I AM A PUBLISHED AUTHOR

I DID IT!

I FINALLY PUBLISHED A BOOK!

I wanted it published by the end of the year and  I did it!

I kept making myself dead lines (my son’s birthday, my parent’s anniversary, my birthday, Yule) and then miss them and feeling frustrated about it. Every time I’d read the story over I’d find something I wanted to change and so I did. I never had a beta reader or an editor, that will change when I start writing fiction. As Christmas approached I knew I’d be away with no internet for a few days and I wanted it out into the world before then. And amazingly I did it. I published it in ebook format first. I actually had people request it in paperback so I stayed up all night of the 22nd fixing formatting errors for Amazon so that before Christmas the paperback would be available.

The month didn’t begin so great. I had to have a covid test because of a sick coworker. Then my dad ended up in the hospital for a week. Then my husband got an infection in his hand. Then my son moved home and I lost my office space. 

One of the editing processes I did to my novel this month was to run it through the Hemmingway editor. 

My Review of the Hemmingway Editor:

DON’T BUY IT! 

It helps identify only FOUR things: reading difficulty, adverbs, passive voice, phrases with simpler alternatives

It does not correct these things! It only highlights them.

My novel is 50,000 words and when I tried to put all the words at once into the online version it froze up. So I bought the program. When I tried putting all 50,000 words in at once into the paid for program it froze up. So I started working in chunks of 8,000 words. It was able to accept them but when I had some sentences to write it lagged really bad. I would type and then stop typing and wait and watch as the letters slowly appeared on the screen. So I wouldn’t recommend writing in it any more than you have to to fix some editing. Paid version does nothing different than the online version.

So now that I’ve accomplished my goal of becoming a published author what is next for me?

Write more! Publish more!

I miss swimming. I miss green grass. I miss warm feet. I miss traveling.

No NaNo November

I started the month wanting to do NaNoWriMo but as always life got in the way. I did start writing the intro to Airplanes to Alligators and by the end of the first week I only had 5,734  words when I should of had 10,000 words. Each day looking at the numbers of words that I was falling further and further behind wasn’t encouraging to write each day.

My excuse this year is that I started a new job at the end of October and had to complete a training course while doing on the job training at the same time. I also applied for a part time job and it ended up they wanted me full time. Apparently I misunderstood when they said a min of 20 hrs a week and a max of 25 or so hrs a week or possibly more if I was needed to fill in for someone out sick or on vacation. What I was supposed to hear was: I’ll never have less than 20hrs a week but I’ll most likely be working 40+ hrs a week.  Like the other jobs I’ll work until my health fails again. Then I’ll go look for a part time job, again.

Round two of COVID has hit the area I live in. We went from ZERO (0) cases to 126 cases this month. I know that’s not a lot compared to places like Florida who are nearing the millionth case. Some people are freaking out here. Some restaurants are going back to closing their indoor seating areas and doing take out only. Tonight at a fastfood drive through I was told that the cashier would hold the pin pad for me and that I could only touch the buttons. Whatever. 

The local university has closed their indoor pool indefinitely, the local municipal indoor pool hasn’t been open since the spring, there is a YMCA about a two hour drive away and their pool has had a leak since the spring so it’s still not open but for the same price as a two hour open swim there I can book the spa for 45 mins and have it all to myself. The city that is over an hours drive away has a couple of indoor pools and the area has the most COVID cases in the province and they are asking people to stay away, don’t go to the city Christmas shopping, everyone is to stay away. I can’t even go visit my friend in the hospital because they closed their doors to all visitors when last month I thought it was bad when they were only allowing two different visitors a day per patient.

