Crazy and fun weekend!

Last week, hubby and I rented a very cute and fuel efficient Ford Focus to drive to So Cal for our grandson’s second birthday festivities. We left Thursday early afternoon and arrived in the San Fernando Valley that night. We managed to hit Phoenix I-10 gridlock, but missed LA traffic. Our bed was adequate, not perfect, but it would do. Thankfully I remembered to bring an Ambien to ward off the sleeping in a different place insomnia. Hubby and I were tired and ready to relax.

Ha!

My daughter told us there were 52 humans who had RSVP’d!! I looked at my daughter with gaping mouth. She said of the 52 she expected 14 children. OMG!

Friday morning we got up early enough to see Charlie before he went to daycare and then the rest of the day was spent taking care of some legal stuff on our part for the foster/adoption thing and birthday party prep.

Did I say she expected 52?

Chuck was tasked with making a cut out frame for party selfies, a birthday banner, a bean bag toss game thing, and putting stickers on cups. I made 72 cupcakes. Red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla, with frosting. I also made a small cake for Charlie to demolish as is the custom with birthdays for little humans.

Melissa and Charlie got home and we had fun hanging with the munchkin. Gosh he is so cute and he has elastic arms so we spent a lot of our time keeping him out of the party stuff. At one point we gave in and took a bunch of bags to the cars for safe keeping. After he went to bed we opened a bottle of wine for the girls and a beer for hubby and proceeded to fill a crap load of goodie bags! Bed time for big humans.

Saturday. Party day. Chuck made a bunch of pigs-in-blankets so they would be warm for the party. We loaded the cars with pigs-in-blankets, cupcakes, goodie bags, selfie frame, bean bag game thing, Charlie, and headed out by 9am to do set up. My daughter’s good friends and landlords brought the helium and balloons, we got busy setting up and managed to be mostly ready for the first arrivals at 10am.

I did say she expected 52, right?

The party was held at the private school where my daughter teaches, just outside her classroom. There was a great covered area with tons of tables and next to it a huge grass lawn for little humans to run. Happy Birthday was sung, candle blown out, and Charlie was properly covered in chocolate after eating fistfuls of thickly iced cake. He looked like he had a beard, and was thoroughly happy and on a sugar buzz.

We were cleaned up and gone by 1pm. I was impressed. My heart was warmed by the wonderful friends of my daughter who are there to support and encourage her and Charlie in this life adventure of theirs. She is a fantastic person and it is obvious by the long-time good friends she has. We headed back to her place to unload and open gifts-what a haul! I took off and got us Cavaretta’s deli sandwiches for dinner. Yum!

Sunday morning was departure day for us. We got our stuff together though, as I found out after we got home, we left several things there. Breakfast was at Weiler’s, us, Melissa and Charlie, then it was time to come home.

It was fast and furious-Vaughn style.

Cheers!

-N

 

Using social media

Aside from spreading the word about my writing, I am using forms of social media more as an outreach and to market myself and my work. This blog is a favorite form of connection. I also have a Facebook author page, Amazon author page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Discus, and Instagram accounts.

I am curious about other bloggers and writers use of social media, and what success people have had with a personal web page. How have others been effective in marketing? What options and venues have been most productive?

I can’t really afford to pay a professional web designer. Has anyone found a good tutorial I can get about doing the process myself? I get tweets about promoting my book or getting followers for a fee and I wondered if anyone has experience with this?

There have been good results for me using Facebook boost for posts about new work or special deals I’ve run with Amazon KDP, and the cost is manageable for me. I’ve linked the author page to this blog and my Twitter so the word gets out.

So I just keep plugging away writing and blogging, having fun with all the new followers, and hearing what’s happening in the world of words.

Cheers!

-N

What makes a friend?

What makes one human appealing as a friend? Are there certain characteristics and behaviors that attract others and draw them into a circle of friends?

Because my father was military we moved a lot when I was young. Consequently my friendships were very transient.  I believe this made it difficult for me to form lasting friendships.  My sisters and I are close, but they now have their own families to concern them. I had no real idea of what a lasting friendship looked like.

Until I met Kristen. For some reason she wanted to be my friend.

We met at work in 1985 and are still friends to this day, although she now lives in  St. Louis. We connected immediately, even though she was ten years younger than I. She would call me and want to hang out, would invite me to join her for a weekend at Rocky Point, Mexico. She thought of me when she was going somewhere and would often get me a small gift. She would drop in with a rose bush or small tree for my yard. She spent weekends with Chuck and I and the kids, she liked being with us.

She taught me how to be a friend. When she married I actually was a bridesmaid, not the wedding singer I usually was (although I did sing a song too), which felt very special. We spent lots of years enjoying our families together.

Her move made me realize I didn’t have a network of friends.

The people I know don’t seek me out. I would love to have a couple of girlfriends to do things with yet, I hesitate. Maybe I’ve become the kind of human that others say “Hi” to but I offer nothing to motivate them to be buddies. Perhaps I need more self reflection to know what is about me that keeps acquaintances from getting closer. I see pics on social media of people getting together, making the effort to connect, enjoying human interaction, and it gives me pause.

