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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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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.
more cake
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.
cake
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.
shirt
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.
fairy dust
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.
present
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?

Almost There

Almost. That’s a good word. Very hopeful. It’s been a good five years at least. But I think it’s almost done. My little novel, that is. It’s a really patient one. I mean, it’s put up with me for a long time, and never bugs me when I have taken months away from it. And sometimes I have done that, although its always in my mind. I have to be in a certain state and have a certain emptiness and calmness in my mind to concentrate. Otherwise the things like kids, work, kids…keep yelling too loud for me to think about it. So it really has had to be patient a good deal. But now it is beginning to stir and to stretch its limbs because we can see the end of the tunnel. Now the question is, what to do with it. Recently a friend’s husband published his own novel on Amazon. That has a certain appeal to me. I just want to share my little ideas with others. And hope that someone else out there finds it as moving/entertaining as I hope. What have you, bloggy friend’s of mine, done with your own achievements?

Neighbors

This Sunday,as I sat in the back of my tiny church with the rest of the small choir, struggling to keep two sleepy red heads from fighting, I strained to hear the sermon, as it was one which I thought could use a little repetition. Our current ‘supply priest’ has a real knack for sermons. He started out quoting one of my favorite childhood shows, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and went on to discuss the state of neighbors and neighborliness. The sermon touched a lot of us, who realize that so much has changed (although much more has stayed the same). People in these suburban mazes don’t know many of their neighbors who live right next door, and forget sometimes that even those you don’t know are neighbors. It’s nice to get a reminder once in a while that people really haven’t forgotten, they just need a nudge.

There was the time that one of my daughters (I forget which now) was crying over a lost helium balloon from Friendly’s on her birthday. I remember commiserating with her and trying to entice my other daughter to share her balloon (it didn’t work),when a young man, probably still a teen, ran into the restaurant and came out with a new balloon for my daughter. That always will stick in my heart. Then just this past week, my oldest decided to bake some sweets and some pasta for an elderly friend of ours who doesn’t get around very well.

This morning I got a text message from out township police department sharing that there had been two burglaries in the area. A few months ago there had been a prowler who was never caught. And that’s just in our very small and safe area. It makes one wonder how many people have forgotten to be neighbors even in a small town. That is, until we see these small acts of kindness. They may seem small but are not small to the recipient. So take an extra 5 minutes and stop by the lemonade stand that those two noisy 8-year-olds put up and buy some super sweet lemonade, or give your grandparents a call. It’s a small price but the reward to both parties is extensive.

As my dear friend said this Sunday morning, make it a beautiful day in the neighborhood.