Olympics Over

For the last two weeks we’ve all been glued to the coverage of the Olympic Games in Rio. Maybe some of us weren’t watching but I was and for once I actually got to see the Equestrian events. I love to ride and watching these amazing athletes has always been a problem. It isn’t a really popular sport and this year there were some human athletes nearly as amazing. Can you tell I enjoyed the horses?

Now, however, the Olympics are over, so we return you to our regularly scheduled programs and, oh gag, the election is still hot and hideous. I won’t bore you with my “None of the Above” rant, I think many of us wish wholeheartedly for that option but I will share my experiences with classified government documents.

I held a Top Secret clearance back in the dark-ages (1980’ish) while I worked for the U.S. Air Force. It is not easy to get a clearance; they really do talk to your neighbors, teachers, friends and anyone else the FBI can locate. I needed to remember every address I’d ever lived at and provide three character references. Yes, that references part was a struggle, I had a wild youth (think hippie, sorry) so finding names of people whom I felt might give me a good character reference was a struggle. I’m not sure how I managed to get the Top Secret clearance, but I did and the regulations and requirements for having, maintaining and effectively carrying out the obligations of a Top Secret cleared person are long and extremely strict. For those of you who have never encountered the governments classifications process, let me tell you a Top Secret clearance is pennies compared to some of the alphabet clearances out there. I didn’t see anything all that dangerous when compared to the really scary stuff some of the higher up the food chain people dealt with.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, without naming any person in particular, I can tell you that something seriously bad has happened. While I was working on classified documents, I took the utmost care of where I was, where the documents were and how I made sure to secure my work and those documents. A lady working in an office just down from me made a small mistake with a piece (one piece) of classified information and all hell broke loose. She was fired, lost her clearance and was barred from all government work. Holy SHIT!! It was one piece of paper, locked in her desk drawer overnight and she was ruined, shamed and an outcast, it was heartbreaking to watch over one piece of paper.

Anyone who mishandles classified documents, and I do mean anyone!! should receive the same treatment as that poor woman in my building. If you mishandle in any way, classified or maybe it could be classified information you MUST lose your clearance. So, even if there was no “criminal” intent, there should be NO clearance! If someone still has their clearance after egregious mishandling of classified information…. Our government has been purchased, we no longer have America to count on and maybe the world really is well on it’s way to chaos. No, I don’t think I’m over reacting. If you can purchase a government clearance with enough money and knowing where the bodies are buried or maybe money and a new position that pays millions (the CEO of Fanny Mae makes over 35 million dollars a year, just sayin…) then “My Country ’tis of thee” is now “money will buy Everything” and folks we can’t afford to live in such a terrible place.

Time for a Sale!

With my next novel in editing, a big Thank You to #John Hudspith, I think it is time for a sale on my first book: LIGHTED WINDOWS. I’ve been really happy with the sales that I’ve had so far and now I think it is time to have a sale and entice you wonderful followers to check out the first book. The sale is on: www.smashwords.com. Look for Melody S. Lark/Lighted Windows and use Coupon Code: TA76K at check-out to read LIGHTED WINDOWS for a mere .99 pennies! Yes, less than a dollar for a limited time so hurry! This sale will end August 22nd, so wander over to Smashwords and check it out.  Thank you!!

Summer California Style

Yesterday, we hit the eighth day of over one hundred degree temperatures, not a record but only one day short. The sun in our sunny California region is much like a blast furnace. You can’t stand in it for over a minute without feeling burned.

Why should anyone care? Well, the problem with California is water. This is a desert region that will grown many things but water is required, in some cases lots of water. Rice is one of this region’s top crops and requires much water. Jerry Brown, yes that guy who spoke at the DNC (is it just me or does anyone else cringe at those initials? {think female medical}), I am digressing again, sorry. Dear old Jerry, the poster child for term limits, wants to take water from up north and send it to his friends in L.A. It is a mistake in the making but this is a Democrats state, so no one can stop his twin tunnel project. That should matter to much of our country because about 45% or more of the produce we all consume comes from California, more specifically Northern California. Since California is in another year, I believe this is year five, of a drought never before seen in history (can you say climate change?) removing water from this area will cause a reduction in produce resulting in much higher prices at the supermarket.

