Monday, December 1, 2014

Uploading to Google Play

Good Morning. As I said a few weeks ago, I was trying to upload to Google Play. Let me just say right now, it is a NIGHTMARE. I know what I need to do, and so far have managed to do it, at least THREE times, but the durn system at Google still says I have an unsanitized epub file. Whatever that means.

Here is what I had to do (and why so many people don't upload there.)

First, the interface is horrendous. Nothing is easy. Navigation is foggy at best. You need certain codes for countries, certain codes for monetary denominations, and if you don't have your own ISBN, they'll give you one, but write it down as soon as you get it, because you need to change the name of your files to that.

(Instead of THE LADY'S MASQUERADE.epub I had to write HQ873GKL4986_interior.epub. For the cover, you also have to rename that to HQ873GKL4986_frontcover.jpg. And you need the cover, otherwise the book won't show up in Google Play/Books.)

Second, well, I'll just tell you the steps I had to do. By the time you're finished just reading this you'll have a headache.

Upload the Mobipocket creator to computer. Also upload Calibre with the latest system (2.11.0), and Adobe Digital Editions. All are FREE downloads.

1)Save your Word.doc file to html. (File>save as>webpage filtered (a box will pop up and ask if you want to save it as some of the office specific tags will be lost -- click yes)

2) Upload your html file to the Mobipocket Creator with cover to create a prc.doc. (The same way you'd create a file for upload to Kindle.)

3) Upload your prc.doc to Calibre to create an epub version.

4) Download this file to Adobe Digital Editions to see if you can read it.

5) Then attempt to upload it to Google Play.

Now, as I said, I've done this 3 different times, using 3 different computers (2 laptops one of them a Google Chromebook and a pc). None of them took. Which I still can't understand if I'm using a Chromebook. Land sakes it's made by Google.

I've gotten the run-around asking the HELP desk for help. Bianca said that if I can read it on Adobe, then Google should be able to upload it, and if it's still processing in two days, then write back and they'll check the problem. It's been 4 days. I can read it just fine on Adobe.

I also tried uploading to this new interface called Liberio, which is supposed to create the proper document that Google wants. This is another nightmare. I tried it once, spoke to the creator of this new interface (who is very nice and tried to help all kinds of ways, but had no idea what the problem was with my documents.) Within a week of my problem, they rolled out a new way to upload -- through Dropbox -- which I then tried, but that too did not work. I gave up on Liberio.

Suffice it to say, uploading to Google Play is not easy. However, I'm going to give it one more shot. (Maybe two, I'm going to see if it makes any difference if I use a Word 2007 document rather than a Word 2003. It could make all the difference in the world, but then again it could be another exercise in futility.)

I honestly don't know what the problem is. I've never encountered this problem with any of the other booksellers before. My docs, no matter what they're written on, have always uploaded successfully.

If I had to guess, I'd say my problem is, I have no idea. They (Google) won't tell me. I mean, what is an unsanitized epub anyway? Is there doo-doo in the margins? Did my spilled tea make it into the document? Does it smell? Who knows. No one will tell me. I even Googled "unsanitized epub" and that's when Liberio popped up so you could make a sanitized one.

I wish they would just TELL me what I'm doing wrong so I could fix it. I'm not stupid. No matter what I have to do is a learning curve, but damn it, I've learned just about all there is to learn about publishing documents. I can even read html code. (I'm not very good at it, but I can do it.)

So, my experience with Google Play has not been very good. But that's not to say that uploading there can't be done. I'll let you know how the next round goes.

Tell me -- Do any of you out there have a clue what a sanitized epub is? Have any of you uploaded to Google Play? Did it work? How did you do it?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Why Can't I Stop Writing?

Good Morning. Last week I finally finished THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. And I told you the ending sucked. And it did. Well, yesterday I had a brain fart and a whole new ending came tumbling out. Two pages worth, so I wrote it down, wrote The End and called it good. Which I think it was.

However, once I finished, I started to write the first few pages for another story in this series, which is SUPPOSED to be complete. Problem is, I need to write it from a totally different POV. See, I've had all these characters in my head for a long time. They're like my extended family. I know their quirks and their habits, and the way they speak.

And this character isn't new, he's just never made his presence known to me. He's like a ghostly apparition. I know he's there, he's always there, but I know absolutely nothing about him. Well, other than the fact he lost his missionary parents to influenza, he's 55, and he's a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. That's it.

And I don't really HAVE to write this story. The Series is finished. Everyone has their happily ever after. Well, except for one person. One VIP. or should I say one VIC (very important character). And that bothers the snot out of me. I mean, why should this VIC not have a happy ending?

I think, because I'm evil.

I think, because I don't really want to let go of this series.

I think, because I've lost my mind.

Anyway, I started writing this new story. I'm not very far in and I'm not crazy nuts trying to write it and finish it. I'm giving myself until the end of January for that. It's going to be short and sweet and to the point. I'm going to try and release it for Valentine's Day. I think that date is appropriate. Who doesn't love a love story on Valentine's day?


In other news, SEDUCTION is available for pre-order, or will be soon, I only uploaded it this morning. It should be across the board by Thanksgiving.

I finalized my gift card orders for school this morning so I'm don't have to be insane this week worrying about it. That means I'll have more time to blog. FINALLY. I'm still having trouble commenting on certain blogs, and STILL trying to rectify that. If you don't see me, it's not because I don't read you, it's because I can't comment. And it's nothing on your end, it's on mine.

I did all my laundry over the weekend, so today marks the BIG CLEAN. Ugh. I mean, the really BIG CLEAN. Dusting and washing windows, as well as all the other regular cleaning. I would rather scrub a 100 toilets than dust.


Tell me -- Do you ever get the urge to write MORE when you don't really have to? Do you think EVERYONE needs to have a happy ever after? What is your least favorite household chore?


Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Life Smackdown

Good Morning. Well, it's been a month and a couple of days since I've been here last and well, I've been hard pressed to get back into the blogging groove. I know a lot of you are doing NaNo and don't pop up again until the end of November, but I thought I would fill you in.

The Seduction of Mr. Summerville was going well until the end of October. I have now written 76,000 words, but can't seem to find the right ending. Yes, I have it in my head, but getting it down is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had this crazy idea that I needed another "big" thing to get down before I
finished it, and so I put it in. Then I had this other crazy idea that I needed a ghost. Yes, you heard right, a ghost in my Regency romance. It's not paranormal, it's just crazy, and I think it works, but I'll let my critters decide. I set aside this past weekend to finish it (I only needed a few more pages) but, alas, I'm still writing. Maybe by the end of the week.

