Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story continued

And the story continues…

All three men walked out of The Kasino Club and into the parking lot together. Bud walked over to his grey pick up truck on the far end of the lot. They decided to get together on Saturday to open up the capsule. Bud hoped they would never open it.

He drove to his house and parked his truck in the driveway. He sat there for a minute and took a deep breath. He didn’t know what he was going to do about Saturday. He may have to make up an excuse and not show up. Maybe his wife Helena had plans for them on Saturday. He could only hope.

Bud walked in and saw Helena sitting in her recliner watching tv.

“How was you guys night?” Helena asked.

“It was ok. Same as always.”

“I thought you liked getting together with them?”

“I do. We were talking about the past tonight and it made me feel a little bit weird.”

“Why?”

“It goes back to high school honey, you may not understand.”

“You always say that after you get together with them. I was in high school once. Maybe not at your school. We did some of the same things you did. I may just understand.”

Bud thought about what she said. Maybe it would make him feel better to talk to her and get some advice on how to handle it with the guys.

“OK, maybe you can help me. Before we graduated, we created a time capsule.”

“A time capsule? That sounds kind of neat.”

“Annie spearheaded the whole project. Stan and Harvey played a long.”

“What about you?”

“Honestly, I thought it was kind of dumb, but I contributed a couple of things to it.”

“This all sounds good to me. What would make you feel weird?”

“I did something to the time capsule.”

“What did you do?”

“I took everything out of it and replaced the items with something else.”

“What?” Helena replied, “why would you do that?”

“I thought the whole idea was dumb. And I decided to make a joke out of it. I didn’t think Annie was going to get it from Madison Lake and keep it in her attic.”

“What did you put in there instead?” she asked, “Did you keep the other stuff someplace?”

“I don’t think I can tell even you what I put in there. It is pretty embarrassing. I can’t remember what I did with the stuff we originally put in there. I want to say I put it in a bag and hid it at my parents’ house. If I did, well, we know what happened to their house.”

“It burned down.”

“Yep.”

“What else could you have done with it?”

“Maybe thrown it away in a dumpster?”

“Oh Bud.”

“I know. I’m not feeling good about it now. I wanted it to be funny.”

“Well, it won’t be funny. That’s for sure. What did you put in there?”

“Can’t tell you.”

“I think you are going to have to Bud. It may be the only way that we can figure out what to do about it.”

Bud sat on the sofa and shook his head.

“I can’t Helena.”

“Well, they are going to find out when they open it. When are you going to tell them?”

“I was thinking we could got out of town this weekend and go see Mandy and the kids.”

“And not be here when they open it, right?”

“No, I want to go and see my daughter and grandkids in McCall.”

“Bud, you are going to have to tell them.”

“Can’t I just let them open it? Think someone else changed out the items in it?”

“You want your friends to just find out like that? When you know you did it?”

“I don’t know if I can face them with what I did, Helena. It happened a long time ago. I thought they would have forgotten the whole thing.”

“I can understand your feelings, Bud. But you are going to need to come clean with what you did.”

“What if I don’t want to?”

“Bud! Are you seriously telling me that you wouldn’t tell your friends what you did?”

****

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week to find out what happens next in Stan’s story.

 

And now for the book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

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Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

 

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This week’s thoughts from the Writing House

I finally found some time to work on my writing goals this weekend. Some time was spent on updates to the manuscript for The Bully’s Way and some on adding resources to my author’s marketing platform.

My editing of book two became a change of direction with the story. Can’t say any more without giving it away, but I am happy with the new direction it has taken. What I do know is there is going to be a lot of rewriting going on in the Writing House this week.

I signed myself up for an Instagram account yesterday. Be sure to come and visit or even follow me. I am @SelmaPVerde.

It is a lot of work to be a self published author. I worked really hard to get the book published and now I am working even harder on marketing it. Trying to get the book into the hands of the right readers is not as simple as just putting it on the internet and expecting it to take off. It is about building followers of your brand and networking to get an opportunity to hand a copy of your book to the right people.

We all want the way we market to fit what works best for us. I like to do a note with a personal touch to my followers. Or talk to someone who is eager to take a chance on my book. I may not be able to do it my way if it doesn’t work in the world of book promotion. It may mean stepping out of my comfort zone a bit to make it happen.

Even my blog, for example, really needs to be catered to what you, the followers, are interested in. I think my updates about where things are in my writing world are interesting to you. I try and share my experiences to inspire you to take action or to see others are struggling to do what they want to do too. I also do book reviews of middle grade novels which seem to do well with your views. But my material really needs to motivate you to stop back and check the blog every week. At the end of the day, it needs to be catered to you. Please let me know if there is something you would like to see.

This road was never going to be easy. I knew it going in. I am learning a lot about the process. I didn’t know how much other things in my life were going to get in the way of me doing this though. Maybe it has been about those other things or maybe it has been about the choices I am making.

