Summer is Officially Over

Hey y’all!  Good morning!  While it’s not officially the end of summer, but it’s the end of summer in my household.  As I’m typing this, my daughter is in a virtual classroom with her homeroom teacher, preparing to take her first MAP test of the school year… tenth grade.  Where has the time gone, right?

Since school is back in session, I’m back to fully working.  I’m teaching in the early morning, then after my daughter starts school, I’m cracking into creating new bookmarks to promote my upcoming book, brainstorming and creating fliers to promote my free library, communicating with my editor and preparing images to include in my upcoming book, and of course, keeping up with my daughter’s school agenda.

I’m actually glad school is back in session, because my daughter’s attitude, being a teenager and all, has been, per say, through the roof.  She’s at that age where she wants to believe she already knows everything, and as a teacher, I’m trying to educate her about the real world, but she just rolls her eyes or walks away; goes to her room.  I don’t remember ever showing as much attitude when I was her age, but we all say that, don’t we?  All in all, I can say she is generally a good kid.  Like any teenager, she needs an attitude adjustment every now and then.

My tomato garden is still coming along.  I’ve been able to pick three from the original I call ‘Mater’.  My roma, which I call ‘Roma’ has finally blossomed enough to develop a few tomatoes, and the larger of the three different tomato plants I have, I call ‘Allyn’ because she was given to me by my neighbor, an older gentleman.  His front yard is full of potted tomato plants nearly as tall as he is.

Here are some before photos of my tomato plants.

 

Here is what my tomatoes look now.

I’ll be able to pick the two in the single picture soon.  My ‘bae’ and I are looking forward to eating them on tomato sandwiches; my favorite simple summer sandwich.

I also wanted to share with y’all a photo of some ‘Elephant Ears’ growing on their own in my yard.  They aren’t as big or tall as the ones growing in my neighbors yard, but I still think they are a unique plant.

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Aren’t they cool?  I think so.

Well y’all, I’m going to conclude this post for now.  The good news is, with school back in session, as I mentioned before, I’m ‘in office’ more full time now.  Not that I ever left.

I hope y’all are maintaining a safe and healthy ‘in-home’ lifestyle.  I hope y’all are wearing your masks when going into public, and I hope y’all are practicing the health safety of social distancing.  Remember, we’ll get through this.

Thanks for reading y’all!

What’s Up, What’s Up?!

Hey y’all!  So, the last time I posted, I wrote that I had submitted my manuscript to my ‘possible’ agent at Page Publishing, and I would know, either way, within 2 weeks.

Well, last Tuesday, my ‘possible’ agent called back.  He actually called me on Monday, but I was bravely shopping at my local Walmart.  Don’t worry, I always wear a surgical face mask and gloves.  My husband was home, so he took the call, but my ‘possible’ agent didn’t say anything except “I’ll call her back”.  When I came home from shopping with my next door neighbor, my husband told me all about it as he came out our front door and crossed the street to meet me with our groceries at our neighbors car.  For the rest of the day, everywhere I went, my phone was on me, waiting for the call back, but he didn’t call back.  However, on Tuesday, the moment the phone rang, I snatched it up.  Low and behold, it was Page Publishing.

My ‘possible’ agent asked me how I was doing; I said I was good.  He asked how I was feeling; again, I said I was good.  Then he said, “I have news regarding your manuscript.”  Now my heart is racing, beating so hard it’s in my throat.

“Are you ready?” My possible agent asked me.

“I’m as ready as I’m going to be.” I replied, and we both laughed.

Without dragging it out any further, my agent accepted my manuscript.  I’M.  GOING.  TO.  BE.  PUBLISHED!  Y’all Didn’t Hear it from Me: A Journal of Life Stories is getting published!  OMG!!!

I am sorry that it took me a week to share my breakthrough news with y’all, but I was waiting until I signed my agreement and communicated with my assigned coordinator before I said anything.  Now that I have my itinerary, it’s real!  I AM A PUBLISHING AUTHOR!

So, what’s next?  The long, patient wait while everything about my book is checked and rechecked, created, developed, and priced.  Now I have to work on writing the Synopsis of my book, my ‘About The Author’ piece, submit any images I want included in my book’s content, and anything else my coordinator may want from me.

As of right now, the journey to writing and completing my manuscript was taxing, but enjoyable.  I feel like the journey to publishing is going to just as taxing, yet enjoyable as writing the physical book was.  Even hearing my coordinator go over all of my information felt remarkable.  It wasn’t just go over my name and author name, it was more when she read my title aloud to verify my work.  To hear someone other than myself or my husband say it, “Y’all Didn’t Hear it From Me: A Journal of Life Stories”, put me on cloud 9.  I know one thing is for sure, the day it all comes together and complete, and I receive my 10 copies in the mail, I’m vlogging the video for y’all to see.  I may cry, because I never saw myself publishing a book, but here I am, doing something extreme I didn’t know I wanted.  Something my family has doubted the possibility of since my great-grandmother, Nanny, published her Christian book of poetry.  She didn’t do anything with it, so it didn’t go anywhere.  She chose not to do anything with it for her own reasons.  I have so many reasons I am doing this.

By the way, what do you think of vlogging?  I’m curious.

Anyway, until next time!  Thanks for reading y’all!

A ‘Possible’ Agent

Hey y’all!  Yeah, I haven’t written, but I’ve been very busy wrapping things up on several ends.

First, my daughter’s in her last few weeks of school, so there’s MAP testing, Interim Assessments, and makeup work to raise a couple of her grades.  It’s a more trying time than normal because she’s not on her behavioral medication, because I’m not taking her out, not even to a routine checkup with her doctor.  I will deal with her ‘tude’ and helicopter her for the remainder of the school year.  I have taken the corona virus quarantine very seriously.

My birthday was last Sunday.  So, yup, I’m another year older, and I spent the entire day doing absolutely nothing.  Hubby and sat on sat on our front porch for most of it because the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  Around mid-morning, I mixed a couple Cape Cod Spritzers for us, and sat on the porch drinking them in.  At lunch, we ate and drank beer.  The only productive thing I did the whole day was talk and laugh with my hubby, and sang and danced with our daughter in the living room.  I also received several birthday wishes from my parents and friends!  It was a fantastic day!

Having said all that, the day before my birthday, I completed my manuscript!  I am so excited!  Now, that being said, I have already been in touch with my ‘possible’ agent, and I swear, I think we spoke over the phone for the better part of an hour.  I was so nervous, but my ‘possible’ agent was excellent.  He calmed my nerves and had me laughing, but the best part about our conversation is that he seemed to get a quick grasp of my personality.  My quirky personality shines all throughout my book, so I actually not nervous anymore about publishing my book.  I am anxious, excited, and eager to get started on the next stage.  The hardest part is over, for now because I’m taking a short, vacation-like break from creating in writing.  I’m going to write down ideas, but I’m not creating any new material.  Only for a short time.

The bottom line as of right now, there’s a 50% chance they won’t accept my work, but there’s a 50% chance they will accept my work.  Monday, when I submit my manuscript to my ‘possible’ agent, he will then give it to one of his people to read and review.  I’ll know one way or the other, ‘will they publish me, will they not publish me’, in 5-7 business days.  So, “Y’all Didn’t Hear It From Me” will be in my ‘possible’ agent’s inbox first thing Monday morning.

If y’all would, please say a pray and send positive vibes my way, for my book. I would love to make this dream a reality.  I would love for y’all to read it after it’s published!  Please, leave your positivity in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, and following me y’all. I appreciate and value every one of you.  Positive vibes!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Hey y’all!  I know, I said I wasn’t going to post again until St. Patrick’s Day, but I have to say, it’s been raining in my area for three days now.  The sad part about this three day rain I’m receiving, it’s been an on/off process for the better part of an entire month.  February.  Normally, I don’t have a problem with rain, but this past month has been much rainier than it needs to be.

We were in a drought through the entire summer last year, then winter came and with winter came the end of the year holidays.  No snow because I’m in Central Georgia.  Now, we’re finally getting back into the Spring season, and I swear, Mother Nature is trying to drown us.

No lie.  I stepped outside onto my porch this morning, between my first and second class.  The sun was not yet up or rising for the day, but it was clearly cloudy and raining.  No sooner did I step outside, turn around and shut my screen door, I saw an enormous flash of lightening, bright enough to light up the entire sky as if it’s the middle of the afternoon, and then it was like someone spilled a gigantic bucket of water, or something.  Had temperatures been about 30-40 degrees warmer, I could have had a shower.  Ironically enough, the rapid torrential downpour now taking place was coming down so hard, I didn’t think it could come down any harder, but it did.  In that moment, the rain coming down became so powerful, it was like standing beneath or beside a waterfall.

Since then, the sun has came up, but we can’t see it behind all the gray clouds, and yes, it is still raining, but the rain has let up to a misting drizzle.  My husband took out our garbage this morning, and as he was coming back around to our porch, he told me, each footstep is ‘squish, squish, squish’.  Like the last three days, it’s supposed to rain all day today, so the ground is going to be ‘squish, squish, squish’ for awhile.

Thank goodness I don’t have anywhere I have to be today, or my mood would be worse than what it currently is.  Right now, all I can do is sit around, think, and of course write.  Being stuck indoors is becoming very frustrating, I have to say.

Speaking of writing, my manuscript is steadily building, and very nicely.  I just recently finished and printed “Runaway”, a story about why I ran away after I turned eighteen, and “My All Time Low” which is a story about just that, my all-time low in life.  Dating a guy, moving in with him, and then learning that I should have followed my gut instinct.

While it might be raining outside, at least I have plenty of inside things to do.  Writing, washing laundry, writing, baking muffins, writing, and I have plenty to read.  Maybe I’ll get some sketching done.  I’m currently sketching a piece that’s symbolic of 9/11, and this reminds me of another story I’m rewriting, “Bleeding Patriotism”, about my very first time giving blood.  I was seventeen donating for the victims of 9/11.

Well, it was unexpected, but I’m sure you enjoyed the reading all the same.  Thank you for reading and I’ll post again on St. Patrick’s Day, or the day after because I have a really full schedule on St. Patrick’s Day.  I have three classes in the morning, my daughter has school until noon, I’m cleaning my parent’s house for them, and finally a doctor’s appointment.  See what I mean by a full schedule?

So, again, thanks y’all for reading!  Please, feel free to comment below!

It’s Manuscript Mania!

Hey y’all!  I thought I’d touch base again, and talk more about my manuscript.  It’s really coming along!  I started working on it daily and diligently just before the start of the new year, making it a strong habit to write daily, even if I’m only writing into a random journal.  My husband helps with the editing process on the more serious pieces.  I write, or lately, rewrite, give it to my husband for an opinion, and depending on his opinion of the piece, I reread it for revisions.  It’s a process, but we’re a great team.  My husband and I.

I’ve been pushing myself so much, I have a few pieces in limbo.  For example, I’m rereading to rewrite one, and my husband has three different ones in his email inbox waiting for him.  They either need a directional opinion, or a final proofread for grammatical mistakes.  A couple of them are pieces I’ll be submitting to Chicken Soup for the Soul!  The others, are my book.

I just finished with “Not Quite Nestle”, a story about my mother’s Christmas cookie disaster, and what exactly happened.

I spent some time revising a story I titled “What’s That Smell?”, about the birth of my daughter and a visitor I never expected.

Another story I’ve been working on, I titled “A Little R to R (Rest to Recuperate)”, a story I wrote about finding time for myself.  With all the stress in life, everyone needs a moment to themselves, to take a deep breath, to shake your shoulders, to meditate, or whatever you have to do to gain a better grip.  Finding time for myself came one step at a time.

I wrote a funnier story about Christmas awhile back, and decided it needed revising.  “Merlyn’s Christmas Cat’astrophe” is about our oldest cat and her first Christmas.  Kittens will be kittens.

That isn’t all.  There are more, but these are the more recent pieces.  I’ve spent all this time working on them, since just before the turn of the new year.  I’m up before the sun every morning because I teach English classes in a virtual classroom in China.  When I don’t have a class scheduled, I use that time to write and revise because the house is super quiet, peaceful, and still.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  I can’t wait to see it finished in April when I submit it for publication!

 

 

Welcome 2020!

Happy New Year y’all!

In my last post, I wrote and told y’all my new year’s resolution was to complete my manuscript, and I’m so excited to announce that I have officially began working on it full force.  It’s in full swing and it has been since December 30th!  Being that I’m writing my memoir, in short story form, I have several short stories written but need a lot of revising.  I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how I’m going to work them all out.  This in turn made me realize, I have to feel out which short stories to work on and when it’s the best time to work on each of them.  In other words, I can’t just work on one, finish it, and then continue on to the next short story in line.  Rather, I need to feel each story out.  For instance, to give you an example, I felt the need to work revisions in a short story about forgiving myself.  I can’t move on and work on a different short story about a memory until I have first forgiven myself for many of the choices I’ve made in my life which gave me the memories I’m writing about.

I’ve also decided to share excerpts from my written work.  How great does that sound?  I would love for y’all to purchase my first book once it’s published, but why would y’all buy my book if y’all have no clue what’s in it, right?  Personally, I don’t purchase a book without first having a little knowledge of the writer or it’s contents.

In “A Letter to Myself”, I wrote it because I have to first, forgive myself, but I also wrote it because I needed help forgiving myself.  I needed to write it so I could find the positive outcomes during some rough patches in my life.  Every obstacle I have faced taught me something.  In learning from it, I share the lesson in writing to help others possibly going through the same thing, or facing a similar obstacle of their own.  That’s who I am.  That’s what I do.

So, without further ado, here’s an excerpt from “A Letter to Myself”—–

“Keep in mind, life might not have happened as you planned, but it still happened, and you still obtained everything you were after.  The only difference was the journey.”

“Your life didn’t happen the way Granny planned either, but she wanted you to have the life she wanted and cheated herself out of- finishing high school, going to college, falling in love, marriage, and raising a family.  She didn’t want that for you, but for herself.  She was trying to live her life vicariously through you.  She had her own lessons to learn, through you, the unknowing teaching implement, but she was an unteachable student.”

 

I hope y’all enjoyed reading that small portion of my most recently, completely revised piece.  I was certainly a task to write, but you know what, I feel like I finally freed myself from a burden I should have never carried in the first place.  Like I can finally accept that while a lot of people in my past expected certain things from me, it matters more what I expect from myself.

In closing, I want you to know that I’ll be sharing many more excerpts from my book as I work on it and further it’s contents.  I have a lot to write about and I look forward to sharing more and more of it with all of you.  My goal is to finish my manuscript by the end of April, my birthday, and submit it to Page Publishing for, fingers crossed, publication!  Until then, I’m working on it one day at a time, writing on story at a time.  At the present moment, I’m revising “Not Quite Nestle” about a cookie baking experience gone very wrong.

Thanks for reading!

 

Friday Confession

I can spend all day, coming up with one thing or another to write about, yet every time I log in, and finally set myself to write, I’m a whiteboard that’s been wiped clean.  I’m an electronic memo, and I’ve been cleared.

I could write about my day.  Hubby and I rearranged our home office after I finished with our daughter in school.  Fridays are usually the weekly make-up day, as we make-up any work we put off doing Monday through Thursday.  She’s in four classes a day, also participating in what I call ‘After-school Stride’, and we finish with a Content Learning Session.  Most of the time we finish up decently, but she also has days when I can tell she isn’t trying.

So, after we finished with school, I was up to my waist in maneuvering office furniture.  I was initially trying for an office/living room in our bedroom, but soon realized we weren’t using the patch of living room.  Taking away the living room portion, our office is now a ‘full’ home office.  We have a lounge couch and a kitchen niche, like a teacher’s lounge.  Then hubby and I have our double-desk, a counter-height kitchen table set for two, and now we have a table for layout-spreading.  I am so serious about building my manuscript, I’ve begun the process of rewriting and revising previously written rough drafts.  Every time I finish a story, I’ll print it for my physical copy.  I have a story about chicken slick coming along impressively by my standards, and I want to submit it to a writing contest.  I have until the end of the month.

Taking two days off to maul over my hubby’s critique, and to think about the contents of the current draft, I’m working further revisions in the morning.

I’m trying so hard to find my voice in writing.  I can feel the emotions in someone’s story or a singer’s song, and I can almost identically relive a memory complete with the emotional strength I felt at the time, but to put that emotion into words, so the reader can feel them, I struggle.

I do know the best thing I can do is keep at it.  I didn’t spend three years working to earn a BA in Arts for Creative Writing for nothing.  Rejection means try harder.  I can’t give up because this time it would be me giving up on myself and I can’t do that.

Until Monday… thank you for reading.

Have a great weekend!

Moving Forward

I’ve spent the last few weeks cleaning and organizing my home office because, well, I needed to.  I needed to get myself completely on track which is why I wrote an itinerary.  Instead of working on a 4-burner stove, I’ve got 6-8 burners going, or it seems like that at times.  Keeping lists has improved my organization skills and switching to a 4-color Bic pen made a difference.  When I organize, I really organize!  Call me OCD.  I promise, it won’t hurt my feelings.  Plus, you wouldn’t believe the difference it makes to merely ‘dress the part’ for your business because it’s made a big difference for me.  When I’m writing, or creating the month’s magazine, or even sitting through online Class Connect with my daughter as her Learning Coach, I may be doing all of these things at home, but I like ‘looking the part’; dressing for the office.  It’s a self-motivator; to take myself serious.

We went back to school this week.  It’s a blessing because I’m able to watch my daughter educationally grow in online school, but it also means summer is officially over.  This year is her last year in middle school, so it’ll be a little bittersweet, but like every year before, I’ll have fond memories to reminisce on and write about in my memoir series.

Speaking of going back to school, I’ve started using social media to converse with other parents and Learning Coaches affiliated with Georgia Cyber Academy through a closed Facebook group.  Maybe, as the year progresses on, I can introduce my magazine.  Maybe they’ll sponsor our magazine!  I don’t know how exactly it works, but I won’t know unless I inquire; and research.

I noticed, I’m growing as a writer.  I’m busting through that final brick wall of self-doubt, allowing myself to write with a creativity that scares me.  I was writing a nonfiction piece for the August issue of McKraft’s Literary Magazine, about school cafeteria food.  I wound up titling it Smells Like School-Made Spaghetti.  The way I described some of the foods I wrote about, not only did I laugh at my own descriptive writing uncontrollably, but I also hesitated because I worried my descriptive writing would offend a reader, or readers.  My hubby is a big help in that area because he does all my proofreading.  We make the perfect team because of this.  He proofs my writing and I proof his.

As for my magazine; we’re still creating it, and it’s building per monthly issue.  I’m no longer printing them out because cost became entirely too much for our extremely limited budget, but I think I prefer going digital where this is concerned.  The cost comparison is definitely persuadable.  The August issue of McKraft’s Literary Magazine I created as I said before with ‘Back to School” in mind.  From my nonfiction piece about school food in the 90’s, my daughter’s essay about her love for GCA, to the cover art done entirely by me. I also included a very simple recipe for manipulatable no-bake cheesecake that makes for a nice slice of tasty, sweet after-school snack.  Yum!

Since creating a working itinerary, my manuscript is beginning to come along again.  Slowly build.  I just finished writing a story piece about my experience on September 11, 2001 for our upcoming issue of McKraft’s.  When I originally wrote the story, I was writing to submit it to Chicken Soup for the Soul- Spirit of America.  No success.  I thought about it again while brainstorming a theme for September, so I grabbed it up and rewrote it.  It’s going in our September issue of McKraft’s, but I’m also including it in my manuscript.  I’m pretty proud of my rewrite.

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“Checking In, Write A Thought”

Good morning!  The sun is shining, the birds can be heard through my currently closed office window, and all school assignments, tests, and quizzes have been completed for the week.  It’s Friday!

Since speaking one-on-one with a person from Page Publishing this past Tuesday, I’ve been working faithfully on my manuscript, literally for a couple of hours every day since.  For the past two days though, I’ve been struggling for an angle to write a certain story.  I’m writing a piece to submit for Chicken Soup for the Soul’s “The Golden Years–Life After 60” topic about how my dad and ‘bonus’ mom met, and the obstacles they fought to be together.  Yesterday, I finally broke through the wall of thought, and I think I have a much stronger lead now than I gave myself to work with the other day.  Never settle just because it’s a rough draft.  If it doesn’t ‘feel’ right or workable, it’s probably trash.  There have been times it took me three to four tries to create a working rough draft.

Since speaking with the person from Page Publishing, I won’t lie, I’ve been thinking about the next steps–cover design, the possibility of seeing and holding my physical book in hand after it’s published, and book signings.  It’s quite the new world to explore; a rather ‘large’ world and ‘large’ doesn’t even really describe it.  New authors are coming out every day, and a lot of them are coming out as New York Times Bestselling authors.  I wouldn’t mind a taste of that title, but that’s only going to be possible if my book, my memoir, is deemed ‘publish worthy’.

It will be publish worthy, because I’m writing about life.  I’m writing about the things I’ve seen, how I’ve lived, the choices I made, the bad and the good, where I came from, the things I’ve learned, and I’m writing about all of this because it can help someone else in, and during their own tough times and situations.  There are always lessons to be learned, sometimes it takes words from a book or helpful advice from a friend, neighbor, family member, or complete stranger to see the error or the solution.  I have been that friend, neighbor, family member, or complete stranger with great advice, but I’m better in writing.

“Happy Dance!”

This week is definitely improving compared to what last week was like.  Not only did my daughter do very well in school today passing both quizzes and redoing a misunderstood assignment from a couple weeks ago, but I finally spoke with the publisher this afternoon.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to call him, or if he was going to call me, but when he hadn’t called 10-minutes after the time, I called him–and he answered!

It was such a nice conversation.  It was full of information and he answered all my questions!  My head is still ‘buzzing’ with all the new-found knowledge!

So, what is my next step?  Well, the only direction to go is up.  From here on out, Monday through Friday, I’ll be creating, writing, revising, editing, and polishing until June when I’ll submit my finished manuscript to Page Publishing.  Then I’ll figure out what I’m doing from there.  For now, I have an official deadline.  He told me he’d call me in another month to see how I’m doing, and find out how my manuscript is coming.  I literally heard him typing this into his computer, so he’s serious, and I’m excited!

This is a whole new experience for me, but I’m not afraid anymore.  I know I can write.  Friends and family tell me this all the time.  Well, not all the time, but often enough I should start believing them.  I need to believe in myself.

The door to opportunity just opened, so I’m going to take it.  Now, to focus and concentrate!  Happy dance!