Friday, July 13, 2018

What's New?

I cannot believe that July is nearly half gone!

I managed to take two vacation days this week so I could accompany Kelly as she closed on the purchase of her own house. Kelly had been working with Jessica Martin (Blue Umbrella Books, Exit Realty, and beekeeper) since January 2017 searching for the house of her dreams. Her Dad and I often went to open houses and to viewings with her during those eighteen months. We saw some nice houses, and some not so nice houses, and many more houses that were close to ideal. Finally, she found a house, viewed it with Jessica, then arranged a second viewing so her father and I could see it. She put in an offer, it was countered by the sellers. She next offered the maximum amount that she was willing to pay, citing the fact that there had been very few upgrades and what had been done was not recently done, so she would have to do all the work, which she was willing to do. Although the sellers had a full price offer, they decided to accept Kelly's bid as she had a sizable down payment saved and could easily obtain a mortgage, whereas her competitor would be financing the entire amount and might not even qualify for a mortgage. Kelly was the sure thing.

I'm happy to say that Kelly and Jessica worked together via text messages, emails, and phone calls to make the purchase of the house a reality. Kelly only consulted us in regards to the three banks she had contacted for loan applications. We offered our advice and she chose the best deal for her budget and needs. I'm proud of her for flexing her grown-up muscle and self confidence and handling her own business. It wasn't easy standing back, but as a parent, you have to let your kids grow up and be adults. You have t let them test their wings. She did fine! She soared!

On Tuesday, I went along to the closing with her for moral support. She met Jessica at the house for a final walkthrough to confirm that a repair had been made. It had been. The house was spotless. The owner's children (my age) who were selling the house for her had left Kelly some lamps, a table and two chairs, garden implements, cleaning products, clothespins, light bulbs...lots of small but useful things. We next went to City Hall here in Westfield to meet the lawyer. The only available space he could find with a table and chairs was in City Council Chambers, so that's where 27-year old Kelly signed all the paperwork for the purchase of her house. Then, the lawyer met the sellers attorney, and also registered the deed in Kelly's name while he was in city hall. Jessica turned over the keys and garage door opener to Kelly- and she was officially a homeowner!

We've been measuring, doing some of our own cleaning, and bringing a few things over to give the house a little feel of home. Money is being held by the lawyer for the removal of asbestos insulation from the attic in September or October when it's cooler. She's contemplating paint colors and trying to decide what she wants and needs for furniture. The house already has a 'homey' feeling...and soon will be her full time residence. Today, she even received her first three pieces of mail at her house!

It makes me wonder what stories will be written at her table or desk? Will being closer to downtown inspire her in different ways than living on the side of a mountain on the northeast side of the city has? Or will she set aside writing for awhile as she pursues new interests? I kind of hope she keeps her hand in writing, but I'll understand if she has other things she wants to do. I'll always be happy for her for living her life the way she wants to live it. That was how my Mom raised me. That's how I wanted to raise her- to be her own self, to discover independence and embrace it.

Congratulations on the purchase of your own house, Kelly Buffum! I hope your home will be the source of a thousand and one new stories!

Welcome to New Memeber Iris

I just want to take a moment to welcome our new Wordsmith member, Iris Alderson. Iris was at Blue Umbrella Books and obtained contact information from Russell. Kelly and I were happy to approve her membership application at the end of June. Iris is a local lady who is delighted to find a writer's group close to home. You can check out her biography on the Members page.

I stopped into Blue Umbrella to buy some of Kellie Stuck's Edward Gorey books that had been donated by her father Larry from her estate. Iris was in the shop so we had an opportunity to meet face to face. Looking forward to September when meetings resume and this wonderful woman joins us.

Welcome, Iris!!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Just brought my rough draft of the 2nd edition indented narrative of The Weatherwax Genealogy to be printed. File in MS Word was too large for my home printer. 1152 pages including name index, endnotes, location index. Next step is to edit the file and then verify name index to page location. Then I can start on other sections of the book. Publication is due in 2020 so time is running short to get my act together.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Clockmaker's Son is Now Available on Amazon

Just published and released by Inklings, a division of Dark Ink Press. The Clockmaker's Son, a cross genre horror/romance novel (a Beauty & the Beast take on werewolves/lycanthropes), is available on Amazon beginning today! This is the novel inspired a year ago by Westfield, MA's controversial, but still awesome since what other local city or town has one even remotely similar?, mechanical clock tower. I started several different versions of the book over the summer and into the fall, but scrapped them and started fresh on November first during NaNoWriMo in 2017. The manuscript then sat idle on the dining room table until early March 2018 when I finally decided to proofread it. I hadn't read the novel from beginning to end up to that point and was surprised that it was nearly ready to publish. With Kelly's invaluable help edits and revisions, and the usual cleanup of grammar and punctuation, began and moved along quickly. A meeting with Kate Anderson and Melissa Volker set the wheels in motion to have it published under Dark Ink Press' new imprint, Inklings. It was available in a limited, self-published supply during Articulture2018 as an ARC...and now it's been published and is available to the public!! Advance readers are telling me that they began reading the book and could not stop reading until they were finished. One reader (from a local button club I belong to) devoured the book in one three-hour read-a-thon! Her comment- "Whew! I feel like I just got off a rollercoaster! What a ride! When's your next book coming out?" That's what  makes my heart happy!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

