Karma’s A Bitch. Or is it?

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I’m a firm believer in karma.  Put good energy into the world?  You’ll get it back.  Put bad energy into the world?  I hope karma kicks your ass.

Sometimes it’s hard to wait for karma to do it’s duty, although I like to think we’d all be kind regardless.  In the world of authors karma is particularly important.  For us, Karma means: When you have a chance to teach another writer or give them a leg up, you do.  When you have a chance to learn from another writer (or editor or agent) you shut up and gracefully accept the lesson.  You don’t just promote yourself and your books and your writing, you promote the work of other worthy authors.  You might not see the karma pay out in sales, but I do believe you see it in a number of other ways.  Most importantly, you’re benefiting the industry as a whole, which trickles down to all of us.  Frequently we lament the decline of the traditional publishing industry and the quagmire that’s resulted.  Do Twitter followers translate to actual sales?  I have no flipping clue.  Most authors will tell you….probably not?  Maybe?  But when you help authors produce books that readers love and when you help readers find those authors, we all benefit.  You’re growing the industry and the market for quality writing.

I’ve been thinking lately about small acts of kindness I experienced while writing my first book.  At the beginning, an editor friend read the first version and encouraged me to keep writing.  She was crazy, but she was kind and it motivated me to move forward.  Around the same time, an agent responded to my query with a long email of suggestions.  She requested a re-write and a re-submission.  The hour she took to give me advice completely changed the course of my book and my writing ability.  If she hadn’t sent that email my book wouldn’t exist as it does today.  My first critique partner completely trashed the draft I sent her but did it with kindness and love.  She was a better and more experienced writer than me, but she stuck with me.  My agent, Dawn Dowdle, took a chance on me when she signed my MS even though it needed plot rewrites.  She said she liked my voice, but she was right that the rest of it needed a major revision.  While beginning my second series, Kelly Moran beta’d for me and forever changed the way I look at deep point of view.  All of these people gave me their time, patience and encouragement.  In most cases, with no expectation of return.  I’m forever grateful and I hope if I don’t have a chance to repay them, the universe will.

On the subject of karma, I saw this today and thought everyone would appreciate it.  A waitress bought breakfast for two firefighters after they’d had a long night at work.

Waitress Karma

 

Stylin’ Love Gloves

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Just another day in the office.

I was taking a tour of another office the other day when a basket of brightly colored items caught my attention. I’m a small child, attracted by bright objects. What can I say? My excitement only grew when I realized they were condoms, and that the condoms sported excellent logos and sayings. So I did what any professional woman would do: Dumped them on the counter, chose my favorites and snapped a photograph. In front of a co-worker of course.

They also remind me of a scene written by the lovely and fantastic Jules Dixon (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JULES), who has a hysterical scene in her Triple R Series where the characters discuss all of the wacky and ridiculous condom related sayings.

Of the above, “Hump One” is my favorite. In the world, “Wrap It Before You Tap It,” also ranks high.

Another good one? “Don’t be a Loner, Cover Your Boner.”

So, what’s the best condom saying you’ve heard? Don’t be shy, share below for everyone’s amusement! In other news, I also have a Tumblr which you can follow at

More good news ! Also moving sucks

More good news!  I’ll tell you this part first because it’s more incredible than I’d even hoped for.  I recently had multiple offers on my book Love In Progress and accepted one on the condition that I make it a series!  So after some late nights brainstorming proposals with my critique partner Jules and my kicks beta Amanda, I proposed a series which Forever Yours has signed!

I’d had my fingers crossed to sell one book, so selling three is even better than my wildest dreams.

Also in excellent news, I’ve made the two hour move and started a new day job which I LOVE.  The husband is still finishing up some renovations on our house and I’m very hopeful it will sell.  It feels greedy to ask that our good luck streak continue a little longer, but I wouldn’t complain if it did.

So we love our new digs and I love my new job, but moving in general is a pain.  We’re downsizing to a much smaller house and decided to sell a lot of our furniture.  We’ve been living in a rural area where there isn’t a craigslist or anything like that, but the Facebook yard sale page is hopping.  I’ve had lots of good experiences selling on craigslist before.  I sell you my furniture for cheap and in return for a good deal, you get it the hell out of my house.  Win win.

