Tag Archives: Calgon

Where is my mind? and #ROW80

I capped off a busy week with a super fun breakfast/reunion this morning.  I got together with two friends who went on an exchange program to England with me in 1990 and the guy whose family hosted two of us.  I had a wonderful time catching up with everyone – we talked about work and following your passion and kids and we reminisced and laughed and ate good food. It was one of those “picking up where you left off” experiences, really. And, I scored a roll of Rowntrees Fruit Gums. 🙂

Then I took the kids to a fun Star Wars birthday party (did you know that there are blow-up lightsabers?) and now we’re all worn out and I finally have time to do my ROW80 update.

I was a blogging fool this week. I participated in the YA Scavenger Hunt – which was a blast!  Many thanks to Colleen Houck for including me. I also wrote a lengthy post that will go up on the 10th for the 12 Days of Christmas Reading.  So, if YA books aren’t you thing and you didn’t get in on the scavenger hunt, you’ll want to make the rounds on 12 Days – lots of giveaways of all types of books.

Writing-wise, this week was a bit of a bust, but I don’t feel too badly about it because I was doing so many other author-centric things.  600 words on Back in Time and 87 on a pen name story on Friday.  I want to finish both stories this week.  We’ll see what happens –  when I think my week is going to be chill it suddenly becomes busy.

Here’s to us all getting off one stop before Crazytown Central.

Happy Thanksgiving and #ROW80

This year my family decided to do something different for Thanksgiving and get out of town. I’m headed to Mt. Hood in a couple of hours to enjoy a few days of eating and sledding and snowball fights.

Here’s where we’re staying:

Yes, that’s the Timberline Lodge – the hotel from The Shining. I fully expect my sister to wake me at least once by wiggling her finger in my face and saying “redrumredrumredrum.”

Our plan for Thanksgiving is to eat ourselves silly and then take the kids out to play in the snow.  We don’t get much  in the valley, and when we do it’s usually covered in a sheet of ice, so my kids have never been sledding before!

Wish me luck, I’m going to be the one driving and I haven’t ever put chains on my tires.  Actually, I haven’t driven in much snow at all since I was a teenager…why did I volunteer for this job again? 🙂

Enjoy the holiday, American types, and do yourself a favor and sleep in on Friday.  The 500 pack of socks for 10 cents will still be there later in the day.

Row80 update: I barfed up a whopping 3,279 words on a new pen name short story on Monday. I’m using barf in the best sense of the word – I’d been thinking about the story for a while now and wasn’t in the mood to work on my DBC story, so I thought I’d just get the beginning written.  It took off from there!  I probably would’ve stayed up late and written more, but my husband wanted me to watch How I Met Your Mother with him and my eyes were burning something fierce. I added another 400 words yesterday and have left off in an awesome spot so that I’ll be rarin’ to go on it  when I get back from the mountain.

I also completely reorganized all of my files and finally got the epub version of most of my stories up on All Romance.  A fairly productive beginning to the week that I will now completely ruin by being a sloth for three days.  Yippee!!

Have a good one, y’all.

Oh, yes, it’s ladies weekend and #ROW80

I’m allowed to start looking forward to the weekend when it’s only Wednesday, right?  This week has sucked so far, as I’ve got a cold and my washer and dryer crapped out just when I really needed them.  Off to Best Buy we went and procured ourselves a new set.

They were delivered yesterday, but the outlet in my laundry room was designed for a range instead of a dryer. My poor house.  I love it.  It’s orange, has a tree growing in the center of it and has lots and lots of windows, but it was built in 1964 and has apparently had nothing but DIYers (including me) habitate under its skylights. Something always has to be updated or redone because it was slapped together with hillbilly carpentry.

Many thanks to Ben, an electrician, for coming out and putting a new outlet in on such short notice.  Also, thank you for being hot and having an accent. I can’t really remember anything you said to me, but the washer and dryer are all hooked up and I’ve got on clean underwear for the first time this week.

Yeah, so when that’s a highlight you can bet I’m ready for a weekend away with my girlfriends.

We go to my friend’s family cabin at the beach every November – In fact, I think this will be my 9th year. The only time I’ve missed it was when I was, like, two days away from giving birth to my son.  We all lounge about and read US and People magazine, drink Bud Light, eat junk food and just generally have a grown-up slumber party.  On Saturday we hit the outlet mall and get started on our Christmas shopping. We play card games and make up dance routines and try on each others’ clothes. There is some hair braiding, I won’t lie. We, without fail, burn our dinner on the first night and have something fried with ranch dressing on it at the bar the second night.

