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I have a lot of things going on in my mind right now, so this may get a little…um, shall we say disconnected?  Arbitrary?  Jumbled?  Disorganized?  Rambling?  Garbled?

Okay, I like to look words up in the dictionary and/or thesaurus.  So sue me, a fascination with words is a part of who I am and part of being a writer.

So, first order of the day; the Colorado Rockies.  Do you believe in miracles?–indeed.  Major kudos to the team, the coaching staff, and to their ownership for having the foresight and conviction to build a team from the ground up, so to speak, and give them a chance to show the world what they could do.  These guys know and believe that old adage about there being no “I” in team, and I don’t care what anybody says, it takes a team to win the World Series.  And I do believe they have a very good chance of doing exactly that, all you have to do is look in their eyes and you can see it.

Which brings me to the second thing on my mind today; the Cleveland Indians.  Yes, I’m a Red Sox fan, and I’m still rooting for them, but I have to say, I think the Indians are going to win the ALCS.  They seem to have the same drive and determination that has carried the Rockies so far.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the Red Sox have it too, but it doesn’t look to be as strong in them as it is in the Indians.  That being said, if the Indians do go to the Series, I’ll be pulling for the Rockies all the way.  Not just because the Indians will have beaten my team, but because it’s thrilling to see a team that most people–including myself–wrote off at the beginning of the season as no more than a bump on the radar, pulling themselves up and going all the way to the championship. 

However, it would be even more thrilling to see my boys pull out of this little slump they seem to have fallen into and win it all.

A little side note here, if Terry Francona even makes a move toward Eric Gagne for however many games we have left this year, I’m taking a road trip up to Boston, hunting Gagne down, and stuffing him down Francona’s throat.

Okay, so the third thing that’s on my mind today is, of course, all these problems I’m having with my publisher.  Some of the authors who’ve pulled their rights have gotten together and started a private group where we can voice our concerns and complaints without fear of being labeled “problem authors”–something that was implied in one of the emails I received from the publisher.

In short, we’ve started a “bitch and moan” group.  I’ve posted there several times about things that bother me with this publisher.  This morning I posted about the fact that neither of the owners has bothered to address the problem with the web site being down this weekend.  No apology, no explanation, just dead silence.  One of the authors, who also happens to be an editor, followed my post with a message that wondered if any of us who’d pulled our rights had thought about the fact that when we did, whoever edited our book would not get paid for their work.  I hadn’t realized that, and okay, I admit it, hadn’t even thought about it.  I mean, I knew editors were paid a royalty–have no idea if that’s the correct term here, maybe I should say a percentage–for each time a book they edited is sold, but I had no idea they didn’t at least get paid…something for the time they put in during the editing process.  So, the editor who worked on my book will not get paid.  That sucks.  Then again, I won’t get paid either.  Still, it isn’t fair and I’m sorry her hard work will earn her nothing because she definitely improved on my work.

The thing is…(you knew it was coming, didn’t you?) the fact that she won’t ever get paid isn’t my fault, just as it isn’t hers.  As I told her when I responded to her post, the fault rests squarely on the shoulders of the publisher.  And since the publisher has gone into hiding again and isn’t responding to their authors, there’s not a whole lot any of us can do about it.  We can only hope we’ll hear something sooner rather than later and when we do, it will satisfy all of us.  Meanwhile, I’d hate to see this whole thing turn into a finger-pointing contest, or to borrow the words of this editor, an “us” versus “them” scenario.  The authors did what they felt they had to do in light of the publishers breach of contract and we’re sorry if the editors or cover artists are not being paid.  Beyond that, there’s nothing we can do.

It’s all in the publisher’s hands now.    

I spent a great deal of time this past weekend on MySpace, updating my seriously outdated page.  Through sheer determination and a lot of uh-ohs,  I learned a bunch of things–how to change my background, how to add a fancy cursor, how to upload–download?–images and post them on my homepage–but the thing that stuck with me the most after all my time on there is how popular surveys seem to be on MySpace.

I don’t get that.  I mean sure, I read them, but I never fill them out  Besides, if I was going to take the time to fill out a survey, I’d probably choose one of those that promises something in return.  You know, like those that pop up on the Internet at times, offering free laptops or a gift certificate to some restaurant or even money if you’ll just take a small survey–yeah, right!

