Thank God for Grace in Editing!


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This is an unofficial blog hop challenge makeup post for #MFRW. 

This is officially the Week 2 assignment – Sorry Editor! My Common Writing Mistakes.

For my first book – Red Wine & Roses,  my editor had just graduated from Oxford and was between jobs. Since then she has landed a prestigious position with Elsevier and has been dealing with some major health issues between herself and her boyfriend.

Enter GRACE! My editor is Grace Augustine, author of the Acorn Hills Series.  Do any of you believe in divine connections? The day I met Grace seemed to be one of those connections. We were attending Romance Rendezvous in Cedar Falls Iowa. I gambled on being able to arrive in plenty of time by driving there and not staying over. It was close,  but we arrived in time. It was very close! Since then, we’ve become good friends.

Friends aside, Grace is a tough editor. I would expect nothing less! I wonder how much it would cost to have some muffins delivered to her each morning . . . . it might soften the task. If you find yourself in need of an editor, aside from myself because I do have slots available to edit next month and through the summer, I can strongly recommend Grace over at edits with a touch of grace.

Anyway, moving on to my mistakes. There are times when I really hate these prompts and this is one of them. Why is it necessary to air my dirty laundry???  Seriously, this is why we have editors because we all have common mistakes. *SIGH*

Misspelled words: Please let me clarify,  I know how to spell, but my fingers have a different plan when I’m typing.

  • Becasue =because
  • friend=freind
  • teh=the
  • nad=and

The use of semicolons –   it’s like someone spilled a bucket full of them all over my computer files.

Switching tense – one of my pet peeves as an author and as an editor. Yet, I do it myself.

Sentence fragments. We don’t think in complete sentences,  but when writing, we have to at least know the rules before breaking them. If the author is adding a bit for emphasis, sometimes it’s acceptable to use a sentence fragment but not when you are in the middle of a descriptive narrative. Recently, I sent the first part of Roxy to Grace,  she commented: this sentence makes no sense!  NO, it didn’t because I  didn’t complete it. I left off the subject of the sentence.

Recently, I sent the first part of Roxy to Grace,  she commented: this sentence makes no sense!  NO, it didn’t because I  didn’t complete it. I left off the subject of the sentence. I do this a lot, which is one of many reasons why I need an editor! Don’t laugh, you’ll need one too.

I remember getting so upset when my then social media coach read my completed manuscript for Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price and gave it back to me with a few comments. “Well, it doesn’t suck.  Where is the rest of the story? The reader doesn’t know the world you have inside your head. You need to write it down, showing them   everything else that is going on.”

I have loads of details inside my head of my characters, their worlds, the settings, their backstory, their pet peeves, quirks – but I sometimes am so anxious to get them down that I forget to write parts.

Sorry Grace, you’ve really got your work cut out for you! What issues do you have when writing your drafts?

You can catch the previous posts from this series here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

Binge Watching #MFRWauthor


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This is an unofficial blog hop challenge makeup post. 

Week 3 – TV Shows I Binge

Netflix is an amazing tool. It is also easy to misuse.

My last binge was Mach 21, as I sat on the sofa wrapped in a quilt, sipping on Seven up, getting up only when I had to race down the hall to the bathroom. I can’t guarantee I even remember every episode that I watched because I think my brain made up a few.

To begin with, let’s cover the movies that I have binge watched repeatedly that are a series.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean:  – and I’m looking forward to Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Fast and Furious series – I’ve seen all but the last two.
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit
  • Narnia
  • Ip Man
  • John Wayne Movies
  • Bruce Willis Movies

Technically that’s not what the post is supposed to be about, it specifically stated TV shows. How can you exclude the movie marathons though?  Here is my list of TV shows:

  • Supernatural
  • How to Get Away With Murder
  • Criminal Minds
  • Hawaii 5-O
  • Burn Notice
  • Walking Dead
  • IZombie
  • Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Stranger Things
  • 13 Reasons Why
  • NON-Netflix binge – HGTV – whether it’s Property Brothers or Chip and Joanna Gaines if my husband is working and I get the tv remote –  it stays on HGTV all day long while I work on other things!

