The Sun Sets on Another Year: 2015

Reading posts on this year in review and resolutions for next year, I’ve decided I should at least make some attempt at summarizing 2015. I’m no good at resolutions. The rebel in me causes me to rebuke my own.

I decided to do this by months, as it’s the only way I am apt to recall what has actually gone on this year, it’s been such a whirlwind. Really, it has gone by like a fast moving hurricane, cutting like a circular saw through the center of Florida. We ended 2014 with a wonderful, memorable trip to St. Augustine while it was all decorated for Christmas and had a lovely time.

JANUARY– We were stressed by a “would be” boat scammer who took off with our 36 foot cabin cruiser without paying. That took a couple of months to resolve. In the end we received our money, after many painful hours of dealing with authorities and detectives and banks.

FEBRUARY-The movie “Selma” came out and I missed a really good opportunity to ride the coattails of that one in promoting my book, Red Clay and Roses. Things were too hectic around here to do much in the way of marketing.

MARCH-I finally convinced my doctor to cut my bipolar meds in half after many years of begging him to allow me to give it a try. I dabbled with beginning a book about a couple of characters who started the orphanage I lived in a few years in the seventies. With my creative juices flowing, my finished and fully beta-read crime novel Naked Alliances was shelved and I got started on the next novel in The Naked Eye Series and was making fast progress until April rolled in.

I wacked off my long blonde hair that took way too much time to manage with my lifestyle, and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Yes, it’s short, yes it’s gray. I’m embracing the me I have become in 55 years. No regrets.

APRIL-Nearly crushed me with the loss of my dad. I had so hoped once he sold his business and finally retired he would make a trip down here to visit, but that wasn’t in God’s plan. He was a quick-witted man and one of a kind. He is sorely missed.

MAY-Brought the sudden birth of our third grandchild. I say sudden because I don’t believe my daughter was in labor more than a few hours, and the baby decided not to wait for the mid-wife. Kira was born into her daddy’s hands, while grandmother was trying to get the other two kids into the car for a trip to her house. The midwife did get there in time for daddy to cut the cord. One life ends and another begins.

Before the baby was born, I committed to detoxing my body and quit smoking tobacco, started vaping. I’m doing really good with that and have cut down the nicotine. I also stopped the 6-8 diet cokes I was drinking daily, along with the 6-8 cups of coffee. It’s slowed me down a bit, but I feel 100% better.

JUNE-With the new baby and dealing with all that ensued in the wake of my dad’s death, this month pulled me off the computer while trying to assist my dad’s widow and a half-sister with running his insurance business. They both leaned on me and it was a difficult position to be in trying to advise from 500 miles away. Making matters worse, two estranged sisters who had not had anything much to do with Daddy in thirty years came up with a law suit against his wife and the estate. Needless to say, that was no fun. That discord lasted for months.

I started a new book, The Conduit, in the hope that throwing myself into some creative work might ease some of my mental load. It worked off and on, but about a third of the way through the book, I had to back off on that, also. I re-blogged a lot and tried to stay in touch with my online friends offering what little support I could.

Getting diagnosed with diabetes sent me online for some heavy research and I unveiled so much new research that contradicts what I was taught in nursing school about the disease, it’s complications and management, that it is just now starting to sink in that it may not have ill-fated prognosis it once had. It can be totally reversed, and I’m on a personal mission to do that. This mission resulted in a nutritional consult and major lifestyle changes that pull me off the computer daily, but have my blood sugars within normal range and my Hgb A1C down from 7.5 to 5.6.

JULY-I set out to find a developmental editor for The Conduit about the middle of the year and got connected to a English gentleman in Ireland who took on the challenge of giving Naked Alliances a few passes as that manuscript was finished, I thought. He was quite impressed with the progress me and my beta readers had made, but certainly has helped polish that novel into something I’m really proud of. I had shelved that book, not knowing if I would ever publish it, but encouragement and support from some very dear blogging friends motivated me to go forward. Thank you all…you know who you are.

It’s a far cry from Red Clay in Roses in both style and content, but it’s been a really fun project. I’m still working through the second edits and it will need a final proof. I’ve thought about pitching it at the 2016 Sleuth Fest in Deerfield Beach in February…still uncertain if I want to go that route. It just might add pressure I don’t need at this point. I enjoy writing for fun and would not want to get myself into a position that might jeopardize the joy I find in writing.

I had to have surgery this month and that set me back both with my lifestyle changes and writing as I could not sit at the computer for more than just a few minutes at a time. But all is well.

AUGUST-Things started settling down a bit. I got into Kombucha brewing, and I’m on my ninth or tenth 2 ½ gallon brew now. The lifestyle changes really started making a difference and I began to shed some pounds. Managed a small promo that sold a few books and revived my firstborn a bit. Got heavy into my writing and got two more book outlines accomplished for the Naked Eye Series.

SEPTEMBER-More of the same. More time for writing and editing, but less time for marketing and blogging. Tradeoffs. I’ve missed you.

OCTOBER-Sent Naked Alliances off to an editor.  I was so deep in the zone, I was barely able to manage three re-blogs this month, but I did manage to get by familiar blogs for some awesome reading and a few comments.

