has already done, to prepare for the influx of papers, emergency contact lists, and lots and lots of uneaten packed lunches?

My daughter the actress

My youngest redhead, at the age of 7, says she wants to be an actress. She’s getting a pretty good start, I have to say. I should consider myself extremely fortunate to have witnessed one possible award winning performance, not even a week ago. It wasn’t her first and I am sure it won’t be the last. It was one of those moments during which I could barely contain my amusement (as well as a myriad of other emotions) as she ranted and raved. Quite loudly.

We were on the way to an appointment one evening, after a fun day at a friend’s house. Both girls were absorbed in their favorite activity, fighting. My little one decided it might be a good idea to smack her big sister with her car pillow. It didn’t really have the desired effect. After the inevitable warning, the pillow must have slipped out of her hands and onto her sisters head again, so it ended up in the front seat with me. I quickly was made aware of her disappointment Many of you may know that 7-year-old girls have the ability to reach a decibel level that melts glass.

After 5 minutes in the car, which seemed like 5 days with all of the shrieking, we arrived at our destination. My oldest wisely slipped out of the car and made herself scarce while I prepared to enter into battle. It took a good 10 minutes to pry my little one’s hands from the seat and get her out of the car. After that I locked the doors since she was attempting to sneak back in. Another 10 minutes at least passed with her clinging to the side of the car, action movie style, screaming to all the world that her poor pillow was slowly suffocating and would die if left unattended. I’m not very sure where she got this information, but she was adamant that the pillow not be harmed. I tried explaining that the pillow would be fine because there was enough air in the car for a pillow with no lungs. That didn’t sway her; she carried on for several more minutes as I tried to hide my amusement and embarrassment. People started watching, which I guess is good news for a budding actress.

Finally, I half convinced and half dragged her into the office, whereupon she took it upon herself to display all of the tactics she had picked up in her seven years to to make the next forty minutes extremely uncomfortable and quite loud (not melting glass level fortunately).

I breathed a sigh of relief when we left the office. The drive back was almost as bad since the pillow was still sharing the front seat, but there was a tender reunion once my daughter finally got it back.