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2018 Goals

  • Regularly write to my Grandma in Denmark.
  • Call my moms monthly.
  • Walk the dog three times a week.
  • Cook and eat better.
  • Re-institute the cleaning plan.
  • Work on my writing career--such as it is.
  • Reduce body fat and maintain current weight.
  • Take dance lessons with DH.
  • Do more crafts!
  • Take ballet and/or ice skating lessons.
  • Attend more STARS games.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

GRL, Part 2...


I received an email a few days ago that supporting author slots have become available at the conference, so it's now official--I'm a supporting author.

The question is: What titles do I prep for print and how many do I get of each?

Realistically, as a relatively unknown author in this genre, I'm probably not going to sell a whole lot of books, but I have to have some. The advice I was given was to do a pre-order thing via the conference Facebook group and see what kind of interest there is... I might. I might not.

Remember when I talked about swag awhile back?

While it's mostly been confirmed for me by others that swag really doesn't equal sales, you have to have something for people to walk away with. Along with the book question above, I have to decide what kind of swag to spend my hard-earned royalties on.

I want pens for sure. I'm going to self-print business cards with my book covers on them, maybe twenty or thirty of each book with website/social media info on the back. I might get some sort of banner as a visual draw. And then I'm thinking some inexpensive bar coasters that look like a "welcome to city name" sign. My series takes place in the small fictional town of Ten Rigs, Texas, so it seems fitting. I already have the design in mind...I just have to find the image.

I also bought my plane ticket, so I have accommodations, travel, con registration all taken care of... I have five months to figure out the rest. And to get that next book written. Time to get busy. Well, busier. :0)

Have a great weekend. I sure will!! All about that on Monday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Let the thermostat wars begin...


Finally, it's officially spring here in Texas.

While spring doesn't bring terribly warm temperature in general, it does bring wind and rain.

Along with the rain comes...humidity.

Unless it's really hot, humidity doesn't bother me all that much.

Unfortunately, DH and DD have a much lower tolerance for humidity and, so, between now and June when the heat really starts to ramp up, the thermostat wars will wage.

They'll kick on the AC to remove the humidity from the house and I'll kick it down once I start freezing. They don't realize that it really doesn't take much to reduce the moisture levels right now, but they kick the temperature down too many degrees and the AC runs and runs and runs and then my teeth are chattering.

*sigh*


Monday, March 26, 2018

Working from home...


I work from home each Tuesday and Thursday. For as long as I've been doing that, I've worked from Sonshine's old room/DH's home office because there's a nice desktop and two monitors which, I confess, I'm spoiled for now--especially when doing the day job. It's just so much easier with two monitors. I can have browsers and applications open and I don't have to flip back and forth between windows and applications to do things like reconcile bank accounts. I have my bookkeeping software open on one side, the electronic bank statement on the other. Easy peasy.

All I had in my writers room was the laptop and working on much of anything but writing on that single screen was a challenge.

The issue with me working on that PC in DH's office is that if DH wanted to work from home on a Tuesday or Thursday or come the weekend when I have things that just need a desktop and two monitors to work on--like a chapter contest--well, two bodies, one PC... You see the challenge.

So the plan has been to get a second desktop and a second pair of monitors for me and, though it's taken a while--money's been tight, it finally came to pass. I am now able to work from my own office with my big windows and all my stuff and with two huge monitors. DH can do his thing on the weekends and I can do mine.

Another benefit of this is that I'm generally cold-natured and my office is way on the other side of the house from the AC unit, also on the west side and getting afternoon sun, with enough AC venting to keep me comfy but not freezing. :0)

I spent the weekend getting the new PC loaded up and setup with software and browser links to all the stuff I access on a daily basis and tomorrow, I'll be sitting pretty.

I also had to buy yet another dog bed... The dog is where I am. In DH's office, she sprawls across Sonshine's former bed, now her bed, that functions as a guest bed when we have visitors. My office has no such amenities, and sleeping on the laminate floor has to be her choice. I also ordered a window perch for the cat, because, yeah, I'm a sucker for my critters and I like having them around.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Hockey IS just a game...


