Writing on Life

When writing a novel, the entire outside world stops. That’s the way my brain works. I can’t say I am introverted or extroverted. I am both at different times. I’s hard to find balance.

Much of my writing evolves from my life experiences. Spending weeks into years in front of the computer writing narrows my focus. That’s a good thing for my writing.

However, to a degree, living stops. I don’t go out to socialize much. I don’t play games. I don’t get much work done outside of writing. I don’t go to movies. Hell, I don’t even watch television.

If it wasn’t for date night and the need to consume food, I’d never go out to eat or go to the grocery store.

But I get stories written.

The flip side to that is spending time living life offers me much to write about. People I meet, places I visit all have a way of getting integrated into my writing. Life experiences become the ingredients of my writing.

My two favorite quotes on writing and life:

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
― Gustave Flaubert
“In order to write about life first you must live it.”
― Ernest Hemingway

The ideas expressed in the quotes seem on the surface to be in opposition, yet apply to me. They’re understandable.

I’m not so regular and orderly, but I like writing about those things that are beyond the scope of my own comfort zone in living. Granted, I have been known to live a wild and crazy life, but even I have limits. My books know no limits. My characters do things and get involved in ways I never could…in real life.

The old cliché, “Write what you know” comes home to me each time I take my seat at my desk. Having lived a full life and taking long breaks from writing to live life has fed me and continues to feed me.

I am obsessed with life. When I am living life, and not writing, I am driving all over the state, meeting new people from all walks of life and visiting places I never knew existed. Hosting lavish parties with four-hundred guests and attending events with thousands. Life is terrible, grand, scary, comfortable, fascinating, exciting, horrific, and wonderful.

There is nothing dull about the life I live.

Now, on to writing.

I recently participated in the “Give Me Five” podcast with Jimmy McCurry, Greg and Rob. They review all sorts of things: movies, TV shows, games, books, places…all of those things that keep us entertained with living. I will let you know when the podcast airs. They asked me some questions and let me talk about writing, my book, Naked Alliances, and list my five favorites. I chose five favorite literary influences. I will keep you informed when the podcast goes live.

Best Laid Plans

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Did some house cleaning and renovations on the blog to kick off the New Year. That Orlando cityscape was more than I could continue to look at being faced with the daily compromises of city life. Yes, it has its conveniences, but I am soooo ready to be inconvenienced.

To that ends, once Irma passed by, we rallied to get some actual home renovations started in an effort to prepare to sell this house. We started with one bathroom, which led to two bathrooms and one bedroom. And then a sliding door, which led to a dining room that we use as a den. Right now, there are walls torn down and furniture placed everywhere except where it is supposed to be.

Access to my computer has been limited, and I cannot get much accomplished on my “slow as Christmas” laptop or phone. I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I do have plans.

  1. Get the house ready to put on the market.
  2. Get the house appraised.
  3. Get rid of the 50-60 years’ worth of junk in the house.
  4. Stage the house.
  5. Sell the house.
  6. Move to an island.

OH, YES!

I’m back to writing book two in the Naked Eye series, which used to be book three.

(A little update on book one. It got a one star review from a lady who once was a blogger friend. Apparently, she feels the word “fuck” is sensational, and not used in the “real world”. Not sure what world she lives in, but it’s a pretty common word…especially in crime circles. I was okay with that. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Even tho I felt it was retaliation for a comment left on her blog wherein I called her out on some racist comments she had made on her post, as well as derogatory statements regarding those who are not afforded the socio-economic status she enjoys. Just to be spiteful, she couldn’t stop there. She went back to her review on my previously published book and changed it from 5-star to 2-star and rewrote it. Really? These so-called “Christians” appall me. Honestly, it’s laughable. What an ass she is making of herself.

Progress on book two has been slower than expected. My trip to Vegas, while informative and exciting, basically let me know that I am ill-prepared to write the book two that I was planning to put to pen. There are far too many layers of depth to the gambling community that I do not understand well enough to make that story as authentic as it should be. Maybe later, when I have more time for research.

But I have to write, so book three has become book two. A case of mistaken identity leads Richard and Brandi into a much more sinister plot. I’m working on my character profiles to add to Scrivener now, and will post those soon.

