Monday, February 29, 2016

Free Day

Today is a free day, or at least that’s the way I’m looking at it. But really, it’s not. I still have to homeschool; still have to write a few pieces for A to Z, still have to edit a book. I still have to go into work this afternoon. Part of me wants to call it all off and just enjoy the day—but I do enjoy all that stuff. Homeschool is just spending one on one time with my kids and the A to Z is flash fiction; my personal favorite. I love my jobs, so there’s nothing wrong there, either. So why this feeling of just wanting to stay in bed? Maybe because this day only comes once every four years I’ve got it in my head it’s a holiday or something. Maybe it should be. 
Who’s with me?  


Friday, February 26, 2016

FIve Year Review/Pilot Project

Today is the last Friday of the month, which makes it time to review my five year goal. Thanks to Misha Gericke for putting this on each month. My goal? To have a world class publishing company. Right now things are going well. The patent is pending for Ubooks and Black and White is opening up for submissions in May. We’re currently working on a children’s book project that I’m really excited about—both the author and illustrator are super-talented, which makes my job much easier. I’ll post more on that later. The pieces just seem to be coming together.


Today is also Pilot Project Review time.

I know this is a bit dated, but my daughter and I decided to go retro: Cheers. We figured if we liked it, we could move onto Fraiser. Well, we didn’t like it, at least not the pilot. In it, Diane shows up in Sam’s bar with her fiancĂ©. He leaves her there and, feeling sorry for her, Sam offers her a job, which she takes. If it sounds dry, it’s because it is. On the plus side, there is something about the idea of a place where you're welcome, no matter who you are. Which explains the rag-tag mix of characters who make a debut there. There's Carla, the tiny ornery barmaid who somehow manages to command everyone's respect. And who can forget Norm and Cliff, the two always planted on their seats at the end of the bar--a great place to command/dictate the course of conversation. And Sam. The ex-ball player who is also an ex-drunk who happens to own the place.  So will I keep on watching the show? No. Would I be there if such a place existed? Absolutely.
Have a great weekend everyone.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday's Ubook

Hello everyone! It’s Wednesday again, which means time for this week’s *Ubook installment.

The Newstead Project, chapter eight:

The Newstead Project, chapter six narrated by Nathan Moran:


Also, I’m posting today over at IWSG Anthology, Parallels: Felix was here, come stop over and visit!


*Ubook is a video book set at reading speed enhanced with music for reader enjoyment.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Last week I was in charge of my nephew’s fish: Bubbles and Goldie.  My sister and her family went out of town to visit colleges and the only living creatures they own are two goldfish; my sisters first attempt to introduce pets into her household. Now I have chickens, guinea fowl, and a rabbit of my own, so I am not new to this whole animal watching duty, but these fish were different. If they died under my care, how would their family ever recover? I know what you’re thinking; relax Mel, they’re just goldfish. You can get more. Believe me, I looked into it. As a back-up plan I checked out my local pet store to ensure they had plenty of replacements in case things went badly. And they do—lots of plain, normal goldfish, but of course that’s not the kind my nephew has. He picked out some with black spots. You know what they say about snowflakes? Well the same rings true for black-spotted goldfish. And my nephew is very observant, he’d know in a second if he wasn’t looking at the true Bubbles and Goldie.  

No fish in the history of the world were watched closer than those two. I literally counted each flake of food that went in their bowl. I would not be the one who kept that family from moving up to a dog/cat/whatever.  So, how did it go? My sister got back Saturday night was over first thing Sunday to pick them up—she must’ve sensed my stress—you know sisterly intuition—or possibly it was the five phone calls and three texts, either way, they’re home and alive and I am free to live my fishless life.

Ever had to pet-sit before? How did it go?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Pilot Project: Bob's Burgers

It’s Pilot Project time, which means for the next six weeks I’ll be reviewing the pilots of popular comedies in an attempt to fill the void that finishing Friends has caused.
Image result for bob's burgers
Bob’s Burgers. My daughter is the one who suggested this, and since I’m so far removed from all things pop-culture, I had no idea what I was getting into, which was a good thing, because if I’d known, I probably wouldn’t have watched it. But I did watch it, and I loved it. True, it’s crude, but in a hilariously funny way. Now, for the pilot: Bob is having his grand re-re-reopening of Bob’s Burgers, a family-run burger joint a block off a touristy beach. My favorite line of the show was spoken by Bob right before the opening as he’s facing his wife and three kids; a ragtag group at best: “Now I love you, but you all suck at what you do and if we weren’t related, I’d fire every last one of you.” They all stare at him for a second. His wife Linda answers with her typical upbeat “All-right!!” and the kids all fall in line. Now, the kids: Tina is the oldest which means they give her some responsibility in the restaurant. Which they shouldn’t. The first thing we learn about Tina is that she has a rash in a certain place, and we know this because she tells everyone. And she’s their cook. Think about it. Then there’s Gene. He’s the middle child and is in charge of advertisement, which means he’s wearing a burger costume and handing out samples out front. Sounds simple, right? Not with this family. It takes him a total of three seconds to tick off the mourners from the funeral home next door and drop his tray of burgers on the ground—right in front of the health inspector. And then there’s Louise, the youngest. She’s always on the sidelines saying and doing things so extreme you have to pause a second and ask yourself, did I just hear that right? And the answer is yes, yes you did. In the pilot, Louise adds to the grand re-re-reopening fun by telling her class that her family serves human meat in their burgers from the funeral home next door.  Her parents accept this, like this is nothing new for Louise, and because Netflix has the next two seasons all lined up and because I just couldn’t help myself, I watched ahead and saw that that is pretty much the case. Is it frightening that I love this show? Probably. Is it even more frightening that I look at my own family and see alarming similarities? Definitely.


Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday Update

In May, Black and White will begin accepting submissions for those authors who would like to have their work published as a *Ubook. The beauty of publishing this way is that there really are no rules. 15,000 word novel? Fine.  Everything in verse? Even better. I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of sick of all the rules, anyway. Who set these word counts? Who broke up writing into all these genres and then sub-genres? What I’m looking for is writing, really good writing. It can be flash fiction, children’s picture books, poetry, even full length novels. And it can even be something that’s already been published elsewhere, depending on your contract with your publisher.  *Ubooks are not meant to compete with what’s already out there—they’re meant to be a whole new way for readers to enjoy the experience.  I’ll be posting more details in upcoming Wednesday posts, but for now, here is a taste with this week’s Ubooks.
The Newstead Project, chapter seven:

The Newstead Project, chapter five, narrated by Nathan Moran:

*A Ubook is a book on video synced to music. The words appear at a reading pace and the music is there to enhance the experience, just like in movies. The idea is so groundbreaking there’s a patent pending on it. And best of all? It’s free.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Life Changes

My oldest daughter is graduating this year and youngest is in kindergarten. I know—not really good planning on our part, but that’s just how it worked out. For the last eight years we have homeschooled our children. The plan was always to re-evaluate at the end of every year to determine if homeschooling was still the best option for our family, but this is the first year we’ve actually done it. We’ve toured one private school that we and the kids love and my middle child is spending a day there tomorrow to see if it's a good fit for her. Having been homeschooled all her life, she's having some reservations about going to a “regular” school. I am, too. Talk about a life change. My oldest is about to be off to college, and my younger two will potentially be gone all day. But it feels like a good thing, the right thing, for all of us. Tomorrow will tell for sure.

Had any major life changes lately?



Friday, February 12, 2016

The Pilot Project

For the last two years, my daughter and I have gone through the entire ten seasons of Friends. It was something we really looked forward to: hanging out a couple nights a week in our jammies long after the other kids had gone to bed. And now that we’re done we don’t know what to do. We’ve tried a few other shows, but none of them have done it for us. Which led me to an idea for this blog: For the next six weeks we’re going to watch the pilot episodes of various comedies we haven’t seen before—that shouldn’t be hard, we really don’t watch much TV—then I’ll post a review each Friday.  I'm calling it The Pilot Project.
Image result for friends
But first, I’ll review Friends; the standard that these poor other shows will have to stand up to.

I’m sure you’ve seen it before: the one where Monica gets a roommate and the stage is set for something no one expected: a cast and story line that’s somewhat like our everyday life, but enough above us that we’re enthralled. I mean really, who has the likes of Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry living next door? Cute and funny…really? And who else lives in a huge apartment in Manhattan in their twenties when they’re just starting out in their careers? No one I know, but I don’t care. It works. I love each and every one of these characters, love them like they’re my own friends, which I guess was the point, and why it became so hugely popular. But I’m not reviewing the show here, I’m reviewing the pilot. Rachel shows up in a wedding dress—something we can all relate to. Not that we’ve all run out on our weddings, but I think each of us has felt that relief moment when we’ve just escaped something we knew wasn’t the best choice for us. And hopefully we’ve stumbled into the same thing Rachel did: her ex-fat old high school best friend who happens to have a room available and a group of friends she’s willing to share.  And there began the saga that has drawn in millions, my daughter and myself included. My only question—why were the best seats in the place always open and waiting for their arrival? When I go to my local coffee house I’m usually stuck in the wooden folding chair by the door. But then again, I don’t live by Matt Leblanc and Matthew Perry, either.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ubook Update

What's a Ubook? That’s a question I’ve been getting a lot, so I’ll go over it today. Basically, it’s a book on video synced to music. The words appear at a reading pace and the music is there to enhance the experience, just like in movies. The idea is so groundbreaking there’s a patent pending on it. And best of all? It’s free. Right now I’m producing my first novel, The Newstead Project, as the world’s first Ubook, released one chapter at a time. Starting in April I’ll be releasing some of my flash fiction this way (A to Z) and in May, Black and White will be open to submissions to publish other books/authors in this format. I’ll be releasing more information for that next Wednesday, but in the meantime, here are this week’s Ubooks:

The Newstead Project, chapter six


The Newstead Project chapter four, narrated by Nathan Moran.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Parallels: Felix Was Here

Parallels: Felix Was Here
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Enter the realm of parallel universes!
What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?
Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.
Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!
Official release day: May 3, 2016. Preorder your copies here .
Here's the info on my contribution, Haunted:
For five years Andy has been consumed by nothingness. Her life was fine—normal even—and then suddenly it wasn’t. No one knows why, least of all her. Desperate for answers, she seeks out yet another psychiatrist, not knowing that psychotherapy has nothing to do with it, not when the problem is that you’re being haunted.
Look for more info on future Monday posts.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016


It’s time for IWSG—where writers gather in support of each other. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for putting this on. If you’d like to join the fun, you can sign up here.

Last month was crazy, and this month seems to be starting off the same way. I’m a laid back person, and frankly I’m proud of that. I secretly love the fact that my day is completely unscheduled. It’s been a source of pride for me for years that I could still get things done that way. Well, as I said at the beginning of this post, last month was crazy. Things didn’t get done. Time slipped away from me. So I—gasp—bought an organizer. You know—one of those things where you schedule up your life? Yes. I am thirty-nine and thus far I have done just fine without one.  


Here’s to growing up.  


Not only is it IWSG, it’s also a Wednesday, which makes it Ubook time.  Here is this week’s installment:

The Newstead Project, chapter five


Monday, February 1, 2016

Turning Points

Turning points, an Anthology

Randi Lee from Stay Classy Publications contacted me last year about contributing a piece for an anthology she was setting up. The theme was turning points; the stories could be long or short, fiction or nonfiction. I was hooked. I don't do well with rules, especially related to my writing. Given too many of them I just freeze. Normally. But for some reason the opposite happened in this case. I couldn't pick which story to tell. I had a few in the works, and had in fact almost completed one, when I stumbled upon another idea that was so different than anything I had ever written before that I ended up shelving the other story and  went with this new idea instead. It is a three part short story, the first of which is in this anthology. In Clockwork Orange style, each part will have twenty-one chapters, signifying a coming of age. The first section, The Reader, is about a girl with an incredible gift. What she reads, she brings to fruition. Literally. The problems start when others pick up on this particular trait she has and want to use it as their own. Not every gift was meant to be shared.
    I will continue to post updates on this project, which is expected to be released later this year. For now, here is a trailer to keep you tantalized: