Thursday, September 25, 2014

In Celebration of Writing—Thirteen Great Minds Weigh In

Ever think about this writing thing we authors spend our time doing? Ever wonder what others make of this craft? Here are thirteen thoughts to inspire you.



  1. One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.~ Lawrence Block 
  2. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  3. Writers live twice.~ Natalie Goldberg
  4. Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  5. Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels. ~ May Sarton
  6. Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers. ~ Ray Bradbury
  7. I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it. ~ William Carlos Williams
  8. We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. ~ Ernest Hemingway
  9. To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard. ~ Allen Ginsberg
  10. The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress. ~ Philip Roth
  11. Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts. ~ Larry L. King
  12. When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done. ~ Stephen King
  13. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. ~ George Orwell

Do you write? Do you have a favorite quote about the process? Please share.

Sources

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thirteen Tips to Launching a Debut Release

Hi Readers, 
Have I got a treat for you! The author of the contest-winning story Must Love Breeches Angela Quarles wants to share her tips on launching her novel.



Angela Quarles is a geek girl romance writer whose works includes Must Love Breeches, a time travel romance, and Beer & Groping in Las Vegas, a geek romantic comedy in novelette form. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies with a minor in German from Emory University, and a Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University. She currently resides in a historic house in the beautiful and quirky town of Mobile, AL.




Here's 13 Things I Learned about Launching a Debut Release

1. I use OneNote to organize everything related to my book, outside of the actual manuscript. It's so nice to have everything (links, tour stops, bios, blurbs, formatting) in one easily accessible spot.
2. Have a street team, no matter how small. I started out with only 3 but by the release, it's seven and they've been a great help
3. Do a Goodreads giveaway early on. My book released yesterday, and I have over 350 people who've added it to their TBR pile and a significant portion of that came from the Goodreads giveaway. Mine was for 2 and a half months.
3. Take advantage of Amazon's preorder ability. They've opened it up now to everyone. Consistency of sales is key with Amazon's algorithm and so I think it's going to help that I've had sales spread out leading up to my launch.
4. Start your social networking before you're published. I started blogging on hanging on Twitter in 2011 and so the friendships I forged by participating in discussions since then paid dividends this week. Everyone's been supportive and they're doing most of the promo for me as they're happy to see my book out too.
5. Add contacts you make along the way no matter how far out you are to publishing. Anytime a contest judge or someone else said they wanted to know when the book would be out, I added them to my Gmail contacts. Then, over the course of this summer, I reached out individually to each one.
6. Start a mailing list. And then treat them like gold. But don't add names to your list unless they opted in. I also didn't try to build mine artificially by running contests. I don't want people on there unless they're genuinely interested in learning about new releases from me, etc. I just make the link accessible on my website and let them accrue organically.
7. Hire a good cover artist! I used Kim Killion with hotdamndesigns.com
8. Make sure you have a compelling blurb
9. Create a Media Kit on your website. I wish I'd done mine sooner, but I finally knuckled down two weeks ago and did it. For ideas, visit mine: http://angelaquarles.com/media-kit/ Anyway, immediately after mine was up, I was getting hits, since I had review copies out with people and up on NetGalley. That week, one reviewer, on her own, mined that page and put up my image quotes and all sorts of stuff.
10. Which leads me to, see if you can rent NetGalley coop slot. I put out a call on some writer loops that I was looking to rent (and I put out that call several months before I needed the slot) and snagged one for a month for a very reasonable fee. I'm already getting reviews now from that.
11. Join writer loops to keep up with the latest indie news. I heard about the day they opened up Amazon preorders on the day it happened and so was quickly able to take advantage of that.
12. Stagger your announcements so that you're not spiking your sales all at once. Amazon now rewards consistency, as noted above. Even though it's hard, I've held off notifying friends and family via email, and staggered other announcements too.
13. Relax and try to focus on other projects too! Thought it's really hard not to keep checking stats!
Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. I had the pleasure of reading some of the super scenes in Must Love Breeches and I’m guessing you’ll like this story, too. Here’s the blurb, which I hope will entice you.

She's finally met the man of her dreams. There's only one problem: he lives in a different century.

"A fresh, charming new voice" – New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare

HOW FAR WOULD YOU TRAVEL FOR LOVE?

A mysterious artifact zaps Isabelle Rochon to pre-Victorian England, but before she understands the card case’s significance a thief steals it. Now she must find the artifact, navigate the pitfalls of a stiffly polite London, keep her time-traveling origins a secret, and resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount so hot, he curls her toes.

To Lord Montagu nothing makes more sense than keeping his distance from the strange but lovely Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge reaches a stalemate, he convinces Isabelle to masquerade as his fiancée. What he did not bargain on is being drawn to her intellectually as well as physically.

Lord Montagu’s now constant presence overthrows her equilibrium and her common sense. Isabelle thought all she wanted was to return home, but as passion flares between them, she must decide when her true home—as well as her heart—lies.



If you’d like to get in touch with Angela or find out more about Must Love Breeches, here’s her contact information—
Join my mailing list: http://bit.ly/1sde3Qi
Paranormal Unbound, the group blog I belong to: http://bit.ly/1sdaIRa

And we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment. Thanks.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Philadelphia Story Experiment


Watching classics with a modern eye

By Elizabeth MS Flynn, w/a Eilis Flynn
Recently, we checked out a classic to see how it had stood the test of time. So we watched The Philadelphia Story again after many, many years. If you haven't seen it, it stars Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart, with Hepburn starring as a Philadelphia blueblood socialite divorcee who is on the verge of remarrying, this time to a decent man of means who's worked his way up, when who should show up but her ex-husband, played by Cary Grant, who wants her back. Add to that mix Stewart, who's a reporter after a story, and who also falls in love with her. Oh, what's a girl to do? 

I was reminded that I didn't like this movie when I first saw it, and I really didn't like it after not having seen it for forty years or so. And considering I've always adored Hepburn, who played strong women, that I wanted to kick her character into the pool and keep her there surprised me. The character, Tracy Lord, is a pampered, privileged  prig who doesn't learn and grow after the events of the movie, remaining pampered, privileged and gets everything she wants. Worst of all, she's the classic Mary Sue, who's got three men in love with her. What to do? What to do?

And this was a HUGE movie when it came out, based on a smash success Broadway play. It was Hepburn’s comeback after being deemed box office poison for a while, and it did the job. If nothing else proves that society has changed, this movie does it. Likable? No. The working-class types represented by Jimmy Stewart and his photographer sidekick weren't all that likable, either. The only likable character was the kid sister, played by a young actress named Virginia Weidler, who stood out like a beacon and whose rendition of "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" was charming.

Cultural norm changes aside, as a writer this story annoyed me. I found I didn't CARE about the characters, except to hope they were thrown into a lion's cage and torn into pieces. They had money and privilege but they had little humanity, not connecting with the rest of the world. Not even the representation of the rest of the world, in the form of the working-class fiance and the reporter and the photographer, gave it much depth. They had it all, and they knew it, and screw the rest, classic "I've got mine, so who cares about you" sneer. 

Hey, I get enough of that when I read the newspaper. The last thing I want is to have that attitude shoved in my face by people I'm supposed to be cheering for. 

Could the story be updated for today's stars? No doubt. It was redone as a musical, High Society, in the 1950s, starring Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra (Kelly's last movie before she went off to become a princess). I haven't seen that, if at all, so maybe I'll do so to see if I like that version any better.

We’ll have to check out other classic movies. It’s an interesting experiment, seeing classics from a modern perspective.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Are You a Dragonista?

What is a Dragonista, you ask? 

A Dragonista is someone who loves dragons. He or she can be a writer, a reader, a lover of fantasy or paranormal, of historicals or epic encounters on other worlds. Yes, dragons can be vicious and dangerous. They've been known to snack on sacrificial maidens and burn an occasional village or two to the ground. But they can also be handsome, strong, and sexy as hell. And did I say hot? Well, that goes without saying. *G*

Throughout the month of September, several talented authors are gathering on Facebook to talk about all things dragon.


https://www.facebook.com/AreYouAdragonista?

So, are you a Dragonista? I know I am.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Marx Brothers' A Day at the Race: the Experiment


By Eilis Flynn

As part of our ongoing experiment in examining media classics and see if they stand up to time, we decided to check out the Marx Brothers movie A Day at the Races (1937). I hadn’t seen it, even though I’d heard plenty about it. So many of the quips, the style of joke telling, and acting that we know today come from that period, and Groucho, Harpo, and Chico were masters at the craft (not to mention the always delightful, always clueless, always picked upon Margaret Dumont). Not only that, this story’s sympathetic character, the one that the lunatic characters help (and there’s always one), is played by actress Maureen O’Sullivan, also known as Jane of Tarzan and Jane and the mother of Mia Farrow.

We enjoyed this still, even though it’s 77 years old (where DOES the time go?). Comedy is hard, I’ve heard tell, but the Marx brothers make it look easy. Groucho plays a veterinarian—although this being Groucho, who knows?—who’s mistaken for a physician and who gets involved in a scheme to allow O’Sullivan’s character to hold onto the failing sanitarium her family owns. The plot, which is a bit on the thin side, is bolstered by a few musical and dancing sequences, all of which go on long enough and made us wonder why in the world they were included in the first place. I guessed that they were inserted to stretch the running time (the container says 109 minutes). When we inquired of those who know these things (a music academic), we were told that the musical sequences were inserted to stretch the running time, as I surmised, and since they were for the most part with African-American entertainers, they were devised in such a way as to allow the producers and the local theaters in the South to delete them. So those moviegoers back then would never have seen or enjoyed those sequences.

So we had to ask the musical scholar about this, and he gave us what he told us was the short version of the story (of course, his version didn’t seem short, so it makes me wonder about the long version). Apparently, there were vaudeville and comedy circuits, performed mostly by Jewish entertainers, which came out of the minstrel show tradition, going back even farther. Apparently a lot of what the Marx Brothers did came from the minstrel shows, so inserting these musical sequences, but with African-American performers, was a natural decision because Hollywood actors and producers, who were fans of those performers, wanted to give their favorites some work.

And our musical scholar friend went on (and I’m synopsizing here; really, if this was the short version...but he teaches the subject, so it’s inevitable) to point out that a lot of what we saw in movies and even early TV came from that tradition. Jack Benny and his butler Rochester; Bogart and Dooley Wilson in Casablanca? Bojangles Robinson and Shirley Temple? All from that tradition that we saw a part of in A Day at the Races.

So that’s the thing about this comedy classic: the jokes are still fresh, but the music wasn’t universal, and it was even a bit political in a way that was at once overt and covert. Interesting to note, and something we wouldn’t necessary think of in our day and age. (Reminds me in some ways of Godzilla. Maybe soon in the series of examining media classics.)

Eilis Flynn can be found to argue with at Facebook, Twitter, or at her website at www.eilisflynn.com. If you’re looking for an editor, you can find her at emsflynn.com as Elizabeth Flynn. Either way, you’ll find her online somewhere!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Boost Your Blog's Presence

Want to get more readers, more followers and more comments on your blog?
Michelle Hauck has one of the most interesting and thriving blogs around. I asked her to share how she does it and this was her response. 
Blogging. Everyone in writerland tells you that you should be doing it. But there are so many blogs, so much content. How does one go about driving readers to your blog? Is it worth the time and trouble?
The answer, of course, is it depends.

By the time I was writing my second manuscript, I’d gotten this same advice and fumbled my way onto Blogspot, totally unsure of the technical aspect or even what I was going to do with a blog. My early attempts at posts revolved around funny things that happened to me at work. Not exactly a crowd pleaser.

The only ones visiting my blog were other members of my writing group at Agent Query Connect and spammers. I posted when I felt like it or when inspiration struck. I began doing a series I called Getting the Call in order to bring more established writers to my blog with stories about their success with agents. That helped a little, but really, my range of friends was small, and these posts were tough to find.

Blogging wasn’t really high on my to-do list. I did it because it was sort of expected. The post bounced around from subject to subject as I had no particular readership in mind. Then that second manuscript got an offer of publication from a small press. Suddenly I had rather a bigger reason to blog. I had to get myself known. Marketing would be up to me.

That’s when two lucky things happened to me, and they made my blog take off in a gradual upward climb. First, I joined twitter. Like blogging, twitter was more miss than hit. I stumbled around there too, getting to know the ropes, slowly building up a following. But there I met other writers and I learned, learned so much about the business of writing.

I could now do more of those Getting the Call posts because I knew more people. I added posts about editing and helped people with their cover and release day posts. My pageviews began to climb.

 The second lucky break was when SC and Mike asked me to be part of a contest they’d invented called Query Kombat. None of us had done a writing contest before. None of us had agents. I didn’t even have Kindar’s Cure out yet. Happily, we gathered a group of gracious agents willing to join the fun. That first contest was a modest success.

After the contest, I did a string of query critiques on my blog with queries offered by people I’d met on twitter. My blog began to have a direction, an audience. I cast around for more ideas to fit that audience of newer writers. Agents had been very kind about the contest, maybe they’d be up for being interviewed about query slush. Turns out they were. I started by asking agents I saw often on twitter. Interviews began to roll in.

My pageviews climbed steadily upward, becoming regularly a hundred views a day. Mike and SC and I hosted other contests. I did giveaways with agents of query critiques. Then I had the great fortune to accept an offer of representation from Sarah Negovetich a few months after Query Kombat. My pageviews went to three hundred a day and then six hundred. But I was posting something pretty much every week day. My blog was busy. I began to add a few book reviews, trying to keep to speculative fiction, to direct my audience more toward readers.

I discovered that I really loved blogging. I loved interacting on twitter. The two were one and the same for me. Keeping up a steady stream of blog posts was fun, and I enjoyed it. And here we are today barely a year later and my audience continues to grow. (I hope.) It’s great to meet new people and to help other writers in any way I can. Giving back is awesome. For me it’s all about the fun! Thus my blog title and my twitter handle: Michelle4Laughs.



So what do I think are the keys to successful blogging?

—Have a specific audience in mind and give them something they can’t get elsewhere. Whether it’s romance readers, travel stories, or beginning writers, come up with unique ideas and see if you can’t create a series of it. One thing I’ve seen recently from Dan Koboldt is bringing in experts to discuss aspects of writing, such as people who know horses to help writers with truths about horses in their books. That’s a fabulous idea.

—Use twitter. Use it to meet people for guest posts and use it to pimp your blog posts. Twitter can bring people to your blog. Or Facebook or Tumblr if that’s your thing. (I ignore my Facebook too much.)

—Don’t bother unless you enjoy it. There are all kinds of social media out there. Blogging may not be your thing. You may not have the time. That’s fine. Go with what you like. I started a Tumblr and decided it wasn’t for me.

—Post regularly whether that is once a week or every day. Have some kind of schedule.

—Be positive, but let your real voice come through. Let your personality shine in your posts and don’t be afraid to be a little silly, or exuberant, or sarcastic if that’s your thing.

—Don’t be afraid to try new things and take chances. I’ve recently added a newsletter to my blog, incorporating giveaways to get it started. I was pretty nervous about trying that, but it worked out well.

—Don’t expect to be an overnight success. A good blog will grow slowly. Do things to bring people back.

I learned by trial and error, and I hope some words from someone still learning can help. Come visit my blog, I’d love to see you.

What are your favorite things to write about on your blog? Do you have any tricks I missed?


-----------------------------------------------


Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly query contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent, PitchSlam, and Sun versus Snow. 


Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, was published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, was published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. Elephant’s Bookshelf Press also published another of her short stories, The Unfinished Task, in their winter anthology, Winter’s Regret. She’s represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Goodreads: Kindar’s Cure




   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thirteen Things I Learned About Self Publishing And MY BEST FRIEND DEATH

Have you ever glanced at a book blurb and known, just known, that the story’s one you must read?




That’s what happened to me with My Best Friend Death and I’m happy to say the book more than met the blurb’s promise…so I invited the author Michael Anthony to share his story and his self publishing tips with us.




Thirteen Things I Learned From Self-Publishing
1. Writing is fun. Querying is stressful. Given enough time (and rejections) the stress of querying can spill over into the joy of writing. When that happens, writing stops being an outlet, and starts being a chore. No one likes chores.
2. Many people (myself included) call a new book or WIP their 'baby'. What few realize when publishing traditionally is that you are giving up your parental right to 'raise' that 'baby', to nurture it. But when you e-pub, you have full custody. The well-being of that 'child' is entirely in your hands. Yes, it's scary, but it's also liberating.
3. Criticism can beat you to the ground if you let it. But only if you let it.
4. You can judge a book by its cover. Especially if it's a self-published book. Publishing a novel isn't cheap. Don't get me wrong, it isn't particularly expensive either. With that being said, from my experience, there are two types of e-publishers: those who invest in their novel (this includes time as well as mullah) and those who don't. Quality of cover art is a HUGE indicator of which category the author falls under.
5. Based on #4, you might be wondering how much e-publishing cost. Well, I spent about $1000 publishing my novel. That paid for an editor and cover designer, marketing, website/domain name, and a few miscellaneous things that don't really matter (paper, ink cartridges, etc). I spent that over the course of four or five months, so it wasn't all upfront. 
6. kdp.amazon.com, createspace.com, and smashwords.com are a self-publisher's best resources. Period.
7. It is SO important (no matter how you publish) to give your readers a way to communicate with you. A single compliment can truly lift your spirits. Also, if there is ever an error (however small) they will likely point it out if they otherwise enjoyed the book. Readers WANT to help writers they 'discover'.
8. Not scoring an agent doesn't mean you're not a good writer. It's so easy to slip into the defeated mindset and second guess your talents, but you have to fight it. You have to believe in yourself.
9. Self-publishing isn't taking the easy way out. Not by a long shot. Aside from looking for an agent (which the NSA recently reclassified as a form of torture), it is insanely time consuming and physically and mentally draining. You don't have a network behind you (Can you hear me now? Good). It's just you and the 857 different hats you have to wear to get the job done professionally.
10. This goes for self-publishers and traditional publishers alike: DON'T READ REVIEWS OF YOUR NOVEL. Now that I've made that blanket statement, allow me to amend it: Don't read negative reviews. If the review has a star rating, don't read anything at or below three stars. If it doesn't have a star rating (or something similar) don't read it at all. A bad review can and will ruin your entire day no matter how many good reviews stand around it.
11. Along the same lines, critics can be incredibly harsh, especially over the internet. They have to ability to say whatever they want because they can hide behind a username. But because we are trying to build a name for ourselves, we have to remain composed no matter what. When senseless hate is spewed, the hardest thing in the world is to unload your cannon of vicious insults and paint on a smile. But you MUST do it. What's said on the internet is available for everyone to see. As writers, people judge us by our words.
12. Jumping back to number 5, let me say this: you get what you pay for. This is especially true when preparing your novel for publication. The more you pay (usually) the better the quality. The opposite can also be true. Trust me, when you think your work is near perfect, there's nothing worse than someone pointing out glaring issues you paid someone to fix. You lose faith in the quality of your work, and that's the worst feeling in the world.
13. There is truly no greater feeling than seeing a complete stranger reading your book. It makes you feel...eternal. Infinite. Limitless. It makes you feel like you've made your mark on the world.

Michael’s tips are really helpful and almost as inspiring as his blurb for My Best Friend Death is compelling.

Here it is:

Damien Crown devotes his life to being his brother's superman. Like all heroes, he's locked in a deadly war with a formidable foe—his brother's depression. Instead of perishing in a climactic battle as comics suggest, he dies at the screech of tires and the blare of a car horn. But in those last precious moments, he regrets not taking off the cape and living his own life.
 

But those regrets don't last long when Death becomes his life-coach.
 

Given a new body and one more year to live, Damien seizes the opportunity to reinvent himself. Forbidden by Death from making contact with his old family, he knows the trek will be hard, but he's happy to leave behind the pressures of his old life.
 

Until his brother attempts suicide.
 

Now, the only way to save his brother is to break Death's rules. But with a life any kid would kill for, Damien finds himself stuck between who he was, and who he wants to be. He can don his cape and die for his brother, or hang it up and finally live for himself.

If you’re like me and you'd like to read this story, you can purchase it on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KTJ2UUK



And if you want to know more about his self publishing adventures and his writing you can find Michael Anthony at the following places:





Thanks for visiting.  Feel free to leave a question or a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Playing Gladys Kravitz


By Eilis Flynn

I have a home office that I sit in all day (try not to at night; paying attention to one’s spouse seems like a good thing to do when he comes home, right?), and it faces due south. If I didn’t have curtains and a lot of detritus in the window there, I’d be staring into the house next door. (I live in the city; there are only feet between domiciles.) But there are all sorts of things sitting on the window sill, so it’s cutting off my view.

There are other windows that don’t, however. That house next door has changed hands a few times since we moved in two decades and some ago. The kindly couple who lived there when we first moved in have been gone for a few years, and the house has been sold and flipped and foreclosed on and currently, after several months of intense renovation, is for sale again. (And unlike the previous owners who bought it with the intent of flipping it, this owner has done it right, with updates and painting and lots of landscaping and taking care of the egg stain on the front of the house and so forth. I’m hopeful. It’s a nice house.) Watching the renovations have been my entertainment for the past few months, and it also forces me to get up and snoop out the other windows that aren’t pointedly blocking my view. Depending on what kind of work I had at the moment, sometimes that was also my exercise. (I run my editing and writing business out of my house. It’s cozy.)

“I realized I’m Gladys Kravitz,” I told my husband when he came home one day. “At least I’m not seeing weird things happening when I look out and screeching about it.”

“But I feel like Abner,” he responded. And he did look exhausted.

For those of you not into 1960s sitcoms, there was a show called BEWITCHED starring an actress named Elizabeth Montgomery who played a witch who married a mortal and he forbade her to use her powers because, after all, she was a housewife. (This was the 1960s. Take it as you will.) She promised, but it didn’t work, and all sorts of magical things ensued anyway. The neighbors across the street, Gladys and Abner Kravitz, saw things they couldn’t explain, but when Abner did, he just assumed he was imagining things, while Gladys was pretty sure she wasn’t and got upset about it. In my case, I’d step out and find out what was happening. If I felt my house shake a little, I’d check to make sure my house was intact; sometimes it was a shock wave, sometimes the ladder actually bumped against my house. No harm, no foul. And I got a chance to see what was going on! (And of course I got a tour of the place.)

The guy who bought the place was around a lot, and we became cordial. He wasn’t a pain, and I wasn’t going to be (he was providing my free entertainment!). And because my backyard was hard to look at (as in “wince”), he offered to replace my fence that divided his backyard and mine—and made sure the fence blocked the view. Okay with me; that fence really was on its last legs. (The other three sides of the fence, however, are still our eyesore to take care of.) But the best part was when he hired a landscaper to do up the back and front—and they gussied up OUR front lawn. They mowed our lawn! Tore down dead things and cleared away things and put down mulch! Our front yard still doesn’t look great, but it still looks better. And then, they even washed off the roof of our back porch because it was visible from that house! I’m going to miss them when the place sells!

In return, when the Realtors forget to turn off the sprinklers and leave them on overnight, I go over and shut them off. It’s really the least we could do.

At no time have I seen unexplainable things. I’ve kept an eye on the place when it was empty, I’ve kept an eye out when it was being torn apart and put back together. Nope, nothing supernatural, nothing paranormal, nothing unexplainable. Unlike Gladys, I always hoped, just so I could use it in a book. I can always hope, right?

Eilis Flynn can be found to argue with at Facebook, Twitter, or at her website at www.eilisflynn.com. If you’re looking for an editor, you can find her at emsflynn.com as Elizabeth Flynn. Either way, you’ll find her online somewhere!

 
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