Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Balancing Act

Some days I feel as if I'm walking on a tightrope across a vast expanse with nothing below as far as the eye can see.

Every high wire artist knows one must have perfect balance on both sides to avoid falling. As an author, executive assistant, wife, mother, grandmother, cook, housekeeper, bookkeeper, blogger, and webmistress I struggle with keeping the correct balance. The main problem is finding time to do all the things that need to be done and still find the time and energy to write.

I'm fairly organized with every aspect of my life except for...my home office. Though I clean and organize, just a few days later I have accumulated piles of papers, books, mail, and so much more.

Then today I read my horoscope and it says:
The stars hand you an all-access pass to your heart and soul. It's time to explore. Learn what makes you tick and what holds you back from being the best you can be. Dig deep and learn all you can.

Oh, no!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Chicken Soup Day

Okay, I put on a pot of 15-bean soup when I left for work today. We had bean soup and cornbread. Yummy! So why the title of this blog entry? Well...

I returned home today to find a message on my answering machine from one of the editors of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She had been trying to email me (at an old address) for permission to publish my story "Hands of Time" in an April 2007 release of Chicken Soup for the Mother Daughter Soul 2.

This is a story I wrote back in 2002 in about one hour. It just poured onto the screen with no editing. I submitted it to Chicken Soup after my writing group encouraged me. I was surprised and happy when they published it in the Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Mothers. This was a small hard back book accompanied by photographs by Sharon Wohlmuth. A year later they published the story in its entirety in Chicken Soup to Inspire a Woman's Soul. This will make the third Chicken Soup book it will appear in!

My story "Through the Eye of a Child" is out this month in A Cup of Comfort for Grandparents.

And in just a week or so my book "Hit and Run" will be available in print. I consider these early birthday presents!

Yes, October 31 is coming soon. Be sure to check out my contest on my website and enter to win a gorgeous necklace.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Planets are Aligning

I've always been intrigued by things mystical, magical, and mysterious. I'm a natural born detective. I believe in psychic ability. I'm enthralled with beginnings and endings, and I'm filled with curiousity. I have a keen sense of intuition. I work hard for the things I want and do not believe in giving up. Some may see me as secretive and elusive, but I'm very loyal. At times I may coil in upon myself to regenerate. I'm passionate about all things and people in my life.

Who am I? I'm a scorpio, and I'm a writer.

My horoscope for the day:

Someone in a position that counts could help you make your dreams come true. Go out of your way to convey the depth of your planning and the passion behind your ideas, and this person is sure to get on board.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

OSU Tailgate Party

Each day I wake up with excitement wondering what adventures are in store for me. Keeping a positive attitude is one of the things I strive to do daily. I try to look at thing optimistically, and I'm always ready to learn or try something new. I'm not really an outgoing party animal...quite the opposite in fact. I tend to be shy around people I don't know or don't know well. That said, can you imagine me actually attending an OSU (The Ohio State University) Tailgate Party? See my grin...I did it! I really did it! I've never seen anything like this in my life. I've never ventured close to the "horseshoe" on game day. Shucks, they turn over cars and set things on fire around campus on game day. **shudder**

My adventure today started when I asked my daughter to accompany me to the Great American Tailgate Party hosted by Jack Daniels. We headed off with our tickets in hand with no idea what we were in for! Where would we park?

Surely there would something fairly close to our function. So we turned down Lane Avenue and immediately found ourselves in the worst traffic jam I've ever seen. The streets were crowded with students proudly wearing their colors and they were packed tightly shoulder to shoulder! An hour later we finally parked in a shopping center about one and a half miles away. It took us a half hour to walk back and we found ouselves jammed into an area where everyone was screaming and drinking and we couldn't budge an inch. To top it all off, we are both around five feet tall, and these hunks were six feet and over. We finally managed to push and shove our way toward the Jack Daniels Tent where we were invited only to find we couldn't get in that way. Sooooo we had to make our way back out and up to the next gate.

I won't bore you with all the details, but I can now say I attended an authentic OSU tailgate party. Great food, good drinks, and a big screen TV for those who didn't have tickets and wanted to watch the game there. We left with our loot as soon as the game started and made it back to our car just as a tow truck was busy loading up two car next to ours. Yep, they tow away cars of people who park there and head off to the game! Five minutes later and we wouldn't have had transportation. Home again, home again and now I'm limping around with padding over the blisters on my feet. I'm sure this day will find it's way into a book before long. Isn't it fun the things we will collect? I wonder when I'll ever wear the Jack Daniels T-shirt and the plastic necklace, let alone drink something again from that plastic cup?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Do You Understand E-Books? Do you Like Contests?

