katherine bacher's bits and pieces

Blogger. Novelist. Quick Wit. Sass.

COVER REVEAL – Capture Me: A Roxy Summers Mystery – Releases Fall 2016!

Cover reveal for CAPTURE ME, a Roxy Summers Mystery #1!
Soon available in print and e-book from Trifecta Publishing House coming Fall 2016!
 
Nothing ends a first date faster than finding a dead body.
 
Photographer and sassy Seattle-lite Roxy Summers, swears off men after catching her ex-boyfriend, a.k.a. her ex-boss, in a compromising position. Newly single and facing eviction, Roxy puts all distractions (men!) aside as she begins her new job assisting an international fashion photographer and notorious playboy.
 
No one told Roxy her new job would entail dealing with her new boss’ fiery temper, his emotional girlfriend, his conniving ex-mistress, his partner who has a melt-the-polar-ice-caps blinding smile, have her stumbling over a body, become an amateur detective and find herself annoyingly attracted to Detective Charlie Bennett, who seems determined to put Roxy in handcuffs!
 
#CaptureMe #GoRoxy #RoxySummers #RoxySummersMystery #KatherineBacher #NewAdult #NewAdultMystery #Mystery #HumorousMystery
 

Cover reveal for CAPTURE ME by Katherine Bacher! Soon available in print and e-book from Trifecta Publishing House coming Fall 2016! Nothing ends a first date faster than finding a dead body. Photographer and sassy Seattle-lite Roxy Summers, swears off men after catching her ex-boyfriend, a.k.a. her ex-boss, in a compromising position. Newly single and facing eviction, Roxy puts all distractions (men!) aside as she begins her new job assisting an international fashion photographer and notorious playboy. No one told Roxy her new job would entail dealing with her new boss' fiery temper, his emotional girlfriend, his conniving ex-mistress, his partner who has a melt-the-polar-ice-caps blinding smile, have her stumbling over a body, become an amateur detective and find herself annoyingly attracted to Detective Charlie Bennett, who seems determined to put Roxy in handcuffs! #CaptureMe #GoRoxy #RoxySummers #RoxySummersMystery #KatherineBacher #NewAdult #NewAdultMystery #Mystery #HumorousMystery www.katherinebacher.com http://www.trifectapublishinghouse.com

BIG NEWS! Seriously, I am about to tell you some big news!

Alert! Alert! This is not a drill!

Annyeonghasaeo, Precious Readers! (Hello, Precious Readers!)

I’m in South Korea right now, which is pretty awesome and amazing in itself. (Are you following me on Instagram? There’s Seoul pictures there.)

But… that’s not my news…

MY BOOK IS GETTING PUBLISHED!

I was literally stepping off of the plane into Incheon International Airport when I received the news!

I’ve had to stay quiet until the contract was fully signed. Now that it is, I thought you should know immediately after family was contacted!

Are you doing a happy dance? I am.
Are you dancing with me? Awesome!

It is slated for publication by the end of this year, but we’re pushing to have it ready by the time Emerald City Writer’s Conference 2016 arrives. (Are you going to the Passport to Romance Reader Appreciation Event for #ECWC16? You should be.) I was planning on just attending to get more advice, but now I’ll be attending as a newly published author!

Years and years of hard work have paid off, and you’ve been with me and this blog. So THANK YOU! Whether you’ve read this blog from Day 1, or are a newbie reader (helping me go GLOBAL), I appreciate you taking the time to check out my website, blog, and keep up with my misadventures.

Keep an eye here, on Facebook, Twitter, and my Instagram over the next few months as more details come out.

Thank you to everyone at Trifecta Publishing House for taking a chance on an unknown writer! I look forward to working with you!

Love and hugs to all of you. Gamsamnida!  (Thank you!)

– Katherine

did I mention that I’m traveling to Korea? (South Korea. the good one.) / Japan is kawaii

“Making kawaii stuff, watching Studio Ghibli films,
looking through Netflix for good anime…
Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m obsessed with Japan.
Oh, and did I mention I’m traveling to Korea?”

~ Katherine Bacher

Happy Spring, Precious Readers! (And, Erin go Bragh!)

(Wow, an entire sentence with all capitalized words. I think that’s a new one for this blog.)

First up, complete transparency:
I’ve never kept it a secret that Pilot and I are not wealthy people. I didn’t have the funds to keep my domain up and running the last few months. I apologize for making it seem like this blog was dead. It wasn’t. Think of it as being in winter hibernation.

Second, quick catch up:
As I wrote in my last two blogs, I had just begun working at a high school. Now that it’s MARCH, clearly I’ve dusted off my rookie wings and am beginning to truly learn how to fly. Due to enjoying the perks of my new job, that did include paychecks. Unfortunately, the paychecks had to go directly to some bills instead of this.  Life priorities always seem to get in the way. (Why, oh why can we not just recreate the barter system?) During that time, I’ve been able to assist the students in participating with school morale boosting events. One of which was “What Makes Me Happy?”

(…aaaand there’s the second sentence with entirely capitalized words. I’m on a roll!)

Lastly, the purpose of this blog post today:
Each staff member was provided with a piece of paper saying “What makes ____ happy,” asking each of us to populate the sheet with our name and a list of things that bring joy to our life. Our particular district has suffered due to previously mentioned lock downs, along with heartrending news of several children committing suicide or killed in gang fights.

