Friday, June 22, 2012

Bypassing Congress - Brave or Imperialistic?

My very own house is divided on this one. While some applaud the recent efforts of our president as bold and brave and champion him with a fist held high, some in my house label it as abuse of power no matter what the issues.

It’s been years since I blogged in any political nature and I’m going to stir the pot.

I’m writing from neither the left nor the right. But as an American voter and my views as such.

Article II of the Constitution clearly defines the rule of the president. I as a voter take careful consideration when choosing my local representatives. I choose congressman and senators based on their voting record and opinions on issues. I do this because I am aware of the process. I have never missed an election in 30 years, primary included. I take it seriously.

The government is structured as such so as no one party runs with an iron fist. So no president may abuse his or her power.

Democrat or republican, I have a hard time with a president bypassing congress.  When the president bypasses Congress he creates what could be considered an ‘Imperial Presidency’.

From Wikipedia -  A presidency becomes imperial when it relies on powers beyond those allowed by the Constitution. The Constitution established three separate branches of government not for efficiency but to avoid the arbitrary exercise of power.

While I commend our Commander in Chief for trying to light a fire under our stalled and slow moving law process, is it right to bypass the fundamental process in which our country is founded. We elected officials to debate and make laws. We elect one man to lead them not make all the decisions. I had a hard time when Bush tried it, I have a hard time now.

Those who agree with the recent decisions of our President very well may dismiss the fact that he is bypassing the process that we should hold dear.. Granted it is faulted. Bipartisanship has thrown delay after delay into the mix. Perhaps that is mainly because the elected officials are sticking by the wishes of their constituents.

So our president says, enough is enough, I’ll handle it. Great. Very ballsy. But is it right?

I think the contraception thing with the Catholic Church is medieval. But that is their beliefs. I worked for a Catholic Organization, a convent. And I wasn’t allowed to bring meat into the buildings on Fridays (not just during lent). But forget the separation of church and state, forget that 77 million Americans are Catholic, is it right that the church must go against a core belief because the president, not elected officials, says they should.

This is the point of my blog. Not the ISSUES at hand. But rather should the president have the right to bypass congress on issues that clearly divide a nation.

Forget the issues when you think about this. Forget the gay marriage, the birth control, the immigrants, forget whether you agree with those issues or not.

Do you want the president signing into law, temporary or not, an issue that belongs to a congress that you voted for.

Suppose you woke up and the president announced he was signing into law, that starting August 1st, all American citizens will pay an addition 7% tax out of their paychecks to refurbish the unemployment and welfare funds.

Wouldn’t happen, ridiculous, okay, but still ….if one law can bypass congress ANY law can. Overuse of executive power is just that. No matter what the issue. And is it right?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Making Time for Your Craft

Most authors pretty much need an ‘Operating’ job in addition to their writing money, if they’re lucky enough to make any money writing.
 (Okay at this point you can skip to ‘Point B’’ That’s when the short ranting stops,)

Unless, of course, you’re the woman who almost gave up after 20 big rejection letters and finally, without saying how she did it and seemingly overnight,  has a book selling 3500 – 10k a day. Yes, a day. She doesn’t need an operating job.
            Boy, I don’t know about you, but I am so glad she never got rejection letter 21, could you imagine? She may not have pushed on. The world may never have heard her inspirational story.
            I just … I just really can’t fathom giving up and being in despair after 20 rejections. Despair and feeling like a loser after 20 rejections seems dramatic.
            And anyone who gets to that point after 20 rejections, I’d like to lock them in my closet with my rejection letter bin and not let them out until they read each one. At a minute per rejection I’d see them in a couple days.
            Sorry I digressed.


            Anyhow … I must maintain a job and so do most other Indies. Whether it’s full time or part time. I’m fortunate that my ‘operating’ job is fun. I’m a karaoke DJ and while it does have its occasional stresses, it in in essence is a dream job.
            But still, dream job or not, it still takes a block of time out of my night, and like those who work a day job, I am stuck trying to balance family, job and finding time to work on my craft.
            We all know we can’t title ourselves a writer if we barely make time for it. It’s the difference between saying ‘I like to write’ and ‘I’m a writer’.
            I have a pretty hardcore stance on that one. I believe you should work on your craft every day, or at least five days a week. Now, that doesn’t just mean scribing, I know more than anyone those words sometimes don’t flow. But there are other parts to your craft, that includes, edits, research, blogging, rewrites, promoting, outlining. Being predominant on social medias to get your work known, If you want it, you work for it, any part of writing counts.
            My typical day starts at 930, I get up with Baby Frank, I make coffee while he watches cartoons. While he has his breakfast, I do emails and forums. We run our errands, dropping Ali off at work. Three days a week he has therapy, I bring my Kindle fire and work on edits while in the waiting room. My daughter is home by 3, I work on writing or edits from then till 6, make dinner,  sneak in a nap, get up and go to Dukes to Dj. I then get back and write from 2 am til 6 am, wind down with Family guy and go to sleep for a few hours.
            If I don’t DJ, I start at midnight. Always working till 6 am. My sacrifice is sleep. But that’s just me.
            There are nights I am so tired I can barely think. Those nights, I eat some cereal and crawl forums for promotions.
            It’s what I have to do. I don’t believe I’m the norm and I don’t expect anyone to be as insane as me. I do encourage finding time. And the time is there, you just have to realize it.
            Here are my tips.

  •             First thing. Get Manictime. The BEST tool you can get and it’s free. Once I downloaded this program I doubled my productivity, because it actually breaks down where you spend your time on the computer. I was able to see all the times I varied off on a youtube frenzy and how much time I spent reading celebrity gossip. It’s a total shock to see you spent 22 hours on the computer for the week and only 17% was on a word document. It keeps you in line like an overbearing boss.
  •             Put aside one hour a day for working on writing. Whether it’s edits or not. At least an hour a day. Remember it’s quality not quantity. If you swear you don’t have an hour a day, I challenge you to keep a journal for one week of everything you do. You’ll see wasted time. You can sacrifice a reality show or CSI. You can not however, sacrifice Family Guy.
  •             Have a long commute to work? Perfect. A pocket recorder or your phone, using voice activation. While sitting in traffic, talk out your story.
  •             Have little ones under the age of three? Perfect time to work on editing. Read your story to them to settle them down. Even if it’s horror, they don’t know, it’ all in how you read it. If you read a Zombie pulling out intestines the same way you’d read Sponge Bob, they won’t know. You’ll be surprised how many typos you pick up.
  •             Reward yourself. No surfing the net until you have written 500 words or edited ten pages.
  •             Too tired to move or think and only want to veg out with a movie? That’s fine Netflix has 100’s of documentaries that can be considered research. Watch something related to your writing or the project you are working on.
  •             Pickled Green tomatoes. They are tart and are a guaranteed source of energy, better than espresso.
  •             One hour a day, one way or another that is connected to your writing, added with manictime and I promise you’ll see a difference.
  •             If you want to be successful, like with anything you will make the time. Writing is no different. If you watch TV, play video games, phone games or surf the net, you have time to dedicate to writing.
            How can you expect people to sacrifice their hard earned money on your work, if you can’t sacrifice your time for your work?

            Next writers’ blog – The closer to home, the less legit you are as an author.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Ups and Sucks of Being an Indie Writer - Promoting

It is still a lottery

I think I can count on both hands—and have fingers remaining—how many times I have played the lottery. I’d rather take my twenty, put it in a slot machine and get an hour of fun as opposed to a twenty second drawing.
            The odds of hitting the jackpot are millions to one.
            I realized the same goes for hitting a best seller. But I keep attempting the publishing lottery because it is my dream to have millions of readers. Hell I’d settle for a 100,000.
            I’ll be the first to admit I am terrible at pimping myself. I feel I already inundate my social media outlets about my work, but they say that’s what you have to do.
            But I am nothing compared to other authors out there. Don’t believe me, check out their twitter pages. I’m left to wonder, does it work? They have tens of thousands of followers. I don’t have a hundred and I’m offering a free book to follow me. Hmm. Tonight, I’ll spend an hour clicking people to follow in hopes half will follow me in return.
            I recently downloaded a free book on Kindle about promoting. I have been going through section by section. I’m on the pinterest section now. I’ll try everything he says, but since I started following his instructions, I have doubled my promotion time. So far my sales numbers aren’t reflecting it. Maybe it has a delayed reaction.
            Amazon had a ‘success’ story on the front page of Kindle. An author wrote a blog, the quote talked about how she was disappointed by rejections and felt like a loser until Kindle.
            Then I read the article, she had less than 20 rejections. Really? 20. She’d take the bridge if she had my rejection count. She writes a book every 18 months and sells 3500 – 10k books a month. I can’t not relate to this author at all. Sorry. I can’t judge her book as good or bad, because I read the sample and the story isn’t for me. But still … she goes on to say how grateful she is for Amazon. How did she do it? Something was missing from the article.
            I’m grateful to Amazon, but more so I am so grateful to my hand full of faithful readers who give each book I write a chance.
            Instead of the article inspiring me it made me feel worse. She went on to say, authors who write more than a book a year basically write bad books and will never make money. I think Stephen King needs to get a hold of that article and have a few words with her.
            The whole thing is disheartening. I’m out there, pushing and pimping and spending countless hours a day trying to be heard. At times I feel more like a street musician collecting pennies in a guitar case rather than a good writer. Maybe it’s because I am the writer for which there is no middle ground. Seriously, read my reviews. People love me or hate me.
            There are a lot of good books out there that barely sell a few a month. Their authors promote like hell.
            And while I don’t pop into the local convenience store and buy a lottery ticket, I am in an essence playing the lottery. Because it is a ‘chance’ thing with Indie Publishing.  It’s not who you are or what you write, it’s the luck of the draw. I’m convinced (See paragraph above) Each time we promote we are purchasing a ticket.
            We may or may not be that one book that catches on and takes off. But we keep trying, we keep promoting our work, buying into the publishing lottery and trudge on.
            It’s our dream.

