And The Birthday Shenanigans Begin…

Thing 2’s birthday is coming up on Wednesday.  She turns 17…not sure where the time went.  Yesterday her and I went out to the mall, and I ended up letting her get a tattoo.

I can hear it already. Oh my gawd! What parent lets their minor child get a tattoo?

Hold on to your underpants. It’s not permanent. Even though she’s begged me to let her get an actual tattoo, I’ve told her repeatedly she’s simply going to have to wait until she’s 18. This way, when she’s older and possibly decides she doesn’t like it, she only has herself to blame for it. Not that I have anything against tattoos. Heck, I’ve got one myself. But, seeing as how a tattoo is a lifelong commitment…well… she needs to be old enough to make that commitment on her own.

So, here she is, getting a henna tattoo.

Bri getting henna tattoo

And the finished product:

Bri's tattoo

Tuesday her boyfriend is taking her out to dinner.  I believe Wednesday she’ll be with her dad. Thursday I’ll take her out, and then Friday I’m taking her, Thing 3, and my niece to Chicago for the day. Then on Saturday, I believe her grandmother is taking her shopping.

Whew! Let’s hear it for week-long birthday celebrations!

Anita Dee II Chicago

So…over the weekend my friend, Michelle, and I went to Chicago. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive. The room was great, the beds were comfy, and service was superb. We had a room with a street view and barely heard traffic go by.  We parked at a Panda parking garage and got parking for $25 for 24 hours which I thought was pretty good for Chicago. It was only about a 10-minute walk, if that, from the parking garage to the hotel.

We found a cute little outdoor café on the Riverwalk called Cyrano’s, and our waiter was hot! He had this Italian accent and if Michelle could’ve taken off with him, she probably would have. She ordered a chicken salad, and I had some type of quiche, don’t remember what kind exactly, but both were good.

Afterwards we meandered our way to the harbor for the night’s festivities…a yacht party on the Anita Dee II.

Anita Dee II

Here we are, waiting to board.

me and michelle

And then, partay!!

crowd on boat   Navy pier  chicago cares

We had a blast, got drunk (the bartender was making the drinks STRONG!!), danced with some young 20-something hotties from Canada who were celebrating their friend’s bachelor party  and thought I was waaayyy younger than what I really am -snerk- and somehow Michelle and I managed to get our drunk asses back to the hotel without getting kidnapped or raped. I do recall Michelle petting some guy’s hair in the hotel elevator…that’s how drunk we were. We were petting random strangers’ hair. And I think Michelle is now in a bunch of strangers’ Facebook pages since she was photobombing everyone on the yacht.

Oh, and I forgot to mention Metrosexual Man who apparently had a thing for Michelle…

Good times, good times. We’re planning on going again in a few months. Who’s with us?

Stop Squeaking!


Apparently this little mouse toy was madly squeaking and wouldn’t stop. Thing 3 determined it must be possessed, so she stuck it in a salt ring.   As soon as she put it in the ring of salt, the squeaking stopped. Coincidence? Or do I have a demon-possessed cat toy?

Still Thinking…

…about self-publishing. I was given some great advice about Joanna Penn’s blog The Creative Penn. I also found a few editors to check out: Caitlin R. O’Connell, Stacy Juba, and Amy Bai who are more within my price range. If you know of others, please let me know!

I also found a nifty little publishing company, Pandamoon, which I might check out just to see what their terms are. Still, if I can self-publish for around $1000 with editing and a book cover included, then why not do it myself? I’m also considering going with Draft 2 Digital as my distributor and have heard a lot of positive things about them. Apparently the ISBN is free through them, though they’ll then be the “publisher of record” but yet you can still put any publisher name you want…so I’m a little confused as to whose name will show when someone is actually ordering the book.

Right now I’m checking into  cover artists, and it seems like the prices vary, a lot! Again, if you have recommendations, let me know!

Thinking About Self-Publishing

So…I’m thinking about self-publishing this book I’ve been working on for forever, and I’ve got questions for those of you who’ve done it or are researching it.

I’ve heard pros and cons of publishing through Amazon’s Createspace, namely that it’s harder to do actual signings in larger stores (like B&N). What has your experience been with that? If you don’t go use Createspace, who is your distributor? Who do you use for editing, book covers, and all that fun stuff?

I’ve noticed groups of writers getting together to promote each others’ works, edit and proof each others’ works, and so on. How do you get to be a part of such a group? And for those of you who are a part of such a group, what has your experience been? Also, how do you go about promotion? Do you hire someone else to do it for you?

Finally, is it best to have an agent? Did you get your agent before or after you self-published?

I’m starting out on a very small budget, yet I want to publish professional work. Any advice on that?

If you have any other advice, please share!

Thanks so much!


Uh…No. You Can’t Publish An Unfinished Book.

Thing 2 has been trying her hand at writing. She had been working on a book for about six months then decided, before finishing, she was going to restart it.

She restarted the book, then once she got to Chapter 4, got an idea for another book and started on that one.

Then, a few days ago, got an idea for yet another book and started on that one too.

She’s asked me about publishing to which I explained she needs to first finish a book. She laughed and said she has so many ideas in her head that once she gets another idea, she has to start on that one. I tried telling her to write her ideas down but then go back to the original book, but alas, she’s working on her current idea now.

She told me she’s a multitasker and can work on two at the same time…this coming from a girl with ADD who normally has a hard time listening to two instructions at the same time.

Yeah,  okay.

I guess we’ll see how that’s working out for her, won’t we?

Blast From The Past: Character Grid

I was going through my old posts and found a popular one that apparently helped a lot of people, so I’m reposting again. I first posted this back in March of 2012 and still was getting searches for it quite a few months later, so I reposted in 2013 and am now doing it again in 2015. If you want to read the original post, click on the links below. If you just want the character grid, scroll down.

I made character sheets and a character grid, but I found more people liked the character grid. I also posted instructions on how to use the grid.

Here is a blank character grid. It’s an Excel grid; you can copy it and make your own or print it out. Where I have dates, you can put chapters or scenes instead. You can put more than one chapter in each row. It’s very good for placing characters. You can look right at the grid and know what’s happening in a book without having to search for it. You can tell right away if a character is in the book too much or not enough.  And, you can add clues in for future books and know right where the clue is for future reference when needed, again without having to read the entire book to find it.

Blank grid

Blank grid

Here is a grid to show how it’s used.

Example Grid

Example Grid

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