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2017 Goals

  • write to my grandmother every six weeks or so
  • call my moms every month or so
  • cook/eat better
  • clean out and organize my writng/craft room
  • re-institute the cleaning plan
  • publish six books by September 2017
  • reach 120 to 125 pounds
  • walk the dog three times a week

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Monday, March 27, 2017

STARS WIN!!!



Friday night I went to the Stars game with DD and one of her close girlfriends as part birthday celebrations for both girls. As you can see the Stars pulled off a win against the San Jose Sharks.

(DD on the right, her friend on the left.)

Not only did I get to experience my first live Stars win, but I also got to witness a live Hat Trick! This is when a single player scores three goals in one game. In response, fans throw their hats onto the rink. Congrats to Adam Cracknell for his first career Hat Trick.

 
 Those little black dots are the hats and the ice girls and others are skating around scooping them up.

I had a super time with the girls and watching the BOYS win.

Also, I wore the custom, hand-made Dallas Stars scarf my momma crocheted for me. It kept me warm throughout the game (without having to wear my coat). Of course, I was sitting about as far away from the ice as I could get--note the wall behind the girls.



THANKS MOMMA!!!! Love my scarf!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Feeling cozy and lazy...


It's rainy and cooler here than it's been and I feel like curling up with a good book and some hot tea and just reading the day away. Unfortunately, it's still the work day and I do have work to do.


Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Random and Interesting Hockey Facts / Trivia


Sorry, friends, I'm tired and my brain is too full to pull anything out that makes sense, so I just looked up some interesting thing about hockey and I'm gonna share a few with you. These come from this website if you want to read them all: http://www.kickassfacts.com/30-kickass-interesting-facts-about-ice-hockey/

4. Clint Malarchuk, while playing for Buffalo Sabres in 1989 had his throat slit open (jugular vein) during a game. The only reason he was able to survive was because of his trainer, who a former Army medic. His trainer reached into his neck and pinched off the bleeding until the doctors arrived.

6. Even if Wayne Gretzky had never scored a single goal, he would still have more points than any other past or present hockey player. He had more career assists than any other player has total points.

14. In Space Jam, after Daffy suggests naming the team “the Ducks”, Bugs asks “Please! What kind of Mickey Mouse organization would name their team The Ducks?” This actually did happen. In 1993, Anaheim Ducks were established by The Walt Disney Company.

16. Doctors in British Columbia are banned from talking about hockey during surgery.

19. At the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, NHL pro Jarome Iginla struck up a conversation with four fans sitting next to his table and found out that they were sleeping in their car. He excused himself from the conversation and booked them at his own expense at the hotel his family was staying in.

20. If both NHL goalies are injured, the team can literally choose any available goalie to suit up and play and this includes fans.

22. Tiger Williams holds the record for most career penalty minutes in the NHL. He has spent approximately 2.7 days (3966 minutes) of his professional life in the penalty box.

27. There are two dozen engraving errors on the Stanley Cup including misspelling Boston as “Bqstqn”, the Toronto Maple Leafs as “Maple Leaes,” and the New York Islanders as “Ilanders.” Only one of the errors is not a spelling error. When the Oilers won the cup in 83-84, owner Peter Pocklington had his dad’s name snuck onto the team roster. The NHL caught the error later and had Basil Pocklington’s name crossed out with X’s.

28. The 1919 Stanley Cup Finals was the only game where no winner was declared due to an influenza outbreak, which hospitalized most of players from Montreal Canadiens and their general manager.

Talk to you Friday...


Monday, March 20, 2017

Things are happening...


Not necessarily the things that need to happen--LIKE BOOK FIVE REVISIONS--but other exciting things like...

I am learning how to create my own ebook files: PDFs, epub, and mobi files. Well, really, I know how to create them...it's more learning how to tweak all the settings and coming up with consistent formatting from book to book, so I don't have to reinvent the wheel every time I want to publish a book.

Now, PDFs are easy, so...pfft!

The other two formats I create using Scrivener, one of the writing applications I use. They're a little more time consuming what with all the tweaking, but only a couple of hours at most. As I get more proficient and get formatting templates and setting templates worked out, then it'll be a matter of minutes.

The other fun thing that happened was that I have beta readers--basically first readers who tell you if your book/plot/characters work. One of my dear friends has a vast vast online network of people and she sent out a bat signal on my behalf. Three people volunteered to read book one for me and so I sent it out to those three generous ladies yesterday afternoon.

It's a bit nerve-wracking, I must say. Despite the fact that I've written fan fiction for years and it's out there in the world, and I've rarely had negative feedback on it. Two other friends of mine have read book one and were very complimentary, as has my editor been on all the books she's read so far.

I'm creeping closer and closer to the big day. Things are falling into place slowly but surely. For the most part...

