#writing

Best Laid Plans

I started out the year as I often to, determined to pay more attention to my health, become more organized so that my partner and I would have more time to play. Sometimes the Universe has other plans.

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I was moving along feeling good about my progress and new habits.  And then came the flu.  A case of flu that had me missing a week of work and dragging myself to work the next week, still not feeling well. I slept most of the time I was home.  

Then came the icing on the cake.  I stepped “funny”.  And not comical funny but I can’t take another step and I don’t know why funny. Since then I have not been able to drive or even sit without ice packs.  I see my chiropractor 3 times a week and am making progress, but it’s slow.

I’m sharing all of this is to explain why I’ve not been around. The blogs and newsletters didn’t make it through my haze of pain. I’m so sorry for not being present.  While full recovery is a ways off, , I still hope for improvement day by day. 

At any rate, I am most certainly back to my blog and newsletter.  And it is definitely time to get to those edits of my stories slated for release this year.

Spring Break Staycation

The view from our balcony. Snow, Christmas lights, overcast sky.

The view from our balcony. Snow, Christmas lights, overcast sky.

Yesterday was the beginning of Spring Break. Normally we try to take at least a short vacation. This year we are staying close to home because I am afraid of leaving Chloe alone. She’s our brindle terrier mix, and she runs the house. She’s 15 years old and doesn’t feel well much of the time. She also seems to be getting separation anxiety, as we have to be in her sight at all times or she whines in distress. Our poor baby girl.

It’s fun to look back at some of our trips. Others, not so much. A few years ago, we had reservations at Trappe Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. We looked forward to sitting in the nice warm lodge and watching the snow. We would nap, drink tea and hot chocolate, eat from their wonderful menu. We would relax. At home, meteorologists predicted a dusting. 

 They were wrong.

The second evening of our vacation, our sitter called to ask if any of our neighbors might be able to feed and walk our dogs. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to get out to make her visits with him. Turns out the prediction of snow had changed drastically, and the governor would be closing the roads over heavy snow. I panicked. All of our neighbors are elderly and none of them able to care for our dogs. Our only option was to immediately return home. We hurriedly packed and talked with hotel staff. We were booked for the week. Fortunately, the manager was kind and didn’t ask us to pay for the remainder of the week, despite the fact that she was entitled to do so.

As we drove through the night, not a single snowflake fell. We finally found an all-night grocery store where we bought a large supply of junk food and soda to sustain us on the trip. Since we had been on the go since early morning, we struggled to stay awake and alert.

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We made it to Hartford as the sun rose. Snow started falling as we pulled into the driveway. We unpacked and quickly checked food supplies since we had not shopped before leaving.

Finally satisfied that we didn’t need any supplies, our dogs were in good shape, and we were okay, too, we went to sleep. It was still snowing when we woke, and the accumulation was deep. I was able to dig a short path from our back door to allow the dogs out. They really were not happy—the snow was taller then each of them!

It snowed for 2 more days. The neighborhood was so quiet and peaceful. We kept some of the path clear for the dogs by using a long shovel we kept inside for that purpose, but we weren’t able to open the doors wide enough for us to leave.  Didn’t matter; the city didn’t plow our road for three days. 

The takeaway is simple. No more long trips over spring break. Fine by me; it’s snowing again today.

A Wish for You

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A major theme in my writing is that we are happiest when we can be who we are. I think it resonates with me because I spent so much of my life trying to be the person others expected me to be. Maybe you've had similar experiences. 

I'm starting a quest for the new year. Part envisioning, part goal setting. Why not join me? 

Once a month I'll send out a short email offering ideas and action steps to put us on the journey to living the life we imagine. Don't worry; I'll still talk about books and things. To start us off, I'm offering a brief tool to keep track of where you're going. Just click the button to join my email list. You’ll then be directed to the booklet. It will open in your browser for you to download in the usual way. You can print it double-sided, and then fold it into a booklet. I find it helpful to have something I can write on.

2019 is going to be awesome.

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Dress Up Dress Down with Stacy Juba

Join me in welcoming author Stacy Juba to Living After Midnight!


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Jaine, the protagonist of my chick lit novel Fooling Around With Cinderella (Storybook Valley #1) dresses in casual tops and jeans until she gets hired as a theme park Cinderella. Then her daily wardrobe becomes a rich gold ball gown embroidered with silver thread and gleaming pearls. It has lots of tulle, and she feels like a parade float. She also has to wear a tiara and translucent pumps that resemble glass slippers.

Wearing this outfit makes her identifiable as Cinderella. Children follow her around, dads flirt with her, and her coworkers nickname her Cindy.

She feels way out of her comfort zone dressing like a princess. On her lunch breaks, when the castle door is locked, she kicks off her glass slippers and puts on a pair of comfy flip flops. 

