Monday, October 31, 2011

Family and Wild Weather

I left Clio, MI with my parents about 10:20 am on October 27th heading for Annapolis, MD. We left in the rain. We had tons of traffic. Dad drove until we got off the Ohio Turnpike and I took over for a couple of hours. We stopped in Morgantown, WV. Most of the ride was uneventful...getting to a hotel was another story altogether. Dad even refused to go get something to eat. Mom and I ventured out with me at the helm...would you believe the only fast food restaurant they had was McDonald's???? This is the home of West Virginia University...we are talking college town. It is also where my great Uncle Pete Mitter grew up. Something I hadn't known and just for kicks I checked the phone book and there are several Mitters still in the area.

I am not a fan of Best Western. It seems like every bad stay I have is at a Best Western. The one in Morgantown was not the exception. The guys on one side of my room partied until after 3 am. I could not call the desk as the phone didn't work. I had already had to move the night stand and plug in the lights so they would work. Someone who stayed there in September, 2011 had left their survey in the room and they didn't have lights between the beds either. I'm guessing no one had read the survey. Also I could not regulate the heat. It was either too cold or sufficatingly hot. So when Dad knocked on my door at 6:45 I wasn't too pleased. Breakfast there is a diabetics nightmare. But I managed.

We arrived in Annapolis by noon. They let us check in early at the hotel. Did I mention we were staying at another Best Western? This staff was so much nicer and the entire stay was much more pleasant. Heat could be regulated and it's a good thing. But more on that later.

We got out the GPS to navigate us to a Denny's for lunch. Between the traffic and the one way streets it was a nightmare. Dad gave up driving. I took over for the rest of the time we were in Annapolis. We eventually found the restaurant had a nice lunch, by the time we got back we had to change to go to the wedding rehearsal.

We were able to get to North Beach, MD and find the church. We were also an hour early so drove back to Chesapeake Beach....two miles to Karen and Anthony's home where we were all going to gather for dinner afterward. We spent 45 min. with them and got to see the house before going back to the church. It was still raining and cold. Rehearsal was fun, we got lots of photos. We went back to the house there were probably 30 of us there for dinner. It was a good time. We got back to the hotel around 10 pm.

I got up the next morning and went to have my hair done. You get what you pay for. It wasn't right but it would do. Then I made my way back to the hotel spent some time with Mom and Dad. We called my sister to wish her a happy birthday. Then it was time to change for the wedding. Photos were starting at 1:30pm and we had to be there. Did I mention it was raining? Dad actually drove out to the church. We waited in the car until time then we went in. Photos with Karen took until about 2:05pm. Anthony arrived at 2:15pm for his photo shoot. This is the point where my camera stopped functioning. The wedding started promptly at 3pm with my dad walking my mom down the aisle. Grandparents are seated right before the mothers. This is where Dad's camera finally quit working...battery dead. I was taking photos with my cell phone. My nephew walked his other grandmother down the aisle. The wedding was wonderful. The priest said he'd never had a wedding that was so much fun. We had more photos, then we drove back to the hotel.

There we had the front desk call for a cab. Parking in downtown Annapolis is scarce at best and getting there is a nightmare. So, we took a cab to the Federal House where dinner was going to be. Being an old historic building the Federal House does not have an elevator. With Dad's help Mom was able to make the stairs to the second floor. Hors d'oeuvres were at 6pm beer and wine were part of the meal. Mixed drinks were cash. I started the evening with a white zinfandel....I could not drink it. I don't know when I've had a worse wine. Broke out my wallet and got myself a rum and Coke. Things were looking up. The bride and groom arrived about 7pm. They had planned to greet everyone at each table, but the wait staff was already delivering the salads. During salads the Maid of Honor and Best Man (or woman in this case) made their speeches. The main course was served. It was wonderful. However, if you are going to steam vegetables they need to be hot all the way through. Other than that, it was good. Anthony offered up prayer before we ate the main meal. The bride and groom were able to mingle after dinner. The crowd began thinning by 9 pm as many had come from out of town and had to return.

The worst storm in 35 years hit on Saturday. The rain turned to snow on our way from the church to the hotel after the wedding. Another reason for calling a cab. Harrisburg, PA got about 6 inches of snow. Farther north it was worse. There were 2.5 million people without power in the northeast by Sunday morning. We were packed, had breakfast and in the car by 8:20am. Dad had started the car to clear the ice off the windows. The roads were clear. We did stop in Maryland in the mountains and there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground. It had been a heavy wet snow and we could see where it had downed some trees. They had beautiful color on the way out.