SPAM contest - Yeah, it's a contest!

Just a quick one. The previous blog, about Book spamming was actually an attempt to put a clever twist on a contest title. I failed.

Best Spam recipe (And I will cook as many as I can) wins a free audio or paperback version of Then Came War. All runners up get a free ebook copy of And the Heavens Shall Fall ... before it s released in mid July.

Simply post your spam recipes in the comment section of this or the previous blog. That's all you have to do.

SPAM that Book

I have trademarks in my books. Little things I put in just about every single think I write. My personal Jackie stamp. Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan and Spam.
            However, those three things also invade my life in an abundance, as well. The problem I have is the Spam.
            Like margarine, Miracle Whip, and frozen waffles, I have gone completely overboard in my purchasing of the canned meat product.
            While it is a favorite in Hawaii, so much so that McDonald’s have Spam Macs, it is not a local favorite here. Not at all. At least not in my house.
            Just like the margarine poured from the fridge every single time the door was opened, t like the Frozen waffles inhibited anything else from entering my freezer, I am out of room in the Apocalypse pantry because of Spam. Cans and cans stacked high. It was funny at first, have loads of Spam in the Apocalypse, it’s not funny anymore because the shelf can’t hold it.
            What the heck was I thinking? Really.
            So I decided to Spam my book. I am having a Spam off.
            I am going to make Spam a local favorite … sort of with help.
            I’m asking for recipes using Spam. I will make every recipe I can and even take pictures. My family will decide which is the best way to serve Spam. The winner of the Spam off receives a paperback or Audio book copy of Then Came War, Runner ups (Depends how many recipes) receive a free Kindle or Nook copy of my new epic length, EOW book,  And the Heaven’s Shall Fall …a week before its release.
            So Spam me, baby, let the taste games begin.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Ups and Sucks of an Indie Writer - Part 3

Visions of Indies and Bad Reviews.

The name has been changed but it still carries a stigma.
            Years ago, when you took matters into your own hands to get your book out there into the public, it was called Self-Publishing. Now, it is referred to as being an Indie.
            Which, confused me at first because to me, an ‘Indie’ was a filmmaker. I am fortunate enough to be both an Indie writer and filmmaker and I can tell you from experience, the purchasing public has a totally different view of both medias.
            When you make films, the public is sympathetic to your low budget woes. They excuse a lot of problems in the film if the story is good and the acting decent.
            Even those in the community support one another. As a film writer, I get a lot of respect from my peers. But as a book writer people aren’t quite as forgiving, and we as writers must realize that if we are going to put our book out there, then we also must take the sucks that come with the ups.
            The biggest suck is a bad review.
            Just like I labeled myself the queen of rejection letters, I’m pretty much dusting off my tiara to be the queen of bad reviews.
            The best advice I received was not direct, but posted on an Amazon forum by an angry reviewer who was tired of Indie writers getting mad and defensive over bad reviews. She said, “Reviews are for the readers, not the authors.’
            From that moment forward, I stopped reading reviews. It made it easier.
            Every author gets bad reviews. And they are so hard to take, but the truth is, most bad reviews have something in them that has merit, that we as authors should listen to.
            My first bad review was from Zombie Battle. The reviewer stated: ‘Bobbed wire fence, that’s all I’m going to say, bobbed wire fence.’
I was like, ‘huh? Maybe the reviewer didn’t know what a bobbed wire fence was. Perhaps I should let her know it’s a metal mesh of twisted wire above a regular fence.” Then my son Noah informed me that it wasn’t bobbed it was barbed. Duh.
            The question on my mind is are we easier targets because we are Indies or are our books just not up to the level our readers expect? I think it’s a combination of both.
            I don’t believe there is an Indie writer out there who wants their work to have bad grammar or typos, or poor sentence structure. Most of the time we do what we can to get it clean and keep cleaning it as time goes on.  We use beta readers, family and friends.  A professional editor would be wonderful but they cost an arm and a leg, bottom end a grand. For me to get a grand back on a polished book I’d have to sell 3000 copies. Unfortunately that may be the total sales an indie book gets for the entire shelf life.
            It’s a catch 22. We can keep the price low because we are aware it may not be perfect. Or seek out a total overhaul edit and raise the price to make up the costs. But we’re Indies. No one wants to buy a 7.99 book from an Indie let alone one priced higher.
            And still the bottom line is … we’re Indies. Just like people go to an M. Night Shyamalan movie looking and searching for hints about his super surprise endings, there are readers that pick up a book looking for errors and mistakes because they know they have to be there. It’s an Indie book.  And they are right.
            But I am finding more and more that this is slowly eeking away from being the norm. There are readers out there who absolutely love Indie novels because they get a good story for a good price. They are forgiving of some errors in exchange to be moved and entertained. Much like the Indie movie watchers and the B movie lovers. Some of us found a pocket of appreciation.
            The crusade against Indies last year really did some damage. It got out of hand with Reviewers and Writers getting nasty. That’s calmed and it seems the overly used 'grammar slam reviews' have become like over prescribed antibiotics, immunity has been built up. Or maybe, just maybe the crusade worked. I think it did. Maybe it didn’t let up but rather clocked a lot of Indies on the head. I think these reviewers who honestly ‘wanted to like our books’ and were sorely let down by editing, heightened our awareness of what we put out there. We Indies have become more diligent about out work. We realize there are those out there who are reading and we don’t want to let them down.
            I said a decade ago that all I wanted was a chance and I’d run with it. Well, Kindle has given me a chance. I’ve been running, sometimes in circles, sometimes I drop the ball, but I keep going.
            As far as reviews … good or bad, I’ll take them and be grateful. Some like them and some hate them but people are reading my books. And isn’t that what I wanted in the first place?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Ups and Sucks of an Indie Writer - Part 2

Taking the Step

I’m not considered old, but I’m not that young, either. I remember the 96k modem (Or something to that number) When you went to a page, made a sandwich, and came back to see it was still loading.
            I remember when Yahoo! was the shit and ebay was still an infant. The days when you couldn’t go on to the internet without everyone in the house hearing the dial up squeal and being on a plan that limited your time not data usage.
            When ebooks were the dream of tomorrow and Rocket Book tried their hardest to break through and everyone said, ‘no’.
            So when a writer friend asked if I was ever going to try to put some stuff on Kindle, I acted cool and said, “Yeah, probably.”
            In my mind, what was this Kindle thing? Surely, it wouldn’t work. Little did I realize it was working and I was far behind the eight ball.
            I had fallen so far into the ‘I’m only gonna write and not publish’ trap, I wasn’t getting out. I stopped caring if I was published. I had reached that point. I wrote because I loved it.
            But the daily messages from Trev reminding me of Kindle and Smashwords got me to the point where I said, “Okay, fine, gees, I’ll do it” and I posted a book
            I fell off the wagon.
            3 years of wishful publishing sobriety was out the window.
The hours preparing queries became hours of going on forums and boards to learn what I needed to do. This wasn’t the case of trying to get a signing at a bookstore, this was a whole new playing field.
And, ah, yes,  the days when I’d run to the mailbox and nervously check if any of my SASE envelopes were returned were replaced with daily check ins to the Amazon dashboard to see if I sold a book.
            And of course, you know, I didn’t.
            Why? Because it wasn’t that simple. Or rather as simple as I believed.
            It’s a learning process and trust me, no amount of research is going to teach you what you learn as you go along. My mistakes taught me more than I ever read.
            Covers? They better look good.
            Interior of the book. Smashwords taught me that if you upload that pretty little WORD document 'as is', chances are you’ll have misaligned paragraphs, missing sections breaks, slash marks, giant words and other eyes sores.
            We’re not even getting into editing on this one. Lessons learned on that are a whole other blog.
            And promoting, getting your work out there and known. Sure you can upload it to Amazon, but who is going to know? I once uploaded a book to Smashwords and was number 6,754 in line for processing. Are you freaking serious? That many books in one day? Good Lord the competition.
            When my starry eyed writer mind would dream of getting published, big or small, I believed that was it. They’d do all the work and I’d sit back in the glory of being that published writer.
            Truth is, unless you win the luck of the “We are going to make you famous” draw at one of the big houses, you have to do all the footwork yourself. You heard of the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes, right? Well, it’s similar to that at the big boys. Eenie Meeni Miny Moe. Yeah, we’re gonna promote the hell out of you. Oh, who cares if you can’t write, we’ll say you can. Who cares if your books doesn’t have punctuation or real paragraphs, we’ll say it’s art. Who cares if your prose is just plain bad, we’ll tell them it’s brilliancy. And the public will buy it because we’re shoving it on the front table of every bookstore.
            A lot of the public doesn’t buy it, it is evident via reviews, but those reviews get buried.
            But if you’re not one of the mega promoted authors, you spend your time doing so much work promoting. For what? 10%.
            At least with Indie publishing you keep 35 – 70%.
            But you have to sell a book to get that percentage, and for most of us, it’s a lot of work. A lot of time spent getting people to listen. And there’s a fine line between humble self promotion and being an annoying, self absorbed jerk off.
            A good book will eventually sell, it takes time (For the most part) it may not sell a lot, but it will.
            And once it does … you open the door to another avenue and that avenue can be a very hard, painful road to take.

