30 Days of Sass


"Times past count I done the Tell. But it weren't me that tumbled Walker. 
It was Savannah. So it's only right that she take the Tell."
"This ain't one body's story. It's the story of us all. We got it mouth-to-mouth.
You got to listen it and 'member.'Cause what you hears today you got to tell 
the birthed tomorrow.

I'm looking behind us now. . . across the count of time. . .down the long haul,
into history back. I sees the end what were the start. It's Pox-Eclipse, full of 
pain! . . . but some had got the luck, and it leads them here. . . Time counts 
and keeps counting.

And they does the pictures so they'd'member all the knowing that they lost. 

'Member this?" (dialog excerpt from 'The tell of Captain Walker; Mad Max Beyond 
Thunderdome.)
14123536_10155172587680031_1888954358_o (2)'Member when I said I was so excited I could hardly 
wait to share?
30 Days

Well, today I get to share! WOOHOO!

The countdown is ticking towards hitting my 500th post! Can you believe it?  Wow! That seems nearly impossible. This is a good example though of how a little each day adds up. Which is a good lesson to keep in mind for the overwhelming task of making a full-length

Can you believe it?  Wow! That seems nearly impossible. This is a good example though, of how a little each day adds up. Which is a good lesson to keep in mind for the overwhelming task of making a full-length novel.

pennedcon (1)

Penned Con is  coming up as well, September 23rd and 24th. I wanted  to have something new, something fresh. Many of you know that I have multiple irons in the fire. First, I had to decide which project I was going to focus on. Valkyrie’s Curse was waiting to be read by Eclectic Bard Books. As I had listed that as the next book to follow Red Wine & Roses,  I had to focus on that one. I am not good at waiting.

So . . . news on that front, as of November 18, 2016 I will no longer be with Eclectic Bard Books.

What does that mean?

First off,  all rights to Red Wine & Roses will revert to me  on that date. Eclectic Bard Books has relinquished their first rights to any of my future work as of November 18, 2016. Valkyrie’s is mine. Kiss of the Dragon is mine. Faere Warrior is MINE!

Secondly, I wanted to do something to  benefit Action for Autism, the charitable organization that Penned Con supports. After much urging on my husband’s part and encouragement from  several others, I took their strong urgings to pursue this project, which is more like the opinion column I used to write for the local newspaper, Suburban Journal. Apparently, there are some people that appreciate my delicate sense of smartassness.  My sagacious wit is what landed me the gig on the column years ago, and seems to be one of the reasons that many come back to read my posts on here.

Sometimes our talents take is in a different direction than what we intend. I  envisioned myself as writing a series of romance novels but my writing is less about romance and more about other things.

So here it is . . . . drumroll . . .

14139147_10155179714160031_296446251_o

TADA!

Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass is now available.

This collection of daily musings combines edgy, funny, practical, everyday reality with a dose of personal sass. There are life-lessons in the words that are applicable for everyone. I hope they will put a smile on your face and brighten your day!

Genre: Nonfiction, humor, encouragement.

This collection is taken from the top 50 posts on ‘Quotidiandose, revised and expanded with additional commentary and . . . well I’m not going to candy coat it, a lot more sass. *shrugs*

A portion of all print copy sales will go towards Action for Autism.

In addition,  I have 4 tickets available for Penned Con! These tickets cover the 2-day event and includes:  signing rooms, panels, & keynote speakers. Travel, hotel, & meals are NOT included.

If you are thinking about going, which I highly recommend, or are in the area and want to swing over for a day of author madness…inbox me on my Facebook account! Ellie Mack Author 

First come first serve!

Thank you to every one of my followers for reading my words of wit and wisdom, or sarcasm as the case may be more appropriately stated. Thank  you for encouraging me!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

30 Days


 

‘Our automated print check didn’t find any issues.’

*thumbs pointing back at self with silly grin*

This chicka is doing the happy dance!  OK, well it took me three tries to get to that message, but the happy dance has ensued.

Things are happening. It’s about to explode.  I want to share but I need to wait. It would be like taking a pie out of the oven halfway through and then serving that delicious smelling pie with an uncooked crust because you were impatient. EW!

I can share a small tease, how about that?

14123536_10155172587680031_1888954358_o (2)

Are you curious? Have I piqued your interest?

