Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Writing Resolutions

Happy New Year!

I’m happy because I’m looking over my 2014 Writing Resolutions I wrote and posted a year ago, and all of them have been accomplished!! Yay!! Okay, a couple of them were accomplished in a slightly different way than I anticipated, but I can still check them off. Ticking off each from my list of resolutions, I…
·      Finished that YA novel and sent it out on submission. Still waiting to hear from a couple of publishers.
·      Completed the edits for the debut novel, set up promotions, and had a successful release. Yay!!! Lifelong dream accomplished—CHECK!
·      Did some major rewriting on the prequel for the debut, finished it, submitted it to my publisher, signed a contract for it, and have a Spring release date to prepare for.
·      Started working on a new YA novel, though it is not the book of my heart, as I said in my resolutions—it’s a new one that snuck up on me and said, “ME, ME, ME, write ME first!” I should be finished with it by now, but for one reason and another I have a ways to go yet. So, yes, I feel like I can check off ‘start new YA novel’—it just isn’t the one I thought it would be.
·      Have a lovely website, up and working and looking very official. This one was only accomplished due to the hard work of my talented techie friend, but hey, it is done, so CHECK!
·      Had moderate success with the personal stuff that supports my writing: time management, exercise, relationships, and reading. This is the one that was the hardest, and will continue to be a focus in 2015. Time management: I sucked—Really need to work on this. Exercise: Did well but not showing much for it. Relationships: A passing grade, but still a focus. Need more time with friends. Reading: A+++ I read so many wonderful books this year! Looking over this report card, it looks an awful lot like the ones I got in grade school! Haha!

So now it’s time to turn to 2015 and ask myself what I want from my writing life this coming year. Last year my list was nine resolutions long, and it looked and felt very daunting after I wrote it. This year’s feels even more overwhelming—not sure what I’m thinking.  But here goes.
I will:

·      Have a successful release of the prequel novella, Miss Austen’s Vampire, with the right promotions all in place prior to publication.
·      Finish the current YA WIP. This means finish the first draft, rewrite, polish and prepare for submissions. This time I may try the agent route.
·      Begin the YA novel of my heart. Really. This year.
·      Try to concurrently write an adult romance while writing the YA. I have two paragraphs of the romance written at this moment. It’s a story I’ve been wanting to write for at least three years. Might as well give it a try now.
·      Dabble in writing short stories. This is an area I know nothing about, but I think learning to write short would be good for my overall writing. I have one story in mind, and would like to try my hand at it.
·      Keep up with this blog, as well as the YA blog my critique partners and I write. (YA Triple Scoop—Reading, Writing, andReviewing YA Fiction)
·      Focus, focus, focus on time management. The only way all of the above will ever be accomplished is to manage my time much better than I have this past year. Writing time must be a priority, and I must organize myself in such a way that it really is a priority.
·      Keep up the other things that support my writing: exercise, relationships, and reading.
In addition to this ridiculous list, I will continue to attend workshops and conferences, as I’ve done each year since I started writing. Also, I’ll continue my active memberships in two national writing organizations, and one local one. Plus there will always be a craft book with a bookmark in it, waiting for me to read a bit before I put fingers to keyboard each day.
Phew. That’s a lot, so I’d better get to work now.

P.S. I’d love to hear some of your writing resolutions! Please add a comment to share with readers—it may be something we all need to work on. :-)


Monday, December 1, 2014

Who Am I Going To Call? Ghostbusters?

It’s official.

My house is haunted.

It’s no longer just about pictures throwing themselves to the floor, after happily sitting on shelves for years. 

It’s no longer just about someone tugging on my sweatshirt—when no one else is at home.

It’s no longer just about someone pushing aside everything on my husband’s desk—and it wasn’t me. (For my humorous take on these events, see my earlier blog post here.)

No. There has been a sighting.

During the middle of November, we had family members (names will not be used to protect the innocent) staying with us for ten days while they waited for their dead furnace to be replaced. One member of the family slept downstairs on the couch in the family room, along with their family dog.

On Thanksgiving morning, a week after they had moved back home, we were all doing the local Turkey Trot Walk. While we were going up a steep hill, the family member who had slept downstairs said to me, “Is your house haunted?” Or maybe she said, “Did you know your house is haunted?” I really can’t remember now. I laughed and told her that we had been having some strange things happen, and were starting to wonder. But in a Ha Ha sort of way. Prior to this, I had never told her about the strange occurrences we had experienced.

She went on to say, “Well, one night while I was downstairs, I saw a ghost. And felt it.”

About this time, I started to think if the steep hill didn’t kill me, this news just might.

Subsequent questioning revealed that one night she saw a foggy cloud that had formed not far from where she was sitting. There was no form to it, so she couldn’t say whether it was male or female. She said again that she could feel something—something not normal, something ghostly. She showed me exactly where it had been. It was less than two feet from where my picture had flung itself to the floor. Remember, she knew nothing about that prior to this discussion.

I tend to believe that we do indeed have a ghost/entity sharing our house with us. Today, I took measures to come to grips with this new reality. First, I Googled ‘how to live with a ghost.’ I can’t believe how many excellent, well-written sites there are on this topic. Interesting ghost facts: 

  • 9 out of 10 ghosts are benign. It is thought that if the person was nice in life, they are also nice in death. Let’s hope so.
  • Ghosts can reside in a house for any one of a number of reasons. They might have died in the house. They might have lived there and been attached to the house, and chose to come back to it to spend some of their death in the house. They might be attached to a person currently living in the house. Under this scenario, moving doesn’t usually end the haunting, as the ghost moves along with the person.
  • Ghosts usually leave if you tell them in a forceful voice that they must leave. Some sites say that this must be followed up by a command to never come back. Seems ghosts can be sneaky about those little loopholes, and use them to their advantage.
  • Ghosts often become active when there is remodeling going on in the house. Our ghost’s activities began shortly after we started some minor remodeling jobs.
  • Ghostbusters really exist, and there is an unwritten code that they NOT charge for their services. These are people who find the ‘science’ behind hauntings so fascinating that they will help you free of charge. I don’t think they promise to get rid of the ghost; they just help to verify whether or not a ghost has taken up residence in a house. All those cool gadgets you see on TV and in movies really exist. There seems to be a lot of measurement of temperatures involved.

Second, I met up with a friend who is exceptionally comfortable with the paranormal in order to discuss the situation in a very matter of fact way. We could have been discussing a school fundraiser for all the emotion in our chat. She wasn’t at all surprised about the sighting since she was already sure we had a ghost or other entity residing with us. After going through the various types of ghostly attachment, she thinks it’s probably a family member of mine unrelated to the house, not some stranger who happened to die here. That would be okay.

We carefully reviewed the ‘happenings’ and concluded that the ghost doesn’t stay downstairs, and I would prefer that it did. So my friend suggested burning a sage candle upstairs—sage is supposed to keep the spirits away. Can’t hurt to give it a try.

Today was the first day I’ve been alone in the house since the news of the sighting was shared with me. The power company probably loves me—I’ve had just about every light in every room turned on today. But I hope that as time goes on I will be able to go back to a non-ghostcentric existence, where life continues on without a thought about the other member of the household.

Now, I just need to channel this into a good ghost story book…