Author Archives: Cheryl C

Changing Gears

7-29-2014 9-30-31 PM





Maine may have finally emerged from a very soggy spring to a somewhat drier version. I’m not convinced so celebrations are on hold that mud season is actually over.

For any college softball fans out there, the semi finals for the world series start this afternoon. My team, LSU, was sent packing last night. Oh well. Great games are still to be played. Guess what I’ll be watching?

In other news, as of today, I have finished the first draft of the overhaul of the first book. Just in time for the semis. Coincidence? Hardly.

Next up for writing, I’ll be starting on the new idea in my head and running the draft I just finished through Autocrit’s online editor. Love that program. It’s tedious, time consuming, and not exactly fun. It’s like doing laundry. If you want to go out in public smelling like something the dog would roll in, by all means, never wash your clothes. If you’d rather present yourself around other people and smell a bit less gamey, wash away.

Autocrit works in a similar fashion. It runs your manuscript (I tend to go in manageable chunks of chapter by chapter) through an editing washing machine to find adverbs, redundancies, overuse of words, cliches, and all that kind of crap that clogs up stories. Then I choose what goes, stays, or changes to clean things up. This creates draft #2.

Considering I started the rewrite in Jan and just finished it up, let’s say end of May (close enough), June becomes Autocrit/editing month to get it ready for the editor early August. Always something going on!

The house project, just for giggles, is still in the crazy mix. Hallway floor is still just plywood and the walls are primed. I have everything I need to get cracking on the hallway revamp. I have far more resistance to starting to sling paint on those walls than I do with sitting down to write. If you figure that one out, let me know. Maybe I can paint and listen to softball games. Maybe I can just watch the softball games. The hall isn’t going anywhere. ;)

Softball Addiction Part 2

12-14-2013 9-39-42 AM






By golly I just had to be happy that Ole Miss (more properly known as the University of Mississippi out of Oxford, MS and nemesis of Mississippi State University) won the SEC championship. Given that Mississippi State’s battle cry is “Go to hell, Ole Miss!”, I couldn’t say the words as an MSU grad given Ole Miss took the title for the first time in program history.

They were ranked dead last in the SEC and came out on top with some fine softball games in the mix. Well done, Ole Miss, well done, … though I still hate your battle cry of “Hotty Toddy” and whatever it is and means.

The regional tournament following conference play wrapped up today, and after a nail biter and fighting their way out of the loser’s bracket, LSU advances. The super regional games start on Thursday, and I’m not quite sure how the world expects me to function for the next two days without any games. To my friend in Boston that I’m visiting this weekend, we’re gonna be watching softball, dude. Lots of softball.

In between work and getting my softball fix, I continue to do the rework on the first Burnt Mountain book, mind plotting (this is plotting in my head only, not typing anything yet) the new book rattling around in the brain pan, and doing some demolition in the house. Because if you’re already stupid busy, throw in a house project on top of things just to keep it interesting.

My upstairs hallway floor is stripped down to plywood and the walls are covered in sheet rock mud to smooth out lumps and bumps and soothe my OCD. I’ve decided to learn how to do trim work and install new flooring on my own without a bleeding clue how it all works. Heck, I’m still buying the tools I need for the work and will have a few user manuals to read. So ultimately, this house project, which is just the beginning, will be a lot like my early days of writing. I’ll start off without a clue and figure it out as I go, mistakes and all. Gonna be a blast!

Softball Addict


This week kicked off the SEC softball tournament which equates to: Cheryl ain’t gettin’ crap done this week. I grew up in SEC country, went to an SEC university (while rooting for a different SEC university…Geaux Tigers!), and foam at the mouth every spring for the start of SEC softball.

The beauty of being an SEC fan is that I’m happy regardless of who wins, yes, even if it’s Ole Miss. As a Mississippi State alum, I am required by Mississippi law to despise Ole Miss. I am faithful to abide by that law for all sports except softball. I love watching Ole Miss lose a football game. But give me a great softball game and I can forgive you for even being Ole Miss.