Jaine lets herself get talked into playing Cinderella as she is an out-of-work marketing professional, and her cute new boss Dylan has offered her a full-time office job in the fall. Unfortunately, the offer has strings attached - helping Dylan to break the Cinderella Curse by filling in as the park’s star princess. Accepting the Cinderella gig shows how desperate this Plain Jaine is for a job and for a happily ever after.

About the Author

Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers) or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next book in the Storybook Valley Series and teaching online classes for writers. Visit her website at www.stacyjuba.com to get your free Storybook Valley Welcome Kit. 

Find Stacy at these links:

Website: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301

Twitter:https://twitter.com/stacyjuba

Fooling Around With Cinderella - Storybook Valley #1

Ever wondered what those cheerful theme park princesses are really thinking? When twenty-five-year-old Jaine proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, the general manager Dylan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom…

Buy Links:

Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Fooling-Around-Cinderella-Storybook-Valley-ebook/dp/B0173T2MMO/ref

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fooling-around-with-cinderella-stacy-juba/1122680940?ean=2940152324976

Kobo:https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/fooling-around-with-cinderella

iBookstore:https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1042194826

Excerpt:

Dylan scrutinized Jaine, arms folded across his royal blue shirt with the Storybook Valley logo stamped over the left in white block letters. “Do you wear contacts?”

“I have plenty of media contacts. Wait. Did you say wear contacts? You mean instead of these?” Jaine fingered the earpiece of her gold-rimmed glasses.

“Right. Contact lenses.”

She gave a nervous chuckle. “I scheduled a consultation in college, but was too squeamish to insert the lens. I was more comfortable in glasses.”

Was she really justifying her vision enhancement choices to her prospective new boss? Maybe he intended to discuss medical benefits. Or did he think she looked nerdy? What was the saying? Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses? Not that she wantedhim to make a pass even if he washot.

“How blind are you without glasses?” Dylan persisted.

“You wouldn’t want to drive with me.”

“How about if you’re walking around a building? Are you in danger of hurting yourself?”

This interview had taken the Mad Hatter Freeway from Fairy Tale Land into Wonderland where nothing made a damn bit of sense. Did this guy have a glasses fetish, like those weirdoes with shoe fetishes?

“I should be okay. I take them off for special occasions.” In fact, Jaine’s older sister Bree, who was getting married in August, remarked just last week, “You are losing the glasses for my wedding pictures, right?”

What the hell. She’d be a good sport and hope Dylan would be so grateful to pick the brain of a real, flesh and blood, bespectacled person that he would appoint her marketing director. Jaine removed her glasses and the fine details of her surroundings fuzzed. She nodded toward the framed print hanging on a side wall, the picture a wash of symbols and colors. “I can tell that’s a park map, but the words and images smear together.”

And that was myopia in a nutshell. Jaine adjusted her glasses back into place so she could see his reaction. Dylan examined her with such intensity that a blush stained her cheeks. She patted her blonde French braid, in case stray strands were straggling out.

“Here’s the situation,” Dylan said. “I took over the general manager position a few months ago. I’m evaluating possible changes and researching how other theme parks run. My grandfather and father have worked with a marketing firm for years to create our brochures, billboards, print, and radio ads.”

Jaine’s shoulders caved, imperceptible to him, but it felt as if her whole body was sinking.

No fairy tale job ending for her.

Finishing a Book: Complex Endings and Beginnings

I have friends who throw parties when their manuscript is finished. One even rented a hall, catered it, and signed books for the occasion. Others unceremoniously set it aside and start the next one. And others who throw up their hands in exasperation and declare they are sick of the whole thing, refusing to look at it again. I have elements of each of those extreme reactions, with a healthy dose of relief that comes completing a big project that is personally significant, and a little bit of grief that it's over. Not that I ever finish a manuscript. Rather, I am more likely to have it taken from me before I “edit all the life out of it”. Even after it has been sent off to the editor, I am likely to keep rewriting it in my mind.My best luck at letting go seems to be when I can bury myself in a new project. I keep a notebook of ideas and rely on a gem inside to intrigue me enough to pull me away.

There is so much that has to happen to successfully launch a book I am not sure how anyone finds the time to celebrate at all. And because for me, writing is something I'm driven to do, have no choice but to do, I forget what a monumental accomplishment completing a novel truly is. Going forward, I plan to honor my achievement by buying myself something nice. Some possibilities?

  • A Barnes and Noble shopping Spree
  • An Amazon gift card
  • A new tote bag
  • A fancy pen
  • A fancy journal
  • Chocolate

Hmm. Now that I look at these all in a row like that, it seems what I want for finishing a book includes only books and writing related things. Which bring me right back to writing. Oh, well.

Yes. Chocolate is involved. Chocolate is always involved. #don'tjudgeme