Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crooks are Afoot.....

in my neighborhood. Last week, there were three break-ins on my street and one street over. And two nights ago, my next-door-neighbor's house was hit by intruders. Lucky for him, his alarm went off and the robbers vanished.
So what has happened to my nice little neighborhood? About four houses were on my street when I moved into this little sub-division in 2003. That makes 10 years of living in a tranquil, well-maintained neighborhood. Residents here are just regular people, mainly blue-collar workers, salt of the earth, with some households where both the husband and wife are working. I joked when I moved in, "This looks like Bubba Drive." Pickups were parked in driveways, of if not a pickup, then a big ol' honkin' SUV with a passel of kids in the back. Neighbors introduced themselves while out mowing the grass, washing their cars or ferrying kids to school and themselves to work.
Now, the "work" portion of our neighborhood changed recently. Oh, say, around 2-3 years ago. Many of the people in my subdivision were employed by a big government contractor. We all know how risky that employment can be. Sure enough, many workers were laid off. The economy tanked, and spouses also lost jobs. Bankrupt, many neighbors moved and either sold their houses or resorted to renting them out. As I drive down my street, I notice many vacant houses. Don't ask me how I know they are vacant; I just know.  The house has a forlorn look to its facade; windows are shuttered and the once neatly trimmed yard has lost its green color to the simmering Texas heat.
Why not move? I hear you asking. Because I'm not going to be run out of my home of ten years just because some punks want whatever they think I have. I'm an old lady, but I'm tough. My son lives with me, and he's even tougher. And between the two of us, we have a big ol' shotgun.
If they start trying to kick the door in, they're dead where they stand. We'll just be sure to drag the sorry bastard's body inside the house before we call 911.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hold That Blog!

It used to be "Stop the presses" when a newspaper editor wanted to insert something new into the currently printing issue. Not any more, at least not in this digital age. Things change so rapidly, it almost makes a person dizzy.

So it is now with my blog. Previously, I had stated I would go forth and seek a publisher. A "big" publisher. The stress of trying to get a manuscript whipped into correct digital format had darn near killed me.

Thank God I belong to a very supportive group of authors who have also left our publisher. They very gently suggested I hire a certain person to do it for me. And at a realistic price, too.

And, truth be known, hiring this person leaves me with time to finish the sequel to my last novel; work on a couple of other sequels, and uh....live life, fer cryin' out loud. 

Being the Type A person I've always been isn't easy to tone down my overly-scheduled days. I've argued with Reason and Relax until my body yells, Enough, already! I pay attention to that voice, because I know my body's limits, most of the time.

Pain will get my attention, every time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Thoughts on 9/11

