Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

Published

IMG_20180405_165136_840It has taken a full week for me to process the fact that I am now, truly, a published author. Hellfire hit the virtual shelves of Amazon (and the Kindle store) last week. Sales have been steady – few, but steady. The fact that there have been sales at all surprises me. I know, it shouldn’t, that was the whole point, but somewhere in the back of my mind I still see the slightly awkward weirdo writing things down for fun during the blessedly quiet minutes of the day rather than the author, the publisher, the business woman I’ve become.

Yet, here I am, finally published, finally living my dream. It is one thing to see my name on a book with other authors and quite something else to see it on my book, all alone.  I’m still coming to terms with it, still feeling the giddy butterflies in my stomach and the gasps of awe when people reach out to me or the publishing company I helped found for book signings and appearances. It’s thrilling and overwhelming all at once.

Naturally, I share this with you, my readers. The work continues. There is a sequel in the works, a third anthology to submit to, a fantasy novel being written for Camp (finally!), marketing to handle, events to plan for. I’m sure the elation will wear off eventually, but, for now, I’m riding that high for as long as I can.

Hellfire is now available for purchase through Amazon. You can find it on my Current Works, through Corrugated Sky Publishing, or directly through Amazon.

Check it out, leave a review, a comment, or just follow along as I expand my world of published pieces one little book at a time.

Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

April CampNaNoWrimo 2018

Camp-2018-Writer-Facebook-Cover-1

April approaches. Can y’all even believe it?? I can’t!

As cHaOs continues to revolve in massive poop storms around my real life existence, my author/publisher life… erm… also revolves around a few massive poop storms. Looks like they’re finally meshing together! Growth.

However, in all seriousness, the final steps for the release of Hellfire are underway. There is a second novel being released by Corrugated Sky Publishing (for which I am co-owner) at the same time that I have been assisting with as well, and a new anthology planned for the end of the summer based around zombies that also requires a good deal of my attention.

We add to this a new position as marketing manager of a local restaurant that I’m finally settling comfortably into, a new web design project for my husband’s business, and mothering of 3 children and one recently minted adult-child (yes, the oldest turned 18! He survived!!) which makes for quite a bit of cHaOs roaming around the house; that we are about to purchase; at the end of April; when it’ll be time to do some much needed painting, upgrades, and landscaping.

Naturally this means I must take on yet another project, right? Right?? Of course it does, because that is how we operate here at cHaOs – with too many things to manage at once. It makes for some interesting days, long nights, and unique mixtures of alcohol.

The new project in question is, of course, the April version of CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve done Camp a few times now, not always consecutively. July tends to be a little more crazy at cHaOs than April because the peace of school-aged children tucked away at their institutions of learning is shattered during the summer months. Last Camp I did was the first time I ever finished the set goal. It was sort of a big deal, though I never actually finished the novel in question and, to this day, it remains at about 50% completion before edits. I’ll get to it eventually.

This April, we shall kick of with a holiday combo of Easter (which we don’t really do here except to make the youngest believe that a giant bunny still comes to deliver plastic eggs full of chocolate and coins into our back yard for him to find) and April Fool’s Day (which we also don’t do because I am liable to cut someone for pranking me). There is already a plan in place for achieving word count on the first day and the novel is loosely outlined so I don’t start chasing bizarre rocks down a murky path halfway into day three.