Stay tuned for further news.

Until then, write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Schedule


PLEASE NOTE THIS PAGE IS STILL SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENNED CON SCHEDULE   THURSDAY Sept 22 6-8pm Early Attendee Registration 6-9pm Author Setup FRIDAY Sept 23 9:00 am Registration Opens 10:00 am …

Source: Schedule

Time to Destress


The  local school district started back on their school year  on Monday which also coincides with my daughter returning for her college semester. I thought this was a good time to implement changes in my own schedule.

I had every intention of making a post on Monday, and on Tuesday, and on Wednesday . . .  you get the idea. Wow, cray cray comes out to play when you decide to make improvements. Has anyone ever experience this?  It’s like, as long as you exist in the current chaos karma doesn’t notice you.  Let me stop right there for a moment.

I know in the Christian community it is frowned upon to refer to karma however, for all intents, karma is a non-Christian way of explaining a very Christian phenomenon. The Bible clearly states that ‘whatsoever you sow, that also shall ye reap’. In other words – what goes around comes around. In still other words – karma is a bitch! Do good – get good. Do bad – get bad.  It’s a simple concept that is universal, not exclusive to the Christian community. So, if you are going to get all bent out of shape for using the term, I don’t know what to tell you.

Where were we? Oh yes – KARMA. The existing chaos. Making improvements . . .  well, trying to at least. As soon as you disrupt the status quo, it apparently wakes up Karma and her evil sister Fate, and they in turn wake up the third sister Destiny. In this particular instance, Destiny apparently said ‘Oh good for her. That will bring her closer to realizing her dreams’ and rolled over and went back to sleep. Karma was pissed about her reaction in addition to your changes and persuades Fate to her side by bribing her with caffeine.

Never the less,  I proceed with my  intended changes. These are changes to improve, to correct, to streamline and become more efficient with my time.  Once upon a time, I had a schedule that worked. I was doing great then something changed and I let my schedule lapse. I knew that the 15th of August was when my daughter returned to college. I knew that would be a good time  to put myself back on a schedule. Keep in mind,  I don’t do well with a rigid structured schedule.  It has to have some flexibility built in.  However, I don’t do well with open-ended freedom either. It’s all about balance.

I  was rather slack over the summer which resulted in  three weeks of a frantic scramble to make up for time that I had wasted. Since Monday, all hell has broken loose in our household. Some of you might think to throw up your hands in defeat and say why bother. Not me. Nope, this little grey duck thinks –  I must be on the right path if I am getting this much resistance. (life experience has proven this to be the case.)

Having said that, let’s do a quick review to catch up, then I’m going to share the coolness that I found online. Ready?  Buckle up, hands and feet inside the cart while it is in motion.

  • Monday – new schedule in place, honored my time breaks, was quite efficient and productive. Focused efforts on beta read for a fellow author and progress made on my super secret project. (Come on, aren’t you just a tiny bit curious?)
  • Tuesday – errands, driving,  resale business, – I fell behind and didn’t get everything accomplished which  dictates that my afternoon today is going to be completing the tasks left unfinished from Tuesday.
  • Wednesday –  finish the beta read, 3600 words towards next project, review of potential covers and logo, arrangements for Penned Con, then  the internet went kaput. sayonara! Wait – no!  NOOOOOOOO! I wasn’t done putting my information in. I didn’t . . . tech is scheduled to show up on Thursday.
  • Thursday – working offline, domestic goddess duties, resale  tasks to complete, wait on tech guy, still no internet. 5600 words towards next project  – I’m on a roll!
  • Friday –    yay! We have internet again! Make up for all the work lost earlier in the week, finish domestic duties, resale business prep for the weekend. (there is always more foot traffic on the weekend)

In all of that,  I have specific things but not a rigid schedule.  As the blog posts were not at the top of the list,  they fell off the bottom and were moved to the next day.  This is just one aspect of the bullet journal that is both frustrating and  helpful. There is no sense beating ourselves up over it, just move it to the next day and it becomes the top priority. I will be perfectly honest, if I didn’t have my bullet journal I would be lost and have given up ten times over.

So, I am going to share what I thought was a creative idea in my planner.  Bear in mind, I am not an artist.

