Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lost On The Road To Fame and Fortune

A few years ago all I dreamed about was getting a book published. I envisioned subsequent book signings, the interviews, getting on the NY Times Best Seller List, and perhaps, maybe... a nomination for the Pulitzer prize. I expected there to be requests for my autograph and E-mails from numerous new writers across the country, asking me for tips on getting published themselves.

I planned to move to the countryside, where my office would be in a room with a large picture window facing a magnificent view. My desk would be in front of that window, so during breaks I could look up from my computer and enjoy the scenery. I would shop for the most comfortable chair ever, so the numerous hours spent weaving future (also successful) tales wouldn't be too hard on my back.

I was contemplating whether I should look into a microphone, so I could speak those tales into the computer instead of typing them. I'm pretty fast using only two fingers, but I could get a lot more books written if I used the automatic system. I wrote out numerous dedications for future books, to make sure I thanked everyone who needed to be thanked. 

I read up on writing screen plays as well, as some of my books might be turned into great movies someday. The screen writer is always the one who gets the Oscar, not the author, and I wanted that little golden statue on my mantle piece. Naturally, I spent many a sleepless night forming an acceptance speech in my mind.

I hate driving, so I wondered if I should hire a driver for my long distance excursions for book signings and tours, or just purchase an RV and let my husband drive me around the country. It would be fun and we could take the dogs along.

I decided that yes, I would be more than happy to make speeches at the schools I attended, and in the classrooms of my grandchildren, if I were asked.

I promised myself I wouldn't let fame and fortune change me. I would remain humble, grateful and never forget the people who helped me get where I was.

Seems I may have been a bit premature, or perhaps, wasted a lot of time worrying about the details. Maybe my wish wasn't quite clear, because although I did get my first book 'Passing Whispers' published, none of the aftermath I envisioned came to be. Not much happened at all. I felt like a teenager who was stood up on prom night. All dressed up with nowhere to go. In fact, my contract with Devine Destinies expired and I signed a new contract with Environmental Publishing. It will be re-released sometime this year.

It seems that getting published might be the easy part. Good grief. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. The eight year old daughter of my middle daughter's old best friend from high school DID ask me to autograph a piece of paper for her. That's something. Right?

And when 'Passing Whispers' comes out again this years, maybe the new publisher will show it to the right people. Maybe it will sell like wild fire and I will be on the NY Times Best Seller List after all! And then...

Or not. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What About Bob

Hasn't anyone wondered what became of me the past few months? Aww, c'mon. Somebody did. Those who know and work with me already know about Bob. I joined a Dating Site in February, just to browse. Talk about a fantastic shopping experience! I found the Perfect Man. I ordered him right away, lest some other lucky girl snagged him up first. After a few 'flirts', E-mails, telephone calls (with that sexy, deep voice of his!) we decided to meet at AppleBee's. Dinner lasted three and a half hours. We were talking, not eating. LOL. Then, the next week, he took me to see the circus, since I had never gone before. We had a great time, and he offered to help me and my daughters move to our new house. It had already been planned, and I hated to impose on him, but he was strong (an iron worker by trade), in better shape than me (he belongs to a gym and actually goes), he was willing and he had a truck. Perfect. Plus, it gave us an excuse to spend hours and hours together, which led to us becoming inseparable.

And now??? We're engaged to be married! Yes, it's true! Don't feel bad if you're in shock and disbelief. I was too. Not to mention my kids. The ceremony will take place on February 12, 2012. Our one year anniversary. Some may think it a bit rushed, but not us. At my age, I know what I want, and I'd like to walk down the aisle before I need a cane.

Now, my previously empty, dull and boring days, with a social calendar as wide open as Texas, is now full, busy and exciting. Unpacking the new house. Merging my stuff with Bob's stuff (but to tell you the truth, it wasn't too difficult as his stuff was better than my stuff. Oops. I hope none of my stuff is reading this. Sorry.) In return for his unceasing help in hanging shelves, drilling holes and all that man-type stuff, I am helping him move down here. He's from central Jersey, and will be putting his house up for sale soon. I'm also learning how to plan a wedding,I bought a Bowflex machine and have been working out like a fiend, and have been looking into dance lessons. How cool would it be for Bob and I to stun and amaze our friends attending our wedding reception like we were from 'Dancing With The Stars'?
Bob bought me the most awesome diamond engagement ring, which is dazzling under every conceivable light. I know, cause I've LOOKED at it under every conceivable light.
I got to meet his sister and her husband who live in Massachusetts for a weekend. I'll meet his parents in a few weeks.

I've been glued to the Internet looking at wedding gowns, bridesmaids gowns, wedding cake toppers, garters, ring bearer pillows, invitations, photograohers, DJ's, best song sites, churches and reception halls. Who needs a wedding planner?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Has It Come To This?

Every once in a while someone asks me how old I am. Not as much as before though. I guess once you hit a certain age, it doesn't really matter anymore. When they do ask me, I have a hard time remembering for a few seconds. 56? I ask. No, 57. WOW. 57. I'll be 60 before I know it. I sometimes sit back and assess my behavior for signs of 'growing old'. I want to see that I really am or that I'm really not an old person yet.

Today, I found myself neck deep in old age behavior. Reveling in the knowledge that I was off from work today, I moved the puppy to another room to avoid all distractions, sat down at my computer desk and made the call I've been waiting to make for over a week. 1-800-COMCAST.

Oh, I knew I'd be placed on hold several times for countless minutes and shuffled from one department to another. But I knew that with plenty of time on my hands, a glass of ice tea beside me and no distractions, eventually someone from Comcast would have to listen to my complaint. I chuckled to myself. They had no idea who they were dealing with. But today... yes, today, they would find out.

I was ready. I rattled off my account number as soon as they asked me for it (even though I had already punched it in the phone and followed it with the confounded pound sign). They weren't going to get rid of me that easily. I patiently waited as they transferred me from one wrong department to another. I listened to their scratchy elevator music, eying a web site I had already pulled up to amuse myself with during this wait. I wrote down all their names and code numbers, except for one whose accent was so heavy I couldn't be sure if he was thanking me for waiting or telling me to say four Our Father's and a Hail Mary.

I kicked off my shoes and licked my lips when it appeared I had finally reached THE ONE who would have to listen to my story. I knew the buck probably wouldn't stop there, but it wouldn't be too much further.

I explained that my husband and I had had a Comcast Xfinity Home Security System installed two weeks before. "Great!" the unsuspecting girl cried. "No. Not so great," I retorted. "The alarm is so soft that no one can hear it. Not me. Not my husband and certainly not any burglar finding his way into my supposedly secure home. It went off the other night and we slept right through it." Before she could come back with a remedy which would no doubt cast a suspicion of senility on me, I assured her that I knew how to work the system and I had set the audible alarm to its highest and loudest setting. I quickly added that my hearing was just fine before she accused me of the ailment. My heart rate increased as my story continued. "To make matters worse, not only didn't we hear the alarm, it stopped on its own and the monitoring company never even called us to see if we were being robbed or murdered!" She apologized as I hit her with another blow. "I have to tell you that any last remnant of trust for your security company vaporized when one of the sensors fell off the sliding glass door as we were watching television last night. That's right. It just fell off on its own, and would still be lying there useless on the floor, except I had to pick it up before my puppy ate it."

I sat back, waiting for the litany of apologies and promises that were sure to come. Maybe even a free month or two. My expectations slammed into a wall of reality as I recognized the sudden and unexpected sound of a dial tone. No! I screamed silently. We were disconnected!! Before my apologies and promises!!

Asking my husband to exchange my glass of iced tea for a cocktail instead, I re-dialed the number. Put in my home telephone number. Accepted the pre-recorded announcement that there was a large volume of calls and I may have to wait for at least ten minutes for a representative to respond.  No problem. Bob made me a large cocktail.

The second associate was just as apologetic as the first, maybe more so, since I told her I was disconnected after waiting the obligatory ten minutes. However, in a brain numbing instant, I was once again disconnected. How could this be?

Wiping a few beads of sweat from my upper lip and opening a window, I re-dialed the number. This time I insisted on speaking to a supervisor. "I want to speak to someone who has been trained to speak to a customer without hanging up on them, if that is remotely possible." "Yes," she finally agreed, but I "would have to wait even longer for a supervisor". Okay by me. I could see that Bob was already stirring my second cocktail. What a loving and supportive guy!