The best part is we get to be how we used to be for a weekend. Before husbands and kids and jobs and mortgages and all the have-to’s that come with getting older. I get called by my first name and no one asks me to get them anything besides maybe another beer. I can forget that I’m on my second set of washer and dryers in my adult life.

The next best part is on Sunday when we go home and get to see our husbands and kids and we offer to get them anything they want and it’s good to be called Honey and Mommy again.

No matter how successful I want to be as a mother and writer, how driven I am, how much I sacrifice “who I used to be,” it can’t all be about getting ahead.  Sometimes you have to relax, do some 8-counts, play Apples to Apples and not worry about word count or deadlines or if your kids have clean jammies.

My point: Acting like a jackass 18-year-old can be good for you. 🙂

ROW80: I wrote 376 words on Dissent on Tuesday and head plotted the rest of the scene last night while folding, you guessed it, laundry.

Doughnut overload and #ROW80

It’s only been since Wednesday that I last blogged, but it feels like it’s been weeks!  Since Wednesday, I’ve made a Rain Boots Required stop at West Linn Public library and spent two long days at the Wordstock festival in Portland.

Dudes and dudettes, so much has happened!

The tour stop in West Linn was fabulous.  We had another great turn out and this time our audience was filled with actual young adults.  They asked great questions – about writing and publishing and technique.  Watch out, y’all, the next crop of writers are gonna be some savvy upstarts!!

Thanks so much to Elaine, the Teen librarian at WLPL. She made us feel so welcome and she is such a dedicated and awesome librarian.  The kids of West Linn are lucky to have her and her bosses on their side.  The teen section of their library is a place that I know I would’ve loved to spend time in as a YA because I’m now having fantasies about escaping to there as an adult.

My apologies to Lisa Nowak and Laura Elliott for my less than stellar AV skillz.  I think we can all agree I shouldn’t be in charge of taping the talks anymore!! 🙂

Saturday and Sunday were spent at Wordstock from 10-6.  We had VooDoo Doughnuts at our table and let me tell y’all, doughnuts are the great equalizer.  We talked (and talked and talked and talked) to so many people who might not have stopped by our booth if it wasn’t for those crazy doughnuts.

I shared a booth with authors Angela Carlie and Laura Elliott. Lisa Nowak was at another booth, but she popped over frequently to hang out.  We had such a blast!

Since I had to register the booth name before we had even named our author tour and I wasn’t sure who exactly was going to share it with me, I named it Pacific Northwest YA Authors.  Good name, right?

Plenty of folks thought so.  In fact, a lot of people thought we were an organization and wanted to join.  At first, we laughed about it and told them we just needed a name for our booth, then, well it occurred to us that maybe we were an organization of sorts.  More of a group, but we had authors wanting to join and librarians and teachers wanting us to come give talks at their schools.

Never one to turn down an opportunity…

I give you Pacific Northwest YA Authors.

The website and e-mail address were created on Saturday night when I couldn’t sleep but for thinkin’.  Today, we signed up four schools/libraries to give talks at and collected over 20 e-mail addresses from people who want to receive our newsletter.

There’s just a welcome post up there right now, but by the end of this week I should have all of our Abouts, videos, reference links, contact info., guidelines for joining, etc. up.

Another awesome thing that happened at Wordstock besides networking our asses off, was that Lisa Nowak noticed the Trends in Publishing panel was the most well attended one of the whole event.  And you know what?  The panelists talked about self-publishing, but didn’t have a ton of experience with it.  So, Lisa and I tracked down the incoming director of Wordstock and pitched her a self-publishing panel for next year.  She seemed into it and said we were the first people to pitch her a panel for the following year.  Who knows what will come of it, but I can’t stress enough that it never hurts to ask for what you want!

ROW80 update:  If you’ve stuck around, I have good thangs to share about this too! (Seriously, I had three doughnuts today and am soooo high on the sugar!!)  I talked about my decent word count for Tuesday on Wednesday.  Yay!  On Thursday, I fired up my new Final Draft software.

Guys, I’m in love.  Yes, I actually heart software.

