Meet Fabulous me in person!

Me and my better half at Disney world. We’re more than a little excited.

In the Tampa Area?

I’ll be signing copies of How to Sex Your Snake at the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention July 14th and 15th. If you’d like free tickets, you can get them until June 30th by clicking here. I’ll have a few book bags to give away too.

Now I’m off to my little booth by the bathroom in Panera Bread to work on June’s next misadventure due out in September!

Stay cool and Write on,

Melissa

Disneyworld’s Pandora

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What is up with my cheeks? I look like I’ve just come from dental surgery

We finally had a chance to run up to Disneyworld to check out the new Pandora land in Animal Kingdom. The word amazing doesn’t do it justice. It’s a huge area, with winding paths, bizarre vegetation, tiny banshees to buy and perch on your shoulder and platforms with performers playing odd looking instruments. Though that could have just been the shadows.

I saw Avatar so long ago, that I can’t tell you if Disney has recreated that world accurately. I just know this place was fun.

Especially at night. If you have to leave before dark, you’ll miss what Pandora is really about.

 

Intense black light in your face color!

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When you arrive at Animal Kingdom, head for Tiffins (Stop and make a reservation. Fantastic food, a patio overlooking the water and very cool art covered walls inside) and then continue over the bridge and follow the path to reach Pandora. There are two new rides, a lazy river ride featuring very nifty animation that makes you think you’re watching the movie unfold just off in the distance…(which I didn’t quite get on video, sorry)

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If I remember correctly, that blue patch in the middle was a video screen

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…and my new favorite Disney ride, Flight of Passage.

As you wait in line, you wind through the interior of a mountain decorated by the natives of Pandora. Eventually, you make it to a research center. (Was there a research center in the movie? I can’t remember why they were wandering around Pandora) The details are worth the time in line. (We were so busy looking at things in the research facility that I forgot to take photos) I’m not sure how much fast pass skips over but do yourself a favor and go through the line at least once.

Once you get to the actual ride, you’re ushered into a long narrow room where you straddle what looks like a motorcycle, pop on goggles and stare at a wall, inches from your face. Once the ride starts, the wall melts into the world of Pandora and all your senses are involved as you ride your banshee over, through and around the lush landscape. I swear I could even smell the other banshees. Wait. It had been like 2089 degrees that day and I was in a little, narrow room with 8 or so people, so there’s probably no smell-o-vision. Still. It’s worth the wait.

I’ll get better photos on my next visit. (maybe next week) Till then, Write One,

Melissa

Key West State of Mind

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It’s raining. It’s 39 degrees. And I’d be miserable but I just got the first 19 chs of How to Sex Your Snake back from my editor. A quick look through tells me that I don’t have much to fix and I see lots of checkmarks. (for stuff she loves) Now I just need to get those last 3 chs perfected and forwarded. Fingers crossed that I will be able to send the complete manuscript off to my format and error checkers first week of May and that the book goes live sometime before June 1.

I’m still waiting on the cover from the artist but I’m told that I’m next in the queue.

135 days till my plane lands in Key West. It’ll just be for four nights but I plan on making the most of it and not sleeping till I’m off the island. The beach, Duval Street, the chickens, the little Jazz Room, and 7am happy hour at Schooner Wharf.  That’s my idea of perfection. What’s yours? Where do you head when you need a vacation?

Stay dry and Write On,

Melissa

p.s. I had a blog when I lived in Key West. It’s called, Twist of Key Lime. I think pretty much everything I wrote about is still there. I plan on adding as much to it as I can while I’m on the island.

p.p.s. cynthia kester – could you please drop me on a note at my work email – melissabanczak@gmail.com

Running out of Days

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Disney world at Christmas

I woke up this morning and realized I’d lost 12 days. My sweetie has been getting us ready for our next races, so it’s write, run, sleep, repeat. We did take a day to zip down to a caption theater in Appleton for a showing of Zootopia. It was one of those nifty theaters that have recliners for seats so we basically drove 3 hrs roundtrip for a nap. (you may recall I’m hearing impaired so I live and die by the caption) Okay, we didn’t sleep through the whole movie. Just bits and pieces. Despite it being adorable. It’s just that those seats are dangerous and I know that one day I’m going to wake up and discover that I’ve snuggled an innocent seat mate.

So, what races are we readying for? How sweet of you to ask. On the 20th of this month we have a 10k down near Milwaukee and on April 17 we’re running the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon – the Dark Side at Disney World. (think villains) I have no idea what to wear for that one. I’m toying with a t-shirt that reads something like, ask me about the light. Or, have you accepted Yoda as your savior? We’re still deciding.

In the meantime, I’m pushing hard to finish How to Sex Your Snake this week. (yeah, my sweetie doesn’t believe me either) One of my kids is prepping for an IT test and we have a personal challenge going as to who will be done first. The deadline is Thursday at midnight, so we’ll see. Loser takes the winner to the movies. Which is perfect. Cause, come Friday, I’ll be ready for a nap.

Keep track of your days and Write On,

Melissa

ps

Disney World is our go to spot for relaxing and we’re counting down the days till we’re Florida residents again and can renew our annual passes at those lovely local rates. What’s your go to spot? To be perfectly honest, if we had the money, we’d buy a place in Puerto Rico or one of the US Virgin Islands. So, how about if money was no object? Where would you be?

 

9-7-15 Monday Word Count

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Winter’s on the way.

Got woken up a bit after 5 Sunday morning and had to drive to the next town over to pick up the kid from his night shift job. We’ve always told him, if he’s too tired to drive, call and we’ll pick him up. So we did. (living in the boonies sucks sometimes) The rest of the day was spent being exhausted while some pretty intense storms kept the house dark and dreary. Tried waking up with a movie, Star Wars, but we kept konking out and then rewinding to the last point we remembered. I’m not sure we ever saw the whole film. After napping off and on all day, we were surprised to actually sleep through the night. I’m working from the living room today. It’s a bit cold at my desk, and this table has a nice view of the golf course.

Last week, or so, I finally got around to having an expert look at a very small scene that I knew was full of all sorts of errors. I figured it would be an easy fix, once I found out what would really happen in that situation.  Boy was I wrong. The changes rippled all through the entire friggin’ book. So, since then, I’d been rewriting and making notes of what still needed to be fixed. (I’m pretty mad at myself because I know better than this. Always check with your expert first.)

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Hurrying through mosquito loop.

Then two days ago, I needed to clear my head so I took the dogs for a walk. We didn’t get far before I realized I could easily fix everything with the next scene and nothing after that would have to change. Now, I’m going through and doing some restorations. I’m anxious to finish this and get back to work on the edits of the last couple of chapters.

Once all that’s done, the manuscript still needs to go back to the editor for a last look and then onto the folks checking for formatting and missed errors.  (I keep finding extra spaces at the end of sentences. This is so much easier to see on a printed sheet) Because of this, I’ve updated the approximate release date.

Onto the word count.

How to Sex Your Snake

Genre – Mystery
New since Thursday –  3389 words
Total Count –  37859 words
Release date: Pre-orders mid October

Goals for next week: keeping up with the edits and then actually writing a post next Sunday. That’s a huge goal. I’ve been terribly lax about keeping track of my week’s work.

Things will be much easier now that the golf season is winding down. I have my last day in the bar cart soon, probably this Saturday. For the rest of September, I’ll still follow Mark over to the bar on his nights and write at a back table. The course closes at the end of the month so it won’t be long until I’ll be able to get into a writing routine for winter.

Hope it’s sunny where you are.

Write on,

Melissa

8-17-15 Monday Word Count

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Fosterdog Mia

Company is finally all gone and I don’t expect anymore this season.

Red wine is now my nightly prescription thanks to a high LDL Cholesterol level. It wasn’t horrible. It was 120 and should be under 100. Having that double cheeseburger at 11:30 the night before a fasting blood draw might not have been my best idea ever. I’m not a fan of red wine but my brother-in-law left a few bottles and so far, it’s all been quite good. On the plus side, I don’t wake up feeling dehydrated and tired like I do after a big glass of white wine.

We’ve added planks to our marathon training. My core muscles hate me very much right now. (why couldn’t my husband’s midlife crisis have involved fast cars or loose women?) We have a 10 mile race in a month and we’re looking for our next half marathon. There’s one in New Orleans in Feb that we’re considering. I’d love me a hurricane at Pat O’briens and am ready for nice long visit with a favorite friend who blew that way a couple of years ago.

I’m finally back to multiple hours in front of the computer. Since it had been awhile, I sat down with a copy of the book and read end to end. I like to do this periodically to make sure it’s flowing with plenty of June-ness. Most was. Some parts, not so much. This led to an extra 400 words at the end of ch 2, 1ooo replacement words in ch 11, about 1000 words dropped and then another 1000 new ones scattered here and there.  Or something like that. In the end, my words count did not jump by much.