20160815_135543 The only purpose of this page is for self-motivation, a sort of self-talk when I feel down and feel like I am a failure, which is often.  I’m thinking of adding a pop of color over the eyelashes like eye shadow, but I haven’t decided quite how to do that. Feel free to copy it make your own, make something similar, laugh at my artistic attempts, whatever ripples your nipple!

Sometimes we need to take a deep breath, slow down, and realize that there is more to life than (fill in the blank). It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace that we set for ourselves and feel as if we are failing at every turn. This is why I love my bullet journal, it helps me maintain some semblance of sanity.

NOW –  for the cool stuff I found online. How many of you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality profiles?

Go HERE to find out what yours is.

That’s not the cool part.  By understanding your personality, then you can understand why you do things a certain way and what works for you. My personality type is ENFP – a campaigner. Read the description, you’ll see that it fits. This is the cool part –  a friend shared a link with me about how the personality types reacts to stress. Mine was dead on!

What stresses out an ENFP:
– Environments where rules are rigidly enforced
– Focusing on repetitive, detailed tasks
– Having to focus too much on sensory details
– Having to focus too much on the past or present
– Not being able to use their intuition
– Constraints on brainstorming or envisioning
– A lack of outside stimulation
– Being micromanaged
– Having creativity stifled
– Having to complete projects before they’re ready
– Criticism
– Lack of appreciation
– Having their values violated
– Overextending themselves for others

ENFPs tend to overextend themselves, and procrastinate, which is often a source of stress as it complicates their lives. (It’s like they know me!)When they become stressed, their naturally charming natures become more irritable and over-sensitive. (I can neither confirm or deny that this is true.) When stressed, ENFPs feel alienated and engage in deceptions to obscure what is occurring within themselves. They will feel that they are losing control over their own independent identities and feel conflicted by intruding circumstances. During continued stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function, introverted sensing. When this happens, they become obsessive and depressed. They will become hyper-aware of minor bodily sensations or abnormalities and interpret them as a sign of a serious illness. They may have a hard time communicating clearly, and feel numb and frozen inside. Their thinking may become cloudy and convoluted. They will feel that there are no possibilities or ways out. (This is why I am obsessed with the self motivational talks which you read here.) They may feel overwhelmed, out of control, unable to sort out priorities, and thus become inflexible. Some become obsessive about record keeping, cleaning, or other household tasks. (I should be so lucky that I obsess over something useful like cleaning!)

How to help an ENFP with stress:
– Give them space and time alone to sort out their feelings.
– Remind them that they are able and competent.
– Give them permission to “escape”
– Don’t give them advice. It won’t help right now.
– Don’t ask for details.
– Don’t try to “fix” the problem.
– Meditation often helps ENFPs
– Listen to them.
– Encourage them to exercise
– Encourage them to get enough sleep
– Encourage them to get a massage
– Be warm and kind in the way you speak to them
– After they’ve calmed down a little, ask them if they want help evaluating the situation.

I agree with all of those things except the massage.  Many people are all about getting a massage, not me.  I don’t like uninvited touching.  It kind of freaks me out to have some stranger touching me. Yes, I know I have issues. My issues have issues. Those issues have grand baby issues. Let it go. I have.

If you want to find out what it says about you, and possible ways to de-stress yourself and maybe how you can avoid your big stressors, go to psychologyjunkie and see what it has to say about your own personality!

You gotta admit, this is kind of cool!

I hope next week is better and things begin to flow like a gentle stream. No Karma, I did NOT say like a stream overburdened with rains from a thousand storms that  threatens to destroy everything in its wake.

I hope your week goes well for you! Are you making changes for the better? Trying to be more efficient? Leave a comment and share the changes that you are making.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Trailblazing on the Wine Trail!


Girl Wearing Walking Boots Hiking Up A Mountain

I mentioned last year some time that I was working on a wine tour  tie in for a book tour.  For those that don’t know, Missouri has some of the best wineries! There are several wine trails, numerous wineries,  and wonderful locations to visit.

Fall is just around the corner, can you believe it? I’m looking forward to the cooler weather for certain!

Our local town is having an Oktoberfest celebration. That centers around beer,  but we may have to participate in it anyway.

