Tag Archives: Four’s a Crowd

My summer writing schedule so far

Greetings, readers. Although I have had a number of good ideas for writing projects, getting words on the page are like pulling teeth. I yank and yank and yank, and then say oh, look, there is one sentence. Back in my 30s, before all my petit mal seizures, my creativity was much better. Ideas just flowed. I’m not certain if I really do have brain damage because of the seizures, but I feel as though I do. My medications work fine for what they are meant for but they may dampen my creative process as well.

The other day I started the sequel to Four’s a Crowd and got about a page down on the computer. I don’t know if it was because I was using the speech recognition program, or the outside noise at the time, or if something else was in the way, but words would not come easily, even with these characters that I know so well. I must admit that depressed me for the rest of the day. Kimberly, Lyle, and the rest of the Four’s a Crowd clan should have inspired me, not dragged me into the mud. Thank goodness for therapy every three weeks.

Rebecca usually tells me to just keep plugging away at it, flex those writing muscles and eventually it will come. I hope she is correct. I have my entire day planned out already. We have work hours this morning, a brief stop for lunch and a couple of groceries, and then I am going to try to work with the speech recognition program again. One of the problems might be that it hasn’t quite learned my voice enough for me to dictate a novel effectively.

My friend Dave suggested I try writing a children’s book. He was most impressed with how I, a few years ago, told his young nephews and nieces stories around the camp fire at Bear Spring Camps. Not a bad idea. And I know someone who just might be willing to illustrate it if she has time. I have already started a story, The Secret House, and have posted the first two parts of it here. I hope to write more of it and share it with you in the near future.

I’m being a little mysterious here, because I don’t want to divulge my ideas. It seems like every time I do it is the kiss of death. One time I remember telling my Godmother a story idea and she stomped the flowers out of it until it was dead. I admit that it was after one of her strokes and some of her social filters might have been gone.

I have next to me what I call my inspiration pad. If I have a dream or a day-dream and it really hits me and I have a great idea I am prepared to jot it down long hand. For as I may have mentioned before, my short-term memory is crap.

There is today’s update. Next Wednesday Rebecca and I will be back with another blog entry and I have already chosen the topic. Unless something comes up, I’m going to blog about the legendary former New York Yankee public address announcer, the late Bob Sheppard.

Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

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As they used to say on Futurama: Good news, good news everyone

Greetings, readers. The novel based on my play, Four’s a Crowd by Darren Taylor, went live for sale on Amazon.com this past Saturday. It took a few days for them to finalize something, I don’t know what it was, but now copies can be purchased by anybody. I ordered two copies for myself, and they were shipped late yesterday afternoon. I’m going to talk to a friend of mine who owns a local bookstore and see if she will take three or four copies on consignment. I think she will. She took copies of my three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, so it stands to reason she will take this book too.

I can’t believe it is late June already and my trip to Bear Spring Camps is a little over a month away. Time is flying. From what I am seeing on people’s Facebook posts, the weather and the fishing have been good. Two big thumbs up for that. I’ve made all my preparations, I’ve booked the hotel rooms and rental car for the trip up and back. The only thing left to do it wash clothes, pack, and find all the electronic gadgets and equipment that I wish to take with me. I am ahead of schedule from last year. I’ll need to get out the old checklist and update it. I’ll also need to find a few things, like my fishing rod which I did not put it back in its usual spot. Not to worry, for as my mom used to say, there is always Wal-Mart, and a half-decent Zebco rod can be purchased for around $20.

I’ll be bunking overnight in Portland Maine this year, in a Motel 6. I’m very excited to be staying by Casco Bay. I tell you, if I ever move away from State College, it would be to Portland, Maine. I would get season tickets to the Portland Sea Dogs and would be that much closer to Bear Spring Camps for summer vacation.

On to a different topic, her royal highness, Princess Josie, the kitten, has been terrorizing my furniture and my legs with her sharp claws. Thank goodness I am taking her for her first check up on July 6th. A good nail clipping is first on the list. I don’t think she will need any shots, but since I took over ownership from someone else, I think I will check with that person to make certain. Josie has been acting like a young kitten recently, being rambunctious and spending quite a while in the penalty box, stretched out and sleeping on her towel. I also give her treats if she goes in by herself. I would love that to happen more often. Ha, ha, ha.