Where am I going with this? Yes, I know you didn’t ask but if you’ve read this far, might as well crack-on. Many people think “California Living” is the way to go and the place to be. It may have been in the past, but I don’t recommend it. With climate change, this drought may become a regular thing. Watch out at the stores in the next few years, what happens in California may impact all of us. If the rice production diminishes, we will also see our GNP decline as well. All this is what summer in this area is really like. California is no longer the place to be. Go East young ones!

The Book Needs a Name

I’ve finished the second book titled: MIND MATTERS and while I’m pleased to be able to write “The End” I’m not really happy with the title. I keep trying to find a better title but so far, nothing. I’m entering that never-ending edit phase, so it seems appropriate that I will find a way to edit that title.

While still working on making MIND MATTERS a clean manuscript, I’m also trying to keep up my author platform. An author’s ‘platform’ is a fancy way of saying ‘soul-sucking ton’s of techie stuff’ that takes up hours of your life you’ll never get back, like ever! So I try to Tweet (@melodyskylark, you saw that coming, right?), blog here when time allows, make a daily post on FaceBook (www.facebook.com/@MelodySLarkAuthor, I have no shame) and I’ve posted on Instagram but, don’t laugh, I can’t remember my handle! (hanging head in shame) Anyone know how to find my handle?? (stop laughing, and no not that handle, silly)

All of the above is drivel because, today, I spent all afternoon working on my platform. It can make you completely batty (I hear you laughing!) Yes, I was already batty but now I am ‘completely’, so much better that way. I even managed to go to Google Plus and write even more drivel in the form of ‘marketing’. Such an awful word, marketing, but how else to get your books noticed in the tsunami of indie authors. I used to market for people selling their homes and never felt the need to apologize, but self-promotion feels more difficult and icky. However, I will continue trying to work on my social media self. I’d do better on this website if I could only figure out how to work it. Yes, it is marketed as ‘easy’ but it has me screaming really bad words and I’ve paid for this f-ing thing. (sorry, long day)

Enough, bless you all (I think there are three of you) for reading my self pity. I do hope you got a small laugh. I’m off to bang my head against a wall, don’t worry, however, I will use a pillow in between. I’m not a total nut case! Later sweet Lovelies!

Reaching for The End

The next novel is within inches of that wondrous phrase. I’m madly trying to finish this book, it being the one that was flying off my fingers just a few months ago. Now, I am forcing the scenes out of my head and into the program. I can see them I just need the words to write them.

My friend, Cookie, who did the beginning edit of my last novel, has already gone through the first twenty-plus chapters and is awaiting the completed manuscript. Her husband of sixty years is in hospice care at their house, dying of lung cancer and my heart is bleeding for them. Deathwatch is so unspeakably hard; you can’t understand it until you’ve sat at a bedside and watched the life seeping away. My manuscript helps her to cope with the sorrow of her current situation and I’m going mad trying to finish and help my dear friend.

I’ve already contacted the editor who helped me with the first book, LIGHTED WINDOWS and I think he has agreed to do this edit as well. He told me to send him the first chapter or so to see if there is anything we can build on, which is not a resounding endorsement but my first book was a bit amateuristic. I made all the rookie mistakes and the editor, my dearest John Hudspith, managed to make a passable book out of it. I feel better about this one but that phrase is eluding me!

When a scene will not go on the page in an acceptable fashion, I would normally put it aside, but Cookie is waiting. I feel the need to get beyond my “complete-aphobia” and finish for her. It is interesting to me to remember, she was the reason I finally sat down and finished the last book. She’d done a fair amount of editing on the first book and wondered where was the end? Well, with someone waiting for me, that nasty phobia vanished and the climax just happened. (don’t they just! sorry, mind in gutter) What shall I do without Cookie’s final shove?

Enough, my brain is melting! If you’ve read this far, thank you so much. I promise to have a pithy post next time or maybe the time after that, one can never tell. Ciao, darlings

Trump is the Symptom

The disease is Paul Ryan saying Social Security is an entitlement the government cannot afford (hey, Paul, did ya never pay FICA and SS taxes??). The disease is Nancy Pelosie saying “let’s pass (Obamacare) it, see what’s in it” (are you f-ing kidding me). The disease is Orin Hatch staying way too long, Harry Ried and Diane Feinstein suffer from that as well.