Yes, I’m serious.

In the last 1.5 years, our district has suffered a minimum of 4 child suicides. One was as young as an eighth grader. It’s horrifying, sad, and makes me wonder how it was possible for an eighth grader to feel so alone. That they felt their only choice was a permanent solution to what might have been a temporary problem.  (Not an easy problem to solve, but most likely temporary.)

I ask you, Precious Readers, to be respectful of those who have suffered loss and not provoke each other. Instead, let us always keep this blog as an area of uplifting and supporting each other. That’s the culture I try to leave behind as I wake each morning. I hope you do as well.

Back to the story:
As you can imagine, after suffering those losses, we amplified not only positive morale boosting activities among our schools, but also to make our staff reveal ourselves as human and approachable. II sat looking at this sheet. Some of my coworkers had already completed theirs, making long lists of written words such as
family, friends, bacon, etc.

Let me tell you something: Kids have short attention spans. With our world ever evolving towards instantaneous gratification, their attention span is even shorter than previous generations. What kid is going to want to spend 5 minutes reading an entire written list by an adult they hardly know? Not many. I looked at my sheet and decided to go a different direction. I found images and obvious symbolism of things I was interested. Since I embrace my inner nerd here, I embraced my inner nerd for the project. After arranging photos, a pattern emerged.

My inner ego is obsessed with Japan. I don’t watch a lot of anime, but I probably watch more than your average person. I have never dressed up and gone to Sakura Con. I have friends who have never heard of or watched anime in their life. I fall somewhere in between.

I’m obsessed with Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli films. If you haven’t heard of him, he created animated family favorites like My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle (LOVE), Princess Mononoke, recently, The Secret World of Arriety, and currently in theaters Only Yesterday. (For Washingtonians, this means in Seattle at SIFF.) In fact, I’m seeing Only Yesterday this weekend with gal pal, “Caring.” Maybe you’ll spot me.

Why the Japanese culture fandom? If you’ve read this blog before, you know I’m an only child. (This blog is a perfect testament to my “Only Child Syndrome” condition of loving to talk about myself and having an internal dialogue that often becomes an audible dialogue of my thoughts.) To help pay for school, and additionally for my socialization needs, my family hosted several exchange students. 28 to be exact. Most were from different areas of Japan, with only 5 out of the 28 being from elsewhere of the world. (Stories for another day.)

Keep in mind, we hosted students from when I was a toddler through my junior year of high school. That is a LOT of students over the course of a LONG period of time. Since most were from Japan, I learned quite a bit not only about their culture and language, but at a young age was exposed to awesome shows that few 90’s kids spent time watching. Sailor Moon and Voltron were a couple of personal favorites. More commonly known Speed Racer was a greatly admired show during the 80’s/90’s.

Did you enjoy the Speed Racer movie? I liked their adaptation, but the constant spinning and Lisa Frank rainbow/neon style of palette made me horribly nauseous during the film. And I go on rollercoasters for fun.

Caring and I recently discovered we had a mutual love of Studio Ghibli films. She and her sister are such fans, they even give the proper pronunciation of Totoro. I hope to save up the funds to purchase the Studio Ghibli collector’s box containing every film they’ve created.

I’m also a fan of kawaii things. For those who don’t know what “kawaii” means “cute” in Japanese. It’s a term encompassing all things adorable. Think cupcakes with smiley faces.

One of my bucket list locations to travel to is Japan. Ride the bullet train, hike on Mt. Fuji, and of course, enjoy the light, fresh cuisine they’re known for. It will be some time before Pilot and I get to enjoy Japan, but I hope to go someday. But in the meantime… I’ll settle for:

KATIE’S BIG SUMMER ADVENTURE!

A dream has come true, Precious Readers! This year, Pilot and I will be flying across the world to South Korea! It all started with a documentary.

Once upon a November in 2015…

Pilot and I were having a quiet Thursday night, trying to decide what to watch from our Netflix queue. (Yes, “queue.” There’s an extra “-ue” in there.) Some time ago, I’d been told to watch a documentary called “Twinsters.” I won’t provide spoilers here, but it’s a real life documentary about Korean Adoptees. (There’s WAY more to that film, but I don’t want to give anything away.)

I had actually avoided this documentary for a few months, unsure if I would appreciate the content. Several programs focused on “adoption” in popular culture stem from the idea that there is a “lost soul” who needs to “reconnect” with their so-called “missing piece.” Granted, there are some adoptees who feel that way, but between myself and fellow friends who are adopted… I’ve never met someone in person who feels that way. In my personal experience, most of those shows represent a small percentage of adoptees. The shows are catering to viewers looking for “drama.” Twinsters was far more realistic in representing, what I believe to be, the general adoptee point of view. (At least for those who were born in Korea, then adopted outside of that country.)

Pilot and I were riveted by the documentary, staying up later in the evening to finish it in one go. Twinsters revealed information about a Korean Adoptee Conference held in Seoul, South Korea, which is only held once every three years. It welcomes around 500 Korean-born adoptees from around the world to fly to Seoul and learn not only about the adoption process, but learn about their birth country.  (Major plus: it’s mostly hosted in English, thank GOD!)