Although my ultimate dream would’ve been to pick a TV format and then copy and paste what I’d already written directly into it, what I got was pretty close.  I selected the script format that they use on Grey’s Anatomy and copy and pasted line by line what I’d written so far.  Voila!  Formatted script.  So easy to use.  I spent the last hour of my writing time creating new stuff for the script.  It’s such a fun project because I get to rewrite my book without having to actually rewrite my book.  Writing new dialogue for the Rosedell gang made me absolutely ecstatic.  There’s a new conversation between Avery and his best friend Jason that had me laughing my butt off.  It’s fun to be back in Zellie’s world in a new way.

Okay, I’m off to work on the PacNWYA website before my sugar crash commences.  Peace out.

#Row80 round four goals

I’m setting simple goals for myself this round. I already have a ton of things planned for the next three months – I’m doing a book tour this month, will be out-of-town twice in November, with my son’s birthday and Thanksgiving happening in between, and December is holiday madness and then my daughter’s birthday.  These are all things I know about.

Since I had so many unplanned things occur during the last two rounds – two car accidents, lots of doctor visits, flea infestation of epic proportions, my hard drive crashed – I ‘m expecting some sort of obstacle to pop up during this one.

My goal is to make Tuesdays Day of Sacrifice Day and Thursday Glimpse TV pilot day.  There are two more DoS stories left to write and I’d love to have one more out in time for the holidays, but I’m not going to bank on it.  The Glimpse pilot will be finished before the end of this round, simply because it’s half done already.  Then Thursdays will switch to editing or more DoS.

I want to write two novels, a short story, the last DoS novelette and a novella in 2012 and get the TV pilot sent to SOMEONE.  So, this round I’m going easy on myself.

Best of luck to all the ROW80 participants !  I’ll “see” you all at the Twitter party on Wednesday!

FYI

Yes, I’ve done it again.  I was considering making a static page for my website/blog, but then you all know how I get when I start fiddling around with things. 🙂

I’ve still got to add the DoS and Zellie glossaries sometime this week, so be on the lookout for those.

I decided to change things up because at this point I’ve got more DoS stories than I do Zellie books and I didn’t want to give over the design of my whole blog to those covers anymore.  I have to admit, I do miss the green and I might still change that up.

The new header is one of my husband’s book cover rejects.  I love old typewriter’s and I thought that photo combined with the crazy colors was representative of me.  I’m not so good at plain. 🙂

In non-website design news, Takeover is available almost everywhere now.  If you click on the Day of Sacrifice Series tab at the top and scroll down, all the buy links are there. I’ve still got to put it up at All Romance.  Or take all my books down from there.  I’ve sold a dollars worth of material on that site and have yet to turn in my tax form to get my dollar.

I know, it’s been on the top of my ginormous to-do list for, like, 4 months.

Not as much writing has been happening this week as I had planned…and I came up with another book idea.  Seriously, my brain is so mean to me.  One. Thing. At. A. Time.

The Rain Boots Required YA Author tour starts this Saturday and I’m pumped for that.  For a complete schedule of the tour, check out our Facebook page.

All right, enough rambling for today.  Both of my kids are going through growth spurts again, so they’re eating all the time and sleeping (and not sleeping) at weird hours.  There goes any semblance of a schedule I was trying to stick to!  Anyhoo, I’m a tired and ramblacious lady today.

Cheers.

Back in business

Yay!  I have a new hard drive and my husband was able to retrieve all the files from my old one.  I’m so relieved!  You better believe the first thing I did was back up everything on my external hard drive.  I will not make that mistake again.

I’ve gotten very little writing done on my vacation, but have managed to do a lot of other things.  My house is cleaner than its been in ages, the curtains I bought for my daughter’s bedroom over a year ago have been hung up,  I cleaned out all the kids clothes and put them in bins according to age or sent them to the Goodwill.  I just had a lot of crap like that to do and I was never getting around to it because I was trying to be super writer that puts out something new every two months.  I still have not painted the freaking dining room and at this point am considering telling people the unfinished wall is supposed to look like that.  Uh, it’s rustic. 🙂

I did get a little business done – the author tour in October is really shaping up.  We’ve got gigs at the Beaverton library, Interzone coffee-house in Corvallis, and A Children’s Place bookstore in Portland.  There is all the possibility for a date at the Camas library and a couple other bookstores around town.  Now I’ve just got to figure out what I’m going to read!  What do you all think?  Beginning of Glimpse or  the Avery and Zellie standing outside of school scene?  Everyone always seems to like the hair-tucking scene. 🙂

