What the Hell?

We’re Riding Out The Storm! 

Like the eye of a storm -find the sunshine and calm within you, even if there is chaos outside.”

Brittany Burgunder

Okay, I’m freezing, the electricity has been out for more than fifteen hours, and a storm is still raging outside. It’s as if I’m starring in my own horror movie, and things are about to get grim. The wind is howling, lighting is streaking through the sky as if Zeus himself were standing on Mt. Hamilton, and rubbish is cluttering the streets. It looks like a warzone. 

I half expect Freddy Krueger to come walking down the street.

The entire back fence at my daughter’s house fell down last night. Obviously, it couldn’t take the stress anymore. I can relate. When I glance across the street, I can see all the way to El Solyo. Did I mention the neighbor has a pool, and it’s about to overflow?

I’m writing as fast as I can because I’m running out of battery and I’m hungry.

But we can’t cook, heat the house, OR MAKE COFFEE. Larry and I decide to drive into town for breakfast. This seems safe enough, but we’re about to find out most of the traffic lights are out, trees are blocking the roads, and work crews are parked haphazardly all over the place with orange-clad men carrying chainsaws. The newscaster warned us all to stay home.

Did I mention I was hungry? 

We decide to take our chances. Larry’s truck has four-wheel drive, and starving to death seems foolish despite the storm. As we were leaving our favorite empanada cafe, I cleverly bought a coffee to go, or I would be writing this without caffeine. I know. Sacrilegious!

Luckily we have a gas fireplace, and it provides a little warmth while I host my computer on my lap, and write from the sitting room. Clearly, not all is dismal. I’m using my phone as a hotspot, but my battery is down to thirty-three percent. I’ll need to be expedient with my message! 

So here it is…

I want to praise and maybe worship the Word Press writing community for being one of the most supportive and encouraging communities I have ever experienced. Well, aside from the Girl Scouts, so a close second, but then, of course, there’s the mighty Geckos. But I digress. 

It feels as if a miracle happens every damn day. 

Here I am, stumbling around in the dark (literally), and just when I’m about to break my blessed neck, someone illuminates the darkness with their own damn brilliance. 

My personal storm has to do with trying to publish a book. Grow Damn It is scheduled for release next month. On February 23rd, to be exact (as you’re probably all nauseatingly aware), and I’m still trying to finalize the manuscript. The process is daunting, especially for amateurs.

After a lot of back-and-forth shenanigans, the publisher creates a document from the manuscript for my approval. A document you can look at but not touch. If changes are to be made, you have to send them in a special form listing the page number, paragraph, highlighting the old copy, and clearly stating the new verbiage. My first change sheet had like forty-nine changes. I’m sure they are enamored with me at Black Rose. 

I had the original document edited by a professional, but I added several essays, changed the format, reorganized the material into sections, added some pictures, etc. And now, I’m forced to take on the roles of writer and editor. It’s like editing your own thoughts or, worse, trying to visualize what you look like without a mirror or light.

I realize I’m being dramatic, but my battery is now down to twenty-nine percent, so I don’t have time to clean this mess up. 

This whole process has been complicated as if learning a new language by braille, it’s called Publish. And believe me, something always gets lost in translation.

So I recently sent in my last and final adjustments to the project. It seems like we’re cutting it close to the wire. I, for one, like things done well in advance. That’s just me. But this project seems destined to slide into home base, road rash on my hip, and dust on my drawers as the clock ticks toward the final seconds of the game. Well, at least it will be an exciting finish.

Now jumping to the good part since I’m down to twenty-two percent. 

When I announced what I was doing, this community sprang into action as if the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz, you know the ones, they were all born with green thumbs. Get it? Grow Damn It. Okay, it makes sense if you’re sitting in the dark and your breath is fogging up inside the house!

Last week I was flooded by water due to my ingenious grandchildren, but as we know, most storms are followed by a rainbow. This week I’m flooded with opportunity, or at least, that’s how I chose to experience it. 

Sometime last year, several well-established bloggers and authors jumped in and not only publicized my book but offered to write blurbs, review it when it comes out, and many of you have already purchased an advanced copy. 

