Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011

This is a later post than usual... which may actually back up the content. I've been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks. Mentally balancing what I'm doing, what I need to be doing, where I want to be, what I have available to invest in the process of getting there. Not just the money side, there's never enough of that after all, but the time. It's spring - big projects are underway and change keeps gusting through the air. The things I have on my plate are wobbly and slippery and mutate at a whim. I started this blog to deal with just this problem - and currently I find that keeping up with it has become one more loop in the snaggled knot of fishing line that I affectionately call my To Do List. So I think back to a good friend of mine telling me that knowing when to stop blogging is pretty important. I weigh in the opinion of my oldest and best friend who answered my last "Dear Abby" letter to her with the simple truth that right now something I love has become something to keep up with instead of something to look forward to. Toss in the fact that the song from My Fair Lady where she's "had enough of words" keeps running through my head and I think it all adds up to my needing a nice big break. No schedule. No literary goals. No spending time and money convincing people that my writing is worth their time and money. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm addicted to the whole insane process - I'm sure I'll take a break from my break now and then to see if I'm ready to begin the battle once more. Plus, to be honest, I've got a school visit, Book Fair, and two signings scheduled between now and mid-June so its not like I'm vacationing cold turkey. There will be an extended weaning period for me to growl through. You can probably follow it on facebook if you miss the posts here. But for now, this particular outlet for the thoughts that reach my fingers is going to have to sit quietly and wait for me to recharge my mental batteries and slog through some time eating monsters in the real world. My current projection is fall - taking the summer off just has a nice ring to it.
So, until its time for me to come back, I hope that your own goals treat you well and leave you smiling.
Bye for now!

(Note on the pic: Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #34 Balance has very little to do with coordination.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011

Here we are at another Friday. It's been a busy week, but a productive one on a number of levels. I made another book store connection a couple of hours away on Monday, straightened out 2 problems with book information that I didn't know I had until that connection was made on Monday, made it to the gym twice with plans to go tomorrow, and today I'm baking cookies and getting ready to go look at potential apartments for Mom with my brother. I feel pretty darned productive. Here's hoping it lasts!

Enjoy your weekend, watch out for nasty weather, and I'll be back on Monday.

(Note on the pic: Some ground cover from my "fairy bed" since I feel like I'm covering so much ground lately!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #23

#23 Good neighbors are priceless.

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011

Busy, busy week ahead for me. Today is a trip into the wild blue yonder of talking to book store managers about book signings with my friend and fellow author Theresa Flerx. Friday looks like a day in Princeton with my brother looking at areas and places to rent for Mom. In between now and then there is grocery shopping, the packing of boxes, the gym, and all the the real world stuff around here that should have been done last week (or the week before...) and will probably get set aside again. (No fear, I really don't want to clean the bathrooms or wash the kitchen floor, so the rest of it gives me an excuse not to!) If the weather stays so beautiful I'm hoping to do some more weeding too since yesterday was so productive in that area and my big front flower bed is looking pretty darned spiffy now! So is the area around my new composting spot at the end of the fairy bed.
For now though I need to be On My Way to looking presentable and getting out the door. See you Friday!

(Note on the pic: Here is my new composting area. By next year I'll be able to separate the log part into two sections and begin using the compost that I'm adding to and breaking down this year.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011

Happy long weekend (for some of you) and Happy Easter!

Want a good description of the past week here? Just check out the picture of my daffodils (placed strategically away from where I normally walk since they make me sneeze like a mad fiend). See how they are all "looking" in a different direction and seem just generally confused and distracted? That's my brain. I'm figuring this will be the normal operating mode for a little as we hunt for a new place for Mom to live and then get her settled.

I also made the mistake of filing a revision to Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny. It was just the removal of one line of text (my old website address) and a very minor cover change. I honestly thought this would be a week long process at the outside and under the worst case scenario. I was wrong. I neglected to change my e-mail address for their contact information so the e-mail letting me know that the fonts were not embedded in the new file went into the nothingness of lost Internet mail. That bumped the 3 day change time to a week and a phone call from me to find out what was going on, plus another change, plus that 3 day change time (if all the files are okay this time) PLUS the up to 5 more weeks to get everything back in the system. I'm thinking I should have just left it well enough alone. At this point the down time could threaten a signing I have in June and I really can't schedule any more with the book being unavailable. Sort of a sales killer. It reminds me of that story about losing a kingdom because of a horseshoe nail... I just keep reminding myself that "One day, this will be funny."

See you on Monday (hopefully with a more positive, and less befuddled attitude!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #27

#27 Casual rudeness is the stem from which the thorns of anger grow.

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

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011

This week is off to a really rocky start. Without adding to the drama by going into detail here, it looks like we are going to have to relocate my mom. There are situations that just really shouldn't have to be dealt with, and I don't see things getting any better where she currently is. It's a pity too - she owns her place. It's a nice place and all of her flowers are just starting to come up. Right now, she is staying with us. I hope you will keep her in your thoughts and add your hopes for a good resolution to the problem in with ours. So, until further notice, my focus is going to be on finding the best solution possible for Mom. Anything else I happen to fit in will be great (and probably a well needed diversion), but for now I'm only On My Way To getting her away from the chaos.
Wish me luck, and have a great week!

