A New Adventure

I’m always up for an adventure. Well, almost always and it depends on the adventure. I’m not sleeping in the woods for all the chocolate in the factory. But when it comes to writing adventures, I’m pretty much in.

Pull up a seat. I’m going to tell you a little story. A long time ago, in a place not so far away, I worked for a mobile DJ company. It was one of my favorite jobs. I got to play music, dance, and eat at the weddings of total strangers and they paid me to be there! I worked with some fantastic people and have kept in touch with a few of them over the years. Decades, in fact. I am eternally grateful for that opportunity.

djs1994
So here I am with the guys I DJ’d with circa 1994. Yes, I was the only girl. It was cool. And yes, I took a picture of a picture. This one is framed. Wasn’t even going to try and remove it. 

Recently, I was asked to be a part of NJs Best DJs owned and operated by my friend and amazing DJ, Dave Nase! Dave has asked me to come on board and handle the writing of his blog. This was an adventure I couldn’t pass up. I’m thrilled to be included.

meanddavenasesmaller
Dave and I hanging out, present day, and getting the blog ready. Excuse my deer in the headlights look. 

NJs Best DJs offers a very personal approach to event entertainment. The blog will be dedicated to not just information about DJs and music, but help and advice on all areas of the wedding industry. And of course, we’re going to have a little fun while doing it.

Once the blog is live, I hope you’ll stop by and say hi just so I can see a few friendly faces even if you aren’t planning any event at the moment. (I’ll let you know exactly when that’s happening.) But if you or someone you know are in those planning stages, poke around. We might just have the information you’re looking for. And between you and me, you won’t find a better entertainer than Dave.

I’ll still be blogging here with my editing tips and adventures in motherhood. And don’t forget, my next book, A Second Chance House will be out soon. I won’t be neglecting my editing clients, but like I said, I couldn’t say no to Dave.

Are you ready for a new adventure? What’s on your bucket list for the new year?

 

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#Sale

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It’s the last day to get Welcome To Bibliotheca for $.99 for Kindle.

A little about the book:

Thirteen year-old Gabriel Hunter survived Kata-Tartaroo and wants to go home, which is surprising for a Lesser like him, but instead he and his friends, Owen and Corinna, are forced into another terrifying world – Bibliotheca – where the sun never shines, the temperatures are freezing and the snow pummels you. To make matters worse, Gabriel and his friends have been taken captive by Yugs.

The Yugs will send these three back home, but only if they agree to help with their mission: Enter the Building of Books, a magical labyrinth filled with dangerous puzzles, locate the Command Center, and outsmart the Wolf before he outwits them.

In this fast-paced follow-up to Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo, Gabriel, Owen, and Corinna must rely on each other to save themselves and save the Yugs. Along the way, secrets will be revealed, friendships will be renewed, and Gabriel will learn leaders come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a race against time to see if Gabriel and his friends will solve the puzzles and destroy the Wolf or be left in Bibliotheca forever.

$.99 Sale For A Limited Time

WelcometoBibliothecaFinalHR
Book Two in the Gabriel Hunter Series

Don’t you get a huge charge when you find something on sale? Buying on sale is like getting away with something. Or is that just me who feels that way?

In honor of the release of my third book, Welcome To Skull MountainI’ve put the Kindle version of book two in the series, Welcome To Bibliothecaon sale for $.99 January 9 – 10th. If you haven’t read the second book yet, now’s a great time. It’s too cold to go outside, but the perfect time to make a cup of tea and curl up with a good book.

A little about the book:

Thirteen year-old Gabriel Hunter survived Kata-Tartaroo and wants to go home, which is surprising for a Lesser like him, but instead he and his friends, Owen and Corinna, are forced into another terrifying world – Bibliotheca – where the sun never shines, the temperatures are freezing and the snow pummels you. To make matters worse, Gabriel and his friends have been taken captive by Yugs.

The Yugs will send these three back home, but only if they agree to help with their mission: Enter the Building of Books, a magical labyrinth filled with dangerous puzzles, locate the Command Center, and outsmart the Wolf before he outwits them.