Otherwise, I’ve stuck to my guns and tried to do nothing.  Ha!  I went to the beach and have gone to the movies lots.  I’ve read 6 Stephanie Plum novels.  Let me tell you, I’m on 11 and they go to 17 and I think I’ll have gained about 20 lbs. by the time I’m done.  I have never wanted to eat doughnuts so much in my entire life.  Those books are filled with not so subtle doughnut suggestion. I finished book 10 and then went to the store specifically for doughnuts.  I haven’t been this pastry crazed since I was pregnant with my son.

Just thought I’d give you guys all a quick hello and let you know I’m in much better spirits than when I last posted.  I’m taking the rest of this week to further veg and then I’m going to dive back into all my writing projects next week.  Which reminds me, I need to download FocusBooster again!

Have a good one.

New covers, an interview and #ROW80

Behold.  The Zellie Wells trilogy has all new covers!

I finally gave in to all the pressure from the road and transparent building haterz and put Zellie on the covers. 🙂  I’m quite pleased with them and think my sister did an awesome job.

I’d been reluctant to put a person on the cover because I didn’t want to influence reader’s ideas of what the characters looked like. (That’s also why I don’t spend much time describing them except initially.)

For me, I know that when I’m reading a book, most of the time what I picture the characters looking like and the suggestion of what they look like on the cover don’t jibe.  Maybe I’m weird that way. (In my mind, Peeta from the Hunger Games is the brunette and Gale is the blonde.)

But, then I got this Land’s End catalog in the mail and there was Zellie right on the front.  The exact Zellie that’s in my head and she was posing with a cute brunette Avery-in-his-twenties to boot! My sister had someone to model her drawings after.

It was meant to be.

Thank you, Universe!

Another great thing that happened to me this week (don’t worry, it hasn’t all been roses) is that author Angela Carlie asked if she could interview me on her blog.  She does a series on Fridays called (Someday) Famous YA Author.  She asked great questions and is a super cool person.  You guys should totally read her books. You can read my interview here.

And now for the dandelion part of my week.

ROW80 update: Glow’s not finished yet.  I had my butt in the chair writing on it all week, but I hit a wall on Thursday. Chapter 19 made the Chapter 11 debacle look like a day at the fair. I rewrote it seven times between Thursday and Friday and then I had to give up and watch Kyle XY and eat cookies.

Things went better on Saturday.  I managed to get my act together and fix 19 and then bust out 20 and 21.  I’m halfway through 22, which is the big action-y showdown and then all that’s left is the epilogue.

I really wanted to get Glow out in June because my sales are tanking, (I’ve sold as many books this month as I was selling per day in March) but it looks like it will be out in July. This means the next DoS story will probably be out in August instead of July.

And then I’m taking a three-week vacation because I be burnt out.

On the upside, the tanking sales have forced me to do some actual marketing. 🙂 I tweeted about The Toilet Business in a, hopefully, not annoying way all day today.  That effort garnered me a new review and two copies sold. Yay!

Okay, that’s all the blabbing I can handle for today. I apologize for the paragraph I used the word “out” in 16 times. I was going to schedule this post to go live at midnight and it’s 12:13. Time for bed!

Brandin’ and reprimandin’

I have no idea why I titled this post that.  It rhymes.  I’ve also eaten a lot of Easter candy today and am kinda spazzy at the moment.  Lookout, there’s gonna be some rambling.  If you’re not in the mood to take a ride with Princess Crazytown, turn back now…

Still here?

Hi!  If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ll notice that a few things have changed.  Like…it’s now my website and if you type my full name into your browser, this is where you’ll end up. I know, I know.  It took me long enough.

Some authors have their shit together (Zoe Winters, Kait Nolan, Susan Bischoff to name a few) and some do not (Stacey Wallace Benefiel). When I started this whole self-publishing thing a year ago, there wasn’t nearly as much useful information on the internet as there is now and I made a lot of mistakes with  branding myself and building my platform. (Sounds like we all work at a ranch.)

There wasn’t an Indie Book Collective or Becoming an Indie Author at my disposal.  I didn’t go into this endeavor completely blind, I read everything I could find, but like I said, there wasn’t much.  No one was saying, “here are the steps to follow, do these things.”