Google Play Well, after trying to upload for several days to Liberio (the only epub maker that will upload to Google) I found out that both laptops and my pc wouldn't allow me to do it. Luckily, Liberio has opened other channels to accept manuscripts to upload and Dropbox is one of them. I haven't had a chance to get to this yet (see above) but as soon as I do, I'll let you know how it goes.

Anne Gallagher Blog For the last couple of weeks, I've been doing posts about Writing a Series. I try to give helpful ideas of what I did, just in case you wanted to write a series. Or maybe spin-off one of your books. I'm in the final stages of wrapping it up. You can find it here.

Volunteering at School I'm still volunteering at Monster's school as the Gift Card Coordinator, and last week I was also the chairperson for the Veterans' Day Observance we had. It was really nice (everyone said so), and the food was fabulous (everyone said so) and the Vets who came had a really great time (they all said so). I'm glad I did it because I proved that we didn't need to spend any money to throw a reception (all the ladies baked something) and we rounded up loose ends from various programs (coffee cups from the Booster Club, napkins from the cafeteria, table cloths from the PTO, and I used all my pretty platters and bowls from my defunct catering company). It was a lot of work, but something I'm glad I did. Veterans' Day is more important to me than Christmas.

Second Reader Services I've been putting together a small business plan for content editing services that I hope will be ready to launch soon. I've edited/critiqued/helped authors in the past get their books ready to publish, and have gotten pretty good feedback from them. My name has appeared in several acknowledgments, so I think that's high praise indeed. I expect to keep the cost down (so much so that my dearest friends are telling me to go higher because I'm worth it) BUT, I know struggling authors don't have a lot of money. I'm hoping to get this into gear in December.

Other than that, I'm trying to decide whether or not to let Monster get her ears pierced for her birthday in December. She'll be 10. I told her she had to wait until she's 12, but I'm wavering. However, I can barely get her to brush her hair before she goes to school. Can I trust she'll take care of her earlobes? Hmmm....

Tell me -- What are you doing? How is everything? What did I miss?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Seduction of Mr. Summerville

Good Morning. So, I kept telling myself that I was on a roll with my latest book. I had 40K words written, only 40K more to go by the end of October. Easy peasy. I had an outline, I knew the story inside and out (granted it's been in my head for the last two years), how hard could it be to sit down and write 3K a day?

Okay, I'm laughing right along with you. You know how it goes. At least I was smart enough this time to leave myself some breathing room (like the whole month of November) but I'm going to try to finish it up by Halloween.

That being said, I'm going to take a little blog break to get 'er done.

Here's the cover and copy in case you were interested.

American shipbuilder, Stephen Summerville has a bit of a dilemma when he meets two very beautiful English sisters. However, when Stephen is confronted with the aristocratic father he never knew, deciding on a wife seems like a small task in comparison to what he must decide for his future. The last book in the Reluctant Grooms series coming Christmas 2014.

See you soon!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Expanding my Horizons to Google Play

Good Morning. With all the news of impending doom surrounding publishing, specifically e-publishing, I've taken a hard look at where I'm downloading these days.

If you don't follow these boys from Britain, you probably should. They have an ear to the ground and expound on their findings so you/we have a better understanding of what's happening behind the scenes.

Their latest entry, the debacle that is now Amazon, reports that Amazon is steadily losing ground, money, and interest in their ebook revolution. I can attest to that. My sales have slipped noticeably since May. To say I'm disappointed is putting it mildly. They used to pay my mortgage.

However, being a smart entrepreneur, I diversified a long time ago through Smashwords. Yes, their meatgrinder is a bitch, but it's well worth it to publish with them because they aggregate books to other book sellers -- Kobo, Nook, B&N, OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, Amazon, and a couple of others. You might think it's not worth it to go through all the trouble, but it is.

Yet, the only problem with that, is it's a hit-or-miss proposition. I've been published with them for nearly three years. Only now have I seen any noticeable movement through their channels. But that's okay, it's all about the long tail.

However, I've been thinking that since Amazon had been my breadwinner, and now they're not, I needed to find another source of income that would take their place. Not easy in this world of five billion books. And so I decided to research the market a little bit and with the recommend from the ebook boys, I decided on Google Play.

I only uploaded yesterday, and not my whole repertoire, (I'm waiting to see what happens), but I'm happy that I did. Yes, it's a pain to set everything up, yes, another pain to make sure the epub files are clean, yes, it's kind of daunting (but they have straightened out a lot of the mystery surrounding how to upload) but I think it was a good decision for me.

I don't expect overnight success with this venture, but at least now I'm there. With over something like 65 countries they publish in, I'm sure I will be able to sell one or two of my little books. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Where do you publish? Just Amazon? B&N? Kobo? Smashwords? Have you gotten to Google Play yet?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Is Social Media Worth It?

Good Morning. Yes, this is another post about the dreaded question -- is social media worth our time and energy? Janice Hardy over on Fiction University had a guest last Thursday, Dario Ciriello, author, and owner of Panverse Press. His topic was social media presence for writers.

To paraphrase... (But you really should go read the article. And the comments.)

He said:
This core assumption is reinforced by agents, publishers, publicists, and other authors. Some agents won’t even take on a new client unless that writer has a Facebook following of at least 500 and a Twitter following in excess of 5,000. At minimum, you also need a website; but you should also blog, guest blog, and have a Pinterest page for your each of your books, right? 

He said:
"...there are two things—and just two—that will meet your readership’s core needs and leave you with far more time and energy to write: a website and an email list."

I agree. My website is my blog is my newsletter. I've been here nearly five years. People know where to find me. I stuck the email-this-blog-to-your-inbox-thingie on my sidebar. (I wish I knew how many people actually did it. I'm sure there's an analytics tab or something to find out.) However, if readers/fans want to know me better they can follow me if they want to. No pressure.

He said:
"Does your social media presence sell any books? What's the conversion rate, the ROI (Return on Investment), in terms of books sold? I'm not advocating others who enjoy social media abandon point is simply that I believe that in terms of actual marketing and book sales, the ROI is at the very least hard to measure; frankly, I think it's minimal... As far as I can tell, there's zero empirical evidence that the time writers spend on social media brings returns in terms of book sales.

