Stuff Like That….

Let me tell you about my day. This boy was annoyed.

Ok, let’s get a few things into perspective. Being a spouse with two cats and one new kitten is kind of taxing. I’ve become the mom of our little den and well…..I guess I’m naturally taken to it. I do the cooking and cleaning…..Wait, let me tell it to you this way:

I sit to write. Five sentences in and Phillip calls from the other room, “Do I have any work pants washed?”

Click clack on the keyboard, but still able to respond with a resounding, “In the dryer!”

A paragraph more I get. Mom brain shifts in. Must defrost some chicken for dinner….Done. Ok, back to work, what will happen to the Madam and Mr. Brown next? I mean at the end of book two, they’ve been handed a serious dilemma. One that I don’t think either one of them is equipped to handle.

BOOM! A cat pounces into my lap. Says he demands it. Fine. Back to work….the other cat says, “No, no, no. You know the rules. You get mommy when he’s on the couch, I get him when he’s in the chair.” A little scrapping starts to happen, with claws dug into my knees. “FELLAS! Mommy needs to write! He’s trying to crank out some bestsellers here!” The kitten thinks we’re all playing a game and leaps on my shoulder, so that she can attack from a higher launching pad.

Do the laundry, feed the kids, dress the husband, tend to husband (he has a cold, but if you ask him he’s dying of an incurable disease secretly sent here by the Chinese. Didn’t you see Contagion?)

My household is swirling around me as I click clack these keys, everyone in need of something from me. I swear to you, and we’ve all had those feelings (“Can I get an AMEN?”) you just wanna grab your jacket, hit the door, slam it on your way out and scream, “ME TIME!”

But, you don’t. Because deep down….you know you’ll come back to the house where the cats are having ice cream for breakfast and your husband is making himself a ketchup and peanut butter sandwich.      (EWWW!)

I drift for a minute onto youtube. They’ve recommended a video I should watch. I was looking for something by Richard Robbins. I like listening to him while writing my Madam and Brown Series. But instead, I click on a suggested video by the robots that be at youtube.

Apparently, Bananarama have a new song. I click play while Phillip asks randomly, “How much is the price of tea in China anyway? Do you think it’s more or less what we pay at Publix? Oh! And we need milk.”

The song starts playing and I think, “Hmmmph. Too disco, to nostalgic….” Wait for it. Wait for it….I found myself chiming along. Caught myself while house was in crisis be-bopping to it.

“Stuff….like….that….”

Lovely. Cats are trying to kill each other, husbands about to kill himself putting a metal fork in the microwave by mistake, but I didn’t care! I was dancing about, singing along, feeling great! As a matter of fact, and I take no embarrassment in saying I played that song three or four times back to back. Catchy, needed. You know? I needed something to make me feel better and it did the trick. Never underestimate how a simple catchy song can make you feel so much better, help you to forget the madness.

It is now my official “go to” song for immediate mood lifting.

When the song was over I took off my headphones and went back to my life. “Ok! It’s 5 o’clock!” I shake the back of treats, the cats and kitten come running. I pour some into their bowls and they feast like the bitches that they are. I then head to bedroom where Phillip is fumbling with a shirt. “I think this button is loose.”

“I’ll get my sewing kit.”

“Thanks, babe. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

I smile, turn back to him and respond with a big, fat, slobbery kiss on his cheek. “Just keep sayin’ stuff….like….that. Ok?”

I love my life, love my little brood, my giant of a husband (seriously, he ducks in cathedrals…), and my swarm of felines always pacing around my legs hungry for my affection.

I put order back into the house and realized how much they needed me. And it felt good for a guy to feel like mom.

They come to you for your needs, they come to you for their comfort. Hearing it out loud, “I don’t know what I’d do without you,” from my husband, or the wrestling for affection that the cats do, makes sitting here in the quiet while writing yearn for them even more….

I love their madness. I love this little family of mine….

-And funny enough! While writing that last sentence Phillip whimpers from his chair over there in the living room, “Do you think you might make me a cup of tea? Just lemon, no honey. I think honey is a conspiracy….” HA!