These celebrations and special events at the wineries are lining up during the cooler fall months,  which  holds a great deal of potential for possibilities. This is where my planner comes in. Just when you thought I had set aside the bullet journal, it resurfaces.

If it weren’t for my bullet journal I’d be drowning by now with numerous balls dropped. Sadly I had to admit I dropped a few even with the planner but that was because of my own overachiever tendencies. I”m juggling as fast as I can. I have made myself a promise that I can’t add any new balls to the  act until the others are taken out of rotation either by completion or being dropped. I hate to drop them. I really hate to drop them. I am doing better about not taking on new projects.

Thanks to my morning writing buddy, she has encouraged me to focus on one project at a time.  In doing so, I have been breaking down the tasks in my planner. This is really working well for me. It’s more than a to-do list.  using the calendar to schedule dates that I should accomplish specific tasks from the overall project have helped me progress forward. Ideally, I should be able to just do it but that isn’t the case. Left to my own I find  creative time-wasting activities that do not help in progressing me towards my goals.

I would think that the older I get, the more second nature these things would be but it seems to be the opposite. I can’t wing it like I used to. I have to make myself a list or I forget. I must have a list to keep myself on task when my mind is wanting to do anything else.

Yesterday I sort of spilled the beans about my latest project. In working on this, it has  rekindled the fires that I had nearly let go out.  Renewed, invigorated, and  reminded how I’ve let myself become derailed. No problem, set a new course! The only problem is I find myself in a situation akin to my first encounter of orienteering. For those of you who don’t know, orienteering is a sort of race where you are given a compass and a map and you find your way to the specific markers in a specific order in a timed event. Picture this, a fourteen year old girl, her stodgy teacher, a compass shared between us and a map. I got the map. I didn’t care about the compass. I understood maps. A topographic map of the park where the event was held with a trail marked on the map. Easy peasy right? WRONG!

Things look different at ground level than from a bird’s-eye view. We found ourselves in a thicket of brambles that blocked the direct path (a short cut because I was a newbie and we had taken a long time to find the first marker) to the second marker. No problem. We’d simply go around. Going around involved climbing up  a six-foot embankment, crossing a shallow creek then ascending the embankment on the opposite side. The opposite side was muddy. It was slippery and  we ended up going further upstream to climb up,  where the water had deepened in the small creek to about ten feet across, maybe six feet at the deepest point.. We managed to climb out of the creek bed and find the path at the top. It was a short distance to where the marker was. YAY! I ran in my enthusiasm towards it,  not hearing the yells of the teacher until it was too late and my head banged into a low hanging hornet’s nest. Literally a hornet’s nest! They were instantly pissed and on the attack. We ran back towards the creek, basically taking a flying leap from the top of the embankment. We waited out the hornets but not before several got us both. We still had three more markers to find and we were way behind schedule.

Let me just say, I have learned to listen to my teachers since then. We were soaking wet, with several hornet stings, and our map was now useless as it deteriorated in the water.  Just before dark,  the group had sent out a search party for us. My teacher had twisted his ankle climbing back up from the creek, so we were moving slower than ever. I never went back for a second attempt, I was too embarrassed at my failure.  I was fourteen. Today I would take the map and compass and find my way through their stupid maze and be done.

So how is it similar? So glad you asked.  That point where we found ourselves faced with a hedge of brambles blocking our path, then having to detour around. . . yup I’m right back there again. Well, I was.  LIke I said, in working on this project, I’ve rekindled the fires.

YOu don’t realize the fire is dwindling until you are left with just embers that are about to die out. I have to retrace some steps and find a new route. I can do this. You can do the same in your own life. It’s never to late to make changes unless you are si feet under. We aren’t there yet so there is still time to do some trail blazing!

Any day above ground is a good day!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Life’s A Beach


A beach that I can’t seem to get to.

Hello, everyone! It’s ridiculously sweltering here in the armpit of Satan, I mean the midwest.

I get to take a breather for a few before diving back in. Unfortunately, it’s not diving into any form of water. The past few weeks  have had me buried under editing, beta reading, revisions, and our resale business.  I will be the first to admit, I don’t need any more irons in the fire.

Two edit jobs are off my desk! Whew!

Revisions for my next project are completed! Double Whew!

Secret project will be revealed soon –  I am stoked! Initially, I had thought to offer this for free. However, Penned Con in St. Louis is coming up rapidly! I wanted to do something to help their charitable cause for Action for Autism. That’s when I got this idea.

I want to tell you.  I want to shout it from the rooftops but I can’t. Not yet.

Therefore, as my 500th post approaches, my project is going through the meat grinder and I wait. Impatiently I might add.  My fingers are crossed for this one!

I have a secret project that I am dying to tell you but I can’t share yet.  You know I am terrible at keeping secretes right? Argghhhh!

Meanwhile,  I dream of getting away to the beach. That won’t happen until these details are addressed. I haven’t been avoiding my blog family and followers, I’ve been busy busy busy trying to  finish this idea! Plus, it keeps me from spilling the beans prematurely.

Keep watching! Stay tuned. It’s coming.

Write on my friends, write on!

What Went Wrong?


This is a recap post for the month of July. What Went Wrong? My goal for the year has been to blog at least 15 times per month. Ideally, it would be daily given the name, but  time has not allowed that. (Refer to my numerous posts on Time management, or rather my struggle with it.)

At the beginning of the month, I always assess the previous month to determine what went well, what went poorly, what fell through the cracks, and  examine the new irons in the fire. I know, I said there wouldn’t be any new irons in the fire. But they are so shiny and new and . . . . thus my perpetual battle.

I have to scratch my head about July. It seems that I got very little done during this month. In that vein, I began to investigate and evaluate. My planner is not only my to-do list,  it’s a record of what happened. what I spent my time on, and when I’m serious about my  diet, a record of my eating so that I can see where I went wrong. So I started there.

Four birthdays and our anniversary. One of those birthdays was my husbands – happy birthday honey! We went out for our anniversary, it was a nice dinner. Came home too stuffed to enjoy  the dessert that I made.

We attended four auctions  for our resale business. I’m anxious for the weather to bet a little cooler so that I can stand to work in the garage creating new and renewed  items.

I have been without a car from July 6th through August 1st. THAT was a challenge! I don’t live in an area that has public transportation so a car is basically my lifeline. I live 7 miles outside of town. Yes, I’d be a lot more fit If I walked to town, but  it would take up my entire day.

I completed the manual that I had been tasked to do. (I discussed this in the post I Did It!) I finished an editing job. I worked on my own writing for Camp Nano, and won! I started doing this Level 10 Life thing that I read about.  I really like the concept of this. Google Level 10 Life and  check out Boho Berry’s blog.

I have made goals for each category, some I’ve done well with while others, not so much. The basic idea of this is to get my life in order. For those of you who have it all together great. I don’t. I thought that this might be a way to make small incremental improvements in these life  categories.

On the positive, I’ve accomplished goals in these categories: career and business,  personal growth and development, family and friends.

On the negative: I’ve made little or no progress in my environment (home office is on hold), health and fitness, and finances.

So why does it seem that I didn’t accomplish anything?  Because two of my goals were not accomplished.  Two goals that need to be my top priority.  Does anyone else struggle with this? All other accomplishments  are disregarded when  the two you really wanted to  mark as complete remain on the to do list. Which lead to the next question, how do I escape this vicious cycle?

I want to do better in August. This is why I evaluate what worked and what didn’t.  We keep what works and discard the rest. I was behind on my planner, but this afternoon I will be marking my new goals page, tracking my level 10 Life, setting up my schedule for blog posts and  general daily entries.

This seems to be my saving grace amidst a sea of turmoil. That is the reason  I sing the praises of my bullet journal. I’ve kept a planner for years, but somewhere into the year I quit on it. My bullet journal has helped me quit quitting!

Speaking of that, it’s time for me to tackle one of the areas I’ve neglected, my domestic goddess duties.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

A Perpetual Student


Each of us are perpetual students in one way or another. Each day brings opportunity, new lessons, old lessons, new topics, old topics, and life experience. What kind of student are you?

Way back in my high school years, the student body sorted itself into groups.

Teachers however, sorted us into different categories. Good students, average students, A students, bad students.

I couldn’t wait to graduate high school.  I wasn’t one of the popular kids, yet everyone knew me.  Well, to be fair, there was only 120 in my graduating class so it wasn’t that difficult. Anyway . . .  I was a good student.  No, really I was. I didn’t fare as well in college. I came to the crossroads of having to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life. . . and well. . . you already know how that turned out.

Life is the best teacher there is.  No one can ever take an education from you.  Having that little piece of paper and the college transcript to back it up is invaluable. But learning doesn’t stop in the classroom.

We learn about  the person we are dating. We learn what the boss expects of us. We learn which restaurants to avoid. We learn which stores have better prices and better quality than the others. We learn to care for our children. A note on this later. Each day we learn lessons both good and bad. The past few days I learned that I can manage to cook meals, do my regular housekeeping (minimal) and  not vomit while having a migraine. That is an improvement. I learned how to block calls on my phone, something I had left to the hubs to do. I learned that you can make a spy device with a burner phone. I also learned something about parenting an adult child.

First, let me start with this disclaimer. When they send new mothers home from the hospital with a newborn infant in their arms or carrier, they don’t send an owner’s manual. There were mothers a lot younger than me in there with newborn babies smaller than mine. I was instantly overwhelmed. We sometimes joke that the first-born is the trial and error guinea pig and we figure out a few things that work with subsequent children. The fact is,  it’s true. Your mother is there to help you ideally in this new endeavor, but it’s a steep learning curve.

I think my first mistake was naming my child a name that meant Princess. OY! We’ve had other names over the course of her  life  that were more fitting but her birth certificate declares her Princess, and thus she acts with the entitlement that comes with the name.

Drama Princess is having to learn that adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  A sharp lesson in how to treat other family members  was served up last night. Don’t get me wrong here, please. I love my kids with my whole heart. The idea is to raise your kids to become responsible adults not irresponsible overgrown kids in adult bodies. Adulting is hard. Responsible adulting is even more difficult. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I thought things were rough when they were teens. Nope, doesn’t even compare to young adulthood while they are still living at home.

Seeing the results when the light dawns, the lessons are learned, and you know they get it – priceless.

Well done grasshopper number one, well done.

 

 

CARPE DIEM!


seize the day

Original post -February 17, 2012- Things have changed a bit since then.  I don’t have the mortgage job working from home anymore. My editing is a work from home job and I still get the same type of issues. I thought this one summed up nicely the frustration of  others not respecting my time. I’m sure some of you can relate.

Seize the Day!

Oh if it were only that simple!  Opportunity knocks, frequently but do we recognize it?

Working from home presents a set of problems different from those in an office environment.  In an office,  there are politics, the cooler talk, conversations to distract you from working, and people to deal with. At home there is no politics to distract me, the coffee pot refuses to converse with me, and no people to deal with, normally.  However, it seems that many people think that if you “work” from home, you are really just being lazy and don’t have a real job.  How many writer’s have heard that one before?

These are the same people who drop in unannounced for me to go out to lunch.  Sometimes they stop in to vent about their day or their life.  Someone always wants my attention and help with their projects.  Funny how they never stop in to say, “Hey, how are you doing? Is there anything I can help YOU with?”

The point is, they think you are available for whatever they want to do. It’s the old ” Hey Ellie doesn’t have a real job, let’s ask her if she would volunteer her time to help us finish this project. I admit, sometimes the offer for a lunch out is a nice break.  Sometimes I need to run errands and company is nice.  I’ve usually completed my daily work for my first job by 10:00 a.m.  This is about the time when my friends seem to wake up and start their day.  It is also the time when I transition into writer mode.

It “looks like you’re just playing on the computer all day” is the way my teenage daughter put it.  Apparently, it seems to be the common opinion.  I do not have a boss looking over my shoulder or assigning me work.  I have to set my own schedule and apply self-discipline.  This is both rewarding and challenging!

But my work is right there, staring at me, calling me, summoning, taunting me in a way that it’s never far from my mind.  I try to set aside family time for the evenings, force myself to tune it out.  At least in an office, you can go home for the night and leave it on the desk. My desk is always visible. Most of the time I maintain a regular schedule – each thing in its proper place, nice, neat and tidy. This is the very reason that the interruptions in my day are so detrimental.  It’s not that I don’t like to socialize, if I didn’t it wouldn’t be such a temptation. If I’ve neglected a couple of hours work in the day, I feel obligated to put in the hours in the evening.

