Author Archives: Cheryl C

Zugspitze

 

 

 

 

 

I will admit that Zugspitze sounds more like something that happens during or after a sneeze, but it’s the name of the tallest peak of the German Alps. Thankfully they had trains and gondolas that would take you up to the top. Some seriously hard core hikers were climbing the thing, and I admired them for their perseverance and insane toughness as I watched from the cable car hauling me and the other lazy tourists upward. The lake you see in the image above is of Lake Eibsee, a glacial lake known for its clear waters. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but the water was almost turquoise. So spectacular.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Germany and England and made it back into Boston last night after a 20 hr travel day. I caught a second (probably more like a fourth) wind and was up till 11 last night then woke up at 5 this morning. My body clock is still a bit backwards. I was back in bed at 830 this morning for an hour or so before feeling remotely human again. So I’m hoping I can flip back to my usual wake/sleep cycle now. Fingers crossed.

One of the really nice things about all the work travel and hotel stays is the accumulation of hotel points. I used those points for my hotels in Munich and London, so those stays were free. When I left Garmisch, I went back up to Munich since I was flying out the next morning for Heathrow. I stayed at the Hilton (for free!) that is on site at the airport. I will say that is one of the fanciest hotels I’ve ever been in.

It’s made of a lot of glass. Tons of natural light coming in everywhere. The elevators and elevator shafts are also see through. The rooms (which thankfully aren’t all made of glass) were seriously decked out. The flushing operation thing for the toilet was a built-into-the-wall touch screen that was motion activated. So as you approached said throne, the panel lit up. I was so fascinated by this thing that I, of course, started playing with it. In the process I walked into the shower wall because it was made of glass and I didn’t see it as I shifted to move to the side of the toilet to frig with the touchscreen. I immediately started cracking up after I realized what I had bounced off of in my attempt to play with the toilet. This room also had touch screen lights that I could work the entire room from the bed. Handy. It also had speakers in the ceiling in the bathroom that would sync with your phone when you plugged it in via USB next to the bed. Seriously cool stuff though I didn’t use it. I was already going to bed by the time I figured that one out.

I made the flight to London and got to the hotel just outside of the city on Thursday. I ended up in another fancy hotel complete with a Lamborghini (sadly, not mine) parked out front along with lots of other high end cars. I was not aware that I was staying in another swank Hilton (for free!) until I got there. My room had a freakin chandelier in the middle of the ceiling. I could control the lights with a wide-range dimmer switch that I will admit to playing with turning the lights waaaay down then waaaay up while giggling like a school girl. To say I’m easily amused is an understatement! The bathroom didn’t have touchscreen toilet flushing but it did have an in-wall mounted TV in the bathtub with a waterproof remote and speakers in the ceiling. I opted for a shower that night and managed to not walk into the glass walls that time.

When it came time to switch hotels again and head over to Guildford, England to watch some soccer and hang out with friends and family, I was back into a hotel that was more my level. A Holiday Inn. No Lamborghinis parked outside that baby.

The romp in Europe was a screaming success and loads of fun. I have the final week of my vacation now to goof off some more and take it easy in the States. I’ll head back up to Maine midweek and see what kind of stuff I can get into there for camping. I can promise you my tent is minus a toilet (much less a touchscreen toilet), fancy cars, and chandeliers.

Image above by me, view from Zugspitze. 2018.

Exploring Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t tell you off hand without looking it up what # day of this 17 day trip it is. After being in Dusseldorf, Bochum, Aachen, Hattingen, and Munich, I’m currently in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in a valley of the Alps. Gorgeous is an understatement, even with the rainy/foggy/drizzly mix. It’s a beautiful town, and I’m thrilled to hunker down here for a few days and do a mix of exploring, writing, and being a vegetable.

I have actually managed enough German to ask a question and have someone reply in English: “I’m sorry, I don’t speak German.” To which I replied: “Great. Because I don’t either.” haha

I’ve also managed, twice now, to start off a statement in German and finish up in Spanish then just resort to English (or just pointing and grunting) after butchering my attempt to speak German. Because that multi-language deal in the same sentence doesn’t frig with someone’s head or anything, especially mine.

With the wonky weather yesterday and today, I threw on the rain gear and wandered all over town. I found an Irish pub last night and settled in for a pint of cider. Yeah, I know, I’m in flipping Germany and I’m drinking English cider. I can’t explain it, either. I just don’t like beer. After a pint and a half I meandered (If you’ve seen me after a single pint, you’ll know what exactly is involved with my meandering.) back to the gasthof (guesthouse) where I’m staying. I showed up just in time for my dinner reservation there complete with traditional singing and dancing. I didn’t get any good pictures of this because the dancers were too fast to grab a pic off my phone without it blurring.