I guess I better go. I did enough writing today 🙂

 

(And I double dog any one of you to write a blog post so artfully while spinning in Bananarama! THAT is legendary….)

To read more about the Madam and Mr. Brown, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! We couldn’t do it without your support!

 

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You Have Exactly One Hour….

Ok.

You have exactly one hour to read both “TENANTS” and “DUPLEX” for free. I’m hoping you’ll leave a review on Amazon.  Just tell me, tell us, tell the world what you thought. But, be honest, be genuine.

 

To read book one, “TENANTS,” click here.

To read book two, “DUPLEX” click here.

Advice for the Novice Writer: Girl, Don’t Do It…

The worst part about releasing a new book is the anxiety that you feel when it’s handed to the world to read. And that’s the first anxiety you have: will people even read it? You start getting weird and panicky. You reveal that your book was inspired by the phenomenal orchestrations of Richard Robbins, but it’s being received like a damned Phil Collins song from the 80’s.  You spent all of that time giving your soundless soul some words…will people even hear them?

You crack open a beer, you sit before your laptop, your new best friend, and constantly check the numbers. Your sales are updated hourly, but we don’t have time for that. So, you check them every 15 minutes or so. Nothing. That’s when the next bout with your anxiety kicks in: you don’t know how to promote.

Boom! You scour youtube searching for videos on how to promote a book, how to increase your amazon book sales, you listen for hours and hours of people give you shit advice that doesn’t make sense. Algorithms?

That’s when you realize those videos are a sort of click bait. They were made for people like us, desperate to know the secrets of making your book a bestseller. They didn’t make their money by having a bestseller….they made their money snagging us into watching a youtube video.

After the second beer you begin to realize none of them actually said, “Well, first write a really good book.” And second, “If people love it, they’ll tell other people how much they love it.” After all, in this virtual world, something goes viral because it touches a part of the heart, not because it was promoted the hell out of. You sit back and begin to think about all of the things you really appreciated because someone else told you how much they enjoyed it, not because you saw the same consistent ad over and over. My mother still calls me to ask what she should binge. She trusts my judgement, knows that I know her well and will say, “No, I don’t think you’d care for Killing Eve, but give Sharp Objects a try.”

At beer three you begin to see that you already have an audience. People come here to read your blog, Gregory. They appreciate what you have to say. You’re not an Instagram darling, you’re not a youtuber, you’re not a social media influencer. However, you do something very well with this little square block and those pounding of the keys. You speak….in a way that is only yours.

So, my advice to the novice writer is to focus on the work, focus on your voice, and don’t spend an entire evening drinking beer and terrified at watching your ranking go up and down, don’t waste a bated breath with the promise of instant stardom and viral fame. Don’t do it. You’ll just stress yourself into beers number 6 and 7….and half of 8.

Focus on the work, on the writing. Don’t focus on the sales. Stay true to your craft. Because you don’t write to become wealthy. You didn’t start clambering away at the keyboard because you wanted something. You did it because you wanted to share something.

Maybe your book will be a bestseller. Maybe it won’t. Who knows?

I put too much pressure on myself to sell big so I can have a home.

That may not happen. Or it may….you just never know. All I can do is my best, my all, my everything. Give you some wonderfully crafted work that spills from my very soul. And that, right there, should be my only intention. Just to give everything, so that maybe we may have something some day.

Novice writer? Are you listening? It’s not about the sales. It’s about the writing…. 

To read my latest book, click here.…because if you do, you might just love it….and it just might end up a bestseller. And we’ll have a home….

Love ya.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! We couldn’t do it without your support!

 

 

The Difference Between Happiness and Misery

Phillip and I were chit chatting last night. Now, to us it’s a simple back and forth of ideas, but to the outsider, it may look as though we have solved the world’s problems and just greedily keeping those secrets to ourselves. We get deep without thinking about it. We love each other, we enjoy hearing what the other has to say about an issue. So, we’ll start on one topic and find ourselves spending hours delving into a slew of other ones. You know….where you end up all night talking and forget the time?

Then he asked, “So, what’s up with the purple clover in ‘DUPLEX?'”