Sometimes those distractions are opportunities in disguise.  An opportunity to get outside these walls and live is often the fresh breath of creativity I need. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with!  A trip to the grocery store can open my eyes in a way that the dim light from my computer screen never can.  A chance to sit at the cafe and chat with my sister clears my mind so that I can truly think.

A stroll through the library can be like walking into a pheromone filled room, inducing a euphoric response that can’t be explained.  I know it’s weird but the smell of books, real books stirs things inside me.  Passion and envy are the two most frequently stirred.   Envy that their (whoever they are) books are on the shelves where mine will one day be. We’ll just glide on past the passion part, I’m sure my fellow writers will understand my meaning.

To appreciate life, you must learn how to live. To write, you have to live fully and experience life.  There are times to set schedules then there are times to not only set aside routine and seize the day, but there are times when you just gotta smash the whole box!  After all, tomorrow is another day, to write like a maniac!!

I realize this may seem rather manic on the tail of the previous post about Te Physical Act of writing. Welcome to the rollercoaster that is my mind.  Keep arms and legs inside your cart while it’s in motion.

Write on my friends, write on!

Writing THAT scene


iheart

I am rapidly approaching a milestone, posting my 500th post. I was amazed last week when I saw this. Have I really made that many posts? HOW? This prompted something that I’ve had in my head for a while. I’ve discussed it with my writing group but up until now, I haven’t done anything with it. In that vein, I am working on something that will be ready for release during Penned Con! ( September 23 and 24)

This was originally posted February 15, 2012 entitled Steamy Sex Scenes. This was one of my most viewed posts. I received a lot of feedback from this, most of it comments that I did not share publicly. I find it disturbing the number of creeps that come out of the woodwork if that three letter word is used. Oh, I so wanted to respond to some of them, but at the end of the day, I chose to ignore and quietly delete them instead of engaging.

The WIP referenced is the third book of Realm Wars, tentatively titled Faere Guardian. I have shelved this for the time being as my previous coach advised me that I need to tell the story arc main plot first, to which I agreed.

First things first, this very much depends on the genre you are writing for.

In an Inspirational Romance, there will be NO steamy sex scenes. The list of words not allowed by the CBA is  extensive. Any impropriety is frowned upon and the slightest touch of hands can be provocative. The word desire and provocative are prohibited. You can imagine how monumental that first kiss has to be.

I like to read historical fiction and historical romance. Often the societal norms are to be observed in the telling of the romance between characters. The conflict and tension have to be developed in a manner that draws the reader expectantly along to the point of anticipated release. In these novels, a very sweet innocent progression of love usually culminates with the conclusion of a marriage where the sex is kept within the norms. Isn’t it fascinating however that within the Victorian Era of “proper society” was a sharp rise of immoral behavior?

What I’m working on now is a paranormal romance. The paranormal genre has been dominated by vampires and werewolves, but not exclusive to just them. Time travel, shape-shifters, magical elements, and yes vampires,Lycans and other mythological beings qualify in paranormal. Whatever subplot is going on, the primary story is always the romance. My story does not include vampires. It revolves around the Celtic mythology of the Tuatha  de Danaan or the Faerie realm.

My WIP (work in progress) is not an erotica nor am I a smut peddler. I hate when people use that term! Why is it  wrong to write about the love developing between characters and their natural desires for physical love, yet it’s OK to write macabre tales of murder?

Why write the sex scene?

If the story doesn’t call for it, don’t! If it’s just inserted for the purpose of sex, it’s gratuitous and should be omitted. If it moves the story forward, moves their relationship forward, and moves their own development forward then by all means, the characters should be between the sheets.

That’s a lot for a sex scene to have to accomplish!

Yes, it is! If it doesn’t accomplish these things leave it out or push it till later. Again, I’m not writing porn here!  I’m not writing a gratuitous sex scene just to write it. A good sex scene is difficult to write.

There are my own feelings to deal with.  If I’m not comfortable with the act, how am  I going to convey it effectively to a reader?  If you’re not comfortable reading about it, or actually doing it, then I suggest you move on to some other topic. I’m sure there are several articles about the current mortgage rates and the recovering housing market if that is more interesting.

There is the matter of the characters likes and dislikes. Maybe Joe is a sloppy kisser and Jill has hangups from being raped in high school by a man who was a sloppy kisser. This is why a writer has to know everything there is to know about their characters.  My characters are not flat Stanleys.  They are fully rounded people with backgrounds, families, quirks, and dreams. Just as in real life, there are certain turn-ons and turn-offs.  It’s the  spark that ignites between Jill and Joe, not between Jill and Tom, Brad, Bill, Derek, Randy, and every other man. It’s the spark, that secret key that unlocks their hearts and makes them willing to take the scary plunge into the sea of love.

There is the matter of building the expectations. By chapter 2 my characters are attracted to each other but in my personal world, it’s not proper protocol to jump in the sack on the first date. They have to wait and let the tension build. The relationship has to escalate, desire building to a crescendo of emotional turmoil,  the physical desire so strong  that they are willing to risk everything to be with each other.

Dramatic?  Yes, it’s supposed to be.

Cheesy?  The premise yes, but this is the stuff every woman fantasizes about and seldom realizes. This is why women read romances in the first place.  Real life demands our attention in various directions. A good romance offers an escape from the mountain of dirty laundry and the mess the kids just made on the floor for the umpteenth time.

Usually, the sex scene occurs about 2/3 of the way through the book. I have a friend that skims the first few chapters then jumps to this point, reads it then she’s done. Her philosophy is that all romances are the same, just different names so why not jump to the good part? Because she misses the entire story. It’s all about the story!

My paranormal romance is about a man and a woman who are falling in love. My moral integrity dictates to me what I am comfortable writing and what I’m not really comfortable with. To be honest, I’m more comfortable writing a battle scene that is more akin to 300 than to write the sex scenes. Sex is an intimate issue. It’s an important part of a relationship, but not the only part. I believe in a one woman one man relationship where there is mutual trust and respect. The couple learn about each other, explore each other, and give pleasure to each other. Isn’t that what is supposed to happen in a loving relationship? My characters may get frisky, may experiment with food, or blindfolds and silk scarves but my hero is never going to invite another guy into the picture or  have a bit on the side.

Sex is not just the physical act, if you want that go read Penthouse or some  gratuitous erotica that’s out there. Let me say here that not all erotica is gratuitous sex either. There are authors who make the effort to tell a story that happens to include a lot of sex. I write romance, a story that shows the developing relationship in the midst of whatever chaos happens to be going on in the world I created. In a romantic relationship, sex eventually happens when they progress to that intimate level.

The steamy part is tricky. Writing the scene to show the building tension, the desire, the passion without telling. Conveying the emotional impact of every touch, scent, and senses while making it last long enough to peak the reader’s interest and satisfy the character’s needs is a daunting task.

Ever see the Olympic figure skaters that make it look easy and natural? A good writer can make the sex scene like that. The reader never sees the hours of practice, the blood coming from the fingertips, the strain of putting the words together to show and not tell.

Having been married for many years, I know very well what goes on. Knowing that tab A is inserted into slot B is only part of the puzzle. I have read some things that make me wonder if the writer has actually ever experienced what they had written. Makes me wonder if their anatomy is somehow different.

Being comfortable in writing the most intimate acts down is another matter. Writing the scene that conveys the emotional impact while progressing the story is my goal. When Joe and Jill take that step, they have to be ready for it. Things between them will never be the same after the scene.

It’s really the same in real life. Once you share the intimate act of sex with a partner, there’s no going back. You’ve crossed a line that can never be uncrossed. If the line is crossed too soon, the relationship may never develop beyond “the act”. If that line is never crossed one or more may lose interest and move on.

I’m a firm believer in friends first lovers second. I married my best friend. It wasn’t a light matter for us to cross that line and I believe it shouldn’t be for my characters either.

The bottom line in romance is that we all want somebody to love us unconditionally. Letting someone into your heart at the level of intimacy that sex requires is a scary and tricky risk. In my romantic world, taking that risk should be rewarding. Ah, but there’s always the plot twist of unrequited love.  The darkest moment when the whole world is collapsing in on them and everything has gone wrong.  The moment they realize their own vulnerability because they took that risk and have to decide if it was worth it.

How much more impact does the steamy sex scene have when a few chapters later she is left heartbroken by the man she gave everything to? Sex scenes carry power if they are done well.