What do you know about e-books? There is a divided audience between those who like to hold a book in their hand and those who enjoy reading on the computer screen (or a PDA device). Most people who say they prefer holding a book haven't ever tried an e-book. I like both e-books and print books. I like to take a print book to bed and read it to help me fall asleep. I also like e-books. I have an old Palm Vx which I've used to read many different books. It's lightweight and very compact (the size of a man's wallet). I carry it in my purse when I'm traveling or to work. I store the e-books on my computer. The problem with that is the screen is very small.

I decided recently to try downloading a free reader device and purchased several e-books that are formatted for it. I use MobiPocket. The advantage of this is that I can read these from my computer screen--much larger print than a paperback or PDA device. It's fun! I have a virtual bookshelf that shows all the books I've purchased. With the click of my mouse I can choose a book to read. When I'm finished reading, I click my mouse to "bookmark" the page. It's so cute. One corner of the page folds down, and I don't have to feel guilty about doing it! When I'm ready to read that book again, it opens right to the page where I left off, just as if I had placed a bookmarker in a "print" version. Now I have the best of all reading worlds!

Why don't you give it a try? E-books are fun, easy, and very economical. What do you have to lose by giving it a try? There are tons of e-books available through many different internet bookstores, but my favorite place to shop is The Wild Rose Press Bookstore.

To entice you to try an e-book, I'm giving away a very special gift on my birthday-- Halloween, October 31st. You could be a winner if you qualify by reading Hit and Run and answering the question: Where does Ryan propose to Beth?

Download a copy of Hit and Run now. so you can enter the contest before October 31st.

You can find out more about the prize (hint: it's a necklace) and submit your contest entry form at my website.

My horoscope for today: The stars get practical on you, especially when it comes to your health. Is it any wonder you feel lousy if you're drinking too much caffeine, not sleeping enough and eating too much fast food? Straighten up and fly right.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Inside the Villian's Head

My horoscope for today: It's all about you, baby! The spotlight turns in your direction, and the stars amp up your magnetism. You're practically irresistible. Some might coast on their charm, but not you -- you're all about action.

An Excerpt from Hit and Run -- Villian's POV

Keith read the legal mumbo jumbo again. The words blurred through a red haze of anger. Drawing in a deep breath, he fought against the rage he'd been fighting all his life. Would he never get past the anger?

Jilly had helped him. He'd slept without nightmares for a long time after marrying her. If only--

The doorbell rang. He dropped the papers with a curse. The doorbell sounded again with a relentless shrill. He stomped to the front door and found Roger Parkins leaning on the button.

"What the hell do you want?"

Roger moved and the ringing ceased.

"You know what I want, Carson. You owe me money."

"I told you I'd get it."

Roger shoved his way into the house. "Your time's up. Pay me now, or I go to the cops."

Keith clenched his fists. It would be so easy to take this dope out with one swing. Just one. The anger simmered just on the verge of erupting, but he managed to push it back. His temples throbbed, making it difficult to focus. "I need more time." He opened his fingers, one at a time, releasing the tension.

"How much time?" Pacing across the living room, his frayed pant cuffs dragging the floor, Roger tried unsuccessfully to portray a menacing offensive.

"Two weeks," Keith responded.

"Too long." The pacing continued.

"What's your hurry, man?" Keith asked. "I told you I'd get it."

A noticeable tic pulsed under Roger's right eye. "I need it now."

"Give me a week."

"A week? I've been waiting weeks already. You're stalling me."

"I'm having a little problem getting my hands on the cash. Give me a week."

Roger pointed a finger in Keith’s face. "One week, or else." He glared at Keith for a moment, spun and scurried out the door to his truck as if the devil were on his heels.

"Don't hold your breath," Keith muttered.

Roger gunned the motor and the dark blue pickup fishtailed away.

Stupid loser. He'd never see a penny of the money. Every dime belonged to Keith. He'd earned it. Paying Roger wouldn't get him off his back. He'd blackmail Keith forever if he buckled. Besides Keith had plans of his own. Plans that didn't include a wife, a sobbing kid, or this hillbilly junction.

He sauntered back to the kitchen and picked up the papers again. He'd have to find a way to deal with the turn of the cards. Swallowing the last ounce of beer, he smashed the empty can against the table. Staggering into the living room, he dropped into his recliner. He had no intention of giving Jilly a divorce and no intention of paying blackmail money to the druggie.

Keith stretched out his legs and folded his arms behind his head. Roger had to be dealt with. Keith couldn't take a chance on letting him run off at the mouth to the cops. Roger knew about the prostitute in Denver. It was an accident. Keith hadn't meant to kill her. His mistake was running and now he couldn't stop.