This particular novel is the novel. THE ONE; the one I’ve had in my head and attempted to write many times over for the last twenty years (yes, this book idea is older than my oldest kid). I’d honestly written it off as a loss for, surely, I would never be able to properly wrap my mostly pink wrinkles around the ginormity of this undertaking. I’ve run the campaign (D&D for you non-geeks out there) three different times; written countless stories; written and re-written the novel seven times, easily (probably more) and watched at lest four of those novels burn in digital hell when my electronics have bitten the proverbial dust at the worst possible moment ever. In fact, iteration number one sits on my shelf, printed with a cover, as a reminder of why that didn’t go anywhere. It’s awful, people. Like… cringe with a desire to light it on fire as tribute to the muses, awful. But, as will happen with writers, there I was in the shower singing my fav tunes when BAM it hit like a bolt of lightning to the brain. I very nearly ran downstairs in a towel to write it all down before it vanished into the ether (I lost the pencil to my AquaNotes *sad panda*). Instead, I dashed through the rest of my shower, dressed, and ran down with towel still on head to scribble into the Giant Notebook of Ashes (shortened name for the book). Twenty-two chapters later (the last four may need to be redone, we’ll see), the book is now outlined with a beginning, middle, and end-for-now (it has always been planned as a series). Hooray! April will be the month for Ashes to spring to life!!

The questions are bouncing in your head, though. I can see them. I feel them reaching out to me, asking: ‘How?’ ‘Are you crazy?’

With everything else happening in my life, it is often the question I get asked the most: how? How do I do this while still managing a home, several miscellaneous jobs (not all of which are paid, I might add), working on so many projects and still find time for sanity and sleep?

It’s a simple answer really: I’m not sane. Not even a little bit.

Beyond that, however, it is a matter of time management. I am not the best at it. Far from it. I’m convinced that underneath the masks of fibro, bi-polar disorder, potential RA and/or MS and whatever else is happening in this busted frame of mine, I am also totally ADHD and just not diagnosed. I bounce from idea to idea, thing to thing until all of the things or ideas are done. Some I abandon, but most will, eventually, get finished. I’ve also learned to focus on one task until it is done which, for me, means that I only do three other things instead of five or six. I have children that are old enough to take over the chores which frees up time.  All of them are now in school so I can find peace in the early morning once they’ve gone away on the bus, as well. I’m not particularly active in community things cuz I’m just kind of a hermit like that, and I’m ok letting the laundry pile up a little in favor of getting just a few more words on the page. I also don’t exercise nearly as much as I should (or at all) but when I do get that wild hair, I take the phone with me to record my thoughts (because, like the shower, the ideas pelt me in the wrinkles at the most inopportune times, including the treadmill).

So, if you’re feeling a little creative but also a little intimidated, give Camp a try. It is not as stringent as regular NaNoWriMo which, I find, to be more in-your-face get-her-done writing (which I totally need by that point and look forward to every year). Goals are more flexible from only writing 30k words (or less if that’s your flavor), to edits only, to the full 50k and beyond. It is whatever you make of it. Don’t let those ideas rot away unused, even if you are the only one that sees those words hit the page. They are still words that need to be written.

And, don’t forget, Hellfire will be available for purchase mid-April. Cannot wait! Can you?

Posted in Chelle

Spring?

SpringWhatIn theory, it is now spring. There should be sunshine and daisies, little butterflies all over the place and bunnies, cuz everyone loves bunnies. Do you know what we actually have here in Virginia? Snow.

Yes, snow. In March.

What. The. Flying. FRACK?!

I have noticed this trend that my blogs tend to complain about the weather, especially in the colder months. Our weather SUCKS. Weather has nothing to do with writing, The Chelle. Actually, it does.

The weather directly affects our moods. If it is sunny and bright out, you are more likely to feel energized or smile more or just be more pleasant to be around. If it is gloomy and cold, you want to hide in the Blanket Fort and glare at the hatred of the world. Your mood, then, directly affects your words. Happy mood, happy words; gloomy mood, not so happy words. See where I’m going with this?

It has been so gloomy and cold that I completely forgot yesterday was the first day of spring. WOOPS! Also, creativity has gone right down the pooper. Why? Cuz it is gross and cold outside and I want to hide. HIDE!

But I can’t hide. I have a novel debuting in this theoretical season of spring which means formatting, cover art, editing. Plus, April is close upon us and that means CampNaNoWriMo and, did I mention I have a novel debuting soon? I did, didn’t I? I’m mentioning it again.

I HAVE A NOVEL DEBUTING SOON!

