Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I know. I said that I'd never do it, but I did. I edited "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout" and I'm soooo glad that I did. It was crappy. Why didn't you guys tell me that? You're too nice. I cringe at the memories of what I originally wrote. Do real writers suffer from this affliction, too? How do they get anything done?

Anywho, I edited the whole dang thing and released it again. The ebook that is currently available on Amazon is the updated version. The paperback version is still being vetted by Amazon, but it should be up and ready to go tomorrow morning. Smashwords (from which you can get the Nook, iPad, Sony and PDF versions) is still working on the ebook version and I don't know when it'll be done.

I spent upwards of eight hours a day for the past four days formatting, reformatting, and screaming at my computer. I followed painfully complicated instructions to ensure that my file complied with each platform's formatting requirements. It's a conspiracy! No one uses the same format. In fact, they've worked very hard to ensure that their requirements are nothing alike. The rat bastards.

No matter. It's behind me now... until I get another bug up my butt and decide to edit again.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not on my high horse and claiming that "Confessions" is perfectly written. It's not. I'm far from a perfect writer. It's better and that's good enough for now. There are chapters that I wish I hadn't published. I don't like them anymore. (Juvenile Delinquents...the graveyard debacle is one.) There are others that I scrapped and now wished had been included. Where was Elizabeth when these decisions needed to be made?!?

I think it's best to put it away and forget it about it for now. I have other projects that are screaming for attention.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Never Say Never

Shortly after I published "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout", I became aware of a few typos that had alluded me until then. A friend suggested that I edit and republish.

"I'll never do that.  Never," I said.

My reason wasn't laziness. I wanted to be true to myself. The book is a snapshot of who I was and what I was capable of writing two years ago. I felt like it should remain unchanged so that over time, my work would show how I've improved and changed as a writer. I didn't want to feel like I should update the manuscript every time my writing style changed.

Here we are two years later. For some reason that I don't recall, I picked up Confessions and read a couple of pages. I'd not looked at it since it was published.  Jaysus! What was I thinking?  

I cannot leave Confessions the way it is. I've spent the past week doing a serious overhaul. The story will be unchanged, but the writing will (hopefully) be much cleaner. I had some bad habits that I wasn't aware of. Geez Louise! I can't get a new edition out there fast enough, BUT I don't want to make the same mistake I made the first time. In my eagerness to publish, I didn't spend enough time editing. I suppose that's not unusual for self-published authors. I don't want to do that again.

Don't get me wrong. I'm proud of what I created. I just want to make it better. 

One of the more arduous tasks ahead is to remove all of the extra spaces between sentences. I learned yesterday that typing two spaces after a period is wrong. Plain and simple. I didn't believe it either. After reading a Facebook post by Tracy Magin, I did some research. I've been doing it wrong for more than twenty years. Don't believe me?  Check it out.


Thanks, Tracy. You magnified my workload exponentially, but at least now I know that I've been doing it wrong. Now I have to find a way to break the habit of smacking the space bar twice after every period. That habit will be most difficult to break.

You may recall from previous posts that I've been working on a third novel. I really like the plot and some of the characters are real doozies. Here's the rub:  One of the characters is a crooked cop and several others are deputies and detectives from a local law enforcement agency. I'm currently being processed by that agency for a position that I really hope to secure. If I publish the book before I'm hired, I will most certainly not be brought onboard. If I'm hired and then publish, I'd surely be fired.

Deja vu, right?

Changing the book's location is not an option.  The plot centers around mini season.  I might be able to change the agency for which the characters work, but it wouldn't be realistic.  I'm going to continue to write/perfect it and most likely save it for publication at a much later date.  

That whole freedom of speech thing sure is a slippery slope. I've fallen down it more than once.

I've learned that it's impossible to predict how people will react to the written word. I never expected that so many adults would get their panties in a bunch over fiction and personal blog posts.  Apparently, the phrase "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me" is a load of crap, because too many people take personal offense to things that don't really matter. Take a deep breath, people! 

I'm bummed about not releasing the third novel. I set a personal goal to publish one each year, but that may not be possible in 2014...unless a character like Daphne Schneider from Fat Chance starts whispering in my ear again. That book wrote itself in a few short months. If that phenomenon repeats itself, then I could have a book out by year's end.  Don't hold your breath.

Never say never!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dont Get Too Close

What in God's name is going on?  I've experienced the craziest things lately.  Here's the latest:

I continue to try to put my books into the hands of book clubs.  I'm convinced that they are my vehicle for making this writing hobby into something a bit more.  Call me crazy.  You wouldn't be the first.  Given the events over the past couple of weeks, I'd wager that you won't be the last.

Two days ago, I sent my standard reach-out blurb/book recommendation to a book club in Austin.  (I contact every book club in one particular region and then move on to another.)  This particular club only accepts gay men. So far, so good.  I emailed the organizer and went on with my day.  Typically, one of three things happen after I send such an email; 1) no response (most common); 2) thanks, but no thanks; or 3) yes, we are interested (rare).  Not this time.

I received a scathing email from the book club's organizer. After receiving my email, he said he was intrigued. He bought "Fat Chance" and downloaded it to his Kindle.  He said it was the "most filthy book" he's ever read.  That left me scratching my head.  I think there are a couple of Judy Blume books with more filth than "Fat Chance".

He was particularly offended by the "gay scene" because "that's not how lesbians behave".  I took exception to both of those comments.  Firstly, there is not a "gay scene" in the book.  A group of Islamorada ladies head to Key West for a girl's weekend and things get a little crazy.  While it's true that two of the women do wake up naked in the same bed together, and one of them is a self-proclaimed woman lover, there is not a "scene".  The details are left to the reader's imagination.  Secondly, how would one gay man know how all gay women act?  Am I to believe that simply because he's a gay man, he's able to understand and perfectly predict the behavior of all gay women?  Please.  A man can't predict the behavior of anything that owns a vagina, regardless of her sexual preference. 

He went on to say that I can look forward to horrendous reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Facebook. In addition, he's alerted all of the people in his circle to stay away from anything I write.

Well.  Now then.  

What's next?  A plague of locusts?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Title

I sat under our tiki hut last night brainstorming about a title for the third novel.  Actually, what I was doing probably can't be called "brainstorming".  Webster's defines the word thusly:

"a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group"

I was alone, not a member of a group. Unless, perhaps I have multiple personalities and those count.  I'm sure if you were to ask some of the people that I dealt with last week, they would tell you there are at least two different Patti's living in this body.  (We all know my backside is big enough for two people.)

Whether I was brainstorming or thinking, I didn't get very far with the new title.  I better recruit some new group members or develop some more creative personalities.

The title for "Fat Chance" hit me right in the face while I sat in the Keys Shuttle on my way to the airport.  I didn't bother to google the name and it wouldn't have mattered if I did.  It was perfect for what I wanted. Turns out there are lots people who must have had the same experience, because there are a wheel barrow-full of books with that title.  It's okay.  I still love the name.

The third novel is set in the Keys during mini season.  For those of you who don't know, mini season is a two day event in late July (it was last wed/thurs) when people can harvest legal-sized lobsters before the commercial season opens.  Ghouls from the mainland flock to the Keys.  They rape our waters and leave behind their trash.  I don't know of a single local who can honestly say that they enjoy mini season.  Traffic is horrendous, the "lobster people" are notoriously bad tippers and rude boaters, and most of us stay home until it's over.

The story has a little humor (the kind I like), drugs, drinking, crime, sex, and human trafficking.  I can't say more than that without giving away too much.  Not exactly sure how things will play out.  I never know until they happen.  I think I'm about 150 pages in, but I've no idea what will happen next.  Seems to be the only way I write.  (Sounds like how I do most things.)

I kicked around "Tropical Disturbance" and "Tropical Illusion".  I canned "Dumping Grounds".

Hopefully, something will come to me.  Feel free to send your suggestions.  I know it's difficult without knowing more about the plot, but any and all suggestions will be met with sarcasm first, appreciation second.

How you guys making out with those voodoo dolls?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Life Lessons

This week has been an eye-opener.  The drama and craziness of the past few days bring several cliches and phrases to mind:

- You're never too old to learn.

- Discretion is the better part of valor.

- Be careful what you wish for.

- If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent may we be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- Never trust a fart.

That last one shouldn't be overlooked.  Its a doozie.

I continue to be amazed by the number of people who say I should have known better than to post my opinions on social media.  Some said you just can't do that.

Before I go any further, let me firmly establish that I'm speaking of true friends and people I love.  (Except for the Academy Award winning former coworker.  There is no love there.)  We don't always agree, but that doesn't change our friendship.  Please don't interpret this post as a dump on those of you who've reached out to share your thoughts.  This post is just another blabbering of my observations, so don't get your panties in a bunch.

As I was saying, some people said you just can't write stuff like that.  I am shaking my head over that notion. Why the hell not?  This isn't Russia.  (Sorry Anastasia.)  There's a difference between "you can't write that" and "if you write that, be prepared to accept the consequences".  I believe in the latter.

(Also, I believe in ladders.  They sure do come in handy.)

The idea that I can't use this space to voice my opinions, vent, and be sarcastic about life in general is a bunch of malarkey.  What in tarnation is this world coming to when average Joes like myself can't do a little public venting?  I've been censored before, do you remember?  Two crazy women tried to get "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout" banned from the Liftbridge Bookstore in Brockport, NY.  (Turns out those two crazies were cousins.  My family tree is full of nuts.)  Their efforts backfired, of course, because nothing boosts book sales like an attempted banning!

Now that I'm unemployed, I have more time to write.  I've added several pages to my next novel since the college prez read Tuesday's blog post.  I don't want to ruin the surprise, but one or more members of the almighty administration make a brief appearance.  It wasn't planned; it just happened.  Turns out that particular chapter was fun to write.  Very cathartic.  Daphne Schneider would have approved.