Through the Looking Glass

If you’ve read this bit of the blog-dom for any length of time, you will know that I was a Professional Realtor for over 32 years. I set appointments to show houses, held homes open, sold and sold some more. Also, if you’ve been reading this drivel of late (yes, it is too drivel, I know I wrote it, but thanks, xx) you know I am now selling my home and moving across the country, hence the title because now I am the person being called at eight on a Sunday morning to set up a showing appointment for noon.

I did know what to expect, honestly, I did, but it is so much harder than it seems from the other side of the mirror. The need to always been “showing” ready I understood but didn’t quite get how much work that is when you are still quasi-living in the house. I did have sense enough to remove all but the most basic of furniture, not wanting to be polishing tables at midnight for that nine in the morning showing but crap getting up and running the vacuum before you’ve had coffee is just mean. I am beginning to believe some divorces start with that For Sale sign in the front yard, I know I am considering dumping the raving boar (or maybe I really meant pig) that screamed at me this morning about divorce while I vacuumed and tried to get his (expletive deleted) moving on the stainless steel sinks. Oh, did I tell you I am OVER stainless steel? More on that bit of knowledge at another time. We had five showings on the house today and our broker feels we will get a good price if we don’t kill each other prior to the close of escrow.

No, I am not writing because I’ve been working on this house, getting it ready to sell and then cleaning and putting away the last of the things to keep it showing ready. I am also not writing because my “office” is now on the floor. Just the time it has taken for me to write this piece has both legs asleep and my knees are saying words that I promise you I did not teach them. My back hurts from leaning over to read what I’m typing and I can’t get into the proper mindset to even work on formatting the novels currently completed much less create complex emotional scenes (except for the killing scenes, those I can currently write like a professional killer) that make up my novels and works in progress.

Sorry, dear ones, I am not a good person just now! I promise to think of something nice to say very soon, probably about the time we get this house into escrow. Rant over! Ciao my sweet ones! xx

That Time Again and Again

It is that time of the year for all kinds of “that time” stuff. I’m sure you can think of one yearly pain in the backside we normally call tax time. No one wants the I.R.S. bugging you so, we all file our taxes, well most of us the rich, not naming names, can file whenever they feel like it, the tax code was written by their representatives. Yes, I know, you thought they were your representatives but as the saying goes “money talks, B.S. has to walk”. Okay that’s not entirely correct but the tax code is written to give CPA and attorney types jobs and well paying ones at that. It was also written so that those with the money to assist elected officials get tax loopholes.

For me, taxes are still a pain and finding a CPA is equally difficult. One guy laughed at me, telling me he just used Turbo Tax Professional and put my numbers in and handed me a bill for $425. The next one had an even higher bill but there was a 1031 thing involved so I chilled. But this year she informed me (not last year mind you) her hourly rate was $235 an hour and she would be billing me for the hours it would take her to do my tax return. She was quite miffed I even asked for an estimate and told me so. “I don’t like these kinds of calls! My rate is my rate and I can’t tell you anything else.) Okay, moving on.

The next “that time” thing is my domain name. Blue Host wants $16 a year for registering my domain on top of the $142 for “hosting”. I’m still not sure what the hell they do for that money and GoDaddy is a lot cheaper. They send out automatic emails warning you to pay to maintain your domain “don’t let it become inactive” because then it could be auctioned off or some shit like that. Oops sorry, the techies of this time period are the ‘entitled’ group we raised in the 90s and some in the 80s. Our fault they are such self-involved odd balls, sorry again.

And my final “that time” is MIND MATTERS, my second novel. It is mostly complete I just need the money to buy a cover, pay a format person or persons since I need a MOBI format for Kindle and a professional PDF for the print version. It’s a lot of money. It is also a really good book. It is actually past time for me to launch that book but crap, my money tree died in the drought. The first book, good but not great, has about five hundred more dollars to earn just to break even and now I need to spend to publish my seriously good book and of course, it’s the time of year when I’m broke.

Sorry, darlings, this was not supposed to be a whine and forgive me for not bring any cheese to go with it. I will chill (a bottle of real wine) and write a much better post shortly. Or I will go play in traffic!

Ciao lovely people.

That Time, Again

This is the year that will try me in many ways. I’ve finished MIND MATTERS and the editing of that work is nearing its conclusion which means I need to settle on a cover, write the blurb, contact the formatting personnel and a host of other self-publishing requirements. I am a little excited because the book is good!