Spring was the selected time frame and it is now, officially, spring despite what Mother Nature seems to think. She’s often quite drunk these days, don’t listen to her. It’s spring.

HellfireCoverHellfire hits the virtual shelves in April. Look for it, buy it, read it, review it (you don’t have to love it, that’s optional; reviewing is not).

Posted in Chelle, Steampunk

All Things Green

StPatsCloverSteamGreen! Green as far as the eye can see! Why? Cuz it’s March which means the little men in top-hats and striped trousers come out in search of their pots o’ gold. Or mugs of ale. Or both.

No?

Well, no, not entirely. Yes, this weekend, March 17, is St. Patrick’s Day. It began as the Feast of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is/was generally seen as a celebration of the Irish, their culture and heritage, as well as a religious holiday commemorating the day Christianity came to Ireland. Since it lands right around the time when Lent is still going strong for many a good Christian man and woman, Lenten restrictions were usually lifted for that one day so that celebrations could really kick off (aka, everyone in Ireland got a pass on drinking the booze and eating the meats for one day).

Move on to modern times, everyone and their mother claims a little bit of Irish ancestry in order to get in on the shenanigans brought on by this festival of greenery. Even pets get into the game, donning little green bandannas or shamrock-shaped ear-fluffs. But, why green? Why shamrocks? Well, for that I will direct you to the Wikipedia page on the subject because I could easily write a small novel on the nuances of the Irish and this holiday of greenery.

Instead, I will explain the little steampunk shamrock I’ve got going on up there. As a writer for Corrugated Sky’s steampunk anthology, Smoke and Steam, I am pleased to announce that there is a FREE promo happening this week for the eBook version of the anthology. So, while everyone is gettin’ shit-faced on green beer and corned beef and cabbage, they can also grab a copy of this book. What in all of the gods’ great creations does a steampunk book have to do with the Irish?

I’m glad you asked.

Remember them? They were featured in my blog from two weeks ago about my strange obsession with twins. Yes, those are real people. Those are actors Aaron and ShFallon Twinsawn Ashmore who have inspired my characters in Heart of the Matter, featured in Smoke and Steam. As stated previously, they represent Tristan and Geiger Fallon, the main characters of said novella, both of whom are Boston Irish and are featured quite heavily in my Pinterest board for Heart of the Matter. Go ahead and have a look, you know you want to; no one can resist the pull of Pinterest. It’s worse than Target.

Pinterest pages aside, my boys get into a bit of trouble… and if you want to know more, feel free to head on over to Amazon to grab your FREE (yes, FREE) copy of Smoke and Steam, available March 15-March 19. Just in time to celebrate the Irish.

Feel free to live vicariously through  the Fallon twins while enjoying your pints of green beer. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

TO THE IRISH!

Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

Life, Interrupted

farragut-tree.jpgNever again will I take my hot water and music for granted. I love both, need both, and missed them dearly during the Great Power Outage of 2018. I am, of course, speaking of Winter Storm Riley who tore through northern Virginia like the beast it was.

The tree pictured fell at the end of my street, taking out power for a grand total of 81 hours. Yes, you read that correctly, 4.5 days of NO POWER. My children nearly died. Their withdrawal from technology was great, their attitudes less than stellar. It was cold, everyone was stinky, food was lost, too much money was spent on eating out or buying more gas and firewood and very little got done.  All of the things I wanted to do or had to do were dashed because wind. WIND. Not pleased.

I very nearly clipped all of my hair off cuz I’d rather do that than take a cold shower and there isn’t a dry shampoo on the planet that will help the wild mop of curls on this head. We did take a very long, extended visit to our local library. The kids were stunned to find that books do not require a power cord! To my great pleasure, the library was having their monthly book sale so I got a lot of cheap entertainment to survive the Great Power Outage of 2018. We also indoctrinated our youngest two and the neighbors into the vice that is Pathfinder (D&D for those not hip on the new things) which helped to pass the time.