How to Sex Your Snake

Genre – Mystery
New since Thursday –  438 words
Total Count – 34470 words
Release date: Pre-orders mid September 

Goals for next week: The complete book printed out and shipped off to my editor. She said she can get it back to me the first week of September. Then it goes out to 4 lovely volunteers that my beta reader Rosie found. They’ll look for any formatting issues. The total word count should be around 40k.

Of course, this is all dependant on me finishing by the 24th. As you can see in the top photo, fosterdog Mia is a bit concerned that I won’t be able to pull it off. I’m gonna pour a really big glass of the red stuff and do my best. See you next week.

Write on,

Melissa

Mid Week hoopla

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Eat me I’m delicious

I plan to make a replica of this yummy pizza at the bar tonight after I finish a rough of the last two chapters and type, the end.

Then, I’ll pop some antacid, cause I’m gonna eat the whole thing, before I go back and fix what needs fixing in chs 11-16. Or 17. That last chapter might have to be split into two. Hopefully all that doesn’t take more than two weeks.  Rosie, my beta reader has been tapping her foot waiting for the next chapters. She hates when I leave her hanging.

It’s not Sunday, but I’ll end with the word count. When it’s all complete, I figure it will be around 40k.

How to Sex Your Snake

Genre – Mystery
New since Sunday –  2863 words
Total Count – 32,008 words
Release date:  late Summer 2015

Write on,

Melissa

Rolling with da Mangos

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Better than a thesaurus

For the last couple of weeks,  we’ve been drenched in rain here in the north woods. (This has been the rainiest spring in decades) I blame the weather for my lack of progress.  Cause, you know, I’m certainly not at fault. Due to the rain, neither hubby or I have been able to work on the golf course as much as we normally do.  You’d think that would mean more time at the desk. But, sadly, no. It means more games of hand and foot with the in-laws and binge watching entire seasons on netflix.  (Looking forward to season 2 of Sense8 and in love after the first ep of Star Talk)

Today is the first sunny day in ages and I’ve already gotten a ton done. Well, not really a ton but I fixed a paragraph that was really buggin’ me.

I’d been deep in 12 when I realized I’d gotten off track. I retraced my steps to the last thing that felt right and I found myself at that crappy non June-feeling paragraph in 10. I have until about 9 tonight to work uninterrupted so I’m hoping I can keep rolling through small fixes in 10 and 11 and get back to 12. Mike and his incredible mango are along for the ride.

Until Sunday.

Write on,

Melissa

P.S.

I plan on waiting until I finish the last few chapters before I send anything else to my editor. I’m really close now. Total word count should be between 30 and 40K.

4-19-15 Sunday Word Count

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A chicken strolls through a cafe in Key West

Most of this week was delightfully lost to chats with mom. I only get to see her twice a year, because of how far apart we live, so I’m okay with that. And the best part is that I’ve now got notes tucked away for a novel based on one of her early careers in ’48. (mom did a lot of cool stuff including working for the FBI in DC when she was 17) Thanks to all the stories I’ve heard this past month, there is potential for a regular series. I will pencil this one in to start researching this summer.

On to the Sunday Word Count.

How to Sex Your Snake, June Nash 1:
Genre – Mystery
New this week – 1814 words
Total Count – 24,531 words
Release date: Late Spring 2015 – still on track

Goals from last week: Finish 9, 10 and 11. Get the beats done for 12.  Well, I finished ch 9 and that went to my editor, Lisa. Ch 10 is about half done and I didn’t get to 11. I did however, get all the beats down for the rest of the book. That took me two days and none of it is included in the total word count. At this point in time, it all clocks out to 17 chapters. That could change as I do the actual writing. Sometimes, a chapter will morph into several. Ch 5 became chs 5-8.  I am running out of time though. I really wanted to finish by April 26th. I’m back on the road again for 3 weeks starting the 27th and I wanted to just relax. Especially after May 4th cause I’ll finally see my husband again after 2 months apart. I kinda forget what he looks like. 

For now, I will keep the release date as still on track until next Sunday. Then I will adjust, depending on how much of the book I have left to write.  I have not checked in with the cover artist recently. I need to do that at the end of the week. And that’s it. 

Goals for Next Week: finish the book. I still have a lot to write but my outline is extremely detailed so that will make things go faster.

Have a good week and write on,

Melissa

p.s.

The photo is from a cafe in Key West. Chickens are feral on the island. The tourists love them. The locals hate them. Now that I’m away from my happy place, I miss the chickens. If we move back, I’m sure I’ll hate them after a week or so.