I was told I have a long weekend coming up off from work so hopefully the schedule will be up when I go in tomorrow so I can reconfirm that. (Though that doesn’t mean anything because this weeks schedule has changed four times already and that’s something else I was lied to about in my interviews was that they weren’t going to be changing the schedule all the time and they do and it’s only going to get worse as they are hiring another new person starting this week. I guess I shouldn’t have told them I’m flexible. I’ll remember that for the next job.) Then tomorrow evening I’m booking a room at a local hotel that still has an open swimming pool available for its guests. It’s going to cost me over $300 just to go swimming! But I’m going nuts so I need it. I have been able to have campfires but with the new job some days I work the morning shift so I don’t want to stay out late with a fire that is burning out, because I like to stay until it is just the red embers left. But I suppose since it now gets dark before 5pm I could start my fires earlier in the evening and that would allow me to go to bed earlier too. I’ll just take my supper outside with me and eat by the fire.

New plan for Breakfast Bar Confidential is to publish in ebook format before I turn 43 next month. It will only be published on Amazon for now, that will make the publishing part easier. I’m still editing it myself and figuring out the formatting issues and making sure it looks correct. I have a cover but I just need to figure out the formatting and trim stuff. I finally was able to come up with a simple blurb for the back cover. The inside the back cover page about me will be brief as I have not much other than this blog to show for my writing talents.

Eerie October 2020

Parenting doesn’t stop when children move away from home. This month I was able to get some writing done in my new office/sons old bedroom, not much but some. I slept in there several nights as well. I like sleeping in there because I can fall asleep listening to Anthony Bourdain audiobooks or tv shows. 

I took some more photos this month. I’m really liking photography. I took a photography class when I was in film school 20yrs ago, I loved the weekly assignments, a goal to aim for. I found a Facebook group that has similar weekly topics and the page administrator offers helpful and positive comments. Some weeks he posts a link to tips related to that week’s topic. I’m enjoying this group as much as the Genre Writers of the Maritimes Facebook group. 

I prepped for NANOWRIMO by organizing photos from my time in Florida and local Nova Scotian photos.

I started a new part time job towards the end of the month so hopefully I’ll be on a normal schedule for a while to come.

Halloween was very different this year. No kids came to the door. I never carved a pumpkin or decorated. I sat out back and had a campfire. I never went to any haunted houses or corn mazes in October. In past years we’ve celebrated my son’s birthday and halloween together but this year all we did was have chinese take out with my parents at our house and a DQ ice cream cake for dessert. Parents left. Took son back to university. House was empty like nothing ever happened, eerie. That’s the feeling the house has now, like he had never been here, all that is left is memories, nothing in the present moment.

Started reading The Dark Half by Stephen King on Halloween.

Sept 2020

Finished reading Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, by Neil Gaiman. Loved the story Sunbird! It’s soooo Anthony Bourdainish.

Started and finished reading Someone Somewhere by Dana Mills who ran the two in person writing groups that I’ve been part of at my local library over the past few years. He  actually is a  really good writer.

Still waiting on my beta reader #1. While waiting I worked on my author platform. I now have a website, Twitter, Instagram and FaceBook account to go along with this blog. 

Son moved out and I now have a proper desk to work at. It’s been hard to go in his room and get to work. I look around and see memories of him growing up and our time together. I cry. I could have/should have spent more time with him and done better by him. I knew this time would come but it came all too soon, I was not/am not ready. I know it’s time to start working on me, to pick up where I left off before he was born. He’s starting a new chapter of his life and I must do the same and my chapter is to become a writer. The best chapter of my life was being his mom, it was an amazing adventure.

Got a new fire pit for the backyard, thankfully we’ve been allowed to have fires more often this month compared to last month. This pit is bigger than the last one and with evenings getting cooler and darker earlier I seem to be going through more wood more quickly, requiring me to tramp into the forest and haul out logs to cut up and burn. Thankfully our neighbors have been renovating their house and gave us all their old hardwood floors to cut up and burn.

August 2020

Re-read the book 101 Plots-Used and Abused. Did some research into plot twists and inciting incidents.

Finished reading American Gods. Started and finished reading Stardust; then started reading Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, all  by Neil Gaiman.

BBC is still with the first beta reader. Found a second beta reader that will take a look at it in September. I just hope to get it back from the first in time to edit it some before I send it to the second.

I met a guy on one the Anthony Bourdain appreciation FB groups. He is also a writer and has written several books about characters based on Bourdain. We messaged and he said he didn’t write them for profit so he gave me e-copies of them to read for free.