So, I’m a survey voyeur.  I read them, even think about how I would answer some of the questions, but you won’t ever see me filling one out.  It’s not that I don’t have the time…well, maybe that is the reason.  You see, I know how my brain works, and one suvey might take me hours to fill out.  I’d agonize over every question and once I posted it, the chances are very good that I’d read back over what I wrote, cringe at some of the answers and think what a boring person I really am.

I don’t need a survey to point that out to me.  I know I’m boring and I’m actually okay with that.  I’m a homebody, one who’s uncomfortable being in the spotlight–unless it’s in front of a bunch of elementary students, that never bothered me at all–and one who could very easily become a hermit.  Yes, that’s right, if I had my druthers, as my grandpa used to say, I’d cut myself off from the rest of the world without blinking an eye.

The thing is…if you’re an author, you just can’t do that.  You have to put yourself out there, you have to promote yourself and your books, and you have to be a participating member of society, even if it is just in cyberspace.

And thank God for cyberspace.  I don’t mind promoting myself or my books on the Internet, but I have a feeling next year when the two print anthologies which will include a story from me are released, I’m going to be wishing I’d stuck with ebooks.  I know I’m already dreading it, but I’m going to have to suck it up and do what needs to be done…

…I’m going to have to put on something besides jeans and a sweatshirt, go out in public and talk to real, live people–and I’m going to have to be nice to them.

Oh, horror of horrors!

I’m not sure why that title popped into my head this morning, but it did so I’m going to go with it–and hopefully continue with it in the Fridays to come.  I’m feeling…um, melancholy this morning.  Or maybe a better way to put it would be pensive, because I’m not feeling sad, which is the first definition listed for melancholy in the dictionary.  The second is pensive, contemplative.  That describes my feelings better.

Also, I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers are following certain themes for their blogs as a way of coming up with ideas about what to write on certain days, i.e. Thursday Thirteen.  The themes don’t appeal to me, but I like the alliterativeness of the titles–hence Friday Folly.

From Websters Dictionary; folly–1) a lack of good sense, understanding or foresight, 2) an act or instance of foolishness.

Like most people, I’ve had a few of those in my life and they fall under several categories; a) some which I regret, b) some which I learned from, c) some which, though stupid at the time, turned out all right in the end,  and d) some which I can now look back on and say, “What the heck was I thinking?”  My Friday Folly for today is one which falls under a) right now, but I hope will some day be included under c).

Back when I was a kid, I was on a softball team that sucked–and I mean, it really sucked.  We were the youngest team in the league and we didn’t win a single game that year…think “Bad News Bears” without the happy ending.  One fateful night, our game was rained out.  I wasn’t in the mood to read, so I turned on the TV and as I flipped through the channels, I happened to catch a baseball game.  I was a highly competitve kid and I played softball, so watching a baseball game seemed like a good idea at the time.  I don’t remember who the opposing team was, but I do remember the winning team was the Boston Red Sox.  And by the time the game was over, I was mesmerized.

The reason for my fascination?  Tony Conigliaro, a hot-shot rookie, who before he was beaned in the eye several years later, showed promises of becoming one of those outstanding players who go down in the sports annals as one of the greatest who ever played the game.

As the kids today say, I was crushing on Tony C, and he returned the favor by infecting me with an incurable disease, a passion for the Red Sox.  If you’re a Sox fan, you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re not, all you have to do is watch the movie “Fever Pitch,” it’ll give you a pretty good idea of what it means to be a Red Sox fan.  So, since the disease is incurable, I still root for them, and there are times when I curse the name of Tony Congliaro and times when I think he was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Unfortunately, right now, I’m cursing his name.  The Sox have given up a 14 1/2 game lead in the AL East, which is bad enough in itself, but what’s worse is they’ve given it up to the Yankees.  I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before, maybe even caught me talking about it on this blog–dare I hope?–but it seemed a good way to start this theme because it’s one of those things that happen in your life which will keep you guessing until the end.

The thing is, was it a gift or a curse?  Well, thank goodness, the jury’s still out on that one and I can still hope that it’ll turn out all right in the end…

…but probably not this year.    

