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re-gifter

 

‘Tis the season of re-gifting.

 

Or, in some cases, re-re-gifting, or maybe just giving the appearance of doing so.

 

Playing “Guess the Gift” is something of a tradition in our family.  When your shopping is being done on budget, and one that is never enough to begin with, most of your shopping is done in search of “The Great Bargain”.

bargain shopping

Bargain shopping typically does not come with the fancy shmancy boxes to wrap the gifts in so the receiver of the gifts can’t guess what it is just from the feel and shape of the wrapped gift.

 

biting the giftThe gift-wrapping challenge begins.  The gift recipients study their gifts carefully, resorting to thoughtfully weighing, sizing up, feeling up, shaking, and even biting, their gifts trying to figure out what they are before unwrapping them.  While you seek out boxes whose dimensions and shape will hide the true nature of the gift inside, stuffing the boxes so items can’t rattle, or even adding a strategically placed fake rattler.

 

re-giftedAnd then the gift opening fun begins.  The wrapping paper is unceremoniously ripped off, or perhaps that is the ceremony, revealing the box within.  And then the joke emerges.  What did you get this year?  I got the Sony radio/cd player I bought myself this past summer, re-gifted something I already owned.   My twelve year old got a Dremel saw, used only once, re-gifted.  My partner got a tissue box, the ultimate in re-gift, since the tissue papers it once held have all been used.  Of course, the boxes are only camouflage for the real present inside.

happy holidays

merry christmashappy hanukkahhappy kwanzaa.jpg

 

 

 

 

… or whatever else you celebrate at this festive time of year.

 

And now my gift to you …

Garden Grove Cover-FinalGarden Grove can be downloaded in multiple ebook formats FREE on Smashwords using coupon code YV67F until Dec 31/15.

 Can you handle a little darkness in your life?

 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/587705

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newbieI’m pretty new at the publishing game by any successfully published author’s standards.  So far, my publishing credits include a number of flash fiction and short stories published in writing e-zines, one short story in a mystery anthology published by Second Wind Publishing, and a novel also published by Second Wind.  My contribution to publishing them involved writing them, a great deal of editing, and pressing “send” on the email.

While I’ve been writing for years, I’m a publishing newbie and there’s a lot I don’t know.

With the ever-changing landscape of the publishing world, no matter how much any of us learn there will always be more to learn.

Articles discussing the finer points of how to write fill the internet in droves, but there seems to be very little information on the other side of writing – the business side of writing.

The how-to articles on writing better also tend to be a confusing overwhelming glut of opposing opinions.  Do you listen to the blogger who vehemently insists you must mercilessly gut your writing of all of what they consider unnecessary extra words, streamlining it to a tight bare-bones written masterpiece?  Or do you listen to the blogger who just as passionately says that it is the flow and artistic expression of the writing that matters most and that you must not sanitize it by worrying about gutting it of what another might consider extra words?

The truth is that regardless of the area of the writing advice, what you need to follow will probably lie somewhere in the middle.  It can be difficult to decide which advise to follow and when.  Too much contradicting advice can leave you feeling even more confused and uncertain.  The best writers will take the advice to heart and figure out what is best for their self and each particular story.

Writing is entertaining, can help you explore questions and issues in your life, and can be used as an outlet for the unpleasant emotions we as humans tend to bottle up inside.  But if you want to be published, writing is a business too.

While exploring the answers to my own questions it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only one asking these questions.  So, I decided to share my discoveries.

I make no claims to be an expert.  Actually, I definitely am not an expert.

Like a lot of writers, I’m learning as I go.  Mostly from researching online articles from various sources and comparing notes on what they say.

The first rule of thumb with online information is “take it with a grain of salt”.  In other words, never assume the information is accurate and always question the quality of the source.  So with that in mind let us go forth and learn the business together, and be forgiving when I do get something wrong.

Corrections are always welcome.  You can’t learn from your mistakes if you don’t know you made them.

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First I would like to thank Beth Fehlbaum for inviting me on this blog tour.

Beth Fehlbaum is the author of Big Fat Disaster (Coming from Merit Press in March, 2014!) and The Patience Trilogy (available for acquisition!).
Chapter previews of all her books are available online.

Beth is also the founder of UncommonYA.com, “a group website of traditionally published authors who tell it like it is.”

Beth Fehlbaum
Author websites:
Beth Fehlbaum Books.com
Bloggity-Blog

Library Science Student website:
La-la-Library Science Bloggity-blog

Follow Beth:
Facebook
Twitter

On this blog tour authors are asked to answer four questions:
1) What am I working on?
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3) Why do I write what I do?
4) How does my writing process work?

