Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time Flies

I've learned that time flies even when I'm not working, per se. I still don't have a day job, but it's amazing how fast the days are going by. I expected to be bored at least some of the time, but actually I'm too busy to be bored. I also expected to get more of the house cleaning projects done, but I'm lucky to get something small done each day.

I've discovered it takes me a while to reach my self-made quota of 1,000 words per day on my Forever Young manuscript. I wish I were a faster writer, but that doesn't seem to be happening either. Still, I am accomplishing something, but won't feel fully accomplished until writing The End on the last page of my manuscript.

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career 99 cents on
Kindle and Smashwords

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Brain is Toast

My brain is toast lately. That's because I can't keep too many things in it at one time. So, since I've been concentrating a lot on writing my thriller, Forever Young, other stuff kind of slips through.

What about you? Do you have trouble concentrating on other things when you've been trying to get a manuscript written?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career 99 cents on
Kindle and Smashwords

Monday, January 24, 2011

Working on Forever Young Again

Working on Forever Young again today. Accomplished 1038 words yesterday, despite the hoopla of the Bears/Packers game.

In the meantime, you're welcome to tell us how you're feeling today at Spill It Here:


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spill It Here Is Now Open

Just opened a new blogspot, kind of a catchall, where you can report whether you're Sad, Mad or Glad, and why - Here's a link if you want to check it out.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In The Flow

Since I decided to go forward again with Forever Young, I've been creeping up with the page count. It's now up to 33,862, from 31,815 yesterday, making 2,047 up, but who's counting? (G)

At first I wasn't sure I could think of things to say. Once I got started, magic happened. The other night I'd just pulled the covers over me in bed when inspiration struck, gifting me with plot leads and twists. I was so excited, I jumped up, turned on the light. grabbed a pen and scrap of paper from my purse, and wrote down what had sprung into my mind before I could forget it all. (Good thing the DH was still downstairs, having fallen asleep on the easy chair, while watching TV, or that light turning on wouldn't have gone over too well.)

Today, I experienced something which hadn't happened in a while. I finally got into the flow. The words came out as fast as I could type them. They even made sense.

Right now, I'm tired from inhabiting my character's mind and body for a few hours. It's almost like physical labor.

Am I the only one who gets worn out from a good day of writing?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career on Kindle for 99 cents

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Weather Stories

We've got below zero and dangerous wind chill in the forecast for the Chicago area Thursday night going into Friday. Already there's a mix of snow and ice on sidewalks, streets and parking lots. It's difficult navigating around even if you're in  a car. Good time to stay home, keep warm and read a book, but not everyone can do that.

Those who experience winter weather in states like Illinois and tons of other places know all too well how can impact their lives. 

Killer Career
Along with other winter scenes, my romantic suspense, Killer Career,  shows two of the main characters looking for a missing dog in a snow covered backyard. Their shocking discovery heightens the feeling that something is amiss.

Have you written a book where winter weather plays a part in the setting or plot?

Or, maybe you'd like to recommend someone else's.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Please Welcome Romance Author & Animal Lover, Celia Yeary

I'm very happy to welcome romance author, Celia Yeary, a member of the wonderfully supportive egroup, Book Spa Friends. Celia is not only a talented author, but also goes out of her way to share her time and talent with others.

Celia Yeary

 Celia Yeary is a seventh-generation Texan, and her life revolves around  family, friends, and writing. San Marcos has been her home for thirty-five years. She has five published romance novels, five “coming soon” novels, short stories in anthologies, articles, and essays with a local magazine. The author is a former science teacher, graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University, mother of two, grandmother of three, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. Celia and her husband enjoy traveling, and both are involved in their church, the community, and the university.

 Buy Link for Celia's Latest Release,
Texas Promise,
an historical, sensual e-book presented by
Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.
Book One of The Cameron Sisters Series

What it's about:
After two years, Jo King’s life as a widow abruptly ends when her husband returns home to Austin. Unable to understand her angry and bitter husband, she accepts a call from the New Mexico Territory to meet her dying birth father whom she knows nothing about. Her plan to escape her husband goes awry when he demands to travel with her.

Dalton King, believing lies his Texas Ranger partner tells him about Jo, seethes with hatred toward his wife. Now he must protect Jo from his partner’s twisted mind, while sorting out the truth. Jo’s bravery and loyalty convince him she’s innocent. But can they regain the love and respect they once shared?

Since Celia is a fellow animal lover like I am, and the dog part of this blog has been neglected for a while, Celia has agreed to pitch in and share memories of her precious dog, Poco. You may want to grab a handkerchief before reading.

Poor, Pitiful, Puppy by Celia Yeary

 In the seventies, my husband took a temporary teaching position as a professor at New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Our daughter began fourth grade and our son entered first. The elementary school was only about ten blocks away, but my husband drove them to school in the mornings. Since he arrived home in the afternoons before I did, he left the car at home, walked to the school, collected the kids, and the three of them took a shortcut home through an alley.

One day, they came home with a very cold wet puppy.

"Look what we have, Mommy!" The kids were jumping around while my husband stood there, looking sheepish, with the puppy shivering in his arms.

A dog? Oh, no, I thought. We'd lost two back in Texas due to unfortunate circumstances, and I did not want to cope with that again. Plus, this puppy had…something odd about it.

"Wherever you got that puppy, take it back right now," I said. "She's filthy. And what's wrong with her left eye and her right ear? I don't want a dog. Most of the training would fall to me."

A chorus of pleas went up from the three.

"Look, Mommy," Daughter said, "she has pretty white fur, and when we give her a bath, she'll be white as snow. Isn't she cute.?"

Son joined in, "I like her. But she's shaking so hard she can't stop. I think she's cold."

I studied the puppy. "Or maybe she's frightened. Okay, honey," I said to my husband, "where did you get her?"

He said the puppy lived in an unkempt fenced yard. Every day when they walked down the alley past the house, the puppy toddled to the fence, jumped up on it, whining and crying just like a baby. There was no doghouse, no shelter for her, and part of the yard was muddy--cold, freezing mud, at that. Bottom line, the owner was guilty of neglect. Her right ear looked permanently bent backwards. Her right eye had no pigment around it, and it appeared infected, all red and oozing…something.

On this day, as they walked past, a man stood in the yard. My three heroes stopped and my husband called to him, asking what was wrong with the puppy's eye. The man said he had no idea, that the puppy belonged to his wife who had left, and he had no reason to keep a pet.

So they asked for her. The man gave her up in a flash.

We named her Poco, since we lived in New Mexico and we thought that meant "little" or something close. We rejected the name Princess, as well as Snowball, and Snowflake.

Two cats joined Poco in the near future, and now we had three pets when I wanted none. Even though all three were great pets, little Poco--she never grew very big--was the most precious dog in the world. We ended up back in Texas, and everyone's pets ran free--and so did ours. They came in and out of the house whenever they wanted. We took good care of them, because each one lived to the age of sixteen or seventeen. For years, our veterinarian costs were greater than our pediatrician's.

Everyone in the neighborhood loved Poco. She loved to be petted, adored attention, but never approached a human unless coaxed. Any little noise or sharp voice terrified her and she would shake her little self silly. During thunderstorms and fireworks, I'd get her quilt, wrap her up tightly, and hold her in my lap, because she could not stop trembling.

The veterinarian said she had cancer in her eye, but thought it would be best to leave it alone. I bathed it and tried to keep it dry, and it never seemed to bother her. The bent ear turned straight as she grew. She turned out to be a pretty little thing.

She died at age seventeen. Just laid down in the yard, closed her eyes, and stopped breathing. Bless her sweet heart, our little Poco.

Thank you, Morgan.

Celia Yeary - Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Please make Celia feel welcome by leaving a comment.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What Day Is It?

Now that I've been unemployed since the beginning of the year, I've found it hard to remember what day it is. This would sometimes happen to me when I had a day job, but it was easier to keep track then. For one thing, on Sundays I always thought with distaste about the upcoming Mondays.  Fridays were spent in anticipation of the weekend. Because of that, they tended to go slower than all the other weekdays combined.

What I find very strange now is my unemployed days are passing much more quickly than I'd thought they would.

What about you? Do you sometimes lose track of days?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Holiday Party Pics

June Sproat, Recent President, on right with Hubby, Mark
Some party pics from the Chicago-North RWA Holiday Party Monday night. Fantastic food and fabulous company!

Left to Right - Margaret Watson, Lindsay Longford

Bernadette Cynchner and Hubby, Russell

Bonnie Hoffman and Mark Sproat, June Sproat's Hubby


Margot Justes, New President, and Hubby, Victor, taking my pic while I took theirs.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Holiday Celebrations Not Over

From time to time, I'll be posting more updates concerning my unemployment, but don't want this blog to be only about that.

I finished taking down the very last of our Christmas decorations this morning. It's amazing how I every year I get so used to seeing them up, and every time I take them down the house looks bare.

Fortunately, the Holiday celebrations are not over. Tonight is the annual holiday party with my Chicago-North Romance Writers of America writing buddies. This celebration used to take place before Christmas, but one year a snowstorm got in the way, and we had to delay the party. Turns out everyone liked the idea of having the party at a less busy time, so we've kept it at January.

I'll post some pictures from the event soon.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Day 6 of Unemployment - A Saturday

Since I didn't have to work on Saturdays when I had a job, today is, yet isn't, my Day 6 of Unemployment.

As far as my goals went for yesterday, as I mentioned yesterday, I did get the hall closet floor cleaned and straightened, but did no more on the closet.

I also went for a few walks with Rascal, but not as far as before, since we were blessed with a dusting of snow and blasts of cold air.

I never got a chance to get anything done on my works in progress, so hope I can find some time this weekend to get something done in that regard. If not, there's always Monday, since I don't have a day job any more.

On that job score, I've been checking the papers daily, but the pickings are slim. Also, online is not much better. I'm keeping my eye open and hope to get something that's a perfect fit by year's end, hopefully much sooner.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Day 5 of Unemployment

Day 5 Goals:

Clean the hall closet.

This, you'll notice, has been a recurring goal. (g)
Actually, this morning, I cleaned the whole bottom of the closet!!!  Yay!!!! Here's what it looks like. I can even close the door now.

Too exhausted from that chore to attempt the upper shelves today, but at least now I can get the door closed. That has not happened in many months.

Last night, one of my ex-bosses came over with boxes of stuff I'd accumulated in my desk over the 38+ years of service. We met in the driveway. He handed over the boxes, and the DH and I brought them into the house. I had no idea it was so much!

I guess they figured it was too hard to ship. Here's the picture.
In the bag was my elderly plant of maybe 20 years old, which seems to have come back safe and sound, in one piece, and is now on the kitchen table, ironically next to a plant I got about three years ago from the current regime on Administrative Assistant's Day. I'll have to take a picture of that one of these days.

He mentioned that also in an envelope in the bag, was my severance check. When I opened it I was surprised to learn I'd gotten 4 weeks instead of the original 2 weeks pay promised. Yay!

Work on at least one manuscript.
Yesterday I got 351 words done on Diary of a Nervous Baby Boomer.

Get exercise, preferably by walking Rascal.
The DH and I took Rascal for a long walk to the library so he could return some DVDs, so that goal was accomplished. So far today, I took Rascal on a short walk, but we plan to do more later after the DH watches a few uneducational TV programs.

Yesterday, on the way to the library we stopped at the barber shop to talk to our friend, Dan, so we were delayed for a while. Later, we stopped at an aunt's house. Both were enjoyable things to do, but delayed work on the manuscript, resulting in a lower page count than the previous days.