Dad drove from 8:20 am to 2pm, we were near Cambridge, OH by then. We stopped for lunch and to gas the car. I took over driving at 3:05pm and drove until we hit the rest area in Linden, MI on US 23 just south of Flint. It was about 7:45 pm. I got out of the car and commented to Dad that we'd hit a heat wave. It was so much warmer than it had been all week-end. I came out and low and behold it was raining. Dad took over driving. We stopped for dinner at Bob Evan's on Pierson Rd. then headed the last leg home. It was good to be home.

I drove back to West Branch this morning. Most of my day has been spent uploading over 100 wedding photos. I tried doing them in order from the rehearsal through the wedding and after, but when they uploaded from my phone they got all mixed up. I just know I am done with them for now.

Love you both, Karen and Anthony Attardo. May God bless you with many years of happiness.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Already?

I was able to finish my afghan project for the wedding yesterday. It is one of my better pieces, but am not sure I will attempt it again as it took the better part of a month.

I love family gatherings. Weddings seem to be the place for those. We celebrated the marriage of my cousin and the 60th anniversary of her grandparents. Veggies, crackers, cheese, fruit and cake in the church after the reception. Then family went out to dinner. Since some of the family was in from parts in the far west....Arizona and New Mexico, it was great to have extra time with them. Those of us who live in Michigan don't see each other often enough to say so....mores the shame. It was a good time for everyone.

I've had time to look over edits by my publisher on the first of my three short stories and the first three chapters of my novel. We seem to be on the same page about a lot of things. :) That is a good thing. I have two more short stories to get started on. I have a couple of ideas and we'll see where they lead. The first one did not work out. But that happens.

I'll be busy this coming week as I leave on Wed. for the east coast to attend the wedding of my niece. I am looking forward to that. I have told Dad I will do some of the driving so that he does not have to do it all. We are both capable drivers. That will be a packed weekend.

Not much else until the first weekend in November when I have a speaking engagement. I am looking forward to that. It will be at least a half-day affair with lunch. Possibly some book sales. That's always a good thing.

Other than that, it's life as normal. Getting ready for Thanksgiving, my daughter's birthday, Christmas then shutting down the house and escaping for the winter. Hoping you all a restful evening and wonderful week.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wild Wednesday

As October goes it's been a super month. Today however, we are getting a taste of weather to come. The wind picked up during the night and it drizzled all morning.

Ran to the post office and took care of my other errands. Stopped to see a neighbor and drop off some things for her. Has rained pretty much all afternoon and evening. Now we have a high wind warning. They are expecting power outages. I've heard of some in the area already. I am worried that the breaker out front will pop at any time. Things are so bad they are asking people to bring in anything that might blow away and cause damage. There goes my for sale sign again. I'm going to need a new one.

The afghan project I'm working on should be done on Friday. Sad part is I put a couple pieces together today and then had to take them apart. Taking them apart took longer than putting it together. Ugh. Tomorrow will find me sitting on the bed finishing up putting it together. It is so big right now that I have to have it spread out to see what pieces I need. Once it is put together I can do the trim row from anywhere. Going to have to think long and hard about whether I would ever do this again.

I am picking up a Twitter following. The author spotlight is getting some attention. I'm looking for some material for two more short stories. I have several possibilities. It's a matter of which ones I can work into 5,000 words and have them be complete. I have a novel to finish. I'll get to that soon.

I thought retirement was supposed to give me time to relax. I'm busier now than I ever thought I could be. Between the writing, speaking, crochet projects, and family commitments I hardly have time to breathe. I do find time for myself. I am enjoying every day more than I had ever dreamed I would.

There is a new adventure around every corner. I will take them as they come. I'll remember many and forget a few, but they will have been a part of who I am.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Madness

First, this is my week to be featured at so stop in and check it out. Charlene Wilson did an awesome job!!!

My beautiful, multi-talented granddaughter ran her championship cross-country meet tonight. She came in 2nd with a time of 12:18 and set a new school record for girls junior high cross-country. She also ran her personal best time. Junior high runners run two miles. She has her last soccer game this coming Saturday.

My handsome athletic grandson ran 60 yards for a touchdown for his team last weekend. He is doing so well. He has basketball season coming up soon.

I am putting together an afghan project that I took on and it's driving me absolutely nuts. I hate pieced afghans. I prefer one I can just crochet and be done with. Getting the pieces made was the first hurdle there are 125 pieces in this one. While I love the Double Wedding Ring pattern, I am learning to hate this afghan. Not sure I will ever make another one. Did I mention this one has to be done by Friday????

Other than winter is trying to move in, it's been a typical Monday. Hope things are going well for you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Okay Wow!!

It's only Thursday and this has been a whirlwind week. First I learn that my new book when released will be available from on Kindle in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and now in France. I think this will make me an International writer. Big Time!!!!

My publisher has come up with a teaser for the book which may result in a title change. I'm good with that. It could also be the back cover blurb. She is amazing. I don't know how she fits everything in.