Yeah, that takes up enough of my time. The funny thing is,  the only regular TV things I watch are the news and well, the news.  I’d like to watch Master chef Jr but we have a class on Thursday nights. I’d like to watch the amazing race but we have a thing then.  I’d like to – this is why NetFlix is so awesome. I can watch when I can watch and our lives don’t stop just for a TV show. I don’t want to get too deep into that statement because if you think about it, it does but it does on MY timetable.

What shows do you binge watch? Was there such a thing as binge watching before NetFlix?

You can find my other posts for this challenge here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

They’ll Survive – I Guess #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

This is an unofficial blog hop challenge makeup post for #MFRW. 

This is officially the Week 2 assignment – How My Family Survives My Writing

IN 2014 I attended Penned Con. They had panels where some of the authors shared ‘how they write’.  A single mother shared how her mother keeps her kids sometimes overnight so she can crank out her books. She had more than three kids, I don’t remember if it was four or five, but there was no spouse in the picture. I can’t do what she does for a couple of reasons. 1. My parents are dead. When they were alive I would not have asked them to watch my children so that I can write, because neither of them believed that writing was a worthwhile endeavor.

Another author stated that she locks herself in her office and her husband takes care of their kids, he fixes the meals and did all of the housework. That would never fly here either. My husband works a full-time job. I don’t have an office in which I could shut them out if I wanted to. I do all the cooking here. My husband could easily heat up a frozen pizza, or cook some eggs,  or fry a burger but for other meals, it would never work. I watched him make macaroni and cheese one time. He actually read the directions on the box! I cook our meals from scratch. We don’t use prepackaged, convenient foods. Well, hardly ever anyway. I do occasionally opt for cans of soup, the frozen pizza, pizza rolls, and chicken tenders. Since my husband works full-time and I work part-time,  I don’t expect him to handle everything.

Another author shared that she writes during her lunch hour at work, and when her kids are tucked in bed at night. That is about the closest to my schedule that I could compare. I write in the mornings after my husband leaves for work and before my kids are up for school and or work. (Keep in mind my children are now college-aged adults.) I write in the afternoons when my day job is completed and before my husband returns home from work. He’s gone ten to twelve hours a day, so I keep my writing restricted to when he’s not here.

When I was on a deadline to get my edits back to my former publisher, it was extremely stressful. I was trying to complete edits while both of my daughters were trying to talk to me, while the husband is asking what’s for dinner, where is this or that, and I about lost it on all of them. My blood pressure was elevated, my stress level was through the roof, and my stomach was in knots. Never again. My family comes first!

They will survive my writing because I try my best to keep it from interfering with family life. It does present problems though, when he’s home for the weekend and I am suddenly struck with an idea for the next scene, or story, or whatever it is that takes over my brain. I tend to keep a spiral notebook handy to write down those inspirations, and then on Monday morning, I can translate them into a file with my Dragon Recognition Software. I love using Dragon in this fashion. I’ve discovered that If I hand write my scene, then dictate it into Dragon, it’s like a second draft because as I read it aloud, I catch things that sounded good on paper but not when read. Another benefit is when Dragon doesn’t translate the words I speak and I am able to go back into my notes and see what it was supposed to say.

I decided after the last round of fighting with my Dragon, that I was going to keep a log of misinterpreted words and compile them into a post. Some of these. . . . wow, they will leave you rolling on the floor holding your side from laughing so hard.

My Family will survive because we work together. We value family time.

In other words, I have a life outside of my laptop!

This is week 2 of this series. You can catch the first post here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

 

Fine Tuning the Plan


Today is a day of evaluation. It’s not a day of beginnings, but rather a day of continuance. Toady is one of those stuck in the murky middle days.