Time on the phone was also spent discussing what items needed returned to me from the drawers of my old desk.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Day Four of Unemployment

Unemployment Day Four:

Clean the hallway closet - I relegated this chore to later in the day, but a setback arrived in the form of a letter from Illinois Department of Employment Security saying they wanted a telephone interview with me next week because I listed on my form that I had been discharged from employment. Waited over an hour for a human to come on the phone to let me know if I'd been singled out or if this was a normal event. Turned out anyone who gives the same answer, meaning lots and lots of people, are interviewed. That reassured me.

Get more words done on one of my manuscripts - Got 763 words done on A Bad End yesterday before the letter came from I.D.E.S. Hope to do as much on at least one of my manuscripts today.

Along with Good Paul, I took Rascal on a long walk into town. By now, she must be confused by all the attention she's been getting lately. I plan on giving her another long walk today, despite the obstruction of a dropping tempoerature. At least, there's no snow on the ground.

Distractions from the DH watching TV, even if it's in the other room, but yesterday I did manage to mainly ignore the programs.

Reward cards to redeem from Menard's and Staples from Black Friday before I forget about them. Also have one from Sears, but can't remember how much it is, so not sure if I should bother, since it's pretty far.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Day 3 of Unemployment

Clean the hallway closet I didn't get around to doing yesterday.

Get more words done on my manuscripts.

Walk Rascal and get some exercise. (I forgot to add this one yesterday, but I remembered in time for us to get a great afternoon walk for half an hour. It's essential I don't skimp on exercise, so Rascal may as well also get some) Good Paul may even join us, since he's off today.

Seing as the DH works two days a week, which means the rest of the week he'll be home at the same time as I am, this could present a problem in getting projects accomplished. For one thing, he's very much allergic to dust, so how can I clean the closet without his having sneezing fits?

He also has favorite TV shows which he may lure me into watching.

I have a feeling I'll have to set ground rules if I'm to succeed in my goals, or resign myself to not getting as much done.

After being married as long as we have, I'm sure we can work something out.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Day Two of Unemployment

Day Two Goals:

Get some pages done either on Diary of a Nervous Baby Boomer or A Bad End - maybe both.

Temporary Setback - I got an email from Farmville saying my crops were ready to harvest, so I had to go over there, harvest and plant. Talk about setting priorities!

Okay, now I'm getting down to business. After the writing, my other project will be -----

Clean the hall closet.
It's so bad, I can't close the door.

Here's the before picture. This project may take longer than one day!

Wish me Luck!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Day One

Day One of Unemployment -

I had thought I'd start a project around the house, then work on one of my WIPs. However, I underestimated how long it would take to fill out my unemployment form online today.

I had a few questions which I couldn't find answers to online, so I called. It took half an hour the first time to get through, got my answers, and thought I was home free. Turns out I had another few questions toward the end of the form. I wanted to make sure I did it right the first time, or my benefits would be even more delayed, so I called again. The next time it took about 1 1/2 hours to get through. I kept getting cut off after around 12 minutes and having to redial, only to get cut off again. That was with the paying number. The toll-free number I couldn't even get through to, though I did make a valiant effort by using my landline. I checked my email while I was waiting to be connected, and finally I was surprised to hear a human voice. I got the answer to my other questions, which I had guessed correctly before, and was able to complete the form.

I also filled out a form for direct deposit, printed everything out I'd filled out, and filled out some other stuff at Illinois Skills Match, since it's a requirement to be looking for work. Nothing was available for me yet.

It was past 11 am when I was all done with it, after starting around 8am

After all that aggravation, I'm not sure if I'm in the mood to tackle any projects now. It's kind of like a regular day at work already.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Title of My Next Book - A Bad End

I'm one of those people who tries not to be wasteful. With that in mind, and prompted by the advice of many of my wonderful online friends, A Bad End will become more than a bad experience. Some, but not all, of what happened will be incorporated in a new manuscript of that name, a combination non-fiction, fiction book.

In case you're wondering which is which, the demise of the much hated character will be fictional and not based on an actual occurrence. (g)