Anger had been the bane of his existence since he'd left his old man for dead all those years ago. Usually he could control it, but sometimes it got too intense. It was during one of those moments when he'd hurt that prostitute.
He had to silence Roger soon.

The wheels began to turn.

He had a lot of planning to do.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Party Time!!

Tommie: Come on out everyone, party time!!

Beth: What are you doing, Tommie? We can't all be out at one time. You know the rules.

Kristin: Who says we have to follow the rules?

Tommie: Rules, smules. It's party time!! The blog owner is busy packing for a trip. She's going to take four days off and we get to take over!

Beth: You can be an incredible dumb*&& Tommie. If she goes, we go. Everyone knows that.

Kristin: Well, maybe we don't have to. I have an idea.

Tommie: Do tell. You wimps don't know the first thing about revolt. Stick with me. I can show you how it's done. After all I work for one of the top covert government agencies in the world.

Beth: And you're full of yourself, aren't you? You think you're so tough, but I know you're all talk.

Tommie: Talk? I'm a woman of action, not just words.

Beth: Then why are you stuck in Chapter three?

Kristin: Ladies, please!!! Stop. This is crazy. The last thing we need to do is fight. You know what happens when things get all heated up.

**a long pregnant silence**

Suddenly the air begins to change. The very essence of it grows heavy, weighing upon the entities floating in the swirling vortex. A chill descends.

Riker: Tommie? Where are you? You know I'm going to find you. You're next. You're the next kill.

Keith: Bethie? I'm coming for you...soon.

Peter: You can't hide from me forever, Kristin. I have the means to track you down, and when I do...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Stop the Insanity...

Egads, Can you believe what is happening here? All of the characters living in Carol Ann's world have been friendly and supportive for years. Now suddenly everyone is jealous of Beth's success. I haven't been around as long as Beth. She was the first to move into this world, so why not let her have her moment? My name is Kristin and I'm the current character whose story is being written. I'm not sure why Tommie got stuck in chapter three like that. I just hope she doesn't decide to attack me. I've had a rough time and I'm a bit vulnerable right now. I'm in Chapter Four so hopefully soon things will get better for me. I've actually met a man who is so kind, supportive, and...yes, I'll admit it...sexy, too. Oh, I checked on Carol Ann's horoscope for the day. Here's what it says:
You have lots of pursuits -- practical, financial and social. So many, in fact, that you can easily feel overwhelmed. While you love to take on more than you can handle, scale down if you want to excel at anything.
So, instead of focusing on her writing, do you know what she's doing? She's watching "Dancing with the Stars". As soon as that's finished she's going to be in a Author Chat. Geesh, all that after working all day, and she's in a very busy time of her works season as well...and she's planning a trip to Tennessee. She leaves on Thursday. What will it take to get her to 'stop the insanity?'

Monday, September 11, 2006

Email from Beth to Tommie

Dear Tommie,
I really am unhappy that you are keeping me repressed and trying to break out while it is my turn to have my story told. Your time will come, and I don't think you'd like me trying to overtake Carol Ann while she was promoting your story! You are a selfish person. You seem to have a serious case of "me-itis" that is really beginning to tick me off. I don't take well to people telling me what to do, and I'm not going to sit back and let you take over. You thought you had me stuffed inside, didn't you? Well, I showed you. See I now have control and I plan to stay in control for the near future. Quite frankly I think you belong stuck in Chapter Three. Ha-ha-ha! Maybe the muse isn't ready to take you any further. Me, now, I've actually reached my happily ever after. I got my man. He's a hunk, a wonderful hunk, with a great sense of humor. So all I can say to you is "bite me."


Sunday, September 10, 2006

You Think You Have A Problem????

See, I know I have a problem and so do quite a number of my friends who reside inside the mind of this blog owner. Let me introduce myself...

I'm Tommie Andersen, with an E not an O. And I have a story to tell. The problem is getting the attention of the only person who can get it in the hands of those who might care. She's too busy right now with promoting Beth's story and with writing Kristin's. How's a poor gal like me to get her story told. Oh, sure, Ms. Erhardt has sketched out my tale while listening to me one night when I grabbed her attention. She even wrote the first few chapters and I think she posted the first one on her website. But seems I'm stuck at the end of chapter three where I insist on being part of the task force to capture the man who is responsible for the scar on my face. See he's called The Baby Snatcher, but I know his real name--Avery Riker. I can identify him. I just hope he doesn't find a way to get out before...

