Jumping In… again

I submitted a manuscript for the first time in almost two years last week.

It doesn’t get any easier.

I wrote the query letter and searched for agents, preferably ones that didn’t require a synopsis. After preparing the email, my hand hovered over the send button. I couldn’t click it.

My husband wondered what I was doing. I explained. He was probably impressed that I wasn’t surfing Pinterest. He told me to hit send.

With much trepidation, I did.

You would think after having nine manuscripts accepted, sending out number ten would not induce stomach churning. Terrified thoughts flew through my head. “What if it isn’t ready?” “You know it’s not. There’s a hundred things you could improve.” “What if they hate it?” “What if they think it’s dumb?” And even more terrifying, “What if they want to see more?” “What if they can sell it?” “What if they can sell it, but they want me to change the main character into a shape-shifter?”

Thankfully(?), the rejection came quickly and impersonally.

So now, I have to start the whole process again.
And probably write a synopsis.
Posted in Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Fifty Favorites for 2017: Part Three

My list is short this time, because it’s only been two weeks since my last reading overview. Last week was spring break for all the colleges around here. Despite having a to-do list that covered an entire notebook page, I took the time to finish two books by women I know personally.

 

norsejewelNorse Jewel by Gina Conkle

Gina is a member of my local RWA chapter. She writes historical romances about Vikings as well as stories set in the English Georgian era. After reading some of her blog posts about research (including making Viking cheese!) I decided to read one of her Viking romances. I purchased Norse Jewel and read it on my Kindle app whenever I needed a break from writing or schoolwork. This is a gripping tale of betrayal, loyalty, and honor. I asked Gina to visit us the next time we have Guest Author week, so I’ll be able to share more!

 

Cowboys, Castles, and Cradles.jpgCowboys, Castles, and Cradles by Loralee Lillibridge

Loralee is another member of my local RWA chapter. She was my guest here at 4F1H almost two years ago with her first cozy mystery. With this new book, Loralee returns to her Texas roots. I started reading this on my phone while waiting for my husband at doctor appointments and finished it in the evenings this past week (when I should have been writing). Whit is a real hero in that he steps in to help when he sees it’s needed, but he’s also secure enough to listen to others. Gracie is a strong heroine – just the kind I love to read about! Can’t wait to see what Loralee comes up with next!

 

Our RWA chapter is quite prolific, so I plan to continue reading books by its members. I’ve already got my next reading projects all picked out!

Posted in Patricia Kiyono, romance, TBR List | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Watch the Watch Watcher

This week’s topic is “Time…are you a clock-watcher?” and yes, it was my idea.
I’ve been attracted to the concept of time since I was young. As soon as I knew how to tell time, I wanted a bed-time…and I would not be happy if I missed it, unless there was a good reason. I wasn’t OC about it, I mean, sure, holidays! Guests! Drive-in movies! There were plenty of good reasons to be late for bedtime, but if there was nothing much going on, I was in bed at 8:15.

Once I got to school, I was certainly a clock watcher there. I was adamant about not being late and I watched the clock over the blackboard for our first break, lunch, recess, last bell. Later on, I watched to see when the next class was, and if I had time for a break, (locker or girls’ room).

 

Once I got to school, I was certainly a clock watcher there. I was adamant about not being late and I watched the clock over the blackboard for our first break, lunch, recess, last bell. Later on, I watched to see when the next class was, and if I had time for a break, (locker or girls’ room).

I made sure early in life that  I was never late for any appointment: doctor, business, personal. I’d leave early and kill time if I needed to, to arrive as close to the time of the appointment as humanly possible.

I set my watch and all the clocks in the house to perfect time. I found that I could call the Naval Observatory and get the correct time from the Atomic Clock and I did it all the time. It was a local call from my home until I was 27; then I ran up the long-distance bill when I moved away. I was never late and on-time for everything until I was twenty-eight.

Then I got married.

I married a man I had known for 6 ½ years. An intelligent, well-groomed, personable man with a great sense of humor…and a lousy sense of time.
Yes, he was late picking me up over the years. I excused those times because he was wrapped-up in his schooling, his family’s matters and his many siblings. We spent most of our (actual) 6 ½ month engagement 1800, then 450, miles apart, so I may have missed some clues. I did not know that being late was habitual with him. The day before our wedding his father said to me, “Joe is going to be late for his own funeral.” Our friends wanted to take us separately to the church but I said no; I had no intention of literally waiting at the altar.

