Monday, June 29, 2009

Taming the savage beast.....

Or be-otch...whoever needs to be tamed.

I have to share this story because it's really quite funny and so true. I think there's something for all of us...something the soothes and comforts, that just makes any horrid situation all better!

Last weekend, hubby and I were on our way to see the No Doubt show. Instead of paying exorbitant amounts of money for cardboard that's passed off as food at the venue, we stopped at a little pizza/sub place on the way. We'd eaten there plenty of times...not my fav, but in that small town there aren't many options. We decided on a small cheese and pepperoni pizza, half with mushrooms, and an order of onion rings. Then we sat and waited...and waited...and waited....1/2 hour and we finally get our food. Mushrooms cover the entire pizza. Now by this time, I am starved. And I'm ornery when I'm starved. And I hate mushrooms. Hubby tried removing the disgusting fungi from my side of the pulls off all the cheese. I'm livid; smoke is oozing from all orifices. He takes it up...doesn't even have to tell the girl at the counter...she says "They put mushrooms on the whole thing, didn't they?" So apparently they have screwed up before. She says they'll make a new one....and the wait begins again. Lucky for them I had a bag of onion rings to eat. I'm still livid as we now have to wait again and need to get to the show and will not have time to eat our pizza at the restaurant...we'll have to take it with us and eat in the parking lot. I was completely grumpy and then like an angel flew down and sang into my ear, a song from my most favorite guys on the planet came on the oldie but a goodie, playing during the retro hour. I looked at hubby and a huge smile spread across my face and I was immediately soothed. Hubby thought it was hilarious.

So...what soothes your inner beast (or bee-otch)???

Summer, divorce and some other random things...

Summer is officially here....which means my daughter is home for summer vacation. I never wanted to be one of those parents who one week into vacation is already asking how many days left till school starts. But I can identify......two kids all day annoying each other..... It's only been 4 official days...not counting the weekend- she would have been home anyway. So far it's been decent, aside from the times she comes and asks me to do this and that while I'm trying to get some work done. Does she not understand that her brother's nap time is my only time to get any work done? No, probably not. One more thing that makes working form home difficult! Hubby and I have talked and he understands that my writing is serious and I need to devote real time to it, especially once I start the editing process. It can't just sit...the work needs to get done. The sooner I do it, the sooner it will get published and start making me money!!!

Found out this morning that friends of ours are getting divorced...and it comes as a complete and utter shock. We don't see them as much as we'd like, maybe once a year or so. We had no idea they were having trouble. It's sad; we always thought they made such a good pair. We know the woman's family really psuedo aunts and uncles, cousins. And the way I found out....not sure if I agree with the method. The husband posted it as an event on Facebook. He wrote a long detailed was well written and explained enough and for the most part, he did it in an unbiased way. Basically said...this is what's happening. Now I wonder if the wife knows he did this....not sure how I'd feel about my soon to be ex blabbing to everyone on Facebook. Though he did explain his reasoning- now everyone knows and he can avoid the awkwardness of telling everyone face to face and having to do that hundreds of times.

I'm pleased that I am (hopefully) back to my workout schedule!! My son seems to play better now so he allows me some uninterrupted time to exercise in the morning. I did some decent leg, thigh and ab exercises and did a bit of cardio. bad back be damned. I got out of my routine for like a month...longer actually, cause my back has been bothering me.....a lot. Well, I am just doing what I can and if it hurts my back I either work through it or do something that doesn't bother it as much. I read an article (after i already decided to workout through the pain, so I must have some kind of smarts here) and it said that you shouldn't stop exercising when you have back pain.

And my last gripe for the day...anyone with kids....boys....PLEASE tell me how to get my 17 month old son to stop chucking his food across the table when he doesn't want it anymore!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Website is up and running!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now it's nothing fancy...but it's there!!

We have Time Warner's Roadrunner as our ISP and they give us free web space. I used it before, when I had my floral business. Had my husband's cousin design it and take care of it and it was great. He did a fantastic job! But then I closed up shop and the website too.

But I have reason to have an official website again!!!! Don't really have the money to pay someone to design a new site for me and I really wanted to be able to make changes to it myself..instead of going through someone else. So I sat down yesterday and today and played around with it myself. It's extremely basic...but it has what I need for now. I'm not real fond of the banner across the top...but the space is much can I really complain????

I was a bit bummed was already taken...though when I typed it in, nothing came up except a thing saying it was taken. I could have had a .net or a .org...few others...but I don't know....I really wanted a .com. Got stephaniehaefnerthewriter for three years and maybe by then will be free to take!