Apparently I was wrong.  Facebook yardsale has quickly become the bane of my existence.  I think I’m at the point where I would rather burn everything I own than deal with another human being on that site.

One person who asked me to measure my table, then asked:  “Is that big?  Because I have a little one and I need a bigger size?”  Lady.  I’ve never been to your house.  I have no idea how big your table is and therefore, I have no idea if mine is bigger.

My other favorite: The picture I posted of our sofa has the dogs laying on it. Someone messages me to ask if it was from a pet free home. My response? No. I own the dogs sitting on the sofa.

This is excluding the four am text from the woman who wanted me to enter into a payment plan with her, the person who couldn’t find my house even though she lives right down the street, and the woman who had her husband drive up to the yard sale then wouldn’t get out of the car and yelled questions at me until I came to the car door to show her items Price Is Right Style.

Habitat for Humanity picks up, right? On the plus side, the next time we move, this will already all be done!

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Points to whoever gets that song reference, because it is slightly obscure.  What can I say?  I watched a lot of musicals when I was younger.  My mom was a French horn player who often played in their pit orchestras and I loved them because they’re so romantic.  Sounds of Music?  My Fair Lady?  Gypsy?  (yup, that’s the reference.) I loved these shows and burned up the VCR watching them when my little brother lost the coin toss.

In the last month the following has happened:  The husband was accepted to his grad school program of choice and I received an offer from my dream job.  The fact that both of these dreams materialized simultaneously is nothing short of miraculous.  Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, I received a call from my agent that I received an offer on my book.  Holy Smokes!

I’m bouncing in my office chair and struggling to take deep breaths.  My coworkers probably think I’ve overdosed on Fun Dip.  All I can say is that these are all the result of years of hard work and staying true to the dream.  My husband is a real creative, who likes to take risks and make projects.  He’s always motivated by vision and passion.  My foray into writing is the result of his encouragement to think outside the box, unpeel the layers of my identity, and unleash my creative spirit.  Everyone has one, after all.  I saw the sign in the picture at Southern Girls in downtown Lexington and it hit me as highly appropriate.

There’s been a tiny bit of dead air here and might be for the next month while I get my ducks in a row.  My second novel is spilling onto the pages and there are a LOT of good things to come so stay tuned!

Too Much Damn Wine

You guys!  You guys!  I found the best thing ever.  It pretty much summarizes my life and has introduced me to someone I need to be online friends with.  It’s called “My Drunk Kitchen” and you can find it on YouTube.

For those of you who don’t know, my husband is a wine distributor.  He says it sounds far sexier than it is in practice, I say it means free wine for Kelly ALL. THE. TIME.  You won’t believe this, but we’re at a point where there is too much damn wine in my house.  Too much wine you say?  Is that possible?

Yes.  We currently own enough wine that I could be drunk 24/7 for the next three or four months.  I have a feeling many of you just added my house as your destination in case of a zombie apocalypse and I’d tell you that’s a good choice.  (I talk about zombies on here a lot, don’t I?).  The problem is this:  The wine in our house is work wine, which means I’m not allowed to just drink it willy nilly.  Some of it costs lots of money, some of it is fancy, some of it has been specifically requested by customers.  H organized the wines by shelf in the fridge and told me which shelves I could drink wine from and I promptly got the whole system confused.  I opened a $200 bottle of wine that he’d been saving for years to eat with a pizza.

Whoops.

Then he went to a system where he labeled boxes with “drink me” and “don’t drink me”.  Which worked well until I started digging through boxes and got them all mixed up.  There is one definite bonus, though.  Every day H takes wines out for people to taste.  At the end of the day all those half drunk bottles come back home with him.  For awhile I tried to keep up with drinking them, thinking I couldn’t let them go to waste.  I’d start sipping after I walked the dogs, while I was making dinner.  As I the cooking progressed I made a bigger and bigger mess, forgot instructions, and mis-timed various meal items.  Although, I do have to say, the wine buzz always made the end result delicious.  Especially when you slosh a little in there during the cooking process.

