Carlie'sChanging1

Charlie’s Changing, Part 1-3

Charlie’s Changing, Part 1-2

It wasn’t easy waiting for Weston to leave as Charlie floated in the pool, invisible. Not invisible because she developed an ability to blend in. The kind where her whole body melted and she wasn’t sure where the water began and she ended. She could feel every movement of the pools light current. She wasn’t just herself, she was all of it and this somehow made her feel even smaller and helpless. When the boy left with his kitten, he had taken the clothes he had found out of the water and laid them out on the fence as if he knew the owner would be back.

She wondered if he had recognized it was what she had worn earlier in school, but he didn’t seem to notice. He looked around and waited for some time then headed back in. Now, the trouble was getting out. She got in easily, jumped in and saved the little kitten who struggled to find his way out. Where were her fingers or toes. She could see everything from all angles making her feel dizzy and unfocused. Then as if it was all in her imagination she was there, standing in the water. Moving her fingers over her arms she almost didn’t believe it was real.

Sneaking home through the woods, she almost knew where every fallen tree would be as she jumped over the hurdles like a marathon to get home. Jasmine and her always went this way when going to each others house. They even had secrets hidden throughout this forest. Some buried and others hanging in plain sight. She wasn’t sure exactly what she was running from as the light grew dimmer under the canopy of leaves. No one was chasing her and it wasn’t like she could run from herself. Before she had to cut through a neighbor’s yard she stopped. Arms resting on her knees, she was panting and sweating.

Hearing the sound of a car being locked she looked up to see her father walking in the house. Dinner would be on the table waiting for him. Mom would be running around the kitchen cleaning everything up and Charlie was supposed to be there, waiting like every night. He wasn’t going to be happy if she didn’t make it there first.

Walking in, she shut the door softly, head bowed and ready for her punishment. Her father had a set curfew her whole life, it included the entire family. Charlie had never eaten over a friend’s house or spent the night. Jasmine for the longest stopped speaking to Charlie when they were younger because Jasmine thought it was unfair she always had to come over. Charlie never really minded the rule so much because she thought Jasmine’s family was really weird. Their idea of dinner was finding anywhere in the house to take a plate of something frost-bitten. It didn’t take long before Jasmine came over interested in a taste of Charlie’s mom’s tiramisu.

Every night there was a delicious feast. Charlie’s mom was a retired chef and now worked part-time at a bakery. Charlie’s mouth watered from the smell but her stomach was still churning and her head was pounding with confusion.

“Cynthia, she’s home.” Charlie’s father called out.

“You had me so worried!” Her mother hung up the phone, probably Jasmine’s mother, and came running out to embrace her.

“Relax mom. I’m fine, just late.” Charlie wasn’t sure exactly what just happened. She wasn’t sure how to explain it, and maybe right now it meant she shouldn’t. Her mother seemed so flustered and worried. Telling her something like this would probably have her calling for ten different doctors opinions.

Cynthia gave her a stern look. “We’ve had these talks. It is not appropriate for you to be out after day light. It is the only rule we’ve ever enforced.”

Charlie shrugged her shoulders. It was true, but only because Charlie never pushed any limits. She wasn’t sure how flexible her parents exactly were.

Turning away Charlie walked upstairs. Her father placing an arm around his wife with a similar stern look. Shutting her door and closing the blinds she plopped on the bed taking a deep sigh as she wondered what was going on. Reaching for her computer she started searching her phenomenon. No matter how she put it there was nothing to describe the events of today. Closing her eyes after several hours she pushed it all out of her head.

Tossing in the night she had a dream of drowning. Not being able to see where she began and the water ended. As if she was treading her legs through the water she found herself floating iridescently above the water. She kept going higher and higher toward the blinding sun before she fell back down like rain.

Charlie’s eyes fluttered open surprised to find herself floating a few inches above her mattress. Anxiety rushing through her limbs she moved falling against the bed.

Carlie'sChanging1

Charlie’s Changing, Part 1-2

Charlie’s Changing, Part 1

“Everyone’s saying you fell asleep in class and started having night terrors.” Jasmine whispered loudly in the cafeteria.

Charlie didn’t understand why her best friend felt the need to whisper this to her if everyone was talking about it. For a second she wished her nightmares were real so she could melt into a ball of liquid and escape her most embarrassing moment ever. This was worse than when Boner got his nickname in fifth grade when his teacher hugged him because he was the only one who remembered her birthday.

“Hey Screamer.” Boner plopped his tray on the table sitting extra close to Jasmine, nearly splattering her with the weird mushy liquid surrounding his beef patty.

“Please don’t tell me that’s what their calling me.” Charlie groaned resting her head in her hands.

“Just trying it on for size.” He smiled, a piece of the brownish substance on his tooth after he shoved a spoonful in his mouth.

“Ugh.” Jasmine pushed him aside. “You’re so lame. Why do you even sit with us.”

“Because you love me.” He smushed his lips together leaning toward her.

“So gross. Get over yourself. I swear one dare can make you regret your life.” Jasmine tried to act disgusted but Charlie knew she liked the attention. Charlie had never accepted a dare and Jasmine never accepted a truth. “Charlie get your head out of your hands. Sit up straight, like nothing happened and they will all forget about it.”

“Or you could embrace it!” Boner perked up again. “Nicknames make you legendary.”

Jasmine rolled her eyes.

“Hi Jasmine, Charlie.” Weston spoke up causing Charlie to take Jasmine’s advice with flushed cheeks and a spinning stomach. It was a good thing she hadn’t eaten her lunch yet.

“Weston, sit! Show Boner not every guy is as crass as him.”

Weston looked a bit nervous. Jasmine made a lot of guys nervous, probably because she had matured back in middle school, but Weston didn’t seem to notice too much. Every time she went to Jasmine’s house she would catch him reading in the pool in his backyard, mowing the front lawn, or hanging out with his friends playing video games. All things Charlie liked to do, except mowing the yard but she did it when her dad was busy at work and her mother was having her faint spells. She had grown fond of the sound of the lawn mower and witnessing her finished work.

“Sorry but I promised my friends…. Um….Charlie I was just wondering if you had taken notes in math class. I got sort of lost. Every other teacher just went over the syllabus and well I wasn’t expecting….”

“Yea, definitely. Do you want to take a picture of them.”

“Are you going over to Jasmine’s today?”

“Of course she is!” Jasmine grabbed my arm. “It’s tradition.”

“Cool, maybe I could just come by and copy them. You know, so you won’t be without your notes.” He ran his fingers through his dark hair. “I’ll see you guys later.”

“I guess not everyone knows.” Jasmine poked her in the ribs. Charlie pushed her lips together pretending not to fill agitated by her best friends brutish touch. Charlie didn’t have any siblings and after witnessing Jasmines two younger brothers rough play throughout the house she knew Jasmine was just trying to share it with her too. Charlie just wished it wasn’t so much.

“Oh everyone does.” Boner smiled and Jasmine threw him a dirty look.

Managing to stay awake through the rest of her classes she rode the bus home with Jasmine after giving the bus driver a forged note from her mother who had forgotten to sign another permission slip.

Jasmine went on and on about all the cute boys this year. Charlie agreed they were all cute, but she also thought they were some of the shadiest guys in school based on rumors alone. Now she had her own rumor as the girl who screams in class. Since her’s was true she assumed everyone else’s rumors probably had a lot of truth in them too. The clock ticked by slowly, tortuously, and it was getting closer to dark. Charlie would have to leave soon.

“I have an idea!” Jasmine turned from the mirror, where she had experimented with the angle of her web cam and a new glossy lipstick she had worn for her video date, with the guy she had met on vacation. “How about you just go over there?”

“What! No I couldn’t do that.” Charlie shied away from the idea. If he didn’t want the notes then he didn’t want it.

“Oh come on Charlie grow some balls.” Jasmine replied seriously with a look of disapproval.

“First off, not possible. And second off, he must have changed his mind.”

“One of these days you should really consider stepping outside that shell Charlie. Then maybe you wouldn’t wake up screaming in first period.”

Charlie’s jaw dropped. This wasn’t the first time Jasmine had said something so callous before. “I should go home.”

Jasmine shrugged her shoulders and looked back in her web cam, dismissing Charlie with the waive of a hand. It was fairly typical for the two girls to grow a little tired of each other after spending a long day together when they hadn’t seen each other for such a long time. It would take a little longer for them to get back in the swing of things.

Feeling irritated with Jasmine’s statement she thought maybe Jasmine was right. Charlie could stay up all night wondering why Weston would stop by to ask her for her notes then not show up or she could just offer them.

She went to knock on the door until she heard a loud splash in the back yard. Changing her trajectory she peered over the hedges. She couldn’t see anyone from the angle.

“Weston.” She called, receiving no response.

Opening the latch from the inside, like the girls often did when Weston and his family were out-of-town, she stepped through the gate and looked around to find a kitten whimpering softly, trying to paddle its way to the ledge.

Without question she jumped in the pool to grab the poor wet animal, lifting him out as he ran away to scratch on the back door. She could see a figure through the tempered glass and wished she could just disappear.

Weston walked outside, picking up the wet cat. “What are you doing out here Buttons? Why are you wet?” He talked to the cat, looking around. But he didn’t seem to notice Charlie.

Charlie moved with the swaying of the water, translucent and no longer in human state. Weston walked toward the kittens wet tracks seeing Charlie’s clothes floating in the water. He grabbed a pole and used it to fish the clothing out along with her shoes which floated around her and the rest of the water. Weston couldn’t see the difference between the chlorine water and Charlie’s liquid state. He poked her a few times but her transparency and lack of a mouth prevented her annoyed yells from being heard beyond her thoughts as each jab felt like jasmine’s poking.

Unedited by B. Mauritz

Three “Jobs” to Achieve the Dream

IBC_IMAGE4thumbDreams can be left on the back burner or you can stretch yourself as far as you can to expand toward them. This Sunday I made a change in my life. I have taken on a third job per say. You are still reading the blog of a Sales Account Executive for a demanding wireless company, a published author with plenty more books to pump out, and now a  Mary Kay independent beauty consultant.

When I announced this the first reaction on my social media was whether I had quit working my day job. The answer is no. I’m not going to lie, this isn’t going to be a piece of cake but I opted in to Mary Kay due to the flexibility and it being my own business.

My salary job is great. I love the people I work with and I enjoy the ventures I take with my company. But when you have a dream to continue publishing books, and you want to remodel your house, and you want to buy yourself something nice once in a while, you may often find the career job is just taking care of your needs like paying bills. This is all great but I want more. I think we all do at the end of the day.

Joining Mary Kay was easy for me. I hosted a party and got my free gift, Satin Hands which I LOVE, and they informed me on how one can succeed with their model. I only had to pay a fee for my first kit. It’s a job where I set my own quota and my own hours which means I can be successful as long as I manage my time and continue to build relationships.

Where are the priorities? How will I do it all? It’s important to be strong in my first job because it carries the weight that keeps me surviving and I’ve spent a lot of my time rising to the position I have attained. I have to keep writing, everyday, because each word adds up to a chapter and it is the ultimate dream. Mary Kay doesn’t come last but it certainty comes in-between. I hope it will be the glue I’ve been missing.

This means I will have to book appointments outside of my day job but most of the time it will be all fun because I will be pampering people with my products and get to see the same excitement I had when I felt how smooth my skin was. The most important is to remember to keep writing every day. Wish me luck and I will let you know if this decision worked out for me to help me pursue my next challenge of publishing my second book.

I have not opted in to my Mary Kay website. Right now I am currently assisting customers on my Facebook page.

What extra work have you taken on to pursue your needs, wants, or dreams?

Carlie'sChanging1

Charlie’s Changing, Part 1

Carlie'sChanging1
Charlie Grace turned on the light next to her bed. She examined her skin then touched herself, worrying one touch would make it all happen again. She was whole. It had all been a dream. She looked at the clock. In half an hour her alarm would go off for her first day of high school. She groaned into her pillow wishing she could somehow roll over and reclaim her peaceful sleep the night had stolen from her.

After putting in major work on her unkempt face she rushed down to the kitchen smelling the sweet smell of maple syrup. Her mom made her favorite waffles. The berries were in season in her moms garden. Just as she hoped, her mother had woke up early to pick them. Dad was reading the paper but he put it down long enough to smile and tell her she looked well. He was always busy for work but he never forgot to give his favorite and only daughter his undivided attention once in a while.

After checking in with her he went back to his paper and her mother topped her off with whip cream and more fresh berries on the side. As Charlie poured the piping hot syrup on the waffles she remembered the strange dream where her body liquified and she was stuck, unable to move or find a way back to her shape. The dream left her with chills. Then she thought about school, leaving her anxious and excited.

Her mother dropped her off at the curb, she had enough time to meet up with her best friend Jasmine at the front of the school. They both greeted each other with big hugs and squeals. They had so much to tell each other. Jasmine stayed with her grandmother in Florida over the summer and went to Disney World. She told Charlie all about how she fell in love with a cute boy who lived in Colorado which was no big deal because they had video chatted every day since she had left and even before they both went to school this morning.

Charlie’s summer wasn’t as eventful. She went to camp with the same people she saw every year for science club. Everyone had looked the same, the boys hadn’t even hit puberty, or if they had she didn’t have much to look forward to in this career. Charlie knew from the age of six she wanted to become a scientist. It wasn’t until a year ago she realized she wanted to be a marine biologist and find better ways to communicate with the sea creatures. Maybe one day she could even find a way to save the ocean from further pollution. If it was up to her everyone would give up driving and anything to do with the use of oil.

“Charlie, what are you doing for your birthday?” Jasmine asked when they reached their lockers. Jasmine had already traded with some other kid so they could be next to each other for the semester.

“Just the same family dinner. You’re coming right?”

“I can’t. My parents are having some important client over and they want us to play house.” Jasmine’s parents were separated all summer.

“We should throw a real party this year!” Jasmine jumped up putting her hands together. “We could have a big blow out. Invite everyone here. How cool would we be if we had the first party of the year?”

Charlie pointed to a well-designed poster. Jasmine shrugged her shoulders. It sounded like a lot of work any way. Charlie didn’t like putting in so much effort because she didn’t like discussing her age.

“Hi Charlie.” A boy waved her way then rustled his hand through his hair when her only response was a confused, awkward smile.

“That’s Weston.” Jasmine poked her in the ribs. “Oh my, what happened to him over the summer?”

Weston lived next door to Jasmine. Their families were very close but Jasmine hadn’t done a very good job of staying in touch with any of her friends.

Jasmine was right, something had drastically changed in Weston. She looked down at herself. She hadn’t grown as much as the other girls over the summer; which hurt more since she was a year older than them all. She wondered when she would go through her changes.

Sitting in first period it felt so free being able to pick my seat even though Jasmine and I weren’t in the same class. She was so used to assigned seating. The teacher’s lecture on the rest of the year made Charlie tired. Even more than she realized because she hadn’t been sleeping well for weeks.

She looked down at her desk where she was writing a note for Jasmine. Tell her about how boring her teacher was and how he asked questions then answered them himself like he was having a conversation. She started to write about how cute Weston’s dimples were when he smiled. She had always noticed but it wasn’t until now she felt Jasmine would agree instead of laugh at her.

Mid-sentence her pencil started bending. Lifting her hand up it fell around the tips of her fingers. Puddled on her desk she tried poking at it and the gel-like substance moved around her finger then filled back up when she lifted her hand. Looking up she noticed everyone’s faces were drooping like they were about to drip off their faces. Paralyzed she froze. The desk began to liquify, the legs twirling against her legs bringing her down to the floor.

“Charlene Grace.” The teacher commanded; even though she corrected him during roll call telling him she goes by Charlie, she always did.

Shaking her head she helped herself off the floor to sit on her sturdy chair. The class erupted in laughter as she struggled to get up and open her eyes wider. Had she fallen asleep or imagined it all?

“A raised hand would be adequate.” The teacher responded over the loud noises and called everyone to order.

Unedited mini series by B. Mauritz.

Project E.D.E.N at Marietta Book Exchange Event

Project E.D.E.N. by B. Mauritz at Book Exchange

Public speaking is my least favorite activity but when it comes to letting people know you have a book worth captivating their attention, well you put all your petty fears aside. It’s not like stage fright has killed anyone, right?

This past Thursday I spent the evening at a local bookstore where I got to raise awareness on my first book and th
e pending series I am working on in the background. Book events are exactly what you would think. A great experience to get to know your local authors, buy books and get them signed, and participate in giveaways.

This was my first event where I got to speak and though it was scary I was very happy to have the privilege of going first. I tried to think of all the right things to say about a book series and make my audience aware of where the first book took place. I can only hope I sent out the right message. Of course as I do more of these events I will get more comfortable with talking about my work.

Public speaking is something I’ve been doing quite often over the past several years in my day job, but it’s different. I am telling an audience about services my company offers and I can detach myself. This is completely different with my book. My book is very personal and self-criticism is something I am learning to distract myself to provide a better delivery. Practice in the end will make it sort-of perfect, because nothing is.

Things I recommend taking to an event if allowed:

  • Your books (duh)
  • Business Card (I made business bookmark cards)
  • Brochure or Author one pager (I made a brochure telling them about myself, my book, why I wrote it, and the series)
  • Author sign-up sheet
  • Giveaway with raffle
  • Decorations that make sense; especially table-cloth

If you are a reader I definitely suggest staying touch with your local books stores events on their websites. For authors I would recommend speaking at one of these events as often as possible. It is a great place to meet fellow authors and interested readers you would have never had the opportunity to meet on your own.

I have to thank my friend, @kjbetareading for keeping me posted on upcoming events in our area and to Marietta Book Exchange for hosting a wonderful evening. I was able to make contacts with other authors like Sherri JohnsonLinda Sands, Marsha Cornelius, Brenda Sutton Rose,  Mary Anne Edwards, and many others.

Know Your Target Audience

Target_audience

Writing a book requires a lot of attention and focus well before we start to write and continues after long after it is done. It is easy to write a book but it is much harder to sell your book if you don’t keep your target audience in mind. Before you begin to write you should consider your target audience and whether your book fits them and their culture. Then you have to consider whether your genre also fits your target audiences interest.

I have always been fascinated with science fiction and fantasy books. Outside of genre I found the books I was most interested in reading were Young Adult. I was then able to use the right language and style of writing for my ideas to make since to my audience, the young adult. Writing toward their perspective was entertaining and flowed very easily from my thoughts to the keyboard. Once you find the genre and the age group of people who will fit as your average customer/fan base then it is time to think more about their interest and how you can find ways to get your book in their hands.

If it isn’t as easy for you to think of your target audience ask yourself several questions:

  1. Who can read/buy books? Gender, Age, Income, Education…
  2. Who can use/read your book?
  3. Who are your Influencers? (People who self-promote you)
  4. Which format do they want? Paperback, Hardcover, Ebook, Audio…
  5. What are they normally buying and where?

If number 1 to 2 is a blank thenI suggest moving your pen to another piece of paper and consider it further before you write or publish your book.  All of these questions are very important for promoting and selling your book to the right audience but it’s also important to make sure the language you use and your examples within the text are relatable to the majority of people you write for.

Appeal to their interest and needs from the beginning of the publishing phase by picking a title that resonates and catches their attention. Choose a cover they can see ten feet away that makes them wonder what’s inside and tailor your book’s message. Steps 3 and 5 are important because it shows you where you and your books should be and how they can get them.

Inspired by Publish 15 workshops.

Pubish15

Blogging to Create Waves – Publish 15

Hosted by:

Pubish15

Shari-Stauch-e1429909968855

Shari Stauch Creator, Where Writers Win

Blogging to Create Waves was the third workshop I walked into at Publish 15.  Feeling enthusiastic to get my feet back in the game on social networking I learned a lot from this workshop but mostly reaffirmed I was on the right path, I just need to be consistent. Below are a few things I learned from Shari Stauch with WWW.

Rules of Engagement:

  • Who are you?
  • What are you doing?
  • Why you’re doing it?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Be passionate about it.

DO:

  • Include link, photos, and videos.
  • Edit your posts.
  • Set regular schedules.
  • Share often.

Don’t:

  • Engage with trolls (people who criticize you and/or your work who thrive to get a response from you).
  • Set unreasonable expectations.
  • Blog with addresses you don’t own.

How often should you blog? (In General) Facebook once a day. Tweet 3 times a day.

What to blog about:

  • Start with Attention titles: Provocative questions, #’s like 5 things you need to know about…
  • Path to Publishing
  • Relevant Issues
  • Traveling
  • What’s on your nightstand.
  • Blog community exchange.
  • Scenes from the cutting room (unpublished pieces).
  • Advice
  • Book reviews in similar genre.

How to Grow Audience.

  • Guest Blogs
  • Social Media
  • Link Blogs
  • Install Blog Feed on Sites.

Sources

Do you have any advice to share on blogging and using social media?

Stay posted for the next weeks blog on Publish 15 about Target Audiences.