No post yesterday, because Unwilling Angel was released and I was busy with all the hoopla that goes with having a book released.  I tell you, it’s an aweome thing when you submit a manuscript then hear from a publisher that they would like to offer you a contract, but when it finally hits the cyber-space bookshelf–after weeks, or even months, of edits, countless hours spent working with a cover artist to find just the right cover, and days of pre-promotions, it’s a relief.  You get–or I do–a feeling of whew, at last it’s done!  Now I can move on,

The thing is, what do I do next?

I have plenty of options to choose from–five, count ’em, five works-in-progress, seven completed books which need a home, more promotions for my new release, web site to be updated, etc., etc., etc.–none of which appeal to me at the moment.  You see, after yesterday’s whirlwind, I need a break and I can feel my Procrastination Slut persona coming to the fore.

I’ve written about her before in my LJ blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned her here, so I’ll give you a bit of explanation.  I have this tendency to shut down, especially when I have a lot of things I need to do.  It’s irritating, but there it is.  I’ve learned not to fight it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream of what it would be like if I banished her for good.

Hmmm…I’d have numerous books either out on the market or awaiting release, I’d finish off those WIPs and get them out to publishers in the blink of an eye, I’d compose query letters and synopses with little or no painful frustration, I’d be a computer-savvy wiz at promotions, and I’d know how to upload a picture to this blog–

 –and that’s another thing, why is it when you click on the “insert image” icon on WordPress, you don’t get a “browse” option like you do on almost every other site in the cyber-world?  Instead, you get seven fields which have to be filled out and most days, my brain is way too tired for that.  Maybe while the Procrastination Slut is ruling, I should present this to her as a puzzle to be solved.  She doesn’t like to work, but she has no objection to sitting on her butt and playing around with the computer.  So, maybe if I don’t classify it as work, but dress it up as an…enigma (she likes fancy words), I can fool her into figuring it out, because I know there’s a way to do it, I just haven’t found it yet!

Anyway, the Procrastination Slut is back–hey, do you think that’s what’s wrong with the Red Sox, they’re putting off till tomorrow what should be done today, or more correctly, what should have been done weeks ago?  I’ve been trying not to think about this, but I have to say it, Boston is through for the season, they may as well pack up their equipment and slink off the field with their tails between their legs.  And I do mean slink.  They have no reason to hold their heads up and I have no desire to give them a standing O.  Come to think of it, they’d better keep their heads down, ’cause I’m sure there are a lot of fans in closer proximity than I am, who’d love nothing more than to toss a few balls and bats at them.  A word of advice, boys; keep your batting helmets handy this winter, it may save you from a hospital visit.  Oh, and during the post-season when you’re not playing, in between watching the New York Yankees win the AL and probably go on to win the World Series, maybe you should hit the Patriots up for some shoulder pads and a lesson or two on how to band together when times are tough–you obviously don’t have a clue.  To put it in lingo you’ll understand…you suck wicked bad!

Okay, that helped a little bit.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…the Procrastination Slut reigns supreme in my world and there’s no telling how long she’ll hang around.  So, while she’s reclining on her chaise lounge (her version of a throne), popping bite-size Heath bars in her mouth (her version of chocolate truffles), and being entertained by her sister’s latest romantic thriller (her version of a court jester), I’m going to present her with a conundrum (I think she’ll like that word):  How many cyber-space imbeciles does it take to post an image on WordPress?

Her answer (I’d bet money on this one):  Ask me later, I’m too busy wasting time right now.

I can’t think of a single thing to write about right now.  So I’m just going to do my personal style of…um, can’t remember what it’s called…you know, that psychic thingie where you have a pencil in your hand, you clear your mind, and let your pencil write without thinking about what you’re writing, only I’m doing it with a keyboard instead of a pencil–and jeez, I hope my editor doesn’t read this ’cause she’ll probably drive all the way up here from Georgia and shoot me for that run-on sentence.

It’s a ho-hum Tuesday in my neck of the woods.  The sun is coming out, melting away the mist that’s hovering around the mountains and we’re supposed to have a high of 73 degrees today.  It was down in the forties this morning when I got up and it’s almost like being back in Maine.  Except here I have the mountains around me, which is something I really missed when I lived in Maine.  Not that there weren’t mountains there, but we lived in southern Maine, about a half hour south of Portland in a little town called Saco.  You had to drive some distance to see mountains, but I could get in my car and be at the beach in about ten minutes.  That was nice, but I’m not a beach type of person, I much prefer the mountains.  I guess that’s because I was raised in Knoxville, at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. or maybe it’s because my dad’s family is from Black Mountain, NC, and I spent a lot of time there while I was growing up.  We always went to the mountains on vacation.  I never even saw a beach until I was eighteen and went to Florida with some friends after my freshman year of college.