I have a self imposed deadline of the 25th to finish book five revisions. I don't think that's going to happen. I chose that day in order to give myself time to put the book away for a rest before I planned to re-read it for any last minute adjustments before sending it off to my editor. I do have the leeway to push the deadline out, so for now I'm giving myself another week. April 1st, my friends.

I really need to just set my behind in a chair and get after it...and I will.

Hope you had a lovely weekend. I sure did.

Talk to you soon!


Friday, March 17, 2017

TGIF Friends!!


It's been a good week and it's writers group tomorrow, so I'm especially excited for the weekend.

Workouts are going great, and I'm just about completely this side of 130lbs! Saturday, while I'm at writers group, will be a "cheat" day and I'll enjoy some delicious slighty-but-not-terribly off plan food. Maybe even some delicious carbs in the form of an enchilada...that's sounding mighty tasty at the moment.

In other writers group news, the contest I coordinate is winding down. I just about have all the scores back for round one. Round two judging will be quick and easy in comparison to round one because five books to cycle through for each category, not 15, 20, or 25+. I've run this contest for all four years now, and I really need to train someone to take over for me just in case I can't do it anymore for whatever reason. It's hard to get people to volunteer though. It's a long-term event and for about the first quarter of each year it can chew up to an hour or so a day.

In other random news, the Stars won last night, but I think they're finally too far out of the running for even a wild card slot unless some freaky injuries happen to the four teams ahead of them.

Speaking of the Stars and hockey...I'm going to a game next Friday! It's DD's birthday next week and her friend is taking her to the game and they kindly invited me to tag along. Needless to say, I'm tickled and excited to be going and I hope hope hope they can pull off a win for me. They lost the two games I attended. :( DD says it's pretty awesome when they win, so keep your fingers crossed for them and for me.
That hot hockey boy there on the right, Tyler Seguin, scored a goal and assisted on another, earning himself two points last night!

And that is all for me, my friends. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!






Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A change of topic...



Ready for a break from all the publishing talk?? You must be, so let's do it.

First of all, it's March. We haven't had much of a winter and the trees are beginning to bud. Of course, the dandelions have been growing out of control and there's still a couple of weeks until my lawn guy starts back up again.


(Images courtesy of Wikipedia)

 I think next year, we're not stopping service. Maybe add a week between visits, but not halting them altogether.Eventually, I'd love to hire a lawn care service to come spray the yard on a regular basis and try to get actual grass back, but perhaps when I'm raking in the large royalty checks, eh?

My boy may be coming to visit soon in preparation for his official deployment on the open seas. I'm excited for him to do this finally. He's been in the Navy for two and a half years now. It's about time he went to sea. As you can guess, I'm thrilled to have home for a bit before he goes.


March is also the month of birthdays...both my beautiful girls celebrate their birthdays this month--the Brown-Eyed Girl at the beginning and DD at the end.


Have a great rest of the week!!


Monday, March 13, 2017

I'M SO EXCITED!!


Yes, so last Friday, I was playing around with creating the appropriate files for my books--mobi for Amazon Kindle and epub for everything else.

And guess what? I did it. It took some tweaking and adjusting and previewing and a bit more tweaking and adjusting and previewing, but eventually I got a finished product that tickled me pink. I tested in both Kindle and iBooks and they both worked and looked FABULOUS.

It was so COOL to see a finished product after all the writing and the hair pulling and the fear.

It's so tempting to just hit that publish button now, although book 1 is not ready for publication at the moment (I played with book 3 cuz it was the shortest). Just a minor but time-consuming tweak, that will take a couple of weeks.

The important part of this is--I can do it. I won't need to pay someone to do this for me, which is great considering the cost of good book covers and good editing and ISBNs and copyright filing.

Every day it's something new.

But one day at a time. And still having fun. :0)


Friday, March 10, 2017

Adventures in Publishing...


I've been working on my publishing website! Originally, I was going to design and create it myself, but there were some features I wanted/needed for searching and organizing purposes that pushed me toward a WordPress-based website. I'm not complaining, because adding WordPress competence to my resume is a good thing if I want to pick up website updating jobs, so yeah.

There was/is still a learning curve, but I'm oh-so-slowly figuring how to make the site do the things I want it to do and show the things I want it to show.

Before I do a big reveal, I'm waiting for two things. One--the second logo I commissioned. Which, really, I'm just waiting for a minor tweak. I like this one much, much better. Two--book four's cover. Not sure how long for that though--by the end of the month, for sure, but I sent along the book-related questions and when the cover artist replied, it sounded like maybe she was going to work on it sooner rather than later. So--fingers crossed.

The most important task on my plate right now, though--completing revisions on book five. I've got to get myself psyched up to delve deep. I pulled a major plot thread, so I'm deleting a good chunk of words and re-weaving the remaining plot around the change. Yeah, buddy--I can do this.

That's my big plan for the weekend--revise, revise, revise. But it's going to be fun, because, it's a challenge and I have a deadline. :)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Changing things up...


Still struggling with the second to last weight loss hurdle--getting completely under the 130lb. mark and staying there. I'm still see-sawing back and forth, but mostly back. And, of course, the last hurdle is reducing the amount of flesh that jiggles.

I know there's some muscle underneath, because how couldn't there be? Fat does not transform into muscle. Muscles become stronger and get larger as they're used and worked. Fat gets used as energy if you balance what you eat and the number of calories you consume with how much energy you expend on any given day and eventually reduces in volume. Yes, this is a very basic description of the process, and everyone has different challenges that work against them, but this is my process, and my challenges, thankfully are few. They consist mostly of my willpower to resist refined carbs and to resist my warm bed on a cold morning.

So last week, I gave up refined carbs altogether. Any carbs I consume come in the other things I eat like vegetables and beans. There are a few carbs in salad dressing, unfortunately, but I'm not gonna sweat those. So no more tortillas and no more pretzels. Cereal and milk have been out of the house for several weeks although they call to me like a siren.

I also changed up my workout. Threw my body for a bit of a loop. It was getting complacent there too.

And the changes seem to be working. They're working so far at least. The weight is still see-sawing, but I'm staying under 130lbs. more often than I'm over it and the amount I go over is getting less and less.

Not sure about the jiggly bits just yet...but I'm watching and waiting. :)

Hope your week is going well.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Getting Way Ahead Of Myself...


Some days I get in a super groove and wish I had more time to spend on this crazy little gig called being a published author. Then I wondered if I'd be as disciplined at being a writer (and publisher) if I had even half my days fully available to me to focus solely on writing/revising/publishing tasks.

Could I juggle my time properly and make sure I spent the necessary time on what needed my attention on any given day?

I'd like to say, "Of course, I would!" But I'm only human and am as susceptible to common distractions as the next person. Housework, TV, a really good book, the out-of-doors on a gorgeous morning--but hey, in Texas, you have to take advantage of those because, come summer, they're few and far between! Well, they're gorgeous looking, but too hot and/or humid to be out in them.


I am fairly disciplined, though, and I keep track of my to-do's with lists, lists, and more lists. Oh, and spreadsheets. There are a dozen of those I touch on any given day. (I swear.) Right now, I've got a composition book for the publishing company with a full sheet (front & back) for each month and the things that need to happen. I'm happy to say, I'm on track so far, but it's only been a month. :0)

I asked a couple of author friends of mine if they still found the process fun as full-time authors. One said she didn't think she ever found writing 100% fun and the other gave me an unequivocal YES. Writing has almost always been a fun thing for me. It's been solace and friend in turns as well.

I think I just need to keep my perspective as time goes by and always enjoy the work, enjoy the creativity, and the subject matter. I need to keep life balanced and feed the muse as much as I abuse him to make the magic happen.

Happy Monday! Let's make it a great week.



Friday, March 3, 2017

The big announcement...


My announcement's not as big as I'd hoped it would be because I wanted to use the logo I commissioned. But I don't care for it. It's not that it's bad quality or anything, it's perfectly fine, but it's not what I envisioned despite my best efforts to describe what I wanted. So back to the drawing board. I did make a mock up though, so the next person has an exact template to work from, and they can, you know, make it much nicer and professional looking.

But I'm official as of this past Monday...as Knotted Hearts Publishing--tying knots two hearts at a time. The mock up:


I made it to the bank on Wednesday to open a business checking so that I can create all my retailer accounts (Amazon, Nook Press, etc.) as they require banking info so as to have someplace to feed all those royalties I'm going to earn into. >>big grin<<

Also on Wednesday, I told a "stranger" what I am up to for the first time. To be honest, my business banker isn't a total stranger. He's been handling our other business accounts for years, and he and I share an affinity for hockey. In fact, we spent a lot of time while he was setting up my new account talking about the hockey trades that happened to the Dallas Stars--we lost four players!

Anywho, he asked what Knotted Hearts Publishing was for and I told him. He was very excited for me and wished me the best. I realize he wants me to succeed so his employer makes money, but I still think he was genuinely pleased for me. Anyway, it was a nice "first time" experience.

There you have it...I'm very excited and I'm still having fun. Can't forget that. Life is too short to not enjoy your endeavors. This is the first time ever--as DH noted last week--that I've planned and worked for something long term. I want to do it right, but still enjoy the heck out of the journey.

Happy Friday, ya'll. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Congrats Stars!


Yeah, taking a break from the trials and tribulations of thinking like and becoming a publisher to congratulate my home team DALLAS STARS in their win over one of the best teams in the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the greatest hockey player ever Sidney Crosby. I could have gone, and I'd love to watch my two teams play someday, but had I gone, the boys probably would have lost--my track record isn't great.


Happy Hump Day everyone...see you Friday.


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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America