I have an author spotlight starting on Monday at It will feature my book Target of Vengeance and talk about me and my writing. Hopefully it will garner a few sales. I have sent information to another blogger about being on her website and have sent my information to someone doing an on-line magazine to feature authors. I will be speaking at the Michigan Lionesses Conference in Houghton Lake, MI on November 5th. So, I am keeping busy.

I've been putting together some photos of my house so that I can actually advertise it for sale. That has been a project as some rooms need some revamping before I can photograph them. Ugh.

I have a crochet project that I am working on for a wedding on Oct. 22nd. Yes, I will get it done. It is not one I will do again anytime soon. I'd need more than a month to work on it. I have to be ready to leave on Oct. 27th for Maryland for my niece's wedding. I'm looking forward to a trip with my parents.

So, if you can't find me, you'll know why. I'm keeping myself busy.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Writing Outline????

No I don't outline before I write a novel. Why? I get an idea. I mull over the angles to approach it. I create characters. I toss out those characters that don't work, I add others. I start typing.

Sometimes the novel doesn't go where I think it should so I walk away. Sometimes it takes a life of it's own and goes it's own route. If I had outlined it, I'd be fighting my characters the whole time.

Do I know how it will end when I start writing? Sometimes I have an idea of how I want it to end. Sometimes I don't.

When I started writing Secrets, I'd had two starts that didn't work. I wanted Miss Emily Meeks to be someone everyone loved. So, she couldn't hold the town's secrets now could she? She had to have secrets of her own. Did I know her secrets were going to involve someone who went on to be a US Senator or had ties to organized crime...not a clue. Does that make it bad writing? Nope.

In the book I'm currently working on one of the characters is in a coma. Will she recover? How much of a recovery will she have? It's not been decided yet. What has been decided is there will be lots of twists and turns before everything is resolved.

I am what is known as a seat of your pants my case, I prefer to think of it as off the top of my head. When I sit at the computer the ideas come. I put them down and work with them. They get tweaked, edited, revised, and tweaked some more before it ever gets to the print stage. I even edit as I go...a definite no-no to writers.

Is an outline necessary? For some writers, yes. Some who are much more organized than I am need that structure to work from. I like the freedom of being able to just sit and write and work out the problems later.

Outlining a novel is a personal choice. It depends on the writer. 'Nough said.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Writing Schedule

I've been asked a couple times in the past week what my writing schedule is. Ummmm...not a clue. I write when I find the time or when the muse says get this down now. I write more often in the evening than during the day. I think that comes from having started writing at night because I worked during the day.

I have been known to wake up at at 2 am and start writing because my brain says get this written. It's not always my best work, but the idea gets down so I don't lose it in sleep. I have been known to write in my head. It keeps me up all night until I finally succumb to getting up an putting it on paper or the computer.

The only time I set any kind of writing schedule is if I foolishly do NaNoWriMo...National Novel Writing Month. I have proven to myself twice that I can write a novel in 30 days or less. I don't feel the need to do that. When I work on a novel now, I sometimes go at it for days and weeks, then walk away. Sometimes I walk away for months.

Yes, I am afraid I treat my writing like an errant lover. It's always there waiting when I come back to it. It never fails to sooth me or inspire me. To put it on a schedule....I don't think so.

Nor do I outline, but that's a story for another blog. So, do you think I need a writing schedule? Not so sure I do.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall is in the air

As much as I dislike cold weather, I must admit that I love the changing colors of the trees in the fall. Due to my recent tumble I won't be hiking anytime soon which makes me sad. Today was one of those beautiful days. Sixty-eight degrees with just a bit of a breeze. I did get out a bit but mostly because I was running errands.

The stores are full of Halloween goodies. I must admit that's another thing I dislike, but it is deep rooted in a childhood incident. I love homemade cocoa, not the drop in add water stuff. I could wish for a fireplace now would be a good time to light a fire and curl up with a good book.

Things with the new book are progressing. I will keep you posted on those events. I have an 'Author Highlight' coming up in a couple of weeks and I have three others that I am looking into. I have a speaking engagement in early November. Somewhere in there I have to find the time to work on book edits and the second book in the series.

I have one more gift to get for Sweetest Day...yes, I do celebrate that holiday. And no if you look it up is was not started by the card companies. It was started by a philanthropist in Detroit during the depression. He was trying to do something nice for poor children and gave them all candy. Hence the name. I don't usually give candy and my gifts are confined to my immediate family.

I am looking forward to some hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick. Always another good fall treat. Dad gave me some apples off his tree when he stopped by yesterday. Love fresh apples. Candy apples are my not the caramel ones. They used to be a fair treat.

Now that I have waxed poetic for the day I'm off to work on a project.


It's a Dreary Sunday: Day 7

Morning pages were done with distractions today. Not a good omen. Especially since I woke up tired to rain. According to the news last ni...