Archive for January, 2012

Proofing and Literacy Autographing

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

The proofs for the audio book version of WHERE SHE BELONGS arrived in my in-box yesterday from AudioLark. I proofed four chapters right away, so am about 25% through. I’m really enjoying the audio book! The narrator, R.E. Chambliss, also narrated BORROWING ALEX. She did such a great job capturing the romantic comedy tone of BORROWING ALEX that I wondered how her narration of an emotional romance novel would compare. My verdict? R.E. is every bit as good at narrating serious, emotional stories as she is at narrating romcom. Jess, Adam, Nora (Jess’s mother), and the secondary characters are all coming alive for me. I think that’s what I love most about my novels being made into audio books–how they feel to “come alive.” It’s a different experience listening to a book you’ve published, and I am so pleased with the audio rendition thus far. I hope my readers (listeners?) will be, too.

As for the Five Star Expressions library-hardcover edition of WHERE SHE BELONGS, I’ve registered for the RWA National Conference in Anaheim this July. I signed up for the Librarians’ Luncheon on Wednesday, July 25th, and I just found out today that Five Star is donating a box of my books to the Literacy Autographing that will occur in the convention center next to the Conference hotel. So I’ll be signing copies of the book for the public.

I am excited about this. I have only signed as Cindy once before, and that was a long time ago, when HEAD OVER HEELS was first published. I donated ten of my own copies to the Autographing, however, because there wasn’t a box of books by my station, my name placard and place were removed. Then I arrived with my books in my arms, and the volunteers setting up the stations realized they’d made a mistake. There was no room for me in the Ps, so I sat at the end of a table in the Ms. I managed to sell all ten copies of HEAD OVER HEELS that I had brought along, but it was a little weird to be sitting among the Ms.

I have signed as Penny once, and the publisher in question always donates books to the Literacy Autographing. Apparently, they had donated a box of Penny’s books plus had stuffed two more copies into a box of another author’s books. Good thing they did, because the full box of books was nowhere to be found and all I had to sign were those two measly copies. I quickly “sold out,” heh heh, but stuck around to speak to readers regardless.

So…my third Literacy Autographing is approaching, and this time cross your fingers it goes off without a hitch!

Eye Report – Six Weeks

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Bad blogger. Lazy blogger. Intermittent blogger.

Yeah, yeah.

Okay, we have two things goiug on here.

  1. I hurt my rotator cuff about 15 months ago and REALLY whacked it all to heck nearly 7 months ago, and I’m still recovering. I’ve made great progress since July, but I’m not 100% by a long shot and I am still in treatment despite having had a cortisone shot in August.
  2. My laser eye surgery resulted in very dry eyes that curtails my computer time. Whine, whine. Yes, I know, I’m ungrateful. But I’m sharing my experience in case you’re considering eye surgery, too. You might find it helpful.

Six weeks ago today, I had SBK laser eye surgery. SBK is supposed to combine the benefits of PRK (where they remove the surface layer of the cornea before the laser gets to work) and LASIK, where a corneal flap is created by use of a surgical instrument. PRK takes up to 6 months to heal/achieve best vision, and day 3/4 is a bear (I can attest to this because Eldest Son had PRK last year). In SBK, they create the corneal flap with the use of another laser, instead of a surgical instrument. This is supposed to be safer than LASIK, but it’s also more expensive. At least in my part of the country. But apparently you can “go back to work” 72 hours after SBK surgery, and I loved the idea that I would be able to drive within 3-4 days, so despite the extra cost I went with the SBK (also the clinic now no longer offers LASIK). I went with Monovision. This means that my right eye was corrected for distance and my left eye for reading/working on the computer.

The first day, as the eyes thawed out after surgery, was very, very painful.

We had to drive to another town for my surgery, so I couldn’t quickly go home and “sleep through it.” During my one-day follow-up, only one fellow reported that he had been able to sleep through the de-freezing process, and I think it was because his mom filled him with more drugs than we were provided at the clinic. So, day 1 was pretty much a horrorshow.

Day 2, back to the clinic I went, and I was pleased that I could read 20/20 “minus one” on the eye chart with my right eye. This means I missed one letter. But…the letters I was reading weren’t super clear, and I thought that would improve over time. Meanwhile, my left eye was nearly reading the smallest line on the reading chart, and I had never expected it to be able to do that. I thought, at best, my left eye would do me well for computer and desk work, but that I’d still need reading glasses to read a book or pill bottles (this has been the experience of friends who’ve done LASIK monovision).

I had another follow-up on Day 4, with a local optometrist this time. I was doing okay but my vision hadn’t changed since Day 2.

Fast forward to 1 Week follow-up. Because it was Christmas and Boxing Day, I didn’t actually see the optometrist until Day 12. And my regular optometrist was still on holiday, so I saw his colleague. At 7 days post-surgery (a few days before this follow up), I was to stop using the steroid drops and anti-bacterial drops. And so I did. To me (the uninformed), my right eye was healing nicely, but my left eye felt like it had something in it, and it hurt! No matter how many drops I put in, this irritation continued until the day or two before my follow-up (10 days). I thought it was part of the healing process for left eye. But the optometrist told me I HAD probably had something in my eye. But now it was gone.

At this one week (12 day) follow-up, I had realized my eyes were very, very dry, which is a side effect of the surgery. They felt like contact lenses I couldn’t take off. But it turned out that as well as having dry spots on both eyes (especially the right), there was a haze on my right cornea. I had to go back on the remainder of the steroid drops and keep up my regimen of fake tears, various brands so I wouldn’t develop an allergy (some brands have no preservatives and some brands do). I also had to book an extra appointment for the following week. That unnerved me.

Day 18. Because of New Year’s Day, I had to wait until Tuesday for this extra follow-up. The good news was that I no longer had a haze on my right cornea, but my eyes were extremely dry and I could sit at the computer for maybe 20 minutes at a time. So the “you can go back to work after 72 hours” thingie? Not! Maybe if you work outdoors or even inside in a store. Maybe if it’s not an extremely dry winter (December and half of January were horribly dry where I live). Maybe if you aren’t middle-aged and so produce more natural tears. Maybe if you aren’t a writer! Maybe just if you aren’t me!

On Day 18, I still had the dry spots on both eyes, though not as bad, and I was told to continue taking eye drops (various brands depending on the time of day) every hour and to use an ointment at night. I was told to do this until the 1 Month follow-up.

Day 18, the vision in my right eye had decreased, but my optometrist hoped it was a result of the dryness. The vision in my left eye had improved. I could read the tiniest print they gave me.

Those next couple of weeks, I used so many eye drops that it began affecting my skin below my eyes. So, not only have I not worn mascara since before the eye surgery, but I now had a bit of eczema (which might have happened regardless because of the cold dry air, but I’m sure the constant use of tissues didn’t help). (I finally wised up and found some super soft cotton and cut it into “hankies” to use, and then the eczema cleared up…with the help of a skin ointment.). I was, as my husband likes to say, “a wreck.”

My One Month follow-up occured at about 4.5 weeks post-surgery. So, mid-week last week. I was relieved that the hourly use of eye drops had eliminated the dry spots on both eyes and I could now begin reducing my use of eye drops. And I have, but working on the computer (like writing this blog post) REALLY makes me need the eye drops, so you can understand why I’m rationing my computer time.

The good news at One Month was that my left eye thinks it’s bionic, and I only have to use cheap drugstore readers for super tiny pill bottles. I can work at the computer and at my desk and read before bed no problem, except that my eyes get more light sensitive after working on the computer and so I’ve been hitting the sack early pretty much since the surgery. I’ve also discovered a night eye ointment (Lacrilube) that I really like. It’s like wearing Vaseline on your eyes. You can’t see, but, man, the moisture.

The bad news at One Month…well, to me it’s bad news…was that my right eye no longer sees distance as well as it did at Day 1 and Day 4. And the astigmatism doesn’t appear to be letting up. My optometrist advised me that if the distance is the same at 3 months, I will likely need driving glasses for night.

If my right eye continues like it is, if it doesn’t improve, personally I feel I will also need driving glasses for daytime use. And that would be okay except sometimes I even feel the need for them when I’m walking the dog. The strange thing is, I can see the houses on the hill across the lake well enough to satisfy me. There’s an odd mid-range that’s escaping me. And…my dumb right eye, which is supposed to allow the left to work on the computer…the longer I’m at the computer, the more my right eye thinks it should get in on the act. I’m just starting to realize this. So after working on the computer/at my desk, I go to walk the dog and my distance vision, IMO, is crappy. I am not at all happy with that turn of events.

To me, I feel that if right eye continues being a rebel, I might need what they call an enhancement (my mother needed an enhancement following her laser eye surgery, so maybe we both have rebel eyes). But you can’t get an enhancement until minimum six months post surgery. So for now I’m working on the computer when my eyes allow, faithfully taking eye drops in hopes the dryness will continue to improve, and trying very hard not to squint when I’m walking the dog and see a street sign. Plus, I’m talking to my right eye and trying to get it to understand it’s meant to see distance, NOT the computer. Shape up!

Hey, if you can talk to plants, why not your eye?

If you’ve had laser eye surgery, I’d be interested in hearing your healing experiences., whether you’ve had PRK, LASIK or SBK.

I’ll follow up again at 3 months.

Lovely RITA

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

I finally received my RITA packet of books to judge today. For those not in the know, the RITA is RWA’s annual contest for published books, and it’s judged by your peers. That’s what I am, I guess. A peer. Because I’m judging.

I’m looking forward to digging in to the books. In fact, I think I’ll start reading the first one as soon as I post this minuscule update.

This Friday will mark 6 weeks since I had my eye surgery. Will do an Eye Report then.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to share what they’ve been up to, I’m all ears. Just not eyes. The eyes, they still need TLC.

Oh! I registered for the RWA conference in Anaheim this July. It’s in my time zone, so I couldn’t pass it up. If you’re a member, are you going?

I’m At Everyone’s Story

Friday, January 20th, 2012

I’m over at Everyone’s Story for the next week. Blog owner Elaine Stock asked me some excellent questions. Pop on over and share your philosophy on having a positive attitude (or a crappy attitude, your choice).

For My Birthday, I Received A 4-Star Review from RT Book Reviews!

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

I know, I’m always talking about my book lately. But there’s been a lot to talk about! And I’m putting in eye drops every hour as a result of my laser eye surgery 4 weeks ago. The computer monitor is not nice to my “new” eyes. Right now I’m blinking away really heavy eye gel as I type.

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a good one. Partly because the day before I learned that RT Book Reviews (formerly known as Romantic Times), awarded WHERE SHE BELONGS with a 4 Star review! I am thrilled about this.

Here’s the review:

Procter-King has written a “home” for all of us. Destiny Falls is the place that holds your first love, your first triumph; it’s where you lost a person you cared about. Jess is a character who women will identify with, having to forget a past that is beyond difficult to do. Coming to terms with loss, while attempting to understand that a parent is also a person who needs their own life and love, is a tough road. But the author has done a good job of showing readers that out of anguish can come hope.

RT also saw fit to post the cover near the review. I have no idea how they decide which covers to feature on the review pages. But thank you, RT, for choosing to highlight my cover!

Now I need to write a newsletter and update my website pages. But I can’t stay on the computer long enough. So I’ll do some filing. Maybe even laundry.

Yes, the life of a writer is glamor, glamor, glamor.

Audio News

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I am thrilled to announce that I’ve sold the audio rights to WHERE SHE BELONGS to AudioLark, which published the audiobooks of HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX.

Renee Chambliss, who narrated BORROWING ALEX, is also the narrator for WHERE SHE BELONGS. The audiobook should be available from AudioLark and third party sites like Audible, iTunes and Overdrive in mid-March. That’s the tentative release date. I’ll let you know if things change.

Meanwhile, the BORROWING ALEX audiobook has hitherto only been available from the AudioLark website, but now is in the queue to upload to Audible, iTunes and Overdrive.

I am very excited about getting both BORROWING ALEX and WHERE SHE BELONGS onto Audible. HEAD OVER HEELS has done very well there for sales, and hopefully my other two books will measure up.

Meantime, I’m finishing up the second of five short stories in an romantic comedy series I intend to self-publish. I’ll take a break between stories 2 and 3 to write a short for Penny. At least, that’s the plan for now. We’ll see how Elle Muse cooperates.

How are things going in your corner of the world?