(Note on the pic: It's always good to remember that weeds grow strong too.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011

Hello WEEKEND! (Even with the impending storm on the horizon) I think I'm going to celebrate the fact that I did actually accomplish some things this week by baking. Seems counter productive since one of the things I'm celebrating is making it to the gym 3 times as planned, but most of the baked goods get attacked by Scott and the large children I'm fairly safe. I'm usually lucky if I can manage to grab one bite sized example and still pull my hand away without bite marks. I am only exaggerating slightly.
Tuesday's trip to the local high school to sit on Emily's senior project panel went very well. She did a great job with her presentation, and the two teachers sitting beside me as judges were very impressed as well. I'm very curious to see what she ultimately decides to do with her story. I know she's entered it in a contest so far. I'm wishing her the best of luck on it.
By the way, I managed to get my inventory and records under control again, finished a rough draft for an upcoming contest, visited a couple of libraries who will (hopefully) invite me over for story time and give me the chance to sell a couple of books in the process this week. I've also got a school story time visit that promises to be a new experience due to the fact that I'm hearing I may be up in front of a larger number of people than usual in the works. Not a bad week considering I went with the "wing it" theory.
Now it's off to the kitchen to play "mad scientist" with baked goods. Enjoy your weekend and I'll see you again on Monday!

(note on the pic: A close-up of my peach tree from last Monday.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #

#26 When you go to someone else’s house, get out of your vehicle, walk up to their door and politely knock or ring the bell. DO NOT sit in their driveway and honk your horn. It’s rude.

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

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011

Hello you beautiful, sunshiny day! You are making it awfully hard to think fondly of going to the gym, but that's alright, I'll just use the grumbly-about-being-inside feeling to fuel my workout. It should be a good one - I'm glad I stocked up on ibuprofen!
This week is mostly about tying up loose ends and I'm not going to bore you with details. I'm sure I went on about them in past posts - probably multiple past posts - so I'll just let their hopeful completion be a surprise on Friday. The only oddity I'm On My Way To this week is that I will be going to a senior project presentation by our family friend Emily Oliver tomorrow. She let me be her mentor this year - a fact that makes me feel very honored. I'm really looking forward to seeing all of her hard work come together. She chose to use fairy tales, a subject very near and dear to me, as her topic. Her research was well detailed despite a lack of resources that she could actually site in her report, and her final product - a retelling of a transformation themed story - is just adorable. I admit, I'm hoping she chooses to pursue publishing for it.
With that said, I think it's time I got moving on things. I wish you a happy and productive week - and please remember to send happy thoughts in Emily's direction!

(note on the pic: Detail from my front flower bed. I love grape hyacinth.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 8, 2011

On a serious note first, please keep my Aunt Joan and the rest of my extended family in your prayers. My Uncle Harold passed away a few days ago after an extended and bravely fought battle with cancer. He was a good guy - you would have liked him if you had a chance to meet him. I'm sorry he is gone, but I'm glad that his suffering is past. For those he left behind; may they find peace and remember him with smiles.

Now for the normal stuff: I've got some leftovers for next weeks list. I'm trying to look at them the same way as I do homemade chili - they may have been good when they first went on the list, but they will be better for the time they sat. Besides, coming home and immediately having the control box on the water pump go out sort of sucked the wind out of my "Let's run around and talk to libraries and schools about my great new idea" Sails. I'm a bathing type of person, so scummy business meetings are on my no-no list. Everything is fixed now - VERY thankfully - so I'll be able to handle the visits with much more squeaky clean confidence next week. I'm also still working on the Galax Book Festival, but that should be easier next week also since I'll be home. Less phone tag is always better, and cell phones are a bit unreliable where I live. As for the gym... we just don't even want to talk about that. Next week is a new week.
This weekend holds the glamour of the grocery store, and hopefully some dirty work in the flower beds (if the forecast doesn't hold more of that stinking snow). Maybe I'll even be able to start setting up the tree house... I work so much better out there sometimes! Anyway, enjoy your weekend, and I'll see you again on Monday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #41

#41 It is usually about what needs to be done, not what you want to do.

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

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 6, 2011

Welcome to Testing Week! Literally. Okay it's just two days - three if you count Mason's ACT on Saturday, but it really does shift the entire week into the weird(er) zone schedule-wise around here. Chance and I will be off to Renick, WV on both Tuesday and Wednesday - bright and early - so he can take the required standardized test for the school board. While he's doing that I will be giving the test to one of the lower grades (you can't test your own kids after all), so please wish us all luck. I still say it's incredibly silly to judge any child's abilities on a single test, but we must play the game by the rules. The good part is that we use this opportunity to take a "mini-vacation" from the norm, so Chance and I will be staying in Lewisburg with the indoor pool and hot tub - and much closer proximity to Renick. Very stress relieving! We'll be closer to the gym too so I shouldn't miss out on my three-times-weekly torture treatments.
As far as my literary life goes, this week is going to have a lot of correspondence involved. The visits to two Barnes & Noble stores on Saturday proved very fruitful for book signings and I've got follow up e-mails to send so I can begin putting together necessary promotional materials. (Side note: the managers and staff at both stores were incredibly nice to work with, if you're ever in the Roanoke, VA area, stop in and get some great reading material!) I'm also working out fine points for the upcoming Galax Book Festival so need to return a phone call. While I'm out in civilization I plan to pitch an idea for a mini-class aimed at middle-graders on developing a character and plot for short stories to the librarians in the area. I think that's where I'm ending the list... paper or technology don't really get along with hot tubs after all!
I wish you well with whatever you are On Your Way To this week! And enjoy any beautiful spring weather that happens to come your way - not matter how short it may stay!
(Note on the picture: Okay, this is an old picture BUT it was taken at Cranberry Glades which is not that far from Renick, WV and I wanted to get a little plug in for the location since people are starting to consider their vacations. There are some beautiful places here if you like nature - some include boardwalks or waterfalls, nature trails and education centers. It really is a great place to bring your kids.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1, 2011

Fooled ya! See I did manage to get here and make my update today like I'm supposed to. It took a bit too - I had to overcome a cranky mood, errands, the gym, a "sell stuff" party for a friend - but I'm here anyway. And I've managed to get everything planned either finished or well on its way this week. My new business cards turned out gorgeous, I'm happily in the process of settling plans for the Galax Book Festival, Clyde is snuggled up in her padded envelope and travelling to Cincinnati, Ohio for the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards, and I'm off to Roanoke with my friend Theresa Flerx tomorrow to find a couple of book stores to set up signings. All in all (even with the snow flurries sparking a temperamental mood the past couple of days) it has been a good week!
So, have a happy weekend, and I'll see you again on Monday!
(note on the pic: Here's the artwork that appears on my new business card.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #28

#28 It isn’t about fitting in; it’s about finding the place where you fit.