Mid august it starts to turn chilly, upper teens to mid-twenties, no more temps in the 30’s, maybe a day here or there but nothing lasting for several days in a row as we had earlier in the summer. We ran out of campfire wood for the backyard. I had to pull logs up from the forest to cut up. I also bought a bag of wood at a farm market. The neighbors across the street are remodeling their entire house so we got some of their hardwood floorboards to burn that they were throwing out. Even with rain in mid-Aug there was still burn bans on, waiting for fall for more fires.Swimming pools are all still closed to the public and beaches at lakes are covered in dog poo, I really miss swimming.

July 2020

Started and finished reading: a novella Mutant Message Down Under and Stardust by Neil Gayman. I returned two books to a friend and borrowed some more. 

In one of the writing groups that I’m part of on FaceBook, someone put up an announcement that they were willing to be a bata reader if someone was looking for one. I contacted the person and said I’m almost done self-editing but I work great under pressure so if they say they want to read my story by a certain date than that would light a fire under me and I’d be done editing by then and I’d appreciate them reading it and giving me their thoughts about flow and grammar. So on the 26th I handed my story Breakfast Bar Confidential to a stranger to read. 

Way back I had talked about three friends that I had to lose. One I lost last year and have stayed away except for the odd run-in while shopping. The last two I’ve been able to stay away from since December, although I have talked with one on FB and the occasional text. Until July 1st when I asked the one I’ve been occasionally texting if they wanted to go for a drive and play Pokemon Go like we used to. I got used. I should have known better than to go back but I had to give it one more try. I missed the old days but I didn’t miss being used. They seemed so nice when texting. I feel for it again but that was the last time. I’m done. I now know that those kinds of people will never change. They will always be the same. I have seen changes in me and my husband and have watched my son grow up so I know that some people do change but I guess not everyone.

I bought a recliner for the living room. It’s nice to lounge in and relax. Except the sound went in the 32” smart tv so now I have a 23” tv to squint at from my reclined position. Insert face palm emoji here. LOL

June 2020

Fire ban is back to having to check the web site daily to see if we can have a campfire each night so at least that is normal. We had a heatwave in the middle of the month so the fire ban was on for the last half of the month so no more campfires for me.

Restaurants opened to ½ capacity so patrons could be seated socially distanced apart. The only one I’ve been to was an English style pub to celebrate my son graduating high school. Tables were socially distanced 6ft apart and the waitress wore a face mask, no salt and pepper shakers on the table, instead there was a bottle of sanitizer, the experience was odd.

Schools remained closed this month but they did have an unusual way to have grad celebrations this year. Parents drove the grad up to the front of the school, the grad got out and walked across the front of the school, picked their diploma up from a table where it had been placed by a person wearing a mask and gloves, the grad then walked across a small stage to stand in front of a flowered arbor to have their picture taken by their parents who are allowed out of their car at this point, parents and grad get back in their car and drive around corner of the school and a swag bag is delivered to the grad in the car and then we drive away. The whole ceremony for all grads was broadcast live on YouTube. My son was the first to receive his diploma from his school and the video messed up so his name on the video that came up as a title was not at the same time as he was standing in front of the arbor and the video cut out after they announced he got honors with distinction. He also received subject awards for AP Computer Science and Networking Technology Applications and a scholarship for $2500. This is something that I want to brag about as I am a very proud parent!

Son was offered an online job for the summer, instead of going to cadet camp in person he gets to teach on-line. 

The weather got warmer so going outside became more enjoyable. I set my hammock up in my backyard and am thoroughly enjoying it. I even started swimming in the lakes this month because community pools aren’t open. Towards the end of the month, I started walking every other night, I’m also watching more closely what I eat trying to lose a little weight and get healthy. I bought a Fitbit so I can challenge my sister in Florida to see who can get the most steps in a day. Due to covid and riots she has been reluctant to go outside for a walk.

