Been Rewriting—Still.

Got to admit—the manuscript is a whole lot easier to read and sounds more interesting than my very first draft from years ago.

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Yes, years ago. I started writing part-time. Life seemed to catch up with me with so many demands.

Woman, Laptop, Notebook, Sitting, Couch, Sofa, Watch

Employment, obligations to Hubby, family, home maintenance, house building, house updates, house repairs, moving and moving again, house re-designing, employment, painting, galleries, volunteering, PC issues—Hubby’s.

Then there are the holidays followed by R & R.

Years worm their way into all this activity and voila, here I am years later.

Life is short.life is too short to not smile! Infographic

It gets shorter. Some of my friends are unable to do things they enjoyed in the past. In the past? My past was full of must dos. I need to focus on making up for the past. To be me. To do for me.

Okay. Back to my re-writes.

I still like my story. I’ve re-written it so many times, fixing; changing little things. Now I must develop my characters more by changing dialogue, adding dialogue and descriptions. I’ve changed Tim’s, the protagonist, attitude. He is not the super nice kid he once was. No one is that nice or passive. He is an angry kid filled with denial. He undertakes a journey to get the answers he needs—to go on.

Tim must survive challenges without his dad. He and his friend are trapped. They must find a way out. He has to find a special bear his dad told him about before he died.

tbwavestandbyjo-2017-72dpirMy need?

  • Find a beta reader to give an honest opinion.
  • Find an editor to read the manuscript; to make recommendations.
  • To publish or self-publish.

Leave a comment. Like my page and share.

Thanks.

“Smile in your mirror every day.” Jo M. Orise
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So what about that Manuscript thing… ?

Oh. River Fork?

I had planned it as a coming of age, YA story. With a bit of fantasy aka paranormal.

Why did I write it?

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As a former teacher, I encouraged my high school students to write. I found several of my students had dealt with a major loss. They wrote about it, but no one talked about it.

Neither did I—Mother died in a fire. My sister and I witnessed the event. I was five, my sister, seven. Needless to say, we never forgot. We never talked about it. Nor did our father. Assumptions and rumors were spread.

During my teaching career, a story slowly evolved. Picture book? Children’s book? Family story book? My brain cranked out scenarios. At first it was a morass of imagery. How would I best present my idea? I wasn’t a writer. I wrote poetry. Still do and tuck it away in a briefcase. But writing a book?

I am an artist. So I began with cute pictures and poem-like stories.

The story grew. I dropped the cute — loss is not cute.

I needed a plan, feeling, a theme, a plot, etc… . What did I get myself into?

My head said, put it into words. I began writing, finishing the Manuscript the year I retired. Then I researched the writing craft, improved my writing skills and investigated publishing options. Needless to say, publishing  has surely changed since I first put pen to paper.

The story:

  • Timeline: 1956-57
  • Theme: the loss of a parent.
  • Setting: River Fork, NH. A farming and logging community. In the mountains near the Saco River.
  • Characters: Three neighboring friends: Tim, Charlie and Roach. Tim will be 13 in three days. The others are teens.
  • It is about coming of age, death, forgiveness, hope and faith. Oh, and there is a budding romance.
  • There is a bit of paranormal (no magical potions, witches, vampires, violence, etc…)

 

So, Has Anyone Reviewed It?

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The Manuscript has been line critiqued and gone through many revisions.

A year ago I found three beta readers.
Results:
I did not write to the YA audience. It is suitable for the Middle Grade audience. Disappointment for sure here.
Okay. I asked for an honest review.
I received three great reviews. Two people pointed out what didn’t work and what could be done to make the story more interesting. One Beta Reader recommended a few resources. With this expert advice and suggestions, I learned a lot. I am grateful.
So. I’m doing lots of editing, developing my characters and setting a bit more. And DUMPING stuff that was kind of iffy even as I first wrote it.
  • If it’s IFFY for the writer – It most certainly will be IFFY for the reader. DUMP IT. Ahhh. Yes. You’ll feel better. I did.

Once this latest revision is complete, I’ll need a couple of Beta Reader(s) again. Then on to an editor and publishing—self-publishing.