Tomorrow Part 3 – Visions of Indies and Bad Reviews.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Ups and Sucks of Being an Indie Writer - Part One.

What you may not know about me....

On the eve of my 33rd birthday (Yes, I was young once) I received my 100th rejection letter. It wasn’t quite the birthday present I wanted, and while I was discouraged, I didn’t give up. After all, I had read the Stephen King received 120 rejections on Carrie. Heck, I was doing good. That was a 100 on 3 books. I still had a ways to go.
            This was back in the day when writers diligently waited for the new edition of Writers’ Digest so we could mark off where we’d submit. And they were paper submissions, too. When determined writers like myself would spend a hundred dollars a month on postage, paper, ink and supplies. Wading through ‘no’ after ‘no’ in hopes of that one ‘yes’.
            The internet was still an infant, email submissions were unheard of, and e-books? Really? Never would happen, never would people read off a screen instead of paper. That was the mindset.
            It was the days when self publishing costs thousands of dollars. The stigma of being self published was a different ballgame. It was a negative thing and not only did you pay to see your book in print, very few, if any would read it.
            So we trudged on with the goal being to land that big deal with a huge house and get that awesome advance.
            But where does it end? At what point would I consider myself pathetic? I made a decision that when I received enough rejection letters where I could place a letter on each step of the Empire State Building, I would quit. After all, that was well over 1,000 rejections. I had to get that big Random House break before that, right?
            Keep in mind, I wasn’t just submitting one novel, I started writing a lot, I had many books. Plus poems, shorts stories, screenplays. I submitted like an addict.
            The day I opened my 404th rejection, I got my first ‘yes’. I was thrilled. I danced a jig, arms in the air, screaming, “I’m published, I’m published.’
            It was a small house, no advance but a chance. I always said, if someone gave me a chance I’d run with it.
            I was married, raising four kids, working as a security monitor while my husband was a waiter. This was the break. He was so happy, he sold a guitar to throw me a party. God, I feel guilty over that. How foolishly misled we were.
            I got a book out of it, but it wasn’t edited and printed in a shoddy homemade paperback that fell apart half way through the book. My first royalty check was 1.39
            I trudged on. Believing in my work. I’ll get that break. Someone will want to read me. But, I kept getting rejected.
            I was quickly reaching the top of the Empire State Building.
            The day I received rejection number 1,172 … I stopped counting. I still submitted, I still got rejected, but I stopped counting. Seriously, no kidding, no lie, 1,172 rejections. How pathetic.
            I still believed. Then a ray of hope … I sent an unsolicited query (Totally frowned upon) to Penguin about my book, Sister Perpetua is an Alien. They wrote back asking for the first chapter. Then they wanted the first three chapters. Then 50% of the book. After weeks, months, they wanted to read the entire thing, Good God, this was it! And then …. They rejected it.
            At that point, I quit. I didn’t stop writing. No way, no how, it’s my passion, but I stopped trying to get published.
            Over a thousand rejections. In my mind I was no less than a stupid starry eyed dreamer whose work would never get read. I didn’t have it.
            From that moment on I resolved myself to the fact that the stories in my head would go only as far as a Kinko’s bound manuscript and the reading eyes of a few faithful friends.
            I was done. For years, too. I quit.
            And then … things changed. The world of publishing changed.
            Kindle emerged. No longer was it called self publishing, but Indie publishing. Sweet! A new title. A great concept. A new chance. Another avenue in which to place dreams.
            Ironically it was a new angle on an old pipe dream. Hence, starting a rerun of the vicious cycle. A repeat of the same ups and downs … but only this time, in a different way.

Tomorrow … Part 2.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Arrival of the Fittest

My nightly routine is the same without fail, seven days a week (Except today, I’m beat). I write or edit until 6 am, watch TV or read and lights out at 630am. Baby Frank usually gets me up a few hours later,  He and I share my third floor. I’m good with that. Last night, I should have known. I crawled into bed at 615am.  BF is in my bed. “Hey Nena,” he says.
            “Hey, baby, scoot over so Nana can get in bed, okay?”
            I get in … UG! The entire bed is wet. What the heck, he never wets the bed. Here, he brought his drink into my bed, fell asleep and it spilled. No problem, I change the sheets, change his jammies, put on cartoons, we cuddle, it’s 7am, he passes out. Ah …. Sleep.
            “Jack,” My daughter in law calls my name, she’s never in my room so this startles me. “Roni is in pain. She’s crying and needs to go to the hospital.”
            I look at the time it isn’t even 830.  I get out of bed, stumble down two flights, Roni is crying. I’m thinking she still has over 3 weeks, Has to be a false alarm, but let’s check it out.
            I get dressed and get Roni in the car. She’s really crying in pain. Her hospital is 17 miles away. I’m preparing for a long day. We take off. I’m half awake.
            “So, do you think we have time to stop at Starbucks,” I asked.
            Her reply … a huge screa of pain as she grips on to the dashboard and the ‘oh shit’ bar.
            Hnmmm. Before I rule out Starbucks, I suggested we time the contractions.  Honestly, I am thinking we have time.
            She gets one, I time it. It goes on and on and on and no sooner does it end, another begins. Starbucks is out.
            About 5 miles into our hospital trip she cries out. “Oh God, Mommy, I have to push.”
            “What! No. Wait. Hold it in.” I instructed.  At that point I decided the nearest hospital was my best option. So I headed there.
            She reiterates the pressure and me, I’m calling my mom to see what I should do. My mother in all her wisdom instructs me to drive faster. Gees thanks. I’m thinking about the water in the trunk, the sanitizer, paper towels, can opener, I’m good, I can deliver this thing. My mind is reeling on where to pull over and how to get my daughter to scoot to the edge of the seat so as not to get my car messed up.
            Thankfully, we arrive at the nearest hospital, Roni is crying and screaming, they bring a wheel chair to her, it’s rush, rush rush to the birthing room. It’s all happening so fast, the only ones aside from nurses in the delivery room, are me, Roni and my second ex husband.
            Surprising me, she’s fully dilated and ready to go. They break her water.
            Second husband is freaking out, “She’s in pain. She’s in pain.  Can’t you do something?”
            She’s having a baby for crying out loud.
            Too close for pain meds, Roni is really losing it, crying to me, “Mommy, it hurts, it hurts. They want me to go without it. What am I gonna do.”
            Keep in mind, my head is still spinning and without thinking I told her, “Nothing. You’re gonna have to suck it up.”
            Silence. The nurses, the doctor, the IV lady and second ex husband all look at me.
            “It’s true,” I said. “This baby is gonna come medication or not. Be Pocahontas, She was the queen of natural birth, they said she’d go into the field. Pop a squat, drop the kid, stick it to her breast, leave the aftermath for the animals and go back to work.”
            They all looked at Veronica, I supposed waiting for her to freak out and she didn’t. She pouted and said. “You’re not being very compassionate right now.”
            I gave an apologetic look, But really I’m on less than an hour and a half sleep, no coffee, no Starbucks, Roni didn’t tell me she was pregnant until she was 20 weeks and now she’s birthing early? I wasn’t ready.
            But she was.
            With a loud scream and groan that she had to push, second ex husband, panics, hands waving in the air, runs out screaming and ten minutes later I have a granddaughter.
            I guess my Pocahontas story really motivated her.