Stream of conciousness–is that what this is called?  Hmm, doesn’t sound right, but what do I know?

Since I got up, I’ve been researching publishers, trying to figure out who I’m going to submit my manuscript to–you know, the one I just got the rights back for?  I’ve got a list of five, one of which is located in the South and is looking for books with a strong southern presence, which Snow Shadows definitely has.  It takes place in the mountains of North Carolina and is based on an ancient Cherokee legend–hard to get more Southern than that.

Next, comes the dreaded query letter–blech!  I don’t even want to think about that right now.

Okay, I’ve got to say this and quit putting it off.  Maybe if I write about it, I can put it aside.  The Red Sox lost last night and the Yankees won, which means our lead in the AL East is down to 3 1/2 games.  There are eleven games left and I’m afraid the prediction I made back in May is about to come true–the Yankees are going to come back and take the AL East.  The Red Sox, well, the way we’re playing right now, we don’t even deserve to be in the wild card race, but we’ll probably make it.  I just don’t think we have a snowball’s chance of going any farther (further–there’s those two words again, I’m going to have to look them up on Grammar Slammer and get them straight in my mind once and for all).

And as Forrest Gump said, that’s all I have to say about that.  It’s too painful to talk about.

So, this ho-hum day is going to be spent in the worst possible way–well, okay, maybe not the worst possible, but it’s pretty bad in my book–drafting, and hopefully polishing, a query letter to be sent to the publishers I’ve chosen to submit to.  I probably should read over the synopsis again, I’m sure it could benefit from a bit of polishing too.  I should probably get busy on that right now…

The thing is, there’s this side of me I call the Procrastination Slut and I have a feeling she’s going to come to the forefront today.  Which means I probably won’t get a thing done, at least, nothing of any value.  

Oh, well, that might be the best thing considering my second book is coming out tomorrow, and I’ll be busy all day with promotions.  I hope you’ll check it out, Unwilling Angel by Caitlyn Hunter at www.twilightfantasies.com.  It’s a sweet paranormal romance along the lines of It’s a Wonderful LIfe.

 

I now have three blogs, one on LJ, one on WordPress, and a new one I just set up on Blogger. In addition to that, I have a page on Author’s Den (which I really need to do more with), a page on MySpace (which I can’t figure out and don’t like to use because my Internet security program keeps popping up and flashing little warning signs at me about it being a “dangerous” site), and a page on Gather (also which I really need to pay more attention to). Plus, I’m signed up to post on the 20th of every month on the Twilight Fantasies Blog (one of my publishers), which shouldn’t be too much of a chore since I can probably use one of my posts from one of my many blogs. I also have a page on several Yahoo romance sites which I rarely, if ever, do anything with. Last, but not least, I’m trying to re-vamp my web site and learn the ins and outs of creating and maintaining a successful small business on the Internet–and don’t let anyone tell you that being an author isn’t a business. I think any author you talk to, will back me up on that one!

I don’t plan on keeping all the blogs, I’m just trying them out and when I find the one I’m most comfortable with, that’s the one I’ll keep. MySpace is out for me, because I get a serious case of the heebie-jeebies every time I log on to that one. AD, Gather, and the various romance sites on Yahoo, I’ll keep because I think they’ll be valuable–at some point–for promoting my books.

Which brings me to my point in all this; with my second book coming out in less than a week, I know I need to be promoting, but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. All this is taking a major chunk of my time and I haven’t written more than a couple hundred words all week. So, where do you draw the line between promotion and writing? I don’t have a clue, but I think it’s something every author must figure out for herself.

Since this is only my second book, I’m telling myself not to agonize over it too much, just do what you can and hopefully, as I gain more experience, it will get easier. Maybe, some day in the far-off, distant future, I’ll get the hang of all this and then I’ll not only be a multi-published author, but I’ll also be an efficient and productive promoter!

Only time will tell.

For the most part, I write in the romance genre, but I also dabble in young adult and children’s stories.  In all of these, the hero/ine is one of the most, if not the most, important element of the story.  Everybody loves a good hero/ine, right?