After the documentary finished Pilot and I deeply discussed into the wee hours of early morning. I’m not terribly emotional when it comes to my adoption, however I did experience several waves of different emotions I wasn’t expecting. Pilot shared that he felt closer to me, that he was able to better understand my personality and how my thought processes work. I am grateful to Twinsters for this. Over the course of 13 years, you learn so much about a person, but the documentary gave a voice to a part of my point of view of the world and my childhood that I’ve never been able to verbalize well. Even if you’re not an adoptee, if you just like documentaries, I highly recommend the film.

While discussing the conference, I remembered the film saying it’s hosted only once every three years. We checked the date of the documentary. It was took place in 2013. I looked at Pilot, and he looked at me. Instantly, we were both looking up the conference, and sure enough, it’s being hosted this year.

Pilot and I are in our (early) 30’s. If we don’t attend this year, the next time it will be hosted is 2019. If Pilot and I are realistic, if we’re going to have kids, it’s going to be sometime in our 30’s. If we were going to (easily) attend, it would have to be this year, or we’ll be waiting a looong time before going again. There were 3 problems:

How was this going to affect my mother?
I don’t care how understanding your parents are, how open-minded, how freely they share their emotions, how old you/they are. Talking with an (adoptive) parent about potentially looking for biologically related family members can create a whole world of hurt, pain, and insensitivity if not handled correctly.

I’ve mentioned time and time again, my (adoptive) parents are my real parents. I don’t think of them in any other way. Just because we don’t share the same biology does not mean they’re not my “real” family. My parents are each adopted as well. We have this in common, and I’m grateful that although they were both born in the USA and adopted within the USA, and I was adopted out of country, we share 90% of our points of view regarding adoption. My mother even spent time in the early 2000’s searching for more information about her biological family, and received information back from her adoption agency. She’s even mentioned that if I was interested in looking up biologically related people, she would be supportive.

This doesn’t change the fact that I wasn’t sure how to broach this topic; and I still didn’t want to cause my mom any pain in any way shape or form. Especially about this topic. I wanted her to be sure that I view her as my mother, 100%, and that I don’t consider anyone else my mom. If my dad was still alive, I’d want to reassure him as well. The timing of watching the documentary couldn’t have been better. Pilot and I had stayed up late on a Thursday evening, and we were having dinner with my mom the next night.

I was a nervous wreck.

We first mentioned the documentary to her. My mom and I love watching movies, it’s one of our favorite activities, so it’s not uncommon for us to recommend films to each other. I wasn’t even 5 minutes into talking about the documentary plot when she jumped in and asked me if I wanted to go to Korea, in an excited manner!

Did I mention, I love my mom? We’re far too similar, which is probably the reason we butt heads sometimes.  All of the worry and concern was for nothing, and she was supportive beyond description.

Emotional problems avoided, I found myself with a new problem.

Did I mention we’re not wealthy?
Even on the cheap, there is zero way we would be able to afford this trip. At the time of the conference, it’s the highest time of tourism for the country, meaning the flights for a single person round trip would be $1,700-$1,800. This doesn’t include the fee of the conference, living quarters, or food.

Did I mention, I love my mom?  (Oh, I did? Well, I’m mentioning it again.)

While growing up, my parents both said that there was some money set aside should I ever express interest in traveling to South Korea. I had completely forgotten about it, as my 30-something year old brain is beginning to forget conversations like that from my itty bitty childhood years.

Besides, no person in their 30’s enjoys going to their parents and asking for thousands of dollars. I don’t care who you are. Asking for money can be stressful, hurt relationships, and all around not end well. I am fortunate that my parents had the foresight to predict this want to visit Korea may happen in my future. Hence, this added to my stress of approaching my mother with this topic.

Immediately after jumping in during my description of Twinsters, her second immediate statement was, “How much do you need? You have X amount of money already. Will that be enough? If you need more, let me know. Want to stay longer? You can stay longer beyond the conference if you want. Just let me know.”

I love my mom.

Funding issues avoided, and absolutely no more hurdles to prevent Pilot and I attending the conference, I was stuck with one, final problem.

Did I even want to do this?
Here’s my (current) list of insecurities, (as they fluctuate in severity each day):

  • Am I doing this because it’s convenient, or do I really want to go?
  • This is both Pilot and my first big trip anywhere. Were we prepared to do a large trip, especially to a foreign country where we don’t speak the language?
  • I hate flying. Can I stand to be on an airplane for 12 hours?
  • It’s going to be hot with 99% humidity, and they’re a conservative country requiring me to dress covered up. I grew up on the West Coast. I need new shirts. I’m going to FRY!
  • Is the conference going to be good, or will I be wasting my mom’s money on something that wasn’t “my thing”?
  • Am I prepared to go searching for birth/foster family information?
  • What happens if birth/foster family members don’t want to meet me?
  • What happens if they do?

I don’t have much to say on the subject right now. I’m still processing the fact that my husband and I have booked the trip, found a place to stay, have the flights all scheduled and will be leaving for 2 WEEKS for South Korea this year.

As far as what to do about biologically related people, or foster family people… I haven’t decided yet. We have a few months to get paperwork in, and I have a feeling I’ll probably regret not doing the paperwork, but it’s too much to decide in this moment right now. I gave myself a personal due date to make the decision and fill out the paperwork, and I’m 75% sure that I’ll do it. (I mean, if will be traveling all of that way to Korea and staying that long, why wouldn’t I at least try?)

That’s a post for another day. I promise to update as time goes on, and let you know the progress of that decision.