I’m sort of over the moon about all this kindness and support.


I got an email this morning. When I opened it, it was as if receiving a bouquet of flowers. The hint of rose is still floating in the air.

Inside this note was a plethora of information on marketing my book, which I have been floundering around with, and not making much progress. I’m talking details. Debby explained how she had to hunt for the link to preorder my book, and that needed to be rendered immediately. She suggested I add a page to my website with a description, a link, and blurbs about the upcoming publication. 

I did.

She also suggested I pin the preorder tweet to my Twitter page. I did.

She coached me on how to recreate a cover photo for my Facebook page using Canva (posted above). I did.

But the fun doesn’t end there. I have commitments from several people to showcase my book when it comes out on their blogs! ON THEIR BLOGS! I know. It’s over the top.

By the way, it’s still raining cats and dogs. I’m down to nineteen percent on my phone. Now, if rain is a metaphor for growth, I’m considering this a really good sign. 

While I’m writing this piece, Larry is reviewing the visa bill from December in the hall bathroom because it’s the only room in the house bathed in light. You can’t possibly imagine his angst. Every few minutes, he yells, “Cheryl, did we spend $500 dollars at a wine bar in New York?” 


He comes storming down the hall, hair standing on end, eyes bulging, and says, “We did. It’s right here in the statement.” 

I google the wine bar and explain. “We had dinner there with the entire group. You paid the bill for seven people, and they all venomed you.”

He mutters as he returns to his makeshift desk on the toilet. Then ten seconds later, he says, “Cheryl, what did you buy at C & H for $200.”

“I didn’t.”

“It was the day before Kelley’s birthday. Wait, that was the day I went shopping with the girls? Oh, never mind. That was the present I bought you for Christmas.”

“I returned it. Remember? We reordered a larger size (keeping it real), and you saved twenty-five percent because it was on sale.”

“That’s right. But there’s another purchase from the same store.”

“I picked up a little something extra while I was exchanging.”

“Or course you did.”

A few minutes later. “What is this purchase from Amnimoto?”

“That’s your Christmas present that was delayed because of the storm. It still hasn’t come yet. Now you ruined the surprise.”

“Maybe we should cancel it?”

“Absolutely not, you’ll love it.”

“What I don’t love is this visa bill.”

This is where my love/hate relationship with December comes from! Damn, thirteen percent.

In the meantime, I emailed Black Rose. They’re happy with the manuscript. They’re happy with the pre-orders. They’re undecided about me. 

Get in line! 

I’m Living in the Gap, riding out the storm, I’ll gladly be your cover. Any storms you care to share?

My book is NOW available at Black Rose for preorder! If you are compelled to purchase a book or two prior to the publication date of February 23, 2023,  Grow Damn It!: The Feeding and Nurturing of Life, you get to use the promo code: PREORDER2022 to receive a 15% discount. Your pre-ordered copy will process and ship on or prior to the release date. So you get it first! Whoot! Hoot!


Leave a Comment

  1. That a girl Cheryl! I’m happy to be of help. ❤ As you are discovering, you are very much left on your own when publishing, and have to learn to wear many hats. I'm really not sure what your publisher is doing for you. By next book you'll be a pro and will do it yourself. 🙂
    As for that storm. Oye! That's craziness! Stay warm, charged, fed, and caffenated. LOL. Hugs ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Okay, we now have not only electricity, but heat, warm water, and light! I’ve decided I will never take those power lines for granted again! I’m so over sleeping in a wool cap, jacket, and gloves! I can’t thank you enough Debby for jumping in and throwing me a life line before I went under. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, how many damn hats there are in the publishing business, and the day I hold an actual book in my hand I’m opening a bottle of champagne and enjoying every sip! Much love to you, hugs, C

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lol. Ya, authordom is quite the experience, and happy to help. And I know you’ve been in storm after storm – and your plumbing bustication. I live in cold Toronto, and we once had a huge power fail in the depth of winter for two days. I know about sleeping in ski jackets and hats too. I can say lol now, but it wasn’t then. I do hope Cali is in the calmer now. And I will toast my margarita to your champagne. 🙂 Hugs xox

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Crystal. I still feel as if I’m trying to make my way in the dark both metaphorically and literally! Lights are back on today! I’m feeling blessed to say the least! It’s still raining but I really can’t complain because we need the water! I think God finally got the memo about the drought in California, and as usual, she overreacted! Hugs, C


  2. Cheryl, mazel tov on your wonderful adventure. I wish you great success on your book sales.
    I am in Southern California and the storms are brutal in many spots. Thankfully, where I am, it is wet wet wet, but we still have electricity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren, thank you for the good luck wishes, I clearly need them. We have our power back on, I missed the warmth and the light! We need the rain but this is crazy! I’m glad you still have power and I’ll just say we’re thankful for the rain. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We heard about your storms on the news. I hope you are past the worst of it by now. I will definitely feature your book on my blog in February, but I don’t recall if I asked you this. Will there be a Kindle version? (If not in February, then eventually.)
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pete, the power is finally back on, and I’m ever so pleased. I spent the day reading blogs, commenting, and enjoying the warmth! It’s still raining but we need it so I’ll refrain from complaining too much. And yes, I would love for you to feature my book in February! That would be wonderful. Thank you. This is what I’m talking about. Our writing community is so supportive and generous with each other, especially you! Black Rose said there will be a kindle version on Amazon right before or after the publication date of 2/23/23. They have not said if there will be an audio version? We’ll see. Thanks again Pete, I’m grateful for your kindness and support. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dorothy, I was hanging on by my fingernails! It was brutal! No coffee, no shower, no heat and just between me and you, it was a blessing not to have football blasting on the television all day! There’s the damn rainbow! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cheryl, congratulations on your upcoming release and wow, the support is fantastic – but I am not surprised. This is a wonderful community and kudos to Debby for all her fantastic advice – which you’ve diligently followed. I’m making notes of some of these ideas for my next book release! Blimey, the weather sounds horrendous and hope the worst is soon over for you all. Take good care and enjoy the celebrations of your new book! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Annika, I appreciate your kind words. The electricity is back on and we have heat, water, and light! Every time a light flickers, I hold my breath! This is a wonderful community. I’m blown away by their support and generosity. Debby is a lifesaver and willing to share her plethora of knowledge on publishing. She has at least eight books available on Amazon and her experience is invaluable. It’s still raining here for the next few days and then they are projecting a break. I almost forgot what the sun looks like! Hugs my friend, C

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would have planted my body, computer and phone in my car (with the heat on high), charged them, prayed a tree didn’t fall on me and that I didn’t float away! How nice of Debby to help out like that. On a positive note, after all you went through learning, think how easy the next book will be Cheryl! Good luck you will rock it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diane, you crack me up! Larry decided we needed to get out of town and stay overnight in a hotel with heat and lights! Well that was a huge fiasco! Details to follow on Wednesday’s blog! I love how you always look for the positive in every situation! And yes, if there ever is a next time, I be much more prepared! Thanks for the good wishes. Much appreciated. Hugs, C


  6. I’m excited to read your book! Congratulations again! I’ll be ordering a copy when I get out of my current brain fog. When we have power outages, I always freak out because of my laptop battery getting low along with my phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I appreciate your kind words and support. You have a lot going on right now so give yourself all the time you need to grieve and recover. It’s a difficult and messy process. Here’s to no more power outages, low batteries, and cold showers! I’m ever so grateful the power came back on and life is getting back to normal. Hugs my friend, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind words. The storm really hit you guys unlike my kids in Berkeley. I was doing much better during my week up there. Now that I’m back home, I get hit with some waves of sadness. My brain doesn’t seem to be keeping up to speed either.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, you are dealing with A LOT, and I commend you for keeping your sense of humor–at least on screen. Maybe it’s a good thing laptop batteries die, huh? All the best wishes (and champagne, when you can chill it) with your book release!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a crazy week, Rebecca, and might I add, barely survivable! I admit, dead batteries was a good thing, a very good thing! I was fit to be tied by day four and God knows what might have landed in this space! But the champagne is chilling and we’re ready to celebrate with the lights on! Cheers my friend, hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

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