I would like to have the first draft of this book completed by April, but writing for fun, I refuse to force myself onto deadlines that stress me too much. I want my work to reflect that it was well thought out and not forced.

There is something else I want to add on that note. We did away with our Kindle Unlimited subscription. I am ashamed to have to admit this, but the truth should be told. Most of the books were independently published and unreadable. I’m sorry if people find that offensive. We spent two years picking thru the rubbish piles trying to find decent books to read. We gave it a chance, but seriously…the poorly edited and sloppily written novels to choose from weren’t worth the time we spent sorting through the dribble. Quite an embarrassment. People need to do better.

If you cannot afford an editor, for developmental assistance and proofing, you cannot afford to publish. Your story isn’t worth shit if we have to struggle to read it. It certainly won’t be recommended, and that is how we sell books.

Enough on that.

Recently, I stepped down as team leader and admin for our local Pokemon GO group. We have about 10,000 members in our PoGo community and planning activities and hosting events for large crowds was wearing me thin. I hit level 40 (max) and now have a huge collection of 100% ers that are max combat power. Other than Raiding the Legendaries, I have pretty much gotten off the road with that game.

Brandi, however, has my addiction, which you will see comes in quite handy in the end.

Cheers!

Here’s to spending more time in your company this year.

Peace and good will to you and yours throughout the coming year!

What are your plans for the New Year?

In the Path

Most everyone who comes to this blog knows I live in Central Florida. Orlando, to be precise.  Hurricane Irma is supposed to hit Florida head on, but hurricanes are unpredictable and nobody really knows for sure what is going to happen. Currently the hurricane is directly over Cuba.

In 2004, we sighed with relief when Charley went into the Gulf of Mexico. However, at Charlotte Harbor, Charley turned eastbound up the Peace River. My husband and his former souse were sitting in Orlando watching on the television as the eye of the hurricane moved over their investment home on the Peace River and leveled it. His boat ended up in his neighbor’s living room. Then, Charley headed north, and hit Orlando wide open.

Charley was small, fast and furious, cutting a path across the state before heading back into the Atlantic on the other side of the state. When it hit the Gulf, all of Central Florida had let down their guard. Tornadoes were spawned in Charley’s wake. So there was much devastation across the state.

In 2004, I had never experienced a hurricane. That night, I was off work and sitting on my front porch talking to my dad on the phone while watching the huge oak trees across the street kiss the ground in the torrential rains. My little apartment was on the ground floor of a two-story cinder block building on the NW side of town and I felt safe.

Little did I know that the SE side of town was ripped apart near the airport. I never lost power, so I had hot water and air-conditioning. But I was most fortunate, most were without power for nine days. Early the next morning I was called into work.

As an RN I was considered first responder during Charley and our employers made nurses stay at work 24/7….could not even go home to shower and had to sleep in patients rooms on the floor. I mean we chose that job…but that’s how it was. I lived five mins away and off the night of the hurricane, but was called into work that morning and had to show the police my “Disaster Preparedness Team” papers to be able to be on the interstate. I was in College Park and worked off Michigan. After 16 hours of work, they wanted me to sleep on the floor in a patient’s room because we received a huge amount of patients that had been evacuated from a facility in Lake Wales that had lost its roof. They let me go home for 8 hours, but I had to sign a paper agreeing to be back when I said I would….or risk termination.

We lost a lot of patients during that time. The Nursing Home was without power for nine days. The backup generator only supplied a few room’s outlets. The oxygen concentrators are electric, and once we ran out of O2 tanks, people started dying. We saved more than we lost, but people were literally dying in the hallways. A van of nurses came from Lake Wales to help take care of their patients every day. A couple of days after Charley went thru, the van was involved in a terrible accident in the torrential rain and two nurses were killed and one was paralyzed for life. I don’t think non-essential employees should be mandated to stay on their jobs during such a crises. But it’s crazy here and people can be fired for leaving a job at McDonald’s. Unless they live in a mandatory evacuation area, they are expected to stay.

Life is an adventure and then you die….seriously…we’ve been helping people board up homes and secure pets for those that need to leave. Some of our friends have relatives on the coast that can’t drive any distance (elderly people) so they are going to get them and bringing them to Orlando…I actually feel safer here in Central FL than anywhere else in FL at the moment.

