Nancy's Notes From Florida

Twitter Chat

June 14, 2022

Join me tonight for a Twitter Chat Q&A from 7pm to 8pm EDT sponsored by @cozymysteryclub. Use the hashtag #cozycornerchat and ask me questions. Or you can follow me at https://twitter.com/nancyjcohen

Twitter Chat

Ask anything you want about my books or publishing or the writing process. I’ll be available for the entire hour. And if you’re not familiar with Twitter Chats, we can learn together. This will be my first one, so I hope you’ll join in!

WATCH THE VIDEOS

If you missed my workshop on “Self-Publishing Made Simple” you can watch it here for a limited time: https://bit.ly/3Q2OthF

If you missed my interview by author Jennie Spallone, watch it now at https://bit.ly/3QhzbFM – Use this Passcode: #wu3zQbH

 



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Bargain Books

June 9, 2022

Are your favorite author’s books being priced out of your range? Or maybe you’ve found a new series that interests you, but the backlist titles are too expensive. Where can you get them if not retail? And how can you find new authors at prices that won’t break the bank?

Beach Bag

Check out my post at Booklover’s Bench for tips in filling your beach reads basket and enter our monthly giveaway while there. Also take a look at our group posts “On the Bench” for some entertaining responses. Go to: https://bookloversbench.com/lets-talks/bargain-and-backlist-books/



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Hurricane Prep List

June 2, 2022

Hurricane season begins June 1st, and this month is the best time to stock up on emergency supplies. Once a storm is on the way, store shelves will empty fast. Remember to also review the expiration dates on your pantry items to see if any need replacements. When a warning is issued, follow the tips below.

Hurricane Prep

1. Buy bags of ice. Put on lower shelves in freezer, and later in fridge if power is out, so melting ice doesn’t flood the interior. Or freeze water in plastic containers to help keep food cool. You can also use empty water bottles instead of discarding them. Turn fridge to coldest setting ahead of storm.
2. Buy bottled water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and caffeinated beverages that you can drink cold or at room temperature. Fill plastic pitchers, thermos bottles, and other containers with tap water and refrigerate for drinking.
3. Have enough food in stock. Fruits that keep well are grapes, apples, bananas. Applesauce and other packaged fruits are good buys. Get bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can buy peanut butter in individual portions. Get snack packs with hard cheeses, crackers, dried fruits, apple slices, or grapes. Canned chicken, baked beans, and nuts are good sources of protein. Cans of tuna or salmon tend to smell more if there’s no garbage pickup so buy these in a pouch. Make a sandwich ahead of time so you have a grab-and-go lunch.
4. Cook and eat the perishable foods in your freezer and refrigerator. Hard boil your eggs, and make sure you cook dinner early as the storm approaches in case the power goes out.
5. Have a cooler handy. If you lose power, put a container of ice or a freezer pack inside along with the refrigerated foods you’re likely to eat first. This will save you from opening the refrigerator door too often.
6. Consider boarding your pet at a kennel or make plans to secure your pet with enough supplies.
7. Back up important computer files. Send an email to yourself at another address with your most recent files. Back up to a flash drive that you can carry around. Store files in the Cloud.
8. Bring in all loose objects from outside.
9. Do the laundry.
10. Perform personal grooming essentials. It’s hard to shave and wash hair with no lights, and the water might get contaminated.
11. Fill gas tank in car. No power, no pumps. And motorists on the run will consume the fuel.
12. Get extra cash to have on hand. ATMs won’t work in a power failure.
13. Pay bills due or coming due.
14. Charge cell phone, tablet, and other portable electronics. Get a portable charger.
15. Prepare a list of repairmen and tree trimmers who might be needed.
16. Buy hand sanitizer and moist wipes in case the water is contaminated.
17. Have paper plates and cups on hand along with plastic utensils and paper towels. Also invest in duct tape and plastic sheeting to use if a window breaks.
18. Stock up on trash bags to clear away debris.
19. Place a flashlight or battery-run lantern in each room or in a central location. Keep extra batteries in stock. Candles can be a fire hazard, and they don’t provide enough light to read by in the dark. Carry a flashlight with you wherever you go in the house in case the power blinks out. For any solar-powered devices, make sure they’re well exposed to light beforehand.
20. Put insurance papers and other important documents, including copies of recent utility bills, into a plastic bag for quick departure, or store copies in a separate location. Scan them into your computer files and backup to the Cloud. Put other important papers into a plastic container. Some folks suggest putting these papers into your dishwasher or washing machine, as they are waterproof, and closing it tight.
21. Buy an emergency hand-crank radio that also comes with a light and a cell phone charger. I like the Eton brand, which is sold on Amazon. Make sure you get one with a USB port for charging your devices.
22. Learn how to open your garage on manual in case the power goes out. Keep these instructions handy. Also learn how to turn off the low battery alert on your security system.
23. Get a Kindle or other e-reader with a backlight to use when the power goes out. Keep it fully charged.
24. If you think water might get into the house, put some clothes into a large plastic garbage bag and seal it.
25. Prepare your safe room for tornadoes. Put blankets on the floor unless it’s carpeted. Add a portable radio, lantern, e-reader, snacks, water bottles, and emergency papers in a plastic bag. Put your purse in there. Also have a go-bag with chargers and other emergency items.
26. Keep the air-conditioning temperature very low so when the power goes, it’ll stay cooler a little longer.
27. Add a first aid kit to your supplies.
28. Have a plan with family members on how to get in touch after the storm passes.
29. Take photos of your belongings. If you can, keep a spreadsheet with dates and place of purchase as well as cost. Store these in the Cloud or on a flash drive for insurance purposes.
30. Consider where you’ll go if power outages will last a while. Hotel or relatives? That’s assuming you can leave the area with downed trees and power lines.

Hurricane Prep List - Are You Ready for Storm Season? #hurricane #tropicalstorm Click To Tweet

Watch the weather reports at:
National Hurricane Center:  http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
The Weather Channel: http://www.weather.com/
Spectrum News Orlando: https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando
Broward County Hurricane Page: http://www.broward.org/hurricane/Pages/Default.aspx
Disasters: https://www.ready.gov/

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here to win a free book from Booklovers Bench in our monthly giveaway!

June Contest



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Writing a Book and Doctor Visits

May 26, 2022

Writing a book is like going to the doctor. You enter the office with nervous anticipation. You leave with a sense of relief. Writing a novel is similar. You begin the story with the same sense of heightened anticipation. When the first draft is done, you feel immensely relieved.

A doctor visit engenders several questions. Will he find something unexpected? Will the procedure hurt? Do I have to disrobe? What kind of follow-up will I need? And why is that poor fish swimming all alone in the waiting room’s aquarium?

Unexpected Finds

We’re always afraid the doctor might find a disease we didn’t know we had. This question also applies to writing your book. Will you discover some unexpected plot twists as your characters take over the story? Will the results turn out the way you’d planned? New ideas may pop into your head or be inspired by things you see and hear around you. These may take your story in a whole new direction. For writers, the unexpected reveal is a pleasurable event. The more your story stews in the subconscious, the more chances of this happening. Embrace the unexpected and see where it leads you.

Will it Hurt?

Writing a novel can be painful. Not because it may dredge up memories from your past, but because it’s not easy to face the blank page every day. Will you be able to reach your word count? What happens if you write yourself into a corner and get stuck? Will this book be as good as the last one? We struggle with these demons and others as we sit at the computer each day. Nonetheless, we keep plugging away until the first draft is complete. Similar to a medical procedure, if it’s something that needs to be done, you just have to do it. Remember BICHOK – Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard. That’s the key to writing a novel.

Do I Have to Disrobe?

Your novel, once published, exposes your vulnerabilities to the reader. This book baby is naked to the world. Reviews will be mixed, hopefully with the good outweighing the bad. It’s inevitable that you expose yourself as a writer when you publish your work. You invite feedback every time you put a story out there. Grow a thick skin and get over it.

What about Follow-Up?

Like the next doctor visit, fans will be anticipating your next book. You need to get started on it soon after you finish this one, while allowing yourself time to decompress, research, and plot the sequel. Marketing is essential at this stage, too. You can’t put your book out there and forget about it. If you slack off in your promotional efforts, book sales will lag, too.

The Lone Fish

Writing is a lonely business. We sit in our home office in front of the computer all day. When we’re not writing, we are working on promotion and marketing. Friends and family don’t understand the hours of dedication we need to get the job done. It’s a full-time career with no time off. The pressure is always on to produce more or to do more social media.

We have to remind ourselves that we’re not the only fish in the sea, and we need our families to support us. In return, we have to take the time to be with them because that’s what really matters in life. Writing a book is an achievement, but you want someone with whom to share it. In terms of understanding what you do, your critique partners and writing friends can empathize. Don’t feel you’re in the turbulent waters all alone.

Writing a Book is like a Doctor Visit #writingcommunity #writers Click To Tweet

Upcoming Workshop

Saturday, June 4, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, “Self-Publishing Made Simple” Writing Workshop via Zoom with Nancy J. Cohen sponsored by Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University. Pre-Register at https://bit.ly/3ytN1yn

Do you have a novel that doesn’t fit genre guidelines or a personal project you want to self-publish? Or perhaps you want to reissue backlist titles or become a hybrid author? In this workshop, award-winning author Nancy J. Cohen will discuss setting up your own imprint, buying and assigning ISBNs, preparing your manuscript, ebook and print distributors, and marketing tips.



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St. Johns River Restaurant

May 21, 2022

It’s fun to explore a new area, and the St. Johns River has been on my to-do list since moving to the Orlando area. After I took my car for maintenance at a dealership in Sanford, we headed east for lunch at a restaurant that I’ve wanted to visit. St. Johns River Steak & Seafood is at 550 N. Palmetto Ave. in Sanford, FL. It’s at a wharf adjacent to the historic downtown. We were very pleased with the food and the views of the expansive waterway.

 

My husband had crabcakes. I had grilled grouper with asparagus and a baked potato. We couldn’t resist key lime pie for dessert. The meal was enough for leftovers even without a salad or bread.

  

I miss the ocean in Fort Lauderdale and seeing the cruise ships, freighters, and barges offshore. This is the closest we come here, but it doesn’t compare to the Intracoastal either with its water taxis and gleaming white yachts. Still, we enjoyed the tranquility as we feasted on our meals.

 

The drinks must have filled us up. Richard had a Mai Tai and I got a glass of red sangria. With our stomachs satisfied, we kept our couches company when we got home. Forget about getting any work done.

 

Recent other excursions have been to Central Florida Zoo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Epcot for the Flower & Garden Festival.

Meanwhile, I’m plugging away at Star Tangled Murder. I’m over 36,000 words on page 123. My goal is approximately 80,000 words. This will be book #18 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.

 



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