Wishing you and yours the luck of the Irish today. I think I’ll need some for the remainder of the year.

If you had the opportunity to travel to a country of your family’s heritage, would you go? What would you do? Who would you visit, if you could?

What was the best and worst advice you received about traveling abroad?

Would you do your best to learn the language before going?

If you’ve been to Korea, what should I know before going? (It will be late summer.)

– Food
– Culture
– Manners
– Things to see
– Things to eat
– 
Things to do

 

be grateful for boring / shaking from a lock down / Thanksgiving 2015

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for boring.
~ Katherine Bacher

Dear Precious Readers,

Some of you are parents/guardians to children. I am not a parent, nor a guardian to a child. However as of last week, I’m gainfully employed at a school. I’m not a teacher, but I am part of staff that interacts with students frequently throughout the day. Being a staff member, I’m now a part of a team whose responsibility is empowered to protect each person on campus daily. We’ll call this location “Work Base.”

They may have been short weeks, but they were more eventful than most staff members who have been there over 10 years have experienced in their entire careers.

Last week was a 4-day week due to several power outages as a result of major rain and wind storms in the Washington State area. This week was short due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Week 1

Mid-week, Washington State underwent a rain and wind storm so severe, some areas were reporting 119 MPH winds.

I’ll give you a moment to absorb that statement.

We’re not talking just some heavy rain and minor flooding. A girl friend of mine, we’ll call her *Adora, just bought a house with her guy a few months ago. A day after the storms finally cleared, it now featured a 3-foot lake in her basement.

Many areas were without power for several days, some for a full week. This included inability to use landlines, water, etc. If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you’ll know that I have a slightly higher than average level of paranoia, leading me to be a mild Prepper. Believe me, if I had just bought a home like Adora, I’d begin filling every nook and cranny with years’ worth of emergency supplies. I may even create an emergency bunker under my home, financials permitting. With a home, I’d grow from “mild” Prepper to Extreme Prepper.

Yes, I’m that paranoid over emergency planning. I have been First Aid/CPR certified since I was 15 years old (many, many, many years ago), and have worked hard to keep myself ready for any type of emergency without actually being a trained medical or tactical provider.

Work Base was closed for one day. The next day was up and running, although the power did go off temporarily for 10 minutes. Friday, there was a planned evacuation drill. It was then I realized my Staff Emergency Binder was out of date. After the drill was over, I turned in my binder for updating and was assured I’d have it returned on Monday.

The week finished out normally, all was well.

Week 1 concluded.

Week 2

This week was an interesting one. Scheduled for full days Monday and Tuesday, with today being an early release day for the students. In a matter of a few days, students would be released to their homes to celebrate one of Americas finest (and most notorious) holidays of gathering for food witnessing fall. (Or, as Week 1 indicated: FULL WINTER.)

Fresh Monday morning, I went about my business. Life as a newbie employee tends to be riddled with system access issues, phone setup, computer adjustments, meeting your co-workers, learning which coworkers to avoid, menial task-work since you have no understanding of policy and procedure of your position, and training. Lots, and lots of training.

In between trainings, I was handling a quiet task when a signal came over the PA system. The worst possible moment anyone could imagine came through loud and clear.

“May I have your attention please.
Teachers and Staff:
We are in full lock down.
This is not a drill.
We are in full lock down.
This is not a drill.
Please lock and secure all doors, cover windows…”

People flew out of their seats and offices as we instantly began emergency procedures. Blinds were shut. Lights were extinguished. Doors were secured. Any exposure for visibility from our area was covered with black paper and taped tight.

My coworkers and I moved those in our area to secure locations. Not a single word was spoken. The oddest part? The silence. The silence of the common areas. No students talking, no cell phones chiming, no sounds of a backpack shuffling as someone walks by, no sounds of people moving around coming through the ceiling from the floor above our heads, no sounds of movement outside.

We were silent.
The hallway and rooms were silent.
Our world was silent.

The following cycled over and over in my mind:

  • Be silent. Stay calm. Stay alert. Be ready to evacuate.
  • Protect the children.
  • Running through my mental checklist of First Aid/CPR and school policies of handling injuries during an emergency situation.
  • This is actually happening! Dammit! Of all days to not have my emergency binder! [Insert string of expletives of your choice here.]
  • I need to call Pilot when it’s safe.
  • Oh, God! Oh, God! I have to think about “When it’s safe!” When is that going to be?! Please don’t let this be the way I go! Please don’t let this be the way any of us go!
  • Tamping down the panic. Be silent. Stay calm. Stay alert. Be ready to evacuate.
  • Praying for everyone involved.

 

My cycle of thought was forced to continue in this manner for nearly four hours.

Again, I’ll give you a moment to absorb that statement.

Throughout that time, we heard heavy boot falls throughout the halls as police, K9 bomb sniffing dogs, and other task force swept the campus for further unusual activity and further potential dangers. Several times throughout this nearly four-hour period, police would check the doors and shake them. The sharp, sudden attempts easily took 10 years off of the lives of everyone in our space.

After what seemed like an eternity, the lock down was lifted and we resumed our “normal” schedule. A full remainder of 45 minutes of the school day. All faculty, staff, and students were accounted for and safe, able to return home.

There have been an exponentially high increase in school shootings. Pilot stopped working at Marysville the year before the Marysville-Pilchuck shooting. He has experienced lock downs in his career as well.

