Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.



THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Rebecca Buckley's Blog
Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ON THIS SECOND TO LAST DAY OF 2009

What does one say to sum up a total of 365 days from the start to end of a year?  How does one sum up one's self and one's behavior during that year?  Is it done through accomplishments?  Is it done through family's perceptions?  Is it done through friends' perceptions?  I would be inclined to say it's done through our own perception of ourselves and what we've learned in that 365 days that we didn't know the previous year. 

I can only use my own experience since that's all I know.

So, as for me ... what have I learned this year?  I've learned that although family is dear and relationships are rewarding, you have to be true to yourself.  You must decide what it is you want, and lead the kind of life you want and where you want.  Now this isn't something new I've learned, it's just something that has surfaced again ... it had slipped through the cracks a bit, for awhile.  I lost myself in my family, only to be reminded this year that there's a reason distance makes the heart grow fonder.

As a mother, I have been reminded this year that my offspring are independent, have their own partners to love and care for and vice versa. And although they are my "children", they need to be distanced from parents while forging ahead and finding their own way on the paths through life.  It isn't time yet to be living near their mother.  I had forgotten that and had expected too much, too soon.  I remember how it was with my own parents when I was my children's ages, in my 40s.  My parents were definitely not my focus, I was living life to the fullest.  I'd visit them on most holidays and sometimes a time or two or three in between.  But that was it.  And no one loves their parents more than I do.

So, this past year I've learned that I might need someone else in my life. Before 2010 is over, I truly believe I will meet that someone, or perhaps I already know him.  I'm open to it and admit it, finally, so it will happen. Seventy is not too old to fall in love again.

I have learned this past year that I don't have to stay in Arizona.  It all depends on what happens over the next six months with business and personal relationships.  It depends on what becomes available to me. My friend Linda is moving in with me next month, so things may develop from there.  She's mobile, too.  We may head west.

Which reminds me ... this past year I reconnected with two of my best friends - Linda (Lindstrom) Hainline and Barbara McKee.  We've known each other since the late '70s: Linda when we met working at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo CA, and Babs when we met working at the county courthouse in SLO.   We've been in and out of each others' lives ever since.  Love them both.  They both came here this year, and I took a trip to Austin TX to also visit Linda.

As for my spiritual being, I feel I'm progressing ... I am forever seeking and reading, learning more and more about myself and understanding others.  That last part is the hardest - understanding others.  Boy is it ever!  I struggle with that one all the time.  So, focus should be in that department this coming year.

I've learned this past year that I still have critical changes to make with my finances.  That is a major concern.  The old saying ... insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  So, change is necessary! 

All in all ... the past year has been a happy one for me.  I  published my fifth book (third novel) this year.  In addition I  published five other books for authors.  I've increased the Internet presence and distribution for my business (R. J. Buckley Publishing) and myself, have marketed more.  I spent New Year's Eve in Brussels, Belgium, then in April attended the IBPA (publishers) unniversity in New York City (my friend Babs went with me, I met her cousins over a New York dinner - fabulous!).

So, now is the time to reflect more and then move forward beginning the first day of 2010. 

Another decade gone by the wayside, guys!

Here's a toast to you and yours!  May you have a glorious 2010!

 

2009 NEW YEAR'S EVE IN BRUSSELS

JANUARY 1:


Well, finally! I’ve been here two days and it has taken me forever to figure out how to get on the Internet using my laptop in this hotel – Brussels Metropole. I mean to tell you, this has been the most difficult to access ever!

So, people, I’m here! Got here the morning of December 30, and I’m just now starting to acclimate to the time change. My body sure has taken its time to do that this time. Harder as one gets older, I suppose.

Today I woke up at 1 p.m., yesterday (New Year’s Eve) at 5 p.m. just in time for the festivities. However, I came back from the Grand Place (square) early (10 p.m.) after having a nice supper at the Roy (Roi de Espagne), and went back to bed. There wasn’t much going on in the Grand Place, and not many people milling around. I was surprised. But then I found out later that the festivities were in another square, Mont des Artes, near the Place de Royal and palace. However, it was an enteresting evening, I enjoyed it. It just wasn’t what I had envisioned. I had imagined meeting my Belgian prince charming while sipping my champagne … I’m such a dreamer! I know I am. Must be why I write romance novels. All I saw were couples out for the evening, groups of wild students, and the occasional overweight, paunchy loner who was either a traveling salesman or a government type – since the EU headquarters are in Brussels and the Metropole Hotel and area is a favorite among them. I was hit upon by a stray Frenchman, however, at the Metropole Cafe. Short-lived, but still a complimentary, curious conversation over Brandy, although no prince charming.

The fireworks woke me up at midnight and the night sky was ablaze with the most exotic combinations of pyrotechnics. I could see it from my multi-paned hotel room window. No one could have slept through the celebration noises, and much of it was going on in the streets below. I definitely returned to my room too early.