Still working on self-editing BBC while thinking about parts for other stories. I have been thinking about what to write in my book A to A. It was supposed to be a travel log about my trip to Florida last year and comparing it to Nova Scotia. With what has been going on in 2020 I feel like I’m writing a history book because I doubt things will ever go back to normal, the way they were last year. Do I just write the book as if 2020 hasn’t happened or do I include events from 2020? 

As much as I love my son and want to be around him as much as possible I’m also looking forward to him leaving for university in September because I want his room. I want my own bed and my own desks to work at. Until then I think I’ll buy a Lazy Boy for the living room as my present love seat isn’t comfortable to sleep on. My makeshift desk in my closet is really hot and stuffy this time of year and it’s become a storage place for things that need to get sorted and put away so not much writing has been happening in there. Lounging in bed to write makes my back and legs ache after about an hour, writing on the sofa is hard on my neck and shoulders and a pain to find a place to plug my laptop in. I may try writing out back at the picnic table if I can stand the black flies and mosquitoes, we’ll see how that goes.

May 2020

Good news is: fishing season started on May 1st! I went fishing a few times but my fishing buddy has a hard time walking now so we’re only able to fish from roadsides which there isn’t a lot of. Other good news is they lifted the burn ban for backyard campfires, so I’ve had a couple campfires this month too.

Bad news is there was a Canadian Military helicopter crash off the coast of Greece and a Nove Scotia died, a Snow Bird airplane crashed and a Nova Scotian was the piolet. Mid May seen several forest fires in my area which, for a few days, put the fire ban back on. The last week of May seen protests in the USA turn into riots, some not far from where my friends live. My nerves are still not good, not sleeping, eating or exercising as I should be.

I’m still not working, no word of when I’ll start back, at least my name is still on the company website.

The weather at the start of the month was cold and dreary, we even had snow flurries. I watched as the buds started to come out on the trees and turn into broad eaves by the end of the month.

I got my bicycle out and rode it short distances one day, brakes need adjusting before I do that again. On sunny days we BBQ-ed our suppers. Spending time outdoors is great, loving my hammock! We got some more yard work done and a raised garden started.

I started working on my book again, finished the third draft. One more go over to make it flow better then off to an editor! Getting excited! I bought a subscription to Spotify to listen to when I write and it helps. Earlier in the month my son broke his wheely desk chair so he borrowed mine until I got to a store to buy him a new one. Sometimes I wrote lounging in bed or sitting on the sofa. I can’t wait for the libraries to open, work to start back up and coffee shops to open again so I can go there and write too.

I still have no dreams for my future. I’m just living day to day for now. It makes it hard to go to sleep at night, that is when I like to dream of my future. Makes me wonder what it’s all for.

I started reading again and finished Lyslie’s Story by Stephen King. I needed a book with a storyline to read before going to bed at nights, it gives me something to think of as I dose off. I finished reading the book Stolen Lives by Julia Coldwell as well this month. I had bought the ebook and I have a hard time going to sleep right after being on the computer so next time I want to buy a book by a local author I need to remember to not be so cheap and buy the physical book, not the ebook.

I’m still having issues writing book and short story reviews/comments. What else am I supposed to stay other than I liked it?

Last month I gave myself my first ever own hair cut. I had to give myself a trim this month. At least I have short hair again and it feels good but the back needs some work, just waiting for the barbershops to open up. This is not a second career choice for me.

The State of Emergency is still on heading into June but some more stores are allowed to open so long as social distancing is followed. Hoping for a normal world soon.

I backdated this one.

This is my 4th attempt at writing a blog for April.

Each time I kept going off on a tangent.

To keep it short:

-Because of the global pandemic, I got laid off from my day job and my province got thrown into a state of emergency. By April 30th there were 947 total cases in Nova Scotia.https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/nova-scotia-reports-12-new-cases-of-covid-19-total-at-947-1.4918807

-At first, I looked forward to my time off. I had started off confident that I would get up every day and write to try and keep my sleep schedule as close as possible to what it was when I worked. That didn’t happen. My sleep is nothing close to being on a schedule or a pattern. 

