Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Computer Woes!

Don't you just love computers? :-( My desktop caught a virus and crashed about 4 weeks ago. Thankfully, I have a laptop that had to work overtime until I managed to get a new hard drive, get it installed, and up and running. And that wouldn't have happened if my brother-in-law hadn't been so stubborn.

The hard drive in my desktop was a 30GB. Last Tuesday I went to Wal-Mart to purchase another one-looking for 60 - 80GB. Of course by the time Keith had removed the old drive and I left to find a new one every other available source nearby had closed. When I got to the store, I had two choices 320GB or 500GB.

Now, I can do most anything I need to do on Microsoft Word including using the mouse to draw with. I know a smidge about hardware. I know lots of terms and had already figured out that my hard drive had contracted a bug. I know the only way to rid your computer of bugs is to replace the affected parts, i.e., the hard drive. And I've been inside the guts of a bunch of Macs in my day, but I only touched what I had been shown by the computer gurus at my school district. We finally got an official computer tech on campus and I didn't have to do that any longer as a sideline. So it's been a while since I've seen the insides of a computer and Macs are put together differently than PCs.

I also reasoned out that moving up from 30GB to 320GB might been just a bit too much for my PC, but I bought the hard drive and took it home. Plug it in and turn it on and...nothing. My poor brother-in-law worked for a couple of hours, then said he'd come back. Six days passed and all I wanted for him to do was take the drive back out so I could return it for my money and find a smaller drive.

Keith is...shall we say...a bit stubborn. Last night he returned, took out the new and replaced the old. He'd done that on his computer one time and taking out the old drive and replacing it had cured his problem. Fine if it worked, but I still needed to upgrade the drive so I could load Windows XP - I'd been running Windows 98. So I still had to buy a new drive. He started reloading Windows 98 and got told I had a virus.

He put the 320 back in and we called tech support. An hour later we had Windows XP loading. An hour and a half later the whole thing stopped and refused to budge. Tech support had gone home.

This afternoon he called them back, downloaded a diagnostic to disk on my laptop, loaded that up and failure once more. Tech support, bless their little hearts, said that if the diagnostic didn't work then we probably had a bad new hard drive. Out comes the new drive and back into the box it goes.

In the meantime, a friend and I go to eat Chinese food in another town and did a little shopping including a visit to Circuit City where I found and purchased a 160GB hard drive. According to Marcus, the wonderful clerk, that should work. If not, I just needed to purchase a new computer.

My brother-in-law and sister return at 8:30, he installs the drive, loads up Windows XP and voila my updated computer is working! I loaded the Word software and an anti-virus software and I'm off and running again. Thank you, Keith.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm Back!

A long time has passed since my last post - forgive me. Between the holidays, getting certified for rehire at H & R Block and completing Skills for Success for Block I got really busy. Then tax season started and I was swamped until it ended.

The breaking news is that my next book, First I'm Nobody, is due out in E-format from The Wild Rose Press on June 20, 2008! It was co-authored by Elaine Bonner, my long, long, long time friend. We're so excited. It's been too long since we've had a book published.

The really great news is that our companion book, Redigo's Choice will be coming out sometime in 2009. Can you believe that? Redigo's Choice picks up a secondary character from First I'm Nobody and tells his story. John Redigo was such a strong character in First I'm Nobody we had to give him his own book. The Wild Rose Press took Redigo's Choice shortly after accepting First I'm Nobody. God is great!

Elaine's solo book, Sonora, is available now in E-format from The Wild Rose Press. It will be available in print on August 22, 2008. Elaine writes her solo novels as Elaine Bonner. You need to check it out. She's an awesome writer. Just go to and then to the inspirational catagory to look for Sonora and soon for First I'm Nobody.

Currently, I'm in the process of tweaking a proposal for a cozy mystery that Elaine and I are writing. When that is done, I'll finish the editing of a friend's book, and then devote my time to finishing the rough draft of my NaNo project, Galveston, so I can send off a proposal for it to somewhere.
So, until later. God bless.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Sorry I've been gone so long, but my life has been hectic since the ACFW conference. In early October I went to my friend's house to work on two books we've started. At the end of the week, I drove to my niece's house to be with her while she underwent a catherization. The next week my niece had open heart surgery. I stayed with her during the next two weeks while she recuperated.

After I came home, my mother was not feeling well, my friend came to visit me because she was presenting the November program at my local writing group, ETWA. I had to clean house and then helped Elaine read her first galleys for her solo book, Sonora, which will come out in E-Book form sometime in 2008.

Amid all of that, I've been participating in NaNoWriMo. To date, I have written 22,512 words which makes me 27,488 words from my goal. And I have only 10 days left, so that means I have to write 2,749+ words a day in order to make that goal. Will I do it? I pray so. But I have to attend 3 more 3-hour H & R Block Skills for Success Training sessions between now and November 30 and go to my critique group meeting and sleep and have Thanksgiving guests over the weekend.