The SEC tourney starts the post season that leads into regional tourneys, super regional tourneys, and on to the NCAA College Softball World Series. Yes, I’m an addict. Yes, I probably need help. I’m sure I’ll get it after the softball world series is over. Yep, uh huh, just like I did last year.

The good news is the games aren’t on every single day of the week. If so, I’d have to take 2 months of vacation. I do still write on my days off of work, but my productivity does take a hit. Oh well.

I’m in MD this week, off to VA tomorrow, back to MD on Sunday, and home to ME on Thursday. More importantly, the SEC tourney continues with three remaining games today, semi finals tomorrow, and the final on Saturday.  When it comes to softball, I’m a happy addict.

The Blue Horse

denver horse

If you’re going to sculpt a gigantic horse statue, it might as well be blue with glowing red eyes. Why not? Pictured above is the fella on a wee hill on your way in to the Denver airport. My brain was goo when I flew into Denver last week late at night, but when I was heading back out on Sunday, I got to see him. Apparently there is a bit of history behind this particular pony that you can look up online. I’m just completely captivated by his color.

Love horses. Love blue. Yes, I wanted to take him home with me. He was a little too big to fit in the carry on though since he’s over 30 feet tall. He’d look amazing in my front yard.

Thursday, from Maine to Colorado, ended up being a 14 hour travel day. That amount of time is a round tripper to the UK from the east coast. The good part about that long, grueling day is that the wifi on the plane crapped out. Why would a 4 hour flight be good when you can’t get to any movies on your tablet? Because it opens up time for writing.

I pulled out my tablet and went to town with my stylus jotting notes. The few notes turned into more notes which grew into me creating multiple files and folders to hold said notes. These notes are the early pieces of laying out my next novel. I don’t have all the pieces in place yet, but I know the beginning and I know the ending.

For me, I have to know the ending before I can start writing. I can’t just get in a car and drive. I need to know where I’m going even if I don’t know how I’m going to get there. Writing is the same way for me. I might not know all the middle pieces and parts, but if I have the ending, I know where I’m going. Getting there becomes the journey.

Here’s what I know about this next story:

1. Female protagonist

2. The beginning

3. The ending

4. Will be geared more for an adult audience (rated PG 13 to R)

5. SciFi/Fantasy genre

It doesn’t look like much, but for me, it’s a gold mine with oodles of potential. :)

P.S. My Dad is neck deep in the 5th book right now. He told me today that he thought my mind was highly creative and a bit squirrely. I told him I absolutely agreed except that my mind had more than just a touch of squirrel in it. I’m in my head a lot. It can be a kooky place to be!

On the Grid, Off the Grid

11-6-2013 6-49-11 AMAs planned, the Campbells swooped in and descended on the deep south, obliterated a swath of food for the festivities, then scattered to head home back to the routine until next year.  I figure a good 12 months or so gives the region time to recover. We had a 50th Anniversary wedding vows renewal, a wet game of kickball, a truck stuck in the mud, and no arrests (that I know of or will admit to). It was a good reunion.

In my return to work travel and general shenanigans, I resumed my usual bouncing on and off the grid. I’m currently on a two week stint in Maryland for work and am enjoying a couple of days off to recoup from a hectic work schedule. Going from night shift to day shift on 3 hours of sleep in between the shift flip causes sluggishness, slurred speech, and drooling during the day. Go figure.

I continue to chip away at the rewrites of the first book, The Monster Within. To answer a few FAQs I get asked when I mention my plans with the first book, here we go:

  • No, I’m not changing the story. That all stays the same for characters and plot points and such.
  • Yes, I am rearranging chapters, culling out unnecessary exposition, and clarifying certain pieces of the story.
  • Yes, I have a bit of OCD.

After my tweaks are done, including a possible new cover, I will release the ebook as a free download. I will let you know when that happens, but don’t get all antsy over thinking the free release is imminent. I still have a few months to go before everything is complete.

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