Lastly, I survived the hottest day of the year a few days go, with temperatures near 90 degrees F and high humidity. Although I will take it over freezing to death any day, it was quite a large temperature hike in a 24 hour period. My body did not like it. I dragged that day and went to bed early that evening.

Tomorrow’s blog entry is going to be an update on my writing projects this summer. It is not going as well as I hoped, but I still have some time to get those creative juices flowing. More details tomorrow. So until then, take care, have a great day, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Four’s a Crowd is published!

Joe hit the button at CreateSpace.com at noon today and published Four’s a Crowd! The novel that Darren adapted from Joe’s play Kimberly will be on sale on Amazon in 3-5 business days. Joe was a little disappointed that Four’s a Crowd wasn’t available right away, but I guess Amazon needs a few days to get the product page set up.

If you are interested in what the book is about, here is the description we have on the back cover:

Lyle and Kimberly Detmore are a young married couple who have settled into a quiet life together. Henry and Alice Detmore are an older married couple who were having a good life before their health issues forced them to sell their home. They moved in with their son, Lyle, and the daughter-in-law that Alice has never liked.

It doesn’t take long after they move in for the two women to begin exchanging sharp words and the men to take cover. Battle lines are drawn. The house is filled with yelling, tears, slamming doors, misunderstandings, fears, secrets, and unexpected news.

Underlying it all is the love between husband and wife, child and parent. Can these four people figure out how to solve their problems and live in peace as a family before it is too late?

It took us all more than four years to get to this point, and here it is, even if there is another slight delay. Thanks for joining in our celebration. I am so proud of Darren and Joe for writings these characters and their stories. Hooray!

Joe will be back on Wednesday. Have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe just left our place

Darren and Joe had a good proof-editing session for their novel Four’s a Crowd. They didn’t change much, just a few words here and there. Joe came to our place with his laptop, and Darren was on our laptop. They each had a copy of the working file open on the computer and called out page numbers for the other to go over; mostly just the parts that were changed the most since the last ordered proof. They worked well together and agreed on a final version to publish.

We went to CreateSpace.com and uploaded the file for review. The self-publishing site will get back to us in 24 hours with their approval of the format. We expect the book to be published tomorrow, and then immediately available to buy on Amazon. Booksellers and libraries should also be able to order it by tomorrow afternoon. Whoo-hoot! Joe worked so hard on the play, Darren worked so hard on adapting it to a novel, and we have all worked hard editing the book, so this a very sweet moment. One more step!

After that, we will look into getting the book on Kindle. We know from putting two of Joe’s previous books on that service that we will need it re-formatted for the e-book structure, and that will take time and/or money to arrange. We will keep you updated.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with an entry, and one of us may possibly write a brief announcement here over the weekend after Four’s a Crowd is published and on sale. Until then, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

My new kitten has developed a mind of her own

Greetings, readers. Over the past couple of weeks, her royal highness Princess Josie has been spending more time in her penalty box, AKA the dog crate, than usual. Just like a human child of two or three, she is pushing the envelope to see how much she can get away with before I get upset enough to put her in time out. Let me give you a few examples of how frustrating this last week has been.

The last several mornings as I do my morning routine on my computer, she hops up on the table, lies down, and her paws push my speaker further and further to the edge of the table. I have to stop what I am doing, put the speaker back where it belongs, only to see her gleefully push it again. She thinks it is her new ball or something. Then she spies my eyeglasses cord and begins to nibble on it. I again have to stop what I am doing and say no, no, no. Josie gets three strikes and she gets put in her penalty box. I want it understood that I do not abuse my animal by making her sit in there all day long, she is there for short periods of time. I am just trying to prove a point that when Daddy says no, there are consequences for not listening. So far not getting on the work table has not worked out too well.

Now I’ll give you an example of a success. Every day I must take my daily medication, and I don’t want her to accidentally eat one if I drop a pill on the floor. A few weeks ago I was joking around with her and said it was time for me to take my pills and powders and I started to point to the entrance of her crate with a treat in hand. Wouldn’t you know, the last two mornings, she has gone in before the treat. A major success. I obviously rewarded that behavior with a treat.