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

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011

Welcome to a new week! Unfortunately mine began with me opening my eyes and seeing snow falling outside my window... YUCK! I'm really REALLY tired of snow! That's okay though, it is spring and eventually the white flaky stuff will stop for a few months. I got a good workout in and that countered the chilly feeling and took up enough time for the sun to come out and shine too. Definite improvement!
This weeks goals don't seem to have any new writing involved, so I'm hoping to get what I need to done fairly quickly and then have some free time to either add to a story or brainstorm some illustrations. We'll see. For now the plan is to be On My Way To finding out how to get a table at the Galax Book Festival, redesign my business cards with my new website, schedule either a story time visit or book signing for April, and send Clyde... off to the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest (with a whole lot of well wishes and prayers too).
I hope you enjoy the walk toward your own goals this week, and I'll be here for my update on Friday! See you then!

(Note on the pic: Nope, haven't seen any of these yet, but I've decided to start watching the walkway in hopes that they'll tell me it's not going to get cold anymore for a while!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011

Okay, so I'm breaking my own rule and updating before I go to the gym. I've got a lot to do today and every time I turn around there is another thing added to my list. I figured I'd start out by getting something done.
Speaking of getting things done, my website has been relocated! (insert The Hallelujah Chorus here) I'm really happy with it too. You should go check it out: I even added a page with a slide show of my art - which I deserve bravery points for! I also finished my entries for the Monroe Arts Alliance's writing contest early and have already sent them in. I had until April 1, so I'm feeling light as a feather right now!
I hope all of you had as smooth of a journey through your week, and that your weekend is spectacular! I'm off to work off some of this marshmallow fluff that seems to have found its way under my skin and then back home to check over schoolwork and begin planning a project budget for the walkway. See you on Monday!
(Note on the picture: I painted this a few years ago as a gift. The picture is under glass so excuse the flash glare.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #32

#32 The world’s jerk quota has been filled. Please work on a more positive life skill.

This one is dedicated to the "caregiver" who left an 80+ year old woman sitting beside a support pillar in her wheelchair in a parking garage in Charleston, WV for 45 minutes while she went to get the car... and forgot where she left the woman she was supposed to be taking care of. Yes, the truly wonderful elderly lady is fine and hopefully has found a better person to help her out since last Saturday.

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011 Guest Interview with Tristan Mitchell

I count myself lucky to have known Tristan since just before my official transition into adult life. He's one of those people who simply makes this world a better place just by being in it. So I send my best well wishes along to him for reaching his goals (I believe this post is actually past the completion date, however I'm SURE he has new deadlines to meet) - even though or especially because they are work related.


Interview with Tristan Mitchell

Q) What goal are you working toward?
A) My current goal is work related. I am preparing the shop for this year’s remodel jobs. Since we also install appliances on a daily basis, the goal is two fold. Step one is to clear and maintain an in/out area for the installers to pick up and drop off appliances. Step two is to clear out the shop of everything else not crucial to the upcoming remodel jobs.

Q) What made you decide to work on your goal?
A) As are most job related goals, my boss decided to make this a priority.

Q) Do you have a timeline? If so, how do you set it?
A) I believe I have until the first of March to get everything situated. Again, this goal was set by outside circumstances, particularly the start time set by the customer.

Q) What keeps you motivated?
A) This question is a bit snarly for me due to the fact that I consider myself a laid back person. The thought of getting the job done and getting it done right is probably my biggest internal motivator for the majority of my goals, big or small, business or personal.

Q) How will you celebrate when you reach your goal?
A) Does anyone realize how hard it is to live in the moment when reliving past victories?

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011

Ah, another week is here to wrestle with. I'm looking forward to this week's match too. I've got a big change that is going to really help me toward some goals by saving money. I'm moving my website to a free location. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the customer service and everything else about Fatcow's hosting - The site just can't support itself yet, so is cutting into my budget in a not so great way. The move will be taken care of before the end of the month, and I'll be sure to post changes for those who visit the craft page. I'm glad to hear that so many of the craft ideas and recipes are used in classrooms too! It makes me feel great to know that I'm taking a little of the pressure off of teachers to come up with ideas. Just to warn you, I will be recycling the projects this year along with a few new additions plugged in here and there to freshen things up. A year is an awful long time to remember ideas and directions, so I don't want the new group of little ones coming along to miss out (plus I can really use the extra time!). So, there you have it - my plan. I'm On My Way To a virtual relocation and 3 days (well, make that 2 more) of counteracting the "Butt in Chair" process of writing! I hope your week is great and that you get some firm steps taken toward your own goals!
(About the pic: I'm looking to put a sitting erea on the spot by the chimney. It's just outside my office window and I think it will be a great nook to get away to!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011

The gym plan is moving along. I didn't make it on Wednesday due to Chance's dentist appointment, but Monday went really well and I just got home from today's visit (and can still move). Maybe there aren't any physical improvements yet, but my brain is starting to feel less cloudy and sluggish... and grumpy. Works for me! If you are wondering, I made the contest entry deadline. I'm pretty happy with the entry too which helps. Now it's off to a writer's workshop in Charleston tomorrow and the rest of the weekend spent with my 3 favorite guys. Have a great weekend!