Oh, no, my link is growing weaker. Someone is trying to override me. Is it Ms. Erhardt or...?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Horoscope for the Day

Look what I woke up to this morning for my horoscope:
Scorpio - Tap into the collective unconscious for fresh inspiration for your work, social life and creative projects. Go people-watch. Meditate in a spot of great natural beauty. Your muse is out there waiting.

So, does that mean I should call in sick from work? I've got to finish writing my contest story and I need to start writing my holiday story...then there's those five pages a day on my current wip that needs to be written...

On the other hand, if I want to pay bills and eat, guess I'd better go to work. Oh, muse, will you wait for me??

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Even Publishers Make Mistakes

In addition to writing novels, I also write inspirational stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort. I have a new story coming out in Cup of Comfort for Grandparents, titled "Through the Eye of a Child". The book should be on the bookstore shelves this week or early next week. My contract states that I receive a specified one-time payment for my story and a copy of the book. Today I received the check, but it was for only one-half of the contracted amount. I was pretty upset. I came into my office and pulled the contract. **grin** Hubby was close on my heels, very upset that someone would dare to do such a thing to me, his favorite author. He was amazed when he saw how organized my file system was. **grin** Anyway, the amount in the contract is exactly what I thought and the publisher had shorted me by a significant amount. Next step was to log into my email and pull up the publisher email and notify them...but waiting in my inbox was an apology from the publisher. Seems they had cut the amount incorrect for ALL the authors who are included in the book. We were told to go ahead and cash the check and an additional check was being cut now and should be mailed right away. The book is being mailed next week.

Ah, so now I feel very powerful. See...even publishers make errors.

Now if only I could come up with a great idea for a book series where other authors did all the writing and I published...and then I reaped all the royalties...but that's another story.

I remember being approached by people who were interested in my true life story of surviving domestic violence which was published on my personal website. They wanted me to allow them to print my story in a book which would be published to help others who were in similar situations. Of course they would have to charge for the book because of the publishing expenses. Hmmm. I declined. Don't misunderstand me, I am all for helping in any way I can. I had many, many women write me about their experiences in being in similar situations and having escaped. Some wrote me and asked for advice on how to get out. I always directed them to sources I had linked on my website. There are many organizations who help. But about allowing my story to be published, maybe I was wrong. Have any of you ever been approached for something similar? If so how did you respond?

You Are a Blue Flower

A blue flower tends to represent peace, openness, and balance.
At times, you are very delicate like a cornflower.
And at other times, you are wise like an iris.
And more than you wish, you're a little cold, like a blue hydrangea.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Ties That Bind

How did you spend your weekend? We traveled to Muskegon, Michigan, to visit family. What a fabulous trip. We left Columbus in the rain and as we entered Michigan the sun appeared. The entire weekend weather was perfect. Sunny and in the mid seventies. My husband's sister and husband have two new additions to their family--Chester and Ellie, two small and very chubby dogs. LOL! They are so cute. We visited with cousins, reminsced through old snapshots, talked about old times, ate too much and had fun playing Speed Rummy. The trip reminded me of how precious family is to us. Sometimes we take families for granted, but that should never be. We never know how long we'll have each other. That was brought so clear to us a few months ago when a dear cousin drowned in Lake Michigan. He was dearly missed on this trip. I look at our family that is nearby and realize that I do take them for granted sometimes. I'm going to make more of an effort to encourage family get-togethers in the future. It's not worth it to worry about whether the house is perfect, or if there are enough seats for everyone. What is important is the family bonding time, the sharing of memories, the laughter, the new memories we will build for future generations to remember...and hopefully carry on the tradition.

Happy family bonding to you all.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hit and Run - Now Available for Purchase - It's Been a Great Day!!

Yes, it's true! I've been dancing on a cloud all day. My novel is now available for purchase at The Wild Rose Press!! It's been such a fantastic day. Lots of great things are happening at my publisher. Great new releases and plenty of opportunity to win contests.

We are having our first annual Premiere Rose Bouquet contest. I wanted to enter, but had no idea of what to write. Then today the perfect story popped into my head. The main character tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey, I want to be in the contest. Why don't you write about this..." Any of you other writers ever have that happen to you? A scene just painted itself in my mind, complete with dialogue and I'm rarin' to go.

Don't forget to sign up for a free download of Hit and Run. Nothing to this contest. Just enter your name. It's my way of celebrating the release of my very first novel. It's a story close to my heart, as I guess all first novels are. I never dreamed it would ever get published, but I'm glad the story is being told.

No matter what story I'm telling, an animal always manages to wriggle into it. Honest, I don't start out planning that, but it happens just the same.

I had some other good news, today, too. Ally, my editor with Hit and Run, is going to read my novel, Foxfire. Woo hoo!!

It's been a super day!!