Everyone has a story about where they were on 9/11/01 when they first heard about the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Here's mine, a day late, but I have an excuse-- I was at the dentist's office nearly all day. So I missed out on that particular posting day.
I drove to work on my last day of a temporary assignment for a company where I had been a full-time employee for many years. Due to certain health considerations, I had to leave that company and go to work as a "temp" administrative assistant for any venue that needed me for a day, a week, or even a year, at one point. But this day was my last day as a "temp" in this particular company.
The car radio was on, and the music was stopped for a bit of news: An airplane had flown into the The World Trade Center. I pulled into the parking lot and went inside the building and checked in with the security guards, telling them about the plane hitting the WTC. They turned their television set on and I went up the elevator to the 14th floor and entered my workspace. I told my colleagues about the news. Someone turned the television on that was used for depositions, etc. and by that time, the second plane had hit.
All pretense at working halted as we watched the news unfold.
Then, we heard that the Pentagon was on fire; an airplane had hit that building.
A gnawing sense of unease hit me in the gut. "We're at war," I said. Someone looked at me and asked, "What?" I repeated myself, a bit louder. "We're at war." This old army brat had pulled her old experiences from not only her memory, but from her intuition. My dad had instilled in me certain key indicators of what constitutes a war, since we were part of the US Army of Occupation in Austria after WWII. And this fit his premise exactly.
The department personnel clustered around the television set, watching the events unfold. Shanksville, PA is another place where planes went down; this time from heroic acts by its passengers.
It was soon time to leave for a doctor's appointment, and I would not return to that office, as my work was done. But when I entered the waiting room for my doctor's visit, the television was also bringing us the horrible news: One of the WTC buildings was falling, to be followed shortly by the other.
Appropriately, I was in my psychiatrist's office (I should add here, that a psychiatrist is the appropriate person to dispense anti-depressants only; the old cartoon of a patient lying on a couch and saying what he "feels" is no longer valid.) I was there to report on how the anti-depressant was working for me. Having lupus brings with it a built-in depression; chemical changes in brain activity.
We barely spoke to each other, I told him only what was necessary, and we both went into the waiting room to see the ongoing devastation.
A pit was forming in my solar plexus, as if I had been hit by something. When I reached my apartment, I called my children, something I learned most people did. They were all right. Stunned, of course, but unharmed.
The television remained on until I went to bed, and my dreams were populated by images of people jumping from a high building. What a horrible choice to make.
Life went on around me, but it seemed in slow motion. The pit in my stomach lasted for about a month. Like others, I was in shock.
Time has passed, and a semblance of normalcy returned. Life goes on.
Each year, as I watch the remembrances in all three locations where the terrorists took so many lives, I remember that day, wishing I didn't have to look at it again, if only in memory.
An ordinary day in September. Burned forever in our hearts and minds.
God help us prevent this or anything like this from ever happening again.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Stress and Writing

Stress, in its latest form, came calling this morning. A couple of weeks ago, I was diagnosed with "benign essential tremors" by a neurologist who assured me that it was treatable and the prescription for its treatment was an older, cheaper drug that I start with one 50 mg Primidone at bedtime. Next week, we'll see at my follow-up appt. whether I need to increase the dosage. I vote for "yes."
Since this latest "gift" of lupus thrives on stress, I have to make some decisions, here, about my writing career.
I have recently "fired" my publisher, Vanilla Heart Publishing, for breach of contract on many levels, along with 12 of my fellow authors in that publishing house. That's a stressor of major proportions, and not quite by coincidence, that's when my stress level increased to the point that I had to find out what was going on with my lupus. Heh. You might say I'm brain damaged, since the cause of these tremors is that nerves in my CNS are on overdrive; coming out of my overactive, stressed brain.
I have been trying to self-publish, and been found wanting in the skills needed. After spending three days on Create Space, editing my 350 page manuscript, only to have it sent back to me as a "proof copy" and correcting such errors as "be" turned into "he" and vice-versa, not even to mention formatting issues.
Ever the over-achiever, I was convinced that I could do this. But, upon waking this morning, hands trembling once again while making coffee, I came to realize, "This stuff is killing me. Why not try to find a decent publisher who will take all, some, or one of my books?"My son confirmed my decision when he correctly stated, "Your time is non-productive doing this." And he's correct. Those three days could have been better spent on working on my sequel to my last novel. Maybe even finished the last few pages of my second draft. Instead, I wrestled with such issues as "formatting glitches" (theirs, not mine) and even doing yet another spell check.
No more. I'm contacting reputable publishers, even the "biggies" in New York. What can they say, other than "No?" I've been told that before; it's not a bullet through the heart.
I cannot continue abusing my lupus brain cells. I need to let go of my idea that I can run with the other kids, who are self- publishing.
Who have sailed through the process with never a problem. I thought I could do it, too, but reality has intruded. They don't have lupus and other chronic illnesses. And let's not forget the "brain fog" that creeps in on little cat's feet. (I think that phrase is from a poem, right? Just can't remember the name or the author. Typical of a lupie.)

I'm starting a new blog for writing, also. Look for "MyViewFrom Here" on blogger.com.This will be copied to that new blog, since it pertains to writing.
So I'm asking: Does anyone have a publisher they would recommend?