Right now it’s New Year’s Day and I’m getting ready to go out and buy a new coat. I find I am not a cape person, brought along my new Irish wool, black cape with a built-in scarf/hood, but it’s way too cumbersome. I keep getting tangled up in it … not good … makes me look and feel like a Klutz. And I’m not happy with the damn plastic coat I brought with me, either. Plastic? What the hell is that all about? It might have been a light pack, but it’s atrocious looking! I need a tailored wool pea coat like the one I left on the train that broke down and we had to change trains in the UK on my last trip there. Darn, I miss that coat!

It is colder than the North Pole could ever think of being here in Brussels. I even bought a sock cap and am wearing it. Can you imagine me in a hat, much less a sock cap? Not a pleasant sight. My full length white mink would have been perfect for this weather, so many women are wearing furs here. But I would have felt conspicuous, so that wouldn’t have worked either. Damn! When am I ever going to get to wear that fur coat? Haven’t yet.

I couldn’t resist a beautiful lace tablecloth on my walk through the shopping lanes my first day here, have wanted one since last time I was in Belgium. It is gorgeous. Handmade in Bruges, Belgium. I’ll be serving some nice quaint dinners on it when I get home, you can bet on that. Can’t wait.


I suspect I’ll have to purchase another suitcase for the stuff I’m accumulating, and will check the largest of the two on the airline, maybe both, I don’t know. I don’t like carrying around a bunch of stuff in the airports, and I still haven’t learned. One carryon bag and one large purse – still too much. I couldn’t lift the leather bag to the overhead, had to have help with it. So I’ll just go ahead and check it all when I return to the U.S., will only carry my purse, the larger one OR A NEW ONE! You never know.

Not going to Paris this time as planned (planned to take the train down for a night). I’ll just stay put here in Brussels. At present I’m not in the mood to venture out to other towns in Belgium either (Ghent, Lueven, Antwerp, Bruges), etc. Maybe tomorrow (Jan 2) I’ll start doing the day trips. I spent a week in Bruges last time, so I could skip that one if I have to.

It’s 4 p.m. in Brussels right now on New Year’s Day. Now I’m going for a walk and shop for a coat while I formulate and deepen my Amanda character in my mind.

JANUARY 3:

January 3, Saturday, 10 p.m. in Brussels. Well, I’m still on U.S. time. Can’t for the life of me acclimate to the time. I’m awake all night, go to sleep around 6 a.m., wake up again around 4 or 5 p.m. Craziness! But I’m certainly having some creative, farout dreams during the daytime sleeping hours. Am using two of the dreams for part of the “Midnight in Brussels” plot. Works for me. There’s inspiration all around, even while I’m sleeping. Hooray!

Today I found a restaurant across the street from the Metropole that has food I recognize and has fruit and veggies. Thank God! I’ve missed them from my diet. It’s been mostly cheese, cheese, and more cheese since I’ve been here. And of course ice cream. Great diet. They have the best ice cream at the Metropole … homemade. Yum yum. And of course the hot melted chocolate goes well over it. Oboy … cheese and ice cream and chocolate. Fabulous eating. But I’m walking, so maybe that’ll offset the fats. So far, all I’ve been doing are sleeping, eating fats, walking, and shopping.

Also today I was scheduled to take a day trip to Ghent and Bruges but just couldn’t wake up long enough to catch the tour bus. I could do it tomorrow at 8 a.m. I suppose I could just stay up 2 hours longer (6 to 8 a.m.) and make myself stay awake for the tour. That’s a possibility. But you know what? I thoroughly investigated Bruges when I was there for a week on my previous trip, and Ghent isn’t really reaching out to me. But Antwerpt is. So I’m going to Antwerpt on Monday, a five-hour excursion. Antwerpt is the diamond capital of Europe – raw diamonds as well as polished, so that works to my benefit, will use that information and send two of my main characters there to buy a diamond ring … perfect. YES! I’m interested in diamonds anyway. Love rocks. Any kind of rocks. I’m a latent rock-hound, collect rocks. So that’s on Monday.

Then on Tuesday I’ll finish up Brussels – take some photos, finish my shopping – ’cause I’m leaving Wednesday morning for home. So tomorrow (Sunday) I’ll just take it easy when I finally wake up, and do some more writing. Been writing up a storm, people! Very inspiring here. You’ll have to read my book when it’s finished to get all the local color and see what plot I came up with this time.

JANUARY 4:

Didn’t take the tour today (Sunday) either. Woke up at 4 p.m. this afternoon, didn’t go to sleep till 6:00 a.m. this morning. It’s alright, I’m okay with it. I have all the info I need of Bruges for my book in my previous notes and embedded in my memory.

But tomorrow I’m getting up at 9 a.m, no matter what time I go to sleep this time, to take the train to Antwerp … not taking a tour, am going by myself on the train. Found out it’s even better that way. Quicker. That way I can go at my leisure. Perfect. Much easier and on my own schedule. Antwerp is important to my book, so I must go there. And then on Tuesday I’ll do the churches here near Old Town, need to pick one for a wedding site, for Amanda possibly? I’m not telling. There’s a neat church in Antwerp, too – the largest gothic church in Europe. I’ll decide which one is best after I see them all.

So the trip is winding down, just two more days. Antwerp tomorrow (Monday), tying up loose ends in Brussels on Tuesday, home on Wednesday. I’m ready. Time to go home. It’s been great, though, just being free from the phone and the usual daily goings on at home and office … it’s been a fabulous vacation as well as a productive research trip. Loved it.

I also have new boots, coat, gloves, 4 hats, lace tablecloth, and a Brussels plate for my plate collection wall. So there. I’m all set for cold winters, dinners, and travel stories. And I purchased a few gifts. Yes, yes, I do have to buy a travel bag for it all to transport home. No doubt about it. I’ll be checking all my luggage this time.

You know, Brussels would be the perfect spot to make and sell hats. I mean everyone wears hats to cover their ears in winter. All sorts of them. And the people shop in droves. I’m not the only shopaholic. Today, Sunday, it was like Black Friday in the U.S., amazing. You couldn’t walk a straight line down the shopping lanes and corridors, had to weave your way through. Everyone wears black, of course. I fit right in. Hardly anyone wears color, no one. So it looked like a black river of people flooding the meandering streets and alleys. I was glad the shops were open, in Switzerland they’re closed on Sundays … when I was in Zurich I didn’t know what to do with myself on Sunday. Nothing. I was bored that day.

January 5

Went to sleep around 3 or 4 a.m. this morning, woke up at 8:30 a.m. The first early wake up I’ve had since I’ve been here. For some reason, I woke up thinking I ought to look for my passport because yesterday it wasn’t in the purse that I usually carry, where I thought I had put it. I noticed its absence while I was shopping. So, I looked and looked and looked and looked. I searched everywhere. No passport. Not in any of my bags, not in any of the drawers, nowhere. Not in any pockets: coats, pants, purses, suitcases. It was missing – lost or stolen.

Oh boy! What to do? I called the front desk and asked what the procedure was to get a replacement passport, that mine was missing and I would be leaving tomorrow morning. They said go to the American Embassy. Great!

So by the time I quickly dressed and went downstairs it was 10 a.m. They showed me on the map how to get to the Embassy. I’d have to take a cab, which was fine, no problem. I went outside where the cabs were waiting on the street … saw the line of them, went to the first one in line, opened his front passenger door and started to get in (I like sitting in front with cabbies). It wasn’t a cab. It was a regular person waiting to pick up someone. Jeez! I was halfway in his car getting ready to sit. How embarrassing. I apologized and went to the next car which was a real taxi.

It was about a 10-minute ride to the embassy.

Oh, by the way, it’s been snowing here for 2 days. Hard to walk, sidewalks and streets covered with snow.

So the taxi stopped about a block from the embassy and pointed to where I was to go in, the third American flag up the street. Said he couldn’t go any further because of security and he couldn’t stop in front of it. I paid him and got out in the snow. Wearing my new coat and my sock cap and gloves, with a bit of care walking on the slippery ice and snow, I made it to the embassy without mishap. They did the usual airline security check plus a test to see if I’d handled explosives recently. That was different. They wouldn’t let me take my purse in, but let me take what I needed out of the purse – drivers’ license w/pic, wallet, reading glasses. Police all over the place.

I waited about 20 minutes inside till I was called to the window. The gal asked for the police report stating that my passport was either lost or stolen. I said, “What police report?” She said, “You need to report it and bring the signed report to us, before we can do anything.” She told me where the nearest police station was – about a half mile away, around the park.

Okay, there are no cabs outside the embassy or anywhere in that area. I trekked through the lovely snow and ice a half mile to the police station. Once inside, I waited 15 minutes. Then the policeman said, “Where’s the form from the embassy? We need the form.” I didn’t have a form. YIKES!

So, I had to walk back to the embassy and get a form. And while I was there this time, the gal went ahead and had me fill out everything and she took my photo sans my cap (I look like death warmed over after wearing a cap for several days, never fixing my hair, Lordy!). Then she told me to take the form, go back to the police station and bring back another signed form from them.

Off I went like a good little girl to the police station again. Another walk in the freezing cold, the snow and the ice. Now mind you, I hadn’t eaten, hadn’t had a cup of coffee, no water, nothing. I didn’t think about any of that because I wanted to hurry and get the passport since I’m leaving in the morning. So I saw a water receptacle at the PD and drank a cup while I was there this time. After about 30 minutes with the police, I had the form and off I went again. (I’ll never again forget to take a photocopy of my passport with me when I travel.)

The security guards must have thought I was nuts going back and forth through the gates and alleyways. I got pretty good on following that route, retracing my footsteps. I’ll never forget how to get from the embassy to the police station, you can bet on that. Oh, by the way, I was walking in my new Italian boots with high heels, definitely not made for walking in the snow, made for riding in taxis and sitting in cafe lounges.

When I arrived back at the embassy this time, it was closed for the day. I pounded on the door, a guard answered. I told him my dilemma and gave him a card they’d given me to show when I returned. He let me in. I went through the security check again, etc etc., then waited in the reception room alone for about 30 minutes, finally the gal came out and called me over to sign my new temporary passport which is good for one year. Success!