Which makes Drunk Cooking my new favorite You Tube Show.  I’ve been there before, I’ll be there again, and H will have to suffer the cooking consequences because it’s his fault we have too much damn wine.  First World problems.

Everybody’s Doing It

Crappy writing.  Everybody’s doing it.  Published, unpublished, if you’re writing a MS you’re doing some crappy writing.

This is meant as a pep talk, I swear.  I’m having one of those crummy weeks where work is hard and I’m cranky and tired and have a million things to do.  Every time my phone rings I want to throw it out the window.  Work, you expect me to work?  Write, you expect me to write?  Be a member of the human race, I’m supposed to do that too?  I’m jealous of my dogs right now.  They have the freaking life.

When I’m in one of these moods and I start writing I get tunnel vision.  I hate the things I put on paper, but I write them anyway.  I get stuck, convinced I don’t understand deep POV or my character would never, ever do that and then I whine to my critique partners, because hey, the whole point of having a CP is to get some free therapy.  Then I go on Facebook because I’m procrastinating and can justify that type of procrastination as “building a media presence”.  I have to limit my posts though, because all my brain can think of is “I need more coffee” and “screw everybody”.  What can I say?  It’s a miracle anyone puts up with me.

Then I see the following posts from other writers I admire:

“My brain escaped before dawn. I’m writing today but expect most will be gibberish. *sighs*”

“So after several rewrites, in every possible direction I could think of, I’ve come to the conclusion that the original version of the problem chapter still feels the most “right.” And I still haven’t a clue why. So, onward and upward. I have to give myself permission to write crap (which, as a control freak, I loathe), with the hope the characters will eventually take over. I am addicted to this process, the challenge of it all, but it’s a wonder more writers haven’t gone insane… lol”

The first made me laugh.  The second definitely struck a chord.  Half the time I let myself write crap while I’m in a bad mood, it turns out infinitely better than I’d imagined.  If I give myself a few days distance and come back, I realize I was spot on.  Even when it’s really, truly crap it helps me figure out where my plot isn’t going, who my characters are not, and what they would actually do.

Embrace the power of writing crap because you always have the ability to cut it out.  Cutting has become my good friend over the last year.  No matter what, your characters belong to you, your words and your style are yours own.  You can write 2,000 terrible awful words, cut them and pretend that they never exist.  Because you, as an author, have gotten to the point where you know you can do better.  That’s a pretty awesome thing in my book.

So go forth and write some crap!  It might turn out better than you expect.

American Men and Shopping in Bulk

Our friend A and his wife live in the UK, she’s British and speaks Geordie fluently.  We have constant confusion when trying to translate her sayings and phrasings into American, as well as an ongoing debate over who speaks English the right way.

The other day she posted a picture of five eggplants (which she calls aubergine) with a tag “this is what happens when I send my husband shopping”.  He immediately responded, “I thought you liked eggplant.”  I died.  All you ladies out there know exactly what I’m talking about.  Take a man into Costco and you’ll be there for four hours and out four hundred dollars.  This applies to my dad, my brother, my husband.  They all freaking love Costco.  I’ve never been brave enough to take all three of them at the same time, but that sounds like a promising idea for a Survivor style reality TV show.

The comments on her post shed a little more light.  Apparently bulk shopping is an addiction specific to American men.  Who knew?  Of course H jumped into the conversation and proclaimed, “I love Costco!”  He’s not kidding.  There are three things he’s guaranteed to come home with if I send him to Costco:  pasta sauce, yogurt and some kind of sausage.  He’s particularly inclined to buy new weird things because if you average out the cost “they’re cheap and we’re saving money!”  Not if it’s gross and we don’t eat it, my love.  I still have a massive box of black bean pasta in my cupboard because I can’t bring myself to throw it out.  Warning:  black bean pasta has many things in common with cardboard.

To be fair, I knew exactly what I was getting into.  As part of a project in college, a professor took him to a restaurant supply store.  H came back with a jar of pickles the size of his torso and proceeded to carry it all day to classes as well as down the streets of Boston.  This story is still infamous in our circle of friends.  What can I say?  Dude loves his pickles.

So here’s to our beloved friends and their week full of eggplant.  What’s the weirdest thing you or your SO have ever bought in bulk?

Ninja Cat versus the Ham

I recently read an interview with romantic comedy author Tawna Fenske.  She said that she’d tried to write full time, but without exposure to the outside world through her day job, inspiration lagged.

I feel her.  When I tell people that weird things happen in my life, I wish I could explain the magnitude of weird.  The animals keep things interesting, although my husband adds an element of unpredictability to rural life in the country.  For example, I provide the story of Ninja Cat and the ham.

Ninja Cat is also known as Hunter and has some “crazy rescue cat lady Kelly” beginnings.  I trapped him in Boston and by the time I could get a low cost neuter appointment he’d been hiding under H’s bed for a few weeks and H decided they were bonded.  They were not bonded.  Ninja cat hated H slightly less than he hated all other human beings.  He continued to hate everyone and refuse to let people touch him, or to come out from under the bed during daylight hours, for at least another year.  He’s actually gotten very snuggly, but he loves H best and likes to threaten to kick my ass from time to time.  If you tell him not to do something, or swat him off the kitchen counter, he will charge you.

That’s cat gratitude for you.

A few weeks ago, Ninja cat busted his way out of a door I hadn’t locked properly, got sprayed by a skunk and came back into the house.  Needless to say, house and cat smell like skunk.  I called the vet and offered them any amount of money to bathe Ninja Cat.  I told them they could sedate him if needed.  Imagine my surprise when the vet declined and informed me it would be “traumatic”.  For him.  Since I was traumatized by the smell, I tried to bathe him myself and that went as expected.  The cat does have some ninja skills after all.

Meanwhile, he still believes that he is strong and mighty enough to conquer a skunk.  Or a thirteen pound ham.  That’s right, we’ve gotten to the ham portion of this story.  H is currently getting his MFA in photography and thanks to our awesome Virginia location was inspired to do a series on artisan cured meats and the changing food industry.  I can’t do the idea justice here, but it wound up in us buying a thirteen pound country ham, which has been cured and dried to shit and which you reconstitute with water.  It came in a burlap bag and its bulk was equivalent to a thirteen pound boulder.  Inside the bag the ham was wrapped in paper.

Enter Ninja cat who managed to undo the drawstring and shove his head inside the burlap bag.  From the living room we heard crinkle….crinkle….crinkle crinkle crinkle.  I yell at the dogs.  Crinkle.  Crinkle.  Crinkle.  I go in the kitchen and see the front half of the skunk smelling cat shoved in a burlap bag trying to drag a salty thirteen pound ham rock onto the counter.

You have to give him points for confidence.

Off the Wall Dreams

I’ve been wondering lately if authors have particularly bizarre dreams. Mine seem to take a couple of different forms. Sometimes I dream story lines. My latest WIP, Love in the Lens, is an expansion on a snippet of dream I remembered. So was Love in Progress. Often I tend to remember really intense emotions and let me tell you, converting them to written form is a bitch. Other times I dream about friends and family members. I seem to dream about my friends from home and their weddings pretty often, probably because they’re one of the few times we’re all in the same place. Twenty three years of friendship is kind of crazy when you think about it, but that’s for another day.

The last group of dreams are the ones that make me wonder if my husband is slipping me LSD before bed. The other night I dreamed that I was surviving the zombie apocalypse with my critique partner and friend, Jules Dixon. Her adult daughter was our designated driver, cuz, you know, an apocalypse calls for a lot of drinking. And being drunk doesn’t impede your ability to avoid zombie bites AT ALL. Like any logical person who also happens to be a lawyer, my dream branched into a moral debate with myself as to whether or not designated driving laws apply in the apocalypse because there are no people or other cars to run into. Based on my viewing of the Walking Dead, everyone seems to run off the road in an apocalypse anyway.

And then I woke up because the dog kraken were barking.  Of course, by the time it was time to get up for work they were sound asleep like this (and yes, Darwin is face planted on top of one of his toys.  Because he’s clearly exhausted from barking at the wind at 4 am)

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Which leads me to some very important questions. Do you dream plot lines? What’s the craziest dream you’ve ever had?