Have you ever started off with great gusto to find yourself sidelined and wondering what in the world happened? Have you gotten off course? Lost your way? Taken the wrong detour? Well, I have. I’ve done it often, and today is my “correcting my course” day.

I don’t know if any of you are like me, if so you may recognize some of what I’m about to share. If not, you may be amused or sympathetic or you might even be able to offer some insight. Grab your favorite beverage, some popcorn, and enjoy the show.

Back in January,  I was all gung-ho – this is going to be my best year! YAY! Enter the sickness. Seriously –  it was like I alerted the universe and invited all the plagues, disease, and infirmities to pay me a visit. I posted on here, so proud of myself for making a plan that I could stick to and not fail. You can read that here: The Master Plan.

I swear it was the next day that I was hit with the sick wand. UGH, it’s been a battle just to stay healthy. However, I’m not here to lament that. I’m here to discuss why I’m evaluating my lack of progress and making my quarterly adjustments to get me back on track.

My first point in the Master Plan is Be Your best every day.  I had to reread it in order to remind myself to STOP berating myself for not being able to run at 90 to nothing full throttle every single day. Let me tell you what happens when I start down that path. It’s ugly so consider this your “viewer discretion” advisory.

I’m feeling great, life is good, I can do all the things, throw sparkly glitter all around! The big bad sickness ogre sees this as a clear invitation to mess with Sasquatch aka Ellie. I get in a funk. I start the mental lashings. I continue down the berating trail eventually  botoming out in a pit of despairm feeling like an ultimate failure, ready to throw in the towel on everything. Life just can’t get any worse. This sucks. I suck. My writing sucks. When nobody comes along to help me out of my muck, I scrape off the glop, wipe my tears and go clean myself up, scrubbing until my skin and nerves are raw and flayed. Overcompensating, I push myself with new vigor and determination. It doesn’t take long for cracks to appear and the spiral downward begins anew. It’s a horrible cycle and I am tired of it. I don’t want to continue in this any longer.

Quick reminder of point 1:

  1. Be your best every day.  No matter what you do, do your very best at it.  If your best for that day is to say thanks to the person caring for you, like if you have the flu and they are bringing you hot tea then be thankful. If your best is running a marathon that day, then run like your life depends on it and give it 100%. Your best fluctuates from day to day. There are days we are unstoppable. There are days when it’s a trial to get from one minute to the next. Whatever your best is, do it. Know that it is your best. If you can’t with a clear conscious say inside your heart that you gave your best effort then do more. If you are running the marathon and you gave 100% and didn’t win then be at peace with yourself that you gave your all. If you only exerted 85% effort,  then evaluate and learn from it,  and know that you are capable of more so that the next time you will know that what you thought was 100% was only at 85%. Are you with me?

OK, I seriously need to take my own advice! Learning to function overall when those days of not being at full capacity happen, and they seem to happen a lot more as I’ve gotten older, I need to learn that ‘be at peace’ part so badly. I’m working on it. I had a good self-talk yesterday after mentally berating myself for not hitting my self-imposed deadlines, then alternately berating myself for making too lofty of goals for myself. Honestly, if this was fifteen years ago then my self-imposed deadlines and goals would be a piece of cake. It’s not fifteen years ago however, it’s now – today -and I’m older. That sucks, but I don’t have to let it suck as much as it has been. I need to come to terms with what I can and can’t do and realize that I’m not where I want to be, but that I can change that with steady progress. AAAAAAANNND  we come full circle to the crux of what set me on this quarterly check. Lack of steady progress.

Why? Because I’ve let the days that I couldn’t do my best from yesterday affect my ability to accept that my best today was the best I could manage and let it go. Then there are those days when I know I didn’t give my best, and in fact, I wasted hours sulking, or playing games, or lost in “research” down the internet rabbit hole. From this point, all I can do is count those as a loss and do my best to make every day count or at least a good 80%.