How do I feel about the experience (and Pilot’s past experiences)?

I am thankful for every boring day that passes in my life. People don’t always understand why I don’t have more adventures, preferring to stay home and read/watch TV/write/play video games. I am grateful for the uneventful. I am grateful that no matter our emotional state, Pilot and I always tell each other that we love each other, even in the middle of fights. Even the big fights. We acknowledge that we love the other person, even though we’re upset with them in that moment. It’s days like Week 2: Monday, that I’m thankful Pilot and I remember we love each other even during anger.

Monday was the second scariest day of my life. My takeaway from the experience is as follows:

  • Acknowledge Love. It’s OK to go to bed angry. Pilot and I do this all of the time. Sometimes a good night’s sleep and a clear head in the morning are easier to utilize and quickly resolve an issue. I say: Never go to bed without internally and verbally acknowledging to that person that you love them. Every day.
  • Be realistic. Know what your skills and limitations are. Your life, or someone else’s may depend your ability to be truthful about yourself.
  • Trust your team. If you can’t trust your team, you need a new team. I am fortunate to have a highly skilled, compassionate and reliable team, both at Home Base and Work Base. If you don’t feel this way, you need to reevaluate your teams.
  • There is no finish line for Preparation. A good plan for as many types of emergency situations that you can think of, including 2 additional back up plans, is key during an emergency. Also, think about your steps and movements post-emergency. Think about what type of long-term physical, environmental, and mental care you might need, and be ready to take those steps after the emergency is over. You can never prepare enough.
  • Be flexible. Be prepared to throw away your plan. You need to be able to adapt. Preparedness is about being ready in any situation, including coming up with a new plan. Emergencies don’t always follow A + B = C. Emergencies do what they like. You need to be able to have the right set of tools and skill sets in case the emergency doesn’t “fall within your plan.”
  • Everybody love everybody. The more we care for our fellow man, the better our world can be. I try to live by these rules (besides God’s law): Do something today your future self will thank you for, and do your best to leave your world better than you found it. This includes people, not just places.

In short? This Thanksgiving:

I am grateful for boring days.
Be grateful for the boring days.

Peace and love to you all.

 

*Name has been changed for privacy.

letting today be the start of something new

“Beginnings are always messy.”
– John Galsworthy

To quote a line from Craig Ferguson, “It’s a great day for America,” Precious Readers!

cant keep calm

After months (almost a full year) of searching, interviewing, and mini panic attacks, last week I was offered a full-time job! I’ve accepted this position and begin soon. I’m 49% anxious and 51% excited.

The point: excitement has won.

excited-face

This position allows me the perks of a teacher’s schedule, without having to teach! What does this mean? This means, my day ends at 3 pm and I qualify for winter, spring, and summer breaks off. PAID. (Jealous, much?)

“But what about the commute?” you might ask. Commuting is the bane of my existence. I-5 is a nightmare, no matter where you’re commuting to. I-405 is worse now. For those who do not live in the western Washington area, you should be advised that I-405 has been under construction for… well, quite some time. They opened the HOV lane… with a toll attached for passage to use it. This basically reduced a three-/four-lane freeway down to TWO lanes, with the HOV barely being used.

For those on the East Coast, be advised that we West Coast-ers are newbies to this concept and are feeling the burn. Seattle traffic is notorious among locals and those who have visited our vast state. It’s not unusual to plan (at minimum) an hour to your commute into the city, or longer due to accidents, inclement weather, or a major event occurring in the area.

My new commute for this shiny, new job? Less than 5 miles from my home. I couldn’t think of a better schedule for a writer who still requires a full-time job.

Since I’m not published, I don’t have the ability to rely on any type of income from my writing. But I’m OK with that. I don’t write for the money. I write because I have characters in my head who scream to get out. I just happen to be told I should share my stories with the world. And, I’m working on that.

So, I’m grateful, Precious Readers. Grateful for this past year to work on my first writing piece that might be acceptable for public eyes, grateful for a supportive hubby in Pilot who encouraged my pursuits, grateful to this new job opportunity, and grateful for being able to finally blend my Real Life with my Daily Life. As of this month in 2015, I truly believe the two concepts have become one.

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(Hopefully, I didn’t just massively jinx myself.)

How about you?

What are your favorite perks for your job?

If you were forced to have a job differing from your dream job, what would you do?

What would you change about your job?

What would be your ideal job? How can you make it a reality?

why am I shaking? It’s NaNoWriMo!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Precious Readers, let me make something perfectly clear. I am not a true participant of November’s #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I have already had a first novel in the works since January. I tip my hat to anyone truly working from start to finish a novel in 30 days. You are truly a stronger (and might actually be) crazier, than I.

 

The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to plot, plan and write 50,000 words within 30 days. It is doable. I think if I pushed myself, I might actually get close to competing that goal. But one ting I am certain, I’m not sure if I’d want to.

 

I’m far too detail oriented not to go back and delete things that seem outright wrong on my screen, right in that moment. There are some who use voice controlled programs to audibly write their novels. I personally tried Dragon software. It’s an amazing program and I recommend it, but I’m not sure if it was right for me. You have to verbally say “new paragraph,” “comma,” “delete” along with other voice commands that break my stream of thought of getting my story onto the page. I’m too detail oriented not to watch my words appear on the screen and trust to keep going blindly facing away from the monitor.

