Weekend Coffee Share. Work/Life Balance… Still a Challenge.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com

Grab a cup of whatever pleases you, I know I myself had a good cup of coffee today with milk and honey creamer. After spending the morning alternating between sending parent e-mails, entering grades, and working on my Class Dojo site with 30 min. exercise at one point and a little time working on my authorship, I think the topic of work/life balance is a good one to bring up at this time.  Don’t worry, we can talk about the rest, too!  Pull up a chair and your favorite beverage!

It has been another busy week.  Work, grades, planning new lessons.  Students are more of  a challenge the closer we get to the holidays. (Hence, the parent e-mails this morning).  Thursday consisted of two separate doctor appointments.  No new issues were found, but the doctor, after a discussion of the pain in my shoulder and arm, is sending me for an MRI and x-ray and referring me to physical therapy. The physical therapy is probably a good thing, since this has been bothering me even after going to chiropractic for a year. Don’t get me wrong, visiting a chiropractor has really helped my back and spine. So I’m adding one more appointment and it’s increasing my need for work and life balance. I can do this.

I may have mentioned I was going to be visiting Kingsland, Georgia with my boyfriend in last week’s coffee share. We were there visiting his dad who recently got a new health diagnosis that has been worrying my boyfriend. Well, we had a nice visit, and afterward decided to visit Neutral Zone Studios which, as a friend had told me just that day, was having a Star Trek exhibit where you could visit the set. Evidently they do a lot of fan films there. Well, we hammed it up and had lot of fun. I think we really needed that.  Beam me up!

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I have been spending a little bit of time each evening for about a week listening to the narrators chapters for my book, Undercurrents in Time. It will soon be an audiobook, and I am so excited. She is doing a great job, and it’s all going smoothly, except for a little delayed with the ACX audio system. That doesn’t really bother me, because I really can’t listen to more than one chapter per night with everything else going on in my life. So no problem. I also actually enjoying listening to her read the story, and like hearing it again through the narrator’s tone and inflection. I think you all will enjoy it too! I have also sent my manuscript, Malachi to another beta reader. I think that pretty much be done with the story soon, and it will be on to editing and soon, the designing of the book cover, which really gets me excited!

**Today’s coffee share has been written with the aid of Dragon dictation, something I have not used for a while, but I felt like I should give my arm and shoulder a break. So as a result, I have noticed a font change when there shouldn’t have been, and I have had to stop and change some of the words that the dictation misunderstood from my voice. I feel like I might have discussed a few more topics here, but it’s just time to lay back and relax and read a book now. I did a lot of this morning, though. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend and a wonderful week next week.

 

Lofty thoughts. #RDP

Nature, Landscape, Kaçkars, Mountains

Photo via Pixabay.

“Lofty thoughts” by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

When I was a child, I seemed to have a pleasant ability to lift myself out of my current reality and imagine things that would take me away from boredom or desperation.  It may not totally fit the definition of ‘lofty,’ but this is what I think of when I hear that word.  Some of the later experiences were not all positive as a teen, but I’ll focus on the ones that “lifted me up.” I only remember a few incidents, and I don’t know why.  Are they all that I can remember?  Perhaps they were all related to dreams, and having such a vivid imagination, I of course would see wild things when my subconcsious took control?  I read somewhere that the conscious actually does control the subconscious.  Still, some dreams mean nothing other than giving a vivid picture to some feeling, fear, or hurt that already goes on inside.  That’s what I believe, anyway.

  1. We were on a cross country trip when I was four, maybe five.  It was early morning, and I looked up in the sky to see that the sun was coming out, and the moon was trying desperately to fit itself, squeeze itself,  back into the curtain of darkness that was already fading away on one side of the sky.  It had to try quickly before the sun chased all the darkness away.  I have a feeling I probably dosed off again, because this situation never resolved itself before my eyes.
  2.  I was about eight and attending a summer camp where we tried to get closer to God.  I was falling asleep at bedtime, and some noise woke me up;  it was like I felt myself fall down back down into my body from where I had been floating.  Holy smokes! Did I have the ability to levitate at age eight?  No, it was more likely a vivid imagination, a dream so real I had the sensation of floating up until I awoke out of it.  And no, it wasn’t a near death experience, either.

The image of the sun and moon seemed so real to me, I  did not believe it was a dream.  Some dreams seem so real because they are trying to tell you something, for me, that I was compelled to try to bring things to life with my words. I want to make it as real for you as it seems for me.  I’m still trying, depositing a stone of reality within every flood of fiction.

*You can join the daily prompt fun by following ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com and you can view other entries to this challenge at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/rdp-tuesday-lofty/

Weekend Coffee Share, 7/13. A Writer’s Life.

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, where the Florida temperature may tempt you to take your coffee iced, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali

Be sure to check out my flash fiction for this week (there is one, a quick read on one young man’s struggle growing up): Take a Hike #RDP

This week, I was fortunate enough to have lunch with a writer friend at Whole Foods Tuesday and lunch with a teacher friend on Wednesday!  I am passionate about writing and passionate about teaching, so both days, I was fueled.  Sometimes it doesn’t feel like much is going on with my writing, but I really do have a lot in progress and a lot of ideas in the hopper.

In fact, I wrote a Facebook post about this, as I really am working on a lot this summer, but I tell people, “No, I’m not working a summer job.”  People need to appreciate the work a writer does, though.  Here is the post:

I am a Writer Living the Dream, Edition 1~
1. Since I am an introvert (mostly), I am find staying inside a few hours this morning at my laptop, promoting the Undercurrents in Time Kindle and working on the next book, “Malachi,” a natural thing to do. I’ve posted on Facebook & Twitter about the promotion. Crossing my fingers. Sold 1 yesterday and 1 today.    Undercurrents in Time is the sequel to Detours.  You can check it out or order it here: Undercurrents in Time on Amazon

-1. Conversely, being able to sit so long at the laptop doing “book stuff” (which includes sometimes seeing what everyone on Facebook is up to), makes me stiff and causes lower back pain. So, I get up when it screams at me. I got up to type this, in fact. 
2. In my blog world on WordPress, I am promoting some other authors who are part of this online Book Club where authors or readers read and give reviews, sometimes getting reads and reviews.  I also plan to put more Flash fiction there in the next weeks; I am just itching to do so. It will be on my own schedule, though.  The blogs on other authors are for members of Rave Reviews Book Club and RWISA (an International Writer’s Association).  They are under the category of Authors Discovered and can be found by clicking that category to the right of the page or try clicking this link to see the most recent posts on the various featured authors:   https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/category/authors-discovered/
3. I’ve sent the first few pages of the work in progress “Malachi” to a writer friend for thoughts and ideas. I am not sure who I am marketing it towards, but it intersects with events and characters in Detours in Time Book2 (Undercurrents in Time).  Mom said, it’s really different, that I am “branching out.” This could only be a good thing, right? Though I’ve read it’s good to find your own niche, however, I want to do different things as well, and I don’t like formulaic advice. Gotta be me! I also have contacted two professional beta readers about this new manuscript. I have typed the whole book including the ending! Now, I just need to see if there are plot holes that I can’t see, as it is my own personal work of art. We aren’t that objective about things we create and love. I love all of my books and my characters, how could I not?
4. I sent a newsletter yesterday to 365 people who don’t seem to care. Each time I send one, 5-7 unsubscribe, but that happens when they may have signed up just to get a freebie. My freebies are only short stories or previews now. Learning as I go. Haven’t tried for new subscribers in a while, but I will soon.
5. This felt good, though: I chose a chapter that I think is quite interesting in “Malachi” that I will put through Calbri (not sure about the name) to put in BookFunnel as a free sample. I’ll let you know when it’s available!
6. With the writing of “Malachi,” I have interjected the character of Ellie from Undercurrents in Time. Lines come to me while I’m driving or brushing my teeth. I’m writing down bits here and there and then will develop my outline for the book to follow “Malachi,” starring Ellie, who is another unique character from Undercurrents in Time. They will both intersect in Ellie’s book as well (yet to be titled).
7. I anxiously await the narration to be done on the Detours in Time audiobook as I am hoping I will gain lots of new Detours readers/listereners in that way, and it should come out this fall, between Sept. and Nov. is the plan. I have decided on text for the audition for Undercurrents in Time as well so I need to set that up on the Audible production site.
8. When people ask if I am working this summer, I say no. I guess I love doing this stuff, but let’s be honest:  It is work. Call it a labor of love!

So, that pretty much sums up my week!  On Friday morning at 9:30 a.m., it was 80 with 88 degree humiture, and my dog and I couldn’t quite take coffee hour on the porch; we had to go inside.  I took him to the park Thursday around 10 and he was panting so much.  I need to start waking up earlier!  My summer Netflix habit has had me staying up until midnight watching Ozark, an awesome but dark show sort of like Breaking Bad but set in hillbilly country, and the first season of Outlander.  This is what teachers do in the summer, isn’t it?  I’m sure I won’t have much time once school starts.  Have a great week and enjoy what is left of summer!

Brinesians Go to Camp. #amwriting #RDP

(c) 2019, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

How would you know if you’ve met a Brinesian?  Very few people know what Brinesians are, but I know, and I am willing to share.  Take our English word, “brine.” It means  something related to the sea.  Therefore, I’ve named this species living under the sea “Brinesian.”  This life form has intelligence to match or surpass humans.

What do you mean, where did I get that word?  I myself have created that word to describe this species.

Brinesians are a deep sea species, so we’ve rarely seen them.  However, plastic pollution is killing much of their way of life and survival. They are able to take on a human form.  Still, you want to be aware when you’ve come across one.  They are very curious about us and might want to take some of us back home.  After all, they may have to adapt to be able to live like us, out of the water.  I have a suspicion that they come to camp out for a time in the air and go back when they need the seawater again.  Maybe they can take more air in time.  Right now, with humans relaxed and vacationing, is a great time for them to camp out here.

Should we be concerned?  Yes. Have you even been listening?

Why are they green?  Well, I’ve only seen one, but I surmise that they are green based on their surroundings, but they’re only green when they are out here, on land.  After all, seeweed is green.  Don’t be fooled into believing it is a sickly human.  That’s what they want.  We will see them more and more.  I tell you, they are camping out as we speak, taking in our way of life.

**Transcript of Dr. Vincent Millispen’s last speech to the delegation on Science and Evolution before being forced to resign.

*Check out other responses to the word of the day (camp) at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/

 

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Photo by James Lee on Pexels.com

Letting My Characters Speak. Giving Inspiration the Driver’s Seat, #amwriting

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A representation of Malachi.  Photo via Pixabay.

All writing © Pamela Schloesser Canepa, 2019.

There comes a time when a parent is no longer shaping and molding her child, when she/he must simply take a step back and observe, when everything you say or advise seems to be a reiteration of things you’ve already taught them.  That’s when it’s time to stand back and listen.  Well, it’s the same with our main characters. This has been coming into play with the writing of my current manuscript, tentatively titled, Malachi.  Malachi goes through some interesting experiences, and seeing them through his eyes was a whole lot of fun!

“I came to this job through an ad in the newspaper.   It read:  Acting job.  Get your foot in the door.  The tryout was basically an interview, and I didn’t get a call back until a week later.  Probably enough time for a background check.  I should have known right away that salty old guy in jeans was no director.”   –Malachi, work in progress

In undertaking this novel, I knew that I wanted to see things through a different point of view.  This book is in first person, and I know some people either prefer to read first person or totally shy away from it.  However, it does really place you in the character’s shoes.  Writing this novel for sure put me in this character’s shoes.  Why did I want that?  Well, Malachi is an interesting character who surfaced in my novel, Undercurrents in Time, because Cr. Milt Braddock has his fingers in something he knows nothing about handling.  Malachi is one of those hired to help him deal with it.  We don’t learn much about him, where he’s from, who his family is, who he relies on in times of distress, or why he does what he does.  He has what we would call an interesting job, and he is good at it.  That was apparent in Undercurrents.  He is a twenty-year-old kid who has the skill of flying by the seat of his pants, answering hard questions on the fly, and concocting a story to help him get through any situation.  He also failed out of college.

I found that, in putting myself in his shoes, I really wanted him to succeed yet understood the pitfalls he encountered.  (I was once young, myself, you know). Why was he so lonesome even when he was successful?  Maybe it helped that I am the mother of a son who is in his early twenties, whom I have seen flounder through a few years not knowing his direction, who has changed his path a few times.  I love writing the story though, putting myself in a character’s shoes and helping him while at the same time, putting some huge mishaps on his path.

