Keyboard Tracing

While waiting at the hairdresser, I read an alarming article this morning that claimed that my mechanical keyboard was putting me in danger of having my writing stolen. So naturally I had to go try out the software they said was so advanced that every sound of a touch on my keyboard could be tied to an exact letter.

The “sentence” I typed, which could only be lowercase and spaces, no other characters, was this: “the dark sky really looks bad she said altering the way she looked at the code on her phone”

There were seven pages of one sentence results and these were the closest ones:
1. “he see and i was the of little and the soon of the their press alreally in there water inter been a ”
2. “h walls none and streemed iioie hthe latter anhere in the that and the see this worth they really o”
3. ” c s of there and and looked to ea and therent of it and i had feeling seen this the s and rho”

Whee! Needless to say, my fears have been allayed.

Two books for sale, one to go!

I honestly wasn’t expecting all the pieces I sold last year to come out all in the same week. They originally had publication dates that gave me a few weeks of breathing room in between each one, but one came out later and another one sooner and BAM, here they all are. So thank you for being patient with all my posts being about these books for sale. And thank you for supporting me and my writing for so long. Y’all are the best!

Now on to the books. One came out earlier last week and one came out today and the last one will be out tomorrow, but I was just too excited to wait. Here are links for the first two, along with a little description of what to expect from my piece in each book:

https://amzn.to/36qEyjY

This book has my poem “Last Family Vacation” on page 116, which is a peek into the heart of a mom with a kid in his senior year of high school. 🙂

https://amzn.to/3OvLLAF

This book has my essay “Revealing Rainbows” on page 74, which is a more in depth personal look at encouraging not just my sons to be themselves, but all the other boys they know as well.

Several Quick Things

  1. I am not dead, just super busy – still teaching at the library, running the ETWG, on the church board, etc – but also we had all the visitors in March, then Easter and now all the birthdays, too.
  2. I also have pieces in three books coming out all at once this week.
  3. Go look at my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more info about all that – posting there is quick and easy from my phone, but the blog? Not so much.
  4. I have also been writing this week, finally, after months of drought.

Next Chapters Unleashed available now for pre-order

https://books2read.com/nextchapters

I am so excited to announce that my first published short story is available as of today as a pre-order. You can click the link above to order from any of those fine establishments right now. Seeing the book here was really nice and pretty and I clicked each one of those links to see the book in each of the stores, because I’m extra like that.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60422120-next-chapters-unleashed

This is the image that made me cry. I have been shelving books I read into Goodreads for 15 years now. Read a book, shelve it. Read a book, shelve it. All this time I’ve been scribbling away all these little stories of my own in the background, but I was too scared to do anything with them. Last year I decided that I wasn’t going to hide my words any more. And now one of my stories is there on Goodreads. Goodreads! I’m crying again, y’all. It is a wonderful feeling.

Boy Mom anthology news

Last year was a kind of a banner year for me because I finally took charge of my very large folder full of unpublished writing and started submitting my work various places. I’d never done it before and it was hard and scary to get over just the fear factor of it all. The banner part came because publishers started accepting my works.

This morning I head back from the Boy Mom anthology people, who accepted my memoir-style essay about raising my boys sometime last fall. They revealed the cover and told us that it will be going out for sale in time for Mother’s Day!

I’ll let y’all know when I know more, of course. But for now, rejoicing! 🙂

Here’s the silly mock-up I made for myself one day. The photo really encompasses the essay I wrote for the anthology.

The Overachiever of Illness

“The Overachiever of Illness.” That’s what the ER doctor called me two weeks ago when I went in, unable to breathe. Turns out that not only did I have Covid, but also bronchitis and Flu B. I’ve been mostly in bed ever since.

Am I really sick?! Yeah. I’m sick.

Fortunately, I have long been a person who forgets to pack pajamas on trips, so I have a full drawer of them. I have a solid week’s worth at this point, from lightweight beach themed summer wear to heavy duty pink snowflakes, and everything in between. I can change into new pajamas every day! It’s been great. (A kids friend said she aspires to that lifestyle and I laughed too hard.)

Boring!

I’m not going regale you with all my temps and oxygen levels and liquid intake and literally nineteen new medicines (the real literal, not the fake one) and all that because it is so very boring, even to me. Just know that I’ve been checking levels every hour or so for two and a half weeks now.

