Monday, December 28, 2009

ICE STORM/NO POWER for 3 DAYS

It began as freezing rain on Wednesday morning, while I was driving the transit bus for NIU. It's not like I've never driven in this stuff before. It was still coming down when my husband and I got home, later that afternoon.

We'd stocked up on food, of course, since it was Christmas Eve coming up, and we'd bought two Cornish hens, thinking to bake them in the oven.

That night we had power surges. The lights would blink off & on, continuously so that we couldn't even watch TV. Oddly enough the surges stopped, at some point when we went to bed. And then, around 1 AM, the power went off completely and never came back on.

Now, if we'd had a fireplace, this wouldn't even have bothered us. Also, if our oven didn't depend upon electricity, we could have heated the kitchen, at least, and used it for baking our meals.

We remained under the impression that the lights would come back on, eventually. Our calls to the power company would sometimes give us up-dates on when our power would come back on. All of them bogus. We live on a country road. We had no idea the extent of the power outages, but it was said that 3,000 customers had no power. All of one town south of us was out. I could hear the train along Route 30 constantly blowing its whistle, obviously, because the gates and warning lights would not be working.

We stayed Thursday night (Christmas Eve), having prepared with pails of water in order to flush the toilet only when absolutely necessary, we had water, we had placed perishable items from the refrigerator into an ice chest and placed it out on the porch. Not that it was that much colder than the inside, but we did this to keep it as cold as possible, thinking we'd save the food, at least.

We used candles and one lantern for light. My husband, Dennis, was constantly doing something, as he just can't sit still. I remained under a thick quilt to stay warm. I had no interest in doing anything, let alone even think about writing. My plans were to work on a synopsis/proposal I was preparing for a publisher during my 11 days off from work. It was becoming dismally obvious this was not going to happen any time soon.

I wound up cutting up those little Cornish hens, and frying them, since we weren't able to use the oven, but just the stove top, since we could light that. We tried to make the best out of our situation, just as, I know everyone else had. We ate by candlelight, drank wine and just tried to believe that the power would be restored by morning.

It wasn't.

It was a cold night sleeping in our sleeping bags. Even though the temps rose to about 40, over night, it wasn't going to get any better. And our food was not going to last.

It was Christmas morning--there would be nothing open. We had nothing to eat, except cold cereal. Dennis came up with a plan. There is a truck stop about 30 minutes away from us, and he knew it would be open. We drove out to Rochelle, had breakfast, at least, and resigned ourselves to going back home and packing some bags and staying in town.

It began to snow.

We checked into two different motels on two nights (we didn't like the first one, the owners were really ripping us off at $99/ night, and their breakfast wasn't anything to get excited about.)

We went back home to check up on things. Grabbing a couple more things, we headed back out, and went to a motel across the way. it was only about 9 AM, or so, and the young man at the counter was understanding. He didn't have any regular rooms available, but gave us one that had 2 rooms--they called it a "parlor" for the same price as a normal room (the same price, or a little less, that the one last night). This was a wonderful surprise. We had a TV in the bedroom as well as in the front room. There was a microwave and a refrigerator (both of which were not in our room last night). It was quiet enough for me to work, a little. If only I'd had a lap top!

Anyway, I didn't get a whole lot of work done. I tried to get the juices going on the second book of my series. But it just wasn't coming.

Earlier, I'd called a neighbor of ours. His family were staying put, using their resources, and they had a fireplace, and a generator. We had one hooked up to the furnace, but we couldn't do this. Anyway, they called us and told us that power was restored at 2PM, but since we were checked in, and we were enjoying the lap of luxury (this room normally went for $129./night), we stayed, had a king bed, and ordered pizza.

This morning, Monday, the 28th of Dec., I woke up with ideas just pouring out of me for the book. I don't know why, except that perhaps it took me to relax and not worry, or things had to go back to normal for the ideas to flow.

I'm glad to be home. We're both happy to be back. Except that all that snow that fell over the last 2 days (4-5"), has drifted, and my husband is now plowing us out.

Hopefully our New Years will not pull another punch, and give us an outage. I hope so. I'd like to have a little pre-celebration of the New Year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Continuing Saga of Author In the Works

It's been a while since I've been here.
June 15th to be exact.
I enjoy blogging, whether or not anyone reads this blog is another story all together. It doesn't matter. I place my thoughts, writings down, if anyone stops by, they are quite welcomed to read through this mess, which is more or less my brain springboard.

Since my summer book signing, I've had one just this fall at a local library. This was a very nice event. Six authors came to this. While one was pretty much a stuffed shirt, the rest were quite nice. My new author buddy, Ron Martelet sat at my table. I met one author that I feel should be mentioned, and that is Ilona Meagher who wrote "PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within". She lives about 40 min. away and goes to school @ NIU--will be graduating, in fact, next week. She's also on facebook, and I was very happy to have her join me there.

Since my last writing a few things have happened. One was that my phone modem went out. I didn't get a new one until September, I think. Anyway, not being on line at first sort of bummed me out, but I'd realized soon enough that I was wasting time at sites when I should have been writing. Blogs are only good if people come and read your junk. I've no idea if anyone comes to this blog, or any of my other ones.

I finished the second book in series "Spell of Dark Castle", continued work on my new vampire series "Vampire Ascending" and "Vampire's Trill".

I've made new friends, even added people I actually know from my bus route to facebook--which is cool.

At my summer book signing, I'd met a publisher--altho I didn't know she was one at the time. My friend Ron M. had his book picked up by her. I'm thinking of approaching her with my vampire novel--when it's done, of course. She isn't a large publisher. She isn't even a small publisher--she's tiny. As far as I know, Ron's "Propellerhead" are the only books in her house. I'm hoping to get a foot in the door. There is no way I will try to get an agent. Agents and publishers are too jaded, want to make loads of money off of an author. If they don't think they can, they aren't going to even look at you. I'm not going to put myself through more depression, aggravation, sleepless nights, and so forth when I might be able to get my books published through a smaller publisher, and maybe begin making a half-way decent living by the time I'm 65--which is only 10 years away. I don't want to be driving a damned bus at age 60, let alone retire as a transit bus driver with no savings, no health insurance, etc.

I've also approached another publisher through facebook, to see if they might be interested in the second Zofia book. I'm hoping so. I'm not real positive. The writers of certain writing magazines say you shouldn't take rejections so hard. I'm sorry, but like a dog that's been beaten all its life, what do you expect? I cower at just the idea of sending a query letter over the Internet--remember when it was done via regular mail and everything was typed on a typewriter? Those were the days. In fact, it wasn't that long ago when you could approach a publisher, and maybe in a week or two get word from them, be invited to New York, bring your manuscript to them. Those were the days. Now, I know for sure that there are gatekeepers to keep you out of these realms. I know this for sure because of the people I've met this summer.

The other thing I wanted to mention, a milestone, is that I've sold just over 100 books this year. That's not a lot, I know. But considering that my book is only on one bookstore (not in a city at all), and I've sold many from hand to hand, and a few off of Amazon, and at the publisher's site, I do consider it very good, since it had looked like I would never, ever see any book of mine on any bookstore shelf in my life. Self-publishing has its advantages.

Possibly, if I had money to promote the book, and time (I work full time, plus when I get home, I write!), I'd have sold more. Of course I don't know until end of year if I've sold any more or not, until there may come a new statement to me from the publisher.

I'm ready to turn this page. Try and do something different, and get a regular publisher to take a book, or two and do all the footwork for me.

I'm ready, willing and able.