My first book, LIGHTED WINDOWS, was an interesting work and I am glad that I finally wrote it but it was a first attempt and suffered from my inexperience. I can only say that I needed to write that book, that it was a work that needed to be published but now that I’ve worked at learning how to write, I understand so much more.

I’ve been reading some other self-published authors and learning from their mistakes. I do leave a review, but only if I am able to finish the book. There have been a few that I couldn’t finish; they were that bad. On the other hand, I’ve read several indie authors that, with the help of a good editor, would have written a truly good book and that is the review I leave. I understand how difficult it is to have your work edited, not to mention the costs involved, it is nerve racking, but it is necessary. I think it is just as important to find editing help as it is to write the book.

On top of my writing, we are moving this year, back to my home range in the Ohio River Valley. I am packing and sorting and going slowly mad. (I hear you laughing, yes, I’ve always been crazy.) It is shocking to me the amount of ‘stuff’ I am finding in just about every nook and cranny not to mention the advances in technology that leave me with VHS tapes and no way to play them. (are you giggling again??) The interviews with moving companies are always fun. It is shocking how much it costs, per pound, to move which means I am forced to make hard choices about what should be shipped and what is simply unnecessary.

It will be a year of enormous changes and hopefully, some truly fun experiences. I haven’t driven cross-country in over thirty years! I’m planning to stop along the way to see the wonders of America. There are so many great places in our country, I only wish I could see them all.

If you have a place between California and Kentucky that you are particularly fond of, please tell me in the comments. The best tour guides are the normal folks like us (more giggling, really??) who have been to the special places in this great country. As always…Ciao my darlings. I return, anon!

A New Year

It’s finally over, 2016 that is, taking with it Carrie Fisher and her mother. I don’t really care (I care about Carrie, make no mistake) what number you put on the year, reaching another one is a good thing.

What I find odd is the continued liberal screaming on the Internet and just about any other place you can find about the next President. One blogger insisted that harassing Ivanka on a JetBlue flight was a good thing and we, meaning anyone who didn’t vote for daddy Trump, should scream at all the Trump folk especially his children, stating the “Pax Americana” was coming to an end. Wow, is it possible that there are people in this country that have not noticed the nearly two decades long wars in the Middle East? Peace?? You’re kidding right?

I was left to wonder if, following this line of thinking, it would be a good thing if we also screamed at Sasha and Melia? After all, their father is responsible for tripling the nation debt, but then that was the deal he made with the big banks and Wall Street. He would pay them large sums of TARP funds (did you get any TARP funds?) so that they could have their million dollar bonuses for selling out working-class Americans and they would not be effected by The Great Recession. Did you miss that bit of history? Hard to see it, when you are losing your job thanks to Billie Clinton’s NAFTA and of course, the banks are taking your homes because they set up The Great Recession. Don’t believe me? Well, let me show you what I saw.

An unknown Senator from Illinois sudden appears on the national stage, carefully scripted and extremely well funded. By now everyone knows you can’t run for president without “the parties” (there are only two) support. Now Hillary Clinton was also running for President that year and she was doing really well. Did you notice when she dropped out, how truly angry she was? But the DNC made her a deal. If she would step out of their man Barry’s way, she would be the next DNC candidate when Barry was through. The big banks and their big, really big, money plus the Wall Street money carefully choreographed their boy Barry (no, I don’t feel bad about that, he is not from a slave line) to ensure the coming recession would profit them in all ways. I was still working in the real estate industry and all of us old-hands saw it coming a mile away. In 2004 there were NINE no-money-down loans out there and people without full understanding of markets, money and mortgages were snapping up overpriced houses sure that home prices would continue to rise and they could sell in two years or less and make a ton of money.