NOVEMBER-Back in May, the 13th to be exact, when I smoked my last cigarette, I had connected with a large group of vapers that support each other in every way imaginable through a forum and Google Hang Outs and we’re planning a big shin-dig in Florida for April. I took on the role of treasurer and organizer for that group, so about twenty of us, from all over the U.S. will be meeting up in Bradenton Beach in April. These people literally saved my life. We’ve rented a huge house and have plans to eat good food, talk for hours, get some boating and fishing in. This adventure gave me and the RS the delightful task of a reconnaissance mission over to the area and we had a lovely vacation of sorts with the RS and his brother and girlfriend for a week on Anna Maria Island with the Bay out the front door and the beach out the back. It served well to let us leisurely scope out the area and rejuvenate my soul.

I managed to get one guest post done this year on the dear and amusing Barb Taub’s blog. I’m looking forward to setting up more guest posts and interviews over the next few months, so if you hear anything about anyone on the lookout, let me know. I’ll have more time on the computer as the year turns.

DECEMBER– Well, I managed to lose forty pounds this year. I only have forty-five to go. Hopefully, by this time next year I will have met my goal. I have a photographer friend who is doing a photo shoot in the near future, so you might see my 8 year old profile pics change everywhere in the next few months.

Naked Alliances is almost ready for its final proof. Yay! It’s been nearly two years since that first draft was penned and I am most grateful for the dozen people who gave me feedback as beta readers. It really did turn into a team project with me at the helm. With your help, I narrowed down to two choices for a cover image via 99Designs, and I’m giving one more cover artist a shot at it.

This really grew into a much longer post than I anticipated. I’m truly grateful to be alive and to have so many wonderful people in my life. I am looking forward to healthy and happy NEW YEAR and hope the same for you. As the sun sets on the old year, I leave you with a meditation video I made on Anna Maria Island. The silence between the surf as significant as the sounds of the sea.

Sunday Synopsis: The Beginning, The Middle, and The End.


The Arrow and the Song


I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.


I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?


Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.


I was chatting with a dear friend on Facebook. She has the beginning and ending of her WIP. I have the middle of mine all planned out, but have rewritten the beginning more than a few times, and have no clue how this thing is going to end up.

I have decided to stop rewriting the beginning.

It may not be perfect or final, but I need to let it go.

Part of the fun in writing is having the characters surprise me, so I am going to stop fretting about how to end this piece.

Unconscious competence seems so elusive. I am going to continue writing with conscious incompetence…but STOP worrying about it. It is the only way I am going to be able to proceed. I wrote my last book with unconscious competence, on talent and what skill I had at the time, and did fairly well with it.

I have no clue what I am going to do with this WIP. It is a story that I wish to tell. I know that many say you have to keep in mind that you are writing for a reader audience, and I appreciate my audience, truly I do. On the other hand, when I get myself wrapped up in what others might think, I lose the ability to write freely.

So I am writing this one for me, freely, come what may of it.


Penny for your thoughts!

Sunday Synopsis: Word Counts and Retirement


I just reread this post and it came across to me as if I am very unhappy, so I want to qualify here before I push the publish button. I am very happy. Most likely the happiest person you know. I have a really good life and know that I am most fortunate to have the support that I do. I am going to post this anyway.

I have a good number of author friends who hold day jobs and have careers. Often, they speak of retirement and writing full-time.

It is a delusion that having more time will lead to more writing.

Before you attack, allow me to explain from my own personal point of view.

writing box 002I was looking for my old Brother word processor, after having found a couple of boxes of floppy disks. The floppy disks hold some writing I did in the 80s that was never printed. I wanted to see if the rocket scientist could, maybe, get the Brother up and running well enough to get a screen, and perhaps print off some of the content. I have at least two packs of ribbon cartridges. Don’t know if they’ll work. They may be too dry. I know there are places that can take your floppy disks and convert the files, but I don’t even know if it is worth the bother/expense. It would be nice if I could remember what all I wrote, but I can’t.

While looking, I ran across an old plastic container and a few shoe boxes filled writing from that era. Now you have to keep in mind that was a time when I wrote during every spare minute I had. Those were far and few between, because at that same time I was going to school 40 miles away in one direction, working a full time job 20 miles away in another direction, (and sometimes a part-time job, too) raising three kids who had school, tae kwon do, softball, soccer, cheerleading, gymnastics, scouts, and so on. Granted, I had some downtime after my youngest son was born in 1985. Two years.

Yet, here’s what I found:

  • 1200 pages (yes pages, not words) of the story of my life. About every memory I possessed at the time; from tossing my New Testament out the window and into the rain at the age of two (when I got my first spanking) to birthing my third child while wearing tennis shoes at age 25.
  • A 300 page story about a young contemporary witch (a pharmaceutical chemist) who inherits a magical ruby ring from her grandmother and her witch family (probably influenced by reading LOTRs, or maybe Anne Rice, can’t recall the exact years I read Anne).
  • Six chapters into an historical fiction about Martha Washington’s relationship with the African American mother of Washington’s mulatto children. (Perhaps based on a true story I read…most likely somebody has already done this).
  • A horror story about a lady with cats I had published at age 17 years.
  • I have this really cool sci-fi fantasy started about this league of aliens from different planets coming back to earth to reclaim the races…in 2020. It’s very interesting reading.
  • Dozens of short stories (or at least what looks like the start of short stories). Lots of them are southern folklore I learned growing up and recorded in my own words. There’s even one where John Lennon lives. (You know, like Elvis.)
  • Tons of dark poetry. (four shoe boxes) We’re talking nuclear destruction, biological and chemical warfare, death and dying, pollution and environmental catastrophe, loss, psychotic mind breaks.