And I even paid for domain registration all by myself and set it up to forward to my free web space!! So proud of myself!! I am usually not good at this kind of thing at all!!! But I used Yahoo and it was all really really easy!!

Check it out when you get a chance:

Forms galore! I love it!!!

Got an email from Lyrical Press yesterday.....attached were all the forms I need to fill out...personal info, bio, my ideas for cover art, tax forms, etc... Some of them I expected...the tax stuff and all my personal info. I didn't expect them to ask my thoughts on my cover!! I had a small vision for it, but in all reality, I never let my thoughts go that far. I wasn't going to count my chickens before they hatched...put the horse before the cart....any other cliches I can use???

But now it is a reality! I am completely open to what they come up with..their cover art is phenomenal!

And I need to join a couple online communities specifically for Lyrical Press authors! One is for technical support, another for interacting with authors and readers. They're for networking and getting your name out there, and hopefully, to help sell lots of books!!!

Looks like I am going to be spending lots of time online!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The process is finally underway!

Two copies of my signed contract were in the mail this past Friday. It's quite a relief to know the process has officially begun!!! And quite exciting too! I can't wait to start editing and see what they have to say about my story. And then the cover art.....very interested to see what they come up with for that!!! The publisher...and since I have officially sent in my contract, I will reveal their name: Lyrical Press, they have some FANTASTIC cover art!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm going to be part of a huge literary festival in Buffalo NY!

I was born here, grew up here, still live here (well...a little to the east now, but still in the area). I truly do LOVE this place. And we have a HUGE cultural community...something most people are clueless about!!

One of the biggest events of the year is the Infringement Festival:

One of the organizers from my writers group secured a spot just for our group...two spots actually! We have an hour and depending on how many of our group members sign up, we'll get between 5-10 minutes to read...whatever we want!

For something fun and different, she plans on having a dry erase board. While she's reading our bio, we are to go up, write our name and maybe draw a picture, something that represents us and our writing. The organizer said she can draw a glass of lemonade....a poem of hers mentions lemonade, (it's quite famous amongst our group!) and her hidden meaning is not so well hidden.

So I've been thinking, what represents me??? I write romantic fiction. What's the basis of all romance..."Love conquers all". I thought of writing the word 'Love' and showing it conquering the word 'all'...a rebus type of thing, but not sure how to draw that. Then I thought of writing 'Love', drawing a line under it, then under that, in smaller print 'all else'. "Love above all else". Would people get that immediately?? I don't want them trying to decipher my drawing instead of listening to me read!!

Any other ideas??????

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Have to share my piece of exciting news!

Thought it has absolutely nothing to do with writing...not even a tiny but.

Those that know me well, and even some that don't, know I have a couple obsessions. I'm not talking about the things I love with all my heart, like my family and kids, or my writing...these are silly things that just make me who I am, things most people think are completely stupid.

#1: New Kids on the Block. (Can't help it..loved them since I was 11.....and they've only gotten better with age)

#2: My ever growing pressed penny collection. (It's quite hard for me to walk past one and not dig in my purse for 2 quarters and a penny)

#3: Walt Disney World (Just like my writing and what I like to read, nothing brings me more joy than being immersed in a fairy tale)

And #3 is why I'm posting today. I booked our next trip and we're going almost 5 months earlier than planned. I poke around online from time to of my friends recently booked a trip and another is looking to. They work fill time jobs and when I need a break from scanning my latest WIP, I pop online to check things like airfare. Well, today I came upon direct flights to and from Orlando, fabulous times (arriving in Orlando at 10:25 am and leaving at 6:35 pm) for $59 each way! Disney's Free Dining promotion has been in the back of my mind, but I had a bunch of reasons why it wouldn't work for us. Until today when I actually sat and priced it out and compared that with what it would cost to go in January when we originally planned. The deal was just too good to pass on.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

*Sigh* they've got me by the you know whats...

Sent a list of changes to my publisher....a no-go on all but one I think.

Maybe they know they've got me, maybe they don't. But it really sucks knowing that if I walk away, I walk away from starting my career.

Yes,I did get two other offers, but the one was a tiny tiny company and I think I would get next to no exposure, and therefore sell very few ebooks. The other needed an answer within a week. At that point I was still looking for a lawyer to look over the first contract I received.

So now I have to decide.....sign a contract that is not the greatest and start my career. Or walk away to nothing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chat with Lawyer...CHECK!

Finally I talked with my lawyer yesterday afternoon!!!!!!

