Family History

Family History

We spent a week in San Antonio. Besides eating too much, I took the opportunity to share a little family lore with my girls.

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Sad to say we do not have ancestors who fought at the Alamo. If we did there’s a good chance they fought for Mexico. But my Texan side is full of interesting characters and stories. Some I can not tell until that generation is no longer with us or my Mom will have a fit.

One I can share is the St. Anthony Hotel. My great grandmother and great grandfather met at this hotel. It’s very swanky. My kids ooh’d and awe’d over the chandeliers and fancy restroom. Yes, they had to check out the restroom. My great’s didn’t meet as guests, they worked here. One was a cook and the other a maid. The interesting part was great grandma was an immigrant from Sweden and spoke no English or Spanish. She even had grown children in Sweden. How they met, dated, and married within a two year period amazes me. Especially when you consider the language barrier. After they married they owned several cafes around San Antonio. It would have been cool to eat at one, but they no longer exist.

One day I would like to stay the night. That would be cool. Right up there with spending the night at the same hotel Marylin Monroe did when she was filming Niagara. I even had my picture taken next to the room she stayed in :0

Row80

Round 2 Goals:

Red highlights were a total failure.

Blue highlights were either constant progress, which I count as a success or completed.

Pink highlights are goals I’m dropping. Really, no surprise there. I hate them.

  • Promotion. Nada! Well not entirely true. I’ve posted a few tweets on Twitter, but that’s it.
  • Read 4 books a month. I started 179 Ways to Save a Novel by Peter Selgin. Actually, I’ve started 3 books, but I’m not sure I will finish the other two. 2/4 books read.
  • Write two posts a week, not related to Row80. I have 1 out of 2.
  • Stay on top of Critique group.  6/6 so far. I just have to format my submission.
  • Edit/revise “Stella” for possible submission to a contest. It needs to be tightened. Done. It’s ready for critiques.
  • Edit/revise “Mermaid”– This has been through critique group and I need to address issues. Not yet.
  • Edit/revise “Monster” I’ve completed one read through. I need to beef it up.

I didn’t accomplish as much as I had hoped. I made the mistake of sitting next to a guy who talked my ear off at swim practice. I thought the ear buds would have been a sign I wasn’t interested in talking. I was wrong. He just talked louder. Ignoring him would have been rude. Next time I’ll hide in the corner.

How did your week go?

-CK

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Row80 Round 2 Goals 2016

I hope everyone enjoyed the time off between rounds. I took several days off and did nothing. It was wonderful. I recommend you give it a try. If you don’t know about Row80 check it out. It really helps me to stay focused and on track. The participants are great at help each other succeed.  Here’s the linky.

Round 2 Goals:

  • New Release to publish. It’s finished. I just need to do a final read through and actually publish it. Write a blurb.
  • Promotion. That’s a four letter word! I need to promote the new release. Contact three sites/peeps a week on promotion opportunities.
  • Camp NaNoWriMo. I love camp. Actually this is the only kind of camping I do. I’m working on a novella ( I think) 25,000 words. I need to write 6,000 words a week.
  • Read 4 books a month. This is a year long goal. So far so good. I’ve discovered some new favorites this year.
  • Spend 15 minutes a day decluttering. I know there is a movement to live tiny. I have a tiny house, I don’t know why people would downsize to live in a potting shed. That’s just me. We lost storage when daughter #1 got her own room. I’m still going through and throwing things out.
  • Spend 15 minutes a day on moving my behind. I obviously can’t commit to anything bigger. Hopefully, by just dedicating myself to 15 minutes of activity I will build a habit. That’s what it’s about, building a habit. I hate to say it, but it is swimsuit season! Well, maybe not where you live. The beach is calling.
  • Write two posts a week, not related to Row80. I dropped the ball last round. Blogging fell to the side. It’s hard to write and blog. I’m not good at multi-tasking. All of these goals require better multi-tasking.
  • Stop binge watching Netflix. Seriously! I just finished watching season 2 of Daredevil. It was awesome. But I don’t need to find another show to watch. I get lazy real quick. Once I turn the TV on writing stops for the day. No TV three days out of five weekdays.
  • Cut the processed foods. Since vegetarian didn’t work, I’m trying something new. My eventual goal is to stop buying processed food. Basically, that means if it’s in a box or can I don’t want it. I’m starting slowly. There are some things I can’t give up. Like chocolate and grits. Those don’t grow naturally, they have to be processed. Flour and sugar fall into the same category. I’m talking about giving up canned veggies and boxes of rice mix. Things like that. They are full of preservatives and salt. Start small. Three meals a week with no processed junk.
  • Eat fresh veggies. Before I worked full time, we tilled up the front yard and planted tomatoes and peas. It was wonderful. I miss that. I have plans to visit vegetable stands and eat more local. I miss fresh purple hull peas and bok choy. I’m almost tempted to get chickens, but my dog would eat them. That would be a mess. Two meals a week with something fresh. No frozen! Exchange one snack a day with a healthy snack. It sounds like a snack all day 🙂
  • Stay on top of Critique group. I would like to do one a week, but that hasn’t happened. I keep putting it off until the week before he meeting. I won’t tell you how far behind I am at the moment.

I know I should have something else on here but my mind is a blank. I think that’s enough.

What’s on your list?

-CK

I See The Sun

The sun has finally come out. It feels like I haven’t seen the sun in months. It’s been cold and rainy. I forgot how pretty a blue sky was. It’s so pretty….

We are knee deep in Mardi Gras in the Port City. Fat Tuesday is Feb. 9th, the official end to the Mardi Gras season. My participation begins and ends with attending a few parades. I don’t belong to any mystic society. I will admit to being fascinated with the whole thing. An area known for it’s conservative social, political, and religious views goes insane for three weeks every year. I find that humorous. The history behind Mardi Gras is just as convoluted as the event itself.

In a nut100_9479shell:

Mardi Gras came to Alabama with the French and was first celebrated in what would become Mobile.

It was put on hiatus during the Civil War and brought back by Joe Cain. Who at this point is more myth and legend.

Mardi Gras parades are put on by Mystic societies. They can be expensive to join and historically have been segregated by gender and race. The membership is traditionally cloaked in secrecy. That’s why they wear masks. Not all societies parade. They’re like greek societies on steroids.

Mystic societies have balls with the coronation of a King and Queen with a royal court. The gowns and dresses created for these events are amazing. They are custom creations that take a year or more to create.

The only day non-mystic people can parade is Joe Cain Day.

From a writer’s point of view, Mardi Gras is an endless source of inspiration. It’s weird and fun. In honor of Mardi Gras I’m posting fun bits of information on my facebook page.

On with my Row80 goals for round 1:

Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church.  Goal this week attend two workout classes and one day on treadmill.  I’ve attended two classes so far this week. No treadmill. Goal this week is two classes and one treadmill. I actually skipped Wednesday night because it was too cold to leave my lazy-boy.
-Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week. Check! I’ve read 6 books in January.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery seriesNada! I’m tossing this goal for now.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. I’ve sent the MS to another beta reader.
-Institute Meatless Monday. Mostly meatless! We had baked potatoes and I put a small spoon of chili on mine.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group.  Goal this week is to critique 2 stories. I’ve read one story. Same goal this week.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted. I’ve started working on character sheets. Goal this week is to finish character sheets and review previous plot work. still working on this.

Edit/publish Coffee. making progress. Need to finish blurb and promotion materials. Also need to finish formatting.

On the surface it doesn’t look like much progress has been made. But it has. I’ve been busy everyday, it’s just slow. There are elements to the writing life that take time. Editing takes a long time. Formatting takes time. Planning takes time. Even though it doesn’t look like much, I know progress has been made. So I’m happy.  Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.

What goal is your hardest?

-CK

Newsletter

I am working on my first newsletter. I’m trying to work around issues with WordPress and Mailchimp. If you would like to receive my awesome newsletter please click on the link below. It will take you to a sign-up form. Subscribers will be the first to hear about new releases and events.

Click for newsletter form.

Row80 Round 1 Goals:

-Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church.  Goal this week attend two workout classes and one day on treadmill.  I’ve attended one class so far this week. I have another tonight. Goal next week is the same, attend two classes and one treadmill. On track.
-Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey reach page 222. Check! I’m actually on page 235. Goal by Sunday- read to page 300
-Edit book 2 in my mystery seriesNada! I’m tossing this goal for now.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. Oh hold.
-Institute Meatless Monday. Mostly meatless! We had baked potatoes and I put a small spoon of chili on mine.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group.  Goal this week is to critique 2 stories. I’ve read one story. On track. Same goal next week.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted. I’ve started working on character sheets. Goal this week is to finish character sheets and review previous plot work. Inching along.

Edit/publish Coffee. This week I need to work on release day information, blurbs, and descriptions for Amazon. I have worked on promos for the new release. Check!The editor surprised me and sent the edits back super quick. So I need to do those.

Not to bad. I’ve been busy working on my goals, but it’s slow. I feel like a turtle crossing the interstate.

How are your goals going?

-CK

2016 Goals

Christmas break is almost over, school starts tomorrow. Yippee! The kids aren’t quiet as excited about that as I am. I’ve had very little time to dedicate to writing, but I’ve thought about my goals and how I want to attack them.

My overall yearly goals:

1. self-publish my first mystery novel
2. read more
3. get healthy
4. build a newsletter
I love #3. Can’t wait to see how long that one lasts! I’ve taken those four and adjusted them for Row80. Be sure to click here to read other blogs participating in Row80. Leave a word of encouragement.


Row80 Round 1 Goals

-Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church. It runs from Jan. 6- Feb. 28. I regretted signing up for this about 5 minutes after. I must attend each class and exercise. Yuk!
-Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week. I’m doing the Mother-Daughter Reading Challenge with my girls. A book a week isn’t much, but it allows extra time for crazy weeks when nothing gets done.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery series. This is a holdover from December. I have a huge stack of things that need to be edited. Sigh. The only way I can see to do this is to assign days to edit. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are edit days.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. This round that means- participate in a manuscript swap and send MS to editor. I’ve just received the manuscript I need to read. Every time I think of sending mine to the editor I get queasy. I’m not used to spending that kind of money on myself. It’s a bit terrifying. My target date for publication is August 1. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday are days I work on this.
-Institute Meatless Monday. The slamming door you hear is my oldest threatening to move to grandma’s house. She’s a full carnivore and hates vegetables. I may have to do a mostly meatless. I don’t want her to starve to death.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group. I’ve had online critiques, this is the first “live” critique group I’ve been involved with. I now know why it’s so important. Nothing beats having eight separate pair of eyes. Of course that means I have eight critiques to return.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted. I have two waiting in the wings and I want to work on them before the fire is gone. May have to see how the above goes and tweak the schedule a bit.

Edit/publish Mystic Brew. This just finished critique group. I hope to have this ready by March 1. It’s a dark short story. Very different from what I have previously published. Full of twists and turns.

Wow. It always feels overwhelming when I write the goals up. I have to remind myself that it just takes a little time each day to accomplish. I have to show up and work every day. I’m easily distracted, so I need to make a list daily and stay focused.

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For those of you that were in the last Round of Row80, you may remember we were working on a room for my oldest. I’m happy to say, it’s finished. We moved her in two days after Christmas and she’s been rearranging it daily.

 

It’s hard to see in the photo, but she has assembled a Lego army of mini-figures to take over the world!

What are your goals for round 1?

-CK

Christmas is Coming!

I can’t believe it’s December. Where did the year go?

With all the depressing news and nasty politics rolling around, I thought it would be nice to have a bit of Christmas. Each day on my FaceBook page I will have something fun related to Christmas. If you want to join in surf on over. This is what’s happening today:

This is my favorite Christmas movie. Last year we had a bebe gun Christmas. Thankfully, she didn’t shoot her eye out.

-CK

 

Tales of Christmas in the South, Miniature Desires

Blurb: Tales of Christmas in the South, is a collection of three short stories. All three stories reflect different aspects of the holiday season. Enjoy laughter, tears, and the magic of Christmas in one volume Tales from Christmas in the South - High Resolution .

Tales of Christmas in the South,is available from Amazon. $0.99

Includes the never before published, Miniature Desires. Spinster Ms. Stallworth has a hard time with the modern world. Bombarded with tacky blowup Santas and inconsiderate children, she dreams of being part of the Christmas village she displays each holiday season.
Background: The idea for Miniature Desires was born after I started working at the local Christmas store. I’ve been a Christmas freak since birth and working in a store that was always Christmas, was a dream or nightmare if you’re my husband. One segment of the Christmas industry I had no experience with was the ceramic Christmas village. I was amazed when the houses were shipped, people flooded the store to buy the new pieces. I’d talk to the collectors and it didn’t take much prodding for them to pull out their phones and show photos of these massive displays that take over their house every Christmas season. They had neighborhoods, business districts, cars, and street lights. It was a perfect miniature of a small town. Their version of a perfect Christmas.

So what would happen if a cranky old lady had on of these displays? What if it wasn’t just a display? What if there was a little Christmas magic? You’ll have to read the story to find out!

In honor of Miniature Desires, I surfed Youtube for a perfect example of a Christmas village. I have no connection with the person who filmed the village and hopefully he/she won’t mind me sharing it with you.

Happy Reading,

CK