I’m not saying this is good writing, but it is writing. I couldn’t recall having written so much.

Now all of this was written (either on a typewriter or a word processor, NOT a computer) in my twenties, when I had first been diagnosed with bipolar, and before I was stabilized on meds. I don’t doubt that most of this was written in the midst of some manic or depressive episode.

I first started thinking about the story in Red Clay and Roses in 1992. I wrote nothing. The nineties were filled with teenagers, professional career, and divorce. Then I was single, struggling to survive and socialize myself in another state. There was no time for writing. Life just got in the way.

We come to 2012. I’m stable. I’m retired. I have nothing but time and support. Perhaps coming off of a manic episode that followed suddenly stopping a thirty year career; I wrote Red Clay and Roses. Not as a novel, not that formally. It was a story in my head that I had wanted to write since 1992. A visit to Georgia that included reuniting with a cousin whose life intersected with that story in ways I had never known about inspired me to write. In my newfound serenity of retirement I pounded that story out in four months.  I researched and wrote during every waking moment for four months.

98,362 words.  Writing Monday through Friday, that’s roughly 88 days, which comes to 1118 words per day. That’s if I wrote every day like a 9-5 job. That includes research time, which is something I spent a lot of time on.

So I set myself what I considered a reasonable word count goal with my current WIP, 500 words per day.

I thought surely I could at least write 500 words per day. Most certainly I could get my next first draft written in a year.

I was also blogging, so I put myself on blogging restriction for a couple of reasons.

  1. I was getting too intimidated by rules. Writing rules, rules, rules and more rules. Every post I read explained these rules, and advice. I’m capable of learning. I wanted to improve my writing. Seriously. The rules suck. They have thwarted my creativity beyond belief. The perfectionist in me, my internal editor, is too damned concerned about following the rules to get anything much accomplished.
  2. Time. Blogging takes time.

Now I think. I spend the minutes thinking. Hours, days, weeks, I spend thinking. I think all the time. I think about writing. I wake up thinking about writing. I think all day about writing. I think about writing hours after I have laid myself down at night. I think about the rules. I think about the story I am trying to tell. I think about the characters, their motivations, emotions, behaviors, words. I think about the plot, the hook, the pace, the development. I think about the right words, the right phrases, and the right prose. I think about backstory, information dumps, showing, not telling.

Sometimes I’ll have a thought, a really good one, and I can’t hold it. I lose it almost as quickly as the thought occurred. I have no memory. I used to recall phone numbers two weeks after I was given them without ever having written them down, and now, I can’t seem to be able to hold a creative thought from my mind to the screen.

I’m overthinking. Yet I can’t recall my thoughts.

Screw the rules and I can sit down and pump out 3000 words in one day.

Then I spend hours and hours rewriting, revising.

Other days I am lucky to write one sentence.

Many, many days I spend thinking.

Word counts? Pfft!

So what is it that stifles my creativity and cripples my mind? My word count?

Rules, too many years on psychotropic drugs, old age?

I have nothing but time, and yet the clock ticks.

Retirement plans. Word counts. Discipline. Stability. Too many stories in my head.

I just want to effectively tell a story.

I have been working on this since November and don’t have 20,000 words.

Capture                                       Jacob Andrews

Sunday Synopsis: WIP

I have thrown myself well into this WIP this week and I don’t plan on doing anything else next week beyond tossing a few chemicals in the pool and maybe working a couple of days doing wellness clinics, so I don’t think a bullet list of my progress is necessary to explain where I am.

There is a whole discipline dedicated to the study of relationships. It is called Sociology.

Psychology focuses on the individual and Sociology focuses on how these individuals relate to one another, whether independently or in groups.

My apologies in advance to all of you romance genre writers, I admire you (more and more everyday) but I really don’t like reading romance novels. I know the romance genre is a HOT TOPIC, but most of them bore me. I will read them if there is meat to the story beyond the relationship…a political conflict, a societal issue, a history to be discovered. I want some substance in my reading that speaks to a higher intellect. I don’t mean to sound snooty, but I can’t deny that I prefer literary or historical fiction over genre fiction.

I actually enjoy high minded ideals dissecting the human condition or creating timeless portraits of complex and interesting characters — in other words, I’m talking about going out and committing “literature,” whatever that might be.

The good stuff almost always works, first and foremost, viscerally. We are drawn into it because something there speaks to our deeper selves, gets inside us and takes hold.

Fiction always has to sneak past the barriers our intellects erect, because (by virtue of the label “fiction”) we know that the stories we’re being told are fabrications. We call this feat of mental gymnastics “willing suspension of disbelief,” and good writers tend to help us accomplish it in two ways: by making their fiction as plausible as possible, and even more significantly, by blazing through the brain and going for the gut.

But I am not normal.

My relationships have not been normal.

After a bizarre childhood, I was in therapy with a sociologist from 1979 to 1996 coming to terms with being married to a gay man who had a domineering mother. I have no qualms about that relationship, I came out of it a whole lot better off than I was when I went into it. But it was different.

I am writing a novel about two sisters who are not normal.

They are coming of age, though, in a society that has emphasis on traditional values, and at least giving the sense of an image of normalcy.

I have managed, I think, to show the relationships of the sisters to each other, their parents and authority figures, their community, but now they have reached the point of developing intimacy with the opposite sex.

So far, going between the two points of view in a fused third person perspective has worked quite well, but it seems to be seriously slowing things down at this point. I am now boring myself with the mundane and somewhat tedious task of developing these romantic relationships.

I am recalling the words in a very critical editorial review of my last novel concerning Sybil and Nathan: That I, “Rushed plot development,” through their relationship. (Which was brief, and not the gist of the story line.)

The reader did not feel as if I devoted enough time and effort into developing a meaningful relationship between the two before they were intimately involved, and then terminated their relations too abruptly. God forbid casual sex occur a few times between two consenting adults in their twenties out of curiosity.

There was a reason for that in RC&R, because Sybil was Bohemian, a free spirit, independent minded, and non-traditional. Part of what was to make that clear was how she reacted in relationships. It was 1954, and her behavior in that community was not supposed to be what one would consider acceptable or correct.

Again, we are in the late 1950’s.

Now I have these two sisters. One is involving herself in what would be considered an acceptable relationship, albeit a bit earlier that her elders had hoped.

The other is involving herself in a relationship that is clearly inappropriate. It is part of what will define her as abnormal by those standards that were in place in her community.

My dilemma, you ask?

I am boring myself into tears with the tedious task of painstaking plot development that I don’t find pleasant reading or writing.

I don’t like romance novels.

They are in relationships.

There is—must be—romance.

I want the walls to come crashing down!

I want to get on with the story!

Anyway. That’s where I am.


I hope you had a good week and have a good week in front of you.

Flowers from sky to earth just because it is springtime and they are pretty.
Flowers from sky to earth just because it is springtime and they are pretty.


Sunday Synopsis

This is the first Sunday Synopsis in a couple of weeks. It has been a busy and a not so busy couple of weeks.

Past two weeks:

  • I am not doing any promos/ads in particular anywhere, but my Kirkus review and my Reader’s Favorite reviews posted. I am picking up new readers every day or two, which is WAAAY cool. It is so very exciting to me to think of folk passing on my writing through word of mouth. That’s the nicest compliment ever!
  • I am finally satisfied with my chapter one in my WIP. So I feel like I can now move forward. I have the first five chapters done already, but kept going back to the first one. That has resulted in a couple of edits with subsequent chapters. Who knows, maybe I will change it again after a beta reading? We will see. For now, I am leaving it alone.
  • My Writers’ Group has added a daytime meeting that gives me more options.
  • I am seriously reading much more than usual. Got a couple of book reviews done. Reading for another couple of authors. I put my writing on hold when I am reading because the styles, in my mind, sometimes conflict.  I also concentrate and focus better if I am not trying to do both reading and writing at the same time.
  • My grandson had his first birthday party! He is also just taking his first steps. It is an odd thing that he was born on my mother’s birthday and my granddaughter was born on the anniversary of my mother’s death. Do you have any weird dates like that in your family? It’s quite common.
  • Along with his first birthday celebration came a gathering that included the outlaws. I say outlaws instead of in-laws because they are not in-laws anymore. They are the former spouse’s family, whom I divorced eighteen years ago. These are folk I have not been in the company of for eighteen more years. Aunt Leann and Uncle Phil were fun.  I am glad the baby had his Great Oma and Opa there, and his Pappy. Sorry that my son, the baby’s Uncle Daniel, could not join us, but somebody had to hold down the farm. Glad my husband braved the crowd with me.
Allamanda is blooming!
Allamanda is blooming!
Colorful Pentas are always pretty. They bloom all year, unless it freezes.
Colorful Pentas are always pretty. They bloom all year, unless it freezes.
Happy Birthday Sebastian!
Happy Birthday Sebastian!
Had to slip this one in of the grandson with his smash cake.
Had to slip this one in of the grandson with his smash cake.
This is a thirty year old hibiscus tree (not bush). few leaves yet, but just started putting out blooms. It will be covered in leaves and blooms in a couple of weeks.
This is a thirty year old hibiscus tree (not bush). Few leaves yet, but just started putting out blooms. It will be covered in leaves and blooms in a couple of weeks. The blossoms are doubled.
Bright red double hibiscus blossom. I love how frilly they are.
Bright red double hibiscus blossom. I love how frilly they are.

Next two weeks:

  • I have work days scheduled. I don’t work often anymore, but when old nursing friends call with assignments they need help with I can’t say no. So I have a couple of days scheduled for wellness clinics the end of this month and a few scheduled for the first of next month.
  • Writing, writing and more writing. I am at a point with my WIP where things can really begin to move quickly, I think. Excited about that. We will see how things pan out over the next few weeks.
  • The rocket scientist has to be out of town this upcoming week on business, so I won’t be obliged to have meals or laundry prepared…lots of “me time”.
  • Some of our snowbird friends will be heading north soon, so trying to enjoy their company while we can.
  • Black algae appeared in little spots in the pool, so that has to be treated immediately or we will get into serious trouble fast…so I already have the chemicals to deal with that.

What are you up to?

Sunday Synopsis

This past week:

  • Ten more books delivered to bookstores in tornado weather. Already had one bookstore notify me that they sold two copies and would like two more. I am glad, but with the price of gas and dealing with traffic, this whole self-distributor thing sucks. Two books at a time and they won’t buy more in bulk. (One store buys four.)
  • Mailed off Goodreads Giveaway copies to United Kingdom and Canada…$72.60 to send registered so I can track both for delivery. That’s a lot of money to simply give away. Plus the Amazon Gift Certificates…geez…there went all the promo money earned. Do you ever really do more than break even?
  • Decided writing a book is more fun than marketing or selling/distributing books.
  • Cleaned house. Sprayed weeds. Still don’t have pool chemicals balanced.
  • About the tweets. Learned to check analytic stats.  I thought the tweets were selling books, but NOT ONE of my book tweets has been clicked through via the URL. I guess they are selling WOM from others who bought through promo and such. Of course, that has almost come to halt. Selling one or two every day or two.
  • Also, about tweeting: It says in my profile that I am a supporter of liberal causes. What do people think that means? They follow me, then, on those days when I mention anything about abortion, prochoice, or gay rights…on those days…I get unfollowed. As many as 4-10 unfollows in one day. Granted, 4-6 will follow on those days. I am also followed by a lot of bail bondsmen. Not sure what that means. People are weird.
  • I participated in my first Meal Train. That was fun. Young lady in a third floor apartment that had a C-section. Beautiful baby girl.
  • Had grandkids and daughter over for a day. My grandson hates me. Screams almost every time I touch him, unless his mom is right there. Major separation anxiety!
Grandson looks like his mother where his sister looks like her father. Yes, those are dog toys he is playing with. he refuses to play with baby toys and likes to harass the dogs. He had been crawling around on the back porch in his pJs and would not let me finish dressing him.
Grandson looks like his mother where his sister looks like her father. Yes, those are dog toys he is playing with. He refuses to play with baby toys and likes to harass the dogs. He had been crawling around on the back porch in his PJs and would not let me finish dressing him.

This week:

  • It took me from April 2012 through July 2012 to write the first draft of Red Clay and Roses. I was totally dedicated to it and did not have a blog or any marketing going on. I was not working at all outside the home. I don’t watch TV or much of anything else…like playing games. I have got to get focused on my writing if I want to produce anything else.
  • Next point: I have a post that I am planning for tomorrow…beyond that; I am seriously contemplating an extended social media hiatus. A few weeks without blogging unless something just must be put out there. Occasionally reading when I need a break from writing. No every day comments…just lurking around from time to time. I know it sounds selfish. You guys are my world. I don’t work outside the home much, but I have some wellness screenings to do around the end of March. I consider YOU my coworkers and will miss you sorely. I hope you will all be here when I get back. I am afraid if I don’t commit to my writing much deeper than I have…this project will take much longer than I hoped. I wish I was as good of a multi-tasker as I was when I was nursing full-time, but I am not. I want to get done with this first draft and I am terribly distracted.
  • I will still do any promo pieces I am planning.
  • I have forty books on my reader, and 20 more that I want to purchase. I want to get more reading done, so I will post a book review from time to time.
  • I have a major art fair coming up in April. I have got to finish my jewelry pieces.
  • Also, with the time change…my gardening and yard work demand so much attention…okay, so much for excuses.
  • It is too bad that social media is such a time drain. After a few weeks, I will revisit my writing progress, and see how much social media I can resume. I don’t have a clue how you guys can turn out book after book, work full time jobs, manage a family and all at the same time. I think you are amazing and I applaud you! I am far from lazy. I stay immensely busy. I have to blame it on old age creeping up on me. My brain does not hold or process information like it once did.
  • Now that I have told you that I plan to abandon you, may I ask if I can call on you from time to time? I am certain that I will need to.

Why do I feel like we’re breaking up?  I still love you!

Sunday Synopsis

You all probably know by now that I have a really hard time keeping up with goals, I just roll them over. Such is life. 

