Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!

Stay safe and I'll see you on Monday to start making some forward movement in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #3

#3 Jeans are casual wear. If you have to worry about what you have in them or what you get on them you aren’t wearing them right.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010

Welcome to the end of another year. It's time to reflect on it, see where it went right and where it maybe got a bit off track then make a whole bunch of resolutions (no matter how much you say you don't) that may or may not be stuck to! There's a lot of budding hope in this time of year if you really think about it. Maybe the trick is to see which buds need to be nipped and which ones need to be pampered. Sometimes it's a hard call. I wish you luck with making the choice.

I've got no real literary goals for this week. I'm still riding on the holiday down time and catching up with the real world of the house and family and eating too much sugar to think straight. I've got a couple of projects jockeying for position in my head for when I'm ready to get back into the race, but for now they can bounce up and down, wave their little idea arms and solidify some more while they wait for the year to change over and me to decide where to nip and where to feed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

December 24, 2010

Whether your Christmas plans include jingle bells or a silent night, I hope that it is filled with love and glad tidings of wondrous things.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #11

#11 The Happy Dance should be done daily.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 21, 2010

Happy Winter Solstice! And a very special night it was too (although I admit, I slept through the event) We had the first lunar eclipse on Winter Solstice in around 375 years. Pretty darned nifty! Here's hoping it works some seasonal magic and replaces a bit of the snarky out there (okay, and in here too) with some awe.
This week, I've decided that instead of goals that I won't possibly be able to meet due to the fact that I'm buried under the Christmas season I'm going to post a little list of holiday survival techniques. These apply whether you are planning on large gatherings or (like us) keeping things small and centered on your own house. I have learned most of them the hard way - some more than once. Here's hoping they help you get through the chaos!

Brittney's Holiday Survival Guide

1. Don't kick yourself for running late - probably wherever you are going (including your own kitchen) is currently under the control of mayhem and no one will even notice (this goes for blog posts and website updates too...)

2. Don't stress about the perfect gift - if it's not "just right" at least you got it to the right person (hopefully).

3. Don't get sucked into the black hole of someone else's drama - excuse yourself, get one of those cookie's you've been eyeballing for 20 minutes and find something to do that won't cause you grief for the next 3 months.

4. Don't overindulge in the alcohol department - too many people now have video phones and will be all too happy to record your table dance, and it makes you more vulnerable to the drama black hole mentioned in #3.

5. When all else fails and you aren't sure if you're going to find your way out of the wrapping paper and relatives alive just hang on tight and remember "this too shall pass".

Happy Countdown to Christmas everyone!
(Note on the picture: This is how we used to kill some of the holiday stress. We'd hold an annual Christmas cookie decorating party/icing fight. I actually really miss it now that people are just too large to not destroy the house... although I don't miss the clean up!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17, 2010

Hmmmm well, I got ONE new Wednesday's Words illustration done, and I PLANNED what cookies I'm going to make... that counts, right? Especially when you take a couple of things into consideration like: I've been working in the living room for the added warmth of the fireplace. The boys have also been working in the living room for the same reason. During school hours having me so handy and close prompts a lot of questions about school work, and is also a great way for them to procrastinate doing said school work by checking my progress on whatever I'm working on. Kind feels like having vultures hovering which doesn't feed creativity well. After school I've been "enjoying" their choices for TV viewing. Let's just say that I now completely understand why some have said that TV will rot your brain. Mine is soft, mushy and devoid of most of its IQ points - also not great for creativity. I would have escaped to bake cookies, but as it turned out all the little weird things that go with the recipes I want to make this year need restocked and someone decided they wanted chocolate and wiped out half the bag of chocolate chips. It wasn't me either in case you were wondering, I had plans to put those in chocolate cookie batter with marshmallows in the middle - MUCH better chocolate fix than plain old chocolate chips! So now it's off to the store for ingredients - hopefully the cold air and time away from the brain leach of any show involving Ashton Kutcher (what the HECK is Demi Moore thinking????????), firecrackers, and/or a catalog of would be Darwin Award moments will kick start my mental motor again! Have fun with your weekend, stay warm, and enjoy the last few days of pre-Christmas excitement buildup!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #40

#40 Look for what the drama is trying to distract you from.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010

Welcome to a brand new, snow covered, windy, and COLD Monday. This is the last week before my kids are on Christmas break, and I'm wondering whether they are on schedule like they say they are. My guess is "not exactly" so I'm waiting to hear the excuses. I've been trying to decide what needs my attention that I can positively influence this week as far as writing goes. I think the winners for the goals list are to get some Wednesday's Words illustrations done and edit chapters 4 and 5 for The Quest for Crystal Cave so I can post them next Monday. Both of those should fit nicely around baking!
Stay warm this week and I'll see you Friday!
(Note on the picture - that's Monster Cat peeking at the weather - he's not impressed either)