And do any of us put a $ value on our time ? We should. Because if, as I suspect, one gets one sale for every dozens of hours spent blogging or on social media.... well, at that point we might be better off advertising or hiring a publicist. :)

Which is why I like Twitter. I'm on, I'm off. Quick. When I see friends or colleagues on Twitter, it's like running into them at the coffee shop. Sometimes 420 characters is all you need. My biggest regret of late has been neglecting to comment on other blogs. 

Unfortunately, I think that's the cruelest trick of them all. We start out on social media, build a friendship, a base, and then once we get "famous/comfortable/an agent/contract/publisher" we abandon them. We don't have time for them because we're working hard on the next book and the next and the next. 

He said:
Say you spend just an hour a day (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt) on Facebook, Twitter, your writing blog, etc. In a year that amounts to around 350 hours, which is the equivalent of ten thirty-five-hour weeks. And this doesn’t even address the effect that regularly fragmenting one’s time and attention has on the creative mind. 

If we want our work to be seen and read, we must hawk our own wares sometime. Who else is going to do it? I'm not advocating 35 hours a week, but at least 10. Quality, not quantity.

I Tweet in spurts. When I have time and the laptop, I'm more apt to make an appearance. Yes, I do Tweet about my latest book releases. But so what. Everybody else does too. Even those people who tell us not to do it. But how else are readers supposed to hear of it? (I don't think I'm obnoxious about it.) And besides, we can't all do commercials on TV like James Patterson.

I blog on Sunday (Anne Gallagher) and Monday (Piedmont Writer). I write my posts on Friday nights. I gather my topics during the course of the week and spend the late afternoon getting it all together. 

I'm on Goodreads, LinkedIn, and yes, I do have Pinterest boards for all my books. I like them. But I don't frequent the these places, and for the most part they're just static.

He said:
My issue with writers blogging, spending time on writer sites, and all the rest, is that other writers are typically not our audience. Yes, there are things to be learned, but I think the writer's business is to write. There must come a time when one has a good command of one's craft, understands the basics of markets, formatting, etc., etc., and really, how informed does a writer need to be? 

I also agree "...that other writers are typically not our audience."

However, here's my caveat. 

I spend most of my time alone. In a room, in the basement, with spiders. Sometimes I just need some contact with the "outside" world to reassure myself

a) I'm not alone.
b) I'm a writer. 
c) Somewhere in the world, someone else is doing the exact same thing I am. 

Which is why I'm in the basement in the first place. My family just doesn't understand my need for solitude.

I love my "job". I cannot imagine going back into the restaurant business. (Not at my age. Unless the pay was phenomenal.) Writing is what I have always wanted to do, and now I'm doing it. 

I've tried to not be social. I've gone into my cave and not come out for months. It didn't make a dent one way or another in my sales. So whether I'm on it or off it, it doesn't make a difference to the ROI.

However, in not being social I missed some things (blogs, articles, book releases, news) that I probably wanted to hear. I guess you have to trade one for the other. 

These days, I'm with Mr. Ciriello. Less is actually more. And if there's no ROI, then why bother wasting your time. However, it's a good idea to be seen occasionally. Besides, you might meet a new friend.

Tell me -- What do you do for social media? If you're published, do you think it has a Return on Investment? 

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Have Been Writing

Stephen Summerville
Good Morning. I have been writing. With gusto, and zeal, and non-stoppedness. I added 13K to #Summerville last week. (If you missed me on Twitter, I posted my word count every couple of hours.) I also wrote and delivered a short infomercial for the PTO meeting last Thursday night. (I volunteer at Monster's school as the Gift Card Coordinator, hence the PTO.) For this job I wrote a new order form, a "we regret to inform you, your services will no longer be needed" letter, and a four page outline for the Oversight Committee report I have to file by October 1.

I'm also working on a short "lecture" series for my other blog Anne Gallagher Regency Romance Writer. I
 discuss how I wrote my series, and things I learned along the way. I don't know if you're thinking about a series, but we're all writers. Take a look, maybe I missed something. Add your experience.

I have to tell you, though, I am loving working on this new book, The Seduction of Mr. Summerville. I can't remember when I've ever been so in love with my characters. Bella is so deliciously bad, and Arianna is so not. Stephen and Edward are ready to kill each other, Reginald wants to kill Olivia, while she's laughing her ass off in the corner watching Reginald's downfall all play out. And Constance remains in hysterics. It's such a soap opera. Which is why I have such a high word count. I hate to leave it.

I have also been cleaning my house, rearranging furniture. Last weekend, I flipped part of the living room to make room for the dining room. Yesterday, I flipped my office into the dining room. The living room went into the den. I swear that has been the catalyst for my sudden efficiency with a pen. Keyboard. Whatever.

Okay here's the thing... I have been so sick since I came back from vacation. I've had pneumonia, and bronchitis, and sinus infections that two doses of antibiotics couldn't get rid of. So they gave me these horsepills full of some kind of penicillan, and corticosteroids. I have been high as a kite since last Monday. Is it any wonder why I stayed up until well passed my bed-time working. And then tossing and turning when I finally did force myself to lay down. Whew. Three days on speed. Yeehah. I couldn't take it any more. That stuff was messing with my head. And I had to give a speech to the PTO at large.

(My infomercial was a huge hit. Several people said they hadn't realized how funny I actually was.)

I have also been cleaning my files and folders and saw all my other projects in the contemporary romance realm of my writing, which has long been neglected. I have several that I'd like to finish up, and publish this spring. If I can. I have no idea what they even look like now, which is good, in a way, fresh eyes and all. So it should be quick. But I'd like to get my personal "back-list" off my back, clear out some of my old files before I buy a new computer. (Goes with moving the office.)

Anyway, I am feeling much better, now that I stopped taking the steroids. At least I can sleep. However, I haven't been able to get back to Summerville since Friday. It's a shame too. Bella and Stephen were finally going to have their confrontation conversation.

Tell me -- Do you think physicality improves your writing? Have you been writing? Have you been moving furniture? What are you working on?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Frenzy of a New Book

Good Morning. Sorry I'm late to the party, but I've been very ill. I can't seem to shake this whatever it is I have. All I know is that it's sucking the life out of me.

However, I've also been writing like a maniac again for the last book in the Reluctant Grooms series. I'm hoping to have it out by Christmas, with the first draft finished by the end of September.

Ha, you say, how are you going to do that?

Well, by not cleaning my house for one. Being sick makes it easy to leave everything but the kitchen and bathroom. Am I right?

Also, by finding other people to take my place volunteering at school. At least for a couple of days.

And by telling Monster, she has to forage for her own food. (Okay, maybe not really forage, but you get the gist.)

I have to tell you, I have not had so much fun writing a new book in a long time. I can't quite put my finger on why though. Is it because it's the last one and I'm excited it's almost over? Is the plot for this one better than all the others? Is the happy ever after going to be better?

I don't know. I think it might be because it IS the last one, I get to really do it up, clown around, use crazy plot devices and tricks, and the characters are just having a ball. So much so, I hate to close up the computer at the end of the day.

Tell me -- How do you feel about starting a new book? Is it a chore, or does it make you cartwheel?

Oh, and I never announced that LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING, and THE LADY'S SECRET are out and available across all channels. I announced it on Twitter last week, but I don't think I ever made it to the blog.

Amazon/ NOOK KOBO itunesUS Smashwords

 Just in case you wanted to take a look.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Best Layed Plans

Good Morning. I thought the title of this post would get your attention. It's about misspelled words, or homonyms if you will. You see, while I was on vacation, I read like a maniac. New York authors who make the big bucks and have tons of editors. And I found several misspelled words. (Which was kind of fun in a weird OMG kind of way.)

...Jimmy slid the car around the corner, I think we were doing seventy by then, and when he saw the train, slammed on the breaks... (brakes)

...The huge cat beared its teeth, and we all froze... (bared)

I know I should not point out the mistakes in others, but I'm a writer. Hey, it's what I do.

Imagine my horror, when I sent my latest novella to my critique partner and she pointed out these little beauties...

If Edward thought about Arianna in any possible light, Bella was sure to distinguish the flame. (extinguish)

There was no reason for him to be hurt in such a manor. (manner)

Ewww, I said. Just ewww. I should have known better, but I was in writing mode, fast and furious trying to finish the book so I could enjoy my vacation. Yes, I did read it over before I sent it off, but I think because I wrote it, and had read it 20,000 times already, I just didn't see it.

Can we say the same about New York authors? I don't know. Don't they have gatekeepers, people who check and double check? Or does New York not care anymore if the author makes the company a bazillion dollars a year?

Which begs the question -- why should self-published authors care about that kind of thing if New York doesn't?

My answer is -- because we should. Because we have the "stigma" of being self-published and even today with the rise of ebooks in popularity, we should put out the best product we can.

Tell me -- Have you ever cringed when reading one of those? What are some of your best misspelled words?

Happy Labor Day!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

PS -- If you'd like to see what I've been working on over vacation you can find it here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

Good Morning. Today is Monster's first official day of school. Yay! 4th grade. I cannot believe how time is flying. Over the summer, I finished writing two novellas, and started the last novel of the series. Again I say Yay!

I also learned a few things and as with every beginning of every school year, I have written the requisite WHAT I LEARNED ON MY SUMMER VACATION essay.

1. After five years I finally had all the elements of creating perfect meals, gas stove, gas grill, farmer market organic vegetables and locally caught seafood. I indulged a few times and realized playing with food is a creative talent that I should indulge in more often. Unfortunately, without people to eat said food, it's not worth it to cook. Half of it went down to the beach for the sea gulls.

2. I way over-packed, including extra shoes, dresses, and beach cover-ups, however, wore the same 3 outfits the entire time I was there. (out of the 8 pair of shorts I brought with me, only two still fit. I've gained back all the weight I lost before I left so I could fit into those shorts. Ironic, or sad, either way.) (As for the dresses, I thought I might meet someone and have like a date. Uh, what in god's name was I thinking.)

3. Five weeks is too long to be away from home. I missed my bed, I missed my animals (3 dogs and a cat) I worried that by the time I got back all my houseplants would be dead (which they weren't thankfully). You can only go to the beach so many times before it gets boring (and you get sun poisoning -- which I did the first day we were there -- and then again the last week we were there). I also did not realize that the more I shopped, the less room we would have in the car on the way home. Needless to say, I have to return to Pennsylvania to my brother's to pick stuff up.

4. I read more while I'm on vacation. Truthfully, this is the first time I've read in about two years. I used to read a book a day, almost 6 per week before I began writing. Now I don't read at all. And I can honestly say that New York editors aren't all that. Nora Roberts had typos. In all three books I read. And she used the wrong character's names. And had grammar issues. And run on sentences. And long boring paragraphs of useless description. And she used adverbs and adjectives so much I thought I was at a circus. What that taught me is, A) she's either a very crappy writer, B) New York doesn't care as long as she keeps bringing in the big bucks C) rules are totally meant to be broken.

5. Writing is something that I must do quietly. I tried to write in places people were not meant to write in. I tried to write in bed. I tried to write at the beach. I tried to write in the bathroom. I got nothing but frustration. So I gave up. And then lo and behold, a beautiful day presented itself. Monster went to the beach with the kids across the street. I set the laptop out on the deck, and bam, just like that hit 3000 words. I took a break in the afternoon, and added another 2000. As I looked everything over at sunset, I heard Amazing Grace being played by bagpipes. Yes. Bagpipes on the beach at sunset and 5000 words. I would have to say that was the best writing day I've ever had.

So yes, cooking, sun tanning, beach going, reading, shopping, writing, all the elements of a wonderful vacation.

So why do I feel so drained. I need a vacation from my vacation.

Tell me --  How was your summer? Did you go away? Did you get any writing done? What did you do?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Lady's Secret is Finished

Where I am going to sit for the next 5 days and
burn to a crisp
Good Morning. For those of you who keep track, my last novella for my series is finished. I worked on it for 12 hours yesterday, and wrote the end last night at 7:39 pm. It came in at 44,378 words.You must think I'm nuts to do something like this and I am, but I was on a roll. My vacation ends Saturday and I wanted to actually be able to spend time and enjoy it, so I pushed myself to finish it. Besides Monster has been camping all weekend with my brother and his family so I had no one asking "Can we go to the beach?" every five minutes.

I'm very excited about this little book. It has a lot of good stuff in it if I do say so myself. Evil sisters, Prince Charmings (2 actually), wicked father (sorry, no step-parents in this one), intrigue, sexual tension, oops, sorry, we're calling that desire and longing these days. What's cool about this novella is that I've tied it into the other novella LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING. If you read one, you'll see elements of the other in it and vice versa. It's pretty clever if I do say so myself. And these are the pre-quels to the last novel in the series.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that, and now I'm going to enjoy the last 5 days of my vacation. Because as you know, it's been a doozy so far.

And if you don't follow me on Twitter, you should. @gallagher_anne

I've been having a lot of one-sided conversations with myself. It'd be nice to talk to people.

Tell me -- Have you ever worked like a maniac to finish a book/book/novel/story? Did you bum ever fall asleep while you wrote? (That was my challenge -- my bum kept falling asleep)

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Have Been Dreaming

Good Morning. As I clicked the "schedule" for this post, I saw that I only have TWO weeks left to vacation, instead of THREE! OMG, where does the time go. And, as I watched the morning news, the weather lady said Tropical Storm Bertha will be on our doorstep within the next couple of days. I do not want to tell Monster that she may not get in any beach time until later in the week.

45 ft. down -- at the Coast Guard Station
Point Judith, Rhode Island

Anyway, I have been dreaming. During the night, as it were, not day - of which I am generally most fond. My dreams at night have been mind-blowing to say the least. I have not had such "real" dreams in a very long time. You know, the kind where you do NOT want to wake up from. The kind you wish you could live in forever. The kind, when you do finally wake up you roll over once more to see if you can get back into it, but to no avail, and then you feel like crying because the life you had in your dream was sooo muchhhhh betterrrrr than the one you are currently living in.

Yeah, those kind of dreams.

The first dream was in answer to a question I had asked myself before trying to sleep. I had just finished reading a book (contemporary romance) where the male protagonist was hot. Soooo hot. I liked the book very much, I liked the writing very much, I liked the male character (and the female MC, but this is not about her). Anyway, as I drifted off to sleep that night, I asked myself the questions -- Why can't I write a character like him? What is the secret? How do I get my writing to THAT place?

Ellis -- love him
So, I slept. And in my dream I was with my character Ellis Smith, Marquess of Haverlane from THE LADY'S FATE. Yeah, I know kind of wacked, but go with me. This book was the first novel in the series that I had published. It is, however, not the FIRST book in the series it is in actuality, the THIRD.

However, it has always been my best seller. Even when I have published other novels THE LADY'S FATE has always managed to outsell anything else. And I have always wondered why.

In my dream that night, the answer finally came to me. I was in love with Ellis when I wrote the book. Totally, irrevocably smitten. I had his image so clearly in my mind during every single scene that I wrote, I couldn't help it.
(Mind you, I had only ever seen the actor from this picture once, in a British drama about a zillion years ago, and even though he's quite famous now, I still can't tell you his name.) He's always been Ellis to me.

I also loved Violet as I wrote it, not in that way, but as a writer who's dug deep from the recesses of her own memory and imprinted her feelings onto the page through her character. (wow, that was kind of deep for me.) Anyway, as I was BEING Violet, and falling IN LOVE with Ellis as I was WRITING, I guess it made an impression on the pages. Hence, the obvious outselling other of my novels.

When I awoke from this rather bizarre dream, and as the answer clicked into place, that made me think about my other stories -- why they sell, or don't, and how I felt about the characters as I wrote each of them. Was I in love with them as well? I can honestly say, yes. And no, some not so much.

However, what's really weird, is -- each of the leading male characters from my other novels is based on a man I have known and loved at some point during my life. In each of the stories, each of them has the flaw that broke us up in real life to one extent or another. (I'm a writer who draws from her experiences) EXCEPT FOR ELLIS. He is totally and without reservation, completely made up.

Mind blowing isn't it? Well, maybe not to you, but it certainly was to me.

Perhaps I need to go on vacation more often? Or just eat pistachio ice cream before going to bed.

Tell me -- Do you ever dream about your characters? Do they speak to you? Give you the answers to questions you didn't even know you wanted? Or do they generally leave you alone?

Anne Gallagher (c) 1014

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Collapsed on My Bed

Good Morning. If you didn't know, we are at the beach on vacation. We arrived at our final final final destination Saturday around noon. (I say final final final because I have slept on 4 different couches in the last 3 weeks.) After packing and loading the car in the morning, I had to unload and unpack, then go to Mary's and get all the stuff we left there -- a major glitch in my mother's planning -- and so when I was finally finished with all of that (hers, mine, Monster's) I collapsed on my bed.

where we're staying -- small but cozy

Sunday morning I awoke with a stomach/intestinal/headachy kind of something but that didn't stop me from going to the supermarket and stocking up on all the food I haven't eaten in nearly ten years. Naturally all carbohydrates, ten million calories each, and filled with sugar. (Scones, crumpets, garlic bread, regular bread, artisan bread, cheesecake, tomato pie.We got back from the market and I ate my way through the afternoon, then collapsed on my bed.

surrounded by flowers

This morning I awoke with a major headache because of the crazy weather. It's 72 degrees out with 72% humidity. We're expecting a major thunderstorm this morning according to Kelly Bates the meteorologist. However, the sun is shining right now, but the wind is blowing around 20 knots. I am freezing. In all my years living on the beach I can never remember a July being so cold. And I did not pack one single jacket or pair of pants for me. Thankfully I do have socks.

I did manage to finally repair the scene in Chapter 8 that I have been working on since I got to Rhode Island. It's been bugging me since I wrote it, and thought I would be able to fix it while on vacation, but the solution didn't come to me until I was laying on my bed wondering if I packed the Pepto Bismal. And my mother and Monster were taking a walk on the beach so I had the house to myself for a little while.

the view from across the street -- you can't see it but
Rhode Island Sound and Block Island are in the distance

I'm waiting for the weather to make up its mind so I can decide what I'm going to do today. My headache has not dissipated ( because I had to sleep with my window closed and now my head feels like I have a hangover) but I really want to get this chapter finished. I worked on the little narrative between the two big scenes in Chapter 8, but I'd really like to get to Chapter 9 today. With 19 days left to vacation, I'd like to be able to finish this novella before I get home.

However, I just want to collapse on my bed.

I deserve it.

the neighbor's porch. Isn't it pretty?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2104

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Working Vacation

Good Morning. As some of you may know from my recent tweets (@gallagher_anne) I am in Rhode Island on vacation. We left on the 10th of July and stayed 6 days with my brother and his wife in Pennsylvania.

the view from outside his front door
corn fields and mountains

We left there and drove to Rhode Island, where we're staying with my mother's friend, Mary, until the 22, when we go up to my cousin's house to stay for 4 days, and then come back to the beach for three weeks.

the first day we arrived, I planted my ass
in the chair and refused to move -
 paid for it with severe sunburn
can you see how white my feet are?
after that day they were so burned
I couldn't even wear flops

Why all this traveling? Because my mother didn't plan accordingly and now we're doing the  "sleep-over shuffle". Don't get me wrong, it's great to be "home" (I grew up in Rhode Island) and I'm eating my way through food I haven't tasted in a couple of years, but I'm not sleeping right (from a lumpy double, to a soft twin, to a couch), not pooping right (sorry, that was probably TMI) and have to deal with my MOTHER. (Who, quite frankly, is a pain in the arse. She's a neat freak and has to "clean" and put away, and nag that I'm not the same way.)

And let's not forget about my Monster, whose only words besides "Good Morning" are "When can we go to the beach?"

the beach -- that's Monster on the right with her boogie board

I had a lot of stress last year. A LOT. Most of it personal, some of it nasty (Remember the bully at school?), and I thought coming to the beach would be good for me. I would relax and refresh and regenerate. I would also be able to finish the second novella I started (for the conclusion of my series THE RELUCTANT GROOMS).

I thought, (thought being the operative word here) that I would be able to "work" in the morning, and then Monster and I would traipse down to the beach in the afternoon. After supper I could edit or whatever, and maybe Tweet some more, and keep to a schedule so that I could at least finish the first draft to THE LADY'S SECRET.

stone sculpture at the Pt. Judith Lighthouse Coast Guard Station

How's that working for me, you may ask. Yeah, not so much. I haven't even LOOKED at the manuscript (though I have two laptops and copious notes with me). There's too much going on.

And it's not that it's TOO much, it is, believe it or not, the NOISE.

I'm a silent writer. I cannot have any background noise, music, tv, distractions. I get into my own head, into my character's heads and let the words pour out. Take for instance right now as I'm writing this -- my mother is slurping her oatmeal, Monster is watching some weird sci-fi thing on tv, and the stupid hot water heater is making this god-awful noise in the basement. It's driving me crazy (especially the slurping).

So what's a writer like me supposed to do? I have no idea. Even if I go upstairs to the bedroom, Monster will follow me "What are you doing? Can we go to the beach? When are you going to finish?" My mother will follow that up with "Are you taking a shower? Are you going to do laundry? Are you going to the supermarket?"

I am supposed to be on a "working vacation". So far it's work just being here.

Tell me -- Have you ever taken a "working vacation"? Did you get any work done? If so, please tell me HOW.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

PS If you'd like to see a couple more pics from our first day at the beach, you can click here

Monday, July 14, 2014

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Good morning. Call me frustrated. For the last several weeks I've been trying to figure out why I can't comment on some blogs, to no avail. I received a ChromeBook for my birthday, and with Blogger being attached to Google, you would think it would make commenting a snap. Not so much. I have no idea why I can't comment, even (as I found out this morning) on my best friend's blog.

I also finally went over to Goodreads to try AGAIN to put up THE CAPTAIN'S COINCIDENCE. It's been published since March. I've tried to do it like 5 times since then, and again, to no avail. After screwing playing around with it for like 45 minutes, I finally got it all together in one place, on my author page. You would think it would be easy considering they're interfaced with Amazon. But no.

Then there's Google+. I figured if I joined that, it would be easier to blog and post, and join, and see, and do, and guess what, it's just another nightmare to figure out. AND the worst part is I have two Anne Gallagher persona's, so which one did I set myself up with -- the WRONG one. I set up the Piedmont Writer blog instead of the Anne Gallagher one.

I'm kind of peeved because I also can't write. I'm 25K in to THE LADY'S SECRET and want to finish it but I can only write on Monster's laptop, because the ChromeBook won't allow Word, and DropBox won't reconfigure it. It's an unholy mess trying to figure out how to do this, and how to do that.

Sorry about the rant today, but I'm supposed to be basking on the beach, but we're stuck in Pennsylvania because of impending severe thunderstorms. Not that I mind PA, it's gorgeous where my brother lives, but I'm itching to smell seaweed.

I'm at the point where I'm ready to give up on social media all together. I mean, I take breaks when it all gets to be too much, but somewhere in between breaks, they change codes or htmls or some god-forsaken-thing, and then I can't figure out how to do anything. I HATE modern technology.

And let's not even get into why I can't set up voice mail on my new Android phone. You would think the maker's of the device would give you clear concise directions on how to do it. Guess what... not even a word. So I've been to the store where I bought it, but none of the salespeople could help me either.

I need a vacation.

Tell me -- How do YOU feel about modern technology? Do you embrace it? or would you rather be in the stone age? (I'm heading back to Jurassic I think.)

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Revisions, Re-writing, Re-Publishing in the Digital Age

Good Morning. Well, I never expected to be gone for this long, but it's been a wild ride the last few months.

I've been writing, of course, and revising, naturally, then re-writing, what else, and then re-publishing.

Re-Publishing. What a concept. Thirty years ago that would never have happened, unless you wrote a scholarly tome, and the changes that occurred would have demanded a re-write. You know, Second Edition, with a new forward, index, glossary, what have you.

These days, rewriting and republishing are almost second nature. I've done it myself I don't know how many times.

Writing my series The Reluctant Grooms has been a challenge these last few months. I'm finally at the end of it with one more novella, one more novel, and possibly one final final short story to give the entire thing complete closure. (I say final final because I keep finding more stories to tell. Yikes!)

Here's the thing -- As I wrote the last novella, I kept finding little things that needed to be tweaked in the other stories to make the series work as a cohesive whole. If a reader wanted to start at THE LADY'S MASQUERADE and work her way through the series in order, (and has a really good memory) the ending wouldn't make much sense. Some of my earlier dates were wrong, some of my characters names have changed, some of the information I imparted means nothing now. Even though I wrote everything as a stand-alone, there is a sub-plot that runs through each of them that ends with the final novel.

To take another example, I started reading Sue Grafton's Alphabet series (you know -- A is for Alibi with Kinsey Milhone), but I stopped somewhere around L. I can't remember exactly why, I only know it had something to do with her family. By L, they either weren't there or had changed so dramatically I just didn't get it. I was disappointed because I really liked those books. Perhaps it had to do with the publisher (she is a famous cash cow) and they didn't want her bogging down the main plot. I don't know. However, because of that, I won't finish reading them. (Okay, maybe someday when the series is finished, but not now. I like to read in order.)

In my latest novella LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING, Lady Olivia receives an invitation to the Duke of Straford's holiday ball, which was also an engagement party for his brother. Well, according to the novella that I wrote about his brother, this engagement party could not happen because Dorcas and Daniel did not get engaged until the following summer.

Well, I went back into LADY CADORET'S LONGING, and not only did I tweak the dates, I also revised and rewrote what was necessary for LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING to be correct and true. I did the same for LOVE FINDS LORD DAVINGDALE, another story that held content for the ending of the series.

Yes, it was a pain in the neck. Literally. I spent the better part of eleven days
hunched over the computer, re-reading, revising, rewriting all to allow the ending to make sense. And also to not have some reviewer slam me for mixing up my dates.

You may ask, does it really matter? Oh, YES! Series readers are quite fanatical about information. They REMEMBER even the slightest mistake. As I did with Sue Grafton. If you lose them half-way through, they may never come back no matter how many glowing reviews you have.

I also added the first chapter for each succeeding novel, to the novels I had already published. Remember in the old days that was how publishers got you to buy the next novel in the series. A little tease for what was to come next. Well, I hadn't done it because none of my books were ever published in order according to the series. I had to wait five years for that to happen, and now that is finally has, I decided it was time to keep the order straight.

Also, I found that my writing has changed over the years. Words and phrases that I used five years ago were cumbersome and sometimes just plain wrong. I also found typo's (egads that just about slayed me because I have four critters and two betas) so I took those out. Little changes that allowed the books to become more polished so NEW readers won't be deterred from giving up on the series. You know.

Re-publishing. What a concept.

Tell me -- Have you ever republished? How long did you wait between publication dates? Are you writing a series like me and found the beginning didn't match the ending?

I also wanted to say that for some reason Blogger is being mean to me and I find I can't comment on some blogs. I joined Google + thinking that would help, but it didn't. I've spoken to a few people and they can't figure it out either. I know I'm not the only one. If anyone has a clue why Blogger won't let me comment, please tell. Thanks.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

Good Morning. I read this article by Kristine Katherine Rusch a few weeks ago and as she said in her blog title, all about surprise. So Surprise. It's Tuesday. And I'm posting.

It's also my birthday. I'm 52. But in my head I think like I'm 38. My body feels like it's 96. (I've been doing yard work for the last week, before the weather turns either too wet or too hot.) I used to like yard work. Not so much anymore. Priorities change as we get older.

I've been thinking a lot about my house. Alas, I have not painted since we moved in. I'm living in a beige world with pineapple wallpaper. I need to put some color up.

The yard sale I thought was this weekend is actually next. But I didn't find that out until after I cleaned the Florida room. We're on Spring Break this week so I've been cleaning. Like a mad fishwife. Thinking about tearing down pineapple wallpaper.

I'm stuck on a book I've been working on lately. Not so much the "book" but the series. I've been re-evaluating what I want to do with it. I have an idea for another one, a spin-off from this. I've been giving serious thought about acquiring an agent.

And because I've been thinking and cleaning, all this has brought about another rather personal discussion I was having with a friend of mine. You know, that what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life discussion, the one you have after after you blow your final exam because you were out drinking the night before. The one you have when you walk out on a perfectly good job because that little bitch in the downstairs office got the promotion you deserved. The one you have when you quit your high paying executive job making six figures to become an organic wheat grass farmer in Ohio. You know, what the fuck am I doing with my life?

Throughout my life, I have always maintained when something stops being fun, I won't do it anymore. And I don't. I think because it's my birthday I have to be truthful with myself. Blogging isn't fun for me anymore. I struggle to think up new and interesting topics of conversation. I struggle to comment on your blogs. (I've missed some fine series/specials during the A-Z Challenge this year. By friends, no less.) I struggle to keep up.

I know there are super-bloggers out there who do it all. Write, Tweet, Blog, Tour, etc. etc. Have an amazing presence on all different kinds of mediums. Have thousands of followers everywhere. Yeah, I'm not that kind of girl. And I don't pretend to be.

However, knowing what I do about social media, (and a lot of other factors), I can't just quit blogging. Not yet. But I do have to refocus, re-evaluate, and re-design. So, I'm going to take some time off and do just that.

I hope you all have a great Spring. I'll see you when I do.

PS Today is also Earth Day. Be kind to the Earth. Pick up some trash.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dividing Love

Good Morning. I've been tackling a new project, part of the Regency series I've been writing for the last couple of years. However, with this book, I'm trying to introduce a new series that I WILL BE writing beginning next year.

I'm stuck. Not because I can't write. I have the words, the outline, and believe it or not, the time. I have just never encountered this particular dilemma in my real life so I have nothing to base my character on.

Let's call my character, Oprah. Oprah knows two very different men. Steadman and John. Oprah is in love with each of these men for different reasons. Here's the skinny and then I'll tell you my problem.

Steadman -- Oprah met Steadman when they were both twenty, two weeks before she was to marry Fitzhugh, an old man. She marries him because she has to. For her family. Steadman joins the Army. Oprah doesn't see him again for almost forty years, at a school reunion.When they meet, Fitzhugh is dead, Steadman is a decorated Colonel and Oprah is a billionaire. Steadman and
Oprah have a full-blown love fest for a year where everyone thinks by Christmas they'll be engaged, with a spring wedding. On Twelfth Night, when Steadman doesn't propose, Oprah gets all up in his face and storms out the door. (Steadman has amassed a small fortune from being in the Army, and also has about a billion dollar inheritance. Her family thinks he's a good catch.)

John -- So Oprah's family is related to some real gangster type people, and they put a hit out on another of Oprah's relatives, her dearest niece. So Oprah grabs the girl and flies cross country to Connecticut to hide
out on a farm. Near the ocean. Living in near seclusion, with only John, the houseman for company, Oprah and he form an attachment. And then to take it a step further, once the threat from the niece is removed, John moves back to Oprah's mansion, where they've been having a perfectly kept secret affair. (Because he's actually Black Ops and posing as the butler. Oprah entertains a lot of foreign dignitaries. John speaks fifteen languages. He's doing special time for the Foreign Office.)

However, here's the kicker -- Both Steadman and John have been called up for one last mission.

When John tells her he's going away, Oprah wants to get married. She tells him she'll go to the JP and get the licence. John says no. What would people think? He's just a butler, married to a billionaire. That's like Liz and Larry. No thanks, says John. She argues it's not like that. He doesn't want to hear it.

But John also told Oprah that Steadman is going on this same mission and she must apologize to Steadman for running away last year. What if she never sees him again? However, when she apologizes, Steadman tells her what a mistake he made for not giving her a ring, he understands what happened and why she went away, and all is forgiven. He asks her to marry him. She's so overwhelmed, she says yes.