Her latest thing is to jump up on Daddy’s work chair and claw the crap out of it. It is a game to her. Her eyes get wide, her ears prick back and when I approach her I run the risk of getting playfully clawed. After patting her on the head, she quickly calms down and I can remove her from my chair, sometimes to have her jump right back up as I go to sit down. I am horrified at the thought that one of these days she will jump up at the wrong time and I will sit on her with full weight. That would be a bad thing. For her that would be a me-ouch. Lol.

Obviously, I had forgotten how difficult it was to train a kitten. I think Keekee was a little bit older when I got her. Maybe one or one and a half years old. Readers, I want this perfectly understood. I am not really complaining, I’m loving every minute of this. She’s not really a “bad girl” or a “naughty kitty,” she is just a kitten that needs to learn what is acceptable and what is not. Hopefully one day in the very near future she will do so.

Just for a moment on a different topic: I will be going on a working road trip tomorrow to Rebecca and Darren’s office (AKA their apartment) to go over the final changes for Four’s a Crowd. It could be ready to click live for sale by next Wednesday. Yay, team! Readers, keep your fingers crossed, please. I will keep you updated.

Well, there you have it, today’s happenings. Rebecca will put up the blog tomorrow afternoon, after I leave their place, then we will be back here next Wednesday. So as always, do take care, enjoy, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: It is Thursday again

Joe is taking care of personal business today, so here is another Thursday blog entry from me. It is a gorgeous day outside with a lot of sunshine and a hint of coolness. Perfect.

We are so close to publication day for Four’s a Crowd and I am so excited. Darren has finished his final edits and put them into the manuscript file, and Joe is doing his final editing in the next few days. Next Thursday we will all get together, put in Joe’s changes, I will update the chapter of contents, and then we will submit the file to our self-publishing site, CreateSpace. Once they approve it, we will push the publish button. Four’s a Crowd could be on sale within two weeks! We will keep you updated.

I wrote last month about the construction noise next door driving Darren and me crazy. Well, it is still going on but a few weeks back the majority of the work moved down the road a ways, and we got a bit of a break from some of the beeps, scraps, bangs, and rumbles. We can still hear it, but it is easier to live with at the moment.

I’m just beginning to read the second book in a series I like. I read Binti, by the author Nnedi Okorafor, earlier this year, and was touched by it. It is the science fiction/fantasy story of a young woman from Africa who goes to another planet to study, and on her journey a tragic event leads her to be an instrument of peace between two species. Heartbreaking, but also full of hope. I look forward to diving into Binti: Home later today.

Joe will be back on Wednesday, and one of us will have an entry on Thursday. As Joe would say, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Getting Four’s a Crowd ready for publication

As Joe wrote yesterday, he is using a personal day today, and I am doing the blog post. Regular readers know that my husband Darren adapted Joe’s play Kimberly into a novel, Four’s a Crowd. They have been working on it for over four years now, and it is finally close to being published.

Darren and Joe are going through the second proof now, making the final changes. When they are done, probably in the next week or two, we will submit the updated file to CreateSpace and then the book will be available to the public. It is so exciting to be this close.

We have all three put so much work into this book. Joe created four unique characters in his play, and with his feedback Darren expanded them and their world in a novel. I gave advice and edited as best I could, and, plugged everything into CreateSpace’s formatted template. My main correction for the second proof has been to fix indent markers on two chapters that didn’t get done the first time I tackled that problem. Technology grrr. It looks like I got that problem fixed now.

CreateSpace will automatically put the published book on Amazon for us, and we have high hopes for selling it, but we aren’t sure yet how to reach people other than our friends and family to see and buy the novel. Joe and Darren have worked so hard on it, and written a great story of a family overcoming personality conflicts and challenges from aging to find unity. It would be so disappointing if it didn’t sell. I guess the only way to find out is to go forward, do our best, and hope.

Watch this space for updates, and our big announcement once we do publish Four’s a Crowd. I can hardly wait.

My summer off is busier than expected so far

Greetings, readers. So far, in this early summer off, about the only thing that has kept to plan is me resting my feet. I wanted to have about 100 pages written by now. Lol, there’s a chuckle for ya. Between appointments and daily errands, my first two weeks off have flown right by with not much getting done.

It’s making me angry. I so wanted to have a schedule in place to write, write, write. It seems though that every time I get ready, I either receive a phone call, text, or am reminded of an upcoming appointment that day. There is a small part of me that wants to hang a sign on the apartment door reading Don’t Bother Me Until September. Of course, I can’t do that; I can’t be that anti-social.

This morning as I was trying to wake up, I checked my Facebook, email, and Twitter and then discovered the computer was running slowly. A page popped up in big red letters claiming I had a virus. It was probably a scam, but I stopped what I was doing and ran my virus checker anyway. There went 20 minutes. Luckily, all seems to be fine.

Today is kind of an odd day. After work hours with Rebecca, my accountant and I have a meeting to go to, which could take the better part of the afternoon. Do you see my problem with productivity, readers?

On to other news, I heard that the Hawaii volcano is erupting again. I don’t know how serious it is but hopefully everyone will be alright. I saw pictures last week of the devastation with homes and cars ablaze. Let’s face it, when you live on an island, you really don’t have anywhere to run. Also this morning I saw a blurb about a minor earthquake during a major league baseball game. It didn’t mention anything about deaths, so it was probably a minor quake. Again, hopefully everyone is okay.

An R.I.P. goes out to a great actress, Margot Kidder, who passed away at age 69. She was far too young, if you ask me. She played Lois Lane in the movies with Christopher Reeve as Superman.

Lastly, Rebecca’s husband Darren’s book, Four’s a Crowd, which is based on my play Kimberly, is almost ready to publish. We will go live for sale in a week or two on CreateSpace.com, and then it will be available on Amazon. Darren has worked hard on it, and I worked hard on the play. We are both very proud of the final outcome and we think it is going to be a winner. Hopefully it puts us on the writing map. Keep your fingers crossed.

There is our entry for today. Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with a new blog entry, possibly another short story. I won’t say for certain. I’m trying to get out of the habit of promising things I don’t deliver. So until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

A small apology and top ten list of my summer plans

Greetings, readers. Before we begin the top ten list for today, I must apologize for not having the short story ready that I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. I wanted to use my voice recognition program while I sat at the computer with my coffee and breakfast. Wouldn’t you know, my back decided to choose this morning to go out. Back to bed I had to go with all lights off. What a pain in the grass. I’ll definitely try to post the short story either over the weekend or next Wednesday.

Now for the top ten list of things I’m going to do this summer. As I mentioned before, I have been granted the three months off from my fast food job beginning right after the Penn State graduation weekend. These are the things I am going to try very hard to accomplish before the end of August. Here we go.

#10. Take walks and get in better shape. [Even though I am not overweight, I have been having heart problems, and more exercise in the fresh air is always good for everybody. I think I can handle two loops around the block.]

#9. Not watch as much TV or YouTube videos. [When I’m in Maine, I do not have a TV. I’m very limited to my entertainment and I actually like it that way. I think for the summer, I’m going to imagine that I am in a woodland cabin by the lake. I think that will reduce stress and allow me to do a lot of writing.]

#8. Clean out my walk-in hall closet. [I’m going to need some help for this one, but I know where I can get it. This poor walk-in closet is my third, fourth, and fifth room. I’ll leave how much stuff is in it to your imagination. Lots of stuff I have in there I wish to keep, unfortunately not all of it is going to make the cut. I must trim it down by half.]

#7. Take back my bedroom. [Oh, dear readers, I’ve been trying to do this one for years. I take three steps forward, and slide five steps back. Keeping it nice is a never-ending process. With time off from my fast food job though, and with family coming in June, I should have plenty of time and motivation to get it at least company acceptable.]

#6. Eat better. [I found a couple of places within walking distance that serves healthy food. There is a Chinese restaurant close to where I live, and I think that all those vegetables can give me all the vitamins and minerals I am lacking. Also, The Corner Room at the bottom of the hill serves complete dinners. Man cannot live by ice cream and blueberry muffins alone. Lol.]