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10, 2010

If the kitchen floor cleaning fairies would appear and Santa would pick up a box or two on his upcoming trip I'd be set. Barring those two options I'm surprisingly close to being as caught up as I had hoped to be today. Check out the first part of The Quest for Crystal Cave - a stand alone Fiddlebug and Friends story that I am sharing for the holidays instead of the normal projects. It's up on the Sophie's Sneeze page at .
A thought also hit me this week that when it comes right down to it, my goals and tangible accomplishments don't often reflect what I'm actually doing with my weird little writing career during the week. I don't mention story ideas that I write up and set aside to see if they want to become something more or if they are happy just to be a thought bubble - I do a lot of that actually. Sadly I have a fear that it's my brain's way of avoiding editing existing writing (I say that while trying to smile and laugh like it's a joke...) I dig through my mentally drained mind hoping to find some great marketing idea for what I already have published so I can increase sales and expand my area of exposure without draining the itty bitty amount of funds I have to put toward the cause right now. I remind myself that I need to work on some illustrations for the Wednesday's Words posts, and for a couple of manuscripts that are pretty much complete (aside from some - you guessed it - editing) I also try to work in time to read the advice of people who have found solutions to their writing issues to see if any of those will work for me (mostly I then snort and mutter "Well, that looks like a whole lot of luck to me," by the end of the article.) Granted I don't do any of this in huge blocks of time and a lot of it is done while loading the dishwasher or getting dinner ready, etc. Most of it stays in my head or jotted on post-it notes that later disappear into the space/time vortex floating around in this office. The thing is that I do actually spend a lot more time working than it looks like I do here some weeks. If you're wondering, I'm mentioning this because I needed the reminder. I've got a lot going on in the part of my world where the pen is definitely not mightier than the pile of dishes and where communication doesn't happen just because I decide to write dialog. When you're measuring progress in an area that isn't speeding along, sometimes its important to mark off the centimeters.
Anyway, enough ramblings. I'm off to the weekend - which very joyfully includes my favorite Chronicles of Narnia story in movie form: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader! See you Monday!
(Note on the picture: I could go on about some meaningful reason I picked this pic, but really I just liked it (and I don't have a scan of the pastel "Narnia" ship I did a few years back that I really wanted to post...) - hope you like my choice too!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #25

#25 No man is an island until the tourists in his life make him want to sink the docks and plant trees in the airstrip.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 2010

I'm running late all the way around this week. I haven't even got the new project up on the Sophie's Sneeze page at my website which is a first for me. In my defense, the stomach bug made a re-appearance Sunday night and when it left that time it took what little energy I had with it. So, now it's time to play catch up once more. First on the list is the Sophie's Sneeze page. I've got a great idea for this month... but it needs more work than I had anticipated. I really do need to learn to plan ahead! See you Friday to let you know how it goes!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 5, 2010

Man (or woman in my case) plans... God laughs by letting errands take a LOT longer than anticipated on Friday followed by a stomach bug for Saturday that didn't let much moving around happen. I'm almost afraid to say that I'd really like to get Christmas decorating done today... Maybe this is the "Go with the Flow" sign. Anyway, despite it all, my attitude is a little better. The bad mood isn't completely gone, but what is left has nothing to do with my writing life. At worst I'm hoping to keep it separate, and at best I'll use it as a catalyst at some point. I'm also mulling over some future plans very tentatively. The mulling will take a while, which is fine with me. For now, I'm just really happy to be feeling better! See you Monday. (note about the pic: Here's to future flowers!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #43

#43 Sinking to their level will not make them like you more.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010

Ah, the unscheduled break from blogging. It was sooo needed! I spent the time in a foul mood which the family definitely didn't like, and wallowed around until I figured out that I've completely gotten off track with WHY I am doing what I do. The WHY is so very important too. There I was, doing something I love doing; curled up in the beautiful ability to let my creativity flow out of me; getting hugged by kids that I don't know who read the words I wrote and loved them... and I was sad, whiny and not just a little angry with the whole deal. What the heck????? So I dug around in the muck in my head, lanced a few "bad feeling boils" that had grown on my overly sensitive artist's soul, and realized that I had lost the WHY of it all. I got caught up in how many people aren't reading what I babble on about here, or visiting my website. I felt like the support system I have just didn't get what the heck they are supposed to do. I fussed about how many books I still have to sell, and how some people seem to be upset with me for not putting out the book THEY wanted me to put out this time. I got lost in being lost.
Then I got sick of it... well, and those near and dear to be got sick of it too. Time to get a fresh perspective. Time to revisit the WHY. Oh yeah, the WHY is because it makes me a better person! The crud that got stuck to me in the process became the focus and made me a worse person. Time to scrape the crud off, and get back to the good part. I can't expect everyone to "Get" what I'm doing. I have wonderful people who DO though, and I need to focus on them instead of the ones who aren't interested - chances are I'm not overly interested in what they do either, we are just different people that way. Mostly, I need to remember that writing and illustrating make me happy, so that's what I need to do. If they go somewhere and make someone else happy as well, GREAT! If not, well that's okay too. No matter how I look at it the stories still make me smile to write, and the words still need me to get them on paper, so that's what I need to do. Ta-DA! Perspective re found. Things are looking up (just check the picture for proof!)
In accordance, this week I will be On My Way To untangling the last of the bad mood tendrils and getting an idea of which project needs my attention first. Here's to a much more positive week than the last one!

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

This week contains two really Big Deal Days in our house. Scott and I will be celebrating out 19th Wedding Anniversary on the 23rd and of course we have Thanksgiving on the 25th. I am not setting any goals for the week since really I think those two things cover the work to strive for and the accomplishment made categories. I hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 21, 2010

Fiday's update is a couple of days late. It's been a busy week. The upside is that 25 copies of Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny have found new homes. The downside is mostly just mental fatigue. This is a busy time of year normally - toss the book in too and I can feel my edges getting a little singed. (Note on pic: Old artwork again - I definitely need some new pics to post!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #14

#14 The weather is perfect for someone even if you hate it.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

Monday... slept through the alarm for 40 minutes... Scott missed his plane... not a great start to the week. This coming off of the weekend craft show which had it's good points and it's bad. I'm still trying to figure out whether the low point was taking some time out to go to the doctor about this UTI and having the assistant say my temperature was 105 (I'm assuming an equipment glitch - I wasn't seeing anything that wasn't there, I think I was as lucid as usual, and the doctor didn't hospitalize me), or the woman who walked away in the middle of my sentence about how much she'd like Clyde and Dr. Wai Smart even though the book has nothing to do with Fiddlebug and his friends. Oh, and I'm going to have to start wearing a name tag because for some reason all week people have been calling me Cassidy or Cassie with the exception of one person who insisted on saying how she bought a book off of "her" last year even after I explained that "her" is "me". *sigh* It will be funny once the antibiotics finish killing off the fact that I'm sick. I know it will. It's just really not right now.
I'm sharing this not because I feel like whining - although Yes, I feel like whining - but so this weeks literary goals make sense to you. I've got 2 definite signings scheduled and one I really need to verify because it feels awfully squishy to me and I'm sort of hoping it might decide to happen on a different day. I'm sticking a couple of very straightforward goals. To get well enough to not look like I have the plague and scare people off during the signings - being able to be somewhat perky would be a great thing too. I also would like to be myself during these signings - especially since I'm not currently writing under a pen name. I would like to find that words that will allow Fiddlebug's readers to accept Clyde in the interim. And lastly... I just want to be on time. Wish me luck on this journey. I think I might need it!
(note on the pic: I could really use that "blue sky" feeling!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #24

#24 You can lead a horse to water. You can drown the horse in the water. But if the horse is too stupid to drink when it’s thirsty, do you want it anyway?

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010

And so begins The Schedule... Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the craft show over at Greenbrier Valley Mall. I have no idea if I'm going to take any crafts or not, but I am taking books to sign. I know what you're thinking, "Well hey, that doesn't sound hard at all, what the heck are you cringing for?" I'm cringing because of the big picture. The puzzle pieces for the next 3 weeks that have to fall just right so that everything works out. How to juggle 2 sick kids, 3 large trees on our neighbor's lot that all need to magically become stacked firewood at our house (I did mention BIG right? I also mentioned that it's just Scott and I dealing with them while the kids are sick... and that work has him tied up most of this week at least... and the Thanksgiving deadline...), 6 book signings (2 in the same day 1 1/2 hours apart as the crow flies), and still handle school stuff, research an issue with our homeowners insurance and home loan people and how to fix the problem, and keep us in clean underwear and food. Toss in our 19th Anniversary on the 23rd and Thanksgiving on the 25th and you have what I'm On My Way To for the next 17 days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining or whining - okay maybe I'm whining a little - I'm cringing because this has the potential of reaching Perfect Storm qualities around here and I don't want to have to spend the next 3 months dealing with the aftermath. Wish me luck. I'll keep you updated on how it's going and any tweaking of events that arise.
(Note on the picture: This - and a truckload of wood just like it - was delivered as "firewood" from the guy we were purchasing from this year. Please note that while this example is physically beautiful to look at he was charging $50 a load, had a short bed pick-up with a very large toolbox taking up 1/4 of the bed and thought this was acceptable... *shaking my head*. This is how we ended up with the rather daunting job ahead of us.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

