Monday, March 24, 2014

Well, Ladies and Gents....

Good morning, everyone!

Well, for the last month I have been engaged in working with a delightful young woman. She has been working diligently to make a deadline and has endured my quirks and nit-pickity-ness and between the two of us (mostly her)....

Well....the audio version of Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady is finished!!

Let me just give you a bit of background...if you've ever seen the T-Mobile commercials and heard a woman's voice narrating, that's our girl! Her name is Erin Fossa and I am humbled that she wanted to do my book!

It took a lot of editing and listening...sound adjustments, word adjustments and voices and through it all she made each and every adjustment without complaint. If it sounds like I'm gushing, well...I am!

Now, if you're wondering how to get the audio version of the book, it will be on audible.com; itunes.com; and amazon.com. We don't have a release date yet, but I will let you all know as soon as I know!

Have a fantastic week!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fair warning...this is a rant/gripe session.

It's been a while since I blogged about the fibro. Today it was unavoidable.

For the last week, it has been gloomy and cloudy and just...blah. Makes me wonder how on earth folks in Seattle deal with all that rain. I seriously would not know what I would do if I had to deal with that day in and day out for months. Its bad enough I'm not nice after this last week of yuck, put me in that situation and I could not be responsible for my actions.

Case in point. Four days ago, I had severe anxiety attacks that kept me awake all night. The next day the fibro pain was nasty. Saturday, I had a video hangout scheduled for questions and answers for Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady and it was a bust. I was pretty bummed. Then my kitchen drain clogged. Yeah...sometimes its not worth getting out of bed. Trust me, if it didn't drive me crazy to not be doing something, I would still be under the covers hiding from the world.

Last night, another wonderfully sleepless night <insert severe sarcasm here>, I wake to another gloomy day ((think Eeyore talking here)) and head to breakfast with my friend Kathy and the Mouse. Because its 500% humidity outside, I turn into a frizzy mess as soon as I walk out the door. No one is doing the speed limit on the roads and Mouse is talking a blue streak. Don't ask what about, I haven't a clue. Oh! Did I mention that I awoke to He's Got the Whole World in His Hands sung so off key I thought it was a Gregorian Chant at first? **sigh** I love the Mouse, but she couldn't sing to save her life.

So, I get to Denny's and go to the table that is occupied by my Buddy, her mom and sister, ask for coffee and a smoothie for Mouse and take my seat. So far so good. Then the feathers hit the fan. Really, I wasn't tense when I left the house, I really wasn't. I was annoyed about the serenade, but not anywhere near tense. When the coffee still wasn't there after five minutes, I got tense...fast. It wasn't as if the girl was slammed, there were three tables occupied and two servers. I felt the tension rise and warned the table about it.

While we were there, I managed to tick off the waitress pretty good. I know, I know...don't do that. I couldn't help it. She didn't come back to the table to check on our coffee fast enough...my breakfast was cold and cooked wrong and she was very aloof. Maybe she caught my tenseness, I don't know. Whatever the reason, when I got my breakfast back, she brought a HUGE bowl of strawberries and whipped cream (I wanted them on my waffle...not the side. Sheesh!) and then my egg. Still no coffee warm up and my tension goes higher. At this point, I'm sure I look like I'm ready to eat my young.

Understand, I don't have an anger issue. I put that behind me with the help of Christ a long time ago. I understood that it was counter-productive and not good for my health. Besides, it whacks out the fibro something fierce, so I avoid it like the plague as much as possible. With eight cats, two dogs and Mouse 24/7, that's quite the feat, but it's doable. Except for today. This waitress was out to take me to a level I hadn't been to in a long time and she didn't even know it. I had to take a time out and go to the bathroom to ask God for help, I was that stressed.

Come checkout time, I asked about a charge on the ticket.This caused the checkout to be almost as stressful as breakfast time and in my frustration, I didn't leave a tip. Understand, there is never a time that I don't leave some sort of tip. I left the parking lot and realized that  not only did I not leave a tip for her, but I was being unfair. I turned around and took her a tip and in return got a surprise bear hug.

I write all of this because this is part and parcel of some of the things that we go through with fibromyalgia. Folks don't understand that not only is it physical, but its emotional and mental and to some degree, spiritual. I think that if I didn't have God on my side that I would have been a very ugly person, indeed. I mean, I was ugly, don't get me wrong, and I apologised to the waitress when I gave her the tip, but I could have been much worse...the nightmare customer that everyone avoids. Praise God that He reminded me that I was unfair, that she might depend on that money to help keep a roof over her head or food in her family's stomachs. I made her day pretty miserable and I certainly wouldn't want someone like me to do that to me.

Like I said, this is a part of fibro that not everyone talks about. It creeps up on you and sometimes like that annoying itch you can't reach, you can't get rid of it. These are the kinds of days that shutting yourself in your room and ignoring the whole day is a bonus if you can do it, most of us can't. Seriously, everyone has these kinds of days...everyone, but when the flares kick in, and the emotions go out of whack it's hard to believe that anyone else goes through the same thing. The only thing to do at this point is to pray for help and know that God hears our pleas and responds. He may not always answer our prayers the way we want with instant relief, but we will always get an answer.

I'm going to go find something to do to distract me from the bad start of my day now. Perhaps a butterfly will come along or my cardinal will come up to the window and bring a smile to my face. =o)

 Here's hoping that your day is abundantly blessed!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A new chapter...no pun intended.

Yes, I have started a new chapter. That is, my book Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady has.

I had been playing around with the marketing for both of my books since they hit the market. Since I am self-published, of course the marketing is on me. I've put The Father's Footsteps in our local library; I did a freebie for Cat Lady on the 13th of January in honor of what would have been my Nanny's 101st birthday and gave away close to 200 books worldwide. I have ordered copies of both books and have given most of them away, sold some of them.

I have promoted both books on www.BookDaily.com and www.Rankmybook.com; had word of mouth advertising; gotten my books available online through Barnes and Noble, The Tattered Cover and just about any independent bookstore that does online transactions. Not to mention that these books are available to the buyers for these bookstores if they desire to put them on the shelves. And to the a comment that someone close to me made about me buying my ISBN, yeah, no. I did not go through a vanity press.

I look at it this way. If I had the money to throw away, I'd have an agent who would pitch it to the big Publishing Houses: Random House; Tyndale Press, yadda, yadda. I'd have an editor who was beating me over the head and shoulders to make the books p.c. Again, not happening. I want to write what I want to write. I earned that ISBN, and I continue to earn it every time I work on the marketing, however small an effort that might be. Every book that I self-publish will be something that involved hard work; from the storyline to the writing to the formatting to the cover art to the marketing. But even in all of that, I really didn't do it by my own power. I have to give the glory to God because without Him, I wouldn't have the gift to put two words together in a coherent sentence. So there's that.

Anyway, I got off on a bunny trail, sorry. The next chapter.

Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady is a bit of a surprise for me. I wrote it knowing it was a niche book. I knew there was a select audience that would enjoy it, and even figured a few fringe dog people might enjoy it. I didn't expect it to pass up my bigger book, I really didn't. But pass it it has and I'm on track to make it soar!

As of yesterday, or actually, Sunday night, I have signed a narrator to do the audio version of Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady. Her achievements are impressive, her voice more so. I think with her comedic timing and the tone of her voice that 'Eloise' will come to life and jump off the pages to (dare I say it??) an audio book best seller list! Am I reaching for the moon? You betcha, because as I have said in times past...Reach for the moon. If you miss, you might land among the stars! I don't know who said that first, but its a good motto to have. (If anyone knows who is attributed to that quote, please let me know).

So, there you have it. I'm venturing into the land of the spoken word. I'm giddy at the prospect that my book will reach ears as well as eyes and I am very grateful and humbled at the favor God has shown me. I look forward to seeing just what He has in store for this book that is for me a labor of love to my Nanny, my little brother and parents, my husband, children and grandchildren.

Look for it to hit the market on April 14th.

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Writing with fibro...

You know, not too long ago someone asked me how I write with the fibro. It got me to thinking...I don't know.

I've been sitting at this computer, composing one thing or another for the last year or better and for the life of me, I can't figure out how the fibro fog doesn't make my writing simply unintelligible. I do know from time to time that bunny trails have actually been a benefit to my writing, but I am at a loss as to how I actually can string two words together sometimes so that they actually make sense.

I know that one person finds my work inspiring, I know that because she told me so, and I am humbled and flattered. Really I am. But I am not sure that moniker is deserving. Let's face it, I have been a bit of a scatter-brained individual all my life. A bit absent-minded, too. As I age, the absent mindedness gets the best of me and I stop in mid sentence and apparently get quite the vacant stare on my face. It bugs me, especially with the dementia and Alzheimer's that is in my family background. I get frustrated when I know the words I want to say and they don't come out. I feel stupid and scared. I mean, seriously, am I headed down that dreaded path?

My doctors say no. As far as I'm concerned, the jury's out on that one and only time will tell. I pray every day that I'm just absent minded and that's that.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let me get back to the writing aspect.

I didn't know, or maybe I didn't think that fibromyalgia, a nerve disorder, would have anything to do with neurological synapses or the lack thereof. I'm a smart enough person, but seriously, what was I thinking?? Apparently, according to WebMD and Dr. Mark Pelligrino, “In fibro, our brain networking and intra-communication abilities are slowed/impaired, resulting in delayed thoughts or ‘timing-out' of our thoughts,” he explains. “But the memories are still there, even if it takes us a while to access them. Our brains are like my computer: sometimes works great, sometimes verrrrrrry sloooooooow!”

It is suggested that those of us who have to deal with fibromyalgia do some exercising...of our brains. Quieting our minds so that so many things aren't rushing around all at once. Doing crossword puzzles or memory games. Using our cognitive and motor skills, i.e. playing games or doing projects that encourage eye-hand coordination. Most of all, give yourself a break! Your brain processes at a different rate! While it may be a slower speed that it usually processes at, it also now has to deal with the nerves which are vying for its attention at the same time. So multitasking takes on a whole new meaning.

So...writing. I think that's where I was headed in the first place!

Just kidding...my writing helps me to focus on the task at hand. Because I do most of it when there is nothing on; no radio, no television and no Chatty Cathy, it is easier for me to focus on the words I want to type. When the cats are bouncing around, wanting to see what I'm doing; the dogs are playing and sending my office chair across the room with me in it. When Mouse is chatting at five hundred miles an hour about pink airplanes, pink hotels with her name on it and her "boyfriend"; and everything and everyone else is buzzing around me, well, that's when I close the computer and go rake leaves or something. I can't focus and I have to calm my mind before my brain just shuts down and says, "nap time!" Then you can forget about me being productive in any way.

Anyway...

To me, I think I'm just a normal person with a weird disorder trying to combat something that I've dealt with all my life (absent mindedness), but it is now multiplied by like...oh, I don't know...a bazillion times. I am flattered that I am an inspiration to some and I hope that somehow I have helped others, but to me...well, I'm just Lois. The woman that can find a post growing out of any sidewalk and walk right into it. The one who will trip on a piece of lint. I'm the one who will make up a word because I can't remember the one I was going to say, or I remember something I was going to say and talk about it twenty minutes later like we're still in the same conversation. I'm the one who struggles just as much as anyone else in trying to get my point across. The only difference between me and my biggest fans is that I've got you guys and them and I'm blessed beyond measure because of all of you.

  You inspire me,  and to me, that's a pretty sweet deal.


Now...what were we talking about?


:)

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, February 10, 2014

I found something....

I've found something recently.

No, it's not a trinket that I've put away eons ago and found when rummaging through long forgotten boxes.

No, it's not a new found spirituality that I never knew existed.

It isn't a new love. I like the one I have, thank you...I'm not in the market for a new one anytime soon, just for reference. Besides, it's a pain in the neck to train a new one.

It isn't a new puppy, a new friend, a new house or a new car. Its a new "something to do with my life" thing.
It's writing. Okay, I know, I've been doing this blog for a couple of years, and lately I've been a bit slack on keeping it updated. My bad, as the kids say. I haven't been updating mostly because I've been doing other writing...I've been writing books.

I've always loved to write. As far back as I can remember (and sometimes that 'far back' is only as far as yesterday), I have written things down. As a freshman, I had an English teacher tell me that if I ever got my head out of the clouds, that I could do some good writing. He was right, but it took me being forced out of the workforce by fibromyalgia to sit down and really do it. That and the encouragement and cajoling of some dear friends.

So, there it is, the something that I found. I have to say that I regret not doing this long ago. I love doing this and I'm pretty good at it. Do I have a best seller? Nope, not yet, but don't count me out. I plan on getting to that coveted top ten, but right now, Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady is doing some pretty impressive stuff. For something that I wrote as a genre specific piece, it is crossing boundaries with people. Folks that don't even like cats are reading this and liking it, and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!

I'm now working on a murder mystery. I'm taking my time (as opposed to the 30-day deadline I had with The Father's Footsteps) and I hope that it is a quality piece that murder mystery folks eat up. I will try to remember to update everyone as I go along with that one.

As for The Father's Footsteps, a heads up. If you have the edition that is out, kudos! I hope you are enjoying it. I plan on taking it off the market this week for a bit of reworking. When it goes back on the market, it may have the same artwork, but the Title will be different. There will be some revisions in the book, but not enough to change the storyline. Again, I will try to keep everyone updated on the progress there.

One more update. For those of you who are on Facebook as well, you can follow me at:

https://www.facebook.com/L.A.Brown.doaccl

I'll have updates there as well as some feedback from folks.

For those of you who are interested in purchasing either book that is currently out, you can find it at:

www.amazon.com  Simply type in "LA Brown" or the name of the book.

Hope each and every one of you have a wonderful and blessed week!

Friday, December 27, 2013

As promised!

Revision:
I now have the paperback and ebook versions live and working! The links for all three versions are below. Happy New Year, everyone!


Well, folks, I've gone and done it. I'm now officially a published author! Now, mind you, this is in hardback, I'm still working on the ebook and paperback versions. When they're ready, I promise to let all y'all know!
Have a safe and wonderful New Year!

Hardback:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/l-a-brown/the-fathers-footsteps/hardcover/product-21373254.html


Ebook:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HKK1MV4


Paperback:

https://www.createspace.com/4542747

Monday, December 23, 2013

'Tis the Season

Yes, it's the season. The season for over-crowded malls; over-sensitive shoppers; and kids who tend to be on their best behavior...until after the presents are opened Christmas morning. Thankfully, I chose to do most of my shopping online, which has its own hazards, thank you very much. The rest of it, the stuff I had to do in person, well, I did that early. The only thing that I did at last minute was send out my parent's stuff and Punky's last box. Now, in my defense, I sent it out priority mail on the 10th figuring it wouldn't take more than seven days. Imagine my (mock) surprise when it took eleven. Meh...at least she got it finally.

Anyway, since my last update, I've been pretty busy. I put everything on hold (with the exception of a couple of days right around Thanksgiving for cooking and such) to participate in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who are scratching their heads right now and going, "huh?", that's National Novel Writers Month, NaNoWriMo for short. The goal is to pound out a novel of fifty thousand words or more in thirty days. Yes, I did it, and finished six days early, which gave me the title of "winner". What that gives me is a couple of exclusive offers from self-publishing houses as well as some other sponsor goodies. What I really got out of it was a full-blown novel. Yup! I'm an author! Okay, so it's not on the market yet, but I'm hoping that it will be soon. When it's all done, it will be for sale on Amazon.com. Look for it, it's called "The Father's Footsteps". I hope you enjoy it. I'll let everyone know when it hits. Eeep! I'm kind of excited!

Other stuff has been going on. A bit of family stuff here in the States. If all y'all don't mind lifting my family up in prayer when you think of it, I would sure appreciate it, God knows the reasons.

My Punky Doodle will (hopefully) be back home in the States with her Hubster and two babies. I can't wait to hug on their crazy necks and spoil the Granddaughters more than I have long distance! I'm not the least bit excited, can you tell?

My Bestie has had a rough go of it, too. I wish there was more that I could do other than my prayers and a shoulder when needed...I hope she knows that I think and pray for her often. If she didn't know before, then I know she knows now...say that one five times fast! LOL! Seriously, that's another prayer request for all of you prayer warriors out there.

We had a bit of excitement with one of my fur-babies, Uno. Had no clue what was going on with him and took him to the vet. Found out the little guy had a bladder stone (owie!). For those of you who have never given a cat medicine, let me tell you, it ranks right up there with giving one a bath! I wrapped that boy up in a heavy beach towel...it went around him four times, mind you...that sucker is now in shreds. I didn't fare too well with that one, either. I look like I got in a fight with, well, a cat and lost, which I didn't. He got the medicine. All of it. Now when he sees the syringe of medicine, he runs and hides. Thankfully it's almost gone so he can relax for a bit, then it's back to the vet for a check up and hopefully the stone will be gone.

So, pretty much that's the month, almost two in a nutshell. Oh, wait, I almost forgot. This is Izzy's first Christmas with us. She's a coon hound mix and as curious as the cats. Well, I have the scat mat under the tree for the ornament's safety. She got curious about a 'toy' on one of the bottom branches. The cats tried to warn her about he scat mat, then scattered as she put her front paw on it. The next thing I see is Izzy backing up so fast her tail was in front of her and yelping at the same time. No, it doesn't hurt, it's like getting a static electricity shock, it's mostly a startle deterrent, but let me tell you, I laughed so hard I cried, then loved on her until she licked all the make-up off my face. She's a fast learner...when she hears it on, she makes a wide berth around it and needless to say, this year at least, my tree is still in the upright position and all ornaments are where they should be. Unless the robovac bumps into it again, but that's another story.

Finally, I hope everyone has a wonderful, joyous Christmas! Remember the reason why we celebrate Christmas, and bless others when you can. Find a reason to pay it forward this season. Hold the doors open for folks, even when they don't expect it. Don't be afraid to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" and be gracious to those who have to say "Happy Holidays".

Be safe and sound and may you get everything you asked Santa for!