 

Some type all 50,000 words in 1 day. I personally don’t see the point as this could cause (possibly irreparable) damage to my tools: my hands, wrists, and fingers.

 

Instead, my plan to participate in NaNoWriMo is this: Since I already had most of a first draft done, I wanted to finish the next stages of writing a novel by the end of November. This includes the following:

 

Step 1: Finish Draft 1

As of Nov. 1 I was 4 scenes away from finishing Draft 1. I needed to buckle down and get those scenes out of me. I didn’t write for the month of October, as Pilot and I were facing some financial decisions, working on melding Lou The Chihuahua into our family, keeping Nimitz from killing Lil’ Lou, and hosting Halloween party with my friend, Caring.

 

Step 1 Progress Report: As of 1:28 AM on 11/3/2015, I typed the words, “The End” on my first draft. Yea me!

 

Step 2: Finish Draft 2

1-edit

Draft 1 focused on getting my story out. Getting my Protag’s experiences and growth out onto the screen. You should know that I am highly proficient in MS Office programs. This includes MS Word. When I came to an area where I needed to describe details about an object, or didn’t want to spend time describing an environment in detail, I left a “gray field” to come back to. I wanted to focus more on my character’s thoughts, conversations, and get the plot onto the page. Things like describing the scent inside of a vehicle, or the noises of a restaurant, I left for when I had time to think about those things. Being more detail-oriented, I have had to train myself to “keep writing” and not get caught up in those details. Believe me, I can nickel and dime the structure of a story and get caught up in a huge time suck before I get back to why my character is doing something. Working on Draft 2 allows me to go back and fill those non-plot specific areas and beef up details.

 

Step 2 Progress Report: Will begin tomorrow.

 

Step 3: Find Critique Partners

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This one is tricky. I’ve been fortunate to meet face-to-face several authors whose writing I admire, characters I love, and advice I clutch to my chest. (Sorry, I hate the word “bosom.” It just sounds odd.) However, being that they’re working on their stories, published several times over, and I’m barely-patiently waiting for their next works to come out, it means that they’re busy. I don’t want to be that overbearing, conceited fan asking them to take away from their writing schedules to read my (extremely) rough draft.

 

I also don’t want to entrust my equivalent to a BABY (other than my dogs) to a complete stranger, unless they come highly recommended from said admired authors. I have some friends and family who have offered to read my stuff. The problem is, I’m not sure if they understand what they’re asking. A second (or even third) draft is still considered extremely rough and I’m looking for people who will focus on the story, not the technical/formatting edits at this time. I need not only critical readers, but people who are able to verbalize their thoughts to me in a constructive way to make my story stronger.

 

Step 3 Status Report: Sort of started. Working on it.

 

I’ve begun seeking advice from The Wise Ones (authors I admire) about how they found their critique partners. Many of these same authors have had the same critique partners for over twenty years. This is not just a friendship, it’s a trustworthy teammate offering to do a JOB for you and provide expert advice to make my story appealing to the masses. It’s not just being someone who likes to read, it’s a real time-consuming and effort-filled job.

 

Some family members are/were teachers, so I do have that going for me. However, there is also a timing issue. I’m not going to just hand off my manuscript to someone who can’t respond to me within the scheduled time period. I want to get going on my next story and don’t want to lose momentum. I have work that I want to polish and get ready to submit to literary agents. I quit my job to pursue this life, and every day that I’m not writing or working towards getting my completed written work published is money out of my pocket.

 

Don’t get confused. I don’t do this for the money. I do this because I have a lot of stories and characters in my brain, asking me to share my work with the world. Even if it doesn’t reach anyone, I can’t stop their voices calling out how they want to break out of my mind and jump onto the page. Even if I become homeless, I will want to keep writing. Other than my family, it’s what I love, it’s what I wake up for, it’s what makes life exciting for me. However, I do want to share my writing with the world and I am committed to making my LOVE into my job. I’ve had countless jobs that weren’t in fields that I cared about. They were important fields, and I’m proud to have been part of the team that worked in those fields, but it’s not what I care about.

 

I want to make what I care about my daily work. A long time ago, when I started this blog, there was a major crevasse between my Daily Life and my Real Life. Well, I have had almost a year to make my Daily Life the product of my Real Life. Pilot allowed me to cut off the ties holding me back from crossing the bridge over that crevasse and live on the side where Daily Life = Real Life. However, this also means, I need to keep my butt in gear and focus on getting my story published.

 

What advice would you give (100%) newbie writers who know nothing about the business side?

How did you gain your Critique Partners?

Did Critique Partners start out as strangers or people you know?

How much time do you give someone to read your manuscript?

What instructions do you give your Critique Partners to guide them in the feedback you’re expecting?

a harrowing goat experience

Precious Readers, do you remember when you were a youngster? About knee-high to a pig’s eye? Well, while prepping a pork pot roast in my slow cooker for dinner, I was reminded of small farm animals. (I don’t know what that says about my personality, but I’m sure it’s abnormal.)

I began thinking about the different county fairs that Washington State has. I’m not sure of all of the fairs that occur throughout the year, but in summer, two of the Washington state biggies are the Evergreen State Fair, featured in Pilot’s hometown of Monroe for the North-enders, and the Puyallup fair for the South-enders.