This past week:

  • The pool chemicals still are not balanced. (But the water is too cold yet to really worry about that.)
  • The weeds are almost knee high AGAIN!
  • It was raining the first few days of the week, so no paperback books got delivered, (that’s my excuse, anyway).
  • The laundry got done, and the kitchen gets cleaned every day, the bathrooms got cleaned, but the furniture needs vacuuming, and the floors still need to be vacuumed and mopped. (The joys of owning shedding animals.)
  • I took my first chapter of my WIP to my writers’ group. Funny thing happened. I had gotten nervous and cut out some back story feeling it was too much telling and not enough showing. Guess what they said was missing? Back story. Go figure. I am about five chapters into this and keep rewriting chapter one. This may take a while. Still, I am having fun.
  • Those who follow me on Twitter know that my tweets have slowed down some. A few a day, instead of twenty or thirty. (You’re welcome.) I do think it is doing some good. I had a goal of three hundred books for the month of February with the 99 cent ENT promo for a day. I moved 151 in 2 days during that promo on the 15th and 16th, and had started with 19 sold before the promo at $3.99. (170) When the two days of the promo were over, the book remained at 99 cents pending all the other non-Amazon platforms getting the price reset, as Amazon won’t change the price back until everyone else does, and that took forever. The biggest problem was Sony dragging their feet, which got accomplished Feb 28th.  I opened a Twitter account on the 18th and kept moving books at 99 cents through the 28th to reach 298 for the month. That’s 128 more books in ten days. So I was very happy, and, though I did not quite reach my 300 goal, I came pretty darn close.
  • Then some magic happened today. After seeing no sales at all yesterday, and feeling like the party was definitely over now that the price is reset to $3.99 (which is what happened in December the day after the promo I had at that time), I sold two books today! Um wha! Whoever you were.  It is the toughest thing in the world when KDP rolls over to the next month and you are sitting there with a big fat zero until someone invests in you. Gives you the opportunity to share your story. That first number every month is like fairy dust sprinkled on a biscuit turning it into a cupcake with rainbow frosting. 
  • Since my royalty on those 99 cent books is 35 cents per book, I am not making any big purchases, but with the other 19 sales at $3.99 I did break $100.00 for the month of February, and we are still sharing the story.
  • Also, this past week, Red Clay and Roses was reviewed by the lovely Rosie Amber, which you can see here. And she posted a very nice interview here, which I really enjoyed because she asked me some seriously meaningful questions about the book that really got me thinking. There is also a new five star review on Amazon, which you can see here.
  • Finally, I got to go to the beach. I spend too much time in the house, so a bright sunshiny day at a sleepy little seaside village was perfect. See:

The Breakers restaurant, at the beach entrance.
The Breakers restaurant, at the beach entrance.
New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach
Beach goers having fun!
Beach goers having fun!
High surf in the Atlantic.
High surf in the Atlantic (Sailboats in the distance).
Roach Coach on the Beach
Roach Coach on the Beach
Feathered rats...I mean gulls.
Feathered rats…I mean gulls.
and more gulls.
and more gulls.
Garden Shop. Another day in paradise.
Garden Shop. Another day in paradise.
Pretty flowers high and low.
Pretty flowers high and low.
Shell shop.
Shell shop.
Painted murals along Flagler Avenue.
Painted murals along Flagler Avenue.
One of my favorite views is from inside the beach bar.
One of my favorite views is from inside the beach bar.

This Week: (For those of you who tolerated the slide show.)

  • More tweets.
  • Get books delivered.
  • More writing.
  • I am not promising to clean the house again.

Goodreads Giveaway is over tomorrow: 3/03/2014

Two autographed copies of Red Clay and Roses and two Amazon $10.00 gift cards up for grabs.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

Red Clay and Roses

by S.K. Nicholls

Giveaway ends March 03, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win

Sunday Synopsis


  • Got my oil changed (full 50K maintenance)…damn…that took a month of procrastination to accomplish and four hours at the Lexus dealership. They did feed me breakfast and lunch, and provided diet cokes and water. I had my iPad with me so I caught up on some reading.
  • What am I reading, you ask? Misha Burnett’s Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts. My husband already read them both, and thoroughly enjoyed. I am introducing him to indies and he is more than impressed. I am just getting started with the books myself. What a wonderful imaginatively creative author. Intriguing. That’s all I am going to say about that just now. Get your copies.
  • My post Valentine’s Day sale with ENT did very well moving a couple of hundred books, but in the category of literary fiction, not historical fiction. Something tells me these people may be harsher in reviews. A friend of a nursing friend posted my first two star review on Amazon. It is tacky. I am over it.
  • I finally jumped off the tree limb, spread my wings, and joined Twitter. I started out clueless and would like to apologize to any of the folk I possibly annoyed the hell out of while I was adjusting to this platform. BTW, I am still adjusting, so this is a proactive apology as well. My Twitter address, I think, is if you would dare to follow me.
  • I neglected my blog as I did some babysitting and went out and about town. We were supposed to go to the beach today, but I may go alone later this week. My husband grew up on the beach and loves the water. We are boat people, but he is not so fond of hanging out on the beach. He says that it reminds him of lonely times in his life, so I am trying to change that, but he won’t let me. I don’t push.
  • There are now three independent book stores carrying three copies each of Red Clay and Roses. They will call me if they would like more/sell out. It seemed a lot of work to get onto shelves locally. Traffic is awful here in the city this time of year in Florida. I can’t imagine those nine copies really doing a lot to make a huge impact on sales. Possibly some local interest.


Hot Pink Camellias
Hot Pink Camellias
Peppermint Camellias: Not the prettiest blooms as they are beginning to fade.
Peppermint Camellias: Not the prettiest blooms as they are beginning to fade.
Blooming cat, Boozer, performs eye roll.
Blooming cat, Boozer, performs eye roll.
Loquats are beginning to fruit. They are great off the tree or in salads.
Loquats are beginning to fruit. They are great off the tree or in salads.
Euphorbia ,"Crown of Thorns", blooms year round.
Euphorbia ,”Crown of Thorns”, blooms year round.


  • More book deliveries.
  • More Tweeting. My GoodKindles promo was not successful at all, so I am also looking into others. It seems that I have to find someplace that has a few hundred thousand followers to move a couple hundred books. BookBub still won’t give me a chance.
  • I finally got my first chapter to my WIP ready for reading to my writers’ group. That will be Wednesday. Still not certain if the first paragraph works.
  • Go to the beach before it gets too hot.
  • Spray the never ending weeds.
  • Get the chemicals balanced in the pool.
  • All the regular household duties that I tend to neglect while I #amwriting.
  • W.R.I.T.E.

Zen Floating: Sunday Synopsis

Looking at last week’s goals, I will tell you quickly that this week was more productive than last week. I have no earthly idea how my online persona comes across, but I don’t doubt in the least that my bipolar tendencies show through, whether medicated or not.

I did not get my oil changed, but I did get it scheduled.

I decided to keep writing. I post a lot about this WIP because your thoughts and ideas are important to me. I do feel like this project is going to take years, not months, to do the story justice. Also, I am trying to hone my creative writing skills, not simply tell you a story about events. I am reading much and learning much. I am about four chapters in, and I have rewritten two. I finally feel like I have a worthy first chapter to present to my writing meet up group. I am actually looking forward to sharing with them, and getting their feedback, even if it means rewriting again.

I still have not distributed my paperbacks to the independent bookstores yet. I have been putting that off, in part, because the paperback does not seem to have the appeal that I thought it would. I literally had dozens of people, nurse friends mostly, encouraging me to put the book in paperback form, so I did. So many friends and family said they would love to read it but they don’t have digital reader devices of any sort. I let everyone know that it was ready in POD. So far, I have sold ONE book! Seriously, ONE!

The four five star reviews and one four star review from Reader’s Favorite were used to create one review to post as an editorial on my Amazon page. I think one fairly short review says more than five long, verbose reviews could say.

The Goodreads Giveaway is still going on through March 3rd, so if you haven’t entered, there is still time to do that. In addition to giving away two paperback books, there are also a couple of $10.00 Amazon gift cards up for grabs. I am hoping you can buy more books with the money, but you can spend it on anything you like.

Also, “Red Clay and Roses” is a gift item in a Rafflecopter sponsored by Charles Yallowitz, creator of The Legends of Windemere fantasy series in celebration of the one year anniversary of the release of the series’ first book, “Beginning of a Hero”. There are lots of cool prizes, ebooks and paperbacks by various authors, gift cards, and swag. You can enter; see the gifts, and learn how to earn points here:

Earning points is easy! These are valuable items, and it costs you nothing but a few moments of your time. Well worth the investment. It is a big offer and there will be many winners.  Be a winner!

That wraps up all of my business and author goals. Now on to the other fun stuff I did this week.

For those who follow me on Facebook, you know I babysat grandchildren on Valentine’s Day. The four year old was no problem, but the 10 month old has severe separation anxiety. It was sort of fun, even though it was rather challenging. “Attachment bonding” may be a trendy thing for parents, but four hours of incessant screaming is not likely to help make grandparents feel well bonded to your child.

Yesterday, I finally got around to doing the Zen Floating thing. For those who haven’t heard of floating, it is sensory deprivation and the current fad among the chic and sophisticated.  It is supposed to provide for deep relaxation, both mental and physical. Although many claim to have hallucinatory experiences with the depth of mental relaxation involved, I did not have such. Maybe I am on too many psychotropic drugs designed to prevent such nonsense. Now I have had hallucinatory experiences in the past, so I was keen on what to expect. It didn’t happen for me, but it may happen for you.

As you can see, the sensory deprivation chamber is rather intimidating. It is a deep, wide vault of total darkness filled with warm water with a salinity more concentrated that that of the Dead Sea. It is impossible to sink in there, as the salt water makes you buoyant. The door to this crypt is heavier than Ralphie May, closes down on you like the trunk lid of a car, and you are in there naked and alone.

Even for me, not at all claustrophobic, there was an instant, but fleeting, sensation of panic and suffocation. It abated as I stretched out and relaxed in the 94 degree water, breathing the 94 degree air.

I have boiled sweetened condensed milk in the can into caramel. I felt as if I were going to come out transformed in some way from that which I went in. It was not nearly as serene as the pictures below. First, there is no light in there. Second, try to imagine the humidity such an environment makes. I felt as if I were fluidly evolving into some otherworld being. My body, the water, the air, all became as one. It was warm, wet, and weirdly exhilarating. It was also quiet enough to hear the blood pulsing through my veins. The only relief from the lack of any stimulation at all came from the sound of trickling water as I repositioned my arms across my chest.

