Sunday, February 26, 2017

Holding Pattern

Lately, I've been feeling like I'm an airplane over O'Hare Airport, stuck in a holding pattern and hoping I can land before I run out of fuel. I've accepted a contract on the house, but until the inspection and appraiser give it their blessing, I can't take the next step and sign on the dotted line for my new place. I can't even decide which state I'll be in, since my sister who lives with me is still checking on the viability of returning to Phoenix, where she lived for so many years. We'll figure it all out soon, but in the mean time, I'm clearing out the clutter, selling off some of my furniture since I'm downsizing from a four-bedroom house with a basement to a two-bedroom something or the other. Baby steps forward. First thing on my agenda is to train my dog, Mary, how to ride in the car. She likes my lap, but she needs to learn to like the back seat.

And professionally, I'm taking baby steps as well. I finished my workshop last Friday. My instructor was the mighty Lori Wilde, who told me she was enjoying my manuscript and it was different! Due to a few emergencies, she couldn't get the edited version of my manuscript back yet, but it's the first in a Regency series, and I didn't want it to read like all the other Regencies out there. Mission accomplished, I guess. Now, I need to finish it, taking Lori's suggestions, tweaking my work to a polished format and then sending it out there. Did I mention it's about roses?

On the contemporary front, I just received my second edits for Sweet Caroline, my second Lobster Cove book with Wild Rose. The editor for my Wild Rose books is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of working with, but she's tough. Especially when it comes to commas and the word "it." There's a lot of work to do on that manuscript to pound it into shape. I'll be working on that today.

I usually do my best work amidst chaos, but even I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed these days. I need to land soon! Or maybe pack a box.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How Selling A House Is Like Revising A Manuscript

Most everyone who reads this blog is aware I've been trying to sell my house for some time now. Lately, it's been off the market, but the idea remained in the far recesses of my mind. Kind of like an idea for a story. You know how it is. Your idea begins with a lightbulb moment,
a big what if? Same with putting a house up for sale. The house is too big, too many stairs, so why not sell it? What if I could move to a warmer climate? And so it begins. You toy with the idea for a while, weigh the pros and cons, come up with plot points, action to be taken, create one list after another and finally, decide to put pen to paper.

And just like with writing a manuscript, sometimes you need to step back and revise your work. Often times, in my case. I'm taking a workshop right now that's making me look at my writing in a completely different way, try out new approaches to the work. It's making me a better writer, one scene at a time. As for the house, I did a thorough edit of each room, removing clutter, making it as clean and polished as I could before I let anyone see the place. And it worked! I thought I had a completed transaction, or nearly so. The couple had visited multiple times, they mentally placed their furniture in the various rooms, they were ready to go. We were at lift-off. But then, it all fell apart.

So what do you do? As I see it, there are two options in both writing and selling a house. You can give up, shove the manuscript under the bed, take the house off the market and continue on, unfulfilled on both counts. Or, you can hire a professional who can ease the way for you, show you where you're having trouble, guide you to a finished, polished manuscript which will garner you an agent who will obtain a nice contract with maybe an advance. Same with the house, hire a professional who will obtain a solid contract on your house that will result in enough of a profit to buy something smaller and more suitable.

I choose to go full speed ahead on both counts. I've got one week down on the two-week workshop which is making my manuscript sellable. And I've hired a realtor to help me sell the house. I have high hopes for both projects and hopefully, by summer time, I'll be writing a killer sequel to this manuscript from a warm and sunny locale. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Making A List and Checking It Twice

I am a consummate list maker. I have a grocery list, a general to-do list for household chores and another list for book deadlines. And don't get me started on my list of words not to use in my writing. But I've recently had to add another list to the mix–associated with a possible move.

My best friend told me the other day that if she had as much on her plate as I do, she wouldn't be able to sleep at night. So she's assuming I can sleep. I'm glad she got that impression, but the reality is I wake up every morning long before I want to with nightmares of empty moving boxes interrupting my sleep.

Of course, I'm compiling a list of things to take into account when I'm searching for a new residence. Things like climate, proximity to family, moving expenses, do I want the hassle of home maintenance or is it time for a condo? Then, there's another list for closing down this home's operation. Closing out accounts at the bank, cable company, phone, gas, utilities, etc. Switching over my social security money, turning in the keys to my safe deposit box, etc. The lists are piling up and nothing is getting done. Because until I have a signed contract in my hands, I can't go forward. Even if my new buyers have given me a target date to move.

So right now I'm in limbo, with lists piling up on every side. I will finish out February taking a two-week-long workshop with Lori Wilde, after which my second round edits should be back from my publisher. I'll try to get that signed contract into my hot little hands, and plan my next steps. And I'll keep making lists. It's the only way I'll ever get any sleep between now and May.

How about you? Do you live by your lists, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Super Monday!

I know it's only Sunday, and there's some big game scheduled for this evening, but I've got Monday on my mind.

My Super bundle of all the Cotillion books plus the novella about Charlotte and George, is on sale until February 12 for only 99 cents. BUT, on Monday, Feb. 6, it's going to be a BookBub ad!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with BookBub, it's a daily email for books that are on sale or free and is sent out to hundreds of thousands of readers. The number of books selected each day are limited, and are highly sought after. The selections are based on whether the author is a known entity, if the book has a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews, or if the sale is really MEGA! I think my bundle qualifies for reasons 2 and 3, and I'm working hard on reason 1. I'll be posting the link to my Facebook page tomorrow, but you can grab your copy today for the 99 cents price. Here's the link, for your convenience:

My advice to get us all through the rest of February in Ohio is to curl up in front of a roaring fire with a good book. Or maybe nine of them, plus a novella. 💋💋