The dinner menu was in German, so I was winging it. I recognized fisch (fish) and went with that. Darned if the whole damn trout didn’t come out on the plate, haha. I got tired of picking the bones out of the meat after a while, so I gave up and had the potatoes which were fantastic. After a liter of water with dinner, the cider was finally wearing off, so I bailed for my room.

Today I had the rain gear back on with the intent to grab a tour or two somewhere, wasn’t sure where, just somewhere. I ended up just wandering around town with a self-tour of getting a little lost and finding my way back out again. Good times. I took the REALLY long way around to the booking place to go up Zugspitze, the highest mountain in the German Alps. I’ll go back there tomorrow to do that one when the weather is clearer since I couldn’t book a day in advance. And I found the short way around which was a tunnel I’d walked right past TWICE on my mission to find the booking office. Glad I wasn’t in a hurry. haha

Sunday I’m booked to go see Neuschwanstein castle. I have to book a bus to get to the town then figure out the rest of the getting there part to the actual castle. Turns out you have to book that one two days in advance and pick up your tickets 1.5 hrs before your tour. Guess that’s their way of getting you in town and keeping you around to buy stuff while you wait. I don’t know yet what I’m doing on Monday. There is a fantastic chance I’ll wing it just like the other days.

I haven’t done a thing with the new website yet. I thought I was done with publicist interviews pre-vacation and would have a decision there, but I have some follow up stuff to do once I’m back in the states. I started off with 8-10 websites or so for publicists. From those, I narrowed things down to four that piqued my interest. Did four calls and narrowed that down to two. I learned that one of the interviews wasn’t with the actual person I’d be working with, so that will be the extra call. I can tell you that of the four initial calls, they were all great. These folks aren’t making this decision easy, that’s for sure!

Image above by me, 2018, Hattingen, Germany. Sorry it’s a little fuzzy. I had to scale it way down for the website off the original camera jpg. Technology. Weeeeee!

Under Construction

 

 

 

 

 

There will be some changes coming to this website later. Ultimately I will be migrating this site to merge in with what will become my main/primary website. More on that later. I won’t bother giving you the new link now because you’ll just click on it, and it won’t work. No one, especially me, likes a tech glitch. So the link will come once I have the new site set up and construction complete. Don’t hold your breath on this. It’s going to take a few weeks.

My first task is to survive the rest of this week at work and next week, then run flying out the door like I’m on fire to kick start vacation. To be honest I’m already moving at a steady pace, at least mentally, into vacation mode.  Next Thursday I’ll fly back to Boston (where the truck and all my crap is), swap out travel gear to get the backpack then head back to Logan Airport on Saturday to put my rumpus on a plane to Germany.

In book news I have been doing something that feels very weird, cool, but weird. I have been interviewing publicists. It’s weird because I’ve never interviewed anyone before. I mean, I get it, I have to do this if I want to find the right fit with the publicist I’ll use for Forgotten Echoes, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s WEIRD. I’m always the one getting interviewed, not the other way around. I never really interviewed my dog sitters. They came highly recommended to me so they were basically already hired by the time I met them. So, yeah, me interviewing someone else is seriously wonky. I’m managing though. I have done three calls thus far and the fourth is next week, the afternoon before vacation officially starts.

I have a whole lotta nothing planned for my vacation. I’m visiting with friends once I arrive, then I head to Munich, then to Garmisch, back to Munich, then to London. Seventeen day trip with only lodging, flights, and rail pass booked. Stuff to see and do, I’ll wing it. I plan to do a lot of walking around, getting lost, hilariously misusing what little I have of the German language, writing, reading, and just generally chilling out. I will not be doing any kind of frantic anything. I’m not on a mission to see and do as much as I can cram in during that time. I come back to the states with almost a whole week remaining of vacation where I’ll be in parts of Maine, not sure which parts yet, but parts. I will be traveling according to the groove, the Force, the wind, the whatever, and it’s going to be amazing!

I’ll post again on the flip side at which point I can tell you what all I did on my travels and what happened with the publicist interviews. By that time I may also have more information on the publishing adventure and new website. Stay tuned.