After a THIRTY-SEVEN minute wait (I surmised that I must be getting the supervisor of all supervisors) she got on.
I explained the entire story once again, allowing myself to dramatize a word here and there to vent my growing frustration and warn her of my potential escalation to postal behavior. She positively assured me that she would get to the bottom of this. She would personally remedy this situation if it took her the rest of her career. Absolutely nothing would stop her. All I needed to do was hold on for just a few more minutes while she contacted the person with all the Comcast power.... maybe, quite possible a CEO I thought.

And thought. Finishing my second cocktail I began to worry. Why was there no muzak? Where did my Supervisor of all supervisors go? FORTY-NINE minutes later I began to worry that perhaps she wasn't coming back at all.

I frantically brought up the Comcast Web Page. I clicked on the 'Live Help' button and feverishly typed in my story with two fingers. 'Eugene' typed back a message to me. I read and re-read his response. I had Bob read it, just to make sure. It was 'Eugene's' suggestion to remedy the situation. I am going to copy and paste it for you, dear Reader, so I cannot be accused of exaggerating the response in any way. Here it is:

Tech Expert [9/18/2012 10:45 AM]: Thank you for describing the issue you’re facing. I believe we have the right solution for you. Other customers who have the same issue purchase our Wireless Networking and Computer Performance. This is an affordable subscription that has our technician remotely connect to your computer to properly set up, secure, and resolve your wireless network issue today as well as assist you in maintaining it on an on-going 24×7 basis. With this package we’ll install a program that continuously fine-tunes settings to make sure your system runs efficiently as well as provide 5 “live” assisted tune-ups each year. Because you are an existing Comcast subscriber, this option is only $9.95 per month with a one-time enrollment fee of $39. To order or find out more, please call 1 (866) 556-3337

Is it me or has the world gone crazy? I need to purchase a subscription that will make my security system actually work properly? The system that I already purchased and will pay over one thousand dollars a year to protect my family against harm? That's his solution? And did you notice the line where he admits that other customers have had the "same issues"? Hello!!   Fingers flying across the keyboard, I typed him a message. "Send a tech to my house and take all your crappy equipment away. I do not want to be charged one dime, and if you took any money out of my checking account for installation I want it returned immediately!"   I stared at the screen, unblinking as 'Eugene' told me that he would gladly terminate my security agreement but I would be charged a penalty fee for breaking the contract I signed when the system was installed a mere two weeks before. He then excused himself, wished me a good day and signed off.   Still holding the telephone in my rapidly numbing hand, I heard the faint but distinct sound of a dial tone. The Supervisor of all supervisors had abandoned me, too.   Hand slightly trembling, I motioned to Bob for another cocktail. But I swear, like the armies of abused and swindled old people before me, I will not let this go. I will fight this battle to its bitter end. You may not hear from me for a while. If things get too nasty Comcast may cut off my computer access. But I'll still be there. Just wait and see.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Greatest Valentine's Day... EVER!

Last year, I blogged about my sudden, quite unexpected warming towards Valentine's Day. As a middle-aged divorcee, unsuccessful Dating Site veteran and lonely romance writer, I had all but given up hope of finding true love. In fact, I had stopped dating altogether for several years. Little did I know, a romance story of epic proportions was already being written for me by Fate himself. One with a happy ending to boot!

This time last year, I took what I felt was my last chance and joined a dating site one final time. I planned to give it one month. If love didn't find me this time, I was giving up, once and for all. I had already resigned myself to lonely, late nights of watching TV in bed with only a bowl of potato chips and perhaps a Persian cat to keep me company. The only romance I was sure to experience would be in old movies and books.

But there it was. Only hours after my dating site ad appeared, I got a 'wink message' from 'ScBob'. He was my age and ruggedly handsome (just like the leading men in my romance stories). His Profile painted him as a sincere, widowed family man who seemed to have a good sense of humor and no anger management issues. Exactly what I was looking for. I didn't realize at the time that he lived more than 50 miles from me, so I went ahead and accepted his offer to take me to dinner.

He was a gentleman and a good conversationalist. We ate, laughed and swapped life stories. After a quick kiss goodnight, I had a feeling we'd be seeing each other again.

Today, February 12, is our one year anniversary. We're celebrating it by getting married! At 6pm today, exactly one year after our first meeting, we'll be saying "I do".

Some people think it was a whirlwind romance. I believe we were waiting patiently all these years to finally meet and begin our lives together. I can't remember what life was like without him. Our 'song' is 'Don't Want To Miss A Thing' by Aerosmith.

It scares me to think how close we were to never meeting at all. I hadn't heard of 'Senior People Meet' before, but their pop-up ad nagged at my heart-strings until I decided to give love one more chance. When Bob signed onto the dating site that day, he planned to discontinue his membership. If I had joined even one day later, he never would have seen my picture or wrote to me.

So... for all the hopeful romantics out there wishing for their own Valentine's Day miracle... don't stop believing. This year could be the one you've been waiting for.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 2-27-11

 Happy Anniversary to Six Sentence Sunday! What a fun site!

This week, we'll take six sentences from my first paranormal romance 'Passing Whispers'. It's been a year since Kate lost her husband during a robbery. Not only has he come back from the grave to say goodbye, he's trying to help her find a new love. He encourages Kate to go on a date with a co-worker, and promises that he'll stay home and watch a movie on TV.

"Which movie? Let me guess…Ghost, Sixth Sense or Beetlejuice?”
No, he said, putting his hands on his hips defiantly. City Of Angels, actually.
“Why? Does that movie portray the world of spirits in a way that’s closer to the truth than the others?”
No, because Meg Ryan looks really hot in scrubs.
She laughed and threw a towel at him. Then she went into her closet and slipped on a pair of high heels.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Apology To My Stuff

Dear Stuff:
I don't know how to break this to you... but we're moving again. I know. I know. How many times can one person move? You're right. How many times have I promised that it was the last time? All I can say is that I'm sorry.

Some of you have been with me since I was a teenager. Let's not try to calculate exactly how long that is. Some of you have stuck with me through 28 years of marriage, the birth of three children and three grand-children. I will reward your senority with extra bubble-wrap. I know you're old. And tired. I am, too.

I know some of you carry the scars of sharing a life with me. Cracks, chips, wrinkles, fading and yellowing. I share your pain. Children have written on you with crayons and magic marker. Dropped you and used you for lowly tasks un-befitting of your value to me. I swear, I swooped you up every time I saw the kids using you as a kitty dish or ashtray. 

And I haven't forgotten the brave stuff that didn't make it through the moves. I shudder when I recall the roughness of the past moving men. The poor items left behind in the old places or the moving vans. My heart still aches for the stuff I lost to my ex-husband in the divorce. If I ever start dating a burglar, I assure you, I'll have him rob the ex's place and get you all back where you really belong.

Please try to have positive thoughts. Every time we move, you all get a good cleaning. I find new places to show you off. I reminisce of the day I got you. What could be better than that? And, as with every move, there will be new stuff. They may be shinier and brighter, but they will never replace you.

Please... forgive me. I will watch over the young bucks helping me tomorrow, and scream at each and every one of them to be careful, every five minutes. I already have extra tubes of glue in case of emergencies.

Stick with me, guys. We're a team. I can't promise this will be the last move... but at least I'm not old enough to be in a nursing home. Yet.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 2-20-11

Hello again! I'm so excited to be part of Six Sentence Sunday! It's been a lot of fun so far! This excerpt is from 'LeeAnn Vaughn: A Way With Murder' again. 

Last week, we met Arnold Longfield, a despicable, callous husband who's planning to murder his wife. This week, he's just injected her with succinylcholine. He already called 911 and carried her to the bathroom while waiting for them to respond. He plans to tell them she's suffering from an asthma attack.

He knelt down beside Lenore and looked directly into her eyes. “What’s that, dear? You can’t breathe?” He chuckled as he placed his fingers under her chin and tilted her face up towards his. “Don’t worry. An ambulance is on the way. You hang in there a little longer, okay?”

Six Sentence Sunday is the lovely idea of Sara Brookes, and it’s a chance for novelists to post on their blogs six sentences from a current work-in-progress, finished novel making the agent-editor rounds, or published masterpiece. A central website, appropriately entitled Six Sentence Sunday, then hosts a set of links, enabling anyone interested to check ‘em out.
Interested writers are encouraged to join the fun. Read the instructions here.