Soooooo, I'm officially going on hiatus until after NaNoWriMo. See you then.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Back From the Conference, Part II

As I said yesterday, before I headed home after the ACFW 2007 Conference, I drove on up to visit Elaine. On Sunday afternoon we got busy on a new novel, rather we picked up where we left off on a new novel last October - Murder in Maggie Valley, A Keps Delicacy Book 1.

I say we. I was zonked. I stretched out on Elaine's couch to listen to her read me what we'd written a year ago. Of course I dozed. But I woke up then dozed again. Did that a couple of times. I got a nice nap, and Elaine got some work done. When she was tired of writing, I took over. I wrote, we ate dinner, and Elaine disappeared into her office where her Internet computer is located.

Around 10:30 pm she called me to her office asking me if I wanted to hear something. I thought she had been writing on a different book. I started down the hallway when I heard the words, " we want to offer you a contract for First I'm Nobody... if you still want us to publish it."

Of course we wanted The Wild Rose Press to publish our book! Elaine composed our acceptance and added a note that we already had a sequel completed, Redigo. She asked if they'd like to look at it as well. She sent it off, and we prayed that we'd get the contract by email no later than Tuesday, mid-day, because I needed to come back home by Tuesday evening. If we got it by then, we could both sign it without having to use the US Post office.

I was so excited. Finally. Book two, for me; book five for Elaine. I really do have to get on the stick and get some solo projects finished and off to editors. I called my mother to tell her the news, but didn't have anyone else I could call at 11:00 pm. I did text my niece, but I got no reply from her. I looked at Elaine and said, "I can't even call you; you're right here!"

On Monday afternoon, we checked our email, but there wasn't a reply from our editor yet. So we gathered our stuff and headed over to Elaine's daughter's house to fix dinner for Elaine's son-in-law. His birthday was coming up on Wednesday. While we were there, after dinner, Elaine checked our account again. Our contract came in along with an okay to send Redigo to the editor.

So we went home, printed and signed the contract and told the editor we'd send the next book to her as soon as I did a quick revision. Sigh. More revisions. And I got the pleasure of completing all the informational stuff The Wild Rose Press requires for a publication - main character descriptions, book cover suggestions, author promo information, book promo information, etc.

Got that done by late Wednesday evening. Then I got started on revising Redigo. So far there are not as many corrections to be done by a long shot. After all, it was the fourth book we'd written together, we should have learned a few things by then.

So now I'm working away on revising Redigo as fast as I can, so that I can revise Alaskan Knights and get a proposal off to the agent who requested it before she can forget about her request. Elaine's got a week off coming up in ten days, so I'm off to Denton once more to write, write, write. We want to get Murder in Maggie Valley far enough along so that we can write a synopsis and get a proposal off to one of the cozy mystery publishing houses. Who knows, maybe we can get three contracts for 2008?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Back From Writing Conference, Part I

Goodness, what a whirlwind of activity. The ACFW conference was great, as usual. The organization gets better each year. Next year's conference is going to be in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I can't wait. I've never been to Minnesota before. I'll get to add another state to my list of "been there" states. And if Elaine goes with me and we use the conference as the jumping off point to our yearly vacation, I might even get to add Michigan to my list.

I left home on Wednesday, a little disappointed that we had not gotten word from The Wild Rose Press about our novel, First I'm Nobody. I'd been checking a couple of times daily for word as to acceptance or rejection. I wanted to be able to see people and tell them that I had another contracted book. It's been five years after all. Sigh. All I could tell them was we were waiting for news, but that Elaine had a contract for her Sonora from the same company.

I was so nervous about the agent and editor appointments I had looming in front of me. Even up to the minute I walked down that long, long hallway to the Pecan room, I started to back out. But I pushed my feet ahead, swallowed my fear, and smiled as I walked up to the agent. She was friendly and demanded a hug instead of a handshake - "I'm Italian." That put me at ease at once.

She asked for my one-sheet - I didn't have one. Because I didn't know who I would be seeing I wasn't sure which book to pitch, one of mine or one of ours. After I got my appointment assignments on Thursday, I had to sort of work up a pitch. Since I had gotten an editor appointment with Zondervan, I decided to pitch Alaskan Knights. But I didn't have a way to work up a one-sheet at the hotel.

She then asked me for a business card - gulp, I'd left them in my car. I promised to retrieve one and get it to her. I did, the next day on my way to the editor appointment. But, I pitched the book anyway. Alaskan Knights is a romance with bits of suspense in it. She read my name tag and it indicated that I wrote romantic suspense, which is what I'm writing now, but that book was written with Love Inspired in mind. The agent said Alaskan Knights sounded more like women's fiction, and I agreed. It is.