Funny city name, Puyallup, isn’t it? Nine times out of ten, people mispronounce this, though to be fair, Pacific Northwest Native Americans (Indigenous People?) make the spelling a bit difficult. On second thought, I’ve heard people mispronounce Monroe as well.

Let’s do this together, shall we?

MONROE = (mun-ROW)
That’s right. “mun-” not (mon-)

PUYALLUP = (pyoo-AL-up)
NOT: (“pyoo-lee-ap”), nor (“puh-yah-lup”), nor (“poo-ee-yalp”)

Back to the story.

I remember being around five years old, and sitting in the car, driving the hour and a half to get from northern WA to Puyallup (again, say it with me, “pyoo-AL-up”). Parking our car probably a good half mile from the entrance. My legs sticking to the seat from the heat of the sun, as I peeled my t-shirt and short-ed person from the family vehicle to walk, and walk, and walk, across a field of dead grass to enter the fair.

The roller coasters roaring in the distance, the sound of people talking over each other, being bumped and pulled in one direction and then the next, the sweet scent of funnel cakes and cotton candy everywhere. Nothing was ever frustratingly annoying as getting to and from the fair, and nothing was like the overload of fun, joy, and excitement of being at the fair.

We spent our time walking through all of the vendors, checking out their wares, buying some newfangled cleaning product. We weaved our way through to the live animal section to see the quiet, lazy, giant pigs. Then we’d move to the tall standing cows gently chewing on their cud. Stand in fright of the gigantic horses and their powerful legs.

Then, came the petting zoo area. We were able to hold bunnies, chickens, etc. I wasn’t specifically able to. My allergies prevented me from being around hay for too long before I began stuffing up, eyes watering, sneezing, coughing, and airways constricting.

As we were leaving the area, I noticed a sign that read, “Milk a Goat.” Well, I was delighted to find out this experience was not only available, but FREE! (Much to the delight of my parents, as well.) Well, my parents being people who spent their own childhoods on farms, thought this would be a great experience for their suburban daughter.

The chance to milk a goat? Yea! I thought.

The thing, Precious Readers, that you must understand, is that my parents weren’t great at explaining situations to manage expectations. In today’s world, if I’m overly cautious to over-inform you about details for an upcoming experience, it’s due to this often missing piece of information my parents often neglected to share with me, producing confusing, awkward, funny situations.

Being five years old, a majority of leaning what “should be” for any activity, either came from school, family and friends, or TV. My idea of “milking a goat” was translated to feeding a goat a bottle of milk, as I’d seen on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and other pre-pubescent programs. My parents, again raised on farms, thought nothing of this experience as negative, but hadn’t made the connection that their suburban daughter might not exactly know what actual milking a goat entailed.

You can imagine my complete surprise when after waiting what seemed like forever in line, a gruff handsome woman (yes, handsome woman), had me dunk my hands in a bucket of some foul, sour smelling liquid.

That’s… weird, I thought.

I asked the manly woman why I had to do this. She explained it was to prevent germs. At that point in my life, I hadn’t heard of vinegar being a sterilizer. (It was the late 80’s, early 90’s, so homes were pumped full of spray chemicals to whisk bacteria away, versus the more biodegradable and earth friendly products we have now.) I wasn’t about to question this person who stood a good several feet taller than me, looming with her scowl and dirty overalls.

I was lightly pushed to another line of children, each of us bearing the foul stench of acid as we waited to see the oh, so cute goat.

Its tail was just off in the distance, a whole three kids between us. I heard its little collar bell jingling.

And then… the sound. As I waited my turn and got closer to the goat, I heard an odd, piercing, metallic sound. Like a coin rolling on its side along a piece of hollow metal.

That doesn’t sound like a goat sucking on a bottle of milk, I thought. I imagined it would sound more like a squeaking sound.

Then, it was my turn to enter the area. You can imagine my horror when I saw someone sitting on a box at the… What in the world is that? I thought. I didn’t know goats had udders like a cow!

The man gestured for me to come over and stand next to him. He was also in dirty overalls sitting on a wooden crate at the midsection of a goat. WAIT A SECOND! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

They were squeezing the udder-thingy of a goat! Just like a cow!

Oh, the fear, and confusion as I was instructed to squeeze what seemed to be a delicate part of this wee little goat!

Oh poor goat! I thought. They mixed you with a cow! Who was the mom? Was the mom the goat or the cow? All sorts of other random thoughts of trying to figure out how this poor, uddered goat came to be!

I squeezed the udder and milk went into the bucket, revealing the truth behind the odd sound I’d heard only seconds later.

Finally, after (extremely unsuccessfully attempted) milking the goat, I was shuffled off back to my awaiting parents, where they asked me how it went.

Confusion swirled around my five-year old brain, as I merely peeped out, “I didn’t get to pet the goat. They wouldn’t let me feed it.”

My parents just said that was normal, and we continued to toddle through the rest of the fair.

It would be another year before I fully recognized what had happened.

After comprehending the situation, I later just told myself to stick to the petting zoo. With a face mask.

What memories do you have of your young self discovering something new?

Do you have any funny stories about misunderstandings that your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews experienced?

What were some of your favorite things about your local county fairs?

time to renew my Passport (to Romance)

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”

– Tim Cahill

Last night I attended the Passport to Romance: Free Reader Appreciation Event at The Westin Bellevue ballroom.