But wait! There still weren’t any taxis around the place when I left. The guard told me to walk to Central Square across the park, there would be taxis there. Nope, he lied. No taxies there, either. That square had to have been at least a mile’s walk from the embassy. Then I saw a sign that pointed to Place De Brockere … which was near the Metropole Hotel. So, I decided to walk to the hotel. And even though I wound ’round and ’round the crooked streets, I couldn’t find Brockere. I did finally end up on a street I recognized near the Grand Place where I walk every day. So I got back at the hotel at 5:30 p.m. What a long, long day! 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. What a walk! How to spend a day in Brussels! Exasperating!

Anyway, it was an adventure, I took it as it came as always, it didn’t upset me, I was cool, laughed at myself, and I saw a lovely snow-covered park I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, had to walk through it to get to Central Place. The frightening part was I was afraid I’d slip and break a leg or an arm or hip … that would’ve been the end, wouldn’t it? But, I’m a lucky soul, we all know that.

So when I got back to the hotel, I changed my soggy, thin-soled boots (ruined) and went back out for something to eat, I was starving. Then I did my final shopping. Bought a second suitcase to cart all the loot home. Needless to say, I was so tired when I got back to the room at 7 p.m.

Now I’ve had my hot bath and am in bed watching the news and writing this last email of the trip. Heading home in the morning! Bye bye, Brussels! Thanks for all the neat information for my book!

ADDITIONAL NOTE: By the way, I found my lost passport two months later (March 2009), it was in a hidden pocket in my purse. DAMN!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

GETTING YOUR BOOK OUT THERE

I read an interesting article in the IBPA Independent, a monthly publication from the Independent Book Publishers Association of which I (RJBP) am a member.

It's all about getting your book to as many selling formats and venues as possible. In his article, Gordon Burgett calls it ancillary publishing.  And this is not only for independent publishers, but authors as well. 

First of all for bound books, listing through Ingram's Lightning Source division, which is a wholesaler/digital printer that is available to individuals as well as independent publishers, is imperative.  It also provides fulfillment and distribution services at whatever level you wish - distribution channels are Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Baker and Taylor, and others.  They are my primary wholesaler/printer at the moment until RJBP qualifies for an additional with a broader base.   $$ are received on book sales after costs of printing and the discount percentage you offer to booksellers has been deducted.   If you are a self-publisher, it would be to your advantage to sign on with LSI.  Title setup costs vary, and it is $30 for a proof.  You must have your own ISBN.

Next comes Createspace.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, or is it the other way around?   It's smart to use them as a secondary wholesaler/printer for bound books and e-books because they will immediately put the book up on Amazon.com and will handle distribution/fulfillment/printing for you.  You will also have the direct line to Kindle through Createspace.  The cost is $50 per title setup on Createspace - that's for the better break on printing costs, zero otherwise. A proof usually costs around $12 including shipping.  You don't need your own ISBN on Createspace, but of course if you list with LSI you'll have your own.

(Just want to add here that ebooks account for a very small percentage of the bound book sales. So getting the bound book out there is imperative.)

The article also suggests using LuLu.com for additional exposure to the extensive Lulu Marketplace that you wouldn't have otherwise.   I don't use Lulu at present, but I believe I'll look into that for my clients.  So, if that option is available, it's a given that I'll add them to my list of wholesalers/printers.

At this point, you'll have three companies printing your books to order and you'll have broad distribution on the Internet and books will be available to booksellers.  Just by using these three sources, you need do nothing else, for they will fulfill the orders by you or by the public using their facilities.

If you are an independent publisher, it's also good to have a full-run printer as your major source of books-on-hand to sell directly to booksellers and libraries, such as McNaughton and Gunn, or Patterson Printing, or Rose Printing, or your choice of many other short/full run printers, maybe even one in your own geographical location.

So that's it for the most expedient ways to get your book out there ... more on ebooks later.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LISTENING TO JIM CHAPPELL - FROM MY HEART - PIANO

Nice easy music lulling me to sleep at 1:05 a.m., almost that is.  If I were in bed I might be snoozing.  But I'm sitting at the computer instead finishing some late night "stuff," winding up the day, checked on a few more things.   This is the last, however.  After this posting I AM going to bed. 

Had a tele call tonite from a good friend, Don Dominguez., my partner on "Cafe Dustyefsky" - our stageplay with music.  I wrote the story/book, he wrote music and lyrics.  It was produced at community theatre level twice ... ran 8 weeks each time.  People seemed to love it.  My plans were to take it farther, move it up to regional theatre after trying a small theatre in L.A. and then maybe another city, but ... as my old pal June Cain Miller used to say ... life got in the way.   And then I took a different route.   I sometimes think about pulling it out, though, and producing it here in Scottsdale/Phoenix area.  Possibility.

But right now I've more than enough on my plate.  Tons of stuff planned and books to publish, places to go, people to see.  Always up to my eyeballs, I am.

LH from Texas is arriving in January, staying indefinitely.  I'm looking forward to that.  She's always been a terrific helpmate and friend, and boy could I ever use some help with RJBP (publishing company).  Could also use the conversation and camaraderie.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ... "Midnight in Brussels" has been released!  Am I ever glad about that.   Third novel in the "Midnight" series.  Hallelujah!  I think this one is my favorite one.  Yep, it is.  I can't wait to read it again in about a couple of months, like I do with all my books, read them after they're published.  It's like reading them for the first time, in an entertainment way instead of having to edit them.