There is some debate about when The Great Recession actually started but let me share what I felt here in California. In September of 2005 the market stopped and I mean that sincerely, it Stopped! All my investor clients felt it and the smart ones followed my advice and priced their investments to sell, fast. Smaller home loan companies who were holding what would turn out to be ‘dead’ paper, meaning a mortgage the borrower could never repay, scrambled to divest themselves and tried to tell anyone who would listen to do the same. Remember the “Occupy Wall Street” movement? Remember Barry telling you “the TARP funds had been repaid”? Well, yes and no. Just as one example, Bank of America did in fact repay “their” TARP funds, what they did not do is repay the TARP funds for all the smaller entities they took over. Now, Bank of America waited until Barry had passed out the money before taking over these other ‘mortgage’ folk. Countrywide received millions in TARP funds as did Sierra Pacific and lots of other smaller institutions taken over by Citi Bank, Wells Fargo and one, maybe two, other BIG financial institutions. Why is this of interest? Bank of America got Countrywide and the TARP funds given to Countrywide but Bank of America will not repay Countrywide’s TARP funds and it’s legal. The TARP funds went to Countrywide and that institution no long exists therefore, Countrywide is responsible for repayment of those funds, not Bank of America. The Great Recession was a planned event and Barry was the answer as to how the Big Banks could profit from both sides.

If you read my “None of the Above” you know I wasn’t thrilled with either candidate. But the folks still screaming about the outcome need to consider what I just wrote because so many Americans had to live with what the DNC and deeply wealthy folks did. (just as an aside, Chrysler took their TARP funds and built a factory, in China). I am not going to say things will get better but, honestly, for many, worse couldn’t get much more terrible.

Oh Crap!

Yes, I know, that is not a great title but it is sincerely how I feel. In case you aren’t interested, Christmas is in eighteen days. Are you ready? Do you care?

I’m not even close to ready for Christmas and my husband’s granddaughter is coming in a few days. Not that it matters a ton but it would be nice if I had something going on for Christmas, like maybe a decorated tree or a present for someone, anyone. Yes, I am in a panic just now.

I used to love Christmas! I truly did. I’d decorate the whole house, put up a large tree, although in recent years it’s been a fake tree, I’ve decorated it rather well if I do say so myself. I loved the music and would sing it loudly all through the house. I was also better at singing than I am now. 🙂 But I went all out even making special entrees for Christmas morning and a big Christmas dinner, all while working full time.

Now, there isn’t any point in going to a lot of trouble for Christmas. My daughter is grown and off in the Northern reaches of California. I rarely see or even speak to her. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve texted, written letters, sent boxes of things; I even sent off some pictures of her father I’d found. We are not on speaking terms, her father and I. It is story for another time. The point is I’m pretty much alone now. Yes, I see you shaking your finger at me, I do have a husband but he is not well or that is what I tell everyone. He is in the early stages of dementia from too many concussions and has a memory of about fifteen seconds. I have him beat, I can remember last week!

I think the real problem here is I can remember Christmases past and even long past and I miss that wonderful feeling. Now, I’m just depressed, wishing for a time I will probably never have again. I go through the motions, a little less each year but the magic is gone and I don’t think it will be coming back. But I will dig out some of the old decorations, shop online for a few things although I doubt I’ll do much more than that. My advice to you? Enjoy a big Christmas or Hanukkah if you can because like everything else in life, it won’t last.

I wish you a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah and may we

Christmas 2006

all be still around to toast the New Year!

Peace, darlings.

The Last Days

I’d started a post on Barry’s last days in the White House but it got lost. Yes, I know it isn’t lost but I can’t find it so I will start over and that is a good thing the original post was filled with snark. I see you looking puzzled but don’t be; I try not to be too nasty here, it seems the wrong place for vitriolic babbles. I’m not sure where one should write snarky thoughts but I’ll limit them here.

The thing that has me confused and a bit pissed is the Keystone Pipeline was considered “not well thought out” and was defeated by this administration and I’m not saying that wasn’t the right thing to do because I think it was. The problem I’m having can be stated simply as Standing Rock. BARRY, WTF!!! You don’t need a degree in engineering, resource management or even fluid dynamics to understand trying to put a pipeline under a river is madness!

The other thing that is really bugging me is the disregard for the true Americans. You know, the folks that made the mistake of allowing the aliens to land on their shores and are now on “reservations”, land the United States government deemed of little use to it and therefore corralled the natives thereon. Is this pipeline, that Barry is ignoring while he pardons druggies, any less well thought out than the other one?

Even if you disregard the assault on sacred lands and the continued abuse of the true Americans’ rights, how hard is it to foresee a terrible man-made disaster coming at us like a freight train? Why is Barry not making this his legacy? Why is Barry not issuing an executive order to Stop this terrible thing from happening???

I know I said I would be more cheerful with my next post. Please forgive me for letting you down. I had to say something! In the coming years a terrible thing will happen, and this I truly believe because digging under water is a bad thing. It is simple science; remember we were taught ‘water always seeks the lowest level’ or at least I was taught that. So I’ve said what I foresee and pray to any god you wish I am wrong because Barry, your legacy may be one of the worst man-made disasters the world has ever seen.

Please BARRY wake the hell up and stop this. The history books will write about you either way.

Sorry, darlings! Soapbox stored again. Ciao

Some Day

Wow, it’s November hurdling head-long into the Christmas season and I’ve been absent from this forum since, oh crap, October! It’s not that I’ve not been thinking of writing, it’s that I have been writing just not here. My next novel, MIND MATTERS is in editing and I’m a bundle of nerves but that isn’t much of an excuse. My third novel is staggering onto the page, I don’t know why and I am preparing for a cross-country move but heck that’s not a great reason either.

Yes, the internet is buzzing from the elections and may continue for a long time. One of the reasons I’ve been gone is I simply refused to add my opinion to the screaming, hysteria, and total panic this past election has caused. I have opinions but why even bother to get into that roiling ocean, there are way too many waves and storms already, none of them doing much other than predicting doom not realizing it is already here.

I did think of something that has been bugging me for some time now. Somewhere along the way I lost my ‘some day’ wishes. Remember, you had desires or maybe that is too strong of a word, but you wanted to have something and you knew you would ‘some day’ be able to acquire that thing or vacation or achievement you only needed to work towards that ‘some day’. I’ve lost that feeling, that wish, that striving I once had. I miss it.

I think it started with moving preparations. Man, can you collect a lot of “stuff” in twenty plus years in one place! I’m finding things in closets that date back to a time I will not share here as I refuse to admit I could possibly be as old as this “stuff”. I am selling, donating, giving away and generally sorting through my life trying to decide what is important and what I can live without or at least what I will replace when I finally land at my next location. But what I can’t find is any ‘some day’ wishes. I don’t “have it all” but I’ve come to realize there is no ‘all’, just a bunch of stuff that no longer seems to matter.

Sorry this is not a cheery bit and it should be! The rains have returned ending the Fifth Season (in a state of drought, the fifth season is fire season) which should make me happy and believe me I’m thrilled but now I need to find that ‘some day’ thing or place or maybe it is a reason to continue to strive because we all do one way or another otherwise, why get out of bed?!

I promise I will be here more (I paid for this “site”) and I think I will try to be less of a sorry sort. But consider your ‘some day’ list or wish or whatever you strive for because once you have lost it, getting it back can be rather a trial.

Ciao darlings!!

On Learning

My next novel, MIND MATTERS, is in editing with the wonderful John Hudspith, honoring me with his insight and Englishman’s point of view. The reason this is important is that MIND MATTERS is set almost exclusively in London. Since I have not been to London for over thirty-five years, I need this guidance.

What is most interesting and simply amazing is that John truly likes this book. He’s given me lots of “Great Job”, “Perfect Hook” “Fantastic!!” words of encouragement and, to me, high praise. If you haven’t read my earlier posts, let me tell you my first book did not receive half as many words of praise. The first book, LIGHTED WINDOWS, did finally resolve into an acceptable work of fiction but it took considerable work on John’s part to clean up the mess I’d made when I wrote that first novel. Thank you, Dearest John, for great patience and perseverance.

What’s the difference between the first and second novels? Yes, I know you didn’t ask but it is the reason for this post. I’ve taken a course on writing great sentences and done two online conferences on the writing craft. I’ve been writing since my school days and thought I remembered how to write good sentences. I was most sincerely wrong! I’ve been learning how to write without all the fluff and bother that appeared in LIGHTED WINDOWS. Don’t get me wrong, it is a truly good story and a book I had to write. It is hard to explain such a statement other than to say, that book was in my head for many years and I simply had to write it. But now I understand so much more than before I started to learn about good writing and deep point of view. There is an author with the name Kingsolver who writes wondrous works with such beautifully deep point of view, she will make you cry because you can truly feel her characters pain. Now that is writing and I will continue to learn until my fingers can no longer tap these keys.

Thank you for reading and Hope to see you again soon, Love Mel

All Day Conference

I went to my first Writing Workshop yesterday, it lasted all day and yes it cost money. ($149) There were extra charges if you wished to ‘pitch’ an agent, there were four, and the charge for a ten minute pitch was $29. If you wished to have your ‘query’ letter critiqued by the instructor it was $69.

