Monday, December 30, 2013

Good riddance 2013, er, I mean, farewell year!

In many ways, I’m sorry to see 2013 go, only because I hate to grow older without accomplishing all of the things on my yearly to-do list. Mostly, though, I’m glad to be starting fresh again.

The past year certainly wasn’t all bad. 

I signed a contract with Harper Impulse and finished three books, which is a great accomplishment for this writer, let me tell you. I got to hang out with my friend and the rock band KISS for a day. This was the year I discovered Doctor Who, which has filled me with endless hours of smiles and entertainment. Dragoncon was fun; I got to hug and was spanked on the behind by John Barrowman! I saved a few animals from the euthanasia list at the local animal shelter. And…and…and that’s all I can really remember that ranked high on the awesome meter for 2013. 

Mostly I remember the challenges and chaos of 2013: 

Early in 2013 my beloved kitty cat had to have two surgeries, which was beyond stressful for this crazy cat lady and put a serious ache on my bank account, too. 

This was also the year my father experienced heart problems and had to have surgery and get a pacemaker. It’s always difficult, at best, to deal with an aging and sick parent, especially if you love them to pieces. When you’re busy accompanying your father to doctor visits on the same day your book releases, it makes publication bittersweet. Trust me, I learned that one the hard way. 

My good friend had some additional health problems, and so did her dog, Sunny, on whom Costello from my book series is largely based. I have friends who lost loved ones this year. These are not things that happened directly to me, but I still experienced sorrow and grief on their behalf. 

To make things worse, 2013 is determined to be a nuisance, even now. 

I’ve managed to come down with bronchitis right before New Year’s Eve, and my kitty cat is also sick. I consulted with a doctor today, and the kitty will be seeing the veterinarian tomorrow—yes, on New Year’s Eve. I seriously hope that’s not a sign that she’ll be sick or I’ll be at the vet all year in 2014. Fingers crossed. I don’t mind if I’m sick, but I hate it when anything is wrong with her, and I'm really worried about her this time. Spoiled? Yes. Yes, she is.

Dusti has been my sick buddy in recent days.
I’m looking forward to 2014 for a number of reasons, ignoring the fact I'm sick, the cat is sick, I have little money, my car needs brakes, and there's lots of iffy things going on with the day job right now. And also ignoring the fact I've fulfilled my contract with Harper Impulse and will again be diving into the murky waters of book publishing, trying to find someone willing to publish my next stories.

My third book through Harper Impulse will, hopefully, release early in the year, and now that a few weeks have separated me from finishing it, I really adore what I remember of it. I especially love my heroine in the third book. Is that weird? 

My niece and nephew are visiting at the end of this week, right before she leaves for New York City to do an internship at Dateline NBC. How cool is that?! I’m really hoping I can visit her in NYC at some point, too. We’ll see. I always look forward to spending time with those two, as rare as it is now that they're older.

What about you? Are you ready to put on your optimistic glasses and cheer on 2014 with me?

2014 is going to be a great year! Right? Right?!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

One sick writer, a neglected dog, and lots of DOGtv = One finished manuscript

Yesterday I shipped off the third book in my series to my lovely editor, Charlotte, at Harper Impulse. To be honest, I have no idea if it will pass muster, which is weird because I’ve created my most fun character to date, who I loved writing about. If you’ve read ON THE SCENT or SOMETHING WICKED, you probably (hopefully) know whom I’m talking about. Emma “Spider” Fisher is the heroine of book three, and I absolutely adore her, which I feel really weird saying since she’s a figment of my imagination and all. But still. The book also features Abbott and Costello and Charlie, the animals from ON THE SCENT, so having Abbott, Costello, Charlie, and Spider in the same story lent for some freaking hilarious scenes. 

Basically, Spider is housesitting for Zach and Hannah when she meets the hero, Noah, who is their hottie neighbor. Spider, being Spider, immediately assumes he's a serial kidnapper after she sees a woman in his bedroom window—after Noah adamantly denies anyone should have been there. It doesn't take long for her realize he's actually being haunted. You'll have to read the rest of the story to find out why.

Spider is a lot like me, except she actually says what she’s thinking out loud, which causes all kinds of ruckus. I also drew from a lot of personal experiences for her story—mainly, my housesitting exploits. I’ve housesat for so many friends in the past, because I LOVED animals and at the time didn’t have any of my own. The opening chapter of Spider’s story really happened to me, although a few details have been mixed and matched. I was not rescued when I got locked out of the house by a hottie neighbor, but an older man and woman with a cane. True story. 

What’s funny is that I always housesit for my brother when he goes out of town. It’s such a hardship, considering he has a big screen TV, tons and tons of movies, a hot tub, exercise equipment, and the cutest little doggie you’ve ever seen. My doggie niece is named Ginger, by the way. Point is, last Thursday I had forgotten I had to housesit for my brother AGAIN, and I was sneaking up to the deadline to have Spider’s book edited and sent to Charlotte. I packed up my stuff, kissed my kitty on the head and told her to be good for her grandpa while I was away, and off I went. 

When I got there, I noticed my brother’s neighbor had a FOR SALE sign in his yard. I know he and my brother are friends and he has dogs who play with Ginger through the fence, but I’ve never spoken to the guy. Well, I finally saw him, and hubba hubba. Total hottie! It was kind of surreal, actually, since I was writing about Spider and the hottie neighbor she meets while housesitting. Anyway, I went inside, set up my laptop, and set to work. It’s funny how any house can seemed haunted when you’re housesitting it, no matter how many times you’ve been there and know it isn’t. All of the scratching on the windows from trees outside and the
Ginger was not impressed by DOGtv, but I was! 
squeaking of the garage door as the wind hit it can be kind of spooky. And lends itself to great writing ambience. 

At some point, I ended up getting sick. Stomach bug, I think. But that’s not important, because I wrote through it. I realized at one point I had totally forgotten about my brother’s dog, which is totally something Spider would do. So I let her out and when she came back inside, I turned his big screen TV to some new channel that was on called DOGtv. It's supposed to keep dogs stimulated while you're out. And I forgot about her again. Actually, DOGtv is such a relaxing channel, I fell a sleep in my brother’s recliner a couple of times because of it. But Ginger was not at all impressed. I never saw her looking at the TV once. Not at all. But it worked on me. I got loads of writing and editing done despite being sick in the process. I even took a break Saturday night and went into my brother’s brand new home theater room (seriously, how does he afford this stuff?) and watched Henry Cavill in "Man of Steel" on his even bigger screen wall. When I told Ginger she was looking at her future uncle, she still wasn’t impressed. Or maybe she just thought I was crazy. Who knows? 

I also put on one of my favorite ghost-story movies called "Wind Chill" to help put me in the mind frame to edit Spider’s book. Yeah. I’m weird. You should know this by now, right? 

I’m pretty sure I neglected Ginger all weekend. I’m pretty sure I’ve neglected everyone and everything over the past few weeks. I mean, holy crackers! It’s almost Christmas! I suppose I should try to put up a tree now or something… 

Anyway. Book three is done and waiting edits, of which there might be many. I would love to write a book four, but I suppose sales and my publisher will dictate that. In any case, I’m super thrilled I was able to write Spider’s story. Fingers crossed you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


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