So to keep myself entertained in between taking down data for nurses, I’ve been in bed reading and watching movies and catching up on Netflix series. Here’s what I’ve been up to….

View from my window. Sitting up helps me breathe, but all I want to do is lie down.

Books:

First I finished “Project Management for Parents: Engage the Family, Build Teamwork, Succeed Together,” which I really need to post a review of. It was a good book for the left brained parent, or maybe for the right brained parent who wishes they were more left brained? That might be a better descriptor. In any case, a good book if you like parenting books.

I finished all the Practical Magic books, which were lovely, as expected. A bit more repetitive than I’d hoped, but that’s what I get for reading them back to back to back. It was good to see the whole story from beginning to end like that and really take in the whole of the way the curse changed the family as time went on and how each generation dealt with it in unexpected ways.

Then I read a new book by Freya Marske called “A Marvellous Light” that I loved so much that I immediately tried to buy the sequel to, only to be told that it was pre-order only until November and I’m dying over it. I really need the next one because this gentle Victorianish man romance/mystery/magical thing is my jam, apparently. Who knew? Steph. She always knows what I need to read.

So now what I’m reading is “Dear Writer, You Need to Quit,” a title which cracks me up. One of my writing groups suggested it as something I needed because I’m always needing to quit things and sometimes I don’t choose the best things to quit.

Sometimes I put the kindle down and stare at the fake fireplace. Greg can hear it through the wall and yells at me to keep it down. Hahaha.

Movies:

“Unicorn Store” was the first one I started. It took me forever because I couldn’t watch more than 10 minutes before I was overwrought. I don’t know why. It was just too cute and embarrassing, but I couldn’t not watch it, either, so I watched it in 10 minute spurts.

One day the kids were horrified to realize that I had never watched “Ponyo” all the way through, not even once, given that they had each watched it approximately 95,000 throughout their childhoods. So we watched that. It was really good and now I know what Ree’s t-shirt means. Ponyo Loves Ham!

Like everyone else on the planet, I couldn’t get “We Don’t Talk About Bruno, No, No” out of my head, so I watched “Encanto” multiple times until I could sing all the songs. When I feel better I will learn the dances and then my children will be really embarrassed. It will be great!

I thought I’d seen “Cloud Atlas” before, but apparently only the same few sections a couple times, so I watched it all the way through and it was more violent than I’d expected, but I liked it and I’m still thinking about it in that way that you do with weird movies like this.

Netflix Series:

I’d started watching “Locke & Key” with Greg when Season One came along and we both loved it. By the time we got to Season Two, Greg thought it had gone off kilter and “too relationshippy” and he didn’t want to watch any more, so I finished this off while he was at school.

Greg and I also would watch “Good Witch” together, which we’ve been watching since practically before he was born at this point (TV movies first, of course, then the show). He stopped watching at the beginning of this season because he hated the new intro and wanted Grace and Nick back in the story. So I’ve watched this last season alone and I don’t know if it’s the missing Grace and Nick, the missing Greg, or the missing soul of the show, but this season was just not what I wanted. Taking the emphasis off of helping others and putting it all into minding their own magic threw me off and I was just glad that it ended, I guess, because it was breaking my heart going on the way it was going.

Here’s something more cheerful. The Other Lisa H brought me tiny art and potions for healing and eggs from her own chicken ladies.

So then I got on the bandwagon and started watching “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” because a) Kristen Bell and b) the title is hilarious. But the show? Not so hilarious. Slow. Suddenly sexy. Slow. Slow. Huh? Slow. Slow. Oh wait, what??? Slow. Suddenly sexy. Confusing. Suddenly violent. Is it over yet? Maybe? I hope so. But wait, maybe not. I don’t know, y’all. I watched it all day long and now that it’s over, I just wish I’d used my time better that day.

After that we had snow days and the kids and spouse were home to entertain me, so I stopped doing anything that wasn’t staring at their faces, unless it was staring at the Olympics. Figure Skating is my favorite. I could watch that for hours.

