Settling In

August 14, 2016


My new writing room matures at a snail’s pace–just like my series.

I plan to finish edits on ALL the books, before continuing to shop an agent. I don’t feel confident enough pitching, ‘I got first-drafts of books 2-8, but here’s my polished book-one’.  Yes, the series-bible is done, but I want to have a finished series. I’m planning rewrite the query and pitch. Four rejections outright (with no request to read first chapter) –I’m suspecting weakness. No feedback at all, just – thanks, but no thanks.

I’m not giving up though, I will finish the series, and I will sell this series.

Nothing says ‘welcome to your new home’, like Blue Rivers & the Maroons rendition of Guns of Navarone.  I’m a Ska fan, don’t judge me.


Life Update

July 23, 2016

Crazy times. Been at the Residence Inn since July 3, our move from Texas went smoothly—except for one hiccup with PODS. I had reserved an extra POD with a $100 retainer, in case our house didn’t fit in their largest. Austin is severely over-booked for PODS, and the wait times are insane, that’s why I spent the money to reserve an extra.  When we loaded our stuff, we found that we needed the extra POD, but when I called—they’d sold my reserve POD. They were apologetic, and credited me my retainer, but that didn’t help.

We were forced to leave behind some things—and that wasn’t cool with me.

The drive up was uneventful, the cats didn’t need the Xanax, they were fine after the first day. We arrived on the third of July, and spent our free time house hunting, with an agent.  Every house we had on a list to see when we arrived: a total bust (some worse than others). The remote one needed work, three were complete bait and switches, and the ones that were turnkey historical, were in demilitarized zones.  According to those we questioned, the “Russian mob” pushed out the ethnic dealers in Philly five years ago, into the western burbs. Now “Russians” are expanding into the areas where the ousted dealers had settled, mainly Pottstown, Stowe, and Coatesville. What I see? The police aren’t as affective in clearing out the new element because, you know, white crime. When you profile criminals based solely on race, you round up the good with the bad–and gee wiz, shit happens, sorry. You can’t round up every white person that looks shifty, because…you know…white folks have rights, unless they have an accent…not all those Slavs in tracksuits have accents. Damn!

Stress levels high, the spouse and I squared off over our must-have’s and deal-breaker’s. 

I wanted an updated historical row house, space for my writing room, and something in walking distance to everything. I like people—yes, I’m a solitary writer, but I want to see other windows out my window. Color me metro. Spouse is opposite. No neighbors, just trees. He will not live anywhere that’s high-crime (or even medium crime), and no more than 30 minutes drive from his office in Exton, PA. I hate Exton; it’s overpriced, filled with homogenized-milk humans that live and work in Exton and Eagle, and their city and all its retail amenities exist, because trucking to Pottstown, Downingtown, or even Paoli, might expose them to “those people”. 

Spouse and I sat down to combine our must-have’s. We chose an area between Lancaster and Reading (short commute for spouse – near art college for Mag); low to no crime meant no metro or built up main street (It was hard to give that up-but I did it). Spouse finally admitted that every wooded secluded house we visited needed work, and required him to maintain a yard—something he was desperate to get away from, after owning a home with yard for over 20 years.

We did the unthinkable, and considered a townhome. We found only one townhome community we liked – Briarcrest, in Morgantown.

I was desperate for brick, but I wasn’t going to get it outside a city-center, or anything updated enough inside, to warrant purchasing. Siding it was…ugh. We found a unit that was once the model townhome, when the development was leasing anew, ten years ago. It belonged to the police-chief of a Lancaster suburb, it was well maintained, and Ken and I fell I love with it the moment we walked in. The room I planned to make my office looks out at the windows of the home across the street—and the HOA was mega cheap at $150; the utilities and electricity were ridiculous cheap (yay of nuclear power). It’s got a garage, an jetted tub in the bathroom, big glass shower for me, an entire room beneath the stairs for the cats, and two-oven kitchen, GAS range (OMFG the thought of going back to electric), and a tiny wooded deck that I will turn into flower & plant central. Spouse gets a gaming and movie room that’s separate from him ‘entertaining room’, and he gets an office/art studio loft. I get a workout room, and a laundry room I can actually fold clothes in.

We put in an offer, and got it for under asking*.

UPDATE: House appraised for far less than asking; we had to make a lower offer based on what our finance company was willing to front. Waiting now…it sucks this happened 1 week before closing. >_< 

We close on August 5. Briarcrest is part of a modest clutch of townhomes. A Lowe’s, a Walmart (ew), AC Moore, two restaurants, two fast food joints, Doctor’s offices, and three cafés’, are encamped around the development like the service women that followed Napoleon’s army. Outside of this residential & retail cluster, are miles of dairy, corn, and produce farms. The Mennonite’s here are quasi-suburbanized, they frequent the shops around Briarcrest, because the area around Morgantown proper (it is closer to them—but they still ride their buggies and bikes over the bridge to us) is a bit of a tourist stop; overpriced food joints, motels, and strip malls that scream “we’re close to the turnpike exit, so our landlord doesn’t care about curb appeal, because you’re going to come in anyway, and use the bathroom”. The Mennonite thing will take some getting used to. It was strange to be sitting at the Sonic nearby, and have a horse-drawn buggy back up into the space beside me.

Mag’s not happy, because it feels like we’ve moved into another cookie-cutter style community—but Ken and I are excited. Our unit is inside the development, and that bums Mag out a little, but overall, Ken is near hunting, work, and only a few hours from his family. I’m around people that won’t be working on their cars in the street, letting their dogs shit in my yard, or neighbors with grass taller than me because they don’t care to mow it. I can walk to the store if I need anything, we’re minutes from Nolde Forest, and an hour and a half to the shore.  

I won’t get back to working on edits for the second novel in the Femitokon series, until September.  It’s just as well no agent is interested at this time, because it’s not quite finished (though I only contacted three, so no big loss). I’m going to hold off on querying any more agents, until the novels are done (yep-all ten novels!).

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