And it began. Over the years there were only a handful of times we made it to church on time. He often made it to work later than he should have. Most of the time he would get in just under the wire…and sometimes someone would move the wire for him. Unless I worked terribly hard, we were late for social engagements, but whatever I tried didn’t always work. He/we were seldom very late, just not on-time.

His bosses would talk to me; our friends would talk to me, our priests would talk to me. With all his care and his attention to detail in everything else, it seemed out of character for him to be late, so they thought that I had control. “Please talk to him!” I would beg. “I try. I try every angle. I got nuts over being late. I have thought of having him hypnotized to find the root of it all!” But he was too likable for them to complain directly to him, to lose an otherwise good employee or want to hurt his feelings. (My feelings never seemed to count.)

My husband would also check the time and set his watch and the bedside clock ahead. I put my foot down over the clocks in the other rooms. Yet, he knew he had that ‘extra time’… and used it anyway.

After many years, I tried to not let it get to me. We’d be late, I’d seethe inside, but we never fought over it. Then I stopped seething. And I knew that it was never my fault; I would not let anyone get to me over it. I realized that it was not the end of the world if I were to be late, not so late as to inconvenience anyone, but I did not have to be 20 minutes early and wait in the parking lot or wander the corridors of buildings until it was just time for an appointment. Two minutes late really isn’t ‘late’ to most appointments, I found.

And then, my husband got a job where he absolutely could not be late.
I found that he was perfectly capable of getting to a certain place at a certain time. We stopped being late for appointments and church, (most of the time, anyway).

And I had to stop myself from returning to seething-mode.

We have clocks all over the house, as I always have. My husband even bought one that picks up radio signals from the Atomic Clock! His watch, his alarm clock are still set a few minutes fast, and he knows exactly how many minutes fast he has set them. I still reset any other clocks he tries to tamper with. I still leave a little early for appointments, but not as early as I once did. He will still leave later than he should have, but not as late as he WOULD have.

We are mellowing.

I still have to watch the clock. I have a family member who is going through a rough time and usually calls twice at least day, around the same times. My grandson has not been here, so all of his timetables are no longer my schedules, but I know when he gets home and I may get a SKYPE call. I have the granddaughters far less, but I have to watch for school pick-up times, Girl Scout times, etc., some days. The hardest part is when they stay over on school nights. The one who runs late has to be at school a half an hour later than the one who wants to be early, so you can imagine the hustle that I have to handle on those few mornings, with my “We’re leaving in five minutes with or without you” threats, (which, for that granddaughter-of-my-husband, are pronounced at least nine minutes before I will actually get in the car with her sister).

I have a watch. I keep it in my purse and it is only on my wrist when I am out and about…fumbling with a phone simply is not fast enough for we clock-watchers!

If you are a clock-watcher, or someone who hates to be late, have you dealt with someone who is habitually late?

Posted in childhood, Family, memories, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Is Time On My Side?

 

How Does Time Affect Me?

By Jeff Salter

For some reason, this week the old Rolling Stones song has been in my mind: “Time is on my side.” Though, having passed the age that Medicare enrolled me, I’ll have to admit that time is actually NO LONGER on my side. In other words, I’m on the downhill slope. Difficult to discuss time without factoring in one’s age, you know.

Time is a funny thing.

clock

This resembles the clock that sat on top of my family’s upright piano during most of my childhood years.

When I was a kid, and we were on our way to something enjoyable (like swimming, for example), it always seemed to take FOREVER to get there. Yet, on the return trip – same distance – we arrived home in just a matter of speedy moments.

When I was age 14, it took (what seemed like) six years before I turned 15 and could apply for my learner’s permit to drive.

In the late spring of my senior year in high school, after I’d taken all the tests, written all the papers, and there were perhaps a dozen (or fewer) days remaining until graduation night… that period was an eternity.

When I went into Air Force Basic Training, our six weeks training period was very rigidly divided into 42 days of class, exercise, drill, and testing. And, of course, marching from event to event. When we finally completed that first grueling day, we knew we still had 41 to go. And the remainder of the course slowly – glacially – ground down until there were only a handful of days left to endure. And those final days – despite a slightly lighter workload and considerably less harassment by the drill instructors – seemed longest.