And I have to say, for how long it took, and how aggravating it has been with her lack of response....she was much more thorough than I thought she'd be. She came up with a few things that weren't even mentioned in the contract that should be. She gave me some things that should be adjusted. I sent an email with her suggested changes to my publisher. And now I wait. I did get a quick email from the publisher saying she got it and that they are out of the office till Thursday. But she said: 'When we return I'll gladly negotiate these terms.' Sounds positive to me. I was/am worried that they'll be unwilling to make changes.

One more step toward publication!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Finally something....but still aggravating!

I finally heard back from my lawyer on Friday email. She said two of her clients were arrested during the week and that's why she hadn't gotten back to me sooner.

Though I do have sympathy for her busy life....but the bottom's not my concern. In my opinion, with any business, no matter if you're providing a service like she is or providing a product like I used to do when I had my floral business....a GOOD business person will make their clients feel like they are their only client. I don't want to hear about problems with other's none of my concern. What concerns me is that it was over a week past the date she told me she'd get back to me by. And that is unacceptable in any business.

So this email, she tells me she has reviewed the contract and to call her over the weekend to discuss it. This weekend has been the craziest I've had in a long long time...seriously jam packed. I emailed her back and told her that...though I doubt she cares...and said I would try on Sunday morning/early afternoon. I ended up having a tiny 15 minutes...but I was worried I'd be on the phone with her for an hour and I just did not have that kind of time.

I called her today...voice mail...I will go send her an email. I wish she would just email me her comments on the contract...and I have said this to her multiple times. I would rather have it written out for me so I can refer back if I need to. I can take notes if I'm on the phone with her, but it's hard to catch everything.

On a happier note...had a FANTASTIC time at the concert last night!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009 energy to write

I didn't sleep well last clue why. Then today was the kindergarten field trip to the zoo. It was fun, yet tiring. And it was kinda weird. Most of the kids had at least one parent or grandparent go. We took yellow school buses there and once everyone went inside, we all went our own nothing. Most of the day my daughter and I were alone. It was nice...but not what I was expecting for a school field trip.

So we boarded the buses, went back to school and the kids went to their classroom. It was only I went home and got on the computer. But I am way to exhausted to accomplish much more than Facebook, email and blogging.

Ever have days like this???

I do have writers group tonight and luckily I do have a piece that's all ready to be shared. I need some feedback on a contest entry. It's a short thing...700 word max...the story has to be about a past love.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I can't stand unprofessional people!

I have lost almost all of my respect for this lawyer I hired. It is now Wednesday, an entire WEEK after the date she said she would get back to me by. I emailed her just this past Monday....a simple, "Thought I would have heard from you by now" type email. Nothing. No response what so ever.

The thought of trying to find a lawyer again makes my head hurt just thinking about it. But I need to face facts that I may need to do just that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How closely do you follow the feedback you're given???

I thrive on feedback...whether it's my writers group or my friends. I am lucky that I have a good group who gives me honest critique...even the friends. They understand that smiling and saying they love it if they don't does not help me one bit. So I sincerely appreciate their comments..and the time they take to read my stuff!

But I wonder, as the writer, how much should you take to heart?? I have learned to take all critique with a shaker of salt. Everyone has a different reader could love something (and truly mean it) while another hates every word. The hard part is weeding out and using what is useful to you.

I have gotten some invaluable info from just the other character has blue eyes, but he's Mexican and most likely a Mexican would not have blue eyes. The thought never occurred to me...I just like writing about blue eyes, there are so many pretty words to describe them. The most enticing word I could come up with for brown was 'chocolaty eyes'. Yummy...but not so much sexy or opposed to cerulean, which I used to describe the eyes at one point. I'll have to save cerulean for another hunk.....

Anyway, my point is that sometimes I get some great great feedback and it kinda slaps me in the head and I have a 'duh' moment. And other times, I am just not sure what to do with it. My last piece, one reader loved the ending just the way it was while another wanted more at the end. I liked leaving it as is...not spelling out the happily ever is most definitely implied though.

How serious do you take reader comments?? Do you make all the changes they suggest, or not at all if you don't agree??

I take them all seriously and do give thought to every one, but in the's my story and I have to be happy with it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fab contest!!!

Writer Musings is giving away some fab books!!!!

Go here:

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt...but for how long?

Okay, it's Monday. My lawyer emailed me last Monday and told me she received my email (sent a few days before that) and she would get back to me by Wednesday the 3rd with her evaluation of my contract. As I's now Monday, which is the 8th...and nothing.

I know people get happens. I'm not sure if she's married, has a family, whatever....but besides that, I know she's human...and humans get busy and things get pushed aside.

So how long do I give her??? I hate to be a pest...but who's paying whom here???

It's Monday, the day after the weekend.....should I allow her some catch up time???? She's got till 3 o'clock. Then I am getting back on and sending her an email.

Busy weekend is over...back to work!

This was dance recital weekend. Our studio does a Saturday night show and also a Sunday matinee. I like doing two shows....two chances to perform...and I so love performing!! It is quite a weekend....very busy, house looks like a tornado came through, but it was so worth it!! My back is killing me (been dealing with low back issues for over 9 years now and usually I am decent...but my last chiropractor adjustment didn't help much. I may go this week, I'm not scheduled to go till the 25th- my once a month visit, but this month may call for two.)

Okay, enough of that babbling!

I hope to work on my latest story today. It is technically finished and I've been through it once for editing. I sent it out to some readers who gave invaluable feedback..THANKS guys!!! Now I will go back and work on some spots that are a bit confusing.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I never had a false sense of security....

but this still sucks.

I grew up in the city of Buffalo, NY. I grew up in an okay area but the older I got, the worse it got. I grew up locking doors at night and always locking the car and the last few years my parents lived there, they even locked their doors when they were home during the day.....

My husband grew up in a rural area about 15 miles outside of Buffalo. No one locked doors pretty much ever. He'd laugh at me when I'd lock my car doors in his driveway....habit.

When we got married we moved to the suburbs, pretty much halfway between our childhood homes. I still locked the door every time I got out of it, in our driveway of our quiet dead end street. Even though we had moved into a "safe" town I never let myself fall into false security. Let's face it, there are a$$holes every where you go.

Recently we moved from that tiny starter house into a bigger home in a different part of the same town...closer to a 'better' town actually...right on the border. We're no longer in a dead end street and we get a bit more drive through traffic. My husband still never locks the doors on the vehicles. And yup, last night, someone was in our van. This morning the glove box was open and another compartment too. The center counsel that folds down was down (which we always have things on it so it's never down). And the change that was in our change holder was gone. Luckily that seems to be it. All my cd's were there...(I would be devastated if my NKOTB cd's were stolen!!!!) So I'm guessing the thief was looking for something more valuable....navigation system, etc... We don't have one.

We were lucky but I still can't help but feel violated. Some stranger was in my car, rifling through my things.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A last ditch effort

Double post's a couple hours later..and while I did not accomplish much today, I do feel somewhat better. I managed to fix a few typos in my latest story and started myself a Myspace page dedicated to me and my writing....check me out:

Anyway, I sent off my last ditch effort to find an agent for my third novel, Spellbound, which I have been querying like mad since March.

While writing this story, I never ever once thought of it as controversial, but apparently is can be viewed that way. I am told that one of my characters, (not the MC) who is a hoity toity bitch, is being seen as a representative of a religion. That was not my intention at all...her personality and the things she does have zero to do with her religion...that's just how she is. I think this is why I'm having trouble...not a single bite from even one of the 55 agents I queried. Maybe they are concerned that this will offend readers, even though I am not saying this religion is a mean nasty bitch like that character is...her son is completely opposite of her and he's the same religion, and his character is more prominent in the story.

So anyway, I can't seem to find anyone to flip a page with a ten foot pole.

But...I have this one last chance to find an agent....I have someone that will actually read it...becuase I have a connection. A friend of a friend's aunt is a published author and asked her agent to take a look at it. She was really swamped a month ago when this friend contacted her about she told me to hold off till June.

Sent the email off today with my entire manuscript attached, as she requested. Fingers are crossed......

Bad mood...not sure if I will get much writing done today

Am I the only one who has a real hard time getting into my story and writing when I am in a bad mood???? The day has been miserable so far and I just can't get out of my funk. Can anything productive come out of this???

Plus I'm irritated with my lawyer....emailed me on Monday to tell me she would get back to me by Wednesday the 3rd with her thoughts on my publishing contract. Well, it's Friday and nothing so far.

Not a good day over here...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I HATE when I screw up!!!

Anything. It's not that I need to be perfect...but when I screw up something simple that I really shouldn't's aggravating.

I take a dance class...all adults...this is my tenth year at this studio. I danced when I was a kid, got away from it for a while, then went back when I was 22. I love so much. So much that I had a window of a few months to get pregnant in so as to not have to drop out of dance class (luckily I am a fertile myrtle and both pregnancies happened the first month trying so I did not have to miss a year of dance for either baby.)