I snagged my girl friend, Caring*, and we drove on down I-405 South. After a week of mostly drizzly rain and bright cloud-covered days, the sky decided to cloud up darkly and dump buckets on Washington residents. Accident after accident lined the crowded freeway.

Downtown Bellevue was hopping as we stopped-started-stopped again, slogged through traffic, and parked underneath the hotel. Before heading to the ballroom, we bumped into Jacquie Rogers, Diane Rodes Garland, and CJ Obray. We had a quick chat before riding the escalators up, up, up to the third floor. The ballroom was decorated with bar tables scattered throughout, each featuring an author and their published works, goodies, and freebies!

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Around the edges of the room were a variety of gift baskets up for raffle. Not having much cash on us, my friend bought 1 raffle ticket, I bought 2. We made our entries for the raffle baskets we were itchy to win. The one I entered for contained a Kindle, books, and a bottle of Jameson that was converted into a lamp. I had my eyes on that Kindle… and created a mental list of people to give the lamp. The proceeds went to GSRWA to keep its operations running smoothly.

As the night continued, Caring and I bumped elbows and chatted with some of my favorite local authors, picked up some freebies, including books, bags, bookmarks, pens, candy, chocolate, etc.

The end of the event drew near, and they began to announce the winners of the raffles. A line of male cover models presenting each gift basket and prize to the winners.

We watched one woman walk away with not one… not two… but THREE prize baskets! (She was clearly a a big supporter of GSRWA.)

Next up, my bid!

Curses! Foiled again!  Alas, it was not meant to be, that Kindle and I. No worries, I figured I wouldn’t win anything. However, there were so many free things, I cannot complain. I even walked away with a free, stemless wine glass. Also, oou may not know this about me, but I am a mass contest enter…er. I am fiercly competitive, but a joyful loser, and often win free book contests!

Back to our story…

As Caring and I watched all of the baskets being raffled, there was one last prize. The beefy cover model dudes were lined up, everyone was standing for the last winner to be called out…

and then…

Caring won her raffle!

Huzzah! Her solitary ticket, a last minute placement among so many other hopefuls, was picked out of the tiny paper bag! She went home with a gift tote, a bottle of Vampire (chocolate) wine, a necklace, and a few other trinkets of winning glory!

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Caring and the L.E. Wilson raffle prize!
It features the novel
Blood Hunger, first in the Deathless Night Series.

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Me, Caring, and L.E. Wilson!
Please disregard the extremely flyaway, frizzy hair of mine.
I didn’t have time to curl it, and 
WA weather is merciless to hair.

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Caring’s overall prize haul
(including the fab sunglasses tote from the fab Lori Lyn!)

What a spectacular, fun-filled event! Caring was introduced to countless authors who provide so much literary escape, and I was able to reconnect with some amazing people from RWA/GSRWA! It saddened me slightly that I was unable to keep up with my membership to RWA, GSRWA, and unable to attend Emerald City Writer’s Conference 2015, but I have hopes to attend next year.

Passport to Romance is a big hit, and I hope RWA/GSRWA hosts one again next year!

*Name has been changed for privacy.

 

FREE BOOKS – Passport to Romance – Emerald City Writer’s Conference 2015

 

Greetings Precious Readers!

Today is FRIDAY and I’m loving every minute of it! This week, I made homemade marinara meat sauce (check it out on my Instagram) and have made pasta twice this week-not only because it’s cheap, but because Pilot loves pasta! He’d eat it every day if he could! I swear, Pilot has to be part Italian somewhere in all of that German DNA.

We added a new addition to the family, Lou! He’s a black chihuahua and the fourth member of the Bacher clan. Nimitz is loving being a big brother. After two weeks of having Lou in our family, Nimitz can lay next to Lou without freaking out!

Since it’s Friday, it means it’s almost my favorite day… Saturday! It’s my favorite because you can stay up late with no consequences of being late for any appointments the next day.

Speaking of Saturdays-

Do you like my segue? Huh?

-tomorrow is Passport to Romance: Free Reader Appreciation Event*, during the weekend of Emerald City Writer’s Conference 2015. Due to financial strains, I wasn’t able to attend this year, but their book fair is FREE and they’re giving away books for FREE. Did I happen to mention, FREE BOOKS?

It will be located at the The Westin in Bellevue, WA, and I’ll be there among the crowd. See if you can find me! Authors will be giving away FREE books written by their hands. It’s an amazing and warm group of people. How often do you get to meet the author in person and chat with them? I’m sure I’ll be a babbling, nervous wreck as usual.

Hope to see you there! I’ll post pics on Instagram as I go along, so those of you who are far away can be virtually there with me!

 

*Passport to Romance: Free Reader Appreciation Event is sponsored by Emerald City Writer’s Conference, Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America, Saranna DeWylde, Gerri Russell: Historical & Contemporary Romance, Lori Lyn, Elizabeth Hoyt, Jami DavenportNight Owl Reviews, Margaret Mallory, and last, but certainly not least as she’s one of my favorites, Sabrina York: Her Royal Hotness!

Why Our Author Brand is More Important than Ever Before

Please check out this post by Kristen Lamb! She is an author, blogger, and social media extraordinaire!

 

Why Our Author Brand is More Important than Ever Before

Source: Why Our Author Brand is More Important than Ever Before

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