My second obvious mistake – again I should take my own advice – is not following number 2 on my master list – Make your goals crystalline. I’ve discovered that my bullet journal has a massive flaw. Yes, the same bullet journal that I’ve been singing praises of. The bullet journal that keeps my butt in line and on track.

What on earth could be such a massive flaw in a near perfect tool? Operator error.

I’m the one who enters everything into my handy dandy little book of life order. I haven’t been precise. Looking over the past three months worth of entries I notice a distinct pattern. An important part of my bullet journal is my daily todo list. Which often looks like this:

  • writing 1 hour
  • editing 2 hours
  • housework
  • resale
  • scheduled appointments, webinar, etc.
  • miscellaneous items such as groceries, get oil changed, etc.

The problem is that I need to be specific on the first two entries. I need to write specifics like 1 hour writing on chapter 12 of Roxy: scene 15,16,17. On editing I need to be specific about the book I am editing like: Malevolent Mind – chapters 12 – 15.

For someone who has been   made aware multiple times of the importance to have SMART goals, why didn’t I see  this before?

I’m disappointed in myself in the setbacks for completing this manuscript, however given the changes that I am making to it, I’m OK with this. Being behind on my plan even after the changes due to lack of focus I am not OK with.

Tools are only effective if you are using them correctly. You wouldn’t take a chainsaw to cut a couple of one by sixes to make shelves, likewise you wouldn’t use a table saw to cut down a rotten tree. The botom line I suppose is that I am once again fine tuning my bullet journal for my personal adaptation.

The objective is not to have the perfect bullet journal, my objective is to utilize my bullet journal in being a more focused and productive author. I might add,  it’s a good thing to do an occasional check to see where you are on your goals instead of hitting the end of the year and say “well, I failed that one”.  Even if I don’t hit the final mark like losing 75 pounds this year,  I will  make progress in that direction.

Have you evaluated where you are on your path to reaching your goals? If you take time now to do that, you can make some adjustments to make it possible to reach.

While you ponder what your take away for yourself is,  stop over at AuthorShout where my cover is up for vote for best cover. GO VOTE FOR RED WINE & ROSES!

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie

 

 

Malevolent Mind Release!


 

Last week I  had a post for Friday, but failed to get it linked in time to post. I actually had two of them for the same day and with all the other stuff, failed to get them posted. The first was the release of Misty’s book Malevolent Mind.

My apologies to Misty Harvey for the delay,  but . . . better late than never.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share in Malevolent Mind’s release day and thank you to Ellie for being willing to host me here. This book has been a lot of fun for me to write and I hope in turn that readers will enjoy it as much as I. You can join me also over on my website for more release weekend fun.

The idea for this novel came from a lot of different places. One being that as a child my nephew and I, whom I was extremely close to would write these horror stories. We’d take our younger siblings down into the creepy basement of my house and we’d read them bits of it. As the story hit its scariest peak we’d run out of the room, flipping off lights as we went and leaving them screaming down there. More often than not our parents would be waiting for us at the top of the stairs and we’d be punished afterward. Still, it did little to deter them from joining us to hear the next installment of ‘Red Eyed Guy’ (We were so creative over the title, don’t you think? Lol).

There are bits of me in the father figure as well as Kade. I’ve always loved to write horror stories to be able to create such a physical and chemical reaction in a person with words is the most incredible thing to me. So, out of fun and to celebrate the release of Malevolent Mind write a two sentence horror story. The winner of a Malevolent Mind ebook will be chosen on Monday! So do your best! Don’t forget to leave a way I can contact you later if you win.

 

Malevolent Mind

Horror

Blurb:

A story so dark, twisted, and unfinished has a way of driving the sanest to the brink of insanity.

Between the constant state of bullying from Heath and his friends, and the unrest of not knowing what happened to her twin, Raven seeks revenge. Years later, she becomes the nanny for Heath’s young son, Kade. She helps him start a horror story with the plan to bring the horrible creature Kade created into the real world to torment Heath and his friends. It was perfect, until everything began unraveling. When Kade’s creation no longer wishes to do Raven’s bidding, it becomes a fight for life or death. The only way to survive is to figure out how to finish off the creature before she finds her freedom. Will Kade find a way to stop the creation of his malevolent mind? Or will Raven’s revenge consume them all?

Excerpt:

 Kade sat there in the middle of the room. He pulled his legs up against his chest, wrapping his arms around them. There was nothing to see now that his head cowered there in the darkness of his own lap. If tonight was the night that he’d die, he wasn’t so sure he’d want to see either of the girls coming for him.

His ears perked up. Behind him came the sound of wet clothes slapping together. He lifted his head, unable to keep it down. It was just his imagination. That was all.

The feel of icy breath slid over the back of his neck. Each tiny hair stood at attention as the stench of decay washed over him. Was it the girl from the river or was it Zilla? Kade flipped onto his knees, the beam of the flashlight straight forward.

There, inches from his face, was Zilla. She stared at him. Her mouth was open at an angle as her tongue flicked out against the air. It was too late to run anywhere.

Death stared him right in the face. Part of him felt relief that it was only her. Of course, that was if the other one wasn’t waiting for him as well. He didn’t dare move the flashlight beam to find out. Zilla had appeared out of nowhere so who knew what would happen once the light wasn’t on her?

Kade watched as her blue-tinged hand reached up for him. She held her hand for him to take. Something told him that doing so would be the end of him. Panic gripped his insides and he knew he had moments to make the first move. If he didn’t react soon, she’d overpower him.

He swung out with the flashlight, catching her on the side of the head. Her body rolled across the floor with a sickening thud. Kade was sure that the magnum flashlight had cracked her skull. It had nearly broken his foot when he’d dropped it one time. He jumped across his bed, darting into the hallway. His gaze moved around the hall as he tried to make out anything.

The sound of her rapidly skittering toward him had him running down the hallway. He stopped at Raven’s door, trying her handle, but the door wouldn’t budge. Instead, the old wood rattled in the frame.

In a flash of lightning, he watched Zilla skitter into the hall on her hands and feet, her body parallel to the floor as she let out a sickening hiss. Half of her head remained dented in from where he’d clocked her with the flashlight. It was a terrifying image to behold. The fact that she continued to chase him regardless turned his stomach.

Kade looked back only briefly before he ran. She was close on his heels. In the distance, he could just make out his father’s door. His bare feet padded against the wood flooring.

Goosebumps raced up his spine as her icy fingers wrapped around his ankle. The weight of his body hit the floor with a loud thud. His head bounced against the hard surface blurring his vision. Tears filled his eyes making it even harder to see. At least now, he wouldn’t have to worry about seeing his death coming.

The cold sensation crept up his leg, over his knee and toward his waist. He could feel the weight of her above him as she crawled up his body. Time slowed so that each second felt like eons. The stench of her undead body burned at his nostrils. Kade gagged on the smell that was so strong he could almost taste it.

He didn’t want to die. Life was too short for him. There was still so much that he wanted to do. Besides, he wasn’t sure who would take care of his father if he wasn’t there any longer. That thought rolled inside of him. He wasn’t going to go out like this, a cowering lump of fear on the floor. If she wanted to kill him, she’d have to fight a lot harder for it.

Kade grabbed her arms, rolling them over as he kicked out with both his legs. Her body smashed into the wall across from them, freeing him to run. He scrambled onto his feet, darting for his father’s room.

The bright light blinded him as he ran for it. That was it. He’d found his end and now he was headed into the light. Just as he’d read in another book. It was his time to cross over.

 

If you’d love the chance to read more about Kade, Heath, Raven and Zilla you can purchase the ebook here. Or if you’re more of a physical book type of person as myself, that can be purchased here.