In the aftermath of Charley all you could smell when you walked outside was Bar-B-Q. People were grilling meats that had thawed and was one big party from backyard to back yard…lol It was quite an experience. Free food everywhere….people helping cover rooftops with tarps. Chainsaw sounds were deafening.

But here is the real kicker: We just bought a house on Matlacha. The island is basically a sandbar between Pine Island and Cape Coral in the Gulf of Mexico, just behind Sanibel Island. Pine Island is a conservation island where no more development is allowed…no big condos, hotels or big box stores. Matlacha (pronounced Matt-la-shay) is that tiny red island.

The homes are three feet above sea level…the quaint bungalow we hope to retire to is on a lot that is built up by about 6 feet, and Irma’s storm surge is expected to be 6-10 feet. The Key Westy home is surrounded by coconut trees and sits on a deep water canal just a few yards from the channel that runs wide open to the Gulf. The home is waterfront with picturesque shuttered windows all around, opening views to the dock and the bay. Sanibel and the barrier Islands offer some shelter, but you just never know about these things.

So there is that. Sure hoping the 1964 house will still be standing when all is done, and the island property is not on the bottom of the bay. It’s been there for more than fifty years, so all we can do is hope it can at least last another fifty years.

 

At any rate, we have a generator for powering our a/c and fridge here in Orlando in case we lose power, and the family is gathering at our place to weather whatever part of the storm hits us here in Orlando Sunday night. There is still a sliver of hope that Irma will continue westward, but all hope of it turning north and heading up the eastern seaboard is gone at this point. It is currently bearing down on Cuba and when it hits the mountains it should weaken. The FL Keys are just starting to get hit with the outer bands, and they are warning them for Cat 3 with 105-125 winds with gusts to 145, and it’s not looking good for Matlacha. However, the house was built in 1964, has weathered many a storm, and we can hope to weather another half century.

Battening down the hatches and riding out the storm!

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Relentless rains for days now.

Had big plans for the blog this year and can’t believe the year is nearly half over. I have accomplished little on the blog…but have managed to rewrite the first three chapters of book two of the Naked Eye Series four times and chapter four twice.

Seriously…I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, because I am writing and I have the story in my head. I can’t seem to get it out in the way I want it to be read. Characters start doing their own thing and getting me off task. I tried with an outline, but at the start of the novel, I find it more of a frustration than an asset.

And then there is this blog. I can’t count the number of times I have started a post and not been able to finish it. Might have something to do with the facts that I am babysitting grandchildren frequently now, and I am the Central Florida Valor Team Leader in three different places: Two FB pages and the pokemap Discord group. On our data page, I have been on top of the leaderboard more than not, and currently have 37 gyms. That’s #1 or in the top ten of over 10, 000 total trainers, even counting the bastards who spoof and bot gyms. This is quite a feat, when you consider that there are 1126 gyms in Orlando and most people can’t stay inside one for more than a day…lol But, we built a nice battle team of 185 players and we have trainers who run gyms, boots-on-the-ground, 24/7.

Had to put both my doggies, the pug and the Australian cattle dog, to sleep a couple weeks ago. It broke my heart and I was devastated, even tho I know it was the right thing to do. Captain wasn’t even able to stand up, and Daisy was headed that way. Neither were able to eat, and both were very ill. Captain had cancer and Daisy had end-stage diabetes and was insulin dependent and in kidney failure. They are both on a shelf by my desk now in their pretty cedar boxes.

The same day we put the doggies down, we went to a beautiful ballet recital where my granddaughter performed with her techniques class. We parked the van in the same parking lot downtown at the Dr. Phillip’s Performing Arts Center that we parked at last time. Only this time there was no attendant to take our money. We saw signs posted that said parking was 8 am-6 pm Monday thru Friday for the businesses there. What we didn’t see, in a corner far removed from the entrance, was a tiny little kiosk to pay for parking…so we got towed. To make matters worse, the towing company scratched the side of my new van, and damaged the front bumper…and, of course, they are not responding to our insurance company, so now we have a lawyer.

We had to pull up the tile from the lanai and get it replaced. My handy husband did the hardest part of the work, pulling up 2400 pounds on tiles, hauling it to the dump and grinding the old floor down to remove all the tile-set and old paint that caused our problem in the first place. He is truly amazing. The new tile floor is gorgeous. Now I have to shampoo the rug that belongs out there and put all of the furniture back into place.