All of this is making me realize changes need to be made. Not only when it comes to my writing, but also when it comes to priorities between my home life and my work life. Insanity is when you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Need to make a small change to make the result come out a little different so I can make my writing time more successful and productive.

Of course, I will need to do a plug for The Hard Way. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look, check out the link below.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book.

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Here is the link! The Hard Way

Happy 4th of July weekend!

Hope every one is able to celebrate our country’s independence this weekend. That is what the 4th is all about. I think the meanings of holidays are sometimes lost in all of the festivities. Also, be sure to find sometime with your family. It is important to make time for them. I’ve been finding that out a lot lately through my struggle with the work life balance.

What a different weekend this is. When the 4th of July winds up on a Tuesday, it extends the weekend. Good for family time, a little crazy for the work schedule. Wind up having to take a vacation day to get the extended weekend.

I am still struggling to find time to promote The Hard Way. It has been difficult for me to make time for my projects lately. Part of the problem is work, but I believe part of it is me. Work has made a lot of demands for my time and energy while the home life continues to be busy. But, I like to take on the challenges at work and work hard to make things happen.

If I could work as hard as I do for others to get their stuff done on my own projects, I know I would be successful. My constantly putting everyone else’s priorities first, makes it feel like my goals are so far off. I am so thankful my fiancee helped me to make my first book get published. He said it needed to be done and I needed to do something for me.

A work and life balance is a hard thing to strike, especially in the age of cell phones and the internet. You can pretty much get in touch with anyone at any time via either the phone or social media. However, thanks to the internet and modern technology, I am able to be up north with my family for this 4th of July. Otherwise I would be at home working this weekend.

I don’t want to be whining about where I am at. There are a lot of good things going on for me. But striving for a balance between work and home has been way lopsided towards the work side lately. And it has been affecting not only me, but my family as well. So, I am glad that I get to be at the cabin with my family this weekend, but I am going to have to work on my own priorities more important and make more time for my projects and my family.

Speaking of family, have any middle grade readers looking for a good read? How about checking out the link to my book! (Come on, you knew that was coming!)

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book.

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Here is the link! The Hard Way

I like readers

It is one thing to write the book. But it is the reader who breathes the life into it. They give us their time to experience the story we spent many hours to create.

As a reader myself, I enjoy the experience of reading a food book. I love being able to go on the adventure the author created, see the places they created and meet the charcters telling the story.

As writers, don’t we imagine an endless number of readers loving our book? One of my dreams was to write and publish a novel, but the other dream was for many middle grade readers to read it and gain bits of advice to help them navigate the ups and downs of growing up.

While I was writing it, I had to remember this one thing, I was ultimately writing for myself. Couldn’t bank on having the dream of hitting the best seller list just out of the gate. Ultimately, I hope my story is one a reader can relate to and enjoy. If I sell a million copies, that would be great, but having it read by those middle grade readers means more to me than the money. Here is the link, in case you want to check it out for that middle grade reader you know.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book.

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Here is the link! The Hard Way

Just Days Remaining – Countdown to Book Launch – The Hard Way

6 days to go! Less than a week!

I feel like a kid the week before Christmas. Seeing all of the trees, lights and gift displays. I am so close to my dream coming true. When I write next week’s post, I will be a self- published author and have made one of my childhood dreams come true.

It has been a journey. One of hard work and some tears. I respect any author who goes through the process of writing and publishing a book. I’ve had a lot of help and support along the way, from my family and friends to members of Facebook groups, which makes accomplishing this goal mean even more to me. 

What did I get done this weekend?

For my paperback version, I assigned an ISBN number to it.

I set up my CreateSpace account and started uploading my cover and my manuscript. It was really fun to see it all in the close to final format. My editor did the formatting for me, but said sometimes the upload process can change things a bit. I’m glad that she told me, otherwise I might have become frustrated when it didn’t look just right the first time. We will have some minor tweaking to do to the spacing before we publish next weekend.

What is left to do this week?

After we do some additional formatting to the manuscript, I will upload it again and get it ready for the Saturday launch. Since I have been working on getting the e-book and paperback version ready to go, I may be publishing both versions on Saturday. I was originally planning to publish the e-book now and the paperback in a couple of months. After seeing that the processes are pretty much the same for both, as long as we get the reformatting done, they both may be ready to go live at the same time.

Going to the bank today and setting up a new checking account. This is where I’ll have  the royalties from my book go to and hopefully be able to pay expenses out of someday. I didn’t write this book to make a bunch of money. I wrote it because I have a passion for writing. But, if I can make some money, it would be icing on the cake.

Writing and publishing a book is a process with many steps. I know the process for my next one will be easier having done this one. In next week’s post, I’ll be sharing links with you on how to get a hold of a copy of The Hard Way.

Status Update for The Hard Way

Happy Monday! Lately I have been pretty busy with things at my full time non writing job. It has caused me some stress about not having the kind of quality time I want to have to work on my manuscript. Everyone says that you need to make time to write which I believe is true. But with any creative endeavor, sometimes things just can’t be rushed. The delays, self imposed or life imposed, are sometimes a part of the creative process.

I’m lucky the deadline on publishing The Hard Way is on my own schedule. It allows me to tweak things on the schedule if needed. If the editing to make this book the best I can takes a little longer, I can let it. Deadlnes can be very motivating to get things done. Sometimes I think it adds an additional level of stress to a process that may be comprimised if it is rushed.

We had useasonably warm weather last week and it allowed me to start walking at lunchtime again. There is a historical site across the street from where I work. It is called the Cummins Homestead.

According to the Eden Prairie Historical Society website, John Cummins had come to west to Minnesota and bought this 300 acre farm in 1856. Not knowing much about being a farmer, by 1857, he learned that he may have taken on a pretty big project. This house was built for them in 1879-1880. John was frequently trading labor with his neighbors, but John did help with some of the building. John and Maddie never had any children to help them work the farm. I found that interesting. Usually people had big families to help run a farm.

Cummins sold the farm in 1908 to Edwin Phipps. He sold 280 acres for $50 per acre. When he bought it in 1856, he paid $13 an acre. If you want to learn more about the Cummins Homstead, be sure to check out this website Eden Prairie Historical Society. They also have many of John Cummins papers and diaries in the Minnesota Historical Society archives.

I was able to walk around on the grounds twice last week. The walk was good exercise, but it also cleared my head a little to shake off some of the stress I’ve been feeling.

While I sat on a bench at the Cummins Homestead, I was working on an e-mail to my editor with a couple of updates on getting the current round of editing implemented and a read through done. As I wrote the e-mail, it turned into journalling a feeling that I was having about why I write. Here is the last paragraph of that email.

I dream about one day just being an author. Writing books, visiting schools to talk about books and mentoring kids and their dreams. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what those dreams are. I know that some kids need that person to take their hand and get them started. That is where I want to be with my writing someday.

There are many places to go and write. Some find inspiration in coffee shops and others find it at a lake cabin in the woods. I think I found a place that helps me tap into my creative juices and helps them flow. Like tapping a tree for sap to make maple syrup.

On my walk that day, I got some ideas for what would tentatively be book number four in the series I have started. I am only close to publishing the first book. I hope I find the readers who will enjoy and benefit from the stories I have in me to tell.

So for the update…

I sent my edited copy of my manuscript beck to my editor yesterday. We will see what she has to say, but I believe we are really close to having it ready to go and my personal goal of publishing on April 15th is very doable. If so, March will be a big month with a cover reveal and starting the prepublishing hype. I’m scared but excited to almost having my dream come true. I may be spending some more time at the Cummins Homestead in the near future. Not only to get those creative juices flowing, but to start editing book number two in “The Way” series. 

Writing and Walking the Dog

Happy Monday!

I’ve noticed that whenever I take our dog Maddie for a walk, it seems to be a different experience every time, even when we are taking the same route.

Dogs can definitely be creatures of habit. Stopping by the same trees or bushes sniffing for those perfect scents. Or, they can have their attention caught by something new and start leading you down a different path than you normally go, if you let them. Even though Maddie and I have three standard routes we take for walks from our house, sometimes I’ll take a different turn to check out something new. Or, I notice the path is pretty icy and we need to take a different way.

I’ve read that dogs have some of the same life patterns as wolves. They wake up, need to hunt (walk), eat, and then sleep and the cycle starts over again. Through Maddie, I have seen this to be quite true. Add in some of the human elements, like playing with toys, riding in the car, shopping at the pet stores, and hanging out with us, and we have created the life of a domesticated dog.

When I moved out of my parents house and into a place where I could have a dog, I was excited. Not only because I wanted one since I was a little girl, but I would have another reason to get out of the house and enjoy the outside world. I was lucky to find a dog who loves to be outside. It benefits us both. She gets to explore the outside world and I get to see things I wouldn’t normally see and she has sniffed out. And the best part for me, I get share being outside with one of my best friends!

It is nice that we get a couple of these adventures on a daily basis. Our walks give me the quiet time I sometimes need to clear my mind and work through some writer’s block. Do you think Maddie knows when I am having a tough time with my writing and need to make time for a walk? Sometimes I think she does. At other times, when I am in a writing groove and things are going great, and she needs to go outside, I think it is more about her needing some attention from me.

We had temperatures of fifty and sixty this past weekend. For those of us in Minnesota this is definitely not a normal thing for February. It is making me look forward to spring when the weather is nicer for our walks. It is still a ways off, but this weekend helped to perk my winter blahs mood up just a bit.