In this fast-paced follow-up to Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo, Gabriel, Owen, and Corinna must rely on each other to save themselves and save the Yugs. Along the way, secrets will be revealed, friendships will be renewed, and Gabriel will learn leaders come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a race against time to see if Gabriel and his friends will solve the puzzles and destroy the Wolf or be left in Bibliotheca forever.

You can get Welcome To Bibliotheca here. Why not get away with something?

 

 

Let’s Try This Again….

This baby will be born in November.
This baby will be born in November.

Welcome To Skull Mountainbook three in the Gabriel Hunter series, will be out in November if it kills me and it just might.

Let me tell you a little about writing a book: it’s hard! And it doesn’t get any easier with each book you write. Sure, there are mechanical elements that have to be in every story, and I’m not talking about comma placement, but it seems the more I know the harder it is to write. I say things to myself like, “that can’t happen,” or “don’t forget on page 59 the character said this.” I won’t bore you with the nonsense that runs around in my head.

I’ve heard this analogy a million times, but it’s worth repeating. Writing a book is the same as birthing a baby. For those of you who have birthed your babies you’ll understand, and for everyone else, trust me. I spend months writing a first draft, just like a pregnancy. There’s research to do, like I did when I was having Noodge 1. “Ooh, what does the baby look like this week???!!” The story has to get on the page, just like the baby must grow in womb.

But the editing process is just like the labor and delivery. And if you were like me and gave birth without the aid of pharmaceuticals (not my choice, believe me) the pain of reworking your novel rivals that of pushing a child into the world. Because when Skull Mountain will finally be done, I’ll be panting, sweating, thinking I’m not going to survive, and wondering why the heck I thought writing this book was a good idea to begin with.

Then when your baby is born, wearing a beautiful new cover with your name printed on it and crisp, clean pages to flip on the inside filled with your magical words that come to life, you’ll want everyone in the world to know about it because you created it. “Look what I made! Me! I did that! Can you believe it??!!” Just like having a baby.

You’re going to want everyone to come over and visit with the baby. You’ll want them to hold it, see how marvelous it is, and then write a great review about it so others will want to pick up your baby and drool over it too.

The difference is your book will never sass you back. It won’t know more than you do, think you’re old no matter how long ago you wrote it, and it won’t go to the therapist some day blaming their failures or bad book rankings on you.

Skull Mountain is in the labor and delivery process now. This has been a very long delivery for me since I decided to trash the original version of this book and start over. But come November, you’ll have a brand-new pretty copy to hold in your hands or download to your Kindle. I hope you’ll come visit us on the maternity floor and ooh and aah over it. I’ll have the cannolis. I’ll need it.

Adventures in Motherhood: At The Movies

I took Noodge 2 to see the Disney Pixar film Inside Out the other day. She asked if I’d go with her and when your thirteen year-old daughter wants to do something with you, you drop everything and go.

When I asked Noodge 2 if she liked the movie, she replied with a shrug of her shoulder and a wrinkle of her nose. “I guess. It was a one and done for me.” I think she was trying to be nice for my sake.

You see, I loved it.

Here is the synopsis from Fandango.com: Emotions run wild in the mind of a little girl who is uprooted from her peaceful life in the Midwest and forced to move to San Francisco in this Pixar adventure from director Pete Docter (Up, Monsters Inc.). Young Riley was perfectly content with her life when her father landed a new job in San Francisco, and the family moved across the country. Now, as Riley prepares to navigate a new city and attend a new school, her emotional headquarters becomes a hot bed of activity. As Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) attempts to keep Riley feeling happy and positive about the move, other emotions like Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) make the transition a bit more complicated. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Lately, my emotions have been running wild too. I have teenagers and having teenagers sends your emotions on a roller coaster ride. We all know I don’t like rides. Don’t get me wrong, having teenagers is a wonderful thing. They can dress and feed themselves, most of the time, you can have real conversations with them, as long as you don’t give advice or embarrass them in any way, you can leave them home alone and not worry about the house burning down, well, you can leave them for short periods of time, anyway.

Sometimes, though, it’s frustrating having teenagers. They want to sleep late. They think you were born yesterday and at the same time you’re old. They’re messy. We all know how I handle that.

But other times having a teenager is bitter sweet. You’re baby is growing up at the speed of light and you can’t slow it down and yet, you know you aren’t supposed to. The things that once made them laugh only get eye rolls and grunts now. You are no longer their hero, but their nemesis. They don’t want to bake with you, make crafts with you, play trains with you. In fact, their favorite thing to do is either sit in their room with the door closed or sit on the computer with headphones in so they can’t hear you calling them.

And yet, it wasn’t so long ago I was holding them in my arms reading them stories and tickling their bellies. They have forgotten the memories I still hold dear. Many times Noodge 2 clucks at pictures when she was a toddler embarrassed by her hair or her pose. I tell her to be quiet. Those pictures are for me. They are the reminders of my little girl who used to climb into my lap with stories and adventure of her Little People. Sometimes, I miss that.

Let’s get back to, Joy. In the movie, Joy tries to keep Riley happy by using her memories. Every one of Riley’s pleasant memories made me think of a time with my Noodges. Those memories no longer worked for Riley and it occurred to me sitting in the movie theater next to my teenager, those memories no longer work for her or her brother either.

That’s when I began to cry. Yup, I’m a crier. It’s awful. I cry at commercials, movies, stupid cards, songs, and the memories of my children when they were little. (I also cried the other day when Noodge 2 performed at her voice recital. So, their ages really have nothing to do with it. I’m pitiful.)

The writers at Disney Pixar hit it on the head. The character Joy wasn’t only Riley’s emotion, she represented the emotion of every mother on the planet. (Okay, not every mother.) Joy held Riley’s memories with love. Joy longed for the time when Riley was little and giggling with her parents, playing with her friend, or winning a hockey game. I can’t hold a memory in my hand, but I have photos and videos of a time when life was simpler and the time when my children would leave me was way out in front of us. Untouchable. Like a cloud. Yeah, well, now we’re smack in the middle of that cloud and it’s turbulence all around.

So, what’s the point of all this besides the fact I’m a crier? Live in the moment, maybe. Hug your kids every chance you get. And hug them tightly. Inhale their smell. Tell them you love them. Cherish the memories because they make you who you are even if those memories have faded for your kids. Maybe those memories make your kids who they are too.

So, my faithful reader, I challenge you. Go see Inside Out. Bring your kids or bring the friend you aren’t afraid to shed a tear in front of. I promise it will be a joyful memory.

 

What Will It Say On Your Tombstone?

grave stone
Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

I’ll tell you what my tombstone is going to say. “She Kept It Clean.” That’s it. You know why it’s going to say that? Because I’m out of my mind. I’ll tell you what happened, but before I begin, let me explain a little about the life of a writer. I don’t sit down each day before my computer and watch as my fingers dance across the keyboard creating flowery words that best describe the thoughts of my characters. Not even close. I often sit at my computer and want to pull my hair out of my head because the ideas that float around there, don’t make sense once they’re on the page. I spend hours doubting I have any talent and why would anyone want to read what I wrote anyway. When I’m not writing I have to do my own marketing, keep track of my expenses and income, set up all my own gigs like school and library visits in hopes of meeting new people who haven’t read my book and will want to read the next one I’m still struggling to finish. It’s not glamorous. No one takes me to lunch in fancy restaurants, I don’t get to meet exciting people, well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve met some very exciting people but they’re other authors.

But let’s get back to the cleaning. My original plan for the day was to leave the house to write. I accomplish much more when I can’t hear the calling of laundry and dirty floors. But Noodge 2, who destroyed her phone and I mean unusable, wanted me to go to the Apple store for her. “Please,” she begged. “I don’t have a phone.” Tragedy.

So, I thought, I could go up to the mall, which isn’t close to my house, take the stupid phone to the store and work at the Starbucks. Yeah, well, that idea lasted about as long as a cup of tea. Instead,  I would sit outside and write. The phone could wait.

I love being outside. And being in nature is just as good for writing as sitting in Starbucks. In fact, better.  I’m not tempted by the 400 calorie brownie in the window when I sit outside.

Except when I went to sit outside, the table was filthy. It was covered in bubble solution, because the Coffee King thought it would be a good idea for the dog to have a bubble machine so he could chase bubbles. Yeah, don’t ask. Well, it appears Noodge 2 had the dog out last weekend playing with bubbles and she spilled the solution on the table. She always cleans up after herself and this time she must have forgotten. I also have a bridge for sale if you believe that. So, what do I do? I CLEAN! I should have went to Starbucks.

But why, Stacey? Why clean? Why not ignore it? Why not sit somewhere else? Because I am insane. And because I’m a writer it proves I’m insane. I sit down at my desk every day trying to write a 200 page novel from nothing but an idea and I don’t even get paid that much. I quit every other day, but the next day I find myself back at my desk trying to write something new. I’m doing it right now. (With elbows that keep sliding in the soap bubbles I didn’t get up very well.)

I can’t walk away from the dirt. I know lots of writers who let the house go while they’re trying to meet deadlines. they don’t shower, they don’t come up for air to see their families, but that’s not me. Showering a must. Wiping up a spill a must. Seeing my family….okay, okay, a must.

My tombstone might read, mother, wife, friend, tried to be a writer, out of her mind, but it will read: She Kept It Clean.

There’s something wrong with me.

How Do You Handle Confrontation?

wolfThere is something inherently wrong with my internal wiring. I can’t walk away from a confrontation. All the years of yoga and all the spirituality books I’ve read go right out the window when I’m staring into the face of a fight. I don’t know why. I think I like it. I can let the anger go, but I need to have the last word. It’s just that simple.

Maybe it’s because I come from a long line of hot-headed, opinionated, loud, but lovely people. Well, that’s not even true. Some of my relatives aren’t very nice. (And I’m not referring to my mother. Okay, ma? You can take a deep breath.)  See? Poison runs deep in my blood.

I’m especially confrontational when it comes to my children. When Noodge 2 was no more than 3 we were at the mall. She stopped to look at these colorful, fake aquariums. A young man working the kiosk patted her on the head to which I replied, “don’t touch my child.” We all know I skeeve everything. Especially some stranger’s hand near my kid. Had he just said, “sorry” that would have been the end of it. He decided instead to tell me to go do something to myself which I believe is impossible and possibly immoral.

I don’t like being spoken to that way about as much as I don’t like strangers within inches of my kids. I think I scared my sister Kiki because she tried to drag me away from the scene I was causing. But I had the last word.

I could bore you with a long list of times I grew out of my 5’1″ frame into a firebreathing, beast with long claws, a purple cloak and gold crown. (I didn’t want to be a dragon.) Like the time I was pretty sure I was going to have to knock over the old guy with a cane who told my 2  year-old daughter he loved her.

Recently, I had a run in with a neighbor. (Ironically, Noodge 2 was involved again. I’m noticing a pattern here.) I wanted so badly to send a scathing text message to her. Who was she to speak to me like that? No one tells me what to do. But I didn’t send the scathing text I so desperately wanted to. The Coffee King pleaded with me not to. “Trust me,” he said. I stormed out of the house quite certain my blood pressure was high enough to cause a stroke and chewing off the head of my meaningful husband like the firebreathing beast I repeatedly turn into.

Who did that woman think she was talking to me like that? I couldn’t let her get away with it. But I did. And I’m not happy about it. Not even now, even though I know it might be better to stay quiet. I should’ve said something. I should’ve had the last word.

Even when friends tell me stories about walking away from a situation without telling someone how they feel, I see it as letting someone get something over on you. You’re sister-in-law yells at your middle-school aged kids for having a different opinion than she does about something completely innocuous and you don’t say something? Not this girl.

Do we get to a point in our lives when we finally accept who we are without judgement?  I spent my twenties and thirties trying to tame my personality. Think first and speak later. Speaking without thinking isn’t right. No good can come from expressing every emotion I have. What does it solve by telling someone I think they’re an idiot except that I feel better? Why is it so important for me to have the last word?

How do you handle confrontation? Do you shy away from it? Or do you face it head on?