Therefore, I ended up with a website and a blog that had essentially all the same content on them, an unprofessional Twitter handle and a Facebook fan page that was hard to find because of what I’d named it.

I have two parents, like everyone does.  My dad was a research veterinarian for 35 years. (Use Frontline? My parents thank you for their new house.) Because he spent his work life researching and testing, in his home life my dad is impulsive.  If, at 11pm at night he desires a banana split, he goes and gets a banana split.  He doesn’t consider the consequences of eating a heartburn bomb right before he goes to bed, he just does what he wants to do.  On the other hand, my mom is a worrier.  She overthinks and considers everyone’s opinion and wants to do what’s best for the group.  My parents are a good balance for each other.

But they made me.  I’m both hugely impulsive and hugely indecisive.  I’ve been known to take off and go to the casino for the day because it’s Tuesday. I’ve also been known to fret over whether or not I should put a chip clip on the leftovers of a bag of steam-in-the-bag corn because I don’t know what method of reheating would be best.  In the bag? In a ceramic bowl?  Will it burn or be overcooked if I don’t cover it?  Who cares?  I just won $200 on slots, I could just buy another bag. (Please don’t chastise me for microwaving veggies in plastic bags.  I’ve been ingesting Sweet-N-Low for thirty-some years; I think I’m immune to toxins by now. I am made of Diet Coke.)

Getting back on track: When it came to branding and building my platform, I researched to the best of my abilities.  I fretted over using my real name or a pen name.  I wanted to make sure I was doing things correctly.

 But then I just said eff it and started signing up for stuff.

Um, don’t do what I did.  A year later I’m still cleaning up my messes. The Facebook page is now named after me (Author Stacey Wallace Benefiel) and my twitter handle is pretty close to my name (Stacey_WB).  That left the website/blog melding.

My website is fine, although I never go there except to update it after a new release.  Neither does anyone else.  It’s kinda boring and blah and I could never really settle on a template.  With my blog, I like the template I have and more people cruise by here.  There’s some interaction.  It also has the preferrable domain.  As my sister pointed out, no one is going to type StaceyWB.com into their browser on a whim, they’re going to type my full name.

So, check it out and let me know if you think anything is missing.  Meanwhile, I have to go to all my book pages on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords and change the web address.  Fun times.  I’m saving the task of changing it in all my books for when I go on one of my quarterly re-uploading sprees.

All right, Princess Crazytown is over and out.  I talk at you all again later this week when my sugar high has hopefully worn off.

One Year

It’s my indieversary!  And stop haterz, self-publishversary just doesn’t sound as good, okay? 🙂

Whatever you want to call it, I’ve been a published writer for a year! A year that started and ended just before my birthday, so, to me, age 35 will always be the year I got my act together and finally started doing what I wanted with my life.

I’d like to thank my readers for buying my books, writing reviews, and helping me realize my dream of making a living from writing.

A big awkward girlie high-five to all the book bloggers who have reviewed my books, interviewed me, spread the word and held contests.  I appreciate the support you’ve given me and I hope you all know how instrumental you are in helping to build my writing career.

To all the writers I’ve become friends with this year, let’s have a convention or something.  And by convention, I mean a big party where we all drink beers, quote Buffy and get to hang out in person.  You guys are the best.  Thanks for showing me the ropes and commiserating and having my back.  Thank you for writing books that don’t suck and feeding my reading habit as well. 🙂

Soooooooo many thanks to Sarah, my BFF. Thanks for the editing and suggestions and chats on FB and all the Busch Light/ Masterpiece Theatre evenings.  If you like what I write, then I know it’s good enough. 🙂

Eleventy-billion hugs and kisses to my sister for lovingly and repeatedly telling me to get off my ass and write a book already.  Thanks for believing in me!

And to my family – my crazy kids, my long-suffering-at-his-horrible-job-so-I-could-make-a-go-of-being-a-writer husband, my fantastically supportive parents – I love and appreciate you all more than you could know!

I don’t really have anything brand spankin’ new to give away right now, but if you all would like an e-copy of Day of Sacrifice Vol. 1-3, simply leave your e-mail in the comments and I’ll send you the Smashwords code.

Thanks to everyone for making my first year as an indie author a fabulous one and here’s to the next year being just as great!