The problem that Trump is only a symptom of is each and every Senator and Congressman (or woman, don’t get touchy) that has sold us out for all the wonderful money that flows so easily to them from corporations, insurance companies, the medical industry, pharmaceuticals and dozens of other special interests that own our “representatives”. The disease is our two parties who are more interested in their elected officials “dialing for dollars” as one Congressman put it for more hours in the day then he spends actually doing the job we thought we elected him to do. Each party requires their elected members to bring in several million dollars ‘weekly’ or be frozen out of the party. The list of the evils that exist in our oligarchic government would take way too long to write here.

Did you have to look that one up? The first time I saw it I did. It means government by the few, as in the true one percent that actually run this land. Why do you think Bernie Sanders’ folks won’t vote for Hillary? She’s just another one of the “entitled” white folk and please don’t get me wrong, I would love to see a woman president, just not her. I always told my daughter, a woman would be president only after a man of color (pick a color, I don’t care) had held the office. Surprise, right again! But why can’t we have Condie Wright or someone we respect?

I still wish for “None of the Above”. Obamacare will collapse next year and history will not remember him kindly. Now we have a choice between a better looking Putin or utterly corrupt Hillary. So we don’t have much of any choice this time, much like Barry but that is a whole different post. Ciao!

Finally!

I did it, finally. I’ve been hung up on Chapter Twenty-nine having written myself into a corner. This is the lead-in to the physical part of the story, yes I mean sex, but not the usual romance romp. This is a love story after all, you can’t just write the love scene out of nowhere. So many romance novels are just lots of getting it on and not a lot of getting involved.

Sorry, I was so caught up in the accomplishment I forgot to tell you what the title of this book is. The book I’m working on finishing right now is titled: A MIND MATTER and it has been so easy to write up until Chapter Twenty-nine. I’ll say it to save you the effort, I was failing to climax, happy now? It is all so confusing to me and I’m the author! This particular novel was to be my third. The only problem was, the story just kept coming up and I’d have to stop working on book two to write the scenes of book three that were popping into my head. This story just seemed to flow off of my fingers and honestly, I had to put everything aside and work on this story.

The good news is I’ve managed to back out of the corner and build up quite a bit of heat on the way. Chapter Thirty is the climax or culmination of the relationship between these two characters and I needed to build toward it carefully, these are two very complex, strong-willed and powerful personalities. If it wasn’t done just right the entire novel falls flat. But, fear not, I’ve managed (I think so anyway) to stoke this fire until it is now white hot and the questions that have been floating about are about to be answered and of course, there is a surprise in the mix as well.

And with that I bid thee adieu! More soon my Lovelies!

Summer

If you follow me on Facebook, and really why not (www.facebook.com/MelodySkyLarkAuthor/ ) you will know that I am working on my next book titled, A MIND MATTER and that I’m having quite a time of it. I am what they call a ‘pantser’ or something like that, meaning I know where my story opens and I know how it ends but getting from the beginning to the end is the challenge. With my first book, LIGHTED WINDOWS I knew the opening chapter and the last line plus a few of the points (I hesitate to call them high points as some are incredibly low) of the story and worked from there. But this next book was meant to be the third work and it would not wait. This is the book that was flying off my fingers just a few months ago and now I’m dragging myself to the file and working until my brain freezes. If you read the title of this post you will understand my problem.

Okay, maybe I need to be more specific regarding the problem and reason for this post. I’m in Northern California and we’re coming out (maybe/maybe not) of a four year drought of historic proportions. It is currently full on Summer here with temperatures in the one hundred degree range. Yesterday, we reached one hundred and two degrees but honestly, anything over ninety-eight is too hot for doing much outside. The forecast for the week is for higher temperatures, no wind and ‘fry an egg’ sweltering for the next week or so. Therein lies the problem, it is hot, so hot going outside is something you do only if forced. Having my brain freeze up in this weather is a feat of serious consequence. I can’t go walk it off. Folks die in heat like this, as India is sadly experiencing.