Wow, is about all I can say! I’ve never been to such a function before. The instructor was Chuck Sambuchino and I thought he was excellent. I was slightly biased as Chuck lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, my hometown. The workshop was mostly about how to get an agent to sell your works, but there was so much more to it than that and I loved it! The agents did a first page read and critique and it was super informative. They are not kidding about the first page needing to grab an agent’s attention. Sadly, my first page did not come up and it may have been my fault because I simply categorized it ‘Romance’ while most of the read-through ones had longer designation.

I met several interesting people (hello Nicholas) and was impressed that two of the people around me did their pitch to an agent and received requests for fifty pages more to be sent to the agent. Totally wonderful and I am so happy for both of them. I did not pitch, feeling that MIND MATTERS is not polished enough to warrant further expenditures over and above the costs of an editor. I also have a problem when they ask “where do you see yourself in ten years?” because at my age, the only response I can think of is “alive”. Yes, I know it sounds like sarcasm, but honestly, I’ll be entering the big seven-O’s in ten years and besides even the thirty-something folks can die on the freeway so yes, I do have more books but ask me that question, not my age.

I will happily admit, this was money well spent. I learned so much, by the time I returned home yesterday, I felt like my brain was going to explode. (nice imagery, aint it?) I enjoyed Mr. Sambuchino although I got the vague feeling he was slightly, how do I put this delicately, disappointed is perhaps the word I’m seeking. Chuck Sambuchino works for Writer’s Digest and complies the Guide to Literary Agents book each year, writes a blog, tweets, Facebooks, and several other things but I get the impression he wanted to be a great writer. I could also be projecting! He did mention needing to feed his family which could be why he wanted so much for a critique of a one page letter.

I passed out my card (I need to get an author card, my real estate card isn’t cutting it) to several people and gave Nicholas my Twitter, Facebook and this website/blog. I so wish I could do more with this website but right now many things are demanding attention so it must wait. When I have had a chance to register all that was offered yesterday, I will write more here. There was much more to learn than just how to get an agent.

Thanks for visiting! Hope you had a wonderful summer and I will tell you there is a sale on at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/635556 where you can get LIGHTED WINDOWS for .99 cents but hurry it is a sale and it ends soon. Love and kisses! Later Lovelies!

Of Edits and Endings

rose_71noOM_LMy next novel is in editing, meaning I’m spending money I shouldn’t on a work of fiction that, while I love it, may never pay me back. The question is, why am I doing it, again? I know, you didn’t ask but as you know if you’ve read any of my ‘stuff’, I will explain.

This second work is, in my humble opinion (stop laughing, I’m not done) several times better than the first. The editor who helped me turn my first mess into an actual book, dearest John Hudspith, has had several rather nice things to say about MIND MATTERS my new book. This is encouraging because LIGHTED WINDOWS was rather less than a perfect work of fiction. Yes, I will answer the unasked question of why, shortly. The new book also hasn’t yet to reach an “acceptable” ending. I wrote an ending but it is not a good one, so I am working on improvements.

Why? Why bother working; why spend money on an investment that may not ever return more than what was spent? I write because I must. I write because these books have been written in my head for years. I write to put these stories outside my head and yes, it is getting less noisy in the old noggin. These are the stories of people and places I have seen or heard about and felt someone should say these things. Yes, they are love stories but Hemingway said “Aren’t all good stories, love stories after all..” I do resist the title of Romance, although there are lots of corollaries between my books and a typical Romance work. The difference is these are stories about real people (no, you don’t know them) and how they get through their lives, not how they hook-up. Don’t get me wrong, they will know each other in the Biblical sense, (yes, that means sex, heavens try to keep up) but it will only happen as they become closer and more aware of each other, hence the love story not just sex.

If you have not read LIGHTED WINDOWS, I wish you would. It has gotten five star reviews so far (and some editing, thank you, darlings) but you don’t need to have read it to enjoy MIND MATTERS. I write complete stories in each book. I know serial works are in vogue but I’m not a fan of the cliffhanger. I hope to have MIND MATTERS ready for publication within the next few months. I also hope to have a good ending written before those last chapters are needed in editing! It is a lot of work but most things worth doing require real work.

Thank you for your time and attention, if you got this far. Bless you sweet thing, I will stop here. A novel is a living work and I hope a work of art as well. Only time will tell!  Later darling Lovelies!