Monthly Archives: June 2015

Party On, Dude

Mom, let's not party that hard again for awhile. Okay?

Mom, let’s not party that hard again for awhile. Okay?

Last night’s festivities on the Bellingwood Facebook page were a riot! I had a great time hanging out with you all. You’re hilarious. There were crazy questions to be answered and among the correct answers were hilarious responses. Thank you, thank you for playing.

I have prizes piled up ready to be awarded. So I need to hear from everyone with a shipping address (or email address for the Kindle Ebooks) as soon as possible. Mugs come from CafePress and it takes them a few days to get things moving, so be patient. Signed paperbacks will be slower than you’d like. After I upload content, it takes a week and a half at lease for them to ship to me. I will turn around and ship them back out in a couple of days … so … more patience.

Frogs will be shipped out on Monday, the Star Wars apron will be shipped a week from Monday (I’m heading to Omaha next weekend to spend time with Fran and pick it up!), and the Kindle ebook will show up in your email as soon as they are live on Amazon.

Okay … enough noise from me. I will find the winner’s comment on each post and let you know that you’ve got a prize coming, but here we go!

Questions / Answers / Prize / Winner

1. In Book 1, what was the name of the drink Beryl ordered to trip up the new bartender at Davey’s. Do you remember the ingredients?
Red Headed Slut – Jagermeister, peach schnapps, cranberry juice
Prize: Signed paperback copy of Book 10
Winner: Nola Sokol Knowles

2. In Book 1, what did Sylvie find in the crates of items they discovered in the basement of Sycamore House that she’d lost in high school? Do you remember what she found in it?
Jacket. Plastic case with a boy band picture on the front – lip gloss tubes inside
Prize: Sweet Bean mug
Winner: Denise Chamberlain

3. In Book 1, what do we discover Lydia uses to bribe Aaron to talk?
Her fried chicken
Prize: Blue frog
Winner: Lori Decker Alderson

4. In Book 2, what was Elise Marberry’s real first name?
Prize: Ebook
Winner: Carla Marie Montfort

5. In Book 2, what was the main entree Polly cooked for her ‘date’ with Mark Ogden?
Chicken Marsala
Prize: Sycamore House Mug
Winner: Brad Hickson

6. In Book 3, why did Polly’s third custodian leave the job?
Moved to Florida to live on a commune – farm
Prize: Green frog
Winner: Susan Vaughn

7. In Book 3, what common Midwestern bird did Sal and Polly see on the road coming back from Boone? Sal had never seen one before.
Prize: Signed paperback
Winner: Deseray MacDonald

8. In Book 3, Polly and Henry talked about childhood dreams. Henry didn’t want to be a cowboy when he was a child, he wanted to be a what?
Prize: Sycamore House Mug
Winner: Joanne Magee

9. In Book 4, Polly uncovers a stuffed animal she’d had as a child. What is the animal and what is its name?
Grey elephant named Tigger
Prize: Kindle Ebook
Winner: Marie Harness

10. In Book 4, what instrument does Jeff Lyndsay play at the concert during Bellingwood Days?
Prize: Pink Frog
Winner: Pat Case

11. In Book 5, where was Henry at the beginning of the story when everything was falling apart around Polly?
In Ann Arbor, MI with his sister
Prize: Sweet Bean Mug
Winner: Julie Cavanaugh

12. Before things fell apart in Book 6, what was the pet name Henry regularly used for Polly?
Pretty Polly
Prize: Max Print
Jacque Berry Webb

13. In Book 5, how did Thomas Zeller’s old girlfriend choose her last name whenever she changed her identity?
Names of things that had to do with sewing
Prize: Fran apron
Winner: RaeEllen Kurzendoerfer

14. In Book 6, J. J. Roberts, one of the owners of the winery tells Polly that Lucy, the waitress at Joe’s Diner was his … what when he was little?
Prize: Red fancy frog
Winner: Ann Otwell

15. In Book 6, Polly had to wake Andrew up when he was staying at her apartment. He refused to get up. What did she do to him to make him miserable enough to come awake?
Dropped water droplets on his forehead.
Prize: Kindle Ebook
Winner: Anne Moore Jesseph

16. In Book 7, what did Drea Renaldi’s mother send to Bellingwood with her daughter as a gift for Polly?
White lace table runner
Prize: Signed Paperback book
Winner: Melanie Curtis

17. In Book 7, what was the name of Uncle Loren’s dog?
Prize: Max print
Winner: Dee Schwark

18. In Book 6 & 7, we discover Polly’s favorite breakfast meal at the diner. What is it called?
Garbage plate.
Prize: Kindle eBook
Winner: Jo Thompson

19. In Book 8, when Polly and Henry arrived at Mrs. Willard’s to look at the Woodies (old cars), Nate came outside eating a what?
Cinnamon roll that melted in his mouth
Prize: Signed Paperback copy
Winner: Doris Nash

20. Of the four Percheron horses, who is the alpha and really … Eliseo’s horse?
Prize: Red / Green Frog
Winner: Lynn Dion

21. In Book 9, what was the first movie Andrew introduced to Kayla?
Star Wars
Prize: Kindle eBook
Winner: Jill Henderson

Big Day on Friday!

Okay first … I have something on my mind that’s been rolling around for the last couple of hours and I just need to spill it. I had a Beryl moment today and didn’t capitalize on it at all. I’m either ashamed or proud of myself.

The most beautiful young man I’ve ever seen waited on me in a drive-thru (I was in Ames running errands). He had gorgeous wavy / curly long brown hair, extraordinary eyes, dark skin and just a little bristle on his chin. I admit it. I completely objectified him while I sat in my Jeep. I couldn’t quit smiling. He was so beautiful! Now, if I’d been Beryl, I might have said something rather than sit there with a silly smile on my face, but I didn’t want to embarrass either of us. But seriously folks … I have no idea why he’s in Ames, Iowa and not on one of the coasts making millions of dollars as a model or actor. Maybe it was just so I could have a moment today.

You know, nothing bad here. Kind of like my appreciation for music that fills my soul or a photograph that blows my mind … that beauty. I wasn’t panting or being stupid, just really appreciating God’s talent. Whew.

Okay … moving on.

Friday, June 19 is going to be huge on the Facebook Bellingwood page and I hope you are all planning to participate. One of the best parts of writing these books has been the opportunity to get to know so many fun people. I can’t even express how amazing that is. You may not know how important and extraordinary you are in the big scheme of life, but you really are. To people who know you on a daily basis and … to me. I only get to see little bits and pieces of you, but when you share them, it means the world to me.

Creativity Friday

Creativity FridaysFirst up will be Creativity Friday.

I’ll get the post up early tomorrow. Gather your photographs to share.

That post will be live (and pinned to the top of the Facebook page so you can find it once all of the questions for Wine & Trivia Night start posting) until Saturday late afternoon.

I can’t wait to see this week’s photographs. I’m always astounded at how you see the world.

Bellingwood WINE & TRIVIA NIGHT!

Bellingwood Wine & Trivia Night (1)Then … (trumpet fanfare) at 6 pm CDT I will post the first trivia question for our first Wine & Trivia Night. We’re going to do it right there on the page.

1. I will post a picture of the prize along with the question. Comment with your response and start a conversation with the girl who is about to put three bottles of wine in the fridge to cool (I’d better make a good dinner and have lots of bread available, eh?).

2. Now, Facebook isn’t friendly to this type of thing. They will not put all of these posts into your timeline feed. You will have¬†to check in on a regular basis.

3. Here’s the deal. Unless I’m too drunk to know what I’m doing, I will post a new question every 15 minutes until 11 pm CDT. And I won’t start expiring questions until 9 pm CDT. You’ll have plenty of time to get in there and respond.

4. Winners will be chosen at random from those who give the right (or close) answer. Seriously … do I care if you look it up or even (gasp) use someone else’s answer? Not at all. I just want to play with you and give stuff away.

Book 10 – The River Rolls On

Book 10 test 1For those of you who might not know yet – release date is June 25. What else happens on the 25th of the month? The email newsletter. Make sure you’ve signed up for it because it will pop into your email in box at 6 am to remind you that it is finally here!

There will be a short vignette in the email, too! Sign up today.

I know there was a lot of information in this post and that always scares me because as much as y’all love to read, you’re terrible at assimilating information sometimes.

Short list of info:

1. Creativity Friday
2. Wine & Trivia Night – Friday, June 19, 6-11 pm CDT
3. Book 10 release – June 25

The Beginning of the End

This has been a weird week. One of those ‘lull’ weeks while you wait for things to come together. Max was here at the cabin for a couple of days. He’s heading out to Ohio to spend time with his family. This was a first stop. He took some pictures around the area and there might be a couple more book covers there. I can’t write or create when people are in my space. They wear me out. Apparently, my brain needs a lot of quiet in order to be creative.

Busy-work creativity is easy. I sewed. That felt good, too.

CockpitBefore Max got here, I completely re-arranged my work space. I feel like I’m in a cockpit now. It’s awesome. I think I have everything where I need it. I’ve spent the last few days tweaking things, adjusting and making changes. It feels good.

While I was waiting for the next part of this journey to kick off, my beta readers finished sending in their manuscripts. I will start digging through all of those edits this weekend. Working through this process isn’t easy. I giggle nervously at the stupid mistakes they’ve caught, stress out over continuity problems they see, struggle to deal with rewrites they recommend and manage through areas they don’t like. Putting your soul out there on paper and then asking people to find errors is enough to turn a person inside out. I probably need to buy extra chocolate to get through this. It’s painful! But in the end, it makes a better product and so I dig in.

So … lull-week. It’s over.

In the next two weeks, it feels as if a million things have to happen. On Saturday, the 27th, I drive to Omaha and then to Lincoln for my niece’s wedding. That day feels like the end of a storm that is about to happen.

I thought it was going to be crazy, but this morning I opened my email and discovered the manuscript for my brother’s next book. He’s been in the middle of a month of chaos and sees no sign of it ending either, but he managed to finish writing and has gone through his first round of personal editing and re-writes. I will go through this and edit from a very high level. Then, he’ll go through it again and back to me before sending to his beta readers. But yep. His first edit is on my desk.

Frogs for Trivia Night

Frogs for Trivia Night

Next Friday, I am kicking off Bellingwood’s first Wine / Trivia Night (on the Facebook page). I’ve gotten most of the prizes in place and need to find twenty-five (or more) trivia questions from the first nine books. It’s going to be a blast and I can hardly wait, but I have nine books to read this week.

Once I am through the beta readers’ edits, I dig into the manuscript and find many more inconsistencies and errors. No matter who reads this manuscript, errors, typos and problems still exist. I have eleven readers at this point and none of them find exactly the same things. It always surprises me and always makes me grateful to have such a wonderful group of people. But, the final is on me. I will go through my book quite a few more times before it actually hits publication. And I’m relentless. I have no critic that is harder on my work than me.

On the 25th of June, the next email newsletter comes out. The big release announcement will be there, as will another vignette. I need to get that written. Those newsletters take a lot of time to create. It always surprises me. I’ve been writing and creating newsletter most of my life. It shouldn’t take that long, but it does.

While all of this work is going on, I find that my mind often runs away to Bellingwood. I’m eight chapters into Book 11 and Polly has found a body (surprised?). School is about to start for the kids, the coffee shop is ready to open, they are hiring like crazy (lots of new characters) and that has Sylvie, Jeff, Polly and Sal working to get everyone trained and in place.

My brother also talked to me about a side project he is working toward, which means writing a story that is far from Bellingwood. I can hardly wait and my imagination is spinning like crazy.

TB likes the new digs

TB likes the new digs

So … two weeks. The countdown begins tonight. Because this afternoon I need to get out and do laundry so that I don’t have to think about it for a while.

And just in case you feel an urge to worry about me or feel sorry for me … don’t. This is when I’m happiest – when I have a million things to do and a short time to do them. I am completely in my element. I might whine and complain a bit – just pat me on the head and give me a little encouragement. Then tell me to get back to work.

June 25 will be here before you know it! Polly and the gang can hardly wait to tell you the next part of their story. It’s a doozy!