Well, not so much anymore.

Jim Croce sang, “…you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger…”  Maybe not in your day Mr. Croce, but today we seem to delight in doing just that–unmasking our hero/ines and shoving their faces into the dirt for a little added entertainment.

Looking back on the hero/ines of my youth, I still see them as people to be looked up to, people worthy of my respect, people who will always hold a special place in my heart and mind.  That’s not to say they didn’t have flaws.  Of course they did, after all, no one’s perfect, but their imperfections are not what I remember when I think about them. 

I have to wonder if it will be the same for today’s kids.  Will they look back on the hero/ines of their youth with a smile or a scowl?  Probably the latter. 

These days, it seems everywhere you look, hero/ines are taking falls worthy of Humpty Dumpty.  Sports figures, movie stars, singers, politicians, astronauts–any and all who dare tread one step into the spotlight can expect to be scrutinized under the media’s microscope then offered up for public humiliation when they’re caught doing something wrong.

Who holds the greatest share of the blame for that?  The media?  The public?  The hero/ines themselves?

Any and all of the above.  We’re all guilty, we all share equally in the blame, but I don’t expect any of us will stand up and do a thing to stop it.  We’re fascinated (though we proclaim disinterest), thrilled (though we declare disgust), and hungry for more (though we voice our distaste loudly and often).

Which doesn’t help today’s kids in any way whatsoever.  Unless, of course, they have aspirations to be a tabloid journalist/photographer when they grow up.  

There are a couple of things you should know about me before we go any further (farther?  I always have trouble with those two words).  First, I’m a diehard Boston Red Sox fan and second, I have a devious mind.

Every morning, the first thing I do is tune into Sports Center on ESPN then as I’m watching, I log onto the Internet and head over to AOL’s MLB FanHouse so I can read what the bloggers/commenters there are saying about what’s going on around the league.  Yesterday, Matt Watson, one of the bloggers, posted this, “Note to Roger Clemens:  Call Joe Torre.”  Being a Red Sox fan, that one caught my eye, and after I read the post, it made my heart–and my sinister mind–leap.  My heart because I don’t like Roger Clemens or the fact that New York bent over backwards to sign him and he, at least in my opinion, forced them into it.  My mind because I find that as I get older, one of my biggest thrills in life is writing about murdering someone–I told you I wasn’t a ‘people person’ and while I would never literally take another person’s life, I find it oddly satisfying to write about it.  

Okay, back to Mr. Watson’s post, it seems Roger Clemens is missing in action and Joe Torre, NY’s general manager, is trying to get in touch with him.  Mr. Torre, not being able to find him in the clubhouse or reach him by phone, had to send an email to his star pitcher.  As of the time of the posting, Torre hadn’t received a reply.  Now, I don’t know how true this is, especially given the fact that part of the Clemens deal was he wouldn’t be expected to show up on the days he wasn’t pitching, but I immediately started thinking:  what if a Red Sox player put out a contract on Roger Clemens?  Just, you know, to make him go away.  Permanently.

There are a few Red Sox players who I can seeing doing this.  No, I’m not going to name names, but if you’re a Boston fan, you know it’s true.  We have some, er, strange players on our team.  And God knows some of the fans cross over the line of insanity at times.  So, could it happen and if it did, who would the investigating detectives look at?  I have to say, their list of suspects would be a long one–and I, quite possibly, have just added my name to that list.  Uh-oh!

If I hadn’t just finished a novella, Irreverent Angel, the second book in my Apprentice Angel series (my apologies for the shameless plug!), which deals with a fictional Red Sox pitcher who is thinking about taking steroids to get his arm back, I might actually write the story.  I think it would be great fun!  Alas, for now, I need to concentrate on polishing this manuscript, and writing the dreaded synopsis and query letter.  A fate, well, maybe not worse than death, but one that ranks right up there on my list.

Plotting someone’s death–just one of the many joys of writing for me.

Update:  As I read through this after posting, I realized I probably should give you the URL for Matt Watson’s highly entertaining (at least for me) post.  Or is that copyright infringement?  Arrgh!  Don’t have a clue, but I’m going to risk it. 

http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/09/10/note-to-roger-clemens-call-joe-torre/  

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams