Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hospitals, Party Buses, and Book Sales...

It has been an interesting week at el rancho Engle.  A week that included the self-publishing of my 2nd e-book on Kindle at, my niece's 21st birthday, and two days spent in the hospital with my youngest son.

When sales on my first e-book hitting the whopping total of 5, I decided it was time to go ahead and upload the next installation in that series.  So Guardian of Dreams was edited and uploaded and in the intervening days I have sold another copy of Saving Alexandria as well as one copy of the new book.  Definitely not an overwhelming success, but still it gives me a sense of pride that someone out there actually paid for something I wrote.  It's scarey as hell because there is that tiny I was a 300 lb teenager voice in the back of my head that still screams "They're going to hate it and laugh at you," but it's pretty much drowned out now by the big girl voice that shrugs and says "so fuckin what if they do?"
Also this week was my niece's 21st birthday for which her sister (also my niece obviously) arranged for a party bus.  A party bus I learned during the course of these events, is a bus... sometimes a limo and sometimes and actual bus... that drives you around from club to club and then delivers you home safely and without anyone driving after they've been drinking.  The actual bus type have a nightclub complete with dance floor actually inside the bus with coolers for ice and drinks, big screen tv, and a million other ammenities.  You can rent the buses for anything, doesn't have to be club hopping, and while they're pricey if you've got a group thing going and everyone pitches in then the price would be super reasonable.  I personally did not get to go on the party bus because my baby boy wasn't feeling well and I decided to stay home with him instead, but I have now decided that festivities surrounding my 44th birthday in July will most definitely include the rental of a party bus... the big one with the pole so I can take hysterically funny pictures of my wonderful family and friends on the dance pole... we'll play a Shemar Moore marathon on the big screen and dance like maniacs to a wild variety of music... everyone reading this is hereby invited to my birthday on the party and feel free to blog about it afterward because I'm pretty sure I will :)

The final chapter of my week actually started several weeks ago when my youngest son started getting signs of one of the many pesky viruses that plague primary school children.  Low grade fever, headache, stomachache; just overall feeling of yuck.  The symptoms came and left and then returned again over the space of several weeks and after a trip to the Dr and another to the ER I was pretty much given the word that there was really not much to be done about viruses.  Don't give Motrin or Tylenol unless the temp is over 101, and you don't need to have him seen by the Dr unless there is vomiting, diarrhea, or temp over 102.  I followed that advice for weeks, sending him to school when there was no temp and allowing him to continue his regular activities as long as he felt well enough to do so. 

Then last Sunday he had a wrestling tournament and that night the low grade temp, headache and stomachache returned.  I kept him home on Monday and the fever was gone by Monday night.  He was fine on Tuesday and went to school but woke up Wednesday morning complaining of pain in his calf muscles on both legs.  I sort of shrugged it off figuring he was having growing pains (he's 7 so the right age for a growth spurt) combined with wrestling and perhaps muscle ache from the virus he was still recovering from.  He went to school on Wednesday, wrestling practice Wednesday night without problem but by the time we arrived home for the evening he was having so much pain in his calves that he could barely walk.  I asked some friends in the medical field and there was concern that he could have blood clots in his legs.

Although the lack of any visible symptoms of a clot and the fact that it was affecting both calves made it seem unlikely, I took him in to see the Dr on Thursday morning.  She started him on antibiotic for a sinus infection and decided to draw some blood work just because he had been have the signs of viral infection for so long.  One of the blood tests she ran is called a CK which checks the level of muscle enzymes in the blood.  Friday morning she called me at work to say that the enzyme levels in my son's blood were extremely elevated and that he needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately so that they could flush his system with IV fluids.

Normal muscle enzyme levels are 50-173... Karl's enzyme level from the test they took at the Dr office on Thursday morning was 3600.  The condition is called Viral Myositis and reading the information about it now after the fact it seems cut and dried... in the midst of it with only a phone call saying he needed to be admitted immediately to flush away whatever is being released by the elevated enzyme levels it was frightening. 

This is where I have to say that the staff at Dayton's Children's is unbelievable. Admissions took less than twenty minutes, we were in our room with the IV started within forty minutes, and the admitting resident is required to see the child within two hours of their presence on the floor.  Our admitting resident, who I am ashamed to say I cannot remember her name; my mind was on other things I'm afraid. was phenomenal.  She was fabulous with my son, reassuring to my 85 year old mother who was nearly apoplectic in her concern, and very straightforward with me.  Her personality and bedside manner were perfectly suited to working with ill children and frightened parents.  The nurses and staff assistants were all wonderful and kept an excellent balance between closely watching my son's condition and irritating him with procedures and check ups. 

All in all it was an exhausting week topped off by a nice Saturday evening spent playing video games and dancing with my kids in our living room. Life is never easy but it's usually worth the struggle.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chugging right along...

I am now the author of not one but two self-published Kindle e-books.  At first I thought that was a pretty ballsy move considering the first one has only sold 5 copies in three weeks and has been stuck at 5 for days now.  Then last night in a fit of insomnia I realized that I literally have nothing to lose.  I don't HAVE to do anything.  There are no rules, no right or wrong, no reason not to go ahead and self-publish.  It doesn't stop me from pursuing traditional publication if I want to, nor does it require me to continue publishing book after book. 

It's sad that it has taken me nearly 44 years to realize that this is the only life I'm going to get and it's perfectly okay to live it in whatever way makes me happy.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about going out and just doing whatever you want and saying f-you to the world.  It's never okay to deliberately do things that are hurtful or harmful to yourself or to anyone else.

I think people need to do what makes them happy; what makes life worth getting out of bed for in the morning and worry about what they're "supposed" to be doing.  People seem to judge themselves and their loved ones based on what others are doing and what society seems to think is the proper course of life.  My niece recently found out that she has been accepted to Ohio State University and I'm THRILLED!  It's a wonderful accomplishment and she's an awesome kid who I'm sure will thrive and succeed in college.  At the same time it bothers me that there are kids her age who are made to feel like they're less because they've been turned down by colleges or just simply have no interest in attending.  Education is important and should always be encouraged and supported.  At the same time if someone is content and happy working in a job that doesn't demand a college education and is willing (and able) to live within the financial limitations of that sort of position then that is a life decision which should be supported as well.

I think what I'm really trying to say is that non-negative behavior should be supported.  If a kid is working and helping out at home and taking care of business is it really okay to put them down because they don't want to go to college?  If a young adult is working hard to support a little apartment and some utilities is there really any shame in being happy with that life; should they really be looked at strangely because they aren't in a "committed relationship", involved in a degree program, or yearning for babies and a mortgage?  If a single mother is struggling to get an education or working long hours to further her career is it really okay to assume her child is neglected?

Shouldn't we really encourage people to follow the path that makes them happy and successful in life instead of trying to force them down a road that someone else has chosen for them?  I could be wrong... I am wrong a lot.... But after 44 years I can say with pride that I have two college degrees and a post graduate degree and I work at Wal-Mart because it's where I'm happy.  I write and self-publish e-books because it makes me happy and gives me a sense of fullfillment.  I bake cookies at Christmas, birthday cakes for people I like, and rack my brains for silly gifts because it makes me happy; not because I expect something in return or because I want people to think I'm something special.  I do it because it makes me happy and after 44 years I've learned that nothing on earth is as important as being happy with yourself.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How the heck do you sell this stuff????

Well my e-book seems to be stuck at the number 5 and even though that's 4 more than I really expected to sell I'd still love to see that number climb. 

That brings the question to mind.  How does one market an e-book????  Word of mouth got me to 5, but what do I do now?  I know that print authors do all sorts of things to market books including book marks and flyers and other little freebies they distribute to book stores and such.  I suppose that would work for an e-book and now that I've brought it to the forefront of my mind it might be something worth considering if/when I get myself together and get my other finished books available.

Still outside of that is there something I should be doing to promote and market the book so that people know it's out there??  Any and all ideas and suggestions are welcome because to be honest I'm pretty clueless about what's out there or how any of it works.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Play it again Sam...

Are there events in your life that play themselves out in your mind over and over again like the needle stuck in a groove on an old vinyl record album?  It's been happening a lot to me lately, traumatic and all random, coming from nowhere to haunt my mind. 

Myself as a six year old in the backseat of someone's car parked in the driveway of my Aunt's house, my older brother leaning standing in the car window saying we've arrived too late and my grandmother has already passed. 

A preteen me laying on my back with headphones one listening to music when my mother came in to say that I wouldn't have to go to school the next day because my grandfather had died.

Years later, in my early twenties in the living room at my Aunt's.  The telephone receiver, on a long stretchy cord long before the cordless wonder entered our lives, dropping from numb fingers.  I'd expected to hear that my father had died, but instead the ridiculous news that my younger brother was dead.

A phone call in the middle of the night... my uncle, my father really, the one who'd raised me and spoiled me and ruined me for life without his precence... "I think he's really gone, Mar."  like there could be some doubt.

Years later, standing on a stranger's doorstep one of life's dramas interupted by another... deliver a message to my son, his Aunt Betty died today.

Then the hardest of all... maybe because it's the most recent... or maybe just because of it's unthinkable nature... the scream that pulls me from sleep with a certainty that something is horribly wrong... "Mom, get up, Aryiana's dead!"

There are happy moments too... the arrival of my first foster child, the adoption ceremonies, picking up my daughter all wrapped in a little blanket, carrying my son to the car knowing that he was finally coming home with me forever after a two year battle of politics and bullshit, the birth of my baby son... many births and weddings... the few hours of closeness I was given with my brother not knowing that it was the last time I would see him alive... Oddly they don't play themselves out nearly as often and usually only when spurred on by some reminder of that time in my life.

Yet somehow the ugly memories that have a way of creeping out of nowhere... for me anyway.  Maybe others are different.  Do you have moments that replay themselves? Are they the positive memories or the ugly traumatic ones?  Do you think there are messages we're supposed to take away from the replays or are they just a reminder that life is too short and passes too quickly?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Well imagine that!

As of today I have actually sold 5 copies of my e-book at  I'm pretty sure all five went to people I know who bought it out of curiosity (I told you I couldn't spell LOL) just because they'd heard through the grapevine or seen on Facebook that I wrote a book.  That's okay, it's still $11.16 in my pocket LOL and maybe they'll like it or maybe it will feed the breakroom gossip... again it's still $11.16 in my pocket.

I have about one more chapter to finish a detective book that I started writing about 18 months.  A tongue in cheek collaboration with some of my work kids starring the infamous detective duo of Jack Plosbo and his secretary Laura Aurora.  The relaxed atmosphere of self publishing has motivated me and The Adventures of Plosbo should be available as soon as I can get my co-collaboraters together to take some pictures for the cover art. 

Once Plosbo is up and running and I'll get back to my paranormal romance series and finish the edits for the first full length novel in the Alpha Men series.  Guardian of Dreams will go up within a week or two and then I'll have to kick into gear and finish the 2nd book in that series, the 3rd is already completed and the 4th is about half finished so if all goes well I have plenty to keep me busy over the rest of the winter and well into the spring. 

Just as I did with Saving Alexandria I will throw them up and see what happens.  It's calming to expect nothing and be rewarded with a few tidbits now and again.  :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I have an issue...

Truth be told I have several dozen issues, but not the least of them is a raging insomnia that strikes randomly and with increasing frequency.  When I was younger I had it sort of pegged as being hormonal since it arrived with annoying regularity for a night or two prior to the arrival of dear old Aunt Flo and then again for a night or two preceeding ovulation.  As someone who struggled with infertility for years one of the positive things that came from that heart rending time in my life was learning how the ebb and flo of certain hormones and chemicals can affect every single system in your body.  They can and do alter not only your moods and weight, but your sleep patterns, your taste buds, and your sensitivity to light and sound among many other odd things.

I digress.  Tonight my issue is the insomnia which has become random with what I am assuming to be the onset of the perimenopausal stage of my life.  Oh joy, new terrority to explore and new horizons of insanity to endure.  FML

Again I digress.  Tonight I muddled upon something that I think may fuel my insomnia like the inconsistant flow of my hormones.  Or perhaps it's the inconsistant flo of my hormones that is altering the chemical make up of my brain and leading me to be increasingly anal.  Or maybe I am just developing a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive disorder in my old age.  Who the hell knows.

Anyway what I discovered tonight as I was waiting for my annoyingly slow little blue laptop to chug itself to life at what was then 2:03am, is that part of my insomnia seems to be the unending feeling that something isn't right.  Something is left to be done or something wasn't done in the correct manner.  For instance;  Every night before I go to bed I take my laptop (a 10" Acer netbook actually) out of the binder that I carry it around in (it goes everywhere I go including to work) and plug it in.  I turn it on and put it on my lap whether I do anything with it or not makes no difference that is simply the routine I follow.  Only until tonight I had never given any thought to the fact that it was a routine I follow.

Tonight after reading some atrociously bad vampire stories... decent writing probably, but I didn't care for the storylines and the characters didn't grab my attention... there just wasn't enough detail and description and as I explained to my writer's group last month I am a description whore and I like a story that plays like a well scripted movie in my mind's eye.

There I go digressing yet again.  Anyway after I read the bad anthology of vampire Christmas stories and was still edgy, restless, and nowhere near sleep I set about trying various other nighttime routines that sometimes put an end to the insomnia.  I won't bore you or embarrass myself by going over them, just suffice it to say that a variety of nighttime rituals failed miserable.  I was still on edge to the point of being anxious and nervous to the borders of a panic attack... an issue to be addressed another time...  It was at that point that I gave up and turned the light on thinking to just come online and write out some blog nonsense.  I've been wanting to post a new blog for a bit and just couldn't settle on anything worth writing about. 

Anyway I realized at that point that I'd just put the binder under the nightstand with my laptop still in it.  So I pulled it out and plugged it in, and as it was chugging sluggishly to life like Frankenstein's monster in a Sierra snow storm the idea struck me that maybe none of my other nighttime rituals had worked because something wasn't right.  I hadn't followed the routine of taking the laptop out and plugging it in as I have done pretty much every single night for the last two years.  Maybe I have reached a point in my insanity where something as simple as not plugging in the laptop can keep me awake for hours. 

That thought led to the idea that maybe it was the combination of not having followed the routine and not having written a blog post like I have been hounding myself to do for the past 24 hours or more.  I've no idea why I've felt the urge to make a post, obviously I have nothing to say and certainly nothing important that anyone would need or want to read.  Yet for some reason that burning desire was there.  That need to write a blog post, the need to follow the routine; one or the other or maybe both.

Or maybe just the combination of all of those things mixed in with one person's need to feel as if they aren't utterly alone in the world during the wee hours of the morning.  That despite whatever ghosts haunt their souls and keep them from resting that somewhere out there others are suffering from some similiar ailment.

Whatever the case it seems that something has eased the torment.  The routine has been followed, the blog post is finished, and since I still have friends posting at Facebook I can assume I'm not alone in the world at 2:52am.  Whatever the reason or remedy I may never know, but I'm tired now.  I think when I say goodnight yet again to my online world, when I shut down my programs and set the laptop aside.  When I make my routine trip downstairs to turn down the heat that I turned up a few hours ago, when I set the box fan that always runs at just the right angle to make the funny sound it's supposed to make, and when I set the three pillows on my bed in exactly the right places.... this time I might actually sleep... goodnight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I can't make up my mind...

I usually do things on gut impulse.  I'm not one to process and look at every option and carefully select an option based on the possible outcomes.  If it feels right at the moment and it isn't something that is likely to get me shot or arrested I'll go for it. 

In some odd twist of fate I also am ridiculously organized when there is something I know I have to do.  I will plan carefully, make list after list after list, make sure ever angle and option is covered and that everything is equal, balanced and even.

Now there are many things that catch me in the middle of these two bizarre split personalities.  One of those things is my writing.  When I'm writing I go with the flow.  I am a pantser; which if you know any writers you know that means that I don't plot my stories out.  My characters write their own stories and I just type it all out.  Once the story is done I go back and do a billion edits (for everything but SPAG, I hate that shit and it's one of the biggest things standing between me and traditional publication) to hone things into the shape I think it's supposed to take.

Then it's finished and I'm left wondering what the hell I want to do with it.  When I recently e-published one of my books I did so with the idea that I would feel better for having just made a decision and gone with it.  I now have a published work available for purchase at 

Only it seems to have backfired one me because now I'm left feeling unsatisfied, like there's something else I should be doing.  Maybe I should start making lists of publishers and agents again.  Perhaps I should start drafting queries and synopsis of the three novels I have finished and the 4 more that I have at least half way completed.  Then I remember how much I detest queries and synopsis and how drafted those things requires me to go back and start the dreaded SPAG edits that I would rather pick my nose in public then even begin to attempt.

I hate this "I don't know what to do" state of mind.  It leaves me agitated and feeling adrift; like I should be doing something and yet I have no idea where to begin.  It really annoys me at work when it's slow because I feel like I should be at home writing or editing or drafting letters and me knowing full well that if I do go home I'll be playing Cityville or Cafe World until it's time to go to bed.

For now I am trying to keep busy doing honing edits on the first full length novel that follows up the novella I have published at Kindle.  My friend in Florida is already asking where it's at, and while I hadn't quite decided what I wanted to do with it now that she's asked that decision is made and I will go ahead and finish this current round of edits and throw it up on Kindle as an e-book as well.  Neither of them may ever get anywhere, but at least I'll feel like I did something for a minute. 

Then maybe when the weather is warmer and I don't have to wear 200 pounds of extra clothing I will start again with the lists of agents and publishers.  Maybe I'll hire someone for the dreaded SPAG edits.  Maybe I'll use some of my income tax return to join RWA and then go Pro with my collection of rejection letters from my last round of queries and synopsis.  Maybe... or maybe not...

I warned you all in the beginning this blog would be mostly rambling... today is a perfect example LOL

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baby Steps....

Well my e-book at Amazon still says "publishing" but in reality it is already available for purchase.  I know this because my friend in Florida bought it for her Kindle or iPhone or somthing so when I go into my sales tracking there is a little "1" in the box. 

I seem to be having a mixed emotional response to this baby step in the direction of actual publication.  First of course is excitement even though I know my friends love me and would buy whatever crap I put out like it was the lost writings of Shakespeare.  Next came complete and utter terror that I have actually and intentionally made something I wrote available to the public without so much as a pen name to safeguard my anonimity.  Finally came acceptance.  It is what it is, they will like it or hate it or be indifferent to it; they will buy it or not, and either way it will have very little impact on who I am or how I live my life.  It may bring moments of embarrassment, both the good kind and the bad, but Lord knows life is full of that no matter what.

So for anyone interested here is a link to the Amazon site and I'll give anyone reading this the same forwarning that I gave my friends.  If SPAG errors cause you issues don't read anything I write LOL

Saving Alexandria

Friday, January 7, 2011

Well I went and stuck my neck out...

I uploaded and self-published one of my books as an e-book at  It was surprisingly easy to do, now I just have to sit back and watch how fast it doesn't sell LOL

The whole thing is a little intimidating because I actually used my own name and uploaded the novella (just under 10,000 words it introduces and sort of sets up the series of full length paranormal romances that I'm working on) as it was without sending it to any of my editing people.  I'm quite certain that it's full of SPAG errors, but I actually sort of did it that way on purpose.  Not that I think it's going to be a huge seller, but I'm interested to see if anyone actually buys it how horribly offended they are by my misplacement of commas, etc.

I guess you never know unless you try and you can't win without racing... besides it didn't cost me anything except perhaps my self-confidence if it turns out even worse than I'd imagined and it's kind of cool to be able to go to Amazon, type in my name and have an actual e-book pop up available for purchase.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm not really an adult....

When I first started my blog I warned people that I have a potty mouth and since it was my blog and my feelings, opinions, etc. I wasn't going to censor myself. Then I put up the adult content thingy so people would be warned again.

Well I took the adult content message off today because it made me feel like a porno site. I know I'm not really adult and people can be offended by my language and not come back or they can ignore it and read what I really have to say...

Either way I win :)