November 5, 2010

Ah Accomplishment List, you are small but powerful this week... and I am glad that I chose you over the To Do List once again while I could.
A thank you goes out to West Virginia Writers, Inc. for posting an announcement about Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny on their blog with promises of inclusion in their upcoming newsletter and holiday book buying guide! Follow this link to check out their blog They are a wonderful group of people and their website is a great source of information for writers at any level. Not from West Virginia? That's okay, they will be happy to have you around no matter where you are from. Trust me, I've seen it first hand!
I have also finally taken the time to do something that I've wanted to do for a while now and parked myself on my behind with my friend Theresa Flerx's newly released book Disequilibrium and the Multi-Faceted Crystal Ball (please check out Theresa's website for more information on her, her writing, and to order your own copy.) I am 2/3 of the way through the books 298 pages in one day, and decided to put the book down only because I needed to sleep. I had the honor of reading the rough manuscript, and loved it. I can honestly say that the finished product is even better. Not to give too much away, but Theresa has been through things in her life that no one should have to be go through and she has come out the other side of them a strong, compassionate and incredibly well balanced individual. The fact that she included the positive and beautiful memories along with the dark and soul crushing ones says so much about her as a person. I am proud to call her friend.
I spent a little time with the story that wandered into my mind last week. I'm happy with how its going, but if I do anything with it I'll need a pen name. This has more of a young adult feel to it and I don't want anyone getting confused and thinking it's a children's book.
Also this week I managed to get another 140 character story chosen for the story of the day at One Forty Fiction. (and got a good critique on it too!) I love that site! It's just fun and a really great outlet!
So there you have it. My literary accomplishments for the week. I feel pretty darned good about it too. Now I'm off to the weekend... and writers group... and a trip to Beckley and Charleston bookstores with Clyde... and a Pampered Chef party... and time with my wonderful family! *laughing* never a dull moment around here! Have a great weekend! (Note on the picture: Okay, so I still haven't taken any new pictures... I'm getting to it... really...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #8

#8 If you’re the leader, don’t lose your map.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

Welcome to a new month. Also for anyone who wants to write, you should know that this is NaNoWriMo - which is a weird way of saying National Novel Writing Month. Just in case you are wondering, No - I will not be writing a novel this month. I am however hoping to get out of whatever this literary funk is that I'm in and stop with the drifting at some point... just not THIS point. I enjoyed last week's Accomplishment List plan. It was a nice break, and I've decided that since it's working I'm going to keep it in place for this week too.
So, with that in mind, I'm On My Way To... Somewhere! I'll let you know where it is when I get there on Friday. Until then I've decided to pretend that the little beetle in the picture is actually a Lady Bug (although I'm pretty sure its one of those weird Asian beetles that only LOOK like lady bugs) and I'm hoping it brings me some luck along my journey.

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

My meandering week saw a letter sent to Headline Books to see if they have had a chance to read Bart and the Amber Bee Award. These things take time, but since I sent the manuscript in June I think it is best to double check. Here's hoping that they are still considering and that the envelope didn't just wander off into the black hole of lost mail!
I also got Eco-Libris stickers on all of my Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny Books, and printed out the signs and bookmarks I will need for the Pajama Program donation box when I set up at the craft show on Nov. 12th.
Most importantly, I'm starting to feel a little less overwhelmed by it all. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
During my "down time" I also had time to think. One thing that came to mind is that I'll feel better after the craft show. It will be my first official appearance with Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny. Despite the fact that my goal is not as lofty as becoming the next J.K. Rowling, there is a certain level of celebration and recognition that should accompany a new book. Book launches help carry the "new book" excitement out into the world and validate the author's choice to write. Since it will be over a month since the book came out before I will actually launch it, I admit to harboring a small fear of inconsequential invisibility. My own fault, I know better than to schedule that much time before events.
Live and learn. Now on to the weekend! Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost comfortable Skin #16

#16 If you are holding up both ends of a relationship, you are the only one in it.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010

