Monday, February 16, 2015

Fired

So, if you are friends with me on Facebook, you'll know that I lost my job last week. It was Monday, I was on vacation, and it royally sucked.

I've been pretty much wallowing in self pity for days, resigned to writing off last week as a "nothing" week. Now I need to shake the pity party off, get my shit together and get moving.

I absolutely loved the work I did at the law firm. It was always challenging, always fast paced, never boring. (okay, sometimes not boring) Now what am I going to do. I would really like to stick with marketing if I can, but those jobs are pretty scarce, still, that's what I'm going to look for first.

This has been an interesting experience so far. I've applied for unemployment, which wasn't difficult at all until I had to call in my claim for the week. I recommend finding out what questions they are going to ask you before calling in. I was totally confused with the whole, you got paid some money, how much? I didn't have my paperwork in front of me, I didn't understand the questions. ARG!! It took me like 6 calls to get it right.

I also have to get some paperwork signed by my doctor, because with my fatigue condition the way it is now, I do not see myself being able to work full time. I will try for sure if needed, but I'd rather be trying to find another part time or telecommuting job that fits my health needs at the moment.

I also signed up for Obamacare because my medical will run out at the end of March. I guess I'm in the  "pathetic" category now that I'm unemployed and get to get it cheap.

And today, well, today I scoured through probably 200 job postings on various websites, Flex, Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, Craigslist...I've not applied yet. I've just been gathering them up to see which ones I would prefer to apply for first.

I have to do 3 job related activities to keep my unemployment going. Either contact employers for jobs or doing these work related activities in the Work Source program, or a combo of both. The Work Source stuff are workshops, job fairs and the like, to get me closer to my employment goals, I guess. A lot of it I really don't need, but I did find a couple of their classes to suit my needs. They have an orientation, stress management seminar, and jump starting your own business that look good.

I've dusted off my resume and added new skills and experience and created a cover letter. So, I guess I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

It's terrifying. I'm downtrodden. I was good at what I did and now I feel like I have to start all over.

I'm still planning to start the marketing business with my friend from my old job. And I'm still writing, so it would be great if one of those would actually pan out for me. I seriously do not like working for other people since having my own business in the 90s. There is a certain freedom you get with becoming your own boss, even if you are working your tail off.

So anyhoo, that's what I've been up to. It's going to be all work and job searching for me for awhile. So if you don't see (or hear) from me, you know what I'm doing.

Have you ever lost a job in your adult life? How did you handle it? Are you better off now? Do you like where you ended up?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love is in the air

For some of you, I guess. Not me. I've not had a boyfriend in over six months now. Yes. I think that could be a record folks. None of them were ever the right fit, I suppose. Well, I thought one was, but he had other ideas.

Why don't any of them work? Here's the thing with me...I'm a very passionate person. I believe in love. I want to be in love again some day. When I meet someone and fall for them, I fall hard and fast. Probably too fast, and most of them seem to be the same way. So you get two people jumping into a committed relationship at break neck speed and what do you get? A break up.

I've learned that if I want to find the "one," I need to take my time. I need to be patient. Things that look good on the outside, or initially, usually end up being not quite what you expected, or not quite what you truly want. (okay, me. I'm talking about me)

So what am I looking for? I suppose since I was married for close to two decades and have dated a lot, I have figured out what works and what doesn't work for me. These are some of the things I'm looking for...

  • A nice face. It doesn't have to be a supermodel face, just a pleasant one with a nice smile.
  • A sense of humor. If I can't laugh at you, or near you, you're no good to me.
  • Brains. Not in the zombie sense, but Jesus, please be able to carry on a conversation.
  • Job, car, home of your own. Be able to support yourself, drive yourself and either don't live with mom, or make it so I'm able to kick you out of my house if I need some alone time.
  • Promptness. A little late is fine, but seriously, anything past 15 minutes is agro.
  • Your pets...I used to not want to date someone with pets, but soon realized that cut the dating pool down by like 75% So if you have pets, keep them clean, keep your house vacuumed and try not to let it lick me, jump on me, or sniff my crotch or butt. Big turn off, plus, allergies. And if it gets far enough that I'm sleeping over, I do not want to share you or your bed with your animal.
  • I used to want to not date anyone with kids under the age of 12. I mean, my kids are nearly adults and I don't need babysitters or to find care for them if I want to skip town (the latter is the same way I feel about pets). I'm flexible on the age thing now. Depends on the kid and the parent. If your kid is a brat, more than likely, our parenting skills may not mesh and I won't like your kids and I'll be out of there before I can say, let me get my coat.
  • Don't be cheap. I like to go out. I'm not saying you have to pay every time, I'm perfectly fine with paying 50% of the time (when I have a job, I just lost mine, but I intend to be back to work asap). So, you take me out, I'll take you out.
  • Be an equal partner. I'm not to be controlled. I'm not to do your bidding (babysitting, housework, laundry, etc.) These things are a joint venture.
  • Give me my space. I'm in my 40s and have been divorced now for nearly 5 years. I like time to write, exercise, binge watch shit on Netflix, go out with the girls, go for girl weekends...you will not always be invited. Have a hobby and friends so you can do your thing while I'm doing mine.
  • Embrace the "F" word because you will hear it come from my mouth.
  • Don't force your religion on me. I don't do religion.
That's about it. That's not too high maintenance, is it? Maybe it will happen some day, or maybe I'll become a crazy cat lady. Who knows?

Tell me what you want in a person.

Okay, gotta go. Spending Valentines with two chicks and some lobster tail.

Happy Valentines Day. Stay safe.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

End of an Era

Maybe the word "era" is a bit much, but a couple days ago I found out that Amazon was no longer hosting the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (ABNA) to make way for their Kindle Scout program, which I'll talk  about in a minute. The contest has been going on since 2007, and it's led me to many amazing experiences.

I've never won the ABNA contest. In fact the furthest I made it was the top 100 in the very first year. Most of the other years I got scrapped after the pitch round. Last year I made it to the quarter finals. So what is it about this contest that was so great?

  1. It validated the fact that I am a writer. A real writer. People read my work and saw my talent. I heard about this contest before I even starting querying agents so it was really my first leap into the literary world and it was amazing.
  2. It made me want to be better and work harder. When I received my reviews in the years I didn't make it very far, I realized that those books weren't finished. They weren't good enough to get published. It made me revise more and do whatever it took to improve my craft.
  3. It made me want it more. After that first contest, I was bound and determined to get published, and I achieved that goal with Never Eighteen, which is the book that I entered the 2nd year of the contest and only made it past the pitch.
  4. It introduced me to other writers. They had a forum on the website so I was able to chat with people that were in the same boat as me. We had so much fun on there, especially the first two years. Which leads me to...
  5. The best thing I got out of the contest though, were connections. I met wonderful, talented people from all over the world those years I entered the contest. Some of them have become lifelong friends. I've had to pleasure of meeting many of them in person too. Let me count...around 20. And I've met friends through those friends, and also got to meet some in person. I hope I get to meet more of them in the future. 

Pictured are: Lisa Grintals-mclellan, Don Harkham, Me, Brent Billy Curtis, Jarucia Jaycox, Amy Kinzer, Janet Oakley
 



Pictured: Amy, BD MacCullough, Don, Jarucia, Brent and me.





Pictured: Gae Polisner and me.



David Stanley and me.


Jarucia, Katie Kadwell, Scotti Cohn, Kristin Kendle, Willow, Landon, and Destiny.






Me, Christine Beth Reish and Tracy Walshaw.



I'm sure there are other reasons the contest benefited
me, but these are the most important.


So though we say goodbye to the contest, it holds many good memories and I will keep and cherish the friends I made through the experience.

So I guess I may try out Amazon Kindle Scout. Which according to the website, is this:  

Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It's a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

Doesn't sound bad, right?

Some of the above pictures from NY were probably taken by Rick Kopstein. I'm pretty sure they were. So I wanted to give him props. Check out his website. He's a great photographer.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Torrentz

Have you heard of Torrentz? It seems to me a website where people upload shit they've pirated - including my book, Never Eighteen.

For those of you who use Torrentz, I'd like to school you on pirating books and such. I am a writer, this much we know. I'm what you'd actually call a mid-list writer, meaning, I'm not well known but someone felt my book was publication worthy.

In fact, I'm not even really on the mid-list anymore. I.E. I make no money off my book. Did I once? Sure. I made an advance. But I've seen no royalty checks. I'm not like a famous actor, actress or rock star that makes millions. Not that that makes it okay to pirate their stuff, it's still illegal. But if you do, it's no skin of their nose.
However, I am a single mom trying to make a wage to survive. I have two teenagers, one in college, the other headed there in a year and a half. When you pirate my book and share it with others - you are robbing me blind.

And Torrentz doesn't care. I don't know how many times I've sic'd my publicist for that book onto them. They still do not remove my copyrighted material. While people can read my book for free? I will probably not make a dime in royalties.

So, those who use Torrentz, I have a simple request. If you are going to read my book illegally for free, at least have the decency to give it a review on Amazon.  Getting reviews helps lower-than-mid-list authors like me get more attention.

I'm not particularly angry about this. I'm just tired of it and disappointed that I'm getting jilted out of pay because you can't pay $1.99 for the Kindle version of my novel. Seriously, 2 bucks.

Anyway. I will now step off my soapbox and head back to writing my next book so you have something to steal in the future.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Stuck

Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. I'm sure everyone does, right? Sometimes it's hard to remember that no matter my problems, some people have it way worse than me.

For instance, I went to the beach over New Years, and it rained like crazy Sunday. Extenuating circumstances kept me from leaving that day, which was the original plan. The next morning when I went to leave for home, I stopped for a mocha at a coffee kiosk and found out that I wasn't going anywhere. The heavy rains had washed out parts of the highways I needed to access to leave town.

I was stuck.

I turned back around and headed back to the beach house. I was not happy. Not one bit. In fact, I was being a little whiny bitch.

photo by WSDOT
When I turned the TV on to try to get some news on road closures, I stopped
whining. Roads were just closed, they were flooded, some demolished. At least 10 landslides had caused damage in different areas, including lifting 3 homes off their foundations and pushing them into the street.

In another area about 200 people were stranded because the only road leading up the hill to their homes had been completely washed out.

It was a miracle no one was hurt.

I remained a little frightened, I wasn't sure if water would find its way up to where I was staying. I was near the bay, the ocean and a lake and most of the rivers in the area were flooding.  However, I felt sure I would be okay. I took the extra day to telecommute for work, relax and watch the news for any updates.

This morning I checked the updates and all roads leading home were opened,not fully, but enough so that I could get through.

photo by WSDOT
Driving home, the devastation became more real for me. The side streets of one town were still completely flooded, I saw first hand two large landslides, the ones that took houses out, rivers still overflowed, trees were down and meadows and farms were flooded for at least half the way home.

People had been evacuated and displaced. Locals said it was the worst they'd ever seen.

That is as close to a natural disaster that I've ever been aside from the handful of small earthquakes my city has seen. It puts things into perspective. Whenever I feel stuck again or sorry for myself, I will try to remember that small town with its flooded streets and deteriorated bluffs and all the people who really lost something these last couple days. Then I will pick up my pieces and forge on, keeping in mind that no matter how bad things seem, it's not the worst thing that could happen.

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