(Note on the pic: This was taken last year, but I was happy to see that the leaves are up and there is a nice bud making its way to the sunlight!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #52

#52 Brains need rest too.

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

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011 Guest Interview with Rodger Jackson

This week's interview is with a Rodger Jackson. Rodger and my husband met when they were in A School with the US Navy. Later when they were both stationed in the same area we had the pleasure of Rodger being our room mate. I can honestly say that there aren't many nicer people in the world, and that Rodger's wonderfully laid back attitude floats over the surface of a very determined person. I have no doubts that he will meet his goals. I also LOVE his answer to the motivation question!


Interview with Rodger Jackson

Q) What goal are you working toward?
A)I am studying to be a paralegal at my local Technical College.

Q) What made you decide to pursue your goal?
A) I was digging ditches for a living and one day I had an epiphany about "Working smart instead of working hard".

Q) Do you have a timeline? If so, how did you set it?
A) My time line is 5 full time semesters as prescribed by my degree program. I should have my degree this time next year as I have one semester completed already.

Q) What keeps you motivated?
A) If I don't make at least a C then I don't get the funding to pay for school and I have will have to pay for it out of my own pocket. Not wanting to risk finding myself in a ditch again is another powerful motivator.

Q) How will you celebrate when you reach your goal?
A) Part one: When I reach my education goal my celebration will be restoring my Corvette that has been a glorified yard ornament for the past few years. Part two: I will probably stay in school until doomsday or thereafter and start to work on another degree right away.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14, 2011

I do believe I need a little bit of a shake up. Spring is here in just a few short days - whether the weather believes it or not - and the new season is a great reason to change things up a little bit. I've been thinking about this for a while too, so the new plan comes to you fully formed and the changes that are coming have been weighed and measured so should fit nicely into my world.
To begin with I am changing my focus a little. I'm still going to be writing and battling the marketing mayhem, but I'm some timing and letting that settle into the background a little more. I have been neglecting my gym membership due to my behind being so attached to this chair for far too long, so (barring illness, weather, and other acts of God) I will be updating later in the day on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays because I will be working at fitting into my clothes more comfortably before I park myself here at the computer.
I'll let you know what other changes are going on as they come up. For now, I'm On My Way To meeting a deadline for a writing contest - and it has to be post marked tomorrow to avoid late fees!
Wishing you all a terrific week!
(Note on the picture: I can't wait for some new flowers to bloom! Until then I'll make due with these guys from last year.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011

Quick update after the first day of the craft show just to say that all is well. I have the new edition of Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny proof copy from Lightning Source and am pretty happy with it. I'll decide next week whether to fix the couple of things that I'm iffy about or let them slide. I've also been working on some contest entries that will be polished as much as possible by next week when I have to send them. All in all a great week, and I'm currently enjoying a nice visit with my dad too! I hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!

(Note on the picture: Here's the new Clyde art minus the cover text. This is the one that will hopefully sell millions of copies through the usual bookbuying options!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #46

#46 Deadline pressure is better than being pelted with unexpected To Do’s.

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

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011 Guest Interview with Steph Spahr

Meet my friend Steph Spahr. Of all of the wonderful friends I have, she has put up with me the longest - we met in 8th grade and been there ever since. She's one of those impressive people who is always slow to anger and quick to laugh, and although she doesn't mention it here she's fantastically artistic. I have no doubt that she'll reach any goal she sets her mind to - she always has after all - and I'm proud to be in her corner cheering her on!

Guest Blogger Questions

1) What goal are you working toward?
a.) Trying to become a 'more involved' and affective parent with my 11yr old without crossing the "I wanna be his friend" line. (ok, almost 'too late in the game' but I have a very extraordinarily caring I may have some hope after all)
b.) Attempting to focus more time on ME and then also on my husband...I feel that is very important that you don't forget yourself and your marriage...after all that is what makes the family a family! (loosing weight & getting in better shape for the "me" goals, taking time in every day to show my husband I appreciate him...he is very good with this, me - not-so-much, I stumble over words cuz I've never been good at expressing myself in a "gooshy romantic way"...sorry just AINT me!!!)

2) What made you decide to pursue your goal?
a.) The parent sculpting....mainly because I was noticing I wasn't following thru on things and was also noticing that I was getting good at telling my son "I'll be right with you after *insert not-important have-to task here* (such as paying bills, making dinner, watching my tv show)...then I started noticing I never really would get back to him about what he wanted me for....I don't want to look back on my time as a parent and say "my goodness...he's all grown up now and I never spent enough time with him!" or "he's ready to go out on his own...and I didn't do my best as a parent to show him what he should know for life!"
b.) for the "focus on ME"....honestly it only took looking at myself in a picture (nuff said) and as for focusing on my husband...I know I have married my best friend and I don't want him to forget that I DO appreciate him each & every day! ( mushy gushy corney does that sound?!?!?)

3) Do you have a timeline? If so, how did you set it?
a.) Let's son is 11 that gives me 7 more years to get this thing right! (hum...or maybe a few years less than that cuz I'm sure the "friends" will step in front of me at about age 15-ish)
b.) for me...I'm trying to get on a time-line for my "me make-over"....can't say I'm strictly sticking to it thought (need some additional motivation...I guess the idea of stuffing this body into a swim-suit this summer hasn't been enough of a push in the right direction for me yet)

4) What keeps you motivated?
a.) Thinking about a comment my mom made to me "Make memories with your kids NOW rather than letting day-to-day life get in the way then one day they move out and all you can do is look back and say 'I wish I would've..."
b.) I'm still trying to figure something out that will work on helping to keep me motivated with loosing far...nothin'...that would definitely explain why I'm having such a tough time with it!