-Depression hit thanks to living in the Canadian province which now holds the countries record for the worst mass shooting in its history. Thankfully no one I know was killed but I do have some friends and family that were in the areas near where it took place, about an hour or two from where I live. My empathetic soul feels for all the lives lost and their surviving friends and family that have to deal with what happened. An RCMP officer lost their life, I wanted to be a cop once so it bothers me when one dies on the job, could’ve been me if I had made different decisions earlier in life. 

-Sleep comes and goes. Thanks to my smartphone I know what day it is. I eat when hungry, sleep when tired. Try to shower often and keep up with the laundry. 

-Not much to do. I did get my hammock set up in the back yard but the sun shines an average of one day a week, the weather is mostly rain with some flurries mixed in, still cold outside but above 0°C. With the state of emergence comes a fire ban so I can’t even sit in my back yard around a campfire, but I did start to clean up around the yard and make a pile of sticks next to my fire pit so I’m ready to go as soon as the fire ban is lifted. On sunny days I do try to go outside.

-Stuff happened with my family and I was about to give up my book/memoir I was writing (BBC) because it involved them. Thankfully I didn’t act on that thought, but I didn’t work on it any in April. 

-Depression also convinced me that nobody would want to read a book about my first trip to Florida as I compared it to Nova Scotia in the pre-world of the pandemic because things are going to be different if/when this shit is over and people are allowed to roam again. I didn’t work any on that book (AtoA) in April either.

-Several people said they’d like to receive letters from me but when depressed and think the world is big ball of shit and there is no point to going on it’s hard to write letters to people and sound positive about all this bullshit and that things will get better. 

-Our writer’s group decided to do email for the rest of the group correspondences this year. I never replied to the short story I read for April that was properly titled “The End”. I liked it but couldn’t come up with a reason why I liked it or what made it good. There are 38 unopened emails from my writer’s group that I haven’t read, not that I don’t want to but I don’t know how to respond.

 

  • The weather sucks.
  • I have no job.
  • I have no reason to get out of bed.
  • There is nothing to do, not allowed to go anyplace, not even swimming (all pools and beaches are closed) or for a drive. Only allowed to walk our own neighborhood but to keep socially distanced.
  • Stores have reduced their hours so it means more people there when I go. I never liked grocery shopping when large numbers of people were around before the pandemic and I like it even less now. People dressing weird and wearing masks and gloves and giving everyone dirty looks. I shop in the middle of the night at 24hr convenience stores and at farm markets when no one is there. 
  • The cottage I was told I could have and the house I was going to retire in was taken from me. I no longer have a dream of my future here in Nova Scotia. I no longer dream of any future, too many unknowns at this point to dream. 
  • My son doesn’t get to go to his prom, safe grad or graduation. So he worked for 13yrs of school for what? So they can mail him his high school diploma and transcript? His summer employment got canceled so that was money he was going to use go to university this fall, which I can’t afford to pay for him. Now it’s looking like he may not get to go (as in leave the house) to experience university but he can still take all the classes online but may have to live at home to do it. I tried his whole life to get him to be more sociable (not to be an introvert like me) and now that has all been flushed down the drain, all 18 yrs of my hard work to make him the best person that I could get him to be, gone.
  • My son was also in cadets. This would have been his 7th year if he completed it. It would have been 7yrs of perfect attendance, but not now. No trophies at the end of this cadet year either, no annual ceremonial review with him as the leader. Again, all those years of hard work with no final reward to celebrate or remember his time there. No encouraging speech to his fellow cadets that he’s leaving behind. I wanted so much for him, for him to be happy and explore the world and have all the opportunities he could ever want but with a world closed and all this shit happening that I have no control over I can’t give him what he wants or needs.

This was my best to shorten all the tangents that I had gone off on in my other attempts to write an entry for April. Can you see now why I have backdated it? 

 

Don’t worry, I made it to May. 

Still Working

Writers Group

I took the 1st week of March to decide which story I was going to work on in March to submit to the writing group at the beginning of April. After an extensive search of 20yr old computer files and a stack of old handwritten work from the same era, I came to the conclusion that the story I wrote that I called RTF/Cop Guard was originally written in script format, and nowhere could I find a copy of it in non-script format. Based on my last share at the writer’s group they need a big picture to see where I’m going with a story/novel so instead of spending the month of March rewriting a script into a novel and then editing the hell out of the first 8 pages I decided to go with a different story. A short story that I wrote back in high school, grade 12 to be exact. It needs some editing, especially the middle but it is only 2100 words so I have room to play.