Women Only Press

 

 

 

 

 

In May’s post, I wrote:

“In book news, next week I’ll finish up the Forgotten Echoes manuscript tweaks to ready it for going out to publishers. Since I haven’t published via that route before, I don’t have a bleeding clue what I’m doing which means it’s guaranteed to be interesting!”

Then in June, I wrote:

“I have been sniffing around various publishers to see if I really want to go that route for Forgotten Echoes. I submitted it to my top pick last week, so now it’s sitting tight and waiting. I could do multiple submissions, but I have enough going on without having to figure out who I submitted to and when and such.”

As time does, it has ripped right by and it’s now coming into late July. Holy crap. How did that happen?

On July 9th I was wrapping up the work day, had finished teaching an IT class to other analysts, had packed up the laptop, and was waiting on a friend to finish packing up for us to go out for dinner. I saw the email from the publisher on my phone and even did one of those “What is this?” things (I can be bright like that sometimes). I opened the email and started reading.

“Dear Cheryl,

Thank you so much for your interest in publishing with SWP. I’m attaching your assessment for Forgotten Echoes here.

I’m excited to be writing to let you know that you have qualified as a Track 1 submission. As far as we’re concerned, your manuscript is ready to go. This only happens in about 7-8% of submissions, so congratulations and THANK YOU! …”

That is as far as I got. Breathing became a bit difficult while smiling and starting to cry. I tried to re-read the email (which was now looking blurry) and still only made it to the same place in the note. I handed the phone to my friend (who was now quite concerned by the wild range of emotions all over my face) while I found a chair. She read the email out loud to me, because, well, I needed to breathe.

She Writes Press is a business that is run by women and only signs female authors. They were my first pick for several reasons, and some are contained within this post called Why We Need Women-Only Spaces by Brooke Warner, the SWP publisher and person who contacted me directly. Whether you are male or female, I recommend reading it.

This is my favorite part and it is 100% true:

” … Women, by and large, feminists included, are not angry at men. We’re angry at internalized gender bias that holds us back and keeps us in second-tier situations. We’re angry at a culture that’s so disdaining of women’s empowerment that it undermines women’s efforts and advances. We’re angry at specific men who spew hateful comments about women’s appearances and menstrual cycles, as if these are the things that define us … ”

Everything I heard about SWP encouraged me, and I WANTED to be part of their community. I cannot tell you how honored I was and still am to have gotten that email. I have since been in touch with Brooke, and we’re discussing the publishing contract. I have lots of questions for her mostly because I’m quite numb when it comes to the terminology. This IS my first rodeo after all, right?

SWP has a sister company called SparkPress. SWP handles memoir and literary fiction primarily. SP handles more genre fiction. Scifi falls squarely in the SP realm. SparkPress has the same staff and business model, except SP does publish male authors too. SP’s business core is the same as SWP because it’s the same people, and that core is what drew me to SWP, so I’m perfectly fine going to SP for genre fiction publishing.

So, there will be more to come on this as the details get worked out. Check out SWP and you can link to SP from there too from tabs at the top. Good stuff.

https://shewritespress.com/

 

Image from sxc.hu

Futbol Madness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I’d like to pretend I’m completely buried in writing related things, it just isn’t true. Well, kinda not true. I am in an online class hosted by Shawn Coyne called Level Up Your Craft. And I have been doing a mix of editing on Forgotten Echoes and writing on the sequel of it, yet to be named (Right now I just call it FE II. Not terribly creative, but considering I was calling When Heroes Fall “BM5” until I got a name for it, FE II works).

I have been sniffing around various publishers to see if I really want to go that route for Forgotten Echoes. I submitted it to my top pick last week, so now it’s sitting tight and waiting. I could do multiple submissions, but I have enough going on without having to figure out who I submitted to and when and such.

The Softball CWS wrapped up and two weeks later the FIFA World Cup started. Luv soccer! As I type this, I’m semi-watching-semi-listening to the Australia v France game. It’s good stuff, and there are still many, many more games to watch over the next few weeks. The drawback (or maybe it’s a good thing) is that they’re all during the day, so I can’t watch games during the work week.

In house news, pending no surprises (It’s my house; I always expect surprises), I should sign papers and be rid of it so I can be officially nomadic by the end of this month.  So it really comes down to me just taking things one day at a time, sometimes hour by hour. Sometimes I have no idea what plan A will be, but I have an idea for plans B through F. I’ll just figure it out as I go. The camping gear is in the truck, so I can land any where at any time.