Who is L.V. Gaudet? L. V. Gaudet is a Canadian fiction writer who writes mainly the darker forms of fiction. L.V. Gaudet’s writing is influenced by growing up with a love for thrillers and horrors, sneaking down as a kid to watch old Vincent Price movies and devouring thriller novels.

I am a fiction writer with flash fiction and short stories scattered about the web. Also, the short story “Falling” published in the murder/mystery anthology Mystery in the Wind published by Second Wind Publishing.

1) What am I working on?

It might be easier to ask what I am NOT working on. My husband likes to tease me about my level of multi-tasking in everything I do. Right now I am working with the publisher Second Wind Publishing on getting my debut novel Where the Bodies Are published this summer.

In addition to getting this novel out, my ongoing projects include:

 Editing Garden Grove. Something sinister is behind the strange events happening at the new Garden Grove Meadows community being built in a cozy little bedroom community. With a string of petty vandalism, the poisoning of the work crew, and strange human bones being planted around the job site, what could they possibly have in common?

 Nicely aging and waiting their turn to be edited are these completed works:

 The Gypsy Queen. The era of the paddlewheel boats is coming to an end and two intrepid young men looking to strike it rich come up with a plan after sneaking on board a gambling paddlewheel boat and finding themselves overwhelmed by the opulent richness surrounding them. They find a decommissioned old paddlewheel left rotting up a dried up river tributary. Purchasing the boat for a song, bringing her back to rebuild the one famous Gypsy Queen proves to be a bigger stake than they bargained for. Up against a mafia mentality shipbuilders union and the wealthy owner of the only riverboat casino, who is not open to the idea of having new competition, the young men find themselves quickly in over their heads. To add to their troubles the Gypsy Queen is haunted and she wants her revenge.

 Forgotten Princess (working title). In a long ago time where debtors were arrested and placed in workhouse prisons to pay off their debts, many lived in poverty, and few owned the land which so many lived and worked on, children were often left orphaned by circumstance. This is the story of the survival of the orphaned children brought to one of the vilest orphanages in the country. A darkness poisons this orphanage from deep within its walls.

 The McAllister Farm. This is the prequel to Where the Bodies Are. Once you have read the first book you will be filled with questions. Here you will find answers.

 Works in progress include:

 Blood. This is my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel based on the flash fiction story of the same name. I surpassed the 50,000 word goal; however the story did not end there. Death is real and he is dead tired. He has brought across to his world a younger man to become Death’s unwilling apprentice. Is this possible? Can Death be replaced? And will the young man escape Death’s clutches to return to his world?

 Unnamed. In the dark ages where superstitions were believed true one man is obsessed with eradicating the evil he believes plagues the world, the eaters of souls.

 The Men of Twelve (working title). The queen dies of a mysterious ailment, poisoned! Blinded by grief, her husband, the king, rides out in search of his own swift end. His men at arms rush to follow, to protect their king, but can he be protected from himself? Wallowing in the dark pool of his loss, the king charges recklessly into danger only to return at last with something even more dangerous; a new queen. The strange woman brings with her her own stranger servant and dark purpose, putting the king’s daughter in peril.

 The Illopogas. Based on the flash fiction stories of the same name, Ghost Ship (The Illopogas) and Ghost Ship 2: Return The Illopogas, this is the story of The Illopogas, a ship that is a ghost itself, created by the evil that once filled its hull.

And for the kids, to be published under the name Vivian Munnoch are these tantalizingly scary works in progress:

 The Latchkey Kids. These are the tweens and early yeas teens too old for daycare but still young enough to be considered kids. With working parents they have the responsibility of getting themselves off to school and home again, to wait alone at home until their parents come home. Alone they each have their own little world of problems. Brought together by unforeseen circumstances they are pulled into a bigger problem, a danger that lurks beneath them, coming into their homes through the basement at night.

 The Wishing Stone series. This series of books explores the adventure Madelaine is forced into when she is kidnapped from the tent where she sleeps with her family. Only Mocha knows how Madelaine vanished and she can’t tell. Mocha is Madelaine’s little dog. With a bravery bigger than her size, Madelaine’s younger sister runs away with Mocha in search of her sister.

 Butterflies in the Garden series. There are butterflies in the garden, but they are not what they appear.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure how I can say my work differs from others of its genres. While the stories all share a certain darkness, they bring together elements of multiple genres to create a range of reading experiences. Some are more fantasy, others mystery, and some more of a supernatural thriller.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I have always had a love for the dark stories. I grew up sneaking downstairs in the night to watch old Vincent Price movies, absorbed the old Tales from the Dark Side and Twilight Zone shows, and Ray Bradbury Theatre. I devoured every horror book I could get my hands on.

4) How does my writing process work?

My writing process works through unadulterated creative drive. I write what the urge strikes me to write, throwing myself into the writing, letting the writing flow drive itself. If it isn’t working for one story I move on to another.
I usually start with little more than a vague feeling or scene and the story grows from there, driven by its own purpose to become whatever it will be. The story metamorphoses and turns as if with a life of its own. Even I don’t know where it will go when I sit down and start writing. I outline as I go, creating a roadmap of where I’ve been as a reference tool when I need to double back for the sake of consistency.

I will let a story sit and quietly age for months or more between writing and editing, and each edit.
When I edit I want to look at the story with a fresh mind, an outsider looking in. Those early edits bring with them additional depth as scenes that were hurriedly jotted down to move on with the thread driving me are revisited and rewritten. Characters grow deeper personalities and events a personality of their own.
It’s the later edits that can be a story killer, when I start obsessing whether I edited it enough and risk editing the life out of the story. There is a wealth of writing advice out there, a deluge that will drown you if you are not careful. The best advice I can give any writer is to devour that glut of advice. Devour it, absorb it, learn it, and know when to ignore it. For the most part it is good advice, but creativity cannot be set down to follow a strict set of rules. No piece of advice and no writing rule fits every story.

I’m one of though people who just are not content to have one project on the go. If I find myself stuck with nowhere to go on one project that usually means I’m missing something in the big picture. The best cure for that is to take a step back for a while and approach it again later with a fresh mind. But that does not stop the urge to write or the flow of ideas.
If one story is stuck in the mud with no ideas there are a hundred more waiting to be written. And even when I am making an effort to push myself to finish one particular story and find myself stuck, moving on to write something else gets the creative juices flowing and opens the floodgates that will get me back on track with finishing the other project.

Samples of my work can be found on my blog:
The intangible world of the literary mind
What secrets of the mind lurk beyond the mist enshrouded bridge?
https://lvgwriting.wordpress.com/

Follow on Facebook (author page):
http://www.facebook.com/LVGaudet.Author

Coming soon:
Where the Bodies Are
Tentative publishing date: July 1, 2014
through Second Wind Publishing, LLC
http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/

I invite you to join Susie Kearley on her blog as part of the blog tour – My Writing Process.

Susie has written two books on ‘Freelance Writing on Health, Food and Gardens’, and ‘Healthy Sustainable Living, God’s Way.’

http://susiekearley.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/blog-hop-my-writing-process.html

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Exhausted by Sidney Gaudet (9 yrs old)

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Exhausted is like the color gray.

Like a hungry wolf that spend the whole night looking for food,

Or the soot you cleaned out of the fireplace.

It is like the clouds on a rainy day that woke me from my slumber,

Like the huge rock I tried to bring home.

Exhausted is like a heavy fish on the end of your fishing rod,

Like the smoke that comes from the chimney that you tried to clear all day.

Exhausted is like the cement you got stuck in before it dried and you have been using all your might to get out of,

Like grey eyed people’s eyes after a long day.

Exhausted poem by Sidney Gaudet

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Ok, I admit it, I’m a comma junkie.  I write mainly by the seat of my pants, my fingers flying across the keyboard and barely (not always) keeping up with the words flowing through my head.  And I can type faster than I can hurriedly scrawl illegible scribbles mimicking words.

.

Apparently I like commas.  I mean I REALLY like commas.  I don’t worry about things like sentence structure, punctuation, and spellings when I write.  Later I’ll get a good laugh at the ridiculous suggestions Spellcheck gives me that often rendered sentences moot.  All that can get fixed in editing after the story is written.

.

I just let the words flow as they will, living in the moment of the story, and trying my best to type fast enough to keep up.

When I go back and edit afterwards, it’s a cornucopia of commas everywhere that I didn’t even know I put in.

Even on the fourth and fifth rounds of editing I still find myself removing excess commas.

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What can possibly be more annoying than getting an unwanted telemarketing call?  Just read on and I’ll tell you.

Apparently there is some unwritten rule that they must happen when you are (a) in the middle of eating supper, (b) in the middle of getting your kids to do something important like bathing, (c) on the toilet or in the shower, or (d) any other time it is entirely inconvenient to drop whatever you’re doing to race for the phone.

 

The Three Annoying Types of Calls:

Generally, we get hit by three main types of calls.

1.            The talks too fast to butt in forcing you to be a rude schmuck and hang up on them calls.

These are the ones who also generally think that any words sounding similar to “No thank you”, “No thanks,” and “I’m not interested” really mean “Oh please please please tell me more.  I’ll just totally die if you don’t go on for another 30 minutes on your products and/or services!”

They also are entirely unable to grasp that “No” means “No” and will try to send or sign you up for crap regardless of how emphatically you say “NO!  NOT!  NO I DON’T WANT YOUR F-ING CRAP!”

And to add that final insult to injury, they take on the injured tone and ask you “Why not?” as if you’d just told someone you don’t want to be their friend after all.

And, of course, some of these are the outright scams like the caller who tells you that they are calling on behalf of your internet provider because your IP address has been used for questionable online activity and you could face legal problems, but its ok because you are probably the victim of a hacker or virus and if you just give them remote access to your computer they can fix it all up (for a fee) …  yeah, and I’m the  Queen of Sheba too and know darn well they could not possibly be trying to both hack me and bill me for doing it too.

 

2.            The dead air calls. 

Yeah, we’ve all had those.  You drop everything, dodge kids and dogs, leap over obstacles of toys and laundry baskets in a mad race to catch the phone … and there’s nobody bloody there!

“Hello?  Hello?” you say, pause and wait.  “Hello?  Is anybody there?”  You pause again, listening for any background sounds, wondering if you just got butt dialed or a friend or relative’s toddler is playing with the phone, or if someone dialed and got distracted.

You half expect to start hearing the laboured heavy breaths of a prank caller or some kid to ask you if your refrigerator is running followed by the warning, “Well then you’d better go catch it.”  Both of which would probably grate my annoyance nerves less than telemarketers intruding into my home via telephone and trying to push crap on me that I don’t want.

And eventually you or they hang up with the sure knowledge burning angrily through you that you just wasted those moments on a freaking telemarketer spam-crank calling you with their automated dialler.

 

3.            The telemarketing machine calling me because I’m not even good enough for a real person call.

Yeah, it’s frustrating and you ask, “What?! I’m not even good enough for a real person to harass and annoy me?!  You have to send a flipping machine to do your dirty work?!”

But they are, at least, the least annoying of the three.  You don’t feel guilty for hanging up on a machine, and you don’t waste time talking to dead air.

 

And then things turn from annoying to ugly.

After days of repeated hang-up dead air telemarketing calls at home – one per night every night at about the same time and all originating from a different long distance number …

… and this despite the fact we are registered on the National Do No Call List

 

I am now getting harassed on my freaking CELL PHONE!

Yep, not only am I now having to drop everything and race to answer the phone (and this is a number that almost nobody has and is used only for calls from immediate family members or for the kids school or daycare to reach me anytime anywhere), but I am now also PAYING PER CALL TO ANSWER AND HANG UP ON A FLIPPING TELEMARKETING AUTO-DIALLING ANSWERING MACHINE!

To top it off, I’m not on an unlimited monthly plan or anything like that.  I’m paying prime $$$ for those handy but expensive per minute pre-paid minutes that are more economical for people like me who rarely use their phone.  And if this keeps up, I’ll have to go buy more minutes because they’re getting used up a telemarketing pre-recorded auto-dialling machine.

You got it!  I’m paying to be annoyed and harassed by a machine spewing out a pre-recorded message!

Silly me, I thought since cell phones cost the consumer money every time they answer it, they were legally off limits to telemarketers calls.

Apparently Air Miles Canada (or so the recording claims to be) has a very important message that I need to spend $$ just to listen to.

I wonder if they get a cut from the cell phone company.

 

 

Anywho, while I have to chose between turning off my cell phone and missing an important call from my kids’ school or daycare or wasting my money hanging up on telemarketing machines, I have added the cell to the do not call registry – for what its worth.

Since they’re calling me at home too and I’ve had that phone on the list for a few years now, I already know the registry only works for the ones who chose to follow the rules.

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How awesome is this?!

I let the kids ride their bikes to daycare this a.m.

Baby wild bunny

 The youngest (7) is just giving it with all she’s got to keep up with the 9 yr old and her bigger bike. (7 yr old’s bike is too small and has very small tires).

 Baby bunny comes racing from a yard, runs right between the 7 yr old’s small bicycle tires, comes back and dodges her again, and runs off.

 Of course, that wasn’t the end of it.  The little bugger came back to sit in the middle of the road.  I had to shoo it off so I wouldn’t risk running it over.

 My awesome 7 yr old didn’t even flinch, and no wipeout.  She managed to avoid hurting both herself and the baby bunny playing a game of tire dodge.

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