Every now and again, tragedy strikes closer to home for most people than school shootings across the country or weather disasters across the globe.

My mom called me the other day to share some tragic news about a dear friend's family. And that's on top of news a week or so earlier about a member of our own family.

I don't know exactly how either one of these two people feel about their losses. I can imagine, but I haven't been in their shoes. I've been close, with the death of my dad. For one situation, though, I can imagine all too well.

The point is, of course, that for all my lamenting about hockey, my prattling about writing, and my gushing about whatever, those things are all unimportant in the grand scheme of things. It's the people in our lives that matter.

Hug your significant other, your children, your siblings, your friends. Tell them how you feel about them any chance you get, because you just never know when they're going to leave this world or when you might.






Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Playoff hopes and dreams are fixin' to be dashed...




Last night was the STARS six loss in a row--their longest loss streak this season.

Why now, boys? Why now, when every point counts??

Granted, they haven't been mathematically eliminated as of yet, but you know they're feeling the pressure pretty heavily right now.

On a brighter note, their next few games are here at home, and they have a great home record. Unfortunately, they'll be playing one of the best teams in the league.

Please send out all your winning vibes and good wishes to the Dallas Stars for Friday's game.

Thanks and keep your fingers crossed--can't hurt, right?



Monday, March 19, 2018

This latest online class is kicking my butt...


So I moved on from one online class to another in my quest to figure out how to improve my plotting skills.

What I'm learning is that I am not a plotter. Which I sort of knew before. The few times I've actually, really plotted, I didn't have any desire to sit down and write the book because I knew what happened.

So I guess my real purpose in taking classes is to figure out what kind of information I need about my two main characters and possibly the plot in order to start writing.

Class #1 is called Conflict Hurts and the lessons made enough of an impact that this was the second time I took this class. I still like those lessons, though some were a challenge too. They echo a book I read the year before last which also resonated with me.

Class #2 is called Plotting Via Motivation. The lessons start off easily enough and the information we're required to gather about our protagonist/s is good stuff. It's when we got to the part where we needed to summarize the overall plot of the book that I started twitching. I know it's the 20K foot view, but it's not clicking with me. Generalized concepts make little sense to me. I learn much better with specifics. With examples. Sometimes. Even though I've read the other participants' homework, I'm still having trouble coming up with the point by point progression of my own book.

*sigh*

Bear in mind, than much of the info in these two classes and in the book I read is the same, just referred to by different names and explained in a different fashion.

I'll do my best for the rest of the class. Even though I really want to give and quit because it's too hard.

And, YES, I'd love some cheese, thanks. Swiss, sharp cheddar, or pepper jack, please.

On a lighter side note, the weekend was good. My writer's group celebrated it's 35th anniversary and a fun time was had by all. Now it's time to get back to my own work, except...I'm struggling.

But no way out but through.

Have a great week.




Friday, March 16, 2018

The clock starts ticking at 5PM...


Once I leave work, I feel like I'm on the clock--more than I do during the day at work.

By the time I get home, I have three hours to cook, eat, watch tv with DH if that's what we do, wash dishes, do whatever else I might want/need to get done, and be in bed to read for a while and turn out the lights by 8:30--all in order to get up early enough to go to the gym.

Any night I might want to watch a hockey game means staying up way past my bed time and throwing the following day off track.

I've been thinking about going to the gym in the evenings instead, for a couple of reasons...

1) to switch things up and surprise my body. I've been going to the gym really early for going on two years now. My body might like a change of pace.

2) I might like a change of pace.

3) I can watch/listen to hockey games at the gym.

4) I can sleep later and not have to get up when it's super cold--not really an issue until we cycle around till next winter, but it's a consideration.

5) Summer's coming and it's going to light out and just generally "day time" for longer and I might want to enjoy that.

