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Take a look at the headlines on the Boston Red Sox site this morning:

Sox get bruised, battered by charging Rays

After early exit, Lackey hopes to make next start

MRI shows bursitis in Youkilis’ left hip

Beckett making progress; Bedard strains lat

and

Weiland looks to snap Boston’s three-game skid

Yikes! You have to look really hard to find any good news there. Come on guys, I know it’s been a long season but now is not the time to fall apart, not with the Yankees 2 1/2 games in front and Tampa Bay snapping at our heels for the wild card spot. You have less than 20 games left in the season, surely you can last that long.

Can’t you? Yes, you can. I know you can. You’re back at home now and that’s where you play your best baseball so please, please, snap out of it!

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Yes, I have another song lodged in my brain.  Difference is, this song I actually like–who doesn’t like John Fogerty?  I’m one of his biggest fans, and “Deja Vu” is one of my favorite songs.  Like they used to say on “American Bandstand,” it has a good beat and you can dance to it.  That’s true, but what makes it one of my favorites are the words.  Fogerty took a Yogi-ism, something that most people would chuckle over, and built a powerful anti-war song around it…and it works.  You have to admire a man who can do that. 

So, why am I singing that particular song?  No, I’m not at war…well, maybe I am.  I just spent all day composing an email to my publisher telling them I was taking back the rights to my book.  It was a very hard thing to do and my hands are still shaking, but I know in my heart it was the right thing.  Now, if I can only convince my head and my nerves of that.  

The thing is, this publisher is in breach of contract in not just one, but several ways.  I blogged about this a few weeks ago, back when I first started thinking about asking for my rights back.  I decided at that time to give them the two weeks they asked for to straighten this whole thing out.  I was hoping for the best, but deep down I expected the worse–or maybe I was just burying my head in the sand.  Who knows?  

In the end, I got what I expected, the worse.  And now, I’ve been advised by another author who’s already filed suit against them and pulled her rights that I shouldn’t ask for my rights back, I should demand them–which is what I did–in a long email complete with an attached file which detailed all my reasons.  I’m pretty sure that’s what has my hands doing the jitterbug, I hate confrontations, even when they happen in cyber-space!

Okay, so the email’s been sent and truthfully, I’ll be very surprised if they respond.  God knows a lot of their authors have been trying to get a response out of them recently, but they seem to be ignoring all of us.  So, I’m following up the email with a certified letter and then I’m going to keep sending the email every day until I get a response.

Wish me luck.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be the writer that finally makes them sit up and take notice.  And hopefully, do what they have to do to fix this godawful mess before more authors get hurt. 

On the plus side in my life while all this has been going on, the Red Sox swept the Angels and  moved one step closer to the World Series!  Now all they have to do is win the ALCS against the Indians–whoops!  Strike that, you know how superstitious I am!  Instead, I’ll just offer my deepest gratitude to the Cleveland Indians for taking out New York.  Now I can sit back and relax while I watch Boston and Cleveland battle it out for the prize.  I won’t go so far as to say I’ll be rooting for the Indians, but if they beat us and move on to the World Series, I don’t think I’ll mind as much simply because it wasn’t the Yankees.

Also, I submitted a query to a print publisher for my paranormal romance, Snow Shadows, and they asked to see the entire manuscript–okay, strike that one too.  Arrgh!  I really need to work on ridding myself of these stupid superstitions.

Maybe that would be a good self-improvement project for taking my mind off this war I’m fighting with my publisher.   

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.

 

For me, this past weekend was one of extreme highs and lows, and in my mind, can only be compared to a roller coaster ride.  It had the heart-pounding thrill of climbing that unbelievably high slope, the breath-stealing anticipation of reaching the top then teetering there for a few spine-chilling moments, and finally, the mind-blowing descent down the other side.  By Sunday, I didn’t know whether to give in and enjoy the sensations or shut my eyes and scream, “Stop the ride, I want to get off!”

I climbed into the car on Friday night while it was hovering at the ride’s lowest point, held there by the Yankees defeating the Red Sox–a game we should have won and would have if our stellar and much-revered bullpen had performed the way they were expected to.

On Saturday morning, the car started its rickety climb up the slope when I received word from a publisher saying they wanted to include my short story “The Secret Life of Alice Smitty” in their PMS: Poison, Murder, Satisfaction anthology–see Saturday’s post “Happy Dances.”

Shortly after that, we reached the pinnacle when Josh Beckett led Boston to a 10-1 trouncing of the Yankees.  It was a beautiful thing, especially since I actually got to see it!  Of course, I had to watch it on Fox–do those people have any idea how incredibly dull and insipid their sports coverage is?–but even that wasn’t enough to dull my excitement.

