Ceramic Cooktops and Hubby Training–not!

J Logo 75Since moving into this house a few years back, I’ve struggled with keeping my ceramic cooktop clean and shiny. When it’s clean it shows every little bit of dropped crust or crumb–even the remnants of an attack of  salt and pepper seasoning by Hubby Dear, aka: Captain Bulldog. [Yes, he’s earned that nickname, folks.]  CB will often use the clean cooking surface to heat/toast a tortilla. [See what I mean?] Okay, I get how that is easier than dragging out a frying pan, but seriously? It leaves a burnt mess that seems as if it’s become part of the ceramic. [Again, he’s earned that nickname.]

stovestove topWell, this week I stumbled upon the answer to keeping that ceramic cooktop looking clean and shiny–almost brand new. We’ve been using a special liquid cleaner made just for these types of cooktops, but it works best if it sits for a few minutes. I’d started to do up the dishes and wipe down the kitchen countertops when I noticed that Captain Bulldog had recently made tortillas, so I grabbed my bottle of stove top magic, smeared it all over the wet surface, and went on to other chores.

Yup, forgot about the cleaner on the cooktop…and dinner time rolled around. We made do with microwave popcorn because we were both dealing with deadlines which isn’t such an unusual situation around here. Anyway, that was four days ago. One day soon, I’ll finish cleaning the stove, but I’m having way too much fun seeing how long it will be before Captain Bulldog breaks down and finally says something about it. <chuckle-snort-giggle>If you liked this true story, remind me to tell you how I’ve gotten out of cooking these past twenty years. No joke!

Okay, so what’s your most dreaded household chore, and how do you deal with it, or not?

 

 

SMP ad in BTS eZine!

 

Sept. 2014 issue of BTS Book Review eMag featuring 10 SMP authors!

Sept. 2014 issue of BTS Book Review eMag featuring 10 SMP authors!

Very impressive AD layout from my publisher, includes me and 9 other authors. Check this out in the September issue of BTS Book Review Magazine!

Click HERE to read the eZine.

4-Star Review for my Book Birthday!

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THE 25th HOUR Released on 8/27/14

THE 25th HOUR
Released on 8/27/13.

It’s my Book Birthday, and just in time for the big celebration, InD’tale Magazine’s September 2014 issue gave me a 4-Star review. Yea! THE 25th HOUR released on August 27, 2013. Check it out. You can read the review HERE.

The Care & Feeding of Our Support Systems

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It’s almost my birthday. Well, not mine, actually. On August 27th, it will be the first anniversary for the release of my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR. It’s the Book Birthday! Yeah, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Recently, I had a conversation with another author about cramming our writing life into our daily activities. So, it seems like the perfect time to repost a blog I wrote a while back. This post is just as relevant today as the day I wrote it. 

FROM 4/29/13:Once again, this blog was born from a phone conversation I had with a friend. While making a point, I realized I’d just thought of another idea that deserved a little discussion. How many of us work like dogs trying to scratch out a few minutes, here and there, to write? Yes, just about everyone. You’re lucky if you’re free to schedule your writing time around your life. If you’re that person, you may as well stop reading right now. But, most of us squeeze writing into our everyday worlds. If you’re that person, then I hope my comments will be helpful.

Me, in Captain Bulldog's arms, dancing!

Me, in Captain Bulldog’s arms, dancing!

My day job consumes the bulk of my conscious moments. Once I get home every day, my energy turns to all the normal family duties. When the basic chores are done, I rush upstairs to my office and dig in for the night. Hubby Dear has a longer work day than me, and I never know for sure what time he’ll be home. Through the years, we’ve settled on our evening meal being take-out a lot more often than I’d like to admit.

We have this “You fly, I buy” deal going. Whoever drives doesn’t pay for dinner, the one who stays home picks up the tab. That works in my favor when my budget is tight and against me when a deadline is looming. I’m sure this mode of dealing with the necessary evils of cooking and washing up has averted many an argument in the house.

This is where I have to stop and tell you that I’m probably married to the most supportive husband in the world. It would take a whole other blog to explain just how seriously he supports my writing. Just know that he understands how driven I am to succeed in this crazy writing business.

Captain Bulldog and me, boating on Killarney Lake, southwestern Ireland.

Captain Bulldog and me, boating on Killarney Lake, southwestern Ireland.

The hours we writers spend at the keyboard can suck the life out of a good marriage, but we can’t forget to maintain our relationships. That’s an ongoing need and it’s easily overlooked. If we don’t put effort into our immediate support system, our loved ones won’t stick around long enough to help us celebrate when our dreams become reality.

We’ve all heard others say they feel like they’re butting their heads against a brick wall, that they’re never going to get a publishing contract. We’ve all faced those self-doubts. It’s inevitable. Well, a while back, I came downstairs well before bed time and joined my hubby on the sofa. Apparently, he knows me fairly well. He said, “What’s wrong?” Seeing that he truly was concerned, I relented and let the ugly truth spill from trembling lips. “I’m so tired. I don’t know if I can keep going at this pace. Maybe I should put writing aside…for a while.” His response shattered me to the core. “You’ve been working so hard. I hardly ever see you.”

Wow. Just…wow. This man, this wonderfully supportive soul obviously felt alone and he missed me. He’d been suffering in silence while I worked to perfect my craft. Talk about facing the grim reaper of failed marriages, if I didn’t change my routine, I stood a real chance of losing the best thing that ever happened to me.

Texas Bluebonnets

Love our Texas Bluebonnets!