I know writing and sewing are solitary activities, but I love talking and laughing at happy hour or at my house with the music playing and a bonfire fire going and sharing a bottle of wine with friends.

Is it me?

Cheers!

-N

Holiday insanity is over

My life is finally coming under my own control. Beginning the first of December I felt as though I was being let loose in a maze with no direction and doubtful resolution.

I started the month with a colonoscopy. Ugh, nasty thing, but I got a good report and don’t have to do it again for ten years! The prep is the worst, the procedure is no big deal since you are asleep. Wish I was asleep for a lot of other things. Then it was the eye doc and mammogram. I hate to admit this stuff because it’s old people crap.

Chuck started plans for a new deck on the north side of the house, running the length of the house, and will incorporate our spa. It is quite the undertaking, and as usual the two of us had “discussions” about what we wanted. Most of these things are done in sections since the construction budget is based on what we can afford when the bills are paid!

We also started working on rearranging the inside of the house, moving furniture and putting the television in the living room, installing in the old tv room large bookshelves that need sanding, wood filler, painting and molding. It’s lots of work to make it look rather like a built in. We are about halfway done with it. Also are planning to put in a wood stove in the same area, it will be a den filled with my beloved books.

We were very busy making Christmas gifts, two of which had to be mailed so the rush was on to finish them in time. We were also preparing the guest room for Melissa and Charlie who were coming for the holiday. I was trying to work on my newest book during all of this and feeling frustrated when I couldn’t spend time on it. I had about twenty pages of corrections, edits, new scenes and rewrites I had to finish. Also needed chapter numbers before I set up the format for publishing.

We planned to set Charlie’s pack & play in the sewing room/office giving Melissa her own digs but before they left for Catalina he got really sick with bronchitis. He was on the mend when they arrived but he did not want to be away from momma, so we moved his bed in the room with her. It was an interesting visit with a coughing, snuffy little man who moves constantly.

During her visit there was a lot of running around seeing people, shopping, having visitors at home and watching Charlie enjoy Christmas. It did take three of us to corral him! He is an amazing little guy, very bright, a bit mischievous, but we love him to bits.

During their time with us Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds passed away. I will admit it made me feel very strange. Especially just after Alan Thicke passing, I felt very mortal.

The day after they returned to LA I came down with a stomach bug that hung around for three days. It was hellacious. Chuck and I managed to stay awake on New Years Eve long enough for 2017 to show up on the east coast. As far as the book, I did manage to finish the cover, format the text, so now I just need to submit for my proof.

I don’t know what to expect from this year, but I hope and pray for success, happiness, prosperity, and health for my family.

Cheers!

-N

 

Christmas wishes

I shared on Facebook something a friend had posted about what she wanted for Christmas from her kids. It spoke to me profoundly. She said she just wanted them.

I miss my kids. They live on opposite coasts and in different states from me. When my daughter Melissa started at the University of Arizona she moved out and never moved home again. After graduation in 1997 she moved from Tucson to Los Angeles and is in California still.

My son Aaron left for Northern Arizona University in 2001 and spent a couple of summer breaks at home, then moved to California to attend school there. He met his wife there and after about a year they moved to Oklahoma, then Texas and now will be living in  Florida.

I admit I am envious of mothers who live near their grown children. It would be wonderful to have them over for Sunday dinners, be able to share birthdays with them, and plan holidays together. Just being able to spontaneously go to a football game together or share a bonfire party would give me such pleasure.

So my Christmas wish is time with my children. To laugh, love, and spend precious moments together.

Cheers!

-N

December prep

December 2016 started with me dropping a couple of pounds thanks to a bowel prep for a colonoscopy. I don’t really mind the procedure itself since I’m in a propofol dream world when it is happening but its that nasty day before thing I hate. I sat in the bathroom watching Netfilx on my tablet. I have a whole new feeling for Ernest Saves Christmas! At least I got a good report and don’t need to revist this particular humiliation for ten years. It is an old people thing to have happen, one more thing to remind me I’m ageing and I hate it.

Christmas has arrived in my house!

We are decorated. christmas-tree-2016It was so special to take the entire Saturday, to cover my home with lights and color, listening to Christmas music, and making the house look festive. As I removed items from the storage tubs the memories associated with that particular piece filled my heart, they are occasionally bittersweet, but worth taking the time to remember the story for each one.

I have so many things to complete this month. Beside the natural holiday shopping, cooking, and gift wrapping, I am finishing my second book this month! Finishing it has been delayed thanks to a ten day trip to Florida, spending several weeks helping my sister prepare for a disability hearing, several pages of critical edits and so on.

This morning blogging and writing are the first items on my to do list.

Now I am looking forward to sharing the season with our soon to be grandson (hopefully the adoption will be done by March) and welcoming a new year which I hope will have many new adventures and new friends.

I’ll be in touch.

Cheers!