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For those who work with me in this endeavor, your name will be mentioned in the credits and you will receive a free digital copy of my novel once it is published.

The sequel—Roach’s story—sits in my laptop. Waiting.

Please like, comment and share this post.
Thanks.
J.M. Orise
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I Remember Stuff Like That

Wash Day – Sunday

Every Sunday. Always the same. No one ever moved. Like they ate glue and got stuck. It was so boring.

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Why is Sunday longer than Monday?

At six years, Sunday proved the longest day of the week. Once home from church, the hours passed so-o-o very slowly.

Dad napped on the sun-room divan wearing his Sunday suit pants, white shirt rolled up to his elbows, and his tie draped over the maple lounge chair nearby. The Sears and Roebuck catalog lay on the floor, inches from his fingers. Mom was somewhere in the house doing Mom things.

Oh how much more time was there before the end of the day? The neighborhood kids vanished on Sundays. All dressed for church – not for running around at the park up the street. Perhaps they had company?

Sitting alone on the front porch, watching cars drive by, what would I do? One Sunday I decided to wash clothes.

wolverine waching tub and machine

I filled  my tiny washing machine with water, begged for a little Tide detergent then gathered my doll’s clothing. There I sat, rhythmically cranking the miniature plungers up and down dislodging the make believe filth from my sedentary doll’s clothes.

The glass faceted wash tub sported a mini-wringer used to squeeze water from the wet laundry. With laundry suitably clean, I filled the washer with fresh water, rinsing the soap from the fabric. One more wringing and I was done. Afterward, I scattered the wet clothes on the porch floor near the sudsy and rinse water puddles. Well, I made a mess of the porch. But the sun would take care of that for me. Besides, I had something else I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure what that was yet? It had to be something fun to make this gosh-darn-long-Sunday go away. The dog. Where was the dog?

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Sorry, kid. Sunday is sleep day. Go wash some doll clothes or something.

“Tiny!” I called, leaving my naked doll sun-bathing, patiently waiting for someone to pick her up, perhaps dress her in her nice, clean clothes. I suppose Mom did her Mom thing, cleaning up the front porch while I searched for Tiny. Don’t quite remember that part.

Never knew what happened to the little wringer washer. It disappeared somehow.

 

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Leave me naked one more time and I’ll… !

wolverine washing machine toy

Anybody out there remember those long Sundays or perhaps that little Wolverine washing machine? I found a picture of it tonight. It is just as I remembered.

 

I hope my memories last longer than those gosh-darn-long-Sundays of long ago.

Sleep well my friends.

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While unpacking and constructing another closet with more shelves, my manuscript beckons.

2015, behind the kitchen wall stood a large, yawning, washer/dryer closet abandoned by the previous owner. Inside were cut off pipes, plugged faucets, a ceiling vent and odd things hung on the wall—an old clock with tiny knick/knack shelves and a little drawer. A clock in a closet? My first thought: “What a waste of space!”

What to do with this big “hole”?

Idea!

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Move the back wall forward. Result: a functioning closet! And the small kitchen would be larger! First I had to investigate if the closet was a support wall. It was not! With care, I ripped out the walls conscious not to cut pipes or wiring.bigcloset2

Next, with guidance and assistance from Brother-in-law, the water was turned off  as was the power. We redirected the plumbing and wiring seen at the right as they were connected to the basement and the second story bathrooms. This alleviated  the clutter of four individual switch plates and a furnace thermostat on two wall surfaces.

bigcloset4After Brother-in-law left, I moved all switches to one multi switch plate at the kitchen entrance from the hallway whose lights were also part of that grouping. The furnace thermostat was relocated to the opposite wall near the cellar door.

At left, the ceiling is ripped out to install plumbing and wiring and to relocate the ceiling fan above to where the stove would sit.