World Health

By the second weekend in March local organizations were shutting down access to the public. No more gyms, pools, guided tours, kids camps for March Break the following week were all canceled, no out of country travel for high school students during March Break either, all canceled by government. The prime minister is working from home as an example for other Canadians to do the same. Grocery store shelves are empty (according to FaceBook photos), I mainly shop at farm markets and there is plenty of everything still there. People are being asked to self-quarantine if they have symptoms, hence the empty store shelves. I work for a public transit company so I’m just waiting for our company to be told to shut down. If that happens I’m eligible for EI but I also would rather by quarantined in Florida, where it is warm, and I can hang out with my sister poolside and catch some rays, claiming it’s good for my health to get natural vitamin D. This could all blow over in a few weeks with nothing more happening than the few 100 who have already died in this country or it could get way worse and way more people could die and marshall law become a thing, people start killing each other over toilet paper, food, soap, and disinfectants. At this moment it’s hard to tell which way the world will go. 

It’s the last day of the month and things got worse. There was a State of Emergency put in place on March 22nd that is supposed to be over by April 6th, but at this point, I think they will continue it for a while longer. Only essential businesses are allowed to be open, all others are closed. All restaurants are closed to diners, but most are doing delivery now. Hair salons, nail-making-pretty-places, gyms, movie theaters, are all closed. My work was closed last week but we are back open this week with limited service. Fed and provincial governments are telling people to stay home. Parks, beaches, playgrounds and even walking trails are all closed and people are getting fined if they are found in those locations, you’re only allowed to walk around your own neighborhood. Social distancing of 6ft and no groups of more than 5 people are allowed. There is a fire ban, so no campfires for me. The gov also postponed the opening of the fishing season from April 1st to May 1st. All schools are closed – the first date we were given was April 6th now they say May 1st.  The cover photo tells the story of how fast this-worldly pandemic is growing near me. The county where my sister lives shut down last week too, she’s working from home now but her pool and all the local beaches are closed there too. 

Escape

It’s hard to escape what is going on in the real world. I kept having anxiety attacks at work last week – people calling to bitch at me because the buses aren’t running and they need to go places – even tho there was no place for them to go because everything was closed except grocery stores. I took 2 days off last week just to recover from the days I did work. I was actually sick yesterday Monday, March 30th, gastrointestinal issues, I ate at Burger King on the weekend for a treat – tasted good at the time but doesn’t agree with my guts. So I didn’t work yesterday but I went in today and it wasn’t that bad. I created a poster of what I can do if I start to have an anxiety attack at work and posted it on my wall at work so hopefully, I can see it when I need it. I set up my mess-en-place of “anxiety killers” on my desk right under the poster. Hopefully, things will be good again tomorrow too. 

I listen to music at work to distract from the real world, no customers allowed in the office so I can do that now, or at least no one has said anything to me yet, except some of the drivers said that they like it. I have a couple of little projects that I’m working on at work that are great at keeping my mind occupied but I’m worried about what to do once I’ve finished them. I was hoping to be laid off but that isn’t likely, I have tons of projects to work on at home. I binge-watched all episodes of Lock and Key on Nextflix on Saturday, that was a great distraction. Regular tv has commercials warning about COVID-19 so I try not to watch tv, even everything I see on FaceBook is about it (at least FB has some jokes). 

April Writing Goals

Now that I think I’ve got a hold on how the world is functioning at the moment, I think I will get back into finish editing my memoir BBC and piecing together my next book AtoA, they are good distractions to this real-world BULL S**T. 

I’ll be emailing my short story into the writing group tomorrow and see what is going to happen there as all libraries are closed but we’re not supposed to meet until the last Saturday in April so things may be closer to being back to normal then, or it may be worse, we’ll just have to wait and see.