I other news, (I was more of it was good news, but this is starting to sound like a “woe is me” post), we are getting a new roof. Right now, overhead, people are pounding my brains out with hammers and such, even through the rain, so I’ll not stay long here. Can’t think with all of this going on.

I really wanted to stop in here and let you all know I haven’t died, or abandoned my writing projects, or forgotten about you. I read through many posts, but don’t often have the time to comment. I can’t even keep up with the Tweets I’m supposed to be doing for RRBC. I’m usually a great team player, but things have been complicated lately.

Also, I want to express a huge hunk of gratitude for everyone who has read and posted reviews for Naked Alliances. You reviews are what spurs me to keep at it most every time I’m feeling like I just can’t anymore.  I click onto Amazon, read your words, and am inspired. Thank you.

FYI: Naked Alliances will go on sale for 99 cents in a couple of weeks, but you are welcome to read now, if you like 🙂

Click in side bar for link.

 

Book Review: The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack II

Reading is not something I am able to do when I’m writing, or when I have personal family matters if front of me, like babysitting three kids (unless I’m reading to them).

I haven’t been able to sit down and read a good book since September.

One book I recently finished up was supposed to be  read and reviewed before Halloween and it just didn’t happen. Not because I wasn’t enjoying the book, but, well, life.

image1

Review:

C.S. Boyack has a brilliant mind. I love his writing on his blog and in his books. The Experimental Notebook II is exactly what it claims to be, an experimental notebook. It is fascinating to see how his mind works and how the words come together in this little book of short stories. There are fifteen. Some are barely a page and others are several pages. I liked the longer ones best. I thought several of the stories needed to be expounded upon. But these are experiments that we just might get lucky enough to see developed into full books, or see some of the elements introduced into new works.

There is something in here for everybody, most pieces have a paranormal element, from the behaviors of a flock of magpies, to a couple mysteries that are solved in a most unique manner, to a sci-fi adventure to alien worlds. Although there are a couple of Halloweenish-type scary stories, this is a book that can be enjoyed any time.

It was exactly the sort of book I needed to grab a short read here and there through the Holidays.

I’ve read C.S. Boyack’s books and am a huge fan. He also has a spokesperson for his blog/books, Lisa Burton, who is a delight. I urge you to give him a follow at “Entertaining Stories”. I promise you will be entertained. He’s also a huge supporter of other authors…and an all around friendly guy.

4-Stars

Purchase Link

Blog

The author:

image9I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

99 Cent Sale–Naked Alliances by S.K. Nicholls #RRBC

This sale was supposed to start yesterday, but there was a snafu with pricing that’s been resolved.

The eBook is 99 cents. Paperback and Audible are also available. 

Use your holiday to take a Florida vacation, unravel a murder mystery and help bring down a crime boss. What could be more fun than sipping margaritas with a couple of sexy nudists while your at it?

Sunny and clear skies here at 77 degrees…allow us to warm you up!

It’s Monday and you have the day off. Turn on my favorite musical artist, Jimmy Buffett, pour yourself a tall one, grab a good book, and join the fruitcakes.

Audiobook—Naked Alliances is Live! #RRBC

I’m pleased to inform you that the audiobook for Naked Alliances is live at Amazon!

nakedalliances_audiobook-cover-4

I don’t set the price for the audiobook, but it’s $17.46 if you have an audible account. That’s not a bad price. The paperback is $14.50 and the digital book goes on sale tomorrow for 99 cents.

If you’ve never listened to an audiobook, I encourage you to give them a try. Here’s the sweet part:

Free with Audible trial

$0.00

Try Audible Free

  • Includes two free audiobooks
  • Choose from 180,000+ titles
  • After 30 days, Audible is $14.95/mo.
  • Cancel anytime

Plus, if someone signs onto Audible as a new member and buys their third book, I get a fifty dollar bonus. You can buy me dinner! Sweet!

AND, you can CANCEL any time, so you’re not stuck in some year–long contract.

I also woke up to a very nice review that I would like to share with you from Top 1000 Reviewer, Ionia Froment:

There are 19 Five-Star reviews now. I’m thrilled!

Thank you all for your support.