The chimney back was now exposed.  Although it had great point work on three sides, the grouting was sloppily applied within the interior walls. Who would ever peek inside a wall? Well, I did. With chisel, maul and a step-ladder, I tapped the excess grout to a decent finish. Finding similar colored grout from an old project, I filled the voids. bigcloset5+Paul

I designed a special, fireproof kitchen wall. The aim was to allow our wood stove to sit seven inches away from the wall  instead of a foot and a half (or so) per regulations involving sheet rock and wood framing. And to keep the wall cool.
First a reflective foil was stapled to the wall, then metal studs were added onto which cement backer board was attached with a cut out gap for air space above and below allowing a convection of cool air to travel behind the wall as it warms from the reflective heat of the stove. Brother-in-law constructed the metal studs and helped install the heavy cement backer boards. I coated the entire wall with cement compound similar to stucco. Brother-in-law then constructed a sheet-metal panel which Hubby attached to the stove, suspending it a few inches away from behind the firebox. Works great!

2017, back to the closet, behind the kitchen, I had had visions of a closet on the right side for work clothes and boots. The left side would house the vacuum, trash cans and shelves for foodstuffs. However, that was two years ago.

Sometimes it pays to stop a project taking another look at it from a different vantage point. Like writing a MS (manuscript). The story is going well. Why wouldn’t the public love my story? Some scenes are so sad and heart wrenching, they never fail to make me cry at each edit. That is when I exclaim, “This is it! I must be done.”

Finding a beta-reader to give me an honest review was the next step. After a lot of searching, I found three! One was a relative with no interest in Young Adult. He was encouraging but he did not understand Deep Point of View. Nor did the other two. However, all three pointed to nearly the same parts of the book that need re-write and they provided pointers about character development. The encouraging part was I had great and believable dialogue. BUT in their opinion it was not truly a YA but a Middle Grade story. It was, in two reader’s opinion a great MG manuscript. But that is their opinion and we all agree that I must make the decision on my own.

Jo think

What do I do? Nix the YA challenge and stick with and develop the MG aspects of my MS? That notion rolls around in my head as I build additions to the house. Since I have started a second MS depicting the same characters, but two years later, perhaps it makes sense to make that the YA story I had hoped for. The protagonist in the first MS is on the cusp of young adulthood. Perhaps the reviewers are right on. Something to ponder.

This spring we finally sold our NH home! How wonderful that felt. No more long trips to maintain property a three-hour drive away. We finally moved into our present home, lock, stock and barrel! And believe me, we have more stock than available storage.

After the move and now standing at the closet with a new perspective, I nixed the original closet design.

bigcloset10

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Since I had already inserted one shelf and a dividing wall, I painted everything white and proceeded on with my second design. A complete closet for jackets, boots and deep storage shelves above. As you see, there is abundant shelf area making great use of the height and width of the closet.

Share and like. Tell me about your great projects and decision making during those projects.

It’s great to hear a few words from all of you.

Ciao.

 

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A Cake-Walk With No Shelf To Spare

I know you haven’t heard from me. I was a bit occupied. Sharpened the old hammer and nails and built a bunch of shelves.

We finally moved out of NH.

Our Maine home has huge closets, but shelving is very limited.


Why 24″ between closet shelves? At the left, you see big gaps between shelves.

Where there were three, now there are five!




At the left, I widened the single 10″ clothes closet shelf and added a second story.

At the right, this closet’s bottom shelf is now over 22 inches deep and the top shelf is 12.

No more tall stacks of clothes teetering, falling to the floor. Big improvement!

Next: finish a closet started two years ago. It had been a huge, empty closet meant for a washer and dryer. I moved the back wall inward, creating more space in the kitchen located behind the closet. This freed up space permitted the installation of a fireproof wall and a kitchen, wood-cook stove directly behind the new, smaller closet.

Next plan: enlarge the walk-in closet upstairs. Big bedroom and the closet doesn’t have enough… you got it… shelves and rods!

You do what you gotta do.
I’m off to create a building materials list. That Shelter Institute course my son and I took years ago taught us how to build with confidence. It paid off more than once. After building my Post and Beam home in the 90’s, this is a cake-walk.

Any projects in your neck of the woods?

Please leave a comment and share.

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A House Full of Boxes – Where Is That Key?

The world’s greatest packer here.

All boxes taped solid, each box marked—contents, how to handle and where to deposit.

housefullofboxesbyjo

I like order!