Next novel is "Midnight in Moscow."  I've been toying around with writing a murder mystery next (serial killer), but I don't think I'll do that just yet - it doesn't feel natural, although I have the premise and beginning of the story written.  I'll keep playing with it, but no, I'll do my Moscow first.  Have already started it.  So, sometime in January I'll buy some index cards, and tape them to the back of my door. Three columns of them: 15 for Part One, 30 for Part Two, 15 for Part Three.  I usually end up shifting them around, into not so equal columns before I'm done.  I write one-line descriptions of the chapters on them, usually have 60 chapters in a novel, give or take.  Same as 60 scenes in a film script ... carry over from my screen-writing days.  Works for me.

Okay, I'm more relaxed now, so I think I'll try to get some sleep.   I think I had had too many "Nutter Butters" today. 

Nite nite ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ENGLAND OR BUST!

Boy, would I love to be in England about now. Can't get there soon enough. I think I should have bought a house there instead of here in Arizona. Too bad. There's got to be a way. 

I wonder how troublesome it would be to take three cats to England? Of course I'd be most worried about the trip's effect on my babies.

One thing about being a writer and a publisher, I can do it from anywhere in the world. As long as there are computer connections and the internet ... that's all I need.

Just looked it up on the Internet … the rules changed a few years ago and animals entering the UK no longer have to go into quarantine. Instead, you prove the animal doesn't have rabies by vaccinating them, having a blood sample sent to a lab to show that the animal was vaccinated, waiting six months, and then taking the animal to the UK. You are doing the "quarantine" yourself that way. So I'd have to do that six months before going.

Also have to get the pets micro-chipped.

THEN … 48 - 24 hours before the pet leaves for the UK, he must be treated by a vet for ticks and tapeworms. The vet fills out the corresponding section on the pet's veterinary certificate.

The USDA - APHIS recommends you have the vet do a general check on the pet and issue an international health certificate because you may need to show this to the airline before they will accept your pet.

British Airways Unaccompanied Pets service is a cargo terminal to cargo terminal product. Pets must be checked in at the cargo facility by you, and collected from the cargo facility by you or a nominated person. Pets are carried in the cargo hold, which is located underneath the passenger cabin. This hold is temperature controlled and provides a comfortable environment during flight. The hold is not lit, because experience shows that pets quickly settle down and travel better in the dark.

Okay, that answers it pretty much for me. I'm glad to hear that the cargo hold is temperature controlled. I was worried about that. Great! Okay. I can do it. No more worry about it. So they aren't going to hold me back anymore. I don’t have to sit here for the rest of my life, which is damn depressing. Now all I have to do is plan it and do it. I'm an expert at that, for sure. We all know that.

Oh yes, I can go on the same plane as the cats, by the way. Perfect!

Now all I have to do is figure out how I can do financially.  I'd close up this house, but would have to leave the water for garden on and electric for A/C on - at a reasonable temperature since it gets up to 117 in the summer.   Everything else can be turned off temporarily to save money.  Would have to have someone take care of the front and back garden, maybe once a month.  Okay, just thinking out loud here. 

Then ... I'll have to figure where I'd stay in the UK.   I've sent an email to a friend that might have room ... we'll see.  If not I'll shift gears.  Working on it!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I WANT TO BE AMANDA!

I've figured it all out. I want to be Amanda, the latest co-protagonist in the third novel of my "Midnight" series - Midnight in Brussels. I really do like Amanda. She has such determination and goes all out without ever looking back! She knows what she wants. I've been living in her head now for several months, and now she's in mine. I want to be her. I like her better than me.

This realization hit me last night as I was lying in bed dropping off to sleep. If ever there was a case of immersing one's self into a character, this is it. I don't mean she's all about me, it's just the opposite. Maybe that's the cause of my mood lately. I would rather be her. She's young, she's slim and tall with long blond hair, she's motivated and industrious, she's wise enough to know she must make herself happy before anybody else enters the equasion, and so on ....    She comes from a meager existence and downtrodden personna and becomes a blossoming young lady with enough drive to capture the world.  (Oh to be young again!

One of the stories in the newly released 2009 WOW Anthology - one written by Mike Dennis called Block - is of a writer's (the writer is one of the characters) fictional character becoming real and becoming a dangerous threat to the writer in the story. Very tantalizing writing and imagination on Mike's part.

But this feeling I'm having is that I'm morphing into the Amanda character myself. I want to go off to Belgium and live her life, not mine. How she pulled herself up by the bootstraps and created a world that most would die for is amazing. I know, her life is non-existent, is fictional. But darn it all, I'm finding myself living in her skin, having her feelings, visualizing the quaint shops and cafes, jumping over the hurdles, falling in love, etc.

Oh well!

I guess I'll just have to live it in my novels, so why not come join me?  Start with Midnight at Trafalgar Square, then on to Midnight at the Eiffel and very soon you'll be able to read Midnight in Brussels.

You know, I have to admit, my characters do steal from me. They use my thoughts and experiences and imagination, so there, Amanda! We're even-steven!

********************

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'M IN A PIT!

Yep, I'm in a pit. A deep dark pit! Well, maybe not so dark, maybe just slightly dark. But nevertheless, I'm in one and can't seem to get out. Today was the worst. Slept most of the day. Actually couldn't keep my eyes open. Honestly. And when I was awake, I was lethargic.

So what is wrong with me? Am I just tired and sleepy? I don't think so, although I didn't get to bed till around 3 a.m. last night, and then got up at 8 a.m. Probably needed a couple more nods.

Am I sick? Nah ... no more than usual, that is. lol lol You know, the overweightness and high blood pressure issues are forever constant. Although, I've some wrong-eating issues these days. Yes, that could be a culprit. Have been gorging on sweets and starch. Those can put one to sleep, for sure, if consumed at great length. Okay, so it's time to shift that gear. Out go the sweets and starch (bread). Need more veggies and greens. More water.

But lately I'm just not interested in greens and veggies. And I don't know why that is. I've always been a salad and veggie person. My whole life. But right now they gag me to look at them, so I steer away from them. Chicken is gagging me, too. Can't bear to put a bite of chicken in my mouth, can't even stand the smell of it.

Fruit and juice is still appealing, thank god! So I had apples and OJ today. In fact orange juice sounds good right now. I'm going to pour myself a big glass right this minute ...

Yum yum, tastes good.

So. I need to hide the halloween candy from me. Need to put it somewhere so that I'll forget about it. Right now it's in the candy dish. I keep a candy dish filled on my dining room table for when my son comes over. He likes that. And it reminds me of when I was a young girl ... family would have those crystal candy dishes with lids sitting on their dining room tables. I loved that. Well, I'm doing it now. But lately I'm the one dipping into the candy dish more than anyone else.

Tomorrow I'm going to get back out into the garden and maybe that'll give me some energy. All this editing and writing and publishing and attempting to do Internet marketing is wearing me out. Maybe I'm on burn-out. Brain burn-out. Could be.

I was thinking today how it was when I first dropped out of corporate America several years ago. How I was so happy to have escaped projects and deadlines, and how I was looking forward to just writing and traveling and enjoying life, just being creative. Well! That was great for awhile until I jumped right back into the mix again. Only this time a mix I created. Now I'm wondering what the hell I've done to myself! lol lol

I need help! Help in the office, I mean.


*********************************

Friday, October 23, 2009

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

Am going out into my back garden to have my cup of ginger tea when I finish this post. I love this time of year in Arizona. The sun is shining, flowers are in bloom, the plants are flourishing, trees are full, lawn is green ... can't beat that, can you? Those things make me feel good. Doesn't take much, you see. I love my home environment and my flower gardens ... and my babies: Princie, Oreo, and Albee.

Speaking of flowers, I've been taking photographs of them and putting them up on my website. Have you seen the first ones? I've more to put up, will do that shortly. When you click on them and then click on them again, you can get the detail of the main flower, the one I focused on. They look like Georgia O'Keefe paintings when they're enlarged. Makes me want to pull out the canvas and paint. Sure, like I have time to do that, too. lol lol

My time these days is taken up with creating the galleys for the three books RJBP is releasing in December. Had hoped to have at least two of them done this week, but am behind schedule. One will be completed today.

So that's what's happening in my world. Ohhhhhh, one new thing to announce ... I'm launching a literary magazine June 2010 called LITERATI. More information at the R. J. Buckley Publishing site - rjbuckleypublishing.com . Excited about the mag, for sure. I suscribe to GRANTA, THE PARIS REVIEW, PRAIRIE SCHOONER, and AMERICAN SHORT FICTION which are four of the top literary mags of our time. They've been inspiring to me and I figured instead of publishing an annual anthology of other writers' work, why not launch a mag. So there we are.

Have a happy day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

BOOKS ON THE WAY!

Am waiting for the first shipment of the newly released "2009 WOW Anthology" - 21 short stories by 21 authors. Exciting! Then the complimentary copies will be sent out to the contributing authors. Also the prepublication-orders that were received will be filled. So, guys, watch for your copy.

At the moment am working on three other books by other authors ... doing final edits and designing bookcovers for RJBP. So ... I am busy busy busy! these days. Also putting the final touches on my own latest novel "Midnight in Brussels" - to be released in a week or so ... that will be my focus over the next couple of days. Need to get that one out so I can clear my head and concentrate on the other three.

Other than that, I'll attend two writers meetings coming up this month in Phoenix ... one this Wednesday (East Valley Writers Group) in Tempe and one on the 30th (Scottsdale Society of Women Writers) in Scottsdale.

Since the WOW organization dissolved, my stress level has decreased somewhat. I hadn't realized what a burden that was on me. Five years of it was enough, five years of being the glue that held it together. But we did do some good, encouraged and supported many fledgling writers and I'm proud of that. My gratitude goes out to those who were always there for me. I hope to see you all at other conferences and events in the near future.

Okay ... back to work!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

REVAMPING FINANCES - OCTOBER 2009

October is a month of revamping finances. For the past few days I've been taking a good look at my income and expenses, debts, etc. A long-awaited revamping will be taking place over the next few days.

First of all, I'm eliminating ALL credit cards. Those that have balances are being cut up as we speak, and I will continue to pay on them till balances are zero. Cutting them up prevents me from using them in the meantime. Can you imagine how hard that is for me? LOL But it's sooooooo necessary. My bank cards can serve as Visas for booking and travel. I'll live on a cash basis.

My spending has got to be cut back to zilch. I am not buying any more home decor, furnishings, etc. No more collectibles. While accounting for my purchases over the past few months to get an idea of where my money has been going ... I was surprised at the amount I spent on "stuff and collectibles" for my house. That ain't gonna happen any more. I have more than I need as it is. In fact, I could open a shop with all my "stuff." (not a bad idea) So, no more "treasure hunting" sprees. No more reckless spending.

I've already cut back entertainment and dining out. It's next to nothing as it is. So no problem there. The two majors have been credit card spending and buying "stuff."

AND buying electronics ... my downfall. Electronics and online purchases - websites, website related services, books, etc. All that is stopping. It has stopped!

I'm going to live within my fixed income ... that's income I receive not counting royalties and revenue generated through my publishing companies or freelance writing. I want to be able to live on the basic income, the rest that comes in goes into savings.

So are you aware of where your money goes? It's mind-awakening, believe me, once you start checking it out. I was shocked when I began studying my finances. WOW! No more shocks for me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BIRTHDAYS ARE THE PITS!

My birthday happened a few days ago. Sons and daughter and their SOs were here, enjoyed that.

But all day long, today, the thoughts have pushed and pulled at me ... random thoughts about aging, thoughts that range from 'why didn't I write and publish 30 years ago' to 'I want my 40s & 50s back.' I want my trim body back. I know, I know. Stay in the now. Stay in the present. Stay positive. Be happy where you are and with what you have. Be grateful. Be thankful. I know. I read it and I hear it all the time.

But, let me tell you something. When you're facing maybe, just maybe, only 15 more years of productivity at your best, I'm sorry, the positive attitude seems to diminish a bit. That's what is happening today. It's diminishing.

Then I think of Catherine Cookson who was writing yet another novel at 91 when she had an instant fatal heart attack. The moment before her death she was dictating a manuscript into a recorder. What a woman! Some of you know how fond I have been of her. Even wrote a stageplay about her. Yes, she's my idol. What is this morbid pit I'm in today? Having anxiety about death and wondering if I have enough time left to do all I want to do.

Okay! So, I've got maybe 22 more years left. Hummm. I can do a lot in 22 years. I can write at least 22 more novels. One book a year is what I write. I could write more if that's all I do, but with the publishing companies, my time is shared with other writers' works. I can accomplish a lot in 22 years. Health is all important, though. Must work on that.

Alright. I'm feeling better. I just needed to spell this out, to vent to myself. I'm okay.

Tomorrow's Monday and I've a list of things to do ... so I'll get my positive back and surge forward. I'll pull out my positive readings and "The Secret" and "The Supermind", etc. Yep. I'm okay.

So I think I'll have a glass of wine and watch a good movie before going to bed. I need to relax.

Nite all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING!

Will Smith, Gene Hackman, and Jon Voight in "Enemy of the State." Have you seen it? It's all about Big Brother security and surveilance methods including the scrutiny of law-abiding American citizens. I just watched it while I had lunch. Scary!

If you believe the technological advances in the film, which you almost have to, for usually by the time the movie comes out, the ability is here. Remember Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers? We soon were way beyond that fiction, it became non-fiction. Movies seem to foretell the future, especially the advancements in the electronics age that's right here on top of us.

How many times have you heard: Don't tell anyone what you're writing (your story) till you copyright it ... if you invent something, hurry and get it copyrighted, because the vibes are out there and someone else is sure to invent it, too. Your thoughts flow into the universe. So when writers come up with new science fiction, it's bound to become a reality before you know it. Yes, I believe that.

Worse yet, to have our movements and conversations tracked via satelite by a sub-branch or by the government, even by genuises who tap into the system and do private contractor tracking ... is mind boggling, isn't it? Not that there would ever be a reason anyone would track me, but then you never know. Look what happens on the Internet, you can sign up for a people search and find just about anybody you want. I've paid and used a service myself. Have even found phone numbers and addresses, email addresses. If anybody wanted to find me, they could. And they certainly have.

We can even tap into a person's computer, remotely. It's done by anyone who has the capability - no matter what security program you install to protect your files.

It's a terrific movie, by the way, and should be required viewing for all students and all voting Americans. It might change the attitudes and acceptances that seem to have crept in for the sake of finding terrorists in our "free" land. But you can't convince me that it's only in place for that reason.

So I don't know ... we're sort of between a rock and a hard place. If we don't do it, we might lose a terrorist, if we do do it, our liberties are at stake.

It's a hard one to figure.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF ...

Okay, I'm making a promise to myself. I'm going to post every day to this blog, whether it's only a few words or many. Some posts might be informative to those reading, some posts might be personal in nature and might be interesting to you at that level ... who knows! We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

Alright ...

Today, supplementing my income is on my mind. When isn't it? But this week it is more than usual. I've a reduction in basic income coming up and I need to replace that amount. So, I'm pulling my freelance writing skills out of the trunk and plan to do it that way.

Last night I came across Triond Publishing as a search result for online article-writing. It looks good, I joined it. Tonight I'll write the first submission. Now it may generate only pennies in compensation, but I'm willing to try it and see how it works. One thing I can do is sell my articles more than once, submit them to other concerns which is legal, and it's a start.

By the way, I've found that the best single reference book for freelance writing is Kelly James-Enger's "Six Figure Freelancing." A must-own book. And The Writer magazine is an excellent source of tips for freelancers.

At Triond Publishing you can submit articles, short stories, photos, music, whatever ... they do it all. Interesting. Maybe I'll finally get some use out of the professional camera I purchased to take photos to accompany my travel articles. That's where I think I'd shine ... writing travel articles and snapping the photos. Hummmmmm ... yep, that's it!

Okay, now that I've worked through this, I see the direction I will go.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

CINCO DE MAYO

A few days ago, my roommate and I had decided we'd go out to the neat jazz club we found to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. So here we are, May 5th, and neither of us can pull ourselves away from our computers and our writing to get dressed and go. lol lol lol

Hey, I finished my third novel "Midnight in Brussels"! And I just sent the 2009 WOW Anthology off to the printer and am awaiting the proof. Feeling pretty good about it all, yes! More accomplishment, two more books to be released in June. Fabulous! Four more to be released in December (I'm R. J. Buckley Publishing, too).

Oh, something interesting, I just contacted the publisher of the first of my "Midnight" novels, asking if we can change the bookcover to match the novels that came after it? (I changed publishers after the first one - "Midnight at Trafalgar Square.") So, I'm hoping they'll come through for me, I've already designed the new cover and have it in PDF to send to them. Fingers crossed.

So, today, I'm going to plant some red roses I purchased yesterday ... adding to the lavendar, yellow, pink, and white roses I already have ... love those blossoms! And then I may go look at lawn edgers at Loews. I mean the grass has grown up so much that the sprinklers aren't effective. Got to so something about that. I called a lawn maintenance guy to come and give me a quote on taking care of my grass - it's just a patch, not very large - and he didn't show up. Probably figured it wasn't worth his time. So if I buy an edger and electric mower (have a push-mower at the moment), I should be able to do it myself, and it gets me outdoors away from the computer and all the brain work I do. I'm waaay to sedentary, you see.

Well, that's if for now ... will write more later.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Writing Today

Finally, I'm back into the swing of things writing-wise. After spending a few weeks fighting a terrific cold, etc., my mind is working again. Not that it stopped working, no chance, sometimes I wish it would stop working but it drones on and on. Actually, I'm learning how to stop that temporarily. Am reading a fabulous book called "Zerolimits" by Joe Vitale. Teachings of getting to that zero place in one's mind, clearing out all the old stuff, you know what I mean?

Anyway, I'm working on "Midnight in Brussels" again. I've moved the deadline for completion to June instead of March since I've three books to publish for others - doing design, formatting, editing, cover - which takes precedence right now. At least the beginnings of it all takes precedence, then I'll focus entirely upon my own novel and publish it before I publish the others.

I think another reason my mind is clearing up of late is the beautiful weather we're having here in Arizona. I mean to tell you, the buds and leaves are returning to the trees and plants, flowers are blooming, it's absolutely grand. My back garden is so lovely right now. Princie and Oreo love it, they get out there and play most of the day. I've created areas under the shrubbery where they can hide from each other, or sleep, whatever they want. It's fun to sit on my sofa in the bedroom and watch them.

Okay, Amanda Conroy, my protagonist in "Midnight in Brussels", is on the train from Brussels to Bruges. She's taking in the countryside which of course is a verbatim of my first trip to Bruges on the same train. She's feeling what I felt. Will be staying in the same B & B till she finds other lodgings, for she will be staying there longer than I did. Her thoughts are to live there permanently, so we'll see if she does as the book goes on. There's a lot of old "baggage" in the States, she may have to go back, who knows. And how can she live in Bruges? What will she do for a living?

I had those thoughts when I was there two years ago. Bruges would be a wonderful place to live. I wouldn't have the problem of wondering how to make a living, as Amanda does, however. My biggest concern would be my cats. But you know ... those cobblestone streets, the narrow passageways, the canals around and through the city, the medieval buildings and quaint houses flanking the canals, the fabulous cafes and shops ... it's all very inviting.

This past January while I was Brusssels, I again felt the familiar pull to that part of the world. In the Grand Place, near the Metropole Hotel where I stayed for 9 days, I would sit in the cafes and watch the hoards of tourists, and would patronize the shops along the narrow streets and alleyways leading to and surrounding the square, and I walked a lot, I always do that in Europe and the UK, never do it here. What is that?

I was in Brussels specifically for New Year's Eve, wanting to experience the event to write about it in my book, since my "Midnight" novels all have a New Year's Eve in a major city in them. Well, this time it didn't turn out as I had expected. But you'll have to wait and see, I ain't tellin'.

My roommate is leaving today for a couple days in Sedona AZ. She is eager to see the area and feel the spiritual vibes that most feel when they're there. Which reminds me, I need to look up and get the directions to a couple of places she wants to visit there. So, I'll sign off for now ...

Have a good one ...