“Oh, wouldn’t you love to know. Think of it this way. The Madam has never been loved, has never had much in her life. Despite that, she’s one of the most optimistic people you’ll ever meet….because she enjoys what she has. No one ever gave her roses, but she certainly does appreciate having clovers blooming in beautiful purple around her duplex. And for Mr. Brown? It represents the idea of what he had and eventually lost. After all, his wife put a purple clover behind his ear on their first date.

“I think we’re all like that in many respects. We’re either happy for what we have, or miserable because we don’t have what we want. That purple clover is the difference between her happiness and his misery. She is content with the life she’s been give. And he is still PISSED at the life that was taken from him….

“We all do it. Every single day we get the chance to be as grateful as a caterpillar that survived the cocoon to become a butterfly…..or as miserable and ready for death as a bird with clipped wings, too old to fly….

“For some, that purple clover is a gorgeous petal full of natural lavender….and to others it’s just a weed you happily rip from your garden….So, I wanted that purple clover to identify two types of people and how they view that little bloom. You’re either like the Madam….or like Mr. Brown. Take another look at the cover of the book….”

There was a pause. Nothing was said. Between us friends, we always are ready with a reply….but, he said only this: “Damn. Guess that’s why you’re the writer in the family. You should write that down. Do we have anymore chicken pot pies in the freezer?” HA!

That’s my husband, and why I love him. He lets me get there, find it in myself, pull it out, then snaps me back to real life. “Coming right up, sweetheart! Just gonna promote this best seller real quick, ok?”

But, seriously, which of them are you more like. And be honest. Are you more like the Madam? Or more like Mr. Brown? Or tell me if you’ve read the two books so far, which of these two characters would you RATHER be. Or which of them am I?

Can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

To read the series, click here. Would love to know what you think of my Madam and Brown.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! We couldn’t do it without your support!

 

 

90 Minute Romance

Sounds like one of those speed dates, or a one night stand, doesn’t it? Ha! I’ll take it!

Apparently, the last time I checked, “DUPLEX” was coming in at #270 in the “90 Minute Romance” category. Now, that isn’t a category I designated for the book, but again, I’ll take it. I guess Amazon’s little robots get to figuring things out and realize that people who buy “DUPLEX” are also buying shorter fiction novels with a romantic twist. That is beautiful, because to have a bazillion books on Amazon and have your little story of these two people  break the 200 range is pretty outstanding. You know me, though. I’m cool with being #270…..but, I’d rather be in the top 10 🙂

We can do it! YES! Oh! And we got out first review:

“I was lucky enough to win an advance copy of Duplex! Duplex is a good prequel to Tenants. The author expertly shifts the scene between Mr. Brown and the Madam, until their stories merge at the duplex. While their actions do not always make the main characters likable, you can’t help but root for them as they struggle to accept the consequences of their choices. A suspenseful ending definitely has me impatient for the next part of the story!”

Isn’t that lovely? And that was my intention the whole time writing this book. A few pages for her, a few for him until they were finally on the same page, the very last page, of the book. And you do realize, don’t you? That I never ever mention their names in the book. Nope. They know each other as the Madam and Mr. Brown, they don’t know each other’s real names and neither do you. So, writing the prequel I spent hours cleverly using only “he” and “she” so I wouldn’t spoil that wonderful illusion. They are perfectly suited as the Madam and Mr. Brown and that is the way they should stay.

I was ready to jump in and start book three. But, I’m going to spend more time with them on a more intimate level. I’ll be doing more crocheting with wild and unnaturally suited colors as I spend time with the Madam, as I delve into her head. And I’ll be knitting more and more of Mr. Brown’s very drab colored socks as I try and figure out just how he is going to react to the last line of “DUPLEX.”

DUPLEX” is available on Amazon in both print and kindle. If you haven’t read the first book, “TENANTS,” don’t worry. You can scroll down the Amazon page and they have an option where you can get both copies with one click. Just click here for the Amazon page.

Ya’ll have fun reading!

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! We couldn’t do it without your support!

 

THIS IS IT!