There are times when regrouping and contemplation are the best things we can possibly do for ourselves... Yes, I heard that snort all the way over here. Trust me, I don't have the time to lay everything I'm doing down and stare off into space until it all clicks into gear either. I've noticed that "being my own boss" while being my only employee is a juggling act with very interesting consequences when the balls drop. Depending on what hat I'm wearing at the time no one but me may even notice that one of them got away and no one but me may understand how terrible the fact that it did is for my plans. I only regret that the not noticing issue doesn't apply when I can't fit laundry or dishes into my schedule... Ah well, wishful thinking. I'm sure everyone out there understands this whole concept on at least one level and probably on five or six. I'm also sure everyone knows how tempting it is to set some of those less understood balls down until a "better time" comes along to work them back in. I'm battling that right now. I have to say, the timing is odd. I'm still thrilled with how Clyde... came out, but it's almost like bringing her into the world kicked off a sort of "baby-blues". "Excitement" is having trouble making it through "over-whelmed".
I spent the weekend really weighing my options, and had you been around the house you would have seen exactly how grouchy THAT made me. Take pity on my family! Then I sat down at my desk this morning trying to figure out what the heck to write here. I was glaring around thinking snarky thoughts and, wonder of wonders, my squinty little eyes fell on the silly tiara Scott and the boys got me for my birthday last year. Epiphany cascade! Here it is translated from brain speech into English 1) I am not trying to save the world, I'm trying to make myself a better person. 2) I cannot make myself a better person if I'm making myself miserable by trying to do more than I really can. It's counter productive. 3) I'm the one holding the psychological whip. 4) I can stop whipping myself anytime I want. 5) Now would be a good time.
Gotta love the feeling of "I'm such a doofus" that happens when you realize you're doing something dumb. Needless to say, I put the whip down. I'm trying something a little different this week - and probably next week and definitely any other week that I feel the need. I'm On My Way to an Accomplishment List for Friday. No goals to flog myself to fit in with everything else I need to do - although I do have some things in mind to check out. Just me enjoying the scenery on my chosen path for a change. If I'm not careful this might even feel like a (gasp) vacation! I'll share my travel log with you on Friday - it'll be nice to see what happens when I just wander for a change!

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 22, 2010

My porch thermometer read 39 degrees this morning... YUCK! That means snow is just around the corner! Don't get me wrong, I like snow. I love how it makes the world look clean and makes my brain feel like it's time to snuggle up into warm fuzzy thoughts. What I don't like is cold, and 39 degrees is a pretty good indicator that it's here and doesn't plan on leaving for a while. *sigh*
This actually ties in strangely with meeting my goals for the week - which I did. I am 22 handwritten pages (which equals... well not so much) into something that will require a pen name if it ever makes it out of the house. Stop looking nervous. It will probably fall into the young adult category, so using the same name I publish children's books under is a bad idea. I like the concept and character and hope it continues moving forward - BUT (yep, there is one of those) this character surfaced, demanded to be put on the page and has been making poking gestures at a few things that have been bothering me ever since. My subconscious is mean that way. So, it seems that it's time to make some changes in my world. Suffering for my art seems silly to me - I'd rather make the necessary changes that will allow me to dance because of it.
How does this tie in with the cold? I'm glad you asked. No matter what the calendar says I think that each of us has a temperature gauge that tells us when the season is changing. My gauge shouted it loud and clear today. Season changes are great times for habit changes as far as I'm concerned. If everything changes at once I'm less likely to find myself falling back into old routines. I think this is a great weekend to really look at where I am on my personal path. Next week I'll start drawing up a new map just in case the path gets lost in the impending snow.
Have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost comfortable Skin #19

#19 You may not look back and laugh, but you can look back and accept.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010

Hey look, it's another Monday and here I am ready to make some new goals. Okay maybe not exactly ready, but I'm going to pretend that I am anyway!
Over the weekend my friend and fellow writer Theresa Flerx (check out her website at ) went up to Charleston for the West Virginia Book Festival. While we were there we had the opportunity to listen to Nicholas Sparks speak about his writing career. He is the exception to the rule when it comes to time spent searching for representation in the publishing industry. It would be easy to be jealous of a man who got an agent 3 days after sending his first query letters, sold his first book for 1 million dollars very shortly after finding the agent, sold the film rights of that book before the actual book deal was closed, and gets called to see if he has "anything lying around" that Miley Cyrus could star in for Disney. Then you hear him speak, and you want to cheer him on instead. He truly seems like a good person. I'm glad I had the chance to listen.
Since I have not yet climbed to where Mr. Sparks has I do believe that it is time to set forth this weeks goals for the literary mountain. I may never sell a manuscript for 1 million dollars... but then again if I don't work toward that goal then I don't stand a chance!
This week I am On My Way To writing something new. No goals for word count, no goals for time spent. I just feel like seeing what comes out of my head if the only goal is to get something on paper. My thinker-upper needs some exercise. The marketing for Clyde, the real world, the paperwork will all fit in as they fit in. I'll let you know what happens to the blank page on Friday... hopefully it will turn into many filled pages!
Until then, best wishes with your own path this week!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16, 2010

Despite the fact that a few curve balls flew into an already busy week, I am proud to say that I got almost all of my list accomplished. I've got 2 bookstores that I still want to contact, but I did send an e-mail to a couple of others that I did signings with for Fiddlebug. I've also got new pictures that still need taken - and since the leaves are falling pretty darned fast I think I should get on that. I got caught up on the latest round of paperwork, and school schedules are under control for the moment. The Pajama Program donation option is up on my site and Ecolibris is just on hold until the post office delivers the stickers for the books. (Oh, and I got the house cleaned up, and the dog bathed.) Now I'm off to get ready for writers group and a trip to the WV Book Festival. Happy weekend to everyone!
(Okay, the picture has nothing to do with the week - I admit it. Still who doesn't want to hide sometimes?)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #4