However, now that power has, blessedly, been restored what was once interrupted now must resume. All of those things I could not do over the weekend have now piled up like my mountains of unwashed laundry. Deadlines do not care if we suffered through the literal dark ages for 4.5 days. Additionally, all of my hobbies took a wild break because one cannot paint, draw, or hand crochet in the dark (or with four very bored children around), nor can one use the sewing machine for doll clothes or make armor for tiny resin humans. It just doesn’t work!

All those guys up there require attention! They each have their own story and provide a great deal of my inspiration for my written work. In fact, I have planned photo stories for each of them – – none of which can happen in 80+ mph winds or without power!!!

Life was interrupted, folks. I know I can survive any impending apocalypses now, but I’m really ok being a modern girl with all her geeky things and hot water. Life will get moving again, I suppose. We’ll just push things back some and take it one day at a time cuz, you know, we’ve got another storm heading our way later today. Aren’t we lucky?!

annoyed emoji

Posted in Chelle

Writing Obsessions

Fallon TwinsEvery writer has an ‘obsession’; one of those things that just always ends up in a story or novel, even an idea. For some it is as simple as a color, or recurring picture in things. Stephen King uses Maine as the location for nearly all of his novels and stories. As a matter of fact, that poor state is just overrun with weird if you read Mr. King’s novels.

So it is with this writer. While I do not set all (or most) of my works of fiction in the same location, almost all of them do have one thing in common: TWINS!

I have been told that I have a rather ridiculous obsession with them. They. Are. Everywhere in my works. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of one off the top of my head where twins aren’t, at least, mentioned once or twice. I simply find them fascinating; the science, the crazy theories, the eerie way that in many cases there are copies of the same person walking about like it’s totally normal. Heart of the Matter and Clockwork Gods feature twins prominently as the focal point of the story. I have another work in progress – a mystery-esque type novel – that delves into the ‘twin brain’ thing and let us not even get started on how many twins are roving around the broad-spectrum world of Ashes to Embers (still a ridiculously long work in progress). The story, for me, just doesn’t feel complete until twins are introduced, mentioned, or fully featured.

They are not my only obsession, however. Eeyore is another obsession that runs rampant, perhaps not in my novels or works of fiction, but most certainly in my writing space. Creativity is simply lacking if there isn’t at least one Eeyore looking back at me, silently cheering me on with his droopy ears and somber face.

I also seem to have a knack for unintentionally using famous names for a large number of my characters; something that has now become a great running gag within my circle of friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, I love comics and video games as much as the next girl, but I promise that isn’t where I got any of my names, despite how it may sound or look. Since it is a running joke now, I do kinda try to throw in something fun every now and then just to get under people’s skin and make them wonder just how fanatical I am about my video games and comics.

Still, my little obsessions make writing fun, put me in my creative head-space, or just make things all feel right.

What are your obsessions?

Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk!

Drunk WeatherSo, this was us this past weekend. We had weather in the 70’s straight up to Saturday and then BAM! Sleet. Further north of our little overlooked city it snowed. Snowed!! Then, as if nothing at all had occurred, back up into the 50’s and low 60’s on Sunday. We’ve since been enjoying the lingering warmth, with temperatures predicted to be close to 80 today.

Uhm… Winter does realize it’s February still, right?

No, I don’t think he does. Way to go, Winter!

Outside of the incredibly bizarre (and annoying) weather patterns we are experiencing on the east coast, life continues on in a mostly normal fashion. The annual Corrugated Sky face-to-face meeting took place over the weekend along with the absurd sleet. Many things were discussed, much wine was consumed (cuz, what else is one supposed to drink when discussing marketing strategies, upcoming publications, and projected sales), and cookies were eaten. Result: we gon’be busy!

Yeah, I know, a little self-indulgent to operate a small publishing house, but that’s sort of what indie-publishing is all about. Besides, a lot of the work is trying to figure out what pretty pictures we want on book covers and how to sell more books. It’s harder than one might think, let me tall ya.