Contemplating the move from New Hampshire back to Maine, advice came in from all quarters:

  • Hire a mover.
  • Get a large box truck.
  • Sell it all.
  • Have an auction.
  • Hire my friend—and his truck—and his friends.
  • Pack books by theme and organize them—like a library.
  • I’ll be there, just call me.
  • Buy moving boxes and white wrapping paper. No newsprint!
  • I got a trailer you can use. It’s an open trailer, pack it all at once and move everything in a day—just be sure it doesn’t rain.
  • Move it all into the garage and move it out later.
  • Rent a storage unit.
  • Leave it all behind.
  • $9-10,000 is a good price for all you got to move. That should be the worse case scenario.

Sheesh!

Hubby and I stopped talking and got busy.

  • What! You’re moving it yourself?
  • Hire someone to pack. You don’t have to do that.
  • You’re too old to do all that work.
  • Hire a mover!

No one asked what we wanted.

Our concern? Others packing would be a disadvantage—our not knowing where things were. That “good price” was too steep. We’d moved before—no one helped unless we begged at the last minute. Those buyer walk-through days had been met each time. We were successful this time too! The house was empty in ten days!

Day two, we packed an open trailer and a relative hauled it leaving it in our new yard. Arriving a few days later with a very heavy load in our box trailer and pickup, Hubby and I unpacked both trailers and truck. The next day, we were off again to NH.

What made it work for us was a special condition agreed to by the buyer—leasing the garage at closing. We moved out of the house ten days, in time for closing. Now we had thirty days to clear out the two-story, four bay garage. We made it in twenty-nine days! We now have thirty days to clear out the sawmill building. At the end of this month, we will be home free! Done! C’est tout finis! Finiti! Terminado! Back to painting and writing!

Okay! Calm down.

Why so long? Hubby and I were the crew. We spent days sorting, packing and going to the recycling center (I call it “the dump”) to dispose of unwanted stuff. We sold a few big items by hauling them to dealers for consignment. Each trip was three hours, sometimes more. Back pain was excruciating. It was difficult and exhausting.

Advice was replaced with “I told you so” comments! A few poked fun at how we just loved to move the hard way. Why not be happy for us? Why not congratulate us for what we accomplished—by ourselves?

We didn’t know how in the world we could carry the heavy furniture into the house and up a flight of stairs. We had struggled to move it to the trailer from the house. While dreading how to move our last heavy piece of furniture to the trailer, our young neighbor volunteered! He was fantastic. Later, he informed us of his bad back gotten while on duty in Afghanistan, but not to worry! He was glad to help. Bless his soul. At the other end, we hired two high school boys who gladly moved furniture upstairs and down with ease! Youth and strength go hand in hand. One hauled lobster traps with his dad, that explained his ability to pick up what we could not. Bless their souls! And very nice too.

My step daughter is very good at cleaning out barns and selling ‘stuff’ of interest to

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Time for a break.

collectors. I snapped several photos to help promote the sale of the ‘stuff’ left behind.

One of the items we decided to sell was my old snow blower. They ignition key is packed in one of the boxes labeled KEYS. She needs that within a few days.

“Hmm. Hun, have you seen the box marked Keys?”

Hubby stares at the jungle of boxes.

No response.
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Share and tell us about your moving experiences.

 

 

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I Won!

HappyMeerkatreviews  had a promotion for a book on her blog.

When I spotted it, I thought, “Nah. I won’t get it.”

My other self said. What’s the matter? You deserve it like anyone else who signs up for it. Give it a shot. So, I did—I also sent it a positive vibe.

I had, a few weeks before, finished reading Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention and have been trying to live by his doctrine.

It really works! Focusing on different situations in my life, I decided they needed another approach. His philosophy, change you mind and change your life, has a lot to offer.

I focused on what was possible based on the power of intention and voila, it works! We sold our home and are moving to another state and I won this wonderful book A Lucky Day by Carlos J. Server.

Perhaps you will say, “Yeah. Right! Coincidence. Nothing more.”

“Well then, who made it happen? The Universe is big and I am part of it all as you are. It takes the power of the Universe to help you along your way to the power of intention.”

I am happy. I will read a happy book about a lucky day!

Thanks Carlos and HappyMeerkat. 

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