I'll keep pondering this question for a bit...

Anyway, it's Friday, so the weekend is upon us. Have a great one!!



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

So...Netflix anyone...?




Apparently Netflix is celebrating twenty years of DVDs... Have DVDs really been around that long? Probably longer for Netflix to think a mail order service was a worthy business model, so...

We've subscribed to Netflix since 2005 and the first DVD we received was...


And, yeah, I think that was the first show the whole family gathered around the tv to watch together. We've watched all the older Star Trek series (all four of them), save the original, several times since then. There's a new series airing, but that's a rant for a different day.


Netflix streams via the Internet now and we no longer get DVDs, but I still really love having it as much as I ever did. It was especially handy during all those years we didn't have cable tv.

These days, Netflix also offers exclusive shows. I guess with all the other streaming services, they needed something to keep or gain subscribers.

Are you a  Netflix subscriber?


Friday, March 9, 2018

Doing the Friday Snoopy/happy dance...


So it's Friday. :0)

The weather is easing, so it looks like it's time to head back to the gym. Tomorrow. Yep. My body is also griping about the lack of enough physicality. Sure, I've been using the home treadmill, but it doesn't really compare to a workout at the gym.

Writers group contest is winding down, so YAY for that.

Writers group 35th anniversary is this month. Guess who's in charge of that? Yep. That'd be me. In celebration, our group put together a continuity of short stories. The free book can be downloaded from Smashwords. I do have to do a bit more shopping for prizes and decorations for the meeting, but nothing major.



In other exciting news, I finally sold a couple of hockey jersey patterns from my Etsy shop. That was quite exciting. I finished a new pattern and will be working on the stitching this weekend so that I can get a picture of the finished project and make the pattern available online next week. Actually, I finished three patterns that are all variations on a single theme. I'll get around to stitching the others once I'm done with the first one, but one is Christmas themed and the other is winter themed, so there's not a huge rush, right now.


We had  a good visit with the Brown-Eyed Girl and her roomie. She/they opened b-day gifts and Christmas presents and now I'm staring down the calendar at Darling Daughter's birthday as well.

Anyway...time to get this up and start heading toward the weekend.

Have a great one.




Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Happy Hump Day


Sorry, no post today. Just out of it. Busy. Lots of things on my plate... Have this instead.


Monday, March 5, 2018

All cinnamon is not created equal...


And Walmart sucks.

A goodly number of years ago, I asked the doctor about my undiagnosed arthritis. My mom has it, my grandma has it, so it stands to reason I have it.

She recommended a daily dose of one teaspoon cinnamon and one tablespoon honey as management for the joint inflammation and subsequent aches and pains.

If I was going to use this in lieu of an actual prescription, I was going to find the best of each I could. I researched cinnamon and discovered that Saigon Cinnamon was the way to go. I found a local honey and started my regimen.

It took weeks, probably, but it did begin to work and the aches in my knees became a thing of the past. Only on the wonkiest of weather days do I experience any aches.

So I'd been buying my Saigon Cinnamon at Walmart because that's where I shop, but a couple of months ago, my particular Walmart stopped carrying the only brand of Saigon Cinnamon they carried and started carrying some sort of store brand organic cinnamon... and YUCK!

And it's just not the same. It doesn't dissolve nicely and is kinda slimey and I don't even know. But I've kept on with it because I was too lazy to stop at different grocery store and get the good stuff.


But I finally stopped at the Albertson's between the office and the house and stocked up--the good stuff happened to be on sale, so I bought an extra jar while I as there.

So much better. The regular stuff is fine for cinnamon sugar on toast, but if you want to combat arthritis, use the good stuff.

This concludes my Walmart/cinnamon rant and my PSA for the week. :0)




Friday, March 2, 2018

Happy Birthday My Brown-Eyed Girl!


Thirty years ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl ever.


Happy birthday, sweetheart. I love you so much and so proud of all the you've become and overcome.

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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