We talked things over and I made some changes, right then. We now go on dates. Real dates. Dates where we ink our schedules with time for just the two of us, like once a week or so. It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time, but it could be a weekend get-a-way, too. We started with a Friday night dinner and a movie. That was fabulous! The next week, both our schedules were pretty full so we enjoyed a simple but healthy lunch after Sunday mass. Last weekend, we drove up to a lake north of Houston, stopped at a restaurant overlooking the water and enjoyed the sights and the best burgers within three counties, drove the neighborhoods and picked out possible dream retirement homes, saw the Texas bluebonnets, and giggled like kids again.

Released: August 27, 2013

Released: August 27, 2013

The trip, though only a few hours out of the whole weekend, made us feel like honeymooners again. So worth the time.

That investment reinforced what we both need, each other. Giving away a few precious moments of writing time is like insurance against catastrophe. I’ve noticed since then that Hubby is even more excited about the upcoming release of my first novel.

I’m so fortunate to have my very special hero-hubby in my life, and to have had him fight for our marriage. Yup, I’m one lucky writer.

The whole point of this blog is this: I, alone, chose this career, this writing life. My family didn’t, but they’re left to deal with the consequences…the fallout, if you will…of my being there physically, but not in reality. It’s not always about us or our writing. Sometimes, it’s about our support systems. Hug your family!

Okay, I’m back. Take heart, y’all. With grit, determination, and one eye on the most important things in life, we can do it all–eventually. We need to know we’re not alone in this, the thing we can’t not do–write. Who’s your biggest cheerleader? Has that person ever hinted, like my hubby did, that you could spend more time with them? What did you do to remedy the issue? I’m needing ideas for my next Hubby Date, so please share. Thanks bunches, y’all!  

 

Ye Olde Editor’s Hat

An editor's dream: a Jewel of a manuscript in the submission pile.

An editor’s dream: a jewel of a manuscript among the submissions.

Hello! It’s the “other” me, Janet Clementz, chatting with you today. As an editor, my job is to make an author’s already fabulously written manuscript shine like a gemstone. My goal is to give readers the payoff they’re looking for, to fulfill their expectation of a great reading experience. That’s it, in a nutshell, but there’s a whole lot more that comprises my editor life. For now, let’s concentrate on where it all starts: the submissions that find their way into my Inbox.

The word is out. I’m receiving submissions quite regularly now. My auto-reply to first time queries says to allow at least two weeks for a personal response. So far, I’ve beaten that every time with a short “I’ve got it, thank you!” type of response within a day or two of receipt. Yes, I know what it feels like to be on the other end of the waiting game.

When I read a submission, I’m mining for buried treasure. I’m looking for that gem of a manuscript I can’t quit reading, the story that captures my heart, and with characters who become living-breathing people in my head.

I’m thrilled to have recently acquired novel-length manuscripts, from two very talented authors, and I’m looking forward to when their books will be released sometime next year. When I find a manuscript I can’t walk away from, it’s like finding a diamond. Hence, the loose jewels picture, above-left.

I want to acquire great stories, so I’m not looking for errors and mistakes–unless there are so many that it’s obvious the author isn’t taking my time as seriously as his/her own. Sadly, I’ve received a few of those. What breaks my heart is having to send a rejection letter to an author whose manuscript I desperately wanted to love. A great story just isn’t good enough. I don’t have time to re-write their sentences so the words on the page make sense and mean what the author intended. That’s not editing, it’s re-writing. These are the manuscripts that are not yet ready for submission to an industry professional.

I work on just one project at a time, but have other editing responsibilities too, so every day brings something new. My current Romance wish list includes Historical (any era, any location, up through 1960’s), American Westerns, Time Travel, light Paranormal, and Suspense. Give me powerful stories packed with emotion, and with characters who, regardless of genre or era, leap off the page and into my senses. In other words, BRING IT!

Check out the Soul Mate Publishing website at THIS address. Then, click the Editors tab and scroll down to my name to read my editor’s bio, or click Janet Clementz.

Send a query letter with the first three chapters (up to 50 pages) to me at Janet@SoulMatePublishing.com.

Questions, comments? Feel free to contact me directly. I’d love to chat with you!

“The Lalalas” and Barbara Vey!

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Back row, L-R: Kristal Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Mary Behre, Amanda Sumner, Melanie Pikor, Valerie Bowman, Jaye Garland, Jodi Vaughn, Alison Atwater, and Maura Troy. Sitting, L-R: Virginia Lee Boylan, Wendy LaCapra (behind VLB), Arlene Hittle, Ashlyn Macnamara, Beppie Harrison, Kathleen Bittner Roth, and KC Klein (behind KBR).

Back row, L-R: Kristal Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Mary Behre, Amanda Sumner, Melanie Pikor, Valerie Bowman, Jaye Garland, Jodi Vaughn, Alison Atwater, and Maura Troy. Sitting, L-R: Virginia Lee Boylan, Wendy LaCapra (behind VLB), Arlene Hittle, Ashlyn Macnamara, Beppie Harrison, Kathleen Bittner Roth, and KC Klein (behind KBR).

I got to meet the fabulous Barabara Vey on the last day of the RWA14 conference in San Antonio. Wonderful story of how my online critique group came into being. And, check out the drinks listed on the bar menu!

Here’s the recipe written by Nashville bartender, Johnny Kimball on a piece of tape pulled from his cash register: J’s Release.

Click HERE to go to Barbara Vey’s blog. Thanks Barbara, for highlighting The Lalalas!