It’s the Little Things

I just made the first of many small improvements on my RV’s interior décor, let’s call it the busy 90’s look in teal (see picture below). By removing the refrigerator door panel (six screws and it easily slid out), I was able to use the old one as a template to make a replacement panel out of plywood, add chalkboard paint, and you have a cool looking multipurpose surface. I’m definitely not the first person to come up with this idea, but isn’t that what writers do, steal good ideas from others and make it their own? I mean, other than Shakespeare, which of us has really come up with something new lately.

Working on my busy, crowded RV brought my thoughts back around to the first review of my forth coming novel, Control (August 28, 2017). Don’t get me wrong, making the Kirkus Reviews Best Books list as a Recommendation for the third time in a row is an awesome honor. It just sticks in my craw that they used the word ‘crowded’ in the one sentence review:

A fast-paced, crowded tale that’s sure to spark another sequel. —Kirkus Reviews

One of the great ironies of this review is the word sequel. I fully intended to end The Betty Chronicles on the third book, a trilogy able to stand on it’s own. I had already moved on to my next project while waiting for the manuscript to come back from my editor when she asked me to cut the last chapter and the epilogue. The final chapter was just that, the end of the

Chalkboard panel with a hint of teal.

story and the trilogy. The epilogue was an after thought that gave an opening for continuing the story if there was enough demand, but to be honest, at that moment I was ready to let go of Betty and move on to the stand alone novels in my pile of to do work. Having to adhere to and blend in previously salient plot points of the earlier volumes as the characters evolved was arduous, mind bending, yet rewarding work. Sort of like the self flagellation of training for a triathlon. Why was I putting myself through that?

So, here is this awesome review with two points only I deeply care about. Why did they call it crowded, and really? Sparking a sequel? I suppose I’ll feel better about this after my next book is in the hands of my editor. Now, back to erasing the massive wave of teal tinged, bilious patterns from my RV.

Ah, the RV Life

After months of research and several forays to test drive RVs for sale, I finally pulled the trigger and bought—the only decent used twenty-nine-foot Class C RV for sale within two hundred miles. We still had to drive an hour and a half each way to pick it up, which was the actually the second visit to a small town south of Fairfield, Iowa. Thankfully we made it to my safe harbor, the back driveway of my house that is for sale, because the next time I drove it around town to test things out, the fan belt snapped and I lost electrical power. A seventy-two-dollar tow call later, which was just a jump start pack hooked up to my battery so I could drive the six blocks to the auto parts store, I was squared away and headed home.

Ah, the adventurous life of RV dwelling.

It has been about six weeks since I took ownership of this Jayco Eagle 296DB (Double Bathroom) and about a month since I started living in it full time. I do have the luxury of using the hot shower in the house and the washer/dryer to do my laundry while the house is for sale. I also have city water and electricity, so it’s basically a tiny house on wheels.

The hardest part of this whole conversion was shedding all of my accumulated stuff. Five garage sales later and I’m nearly there. Except for a few tools and some household items I want when I get my next house, everything fits into my 29’x8’x7’ space—including Kali, my dog. She is going to be ten this summer, so she is pretty much content with guarding our home as long as she gets outside a couple of times a day to chase her tennis ball. I will say this, my days of collecting Craigslist Free items is behind me, but that is a whole other post on overcoming addictions.

There are still some challenges, the engine misses a beat every once in a while, toothpicks and wood glue are needed to fix screws here and there, and teal just isn’t my color. With time, these things will all be ironed out, some of which will happen when I am on the road promoting my novels.

Click on the link and email me if you want me to come to your town for an event. I will be sticking to the Midwest for most of the summer, but after Control is released in August, I’ll be going nationwide.

Ego Stroking

I just got this email from Kirkus Reviews about my novel. If only this wasn’t a marketing pitch. #FeetOnTheGround

Hi A. J.,
As the new year takes off, we’re looking back at some of our most successful and positive Indie Reviews…that’s YOU! Because Power received our coveted Recommended Review, I wanted to let you know that we have extended our exclusive New Year, New Life special to help breath new life back into your marketing promotions in 2017! Congrats!!

Looking forward to hearing back from you,

Anna
Client Promotions & Advertising Manager
KIRKUS REVIEWS