The point is that I wish I could find the point. I know how to end this love story and I know it all needs to be soon as I’m on Chapter Twenty-nine and it must stop in the next few chapters. Why? It is a love story and by virtue of (or lack thereof) it’s subject, must conclude in a reasonable number of chapters. This is not a grand epic piece and even with the great John Hudspith’s masterful editing it simply must end in a reasonable number of chapters or words, whichever comes first. I seem to be suffering from a sudden case of complete-aphobia also know as inability to climax. Got you didn’t I! Well, sorry about that, I will simply stop now, which is what is happening in A MIND MATTER. Stay tuned, I will overcome this bout of wordless-ness (all evidence to the contrary) and A MIND MATTER will climax and close as it should. This is the climax of this post. You can see the problem by now. Ciao my darlings! I shall return whether you like it or not xx

Working

I’ve been trying to use my time efficiently but it is quite a challenge. With my book finally distributed to as many outlets as I can, I now need to do extra marketing. That means, this blog, Facebook, Instragram and I need to learn Snapchat. The actual book in my hand also needs to be seen by as many folks as I can manage.

I did manage to tie this bit of me into my Tumblr page, now that made me very happy indeed. The best blogging I ever did was on Tumblr, no offense WordPress. It is a blogging site much more easily handled than all the complications here on WordPress. So, a big Hello to all my sweet darlings on either platform! HI!!

What’s my problem? I know you didn’t ask but, as you can guess, I will tell you. I’m not writing! Well, correction I not finishing my next novel. I open it, write a page or maybe two and then close it. I feel pulled in many directions and can’t get my head around the conclusion. This is the book that was flying off of my fingers just a few months ago and now I can’t get it to finish. There are a lot of metaphors that I could use here but I will leave those to your imagination.

What scares me is what I will need to do to get the next book on the market. It was a waking nightmare wading through all the outlets for self-publishing and the costs are considerable. I still need to pay my editor to clean up this new manuscript before I can even start the hellish wade back into the production of the book.

I’m questioning me need to actually publish again. Yes, I have four more books that I’m working on and yes I have another three that I have half written or in outline form but publishing this first one has opened my eyes to the vampire industry calling itself self-publishing. This shite is expensive, pardon my bad word, but crap, I’m afraid to add up what the first book’s actual costs were! Now I see why some author’s are creating Go Fund Me and Crowdsourcing requests.

Sorry, sorry, really, I know that I’m whining. So many things need to be done and I have only one set of hands. I really want to finish A MIND MATTER, it is a good story and I need to get these books out of my head. The question is do the works really need to go out into the world?

Can You Read?

Yesterday, my book, an actual paperback, arrived. Oh my God, I’ve never felt so strange, and trust me when I tell you, I’ve been in some seriously strange places. It’s a nice looking book, no really it is; good clean cover, great graphics and once I revised it down, the author bio isn’t awful. The bio isn’t great but I’m working on improvements. What is that saying? God isn’t done with me yet, well the self-publishing industry is having their way with me and I’m not really enjoying it all that much.

I’ve had problems with Ingram Spark or to be honest, they’ve had some serious problems with me. You’ve read, I hope, the previous posts regarding the need for formatting so you’ve already seen that bit of Heaven. (for those that missed it, that was sarcasm, grrrr). Now it seems I’ve placed a double order. I didn’t intent to place a double order but I didn’t read all the way through the website and now I have two orders of ten books. Oh, did I mention, if the books don’t arrive they will not send again and they will not refund the costs. If you chose not to insure and send your order with tracking and pay the costs and those costs are significant, then too bad for you.

So, the title of this post is mostly a reminder to me and anyone else wishing to work with Ingram Spark (formerly Lightning Source). You must read the Entire website and double check what is actually being transmitted to the other side, no, not that other side, although it does feel a bit other worldly at times. Did I mention the howling credit card?? My bank has cancelled the old card, fearing I will wish to contest further charges from Ingram Spark. Boy, would I ever! But the actual problem is me and the question stands. Can you read??? Well, now I can and if, please Lord, all those books arrive, I will be pedaling them far and wide in an attempt to silence the screams of my poor credit card.

The lesson here is to go slowly, very slowly, forth into that website or any other for that matter. I got excited about seeing my work in paperback and moved too fast for my own good. The paperbacks that arrived yesterday were from Amazon and they are so lovely! Yes, I am prejudice, I wrote a book and now I can hold it in my hands. Wow! If you would like a copy, it is $10.99 with free shipping (to make up for not insuring them in the first place, grrr) and you need only leave me a comment (and an email) to receive a signed (yeah, exciting right) copy of LIGHTED WINDOWS.

So, lesson learned, and I will stop now (no clapping, grrr) and bid thee Adieu because I need to finish my next work and put into practice all the ‘stuff’ I learned the hard way with this first effort. Ciao, my Lovelies!!