So anyway...tonight was dress rehearsal and I screwed up something as simple as walking!! Well, maybe not quite that simple. We're very business like this year...we have two songs- that 'Money, money, money, money' song...the Apprentice theme song and then 'Taking Care of Business' mixes in. We're wearing hounds tooth blazer type coats with either black pants or skirts. The beginning of the routine is us kinda walking across stage like we're on our way to work..some of us have briefcases, coffee mugs..I have a cell phone. We walk off stage then come back and into our starting formation- a triangle/pyramid.

The stage is MUCH larger than our classroom....I basically stayed off stage too long and could not get to my pyramid spot on time. RRRRRRRRR!!!

Lesson dilly dallying for the real, then right back on!!

Thanks for reading to my rant!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Get hungry!

I feel so eager to work, to write, to edit, to create. I think it's all due to the publishing contract I received and will most likely sign (just waiting for my lawyer's evaluation) within the next few days and ship it off to my new "boss".

It's amazing how different it feels now. Before I was just writing for me, pursuing a hobby some people would say. It wasn't bringing in any money so that would classify it as such. It did have a purpose though. Making it my career was always on my brain, but I wrote because I needed to write. Now I'm writing for other reasons too. I'm finally getting to that next step and soon my writing will be out there for the entire world to see (and hopefully enjoy!). And it just makes me hungrier...not satisfied in the least. I want more. I want to write more and get more of my stuff out there.

My advice for today....get hungry. To all those writers who are leery about submitting to agents, publishers, contests, anything...just do it. Rejection will happen, it's a given.... I'm hearing some quote about death and taxes right now....but that one acceptance, that one yes in a sea of will fuel you and inspire you to go on, but it will also make you hungrier than ever, needing more and more!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where is the love?

Since I've started this blog, I have met some really wonderful writers and I'm learning so much from them and also from the blogs I read about the publishing world. My only gripe is that I need more love...well....more romance!

I am a romance writer and I need to connect with romance writers. While I love chatting with writers of all genres, I really need to find more writers that write what I write.

What do you write? Do you find it easier to talk about your writing with writers who write the same genre??

I belong to a writers group that meets in real life. Internet based groups are not for me...unless I could find a really really small one and I got to know the people really well first. But still....I NEED the interaction of face to face meetings and I find it completely amazing how many mistakes I catch in my own writing when I read it out loud. And I love my writers group, but sometimes I'm not sure if they are fully getting my stories. I am the only romance writer (and no one reads it either, but I do find it completely flattering that several members have told me they have never ever read romance in their entire life, but I was making them into a fan! and one was a man!) No one in the group even writes women's fiction. While I truly value the feedback I get from them, I do wonder if a romance writer could give a more tailored critique??? Or is telling a story, telling a story, genre doesn't matter?? I know I have a hard time giving critique on science fiction stuff...I don't write it, I don't read it, I know I don't completely understand it all...but I try to point out the things that stick out to me...and grammar of course.

I really want to join RWA- Romance Writers of America...they have a local chapter that meets once a month. Anyone wanna lend me $125??

Monday, June 1, 2009

I don't mean to gloat...

Okay, yes I do......

In this world of Venus vs. Mars and all that....I have to take my props when I'm due...but I am being a good wife and not gloating to my husband's face...cyberspace is another thing though...and he doesn't read my blog.

So it's a classic case of "I was na na na na na!"

Hubby got in a fender bender the other biggie, all parties are fine..but it was the other guys fault. He took full responsibility for our dented bumper. Guy from the other insurance company came out today to inspect it and give the estimate...yadda yadda...hubby then wanted to jump in the car and go right to our dealer. First of all...hubby works midnights and is usually fast asleep by now. He stayed awake cause the guy was coming. Second of all....the dealer is a good 25 minutes approx. 2 gallons of gas is used to make this trip. $5 in the grand scheme of things, but still a waste if he can't even be seen today. I told hubby he should call first. After a few minutes of sparing back and forth over why I thought it was better to call first, he went and called. Went in the bedroom to do it. I heard talking and then nothing. It was I already knew I was right. A few minutes later my cell phone rang with the "I'll Be Loving You Forever" ring tone...the one for hubby....and he recited some of the most wonderful words in the English language:

"I'm were right...."

I went in there and he was in bed, ready to go to sleep. He had called the dealer, talked to the collision guy, he'll send the insurance company an estimate and the insurance company will send us a check.

Will men ever learn that women know best??? :) LOL!!