One Yer Anniversary Party & June Meeting Announcement

The WhipCity Wordsmiths authors/writers group will celebrate the first anniversary of its founding on Saturday, June 16th at 3PM at Blue Umbrella Books with a cake and soft drinks and a meeting before we break for July and August to enjoy the summer. Meetings will resume in September 2018. Join us if able!

May 12th Meeting Notes

I apologize for the delay in posting the notes from the May meeting. Life is crazy busy still!

The Wordsmiths, nine of us, gathered at Blue Umbrella Books on the 12th of May for a meeting. It was good to see those in attendance again.

Glen was in attendance and signed copies of his new book Dearest David for Susan and Lynnmarie. The book is historical romance, a new genre for Glen. Both readers had enjoyed the story.

Susan began the meeting by recapping the April Articulture event at which 9 Wordsmiths showed their stuff in the author's room. Only Sandy Sessler was unable to join us due to an emergency. She was missed, but those who did make it had fun meeting and greeting the public and chatting among ourselves. Melissa Volker's son, Lex, was an added attraction in the room as he attended in his Kylo Ren costume (he has an amazing Mom who not only writes but sews and makes authentic-looking costume pieces including helmets!) The kids LOVED Lex as Kylo. There were plenty of photo ops and Lex did some mock light saber fights with them for additional photo ops. The authors received swag bags put together by Susan and crammed full of stuff authors like, like pens, highlighters, pocket notebooks, Post-it tabs to use as page markers during readings and silly things like fidget toys, Tangles, and goodies like mints and Kisses. Each author received a lanyard to help identify them with their Wordsmith pin attached. Oh, and the authors received WhipCity Wordsmith mugs identifying them as members. Melissa, Lindsay and Judith F-G provided feedback that Susan will pass on to Artworks of Westfield, the sponsor of the event.

Susan read a piece she had written when Kelly was in middle school called Legacy- about what mothers pass down to their daughters in honor of the 13th being Mother's Day.

Susan had given Sue F. a challenge to write something for the next meeting, and Sue came through in aces, writing about living in a multi-generational home and family birthdays. Her family is from Enfield, MA, one of the five towns with forced evacuation when the area was flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. It was a nice family piece, well thought out and written. She did an excellent job rising to the challenge!

Melissa spoke about how she has been helping Kate Anderson revise Kate's Dark Ink Press logo, helping establish a new imprint of Dark Ink Press called Inklings for which Melissa is managing editor, and Susan is also an editor (paranormal/supernatural/fantasy/magical realism) The website is getting a facelift as well and there's a facebook page and a newsletter in the works. Ten she talked about her new experience as an editor, sifting through recent submissions, and how difficult it is to have to reject submissions, after having been on the receiving end of rejection letters herself.

Rhonda had her Wolfgang story with her that she read to us for our critiques and comments. Kelly is currently helping her with the illustrations so she can publish it herself. It's a cute story about Wolfgang's friends helping him get his whistle back in time for Christmas. (Wolfgang is a frog that had been on the extinct list in Haiti, but is now making a comeback.) She wrote the book for the children of Haiti.

Susan brought a tray of brownies and bottled water for snacks that were enjoyed by those who indulged.

In June the WhipCity Wordsmiths will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of its founding by Susan and Kelly. Meetings began in September, but there were newsletters and the blog was up and running in June of 2017 and membership grew steadily. It has leveled out at around 30 members with about half of that number actively participating in meetings as able, and one participating long distance.

Everyone brought something to the table at this meeting and discussions were lively.

See you in June for the 1-year celebration!  (There will be no formal meetings in July & August as we enjoy vacations and time with family and summer activities. Meetings will resume in September.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Hint of Autumn in the Air

The word on the street in Westfield is that there will be another Pumpkinfest event this October. This event was huge and amazingly well attended last fall and provided artists and authors an opportunity to meet and greet the public.

Through Artworks of Westfield, artists and authors coat-tailed onto the event and it looks as if we'll be able to do this again. Therefore, authors, I will be info gathering at the board meeting tomorrow evening and will keep you posted over the next few months of developments in the plans for this event. If any Wordsmiths are interested in selling their books at this event kindly let me know. Space was limited to one room in the old town hall last year. I don't know where we'd be this year, but it's never too soon to start thinking about exposure- if you're a self-published author that is vital!

I'll post updates about this upcoming event as details are hashed out, settled and finalized.