Sunday morning the car was teetering on the summit when I received word from the publisher of my first book, “Death by Indifference,” that they were closing at the end of this month.  This one was its own little roller coaster ride in and of itself.  I was in turn, crestfallen, ecstatic, pissed off, and hopeful.  Crestfallen because that meant my book would only be available till September 30th.  Ecstatic because they’d had the good sense to close before being forced into bankruptcy as so many others in the epublishing industry have been in the last few months–thereby tying up the rights to countless books for months on end and causing unfair and unbearable distress to their authors.  Pissed off because I knew for months this was coming, I saw all the red flags and ignored them.  I’d signed a contract with them back in February for my paranormal romance, “Snow Shadows.”  They more or less sat on the manuscript for seven long months, and I can’t tell you how many times I thought of writing them and pulling the book–patience is not a strong point of mine!–but I let it slide.  How stupid is that?  Hopeful because it means the days of wondering and worrying are over.  As of September 30th, I can submit both books to other publishers and with any luck, they’ll see the light of day sometime in the future.   

Sunday afternoon and we’re still teetering on the brink.  My husband and I have been looking for a house for the past six months or so.  We finally found not one, but two we like enough to make an offer on and now we have to decide which one we like more.  They have a fairly equal amount of pros and cons, so the only thing to do now is weigh each pro/con individually and see where that leads us.

Sunday night, we plunged into the abyss when the Red Sox blew another game to the Yankees–I don’t want to talk about it!–then it was back up again when the Patriots won their game against the Chargers, hopefully silencing at least a few of their critics regarding the accusations of cheating which came to the forefront this past week.  One of the other bloggers on WordPress, http://firedannyainge.wordpress.com, made a very valid point about this and I quote,

The Patriots have lost quite a few players in recent years that weren’t too happy about not getting paid. Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Willie McGinnest, Adam Vinatieri etc… to name a few. Wouldn’t you think if this had been going on for a long time that one of these players would have blown the whistle if they knew?”

Well, duh, of course.  Why didn’t I think of that?  So, thanks firedannyainge for pointing this out and giving me ammunition to use against my husband who is a Colts fan.

So now, the hair-raising ride is over at last, I can climb with wobbly knees out of the car, and get on with my normally dull and staid life.  The thing is, I have a sneaky suspicion I’m going to be feeling the repercussions from this particular roller coaster ride for a long time to come.

Okay, the Red Sox lost to the Yankees last night–again!  The season is rolling to a close and those damned Yankees are making us look like fools.  If we don’t do something, Boston’s going to replace the Yankees as the biggest chokers in baseball, topping their 2004 downfall in the ALCS when they were ahead three games and lost the next four to our beloved Sox.

That’s just wrong and I have two words to say to all of Red Sox Nation: Tessie Up!

This takes a bit if explaining–especially if you’re not a Sox fan–so I hope you’ll stick with me.  It has to do with superstitions.  If you’re a baseball fan, you gotta have ’em.  I’ve got a gazillion where the Red Sox are concerned.  Given last night’s game, I’d have to say mine aren’t working, so I’m calling out to Red Sox Nation to Tessie Up!  Because our boys need it.  Desperately.  

Where is this coming from?  Well, this morning, I was following one of my own personal superstitions and reading the comments written by some of the Yankee fans to an article on AOL Sports about last night’s game.  One of them said–and I’m paraphrasing here–“The ghost of Babe Ruth is back!”

Meaning, of course, that the Curse of the Bambino is alive and well and living in Red Sox Nation.

Can’t argue with that, especially since the Yankees have hacked away at our lead in the AL East until it’s down to a measly 4 1/2 games–and I’m afraid it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  If it ever does get better.  So, we’ve got to do something to stop the Babe.  We’ve got to counter-attack with Tessie.

What’s Tessie?  Well, roughly, “Tessie” is a song from the early 20th century that was adopted by the “Royal Rooters,” a group of Red Sox supporters as their rally cry.  Some people believe the singing of “Tessie” is the reason Boston was going to and winning the World Series pretty regularly back in the early 1900’s, back before 1918 when Ruth was sold to the Yankees.  I’ve even seen it posited that the Curse of the Bambino is nothing compared to the Curse of Tessie.  “Tessie” is also credited with the 86 year drought because they stopped singing it after 1918.  Then, in 2004, the Dropkick Murphy’s released an updated version of the song and when people started singing it at the games, Boston won the World Series again.

So, have they stopped playing “Tessie” at Fenway?  Or, could it be that Tessie is a jealous ghost and we’re not giving her enough attention?  If the fans at Fenway–and oh, how I wish I could join you–start singing Tessie’s accolades again, not just after the game but during it, will we salvage this season that’s slipping through our fingers?

Or, are they already singing it and Tessie’s ghost is getting her butt kicked by Babe Ruth’s ghost the same way we’re getting ours kicked by the Yankees?  (I really can’t say because I’m down here in NC and I have to rely on ESPN’s pretty worthless coverage of the Red Sox.)

Thing is, we have to do something to give our boys a boost.  So, to all the Fenway Faithful, Tessie Up!  Don’t just smile when you hear it played after the game and think, “oh, what a catchy tune,” but open your mouths and sing.  And not just when the game is over.  Belt it out at the top of the second, the bottom of the sixth, whenever, and get all the people around you singing too.

Don’t know the words?  You can find them here (along with a better explanation than mine):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessie

And let’s see if we can’t stop this humiliating downward spiral before it’s too late.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams

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