#4 How to find the right jeans: Make sure they fit both of your bottom lines.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

Ah Monday - you are looking big and hairy and your pointy teeth are showing (much like the picture). I'm not sure I like you very much, especially since you are pulling the rest of the week along with you and those days are sort of scary looking too. Don't get me wrong, it's all good stuff - well aside from the still needing to clean the house part anyway. It's just that there are a LOT of different directions involved. I feel scattered already.
So here is what I'm On My Way To this week:
1) Finish getting everything set up to sort of partner with Pajama Program (Want more information? ) on Clyde sales. I'm going to add an option on the website (and at book signings also) for people to purchase a copy of Clyde that will then be donated to Pajama Program. It's an all around winning situation. People can give a donation that will make a kid happy; Pajama Program will get more exposure and also (hopefully) quite a few books; and I can get more copies of Clyde out and about.
2) I am also planning to partner with Ecolibris. They are a wonderful company that allows you the option of "balancing your library" of physical books by planting a tree for each book that you purchase a sticker for. Stickers are made from recycled paper and soy based ink which is an added bonus. Authors who partner with the company also get some added marketing help. Once again, a very good deal all the way around. (By the way, anyone can purchase stickers to balance their library. Just go to )
3) Catch up on all paperwork - including finish typing Mason's school schedule BLAH!
4) Contact a couple of book stores about signings.
5) Take some pictures to post here.
6) New writer's group meeting on Saturday. Thankfully I've already got the piece I'm taking ready.
I'm cutting the list off there. I know there is no knew writing, but to be honest, my brain is a little fried and I'm wanting to enjoy the Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny roller coaster for a little while longer before I look around for something new. New books deserve a LOT of attention - and require a lot too!
So, that's where I'm heading this week. Sounds like a good reason to give in to my pj-wearing-mole-person nature and just stay home! I'll let you know how it goes on Friday!

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 8, 2010

And the house is.... still absolutely in need of a fleet of cleaners to descend upon it with their magic carts of supplies. Don't get me wrong, I got a lot done this week. I just didn't get much cleaning done aside from necessary laundry and dishes. One thing I've learned though is that I don't have to fear; the mess will still be there later. Heck it will probably have grown larger too! No "bad mom and wife" guilt will be needed because someone else came and did my job. Strangely, I wouldn't mind feeling a little guilty that way at the moment (just joking people!)
I have been finishing up other back-burner things though which feels really good. I finally got the trim painted at Mom's - that's been on the list since June... Mason got to go clothes shopping - very necessary... Chance got to the dentist - also very necessary... I'm wrestling school schedules for the boys - which I don't want to talk about... I have some marketing balls rolling for Clyde - which was too much fun to pass up... My friend and I celebrated the "birth" of our books -EXCELLENT day!... And now it's off to restock what we're out of and get some things in the mail. I'll see you again on Monday when I'm sure I'll claim to be On My Way To a clean house again!
(Here's an older picture of our house during a really pretty sunset - I'm adding "take new pictures" to my To Do List right now!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday's Words from almost Comfortable Skin #2

#2 If you are swimming with the sharks you are one of 3 things: 1) also a shark 2) a parasite 3) a future snack.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

Welcome to another week! The first whole week of having Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny all nice and tucked into her book and available! It still feels really good, but the realization that it's time to get to work selling the book is starting to set in. So is the realization of everything that got put on the back burner the last couple of forevers while I twitched text, revised illustrations and wrestled formatting issues. Truth be told the real world is going to be getting a whole lot of my attention this week. The rest of my little scattered brain and itty bitty amount of time is going to be devoted to getting Clyde into the stores that have been kind enough to invite me to sell my books there in the past.
All in all it looks like I'm On My Way To a very busy week! Full speed ahead!!!!
(Today's picture is of our fireplace which is standing in line with the rest of the house for an overdue cleaning!)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 2, 2010

Well, Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny and I have had a very busy week! The box of books arrived on Wednesday afternoon and I of course had to spend some time ooing and aweing and generally proving that I am one of those bouncy, shrieky, girl creatures when I'm excited about something - I've given up being embarrassed by this fact too. The best part was that any worry that I had about the files being wrong in some drastic way that would mess the book up have been laid to rest. The cover looks great, the pages are just how I wanted them. I think the quality would stand beside anything out there and hold its own. I am VERY happy with how the finished product turned out. Blatant plug alert: I would recommend 48Hr Books to anyone in need of a good book printer, and fully intend to be a return customer for my next book too.
After I was done (well, maybe it was during) with the doofy smile stage I started delivering the local pre-orders and getting the out of town ones packed up which is a really cool process. Then yesterday I took some over to Kittens Korner in White Sulpher Springs and Paulette's Pastries in Ronceverte for consignment. Silver Birch in Union and Rebecca's Jewelry Box in Fairlea will also be carrying them locally, but I need to deliver theirs to them yet. I also got my excel tracking sheet up and running (okay Scott got it up and running, but I still got all the books logged, so it counts). And I had my first order come in from the website store!!!
I've limited direct sales so far just because yesterdays deliveries were made while multi-tasking a clothes shopping trip for Mason and running a couple of other errands. My brain only holds so much at a time and I don't want to lose track of the whos and wheres on sales. Besides I'm hoping to do a couple of mini-launches which should provide a lot more fun for everyone than accosting strangers while out and about!
So anyway, I made my goals and am really happy with where everything stands at the moment! Now I'm going to enjoy the weekend! See you on Monday!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #15

#15 Terminal boredom is much worse than being too busy.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sept. 27, 2010

I got the tracking number for my shipment of Clyde books today!!!! It's amazing how each new thing actually gives you a little case of the butterflies even though you know it's coming. At this rate the poor UPS man should probably wear ear plugs when he brings the actual box of books (tomorrow??? Wednesday at the latest... hopefully tomorrow...). He may also want to have a plan for getting back in his truck quickly to escape - I'm probably as bad with a new book as I was with the kids baby pictures! (okay, maybe worse actually)

So anyway, goals for this week are a little tricky and need to work around each other and the hope that the layout was right and the printing went as well as I believe it did. The main thing is to go introduce Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny to a couple of stores who carry Fiddlebug so that they can decide whether they would like to help her meet her future adoring fans. I also need to set up my sales tracking sheets (I HATE this part and am hoping to pawn it off on Scott because he loves me and is much, MUCH better with the process than I am.) I've also got to get her logged into the store on my website ( ) and probably a million other things that I'm forgetting right now. So I'm just going to spend the week getting Clyde situated - which sounds absolutely perfect to me!

See you with an update on Friday!
p.s. You get a sneak peak of one of the interior illustrations for the book. I decided to go with black and white line drawings at the beginning of each chapter instead of color illustrations because I felt they fit the book's 3rd - 5th grade target audience and the feel of the book itself better.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 24, 2010

A Dust Bunny is BORN!!! Clyde is currently at the printer's and her status says she is in the binding stage. Good thing they are referring to the book and not the character, 'cause I'm not sure Clyde is able to be bound! I'm really excited about this and can't wait until the book gets here! I'm hoping that the copies I ordered will arrive by Wednesday - and I'm hoping that they look as wonderful as I think they are going to. Once I'm sure they do, I'll get her up at the store on my website ( ). I'm looking at an October 1st release date.

So for now I'm going to go enjoy the weekend! See you again on Monday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #30

For The Birthday Hubby!

#30 “Dessert?” “YES!!!”

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

August 20, 2010

This week is ALL about BIRTHDAYS!!!! My dad and my father-in-law share the 21st as their big day, and my wonderful hubby came into the world on the 22nd! Add to this the fact that I'm truly hoping to birth Clyde's book by the end of the week, and you'll see that there's a LOT of celebrating to do! I can't think of better things to be on my way too either!
I hope you all enjoy your week... and don't forget to have some cake!

(The picture of Scott was taken in Ohio last month - I thought the ice cream would be good for his birthday week)

Friday, September 17, 2010

August 17, 2010

First, let me begin with the age old "I have some good news, and some bad news." The odd thing is that what I'm going to share is both of those. Clyde is home, accompanied by a very nicely worded rejection letter from Candlewick Press. I would like to add that the letter left me thinking just as highly of Candlewick as a publisher as I did prior to querying them - which is pretty highly. From some of the rejection letters I've seen (both mine and my friend's) this says a lot about the company and the people who work there. I just want to share that because I think it's very important to point out when someone does something right instead of giving the attention to bad behavior. I still want to one day write something that will fit their list well, and intend to hold that as one of my goals.
So I took the time to sniffle and eat chocolate and get that part out of my system.
Now the important part: Why this is such a GOOD thing. Well, that's easy. It means that Clyde is back in my hot little hands. Let me tell you, I am MORE THAN READY to get her in her book! The butterflies have already started fluttering in the pit of my stomach; the list of editing checks has started rolling in my head; the last minute decision on who I'm going through for the physical book is about to be made. Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny is very, VERY close to being born. Just in time for Halloween too - what luck! Maybe that was her plan all along! Characters hijack the story and turn it to their will all the time, ask any writer. Maybe she also took the timing into her own hands. All I know is that I feel a huge sense of relief like someone moved a mountain out of the road I'm trying to go down, and I'm happy.
In smaller (but no less important) update type news: I decided I've got two characters who need to swap books. As I said, characters hijack stories all the time. These two just happened to decide that they would fit better in each others than in their own. Making that adjustment took up my 4 hours of writing time, but I'm counting it anyway. I've been stuck on both stories for a while, this may solve the problem. I did get all of the Sophie's Sneeze projects done and the September newsletter is ready and waiting for the end of September to go into the store.
With all of the real world stuff I've been doing this week, I'm rather happy with the literary progress.
Now it's time to go get ready for labor and delivery! I'm hoping to post price and ordering information by the end of next week! (happy dance!!!!!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #7