The first fifteen, or so, minutes was tough.  I thought about trying to open the door just a hair to let in some fresh air. I chose not to, because I wanted to have the full sensory deprivation experience, right? Also, like I said before, that door is heavy. You can’t open it from the inside while lying down. So I relaxed and drifted both mentally and physically, melting away into the moments.

zen floating 002

I thought I might relax enough to fall asleep and just enjoy not being at all disturbed by anything or anybody. Instead, I wrote an entire chapter of my WIP in my head while I was in there.  I just couldn’t recall the words or phrases when I got out. A good forty-five minutes into this, I was floating away into oblivion when I had a sudden image of fifty one and two star reviews on my book. Don’t ask me why. Then blackness, nothingness. Fifteen minutes later, soft music began playing, signaling me that my time was over. I sat up and positioned myself to push the tombstone away. Upon opening the door, I finally had an opportunity to breathe, filling my lungs with refreshment.

I wouldn’t pay fifty dollars to do that again. I did this as a groupon that was gifted to me. While I think everyone might benefit from having done it once, I don’t think it is something that everyone will want to do on a regular basis. There were some benefits; my chronic shoulder pain was relieved, and I was pretty mellow for the remainder of the evening, much like warm pudding.

For our Valentine’s date we spent the evening at the Parliament House gay resort on Orange Blossom Trail, the notorious homosexual/tranny club and motel that is situated on Orlando’s famous hooker haunt. First, we went to the theater and witnessed the hilarious comedy murder mystery, “Carolina Moon”, a campy trailer trash tragedy.  The production was performed by two excellent white male actors who played a dozen roles (both male and female) in the story of the trailer park that once occupied the space that the Parliament House is located on and the people who lived there, including (but not limited to) a detective, a couple of rednecks, a drunk woman in curlers whose husband kept her on a leash and who kept her whiskey in a trash can, a black hooker from the trail, Lenny who lived in an iron lung, a scuba diver who owned a one legged duck, a retired waitress, a little girl in a tutu who lived in the dumpster, and of course, the murderess, a woman who built a hundred foot Tupperware sculpture on her front lawn (the Tupperware Headquarters was once located here). Okay, you probably had to be there, but it was funny. There were tons of insider jokes about Orlando, and the whole story of how the Parliament House came to be was told, so it was most entertaining, educational, too.  I learned what a plushie is.


Then we dined at the Rainbow Café on lobster bisque and filet mignon.  After which, we strolled around the pool patio under the propane heaters, checking out the vendors. I was a tiny bit uncomfortable being a woman in such a crowd even though there were many other women. We went in the sex shop and I had a sudden urge to buy a strap on.  My penis envy almost got the best of me, but I didn’t want to have to carry it into the next theater show. The general atmosphere was amazingly warm and receptive. The crowd was extremely diverse, from biker dudes in bandannas to steampunks in steel, all with leather accessories.


To kill some time we wandered through the wildly dressed in the seven dance clubs. The evening was topped off by Ru Paul’s Drag Race season three series winner RAJA in the theatrical production of “The Red Ball”. A colorful and fascinating show to say the least. This was a benefit for The Hope and Help Center, an AIDS awareness program.

Red Ball 2014 11x17

Oh, I almost forgot!

My Ereader News Promotional Update:

I put “Red Clay and Roses” in another category this time. Last time I had it in historical fiction and discounted from $3.99 to $2.99. Over the course of two weeks it sold a couple of hundred copies and I felt it was quite successful. Of course the rankings improved.

This time I listed it in literary fiction and again, a couple of hundred copies moved, but at 99 cents.

I don’t think price makes that much difference when people feel like they are getting a bargain because of the way that it is advertised. Granted, the historical fiction subscribers are much greater in number than the literary fiction subscribers, but I did expect to move more at 99 cents. Oddly, the rankings rose significantly higher with #3 made in one category. With a royalty of 35% on 99 cent sales, I’m not racing out to buy a new car or anything. It would be nice to sell in thousands, but hundreds beats zeros.

That’s the wrap up on my week. Next week, I plan to get those paperbacks distributed. Oh! And Write!

Sunday Synopsis

This is going to be brief. I got nothing accomplished this week except rewriting one chapter in my WIP.

I completed a couple of interviews, and posted a Goodreads Giveaway that continues through the month of February!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

Red Clay and Roses

by S.K. Nicholls

Giveaway ends March 03, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

My oil didn’t get changed. I still have not scheduled my sensory deprivation experience. My paperback books are waiting to be distributed. This all sounds so terrible. I have a lazy streak these days. I did not even do the laundry. My husband did his own.

I did some serious soul searching this week. Some of you already know this.

To write, not to write.

I decided to write.

I have four five star reviews from Reader’s Favorite and one four star review. I am debating whether or not to use them individually as editorials. Or whether to just pick out a few sentences and make one. I am told either way is acceptable. The girl who wrote about slaves submitted a new one.

I’m iffy about using these, but we paid for them. They refunded my money in full, because of the one book review all about slaves, when there is NOT ONE slave in the book, but I didn’t feel comfortable with the refund, so I had them re-bill me. I would not want to use a service that I did not pay for.

Honey, Daisy and Captain

The picture of the dogs is for cuteness, because I have nothing much else to say, and they look like I feel.