Saturday, December 29, 2012

Here's to a Great New Year.

Story update: Neither of my Christmas stories made the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Moving on to 2013. There's no way I'm rehashing 2012. While I had a number of successes (all three of my books are now in print, I started three new novels and I lost thirty pounds) I see no point in reviewing the things I didn't do. I don't even like reading or listening to the news outlets do the year in review.

First  2013 goal: Turn all three of my novels into audio books. My husband bought me a microphone headset for Christmas and today I downloaded some free software. Now I have to learn how to use it. As with everything else I've tried, it isn't as easy as they make it sound. While recording the prologue to The Crystal's Curse, I stumbled over words, mispronounced names and had gaps where there shouldn't be gaps. In addition, you could hear the dog barking outside in the background. I could rerecord it, but instead I am using it to learn how to edit an audio file. 

Why you may ask would I want to make audio books? Certainly not because I expect to make money from them. No, the real reason is simply because it's a challenge, something I haven't done before. If I happen to sell a few, that's just icing on the cake. Also, my son told me the reason he hasn't read the manuscript I gave them is because most of his reading is done by listening to audio books while driving his truck on the job. With four small children at home, he simply doesn't have time in his off hours. So, when I present him with a CD he will have no excuse. By now you'd think he'd know better than to try and thwart his mother.

Second 2013 goal: Finish writing the three books I started this year. I've already written eight chapters on the new mystery again featuring Valerie and Detective Delgado. I have also got two chapters written on a sequel to The Crystal's Curse and three chapters of a paranormal romance.

There are several other things I'd like to do, like lose another twenty pounds, but since I'm having enough trouble keeping the thirty off, I think it's highly unlikely. I'd like to take another trip to Europe. However, unless there's a surge in the economy which causes my stocks to add money to my dwindling 401K, it isn't going to happen. I don't think I'll hold my breath. So I'll stick with the only two that have a reasonable chance of success.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Story Contest

Okay here's another story for the RJ contest. Let me know which one you like best. Remember, they have to be under 300 words, so you have to leave some things to the imagination.

Christmas Memories
As a single person without family, I found the Christmas season depressing. Spending it in Las Vegas this year seemed like the perfect solution, no snow, incessant Christmas music, or bell-ringing Santas. I sighed in relief as I stepped out of the terminal into brilliant sunshine.

 However, as I walked down the strip, I realized that even here there was no escape. Holiday displays decorated every hotel. One had an animated scene with a jolly Santa filling stockings while his reindeer pranced nearby, another a depiction of the Twelve Days of Christmas, including a singing partridge, and lords a leaping. Even outside street performers dressed as Dickens characters sang, while a man yelled humbug.

 I sank down on a bus stop bench, put my head in my hands, and quietly sobbed. Memories I kept at bay most of the year overwhelmed me, Christmas the year Dani turned four, how her eyes sparkled when we lit the tree and how she grinned when Joe lifted her up to place the star on top. She’d laughed when Joe grabbed a handful of tinsel and threw it. Later he’d kissed me under the mistletoe. Now she and Joe were gone and I had nothing left but painful memories.

  I felt a small hand pat my knee. “Don’t be sad,” said a curly-headed boy, not more than three or four.

 A good-looking man rushed over and scooped up the child. “Joshua, you scared me.” He looked at me. “I know you. I’ve seen you in Starbucks.”

 “And you sit in the corner with the batman logo laptop.”

 “She’s sad, Dad, she needs chocolate. Dad says chocolate makes everything better.”

 For the first time in months, I laughed. “Your father is a very wise man.”

 Joshua’s father held out his hand. “Join us.”