#7 Be very careful of who you follow – they may not be going where they say they are.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sept. 13, 2010

Happy Monday to you! I'm sure there are grumbles going on out there about those two words being so close together in the same sentence, but look at it this way, if you start out thinking it's going to be good, you'll get to skip at least one groan for the day. That's my new theory anyway - call it lunatic optimism, blind faith or denial if you like, but I'm sticking to it!
This weeks On My Way to It list is really just a repeat of last weeks since I didn't make it to the end of that particular tunnel yet. At least the light at the end of it is still shining brightly and I don't hear too many monsters shuffling around in the tunnel with me! So just to restate, I've got 4 hours of new writing and 3 Sophie's Sneeze projects to get done this week. Oh, and a new writer's group to check out on Wednesday since the one in Lewisburg has decided to take a break until the new year rolls in. It's looking like that list may be done in the kitchen this week too as I managed to close out my garden (aside from a few cherry tomatoes that are still coming on) and need to get things put up for the winter. It wasn't a great garden year, but what did come in came in well and I'm thankful for it!
So off I go into the week ahead! See you again Wednesday and Friday!
(The picture: Some of the reasons I'm becoming the crazy cat lady checking out the curve on the back corner of the deck prior to the first coat of paint... which they of course had to leave paw prints in when it went on!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sept. 10, 2010

Mundane world intrusions into my literary life happened all week. The good news is that there is a LARGE amount of pesto in my freezer, 3 of the flower beds look absolutely gorgeous in my opinion, and a person can walk all the way around my house on the newly laid decking. I also got about 2 1/2 hours of writing in and left off at a good spot to continue just as soon as I can get back to my pen and paper (yes, you read that right, I do the rough draft the old fashioned way most of the time). I still need to put the next 3 Sophie's Sneeze projects together, write them out and take pictures, but I do know what they are going to be at least, so I'm looking at it as a partial victory!
All in all, not a bad week from where I'm standing. Not perfect, but hey, perfect is boring, right? I'm hoping to catch up the straggling ends of what I meant to get done over the weekend and be back here with some new stuff come Monday. Until then, enjoy this gorgeous weather!!!!!!!!

(Picture: See, I TOLD you I got something done this week!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #22

In honor of my weeding and mulching plans for the week....

#22 One woman’s weed is another woman’s flower!

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sept. 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day to All! My friend Theresa Flerx posted a beautiful tribute to the generosity and support her co-workers have shown her during some very rough patches in her life today on her blog. I thought I would share it with you. I think it's a beautiful example of the 'pull-together' attitude of American workers. You should check it out!
As for me, I'm planning to do my updates and then spend the day outside in the beautiful just-this-side-of-fall weather. I LOVE this time of year! Being outside will work great for me too since one of my goals for this week is to get all of September's Sophie's Sneeze page projects done. I've got a wonderful nature craft theme going this month, so outside if just the place to make some major progress.
I'm also On My Way To 4 hours or new writing this week. Not editing, not re-reading, not researching... WRITING. Since I've been missing the actual writing side of my writing life, I'm hoping I don't sit here at my desk staring off into space because I'm out of practice (laughing).
Those are really my only two literary-type goals for the week. The mundane world gets the rest of my time for closing the garden and dealing with the veggies found there, weeding and mulching, and helping the boys with school.
I just keep reminding myself to balance!
Remember to check in on Wednesday for the new Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin post, and I'll see you here on Friday to let you know whether I met my goals or not! Enjoy your week!
(hmmm maybe I should add "Take some new pictures" to my list since I'm having to dig deep for pictures to post here, and it seems like I'm down to my artwork folder and running out of that too!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sept. 3, 2010

Here's to a successful beginning to September! This week surprised me a little. There was entirely too much going on, but it all seemed to fit together like puzzle pieces for a change. I'm so thankful for how smoothly it went! Added perks were that I found out I had 4 books sell at Kitten's Korner in White Sulphur Springs, WV. (Great store for unique holiday gifts if you're in the area by the way!) It always makes me happy when another book finds it's home!
Now I'm off to see what this Labor Day Weekend holds. I'm hoping for the grill to be involved at least a little! I'll still be posting new goals on Monday. Stop by and let me know what you're on your way too as well!
(picture of Nymphie studiously ignoring an outside cat who's is out of sight below the windowsill)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #1

#1 Being friends with a goldfish means constantly having to tap on the glass to keep their attention.

(Wednesdays Words come from either personal experience or observed situations that have settled into the thought patterns that make me who I am.)