In any case, I hope you never, ever become the “Overachiever of Illness” because it’s terrible. But I hope if you do, you have friends to help you along and access to all the books, movies, and series your heart desires. 🙂

Some more goodies from friends. They really helped when both my spouse and I were sick at the same time. (Nick naturally got better in two days. I’m still sick. *sigh*)

Sick, but still kickin’

I started feeling sick last week, but I knew it was “just another sinus infection” and that I was supposed to see my doctor last Thursday, so I just kept running along and doing my thing. Well, the appointment day came and literally as I was walking out the door, the doctor’s office called to say that my doctor was out for the day and would I like to reschedule. I said sure, thinking they’d put me in within a couple days. Nope. They rescheduled me to February.

The next day my spouse was also supposed to see the doctor. Same doctor. Same walking-out-the-door phone call, but this time they said the doctor was out sick. Interesting. He got an appointment rescheduled for the day before mine.

By Monday, I was so dizzy that I felt like the world was swirling around me, which did not bode well for my speaking engagement. I called to see if I could get in to see another doctor for my antibiotics and steroids and they said yes, but not until Thursday because they were swamped with my regular doctor being out for the next month, sick. Hmm. Methinks my doctor has Covid.

My Monday Plan

In any case, I went to my meeting and was prepared to run it…I thought. Unfortunately, there were no instructions on the computer station on how to run the sound equipment, there was no former President to walk me through it (he was out sick), and our tech guy turned out to never have used the system before. Oh bother. It was chaotic, but we got through it. We never got the speaker/microphone working. I ended up in the middle of the room, cell phone on speaker in my hand so the Zoom participants could hear, and I muddled through about half of my presentation before all the interruptions started to really kill my focus. Well, not just the interruptions, but the sinus infection.

My video – the ETWG YouTube account only has one video right now – this one

So the next morning, I made a video of the entire presentation, including the slide show, which I didn’t get to really use during the meeting. I added captions to my video, uploaded it to the writers guild’s youtube account, and sent a “thanks for putting up with the chaos” message out to the members. They seemed to like that. I got a ton of email messages thanking me and asking about the future of the guild. That part was very nice. I spent the day working on writing and attended my Spiritual Practices class. Oh, and I got a rejection of some poems I’d sent to a literary journal way back in October. They liked them, but they weren’t right for their vibe.

Wednesday I collapsed in a puddle for the most part, though I did attend both a writing group meeting and another meeting, and later went out for tacos with my long lost artist friend, the other Lisa H. See, I use my rest time well, right?

The short story contest we entered

Thursday morning, my midkid surprised me with the news that he wanted to enter into a writing contest. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was kind of expensive to enter into, but it provides professional feedback on four short stories he will send in. So I registered him and then thought about it and registered myself, too. I will talk about that in another post.

I finally made it out to see the doctor that is my eldest son’s primary care doctor, whom we affectionately refer to as Dr. Dudebro, due to some entertaining messages he sent the kid after his last appointment. In any case, Dr. Dudebro was way overbooked and everyone AND the nurse all had Covid (I love the thin walls in this office). I made it out of there mostly unscathed, I think, but I have not just a sinus infection, but an ear infection in both ears. Yay me for being a medical overachiever!

After that was another writing group, the brainstorming fantasy writers group that I just joined a few weeks ago. They are a great group for brainstorming with and really got to the center of the problem in my novels in a way that I hadn’t seen before. I got offline and spent the rest of the day shifting POVs around and making my stories more cohesively plotted in both that novel that I shared a chapter of with them and the one I’ve been working on all this year.

Linda Coats

In sad news that day, I found out that one of my favorite high school teachers had passed away earlier in the week. I will write more about that later, I’m sure, but I am just not up for it yet.

Friday I continued on my merry way, getting more stuff set up for the East Texas Writers Guild and putting more plot notes into various novels. I basically spent all day at the computer, then went to bed at 9:30pm.

ACCEPTED!

This morning I got up and saw first thing that a different one of my poems had gotten accepted for publication by another anthology. Wahoo! Way to go, me! I celebrated by going to a marketing webinar about newsletters. 😉 I really know how to party, right?

My mailing list: Lisa’s Literary Landings

I’ve been working hard to get my writing business set up this week, since I have several pieces coming out later this year: a time travel story in a multi-genre beach themed anthology, a memoir-style essay in an anthology about parenting, and a couple poems in a literary journal. Today’s set-up involves getting my mailing list started. So, if you are interested in keeping up to date on where to find all my publications and to get a free short story, please visit this page: Lisa’s Literary Landings