5) How will you celebrate when you reach your goal?
a.) Hum....don't really have a "celebration" planned for the kid thing....I'll just be pleased to know I did a good job when the time comes.
b.) If I can reach my goal...I told myself I am LONG overdue for some NEW CLOTHES!!! (in my new "smaller size")

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7, 2011

Craft Show and Contests and Dad... Oh my! Come on, a complimentary golf clap for the effort would be appreciated anyway. But seriously that's pretty much my list for the week. I'm looking forward to a visit with my dad this weekend - which unfortunately I will be juggling into time at the Arts and Craft Show at Greenbrier Valley Mall. It'll be great to see him though, and since I'm dragging him along with me for part of the time, maybe he'll be a better salesman than I am! Aside from that I'm On My Way To finishing up some contest entries with a March 15th deadline so I'll meet my writing quota by default! Nice when things work out that way.
I'll see you for a check-in sometime between Thursday and Sunday. With the weekend looking as interesting as it is I'm trying to give myself some wiggle room. Have fun with your week and enjoy wrestling your goals into submission!

(Note on the pic: That's my dad, Rick Trescott, with his wife Pat Lyles looking all happy at the river through their woods in Alabama.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #18

#18 One day you’ll see that “horrible” picture and think how fabulous you looked!

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1, 2011 Guest Interview with Trinity Hinton

My name is Trinity, I first met Brittney in high school some 20 + years ago, and, like a lot of other people, I wear many hats. Currently, the hats I wear most often include: wife, mom, domestic goddess, dog trainer to my 3 wonderful mutts, and student. My husband is an amazing man who I started dating 23 years ago. This summer we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and I can proudly say he’s still my best friend. Our daughter is 17, a senior in high school and heading off to the Marines later this year after graduation. I’ve went back to school to get the degree I should have had almost 2 decades ago (in Computer Programming) and that is a HUGE goal for me – but it’s not completed until May 2012, so it doesn’t really count as a goal for this year, unless you count getting through this year part of that goal! Seeing as how this isn’t the first time I’ve been to college, I understand all too well how “things happen” and you become a college dropout, but I really can’t foresee anything happening to change that for me this time around. With age comes many things, one of which is determination – and that’s something I definitely have where school is concerned!

Working hard for amazing grades in school – as a female going into a male-dominated field I have to be better than average. (Ideally, I’d love to keep the 4.0 GPA going strong!)
Keeping the mountain of laundry under control! – this will minimize automatically when our daughter heads off to boot camp. *grin*
Get back in shape again – this seems to be on my list every year and I haven’t quite figured out how to make this happen yet, but that doesn’t stop me from buying gizmos and gadgets that are SUPPOSED to help (but really just end up cluttering my closet and workout spaces)! On the plus side, I’m running out of excuses as I seem to have used them all up!
Train all 3 dogs (2 of which are rescues) well enough that they could be off leash and that they always listen even when animals or other tempting things threaten disobedience. (I’ve been watching a lot of the Dog Whisperer, too! LOL)
Enjoying our 20th wedding anniversary – not many people anymore seem to stick together and this is a milestone. The fact that he’s still my best friend is even more amazing because yes, we actually DO enjoy spending time together!
Seeing our daughter graduate high school, turn 18 and go off to Marine boot camp – she is officially an adult later this year and we can only hope that we did our job as parents good enough. (Oh yeah, after September, we can yell out with enthusiasm “We’re Free!!!!” *grin*)

As for what made me choose to pursue these goals – most of them are just what is happening at this point in my life. They chose me more than I chose them! ;)
Timeline – end of the year?! I figure if they are goals for this year, they’d BETTER be settled by December 31st! LOL
Motivation – my motivation for almost everything I do is my family.
Celebrations will consist of hanging my head and putting most of these things back on the list of goals for 2012!

Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28, 2011

It really is too bad that I don't write horror stories with a sky like the one in the picture (taken just a couple of minutes ago) I'm sure I could come up with an ominous and creepy plot. Hmmm I may have to give it a try if I can manage to work it in between tying up some loose ends this week. Heck, maybe the story could be about vampiric paperwork and zombie projects that just won't die... We could call it The Attack of the Creeping Drudgery. Has a nice ring to it.
As you can see, my creativity center is still "under the weather" so to speak. Hopefully that means that I can make some progress in other areas though. This week I think I'm On My Way To an accomplishment list instead of a To Do List. I'll see you on Friday to let you know how it goes. Good luck with your own week - I wish you sunny skies and try trails - and would appreciate the same wishes in return.

Friday, February 25, 2011

February 25, 2011

Well, the thinker-upper part of my brain still seems to be offline, but it actually worked out pretty well. Back-burner paperwork doesn't require too much creativity thankfully (and even more thankfully is now a much less weighty pile). I'm still considering my overall plan. I know that right now I'm mostly just frustrated and sort of cranky with how things seem to keep backfiring. I also know that particular combination usually means a change needs to happen. Since I've got a lot of plans already set in motion between now and June, I'm going to concentrate on making small changes between now and then. If things haven't improved by then, maybe a more major shift will be necessary. In other words, I think it's time to start refining the foggier parts of plan B... just in case.
Right now it's off to Friday errand running. I hope your weekend is great!
(Note on the pic: Okay, I admit it - I need to take some new pictures!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #21

#21 Keep moving one foot in front of the other and you’ll get somewhere… just watch what you’re stepping in!

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 22nd Guest Interview - Theresa Flerx

My guest today is my friend and fellow writer, Theresa Flerx. Having read her life's story I can honestly say that while no one should have to handle much of what she has been through, she is a wonderful example of how to come through bad experiences with courage and strength while maintaining a warm heart and hope for the future.
A SPECIAL NOTE: Theresa will be appearing on The Lifetime Channel's morning show The Balancing Act tomorrow (February 23rd) during their 7:00-8:00 airing. Remember to set your DVR! If you miss it, visit Theresa's website where she will have a link to the video posted. While your there, don't forget to follow her weekday blog and check out her short stories!

Theresa Flerx, writer of her true life story, short stories, and other fiction and nonfiction. My blog - Perceptive Ponderings - is my way of sharing the odd, twisted view of the world I adopted after many anomalous life experiences. I enjoy writing cartoon the strip - The Squabblings of Botd and Chip - on Mondays, a mixed bag of anecdotes throughout the week which culminate with Friday Flerxism, so, after reading Brit's blog on a regular basis check out my blog at

Q) What goal are you working toward?
A)To sell as many copies of my life story - Disequilibrium and the Multi-Faceted Crystal Ball to prove that I can earn money by writing. My ultimate goal is to use writing as a source of income for my "retirement" years. My life experiences have taught me a number of important lessons which my autobiography shares with its readers. Some of the important lessons any one can adopt are coping skills which include balancing, perspective, and the most important skill, a sense of humor. That is another goal of mine - to share these lessons.

Q) What made you decide to pursue your goal?
A)It was the right time. And to stop my recurring nightmares, filled with fury.

Q) Do you have a timeline? If so, how did you set it?
A)To earn a modest, steady income before I turn 60.

Q) What keeps you motivated?
A)I love painting scenes using the written word as my medium.

Q) How will you celebrate when you reach your goal?
A)Happy dance and party.

Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21, 2011

I've been trying to figure out what to write here since I opened my mail on Saturday and got a notice from my bank. The check from Borders (which I dropped in the night deposit box while running errands the day before I read that Borders filed for bankruptcy) bounced. This cost me the printing price for the books, the profit I would have made from sales, $10.00 in bank fees - and that's leaving out the gas, food and pretty much an entire days worth of my time in travel and signing that I knew I would have to eat when I scheduled it. (By the way, my friend Theresa is also in this boat although she has not received her check yet so at least hasn't had to pay the bank fee) This comes right before I have to pay my distributor their set up and proof copy fees, order books for an upcoming event (which has a table fee too), pay the entry fee for the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards, meet two deadlines for contests (entry fees), and figure out how to pay for the West Virginia Writer's Conference. Each thing on the second list should be something that I'm looking forward to enough to go on a loose change hunt through the house if necessary. Each one is a new chance to take the next step, fund the next stage, introduce my characters to new people... and I have $27.80 in lost money making me ask myself "Why bother?". I'm an awfully small fish swimming in these wordy waters - if the big guys can't come up with that kind of chump change to pay me, what makes me think a distribution channel is going to be a good use of my very limited funds? Maybe I should just wait out the upheaval and use my savings to buy a much needed couch instead - I'd still be doing my part to invest back into the economy after all. AND I'd probably be better off monetarily in the long run too.

Not to be melodramatic, but this is how dreams get lost and die of starvation people.

As for what I'm On My Way To this week. I think it's time to take a good hard look at where I am and where I want to be. If the path I'm on no longer connects the two then it's time to choose a different one. Isn't that just funny too, since this blog is supposed to make me stick to the plan I came up with in the first place! Ah well, adapt of go extinct - I definitely prefer adapting. I'll be back on Friday to let you know if standing on my head changes the view for the better or not. Here's hoping your way is more well lit and has fewer tripping hazards this week!
(Note on picture: I'm hoping I can figure out how to stretch out from under the leaves I've got blocking my sunshine too.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

February 18, 2011

In the scheme of the week I have achieved a ton of wonderful and important things covering a wide range of areas. Some of them even fell on the list I posted on Monday. Monday's list, however, suffered a little and didn't quite make it to the "completed" pile. I'm still working on catching any corrections that need to be made before Clyde goes to the distributor - but the paperwork process there has bought me time since I'm at pause for acceptance, so I'm not actually behind (plus I made a small format change and addition in order to stretch the book to 80 pages and keep the spine text.) I've narrowed the book plan down to two options for the future Bart book,and found that I mis-read the Lightning Source information about color interiors (turns out they DO have that option thankfully). No illustrations yet, but I've got PLENTY of time. No query letters to agents or publishers, but I'm never sure if I actually want one, so that's probably the sticking point there. All in all a really good week - especially considering the time dedicated to reading legalese.
Happy weekend to everyone! See you on Monday!
(note on the pic: The pond thawed... maybe spring will be on its way soon!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #45

#45 You have to love yourself first.

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

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15th's Guest Interview - Ashia Salyers

My name is Ashia Salyers, I'm a full time college student and work part time on the side. I plan on becoming an English teacher so it fits that writing is a passion of mine. Currently I am working on a book that has yet to be titled, but I fondly refer to it as the Shifter Tales.

Q) What goal are you working toward?
A)My goal really is to finish a book, I've started quite a few in the past and got no where with them, although with college it gets difficult to make my brain function further to write outside of the classroom.

Q) What made you decide to pursue your goal?
A) I've always had a passion for literature; Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.K. Rowling, etc... are all absolutely fascinating to me, they each have their own individual writing style, some more educated in their writing than others. but they each deliver in a way that makes you want to continue reading their work long into the night and early hours of the morning.

Q) Do you have a timeline? If so, how did you set it?
A) I try to set a timeline for myself, but get caught up in hundreds of other tasks that must be taken care of, homework, laundry, studying for tests, going to work... and then disappoint myself by not meeting my own timeline.. but I don't want to force my writing so I let it happen freely, and get the urge to write, which then usually hits me full in the face because I ignore it for too long.

Q) What keeps you motivated?
A) Reading books, looking at art, taking photographs, finding things that are beautiful in the ugliest and depressing places. I've learned that when I feel at my lowest, is when I can get out the best work. So, as everyone has experienced, when bad things continue to fall on your plate at the least expectant of times, and they put your world on hold, when you don't know which way is up... that is when I turn out the best writing.

Q) How will you celebrate when you reach your goal?
A) I'm not sure; laugh, cry, yell, tear the book to shreds.. I haven't really thought about how I would celebrate, I just know that I'm going to be terrified that it won't measure up and that no one will like the story that I imagined.

(Just a note - I've the beginning of Ashia's Story - trust me, she shouldn't worry so much. It's a great story! ~Brittney)

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14, 2011

On this day of great sharing and love between twitter-pated soul mates and star-crossed admirers-from-afar I would just like to say that I HATE PAPERWORK!!!!!! Okay maybe it isn't the right sentiment for a day of hearts, and flowers, but I'm definitely planning on some chocolate to counteract the affects of proper filing, editing, planning and typing. That's my week in a nutshell by the way... can you feel my joy?
The distribution channel for "Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny" has hoops that I get to pay to jump through too! Plus I need to re-edit and catch a couple of mistakes I missed there and figure out a set price to add to the cover for bookstores. I had planned to start some illustrations this week for Bart and the Amber Bee Award, but have to figure out a cost effective page count and color illustration ratio before I can start (add in that Lightning Source does not handle color books and I may be going back to Authorhouse for that one (probably next year) - great company, just added cost... again. While I'm illustrating the Bart book I think I'm also going to be querying agents or publishers for it. Maybe one of them will see it's greatness and want to pick it up thereby cancelling out a couple of future headaches for me! I have also decided to only Query Bart and the Amber Bee Award and not worry about the letter for Craig's Quest for Crystal Cave. If a publisher likes Bart, they will also like Craig. If they don't like Bart, they won't be interested in Craig. No point in wrestling with a second query letter. Opens up some time to actually send the letter out. I know, I should have thought of that already... forest/trees issue, what can I say. So, there's what I'm On My Way Too this week - and dare I say I'll feel MUCH better after I have it behind me!
In other news, I'm going to change my once a month Guest Interview to once a week, so please watch for my beautiful and talented goddaughter Ashia Salyers tomorrow! I'll be e-mailing other participants with the updated schedule too. If you aren't on my list yet, I'd love to invite you and your goals to stop by and be seen here! Feel free to e-mail me at or check my notes section on facebook if you would like the list of 5 questions!
Best of luck and happy sailing toward your own goals this week. If they include paperwork, know that you aren't in that aggravating boat on your own!
(note on picture: Me and my Valentine!)

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11, 2010

Ha HA! See my desk? It's all uncluttered and pretty and usable now! MUCH better than Monday. Good enough to help me get my three pages written, catch up some paperwork, keep caught up with my side of the boys' school stuff, make the house look more presentable and come up with one heck of a ravioli recipe. I know what you're thinking - there is no mention of Sophie's Sneeze Projects being done in that list. Well, I need supplies. Since today is grocery day I decided to just wait to run out and get them until I'm going out anyway. Saves gas and sanity - both of which are pretty pricey when you are running low on them. So now it's off to a very busy Friday followed by what I'm hoping will be a wonderful pre-Valentine's Day weekend. I hope you enjoy yours too!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #39

#39 Hands fit together for a reason.

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

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

Possibly the most important weeks to set goals are the ones that you really don't feel like setting goals. At least that's what I'm telling myself - repeatedly - this week. It probably isn't helping me much that the picture you are looking at is the current state of my desk ("Enabling Disorganized Students to Succeed" booklet and all LOL). Or that Chance is battling through some algebra on the dry erase board I write my goals for the week down on so I can help him figure out how to understand the weird ways or algebra. In other words, it's seat-of-my-pants time.
According to my monthly list I've got quite a bit to do yet, so in order to chop the list down I'm going to get the rest of the Sophie's Sneeze projects made and written up. I'm also going to finish the 3 pages of new writing I need to get done before the end of the month. Since that should use up the itty bitty pocket of creativity I feel hovering in my head it's looking like the rest of the week will be spent regrouping and re-organizing - again... I'm great at both, must be all of the practice I get since I scatter and clutter so easily!
Here's hoping for no unplanned boulders on everyone's paths this week! See you on Friday with (hopefully) more motivation!

Friday, February 4, 2011

February 4, 2011

It's a Friday with homework, but I've got a good excuse - I mean reason. I got caught up in some contest/submissions research (entered Clyde the Undead Dust Bunny in the IPPY Awards, and have started plotting out which others I'm entering according to my budget and their deadlines.) and also started a list of places to contact about book signings and story time visits and started a project plan for older kids since I'm wanting to take Clyde into the middle grades. The Sophie's Sneeze projects are in the works too. It's so easy to get caught up in the research and planning! Happily I beat my 1 page writing goal and wrote 2 1/2 which comes in handy! So my only homework is that blasted query letter. I really need to get over my aversion to writing queries, I know they aren't as terrible as I make them out to be. I know the wording isn't even as important as the luck of catching whoever is reading it on the right day at the right minute with the right attitude to like what they are reading. Maybe that's why I hate writing them so much... Whatever the reason, I'm going to suffer through it and have it done and not hanging over me before the new week starts - I hope... For now, it's off to rejoin the world for a little while! See you Monday!
(Note on the pic: I'm tired of winter and would like some of these again now!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #33

#33 It probably does not have to be as hard as you are making it.

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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February's Guest Interview - Scott Cassity

Please let me introduce my first guest, Scott Cassity - my wonderful husband and the first to respond to my questions. I would like to add that I've never seen him step into a project that he can't handle - it's pretty impressive! - and that his powers of planning and organization are something I envy!

February's Interview

1) What goal are you working toward?
(Scott) Working on the house exterior making it look better and add things that my wife and I like.

2) What made you decide to pursue your goal?
(Scott)I started to see how much more potential the exterior could have with very little cost and lots of hard work over a few summers.

3) Do you have a timeline? If so, how did you set it?
(Scott)I usually work on the fly and depending on weather, I like to finish a big project within one summer. I usually figure out how long it will take me to do a task and then figure in worse case factoring in work. My replacement wrap around deck got finished but the roof did not. In my minds eye, the goal was met.

4) What keeps you motivated?
(Scott)The quality of the work being done and knowing it looks just like we expected. I like to see the various changes that make the outside look better and better each year.

5) How will you celebrate when you reach your goal?
(Scott)Well, things like this never really stop as new ideas keep going but individual projects are celebrated in a "I'm glad we did this" kind of way. We are all very hard working and proud of our projects we work on together.

Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011

January, I can't say that I'm going to be overly sad to see you go. Especially since this last day seems to be Computer Issue Day! So for this second attempt at my blog post I think I'll keep my fingers crossed!
First I would like to introduce tomorrow's brand new addition to the blog, it has no official name, but it's all about YOU. Guests answer interview questions about how they set, stick to, and plan to celebrate the reaching of the goals they have set for themselves this year. I'm looking forward to this new addition especially since there are so many different ways to look at goals, and having guests share theirs with my readers is a great way to find new things to do, new ways to handle what you have on your own plate, tricks to stay motivated, and lets not forget the reminder that no one is on this goal achievement path alone! Right now this addition will appear on the first of each month, but I'd love to get enough people participating to increase the frequency, so just let me know if you'd like to join in!
As for me, this week I'm On My Way To making a dent in a new month's list. I've got 4 projects to plan, make, and write directions for to fill out February's Sophie's Sneeze Page needs. I've also got a query letter to write for Craig's Quest for Crystal Cave. I'm still waiting for the new Writer's Market Book, so I'll be querying 2 manuscripts when it comes in - should keep me on my toes! I'm only putting 1 new writing page on the list because of the query letter this week. If I can fit anything else in, I'll be happy to share the accomplishment on Friday! Until then, I hope you have a great walk on your own path!

(Note on the pic: This is someone else's path, I just have the picture hanging around.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 28, 2011

I'm sitting here with my January "To Do" List beside me, and I have to say that for the most part it worked out as it was meant to. I've completed 34 Wednesday's Words illustrations, written 5 pages and the remaining 8 Wednesday's Words sayings that I needed to reach the 52 week goal, I've kept up with the Sophie's Sneeze projects for the month (the one remaining one is 98% complete, I'm tied up in drying time right now and need to type up directions.) The only things I've not managed to wrestle into submission are book sales (need a plan that works from home in my pajamas for this time of year), and querying agents for Bart and the Amber Bee Award (got my Children's Writers and Illustrators Market 2011 book yesterday - check out the picture to see what managed to slip through a very reputable source's quality control department... I'm waiting on a new book to arrive.) - I also need to add reformatting Clyde for a different sized book to February's list now that I've decided on the distribution avenue, but that wasn't on January's list technically so doesn't really count as something I didn't complete! All in all I'm content with my progress - it looks pretty darned impressive from my viewpoint! So now it's off to the weekend (the real world looks a little challenging at the moment (broken washing machine, etc.), I almost wish I could just stay in my office and do busywork! See you Monday with a one day jump start on February's goals!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday's Words from Almost Comfortable Skin #20

#20 There is no way to know what choice you will make until you have to make the choice.

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

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011

So here we are at the last full week of January. I wonder how I can sell 4 books and meet my goal in that department... especially when we really haven't been going anywhere lately. I've really got to work on developing some mad marketing skills! So I guess that's the first thing I'm On My Way To - making faces and battling the weather all the way I might add. Next in line is finishing up the Wednesday's Words drawings - I've got 18 left *cringe*. Last but not lease I've got 2 pages left to write. Not a horribly long list, but the real world needs some attention too so it will be an interesting balancing act! Wish me luck (because February is full too so I REALLY don't want to have to carry anything over!)!

(Note on the pic: Kid-built years ago, but really captures the feeling of this week for me!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011

Hello beautiful Friday that has no scheduled events! I really like you and am celebrating your existence by wearing my bathrobe and slippers all day! I may not have gotten any literary goals accomplished this week, but my brother found a great apartment in the town he was relocated to, got some great furniture to turn that apartment into his new home, and made it out of the towel, bedding, and curtain sections at the store with his sanity intact. I am glad he invited me along for his adventures, and hope that my being there helped him have a better time than if he had been stuck doing it all alone. I also managed to get me and the boys in to the dentist for our cleaning on time, and I got my hair cut and some really fun blue highlights added to combat the winter hum-drums (not to mention some personal grouchiness that has been lingering for too long.) All in all a very satisfying week, and a nice break from my usual routine! Now it's off to the weekend to rest up for the catch-up week I've got planned starting on Monday! See you then!