She liked the idea behind it and asked that Elaine and I send her a proposal. I left feeling better. Whether or not the editor liked it, someone did. I just have to tweak it and get it sent off to her.

The next morning I met with the Zondervan editor. I knew it wasn't going to go well as soon as I walked into the room. Oh, she was friendly enough, but she made me wait over five minutes while she and the woman before me continued their discussion. Then when I got seated and launched into my pitch, she told me about a minute into it that we couldn't do what we had already done in 100,000 words. We should divide the story into two books of 80,000 each. I didn't bother trying to convince her, her mind was already made up. I listened politely and left after about five minutes.

Oh well, that's the publishing business. The right person at the right time with an open mind. Elaine and I have always been ahead of our time. Things editors have said aren't and shouldn't be done when we approached them with an idea out of the box are now being printed and sold.

But, I had the agent's interest, and that was enough for me. I sat through the awards ceremony on Saturday night happy for the finalists and winners, especially Kim Vogel Sawyer because we've become friends over the years I've been going to conferences, but I wished one of my books had been at least entered into the contest. I'm too recently published for consideration in the Genesis contest, and too long past publication to be considered in the Book of the Year contest. There is no place for the middle-of-the-roaders like me.

So the conference ended. I had met face to face with four of the other Naner group members. That was a highlight of the conference for me. I had gotten hugs from friends I'd met at other conferences. I made some new friends that I'll look forward to seeing next year. The conference was a success just for those reasons, but to come home with the possibility of getting agent representation again was icing on my cake.

After the conference I drove on up to Denton to work a couple of days with Elaine on a new project we started last October - a cozy mystery. Meet me here later for part two of my story.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Off I Go To The ACFW Conference

My clothes are clean, though not packed, my lists of assignments that I volunteered for are printed, my schedule is printed, and I'm off on Wednesday evening to travel to Dallas for the 2007 ACFW Conference.

Thursday morning, bright and early, my friend will give me a wake-up call, and I'll drive in to the Marriott for the Early Bird Conference. I can't wait.

People I haven't seen in a year will be there, and new friends await my meeting them. My Naner Banana hat is ready and waiting to go, now I just have to find my camera so I can get a picture of me wearing it.

So, I'll be away from my computer once more. Meet me back here in about a week, and I'll let you know how the conference turned out. See you then.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Facing Your Fear

Fear is a terrible thing. Facing your fears is more so. I've found that as confident as I am in many ways now, I'm still harboring deep-seated fears of rejection.

Bad thing, rejection, for a person to have, but when you're a writer it's the worst. You'd think I'd have gotten over it by now, but I haven't. It's easy to tell a new writer that rejections are not personal. How do you make them believe it when you don't yourself?

I've gotten accustomed to it through the mail, and it's not so bad through email, but that face to face rejection is still a slap in the face. At my first ACFW conference, I had an appointment with an editor. I was attending the conference alone. I shook in my boots, my mouth was dry, and I could hardly speak coherently, but she agreed to accept a proposal for a book my writing partner and I had completed. Nice.

Then I had an appointment with an agent. Same physical symptoms. I walked into the room. The agent greeted me and asked if I had been published. I said yes and pulled out a copy of our book, Her Home or Her Heart. The agent looked at the cover, smiled and said, "I've read this. I loved it." I walked out of the 15 minute interview with a request for us to send her everything we'd written. We received an offer to represent us. Score! Not bad for a first time attendee.

That was five years ago. The agent, though a very nice woman, did nothing for us. We sold nothing else. After three years, our agent sent us an email and dropped us. Rejection again. We are back on our own again.

Things are looking up a little. Elaine has just signed a contract for her third novel, Sonora. We are waiting word on acceptance or denial from the same company for another of our novels. Prayers are going up all over for a positive acceptance for First I'm Nobody. Waiting is hard.

In three days, I head for Dallas and the 2007 ACFW conference. I'm scheduled for an interview with an editor and an agent. Everything within me wants to cancel both. I'm the shy one; Elaine is the confident one. Elaine doesn't do conferences. A waste of her time and money, she says. I understand her feelings, but I get so much out of conferences. It's not necessarily the workshops that I pick up techniques from, but it's the people I meet at them that are valuable.

Is God trying to give me more confidence by giving me these opportunities in spite of my fears? Or am I supposed to cancel my meetings? At this moment I don't even know what I'm supposed to pitch. Do I pitch First I'm Nobody to the agent and something else to the editor? Or do I pitch one of the other of the novels we've finished with? Or do I pitch something of my own? I don't know. Is my fear something Satan is sending to me, trying to make me fail? Or is God telling me to wait? God needs to send me a sign so I'll know. And I need that sign quickly.