Well, well. “DUPLEX” came out today! 🙂 YAY! If you fell in love with the Madam and Mr. Brown in “TENANTS” you are going to love love love reading more about them before they moved into the DUPLEX and how those decisions brought them into each other’s lives at just the right time.

I really loved working on “DUPLEX” because it was the first time as a writer that I actually dug in deep with a character, really studied them, refined them. By the time I was finished, I loved them even more, could feel how damaged they were and why the Universe demanded that they be brought together to live in that little bubble, sharing a hole in the wall.

I sent out advanced copies about a week ago and the feedback I received was better than any Christmas present I’ve ever opened….and that final scene caused a little controversy. Half the people were like, “NO! Don’t do it!” Others boldly said, “YES! This is exactly the cliffhanger you need!” And that cliffhanger bleeds into book 3, which should be out before the summer.

AND! I sent a copy of both “TENANTS” and “DUPLEX” to Judy Davis’ agent just letting them know I had written these two characters and she really was an influence in forming the Madam. What could it hurt, right? The agent contacted me back just last night, on the eve of the release of “DUPLEX,” to tell me that Judy Davis doesn’t accept unsolicited material…..except they really like the two books and were going to send them to her. HOT…..damn 🙂

You never know what may happen, but one thing is for certain: NOTHING happens if you don’t try, if you don’t put yourself in the arena and let them know you’re there. What a great movie the “Madam and Brown” series would be.

So, I’m having a monumental day. A truly great day. So, run on out and find them on Amazon! Say you read it before the masses did! Then tell your friends how much you love these two beautiful, broken people and make sure you read it. Start a book club with Kool Aid spiked with vodka and Vienna Sausages smashed into a pate. (Some of you know what I’m talking about, hint hint).

I think I’m gonna celebrate a little today. You know, throw on some Siouxsie, some Kate Bush, boogie a little and eat a ham sandwich. You! Go read! Both books come in kindle and paperback, so pick your poison. Click here to find the Madam and Mr. Brown on amazon.

I just might be able to get that apartment after all….

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! We couldn’t do it without your support!

This Little Guy Saved My Life

It’s so very true. This was the first bear design I ever knit. He was so popular and so many people wanted to have him that I called him, “The Teddy Bear That Saved Me.” If he had never been born, I don’t know what may have happened to me. But, he rescued me, set me on a path that gave me food and shelter. I will forever be grateful to this little guy for bringing me so much life, and with that, so much purpose. I have such honor and admiration for this little bear because he was the key to my being free of homelessness.

I’m hoping he’ll do the same for me again. We’re feeling we might have to leave here sooner rather than later. No amount of positive disposition I try to escape into, the writing is clearly on the wall. Phillip hasn’t been himself lately, so annoyed over the situation, so displeased. And I think the stress of our relationship with the property management has us having spats with each other more often than we should. We had a doozy of a row the other night….and right in the middle of it, we snapped and both said, “Wow. It’s not you, it’s this place. They want us out, don’t they? And they’ve got us so upset and stressed that we’re taking it out on each other.” Obviously, since we’ve been stressed the cats are picking up on that, fighting with each other, being reclusive, acting depressed.

The place we found can be within reach soon, if this little guy is able to help me again. The place we found is closer to Phillip’s job, is small, comfortable, and behind a Target so I’ll still have access to a close grocery store. But, the reason we loved it so much was that it was new, clean, modern….and only slightly more than what we’re paying now. And that little screened in balcony. Oh, I can just see our little fur babies sprawled out there at all hours of the day. But, moving is expensive when you consider deposit, first month and last month rent are all due on signing. And I’d like to secure it by the end of the month. Or at least have the deposit settled and take it from there. I look at this picture every day. I got to bed at night visualizing myself walking through the front door, seeing where we’ll put our books and yarn.

So, I’m going back to my classic, my favored little bear who has meant so much to me, has brought so much to my life. And I’m hoping he’ll bring the same wonder and beauty that he has brought to me in the past.

I want our little family to be happy again. So instead of this little bear being called, “The Teddy Bear That Saved Me,” I rechristen him with the much needed name, “The Teddy Bear That Saved Us.” If you’d like to adopt him, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! We couldn’t do it without your support!