-N

Spending the day in my woman cave

Got up, grabbed a coffee and my phone. Looked at the news (what is up with Hillary Clinton?), checked emails and blogs I’m following, looked at social media (love twitter), and got a shower, made breakfast of toast and honey, and then escaped to my room.

Here I am.

I’ve got a netflix movie on the TV, did a bunch of filing, paid some bills, pulled out my story notes and as soon as you lovely blog followers are updated I will start on my writing.

We were in California for four days last week so my work was on hold. It was okay though, since we were spending time with our daughter and our soon to be grandson. Hopefully three more months and the adoption will be done.

We had so much fun watching him experience new places and things. He is eighteen months old and is a busy, bruiser of a toddler. He is very cute, very smart, and a charmer. We went to the ocean twice in one day, had a morning adventure at TravelTown at Griffith Park, made my regular stops at Weilers for Eggs Benedict and Cavaretta’s for deli sandwiches and canoli’s, and enjoyed the days in the Valley.

Now it’s time to get back to work. I am bouncing between two stories, two genres-historical and contemporary-trying to find the flow for both of them. I suppose it seems strange to be working on such different genres simultaneously but it seems to keep me fresh.

So I’m handing off this blog to you lovely followers.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

A new toy

I’m using my new toy. A Samsung tablet. It’s taking a bit of time to get used to it but it is a nice bit of fun. It’s sort of like a phone, but its not. I’m not expecting to replace my laptop with it. It is more to replace my Kindle which is starting to get a bit weird. So here we go breaking it’s blog cherry!!

I’m sitting on the back porch with my coffee, listening to the birds being noisy eaters as they swarm the feeders as I enjoy a few minutes of cool morning air.

A hummingbird is guarding the feeder from his spot in a nearby tree, so the wife can eat. We’ve had so much rain there are mosquitoes around. No sitting outside in shorts!

I’ve finished checking my historical manuscript and now it’s time to put in the  corrections. I have four rewrites including a scene I had to cut and start over. It is also directly related to another part of the story so some continuity checks are in order.

I’ve been keeping a notebook and pen by my bed recently since I’ve had several ideas popping up at night. Some for my contemporary story and some brand new things. Love when stuff just shows up.

Millie is patrolling and I need more coffee so I’m handing this blog off to you fine followers.

Cheers!

-N

Blogging, writing and rain storms

Last night my sister told me the reblog button is not showing up on my posts. I hadn’t realized this was occurring. Has anyone else had this happen? I recently changed my theme and now I’m concerned this has created a problem.

I’ve made contact with the WordPress mother ship and hope to have an answer.

In the mean time I am making progress on two-count ’em-two stories. My historical romance is coming along splendidly. I hope to finish second draft edits the end of this week, then I send it to my beta-readers. The second one is a contemporary fiction and I am currently at 12k words. Believe it or not, I’m having fun bouncing between the two of them.

I am so excited to tell every one that my baby sister has started her own blog! gammyjoy.wordpress.com. Give her blog a look and a follow, please. I am so proud of her jumping into the blogging universe.

Tropical storm Javier may bring us some heavy rain this week!! Whoopee, that makes me a very happy woman. My woman cave is messed up while I do a lot of sorting and tossing. It’s funny because when I do this to a room, closet, etc., it seems to do the same thing for my mind.

I have been looking for some part time work to supplement hubby’s income.20160527_093059

I am pleased to share I have actually been paid some royalties these last four months!

I am an author y’all. Right on.

 

Cheers!

-N

 

I’m back!

It’s such a thrill when people you don’t even know start commenting on your work. I published an excerpt from my book “Blame It On Whiskey” to my author page on Facebook and the comments have been so wonderful. To hear from people who have connected with my characters and enjoyed the fictional world I created is amazing.

As my last blog post indicated I have been sort of out of communication while my daughter was here with my soon to be grandson. I consider him my grandson already and introduced him as such. Boy did he keep us going, but it was great fun. I had my DVD’s rearranged (evidently I didn’t set them up right) and all the glass lids and pans were moved so he could play with the metal pans. You had to watch where you walked because some of those toys are painful on bare feet! Most of the house was toddler-proofed prior to his arrival, but you never know what he can get into or is interested in until the little human occupies the space.

He and Millie became buddies, lots of puppy kisses between them, and Millie was extremely happy to clean up the post meal droppings around the high chair! After I dropped them at the airport Monday and came home the house was quiet. No Disney Junior or Sprout blaring from the TV, no big humans tracking the movements of the little human, no little voice calling out and babbling at the top of his lungs.

It was different. I miss him.

The monsoon season is upon us in Southern Arizona thank goodness. Our location in Catalina AZ just north of Tucson, higher in elevation, and next to the Santa Catalina mountains means we are cooler and get great storms. Woke up this morning to a wet yard and signs of some wind during the night. The storm didn’t wake me since that stuff works like Ambien on me, as long as the wind isn’t too strong.

Now back to my next book, current book marketing, some plot development for future work, more blogging, wine, chocolate and music.

Cheers!

-N

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01CXRU1QA

Blame it on Whiskey KDP file