Along the lines of books to sell, Hellfire is coming up on the ‘edited’ status which will then plant it firmly in the ‘throw out to beta readers’ realm. There are steps to publishing, folks; lots and lots of steps. Lots of planning, lots of deadlines to hit and, yes, it is still February despite the flip-flops and short-shorts that were making their debut this week.

The season will change soon enough, however, no matter what that Pennsylvania rodent says, and it will be time to gear up for the April edition of CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve got zombies on the slab for that as well as a planned trip to Williamsburg for RavenCon at the end of April. I’ll be the weirdo with the wagon. You’ll see me. And, watch, the weather will be just as ridiculous in April as it is now. In fact, if it’s anything like last RavenCon, we’ll be seeing temps in the 90’s right before a nose dive into the 40’s with lots of rain cuz, why not? No global warming here… *headdesk*

There’s a piece of terrifying fiction for you: a place with actual seasons!! The humanity!! Stupid weather. Oh well, back to work! Stay… toasty? Cool? Adjust accordingly to the messed up weather patterns, everyone! Welcome to cHaOs.

Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

Chocolate!!

chocolates

Oh yeah, that needs to be a big picture. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate?? A lot of people, actually; weirdos. No, not really. They’re not weird. While I have a fondness for chocolate, I am not one of those ‘eat all the chocolate all the time’ folks. A piece or two here or there is good enough for me.

BUT…

Today is Valentine’s Day! Today is, arguably, the single most chocolate-infused holiday in the U.S. I can’t speak for other countries but, if Valentine’s Day is celebrated in other places, I’m sure it is also chocolate-infused. Why? Well, chocolate is an aphrodisiac; sort of. You have to eat a stupid ton of it for any of those kind of feelings to kick off in the brain and, by that time, your stomach has decided to stage a coup against you for the abuses you’ve enacted upon it’s soft tissues. Honestly, I don’t know why chocolate is the candy of the season. Every other holiday seems to get a nice mix of sweets and fun treats. The BIG RED, however gets CHOCOLATE.

Uhm, yay?

Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good chocolate covered strawberry or one of those little boxes of Godiva truffles as much as the next person, but unless that chocolate comes with a bottle of good red wine and a coupon to stay in my jams all night long while cuddling on the sofa, then I’m not all, like, ‘oooooooh chocolate!!’. It’s just not my thing. Slight lactose intolerance might contribute to that (thanks a lot mid-thirties).

I will tell you what chocolate is good for though: words!

What?

Yeah! The days after Halloween and Valentine’s Day are two of my favorite days ever cuz all their candy goes on sale! Halloween offers a little more variety than just chocolate, which is nice, but the stockpile of sweets is necessary to get through NaNoWriMo with some semblance of sanity. Valentine’s Day is also good for this, though admittedly more chocolate-flavored than Halloween. Sugar gets the brain synapses firing off at a rapid pace and helps those words just flow right out of you. Or, at least, it does for me.

No, I don’t have to wait for post-holiday sales to buy my candy, but when I can buy a whole bag of tiny sweet goodies for the same price as a single bar, you better believe I’m gonna wait for the after-holiday sales! Budgeting, people; I have four kids to feed!

This run of on-sale candy will (hopefully) get me through the entire doldrums of editing/rewriting Hellfire. That will then put me firmly in the Easter range of Holidays (and thus another rush of candy sales) just in time for the April session of CampNaNoWriMo where I can work on polishing up Clockwork Gods.

See, I have plans, y’all; plans, I tell you!! But all these plans require sugar (and usually some kind of caffeine and/or booze and no a combination of the three is not the answer; that’s just plain cheating).

However, while y’all are waiting for these plans to come to fruition, feel free to take a little stroll over to my Smashwords page and pick up one of those little gems waiting there or head over to Corrugated Sky’s landing pad to grab one (or both) of the anthologies featuring me! You know you want to. Books go great with chocolate and wine, by the way. True story.

Until next week – have a very happy Valentine’s Day in whatever capacity you may enjoy it!

Posted in Chelle

That Which We Cannot See

Fibro
fi·bro·my·al·gia
ˌfībrōmīˈalj(ē)ə/
noun
  1. a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas.

    The definition hardly explains what it is like to live with this illness. It is an oversimplification of an incredibly complex disorder. Why the sudden downer? Well, it isn’t really sudden and it isn’t really a downer, just reality.

    It is the reality in which I live, a reality that has decided to slap me in the face recently. Winter is not my favorite time of year. My whole body aches, and the exhaustion is nearly debilitating. If I do one thing, I cannot do the other no matter how much I might want to. It is a perpetual balancing act that, in and of itself, is exhausting.

    The kicker? You can’t see it. There are no bruises or red marks that indicate the pain I feel. There is no cough, no fever, no actual needles running up and down my arms (though that is exactly what it feels like). At best, there are bags under my eyes but no one thinks twice about those – I have four children, after all. I work from home as a marketing manager, writer, web developer, and publisher so I can sit at my pillow-padded chair with the heating pad on high in the softest pants I can find cuz anything less will have me crawling with the heebies all day long.

    I wear the mask of your ‘typical writer’: mostly anti-social geekling-nerd hiding in her office with too many pens and books. Yes, it is me, but there is another me that watches all my friends and family get together for drinks and movies, nights out at the local bar that I don’t generally get invited to. Not because I am not welcome, but because the answer is already known: I can’t. I simply do not have the energy for it. If I do go out, or host something small with my neighbors, I pay for it later. No one sees that part so everything must be ok, right?

    No one sees the looks I get when I park in the handicap spot (with my tag, I will add) and walk into the store. Why does she need that spot? There’s nothing wrong with her. What they don’t see is the struggle it takes for me to take those blessed steps into the store before I grab a cart and use it as a practical crutch to do my shopping because I am just too dammed stubborn to give in to this bs that plagues me. I will do it because my body says I can’t! I’m just that pig-headed!

    What I have is invisible to the outside world. Even those closest to me sometimes wonder if it’s not just all in my head. Something this awful would almost have to be, right? Except that it isn’t. IF ONLY! I’d commit myself in a heartbeat and take the meds to make it go away!

    But, where has all this come from? Why explain this invisible beast now? Because, two days ago I fell asleep at 7p and slept for 12 hours – and still felt tired afterward. Because my mind has been in such a fog that my words are starting to suffer. Because I hosted a Superbowl get-together for my friends and neighbors and am still recovering from it three days later. I should be editing my novella (that is rapidly gaining girth into a full-length novel; didn’t see that one coming) or working on my submission for Corrugated Sky, or any number of things on my list of things to get done. Instead I’m binge watching The Magicians and making sure my kids do their homework because that’s all my brain has been able to handle recently. Blog posting… I seem to be managing that ok; sort of. This took me two days to write. That should tell you something. I normally pump these out weeks in advance. Not this time!

    More importantly, however, this is for awareness. I am not the only one that suffers this awful disease. The most vocal has been Lady Gaga – look what she does! Wow, the envy I feel there! But she pays for it; heavily. Morgan Freeman has said he suffers through this invisible illness as well. He has age on his side, though; he can just claim ‘old and crotchety’ and no one will really question it. It doesn’t make the disease any less hateful, just makes the stares a little more understanding in his case. While I like to claim that I am old, I am not, nor am I truly crotchety (though I have my moments). It is a disease that demands acceptance and understanding because nothing else, nothing else helps. Know that we try, we do; we try so hard to pretend everything is hunky-dory because that’s the only thing the world will accept when what you have cannot be seen.

    For now, I will put my fingers back on the keys, pull out that novella and get back to work because that’s what I do; what I will continue to do until I have nothing left. That’s how I fight.

    For more information about fibromyalgia or how you can help, please visit www.fmcpaware.org/
Posted in Chelle

Walks, Pitches, and Dog Strollers

We’re just all over the dang place today, aren’t we!? Hells to the yes we are. Since that has been my constant state of being lately, we’re just gonna roll with it. Chaos Tamer, right? Sort of. Not really taming any chaos recently, more chasing it around with a broom while wearing mismatched slippers and yoga pants. Hey, at least I have the pants on, alright?

I got the walking on the list cuz today a miracle of miracles happened: I walked; outside; with lunges!! This is huge people. I don’t do ‘outside’. It has that big ball of burning brightness in the sky and that whole ‘cold’ thing going on right now. I am allergic to ‘outside’ (no, not really, but it feels like it sometimes). But, today, I did it! I went to the outside with my neighbor, her adorable baby, and we walked. Yeah, I’m paying for it right now but, 5(ish) lbs down thanks to our foray into Orlando over Christmas break (and the stupid germs that are finally gone) and I am motivated to keep going. I have to. My bones will be much happier if I can drop another few pounds and be a little less fluffy and more muscley. Might even be willing to go try out the local gym(s) if I’m feeling really saucy.

As for the pitches – those wonderful folk over at the NaNoWriMo control center are partnering up with The Book Doctors to kick off their yearly Pitchapalooza. What is it? Well, basically you write a 250 word pitch for your novel(s), send it on in and then cross your little fingers and toesies that it gets plucked in the lottery to have it voted on in March. Yes, they do read all of the pitches even if yours is not one of the 20 random ones picked and it might actually get you somewhere but if you are one of the lucky few, the winner gets an intro to an agent/publisher appropriate to their book and all 20 random folks get a good critique of their pitch during a live webinar. So, some pretty good stuff; good things to make writers suddenly start freaking out over how to condense their masterpieces into 250 words or less! If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that authors are not generally good at catchy summaries. Our brains freeze, turn to goo, or just turn off completely when presented with such challenges. It’s awkward, sometimes messy, no one likes to see it. Still, in this day of self-propelled awesomeness, pitches are part of the process.

Guess that means I’ve gotta work on mine, huh? Hrm… a post for another day.

Which leads us to dog strollers. Or, rather, I should say pet strollers cuz the dog is not the one that likes being rolled around like a king. No. The cat – the ‘allergic to everything’ ‘has to be on a totally special diet’ ‘plays with straws’ cat – is the one that wants to be pushed around like the goddess she knows she is. Why does this matter? Well, because in the spirit of being more active (and thus pulling more of those creative juices around) I want to walk more; even do more of that ‘outside’ walking. However, given my state of broken-ness, I walk much better if I am holding on to (or pushing) something. Don’t know why, probably some sort of balance issue or something like that, but, there it is. Shopping carts, strollers, all really awesome for me. Problem is, I don’t have babies anymore. The last time I used a stroller was at Disney World for my eight-year-old who wanted to whine at me every five minutes that he was tired of walking only to flip right around and tell me he didn’t want to sit! Still, having that extra stability was definitely helpful when walking the parks all day but now that I am not walking parks, I have no one to push in a stroller. I do, however, have pets that also like to be outside. The dog can be walked, yes, but he has the old and becomes asthmatic if he walks for too long (plus he pulls on the leash and likes to try to pee on everything he sees). Anyway, so now the plan is to get a pet stroller for the cat so I can walk more comfortably and get those creative juices flowing while I do so. I just need to remember to take a headset so I can record my thoughts/dialogue lest I forget it as soon as I step back inside. Cuz old.

Meanwhile, through all the weird cHaOs and random happenstances in life, the trudging of words continues on. I have found a new addiction in the game Love Nikki, caught up on a few of my Netflix shows, signed up for the library’s Winter Reading Challenge (2 more books for my mug!!), and finished listening to my most recent book (also a wonderful addiction I have – crocheting and Audible; brilliance). It is a wild and crazy life I lead, but it is one that I am most grateful for. I get to do what I love, even in the pits of cHaOs, and reach further and further towards my goals.

ChAoS is good, isn’t it?