#5. Write short stories. [As mentioned yesterday, I have several story ideas on all four burners. I just need to turn up the heat and get them cooking. Again, the proper amount of uninterrupted time and relaxed atmosphere should do the trick in providing a writing frame of mind. The voice recognition program will help a lot too.]

#4. Train the new kitty. [This one goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. Tomorrow a new chapter of my life begins as kitty cat Princess Josie comes home. Of course KeeKee will always be remembered and loved, but I need a new support animal, and I think P.J. will fit the bill just fine. Of course, I’ll have to show her where the litter box is and teach her what she can and cannot scratch. Everything I don’t want chewed my first day out of the apartment will have to be put in the bedroom with the door closed.]

#3. Rest my feet and knees. [As I’ve told my co-workers, I’m not trying to be a wimp here, but I think these three months off will do wonders for my feet and knees. I’ll gladly trade-off a sore behind if it means plenty of pages written.]

#2. Get Four’s a Crowd published and selling. [This is a project that has been going on for several years and we are one proof away, I think, from having it ready to click for sale on CreateSpace.com. We have to find a way to publicize it though, I don’t want this new book to falter and drown likeĀ my books have.]

#1. Go to Maine. [I am reserved my cabin and am obviously planning to go to Bear Spring Camps again this summer. My week away from central Pennsylvania will recharge my batteries and get me ready for another year. It always seems to do that.]

Well there you have it, the top ten list of things I will do this summer. I’d like to thank everybody for the 21 views of yesterday’s post. Very encouraging. I hope you all continue to enjoy the blog. Until next week, I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Hi, having a quiet day

Greetings, Joe’s readers. I am having a low-key day, hanging around with my husband Darren, doing some apartment cleaning later, some book work, an hour or so of playing a board game later with Darren, and waiting to hear an update from Joe. He has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon about his heart, and hopefully he will find out what is going on with it soon, without needing more tests first. If I may speak on his behalf, knowing Joe, he will probably let you know any definite news the week after he gets it. Good luck, Joe.

Darren, Joe, and I have been working on Darren’s novel Four’s a Crowd based on Joe’s play Kimberly for the last half decade. We’ll make progress on it for a while, then it will stall, then we will pick it up again, and so on. Right now I am doing work on it before we send it for the second proof. We all wanted the book to be ready to publish by now, but it stalled on my watch. I picked it up again, then ran into problems that took a bit to figure out. The other day, I was sitting here frustrated because the formatted software I was working with did something that I needed to undo and didn’t know how yet. UGH! Darren listened to me groan and moan for a while and then said it wasn’t worth it, maybe bag the whole thing. No, I can get this, don’t give up on it when we are so close. I think I have everything figured out for the moment. I need to change a bunch of tabs by moving the margin line, update the chapter page number index, and add the front cover attribution, then it should be ready for the second and hopefully last proof. So close to publishing it!

In other news, I need a new coffee maker. My late mother gave me the one I have now, almost fourteen years ago when Darren and I moved into our apartment. I use it once a day, don’t let it stay on past half an hour, and vinegar is regularly, so it has held up a long time. But it needs to be cleaned with vinegar every month now instead of every six months, steams a lot more when brewing, and it takes twenty minutes to make four cups. I don’t like change and I don’t want to lose something my mother gave me, but every time it makes a series of loud hissing sounds like it is demonic or a giant angry cat, I know the coffee maker is on its last legs and I need to replace it. I’m bummed, but I know that I will get used to the new coffee maker. I usually come around in the end when things change.

Not much else to say today. I had a few topics I thought about writing about, but I couldn’t get any to gel and develop enough for a blog entry. I will say I was really impressed by last Saturday’s (3/24/18) March for Our Lives, the rally in Washington D.C. for gun reform laws, and the other rallies across the country that joined in. There is a lot to despair in the world these days, but seeing the youngest generation be so strong, focused, and vocal about a shared goal gave me a lot of hope for the future.

Joe will be back next Wednesday, and probably Thursday as well. Until then, as he would say, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.