My character is in love with two men. At the same time. And is having a dalliance with each of them. At the same time. Yes, she has a perfectly good reason for it. Perhaps even somewhat selfless (if I wrote that scene the right way), but let's call a spade a spade here. She's being a slut. And selfish. And cruel. And conceited. And all these things that women hate about other women, because those kind of women always get what they want, instead of what they deserve. You know.

Well, in this case, that isn't so. Oprah will get what she deserves and then some.

My problem is I can't find the dividing line between the love she feels for each of them. Her cousin, Constance says to her, "What are you going to do, just wait until one of them comes back? What if neither of them do? What if they both do? What are you going to do then?" Oprah says it doesn't matter if they both hate her when they return, only that they both come back alive.

Oprah loves each of them for totally different reasons. And wants to marry each of them for totally different reasons. (There's more to each backstory than I've alluded to here.) The way I've written it so far, Oprah never really reveals who she wants more. And that's where I'm stuck -- Will my readers want Oprah to choose one particular man, or will they suspend their disbelief that she can love two men equally?

Tell me --  Should I be looking for the dividing line? Can a person be in love with two people at the same time? What would you rather see as a reader -- a firm decision in love, or ambiguity until the story plays out?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Need A Rolodex

Good morning. My last few weeks  have been just an ongoing bombardment of information overload. Between writing reports for committees at school (yeah, this whole "volunteer" thing is actually a full-time job), and writing more reports for a small business I'm trying to get off the ground (yeah, this whole "starving artist" thing can't be a full-time job anymore) and then research for the new book I'm working on (no rest for the wicked, up to 30k so far, and let me tell you how excited I am to create this character) I am sick of sitting at the computer.

And although I have spent nearly every waking hour on one computer or another, I haven't been able to check blogs or even write blog posts. I can't even tell you the last time I was on Twitter. (I guess that's how I managed to write 25k.) I said to myself, (last night as a matter of fact), I can't remember the last time I watched television. I'm actually in bed most nights by 8:30. And even then it's a struggle to keep my eyes open. (I get up most mornings around 5am. Even when I don't have to. And I know a lot of you do too.)

I could ramble on with the litany of how-busy-my-life-is-bullshit, but I won't bore you. Let's say I've just been flat-out 70. With the up-coming Easter break from school (12 days) I told Monster, "That's it! We're cleaning this house." Yes, I know, I threaten to clean at least once a week. It doesn't actually get done above once a month. But now I have time to do the "BIG" clean. Windows, walls, curtains, rip up the rest of the carpet in the kitchen, rearrange furniture, have a yard sale. Yeah, "BIG".

I looked my desk the other day. It's a nightmare. No. Really. I can't even begin to imagine cleaning it. I have notes, three levels deep. I have a dinner plate covering the little trash can on my desk, so I can open a folder for more flat surface. My research books are buried under more notes. My four tier shelf is now eight. I would take a picture and show you, but I would be utterly mortified if you saw the mess it truly is. Hey, out of chaos comes order. (I dream of an office "suite" with a nine foot long table to spread out on. And lots of drawers and a built-in bookcase.)

On my desk, at the base of my angel-reading-a-book statue, I have a stack of scrap paper that measures about two inches high. Passwords to all the sites I'm on, business cards, bookmarks with author information, web-site addresses, phone numbers.

I have said to myself over the last few years, I really should invest in a Rolodex. Spin the wheel, find what you want. I get giddy just thinking about what information I could keep in one. And it would help straighten out one little corner in my life. I had one in my hand at this wicked cool thrift shop I frequent; a flat box container, with a lid, with all the cards intact, practically brand new, that 1970's mustard color, for $3.00, and I put it down. It didn't spin. I don't know why, it has to spin.

(Yes, I'm sure there are devices or apps that keep that information for you, but that's way too technical for me. Like I said, I'm on information overload. I don't think my brain could handle learning one more thing.)

I like the idea of touching the thing itself, tactile, the spinning, the thick, hard, brown plastic base. Oh yes, I want an old one. Like Maxwell Smart had on his desk. Or Darren Stevens. (I like old things.) They served a purpose, were functional, and didn't fizzle out if you accidentally dropped it in water. Or lost all your data because the battery died. Or someone stole it. Back then you didn't have to worry about safe guarding devices because they were only dreams, or things that appeared on Star Trek. You just had to open the lid and spin the wheel. (Yes, I do realize that lugging this bad boy around everywhere would break your back, but I'm still old school, that I only do "business" from my desk in my office.

I miss this little baby too. Smith-Corona Electronic with self-correcting cartridges. I still have ink and correcting tape for it. I'd love to find another one. I lost my original in the move to NC. When I got it for my high school graduation present, that was the best thing I could have gotten. It served me very well for nearly 20 years. In college I upgraded to one of these.

I still have it. And all the disks. I wrote all my papers on this. And the typewriter. They have interchangeable ink cartridges. Groovy huh. That little time machine cost me $350 at the time. Computers were first coming out and they were $1500. I thought I was getting a steal.

And, I was just saying to my assistant in Gift Cards, how I hate the new pencils. They just don't have good lead anymore. Not like the old Ticonderoga's we used in grade school. (I do despise pencils for writing,
but with the numbers we use, we need pencils in the gift card office.)

My friend Nancy and I were talking about what kids today have and what we grew up with. We're about the same age. It's a wonder we survived into adult hood. Things were so much simpler back then. We didn't have it all in our "face" 24/7. Sure, it was bulky, and heavy, and somewhat less functional than it is now (I couldn't live without my pc), but it was somehow less hectic. There was more time to enjoy life, more time to just be. I think the "old things" remind me to do just that.

Here's a small list of things we came up with.

We didn't have Wii and Gameboy, we went "outside" to play. We came home when the streetlights came on.

We didn't have bicycle helmets or shin guards.

We had phones that hung on the kitchen wall with a tangled up cord that could stretch 20 ft.

We didn't have to buy water, it came out of the tap.

We had three television stations and PBS. (When I was a kid, our tv was black and white.)

We listened to a.m. radio.

We never wore sunscreen unless we were at the beach. It didn't have SPF.

Everybody could eat PB&J on white bread.

You needed a dime to make a phone call from a phone booth. You called the operator for information.(My family and I once had a phone that was three-party, and only had to dial out 5 numbers to reach the "village" where we lived.)

Only rich people had automatic dishwashers.

We wore cotton because polyester hadn't been invented.

Ah, the good old days.

Tell me --  what do you miss?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014