Most of all, what I have enjoyed about writing this story in first-person-point-of- view is the listening.  In the morning, I get up and go to the kitchen.  I think, what would Malachi do first?  Then, I suppose I listen.  What would be going through his head?  Then I try to think like that.  On that note, what would be in Malachi’s kitchen cupboard?  Evidently, not much!  Remember, I was once young too…

Malachi’s story will likely be published in the spring or summer of 2020.  I am just getting to the end of the first draft, and will begin the process of editing, revising, and all of that fun stuff.  Malachi appears in the second book of the Detours in Time series.  If you haven’t yet, you can start the Detours in Time series today: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B07F5WPK72

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“The Sibling.” #RDP #amwriting

(c) 2019

“Eggbert, we have one; we don’t need another!”

“Don’t you see, Lou, we can learn so much by having two.”  He looked down to the scene below.

“But, but they’re not the same.  Well, not entirely.  We could be gone by now, your obsession is going to get us caught! ”

“You didn’t study them as I did.  Why have one without the other?  We could find out so much more.  I’m not talking about resell or trade value.  I want to see how they grow together, I want to know what they would do for each other.”  Eggbert would not take his hand off of the console.  They must land to capture the other, and they must do it now.

“You’re right, Eggbert.  I don’t understand; I’ll never understand your fascination with them.”

Eggbert smiled, the lines in his face almost cracking, and guided their craft to land in pursuit of the second human, who was, as Lou would never understand, a sibling to the first capture locked in their storeroom.  To leave one and not take the other could possibly break one of them, and that would not do.

***Learn about the RagTag Prompt or get the details to share your own at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/rdp-wednesday-sibling/

Where were you on 9/11/01? #amwriting #timeline #fiction #setting

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I know this is not timely, but I have come to a point in my current work in progress where the character is living in D.C. around the early 2000s, and it is impossible for me to skirt around this subject. However, it is not an easy subject. Still, let’s face the fact that 9-11 changed or totally upset all of our lives. I have an idea how I will incorporate it based on what I know. Even though I have lived in Jacksonville, Florida for forty some years, I was affected by the events of 9-11.

Where was I? I was at school, getting ready to teach my seventh grade class. Students were filtering in, as class started at 9:15. There were always a few students who would be late. One girl, a highly emotional girl on any given day, said “Ms. Canepa, an airplane crashed into the World Trade Center. It’s terrorism. We’re all gonna die!”

I told her, “No. We are not all gonna die. Please calm down. If it was terrorism, they will stop it. If we were in danger, we would have been warned by now.” It’s sounds sort of heartless, but I felt vulnerable and worried about my son who was in kindergarten, as well as sortvof surorised that I heard it first from a student. Would something else be targeted next? Evidently this news was all over the radio, because I heard it from a few other people in the next few hours. At lunch, the TV news was on in our teacher’s lounge. Everyone’s faces were grave. Students were getting checked out early all day. I texted by ex-husband who worked on a military base, wondering if they had beefed up their security. He asked about our son. Inevitably, I checked out my son a little early from his school as well. Although Smart phones were not as popular back then, people undoubtedly were getting footage, it was shared on the internet, and every TV station had constant updates or had suspended all regular programming, because we really needed to see those images on repeat on the hour. Sarcasm intended. It was nightmarish, but even worsened when I picked up my son.

I got my son into the car and asked him how his day was. He said “I saw on TV. Two airplanes crashed into a building,” in a hushed tone, knowing it was real–life and not some high-tech movie, because either he was smart or they, of course, would not show such a movie in school. It also seemed like he realized it could have happened to any of us.

“Where did you see this on TV?” I asked, knowing the answer.

“The TV in the classroom.”

While I was livid, I held that all in and hugged my son, telling him everything would be okay. It was over. Yes, his teacher had evidently been sucked into the media frenzy and had to get every detail. Or maybe watching the news was a regular part of their morning routine? Unlikely for kindergarten, though. All I could do was focus on trying to make him feel safe with me, in our own home.

Sadly, I knew this became the day I discovered I could not shield my child from the evil in this world. It had already been played out before his eyes before I could even comfort him or explain what had happened. He still remembers it to this day, though he seems detached from whatever he had felt that day as a small five-year-old.

Straight out of my 2001 journal: “Evil just reached a hand in and put a strangle-grip on our world. And we still don’t know who did it. It leaves me with quite an insecure feeling. Reminds me of what really matters, and what doesn’t….” He became a little more emotional in the next few months, and some of his behaviors surprised me, but we dealt with it. I can not imagine what it was like for those living in New York or who had family that lived there; many lost their loved ones.

What were you doing the day 9-11 occurred?