Also in my military hitch was my 12-month overseas tour to Thule Air Base, in northwest Greenland, above the Arctic Circle. Those first few days (and weeks) of that tour seemed not only interminably long, but I realized I still had hundreds more to go before I could rotate to a new assignment, stateside.

I also recall that long wait for our firstborn. The doctors say pregnancy lasts nine months, but to me it seemed more like two years. “When is that baby gonna be born?” I’d ask my wife. [And in those days (1971), the ladies did NOT get all the ultrasounds and other tests which determine gender and healthy formation.]

All those examples are merely to illustrate that for many stages of my early life, time appeared to move slowly — horribly slowly. But since I took an early retirement from the public library profession – over 10 years ago – I’ve found myself on a different clock. Now time races by.

Funny thing about retirement. There used to be a cultural sense that when a person retired – unless they had specific plans and interests to pursue – that they’d just sit around and vegetate in a state of unrelenting boredom. Later, retirement came to be seen as that opportunity to do stuff you couldn’t do before. When I worked full-time and retired people would tell me how busy they were, I felt like calling them liars. But now that I’m one of them, I can honestly attest, I feel busy all day, every day, and the weeks zoom past my eyes in a blur. Two of my weekly days which have their own fixed, external schedules are Church on Sunday and Senior Discount grocery Thursday with Mom. Each week, it seems, when I realize the next morning is either Thursday or Sunday, I say to myself, “Already? The last one was only ten minutes ago.”

Anyway, as a retired librarian (and presently “full-time” author), I feel time speeding by me. Weeks seem like days, days seem like hours, and hours seem like minutes. I look at my grandkids and remember it was “just yesterday” that their parents (my offspring) were merely children of that same age. Where did all that time go? Can a complete generation race past me with the speed of an action movie car chase?

My siblings and I sometimes commiserate about age, and how much nearer we are to the numbers provided by insurance company’s actuarial tables of life expectancy. Gosh, I never imagined I’d be this old. Heck, I still remember being in grammar school and noting how “OLD” those first year teacher were!

I guess a good way to show the juxtaposition of time (then) and time (now) is this: When I worked full time, my days crawled by slowly and I’d be thinking, “when is this week EVER gonna be over?” But in my retired years, I look up at a calendar and say, “is February gone already? Where did it go? What happened?”

Question:

Is time on your side?

[JLS # 322]

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

No Clocks For Me…Kinda??

I do not live by the clock which is kind of odd because I absolutely love clocks and watches. When I was younger my dad had an in-home watch/clock repair shop. I loved sitting with him while he took apart clocks and watches and repaired them. The nights he would let me wind the antique pocket watches and polish them for him were the best. I always had watches. Sometimes it would be a wrist watch others it was a pocket watch. One birthday he gave me a wolf clock that howled on the hour. I adored it! I was so upset when my ex broke it just to spite me, and never could find one exactly like it. All of my children have watches, my middle child has several pocket watches which he switches out depending on what he is going to wear to school that day. He is probably most like me with his love of the timepiece.

With all of that said, I do not live my life on a schedule. I am a go-with-the-flow sort of person. When there are doctor appointments I make sure that I am early to them but I take along books and read while waiting so I don’t mind if the doctor is running late as long as it is not an overly long wait.

I make sure I pick my kids up from school on time, its easy to do that though. I have to leave my house by three to get there in time. My clock plays Amazing Grace on the hour, the church down the street from me chimes its bells every fifteen minutes so that helps me to not have to glance at the clock all the time.

I like having flexibility. I love that I can drop whatever I am doing and play games with my kids, have a dance party, or bake cookies. I can always work when they go to bed, and often do. The perks of working from home.

During the weekly sprints with one of my Facebook writing groups, I do set an alarm on my phone so I can be sure to join in on that. Otherwise I don’t let the clock dictate what I am to be doing.

Do you have a favorite clock or watch?

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Where’d the time go?

I am most definitely a clock watcher. Like Patty, I can’t stand being late. But I also dislike being overly early (depending on what the appointment is). I would rather sit at home and watch the clock, then wait somewhere else wondering if I am in the right place, or if anyone else is going to show up, or it I look strange to all the other people there.

While the kids are at school, I have alarms set for when I need to pick them up just in case time gets away from me. Most days it doesn’t. I’ll finish up whatever I’m working on with about twenty minutes until pickup time. Then I’ll waste time watching YouTube videos when I could probably get a lot done on a chapter. On the occasions that I do start working, those alarms are so annoying.

 

When I have large chunks of time, I probably get less done because I think I have lots of time to do it later. I can check Pinterest, and Etsy, and Facebook just one more time. And four hours later, I still haven’t opened my manuscript.

 

The worst time I had for watching the clock was when I sat in my children’s class for an hour while their teacher was at a special lunch. Most of the time was taken by recess… indoor recess. I am pretty sure I looked at the clock every thirty seconds and I am confident that the clock hands moved backwards. Not that the children were misbehaving, but it just wasn’t the situation for me.

The other time that time moves too slowly for me is from ten minutes to thirty minutes on the treadmill. It goes reasonably quickly before and after that.

Time tends to go the fastest for me when everyone has gone to bed and I should be heading that way too. I open my manuscript and the words start flowing and soon it’s an hour later, but the ideas are still coming.

Or if I’m sewing. Things always seem to take longer than I think they will and a project takes a whole day rather than the hour or two I’m expecting. Thus why I need the pickup alarms.

What activities help you forget the clock?
Posted in Joselyn Vaughn, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

What Time is It?

Stress - business woman running late

This week one of the foxes asked whether or not we watch the clock, and the answer for me is an unequivocal YES!

I think this is less of an issue for me now that I’m not working full-time and don’t have young children to cart around. Twenty years ago, my life revolved around schedules—I taught full-time and directed the church youth choir, and had two young daughters who were busy with music lessons, sports, and church activities. My husband worked the early-early shift (he left for work at 3 am and returned at 1 pm), so he wasn’t able to help with anything except events that happened right after school. I hate to be late, and I hate to be unprepared, so I spent a lot of my late evenings planning and preparing for the next day.

I remember planning on doing all sorts of things during the weekend or on vacation days (cleaning, sewing, reading, running errands), but then I’d either oversleep, or my children would need transportation at the last minute and my ambitious plans would be pushed aside. The day would end and I would wonder where all my free time went. But on snow days, when I had an UNEXPECTED day off, I would get a lot accomplished. I think it’s because by the time I found out we didn’t have school I was already up and dressed, so I just downed my morning coffee and got to work crossing items off my “to-do” list.

As my daughters became drivers and were able to get themselves where they needed to be, my responsibility decreased and I was able to concentrate more on my own schedule. My retirement in 2005 brought the stress level down even more.

Curiously, the less I had on my schedule, the less I was able to handle even the few commitments I had. A few years after I retired, I realized that even though I wrote doctor appointments and other scheduled meetings on my calendar, I often showed up late or even forgot to attend. Once, I signed up and paid to go to a scrapbooking weekend and forgot to go!

It was around this time that I decided to start learning to speak Japanese. I got permission to do audit the Japanese language classes at our local university and started going to class four days a week, sitting with students thirty-five years younger than me. In between classes I did all the homework and studied for all the tests. If I’d taken the classes for credit I would have been a C student, because I just didn’t have the time to study until I knew the material well enough. Or maybe it’s because I’m older and new things are hard to learn. Still, I did manage to learn enough to communicate in writing with my cousins who don’t speak English. AND there was a surprising bonus—having more things to do each day meant I had to plan my days better, and that resulted in my getting things done more efficiently and on time. So apparently, the busier I am, the more I get done. Hmm.

It’s taken a while, but I think I’ve reached a nice balance between scheduled time and time for things I enjoy. If I’m late getting somewhere, it’s because something awful happened, or because I forgot where I put my glasses and couldn’t drive. I like to plan to arrive early, which gives me a cushion if there’s a traffic issue. I don’t like to waste time, so I write down things I need to do as soon as I think of them (I’ve always got a pad of paper handy) and places I need to go, and try to get all my running down in one trip per day.

And now that I’m finished with this post, I can go on to the next thing on my list!

Posted in Patricia Kiyono, time management | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments