Saturday, April 7, 2018

Mandee & The Very Bad, No Good, Awful Day

Okay so first things first, I had a totally different post planned for today. But then this day took on a life of its own and was so terrible that it's comical.  Off the top of my head there are at least 4 thing that went off the rails, and not in the good way.  

The day started off pretty normal.  I got to sleep in a bit I took care of y dogs then headed to the neighbors to work with their dog who I am watching while they are out of town. Shes wonderful but had literally had zero training, well, now shes had 3 days f training and knows how to sit and walk on a leash.  To say the least shes challenging, but adorable.  

Then I took my wonderful husband to work, with plans of heading to drop off the dry cleaning and hitting the grocery store for a few things before heading home to write my originally planned post.  Tat was at noon.  It is now 7 pm and I have not gone to the store and I am just now sitting down to type.  

All was well until I was headed to the dry cleaner, husband was at work, AC was working in the car and I was listening to Ear Biscuits when suddenly my engine stopped and I rolled to a stop.  Lucky for me I was in the left lane!  (please note the extreme sarcasm) but there was a turn lane and I was able to get basically out of the way.  I have AAA so I called for a tow.  They always ask if you are safe, and I said yes, but since I was in the middle they did put it as a safely situation.  Even then the estimate was an hour.  In Florida in the middle of the street with no shade meant it was HOT.  So I rolled down  my window to wait.  Can you guess what happened next?  Yup, It started to RAIN!  Awesome, so the window went back up and about 45 minutes later the truck arrived. I got out to greet the driver and locked us out of my car.  But AAA had the locksmith kit too so that was okay.

My usually mechanic is closed on the weekends so I got towed to my Aunt and Uncles house, which was near to where I was, and my uncle is a mechanic, so I hoped he could at least give me an idea of what was going on.  The driver was nice, but didn't really talk much so we re in silence listening to NPR.  

Sadly my uncle could fix it, but might be able to tell us whats wrong Monday night after he comes home with the right tool, but I think Ill have it towed to the mechanic by then.  But he let me borrow Helga, his truck and I as able to drop off the laundry and was on my way tot he store when I go cut ff like 5 times in 3 or 4 miles in a large unfamiliar truck, so I skipped the store and went home.  

Thank goodness.  Not long after I got home it was about to storm again so I moved the neighbors dog to the front where she wouldn't get poured on.  

Apparently one of my dogs had an accident while I was gone, the solid kind.  then he ate it so he wouldn't get into trouble, and proceeded to vomit it all over my house.  If you've never smelled half digested and regurgitated dog shit, count yourself among the lucky.  I cleaned that up and took the dogs out again. 

When the smell dissipated I sat down to eat a late lunch and Heard a weird noise, sounded a but like a loud truck or motorcycle going down my road, so I ignored it.  Then I heard it again, but a little more quiet, however, this time my house also shook.  I went outside to see what the ruckus was and the tree in my front yard had fallen over and JUST missed my house. 

There wasn't much I could do as no one I could reach had a chainsaw for me to use, so I went to feed the neighbors dog, when I notice FLEAS.   If you don't know we had a huge flea problem from that house when it was vacant and it took us months to get rid of it. I had some extra flea treatments and was giving it to her when my other neighbor/lawn man pulled up and started to take out the tree.  Which I wasn't planning on but oh well, he's not charging too much.  I was out there helping him and it started to downpour.  So now I'm wet, my dinner is cold, but the tree is at the curb.

When I returned to the house I found one dog outside of the gate, losing his mind because he is terrified of thunder, and the other freaking out behind it.  Along with a puddle of dog pee.  So we go out again and I fed them, then I finally got to change from my wet clothes and the dog peed in the kitchen so much that it was flooded.  This is not normal behavior for my dogs, not like this, but one of them is so old sometimes he cant help it.  

So one broken down car, one fallen tree, one crazy dog, one pile of dog shit/barf and two puddles of dog pee later I am finally sitting to type this.  And I cant help but laugh.  Mercury is in retrograde and the world threw me a few curve balls, but here I am.  although I am partaking in an adult beverage because damn it, I earned it. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Do the Thing

So, I recently posted about finally publishing my book.  YAY!  It was, and is, so exciting, but I also haven’t read the comments.   A family member pointed out some typos etc. that I am going back and correcting, and the formatting on the print edition, doesn’t format QUITE right.  Once I fix all of those, I will do an ad campaign and pray for better sales.

While that is all so exciting, and I tell everyone I can, it’s also terrifying.  While I am not a parent I can liken it to letting a child go out somewhere without you for the first time.  It’s letting a piece of you out into the world, a piece of your heart and soul.  A part that you have protected for so long, is now vulnerable to criticism and ridicule, be also to love and wonder. 

I remember being paralyzed sitting at my computer before pushing the publish button on my KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Account.  I was smiling like a crazy woman and my heart was pounding and I was sweating and shivering all at once.  I kept telling my husband “I’m going to do it.  I’m really going to publish this to the world,” Over and over again before I finally did it.  And then I cried like a baby.
All of that was to say, while it was extremely scary, it was also so rewarding and fulfilling.  Now the next time will be easier and easier.  There will be a next one. 

I encourage everyone to do the thing.  Whatever the thing is for you, go to the restaurant, cook the meal, sing the song, write the book, visit the place, hold the spider.  I think you should do them even if it’s scary, especially if it’s scary.  The important things are the ones that frighten us.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but these days it is important to point out that you should only do the things that won’t hurt yourself or others.  Also don’t do silly things like quit a terrible job if it means you can’t eat for a while.  Do quit the job, just be smart about it. 

I’m glad that I pushed publish.  Tell me about scary things you are glad you did in the comments!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My Writing Process

Okay so we have all seen the meme about the writing process, the one with lots of procrastinating and "research".  You know, like this:

Image result for the writing process meme

I mean, this inst totally inaccurate.  But for me it was finding the voice for my story.  I started and rewrote the beginning of my book So. Many. Times. I wrote in Narrator voice, I tried in multiple perspectives, I changed my main characters age ore ties than I recall.  Little did I know that was just the start!

Once I found my voice the bones of the story came together for me. Then I read it again and made adjustments where I deemed them necessary, not many, its hard to see the flaws in your own work.  Then I let two very close and trusted friends read my manuscript and I got heir notes on it.  I went back and updated and added and expanded where they had questions.  I even had to expand on a character who was meant to be nonessential, but who ended up becoming a pretty important part of the story. 

I felt like I was on top of the world. 

Don't get me wrong, writing a novel length story (80,000+ words) is no mean feat.  But what no one tells you, is that writing the story is the easy part.  At least for fiction writing.  

Then came the arduous process of what now.

The What now stage is a long one.  Do I shop my manuscript as is?  Do I get an agent?  How do I do these thing? It's a lot of figuring it out. So if i shop my manuscript as is, where d I send it?  What are the guidelines for this publisher?  They all want different things you know.  Can I send to ore than one at once?  (Usually no)  How do I find an agent?  How do I know if an agent s reputable?  How do I pitch my story to my potential agent or publisher? This research is daunting.  

In the end I chose first to have my book professionally edited.  Because you want to present your best work.  So I started looking into finding an editor.  Y'all that crap is expensive.  Like 1200.00 or more!  WHAT!?  I eventually found someone who would do it for $600.00 So that's where my ta return went that year, a full 2 or 3 years after "finishing" my novel.  

My editor is great and did a wonderful job, but she had some life things happen and it took forever.  Eventually I got all my notes and bits and sat down to do more editing.  Yep, again.  

Then I had to really determine how i wanted to try and publish.  My ideal plan was, 
1-Shop to publishers agent free.  
2- Find an agent.
3- Self publish

After the crazy lengthy process I decided to go straight to self publishing through Kindle.  I did make sure to copyright my material first.  And publishing with  KDP was super easy.  I think that's how I will publish going forward.  

If you like young adult paranormal fantasy you can check it out on Kindle and Amazon. 
Title: Vienna: Is she up to the task?
Author: Mandee Lee

Friday, February 16, 2018

Where have I been? An update with some exciting news!

Hey there!

I know, I know, it's been FOREVER!  But I think I'm back.  I was in a bad place health wise and work wise and I just didn't have anything to say.  It hard when you are a writer but you feel like you e lost your voice.  I mean, its hard for anyone, but when you pride yourself on your voice, it can be especially disorienting.  I am lucky to have a wonderful Husband and support system.  So here I am!

This is the year guys, I will fail a million times, but my successes will be so sweet!  I cant wait to see what things come my way with this new outlook and dedication to doing the things I care about!

Now for the announcements!



I plan to write a whole post on just that, but for now you can find it on Kindle and Amazon. 

Is she up too the task?
Author: Mandee Lee

Its a YA Paranormal Fantasy.  I left it open for a squeal but I don't know if I have it in me, I have another story I want to write now!  Its starting to look like writing full time might not be totally out of the question.  Slow and steady though, right?

OK y'all I will talk again soon.  About my process with my book and trial and rewrites and sleepless nights to the best thing ever.  Ciao!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 9

Day 9: Post some words of wisdom that speak to you.

For a lot of these making the choice of what to post about is the hardest part!  There are so many brilliant and wise and inspirational people out there that have had so much to say and have made such an impact, not only on me but on the world.

I am going to go with a portion of the poem Invictus by William Ernst Henley.  Honestly the entire poem is AMAZING.  A friend of mine got tattooed on his back in it's entirety.  The ending phrase culminates the entire thing beautifully and speaks to just how in charge you are of your life.  They read.

"I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul"

These words, especially in conjunction with the rest of the poem give me chills every time.  Fate is yours to drive, and your soul is your own.  No one can change that.

If you haven't before please go read the poem.  It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 8

Day 8: Share something you struggle with

Well, there's so much that I could talk about here.  We all have our daemons, some more than others.  I mean there's my Hashimotos, my weight, anxiety, depression, I could go on.  But for this I will talk about my relationship with my mother.

My mother and I do not have a a relationship at this point.  This was a conscious choice that I made for myself, and my well being and mental health.

Let's go back, my fist memory of my mother is of her saying "shhh" in the parking lot of the lilac mall and doing lines off of a tiny mirror before we went in.  I would get put in the corner as if I was in trouble so she could get high with her friends.  This was all before I was five.

I always wanted to be a performer, I was a little ham and wanted to sing and dance and act.  I didn't get any support for any of my dreams.  Ironically, except for writing.  As I got older and puberty set in I got chubby, like a lot of kids do.  And instead of trying to teach me healthy eating habits and ways to get more movement into my day She called me fat.  And told me I should diet.  I have written before about the time she told me it was good that I was so hungry my stomach hurt, so that I might lose a few pounds.

I lived with my mother from the ages of 4 to 16, prior to that I lived with my wonderful Grandparents.  the final straw in my living with my mother was the night that she threw a ceramic bowl across the house at my head and it shattered against the wall.  It was a heavy bowl and I am grateful that she missed.  The next day i came home and packed all of my clothes into grocery bags and never looked back.

This put a strain on my relationship with my Grandparents too, she blamed them for my leaving.  Nothing has ever been her fault.  If things went missing, I did it.  If her relationships didn't work out, it was because of me.

This wasn't the end of my relationship with my mother, but at this point we didn't speak for about a year.

I broke down first.  What girl doesn't want to have a relationship with their mother?  Well, this girl did.  But the mental abuse and anguish didn't end.  It was like having a bad boyfriend that you keep going back to.  This same pattern repeated over and over again, well into adult hood.

Last year there was an incident, that I choose not to go into that made me cut my ties with her for good.  I still struggle with this choice.  Part of me is still that little girl who just wants her mother to love her and be proud of her.  The holidays this year were rough.  My mother wanted to come, but didn't want to make me uncomfortable.  I mean, we share family, I'm not going to be mean to her, I'm just not going to go out of my way to maintain a relationship with her.  i am not so delusional that i think I wont ever see her again at holidays and events.  Anyway, since there were decades where she didn't speak to my grandparents I chose to skip Christmas so they could see her.  I did that for them.

This time around I really do think she gets it though.  She hasn't called or emailed or texted.  She hasn't sent me a gift for the holidays or my birthday.  Part of me is grateful for that, and part of me is sad that I don't seem to warrant any effort.

Do I wish things were different?  Of course I do, but I recognize that this relationship was toxic and I really needed to end that.  I have been making better choices for myself lately and that was a big one.  But there are days where this is way hard.  Like right now, typing this, I am crying.  Sad but true, it's heart breaking to me that I cant have a relationship with my mom.  But it's not good for either of us.  there is so much more to this story, but its all so emotionally exhausting, I cant say more if I want to get this posted anytime soon.