Sep 092015

I whined to writer friend Dana Corbit that even with a home office that has a door I can shut, it is still difficult for someone who has AD/HD like me to avoid interruptions and distractions that slow the writing process, sometimes to a screeching halt. Dana, who also has a home office, told me that she doesn’t use it when she writes.

I tried to hide my astonishment. She has a completely equipped home office, every writer’s dream, and she doesn’t use it? What manner of madness is this? Should I summon the paramedics?

Dana assured me that she wasn’t crazy, just practical. There are too many distractions and too many items on the dreaded To Do List to discourage a writer from writing when she’s at home. She’s spot on about that. There are floors to mop, meals to plan, dishes and laundry to wash, plants to water, a recipe collection to alphabetize, and so on.

09-09-15 #5 Continue reading »

Jan 072015


It cannot possibly be 2015 already. Where did the time go? I cannot believe how fast the years go by of late. Years lasted a lot longer when I was a kid. Of course, I was still in school so it is understandable that a year dragged on into infinity back then—until summer vacation, which went by in a flash.

It seems like only yesterday that I was making New Year’s Resolutions for 2014, which I didn’t keep for very long. I didn’t make one single New Year’s Resolution for 2015. To tell you the truth, I’m against the concept of New Year’s Resolutions. Continue reading »

Aug 192014

Jolana Malkston 4I confess. I loved school as a kid, but I wasn’t one of those suck up, teacher’s pet, brown nose types. No way. I was just insatiably curious and still am. I love to learn new things.

Unfortunately, the knowledge I retain leans heavily toward the offbeat and trivial. For example:

Trivia 1

The computers used to send Apollo astronauts to the moon were no more powerful than a cell phone. I wonder if we could send astronauts to Mars with a smart phone? Continue reading »

May 062014

Jolana Malkston 4I found a very intriguing email in my inbox about two weeks ago. A member writer posted a notice to our chapter list serve about a small romance press that needed additional editors.

Hmmm…The prospect piqued my curiosity. I took an editing course as a college undergrad, and I edited for an educational book publisher several years ago.

Hmmm…I wouldn’t mind making a few extra dollars while turning old and gray waiting for the publishing world to discover me.

Hmmm…Surely, it can’t hurt to look into becoming an editor—except for one sticky little detail. Becoming an editor means turning on my own kind, becoming every writer’s nemesis, and crossing over to the dark side. What would my writing buds think of me?

My curiosity, and my lust for a paycheck, got the better of my conscience. I went to the publisher’s Facebook page, and I responded to the “editors needed” post indicating my interest.

The publisher’s speedy email reply was two single-spaced pages long. It contained detailed information about the publishing house, the romance sub-genres it publishes, what it requires of its editors, its editorial pay scale, and its three-part application process. If I was still interested, the publisher instructed me to begin the application process by completing and returning an attached editing test. The test contained plot holes, content conflict/errors, POV issues, errors in grammar and punctuation, and then some.

Oh, heck. In that post about needing editors, nobody mentioned anything about having to take a test. Darn. I don’t particularly like tests. I didn’t test well as a student. Taking tests stressed me. I was more of a post-test genius. I remembered all the answers I couldn’t think of only after the instructor collected our test papers.

Oh, well. I suppose I could have decided not to take the editing test, but there was that prospective paycheck to consider. I clicked on the attachment, opened the doc file and read the test manuscript.

Oh, dear. It wasn’t a test. It was a minefield within an obstacle course within a maze. I read through it again to make certain my eyes hadn’t played tricks on me.

Oh, shoot. They hadn’t. [sigh] When I proofread, I find that errors are more visible on a printed page than on a computer monitor. I printed the ten-page test to get a better look at it before I completed the test in a Word document.

Oh, wow. Errors peppered the manuscript, and some were downright devious and not all that easy to detect. I’m convinced that the test’s creator has a mean streak at least a mile wide. I scoured the manuscript for hours. Every time I was sure that I found the very last error, I read through the test again only to discover that I missed yet another.

Oh. My. God. My eyes begged for mercy. My eyes and I developed renewed respect for editors who possess the patience and tireless dedication needed for finding and polishing literary diamonds in the rough. If I pass the editing test, I would be proud to join their ranks.

I sent in the completed test, and I am waiting to hear back. I don’t have a good feeling about passing. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t test well. I must catch and correct more than 75% of the errors in the manuscript to pass the editing test, and I must pass the editing test in order to advance to part two of the application process.

Wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it, because I consider myself fortunate to catch 75% of the errors in my own manuscripts. 😉

Feb 042014

Jolana Malkston 4Today is my birthday! Please don’t ask how old I am now; that particular question is personal and acutely invasive. It would place me in the awkward position of having to tell you to mind your own business—bless your heart.

Just kidding.

Actually, growing another year older doesn’t bother me one little bit. The alternative to growing another year older is a downer and sure would bother me. Getting to stick around for another year is a priceless gift.

My Baby Sister and I have winter birthdays that are only two weeks apart [five years and two weeks, that is] so we try to celebrate our birthdays together. Last year, I milked the occasions for four birthday dinner celebrations: one for her birthday, one for mine, one joint birthday celebration, and one on Super Bowl Sunday—which happened to fall on my birthday in 2013. I suppose all those birthday celebrations could have been aired in an episode of American Greed.

Yes, happy birthday to me. Aside from all those luscious birthday dinners, I received the gift of spending more time with my loved ones and getting more hugs and kisses from my grandchildren. I received the gift of seeing more of my children’s and my grandchildren’s accomplishments this past year—and seeing more of their comic antics.

I also saw another year’s worth of God’s comic genius, of his quirky sense of humor, of those little jokes he plays from time to time on members of the human race like the Polar Vortex. His best joke of last year: He actually had Miley Cyrus convinced that she is sexy and that people want to see more of her tongue. Ha-Ha! Good one, Lord. I’m still in stitches.

Birthday gifts are great fun. My Baby Sister gave me two dressy T-shirts because she says my T-shirts are not feminine enough. I don’t agree. I have one that says: “If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman to hear, is he still wrong?” How do you get more feminine than that?

I hope to be around to celebrate more birthdays for a long time to come. I’m not ready to go to Heaven yet–presuming I will go Heaven, that is. At certain times, I’m not sure that my going to Heaven is a given.

One of those times occurs when I’m writing and I must sully my keyboard with some of the naughty words with which my characters insist on expressing themselves. Shameful. They make me want to wash my keyboard and my fingertips with penicillin.

Then there are the times when I experience a twinge (more like a stab) of envy when another writer experiences publishing success of some kind. I always feel petty afterward, I always remove the pins from the little doll afterward, and I always repent and sincerely congratulate the successful author afterward.

If I don’t go to Heaven, if I go in the other direction, I’m certain of the culprit: my writer’s mind. I don’t know if this happens to other writers, but my writer’s mind takes me elsewhere mentally no matter where I happen to be physically. I’m embarrassed to confess that I have been known to lose focus when I’m in church during Sunday mass. My writer’s mind wanders in the direction of my current work in progress. I find myself plotting when I should be praying. I’m hanging my head in shame as I write this, even though I know it is bound to happen again. ::sigh::

Macho Guy will be back from playing golf very soon, so I’m going to cut this short and get gussied up for my birthday dinner—and birthday cake, lots of chocolate birthday cake and ice cream. Mocha Almond Fudge, of course. Mmmmm. 🙂

What? I forgot to tell you how old I am? Well, they say the memory is the first to go.

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