 

Misty Harvey loves writing spine-tingling horror novels sure to thrill readers. The psychology behind such tales has always been a fascination for her since she was younger. Even to the point that she once contemplated taking up psychology as a profession. Still, her love resides in the art of storytelling. An art she wishes to continue to share with readers for the rest of her days.

After climbing out of her writing cave and searching the house for the sound of the latest creak or pop, Misty can be found doing one of many things. Often times she spends the remained of her day with her amazingly supportive husband and youngest daughter. While she has two older children that are out there spreading their wings around the world, including giving her a few grandchildren.

Her favorite things to do when not writing are crafts, wrestling with her dog, avoiding her cat’s bite or generally making her husband and daughter crazy. Often times she can be found creating vivid tales with her daughter about whatever mundane thing happened in their day and turning it into a crazy story. She is also an avid gamer, crochet goddess (we shall pretend there), domestic queen, and animal tamer (it’s a work in progress).

Stalker Links:

Website: Mistyharvey.com

Facebook: Author Misty Harvey

Twitter: AuthorMDHarvey

Goodreads: Author Misty Harvey

My apologies for the delay in posting,  but please don’t delay in getting your copy now! Leave the lights on to read it!

Write on my friends, write on!

I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

Welcome to week 9 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

This week’s prompt:  Words that make me go ick!

For me, that would be purple prose.

Do not use purple prose, euphemisms, words or phrases that make you uncomfortable. Use words that are appropriate, even if you are a little uncomfortable with them. Do not let your characters get so involved in the physical act that it becomes, quite disappointingly, mere sex. Readers do not want to hear all those cotton-soft euphemisms any more than they want to hear anything inappropriate to the scene. They want a sensual experience — seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting. Do not neglect the “jarring” senses either, like talking, moving, thinking, — because that is where the sense of reality enters in.

Here is a good test of whether a word is worth using in a love scene. Say it aloud while you are in the midst of the love scene you are writing. Does it make you hot? Hotter? Alternatively, does it make you laugh aloud? If you laugh out loud, that is a pretty solid indication that it’s not a word you should use because your readers will probably do the same. Unless you are going for the humorous bit and then use it.

I have been stopped dead in my tracks many times while reading love scenes by words and phrases like “his manhood waved at me like a flagpole”, “his rod of pleasure”, “her honey pot” or “they soared on the wings of love and exploded into infinity.” “He stood over me, his eyes partially closed, his lips slightly parted, the hot breath hitching as his magnificent sword waved before me.” (Excuse me? His sword? Is he going to slice her head off?)

I cringe or laugh, sometimes both.  Along the same lines, certain words may be too crude, rude or shocking to use in your romance novel. This will depend on the subgenre. If you are writing a steeple hills sweet romance where they close the doors and turn the lights off, use of the words vulva, vagina, penis may be considered too vulgar. On the flip side if you are writing a BDSM erotica, using “his man-sword” instead of “cock” will leave your reader in a fit of giggles. OR maybe that’s your preferred method of masochism. If it is,  good luck with that.

If, as a writer, you are too uncomfortable to describe the scene, maybe you should choose a different genre.  Know your genre, know your audience, and don’t be surprised that someone will complain regardless.

Don’t forget this is a blog hop. Anyone can join at any point in the MFRW 52 week challenge…  Click here. Make sure you check out some of the other authors below.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

23.

Raindrops on Roses


badge-blog-challenge-updated

This is an unofficial blog hop challenge makeup post. Gee, guess which one?

Going back to the first week which I missed –  1. A few of my favorite things!

*hums song from Sound of Music*  Admit it,  you sang the title of my blog, didn’t you?

Favorites hmmm. Let’s do this in a simple but unorthodox format.

Favorite foods: 

  • fried chicken
  • Bordeaux cherry chocolate ice cream
  • crab legs
  • watermelon
  • vegetable lo mein

Favorite movies:

  • The Fifth Element
  • Excalibur
  • Fool’s Gold
  • RobRoy
  • Lord of the Rings movies

Favorite books:

  • Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon)
  • Highlander series (Karen Marie Moning)
  • Inca Gold – OK, I cheat here. I love nearly all of Clive Cussler’s books but decided that I would name the one that first ignited my interest in his books.
  • Timeline – Michael Crichton

Favorite possessions:

  • my bullet journal
  • my laptop
  • the pearl necklace and earring set that my husband bought me for our 30th anniversary. Absolutely gorgeous!

Favorite places to go:

  • Panama City Beach, Florida
  • Rich’s Frozen Custard
  • Laumeier Sculpture Park
  • Missouri Botanical Gardens
  • Any place new!

Favorite fast food items: 

  • Hardee’s mushroom swiss burger
  • Subway sweet onion teriyaki chicken
  • Panera’s bear claws *drools*
  • Lee’s fried chicken tenders ( don’t get these very often as we don’t have  a Lee’s around us)
  • Panda Express Orange chicken with broccoli and rice

Favorite articles of clothing:

  • a pair of Lee Rider jeans that fit perfectly!
  • my black leather jacket
  • red camp style shirt
  • Bohemian style ecru crochet sweater ( not much of a sweater as it’s more of an overshirt type of thing, but I love it!)
  • New Balance tennis shoes. If only all shoes could fit like these, I may actually wear shoes throughout the day.

Favorite flavors:

  • cherry
  • chocolate

Not that anyone asked,  but there you have it. Now I can mark that one off of my list and you now know more about me than you ever cared to.

Honestly, I’ve been so far in the headspace of Detective Devon Miller that I am suspecting my own family of covert operations. This calls for further investigation and a large supply of chocolate.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

 

A Progress Report of Sorts


My life has been derailed by a flu bug. I didn’t manage to get the blog hop post up on Friday – I barely managed to remain conscious for part of the day and the following couple of days. There is a long list of things I didn’t get done over the last few days. SIGH. Moving on, some tasks will have to be made up while others will have to be let go, deleted, or put back into rotation at a later date.

Up until now, I’ve been opposed to flu shots thinking that this was akin to the perpetual overly prescribed use of antibiotics that have aided in the creation of super bugs. Well, after this bout of influenza,  I am willing to succumb to the poke.

Anyway, enough about that.  A brief update on the list of things to do for the month:

Editing –  finished one book which was amazing! I am so excited for the release on this one. Have made progress on another editing job,  about three-fourths of the way completed, but waiting on payment. Also, I’ve picked up a couple more editing jobs. HA-  what’s a few more irons in the fire, right?

Writing – alas,  this was put on the back burner while tackling the next item on the list. It figures, right? When I get a plan in place of what I want to do, the direction I want to go in, then life throws a curve ball. It sometimes seems that the universe conspires against me. It’s time for the universe to start working with me, however. I have made up my mind that this is going to be my first priority, even over the editing.  For one, I think it will do me good to set the editing voice on the back burner,  she’s causing me to second guess practically every word I write down.  There are thousands of words that are going through my mind,  that sound like gold inside my head.

Online Course Requirements for the new job – this has been priority one for me. I haven’t done real well at juggling, in fact, I set everything else aside so that I could focus on this. Until the flu had its way with me.  I sat down Thursday morning to go through the second module for the longest class, only to end in failing the quiz. *Hangs head in shame*  The saying goes, most of the things that we worry about never happen. It’s true.

I spent a couple of hours spiraling into an all-out panic attack. I could already tell the fever was getting worse. The achiness wracked my entire body. My head was pounding. You think maybe, just maybe, that might have played a part in my less than stellar academic performance? Seems rational now but at the time I didn’t see it. When I couldn’t get back into the course, I panicked.  As my symptoms increased, my anxiety was through the roof.

After a while though, I had to stop. I’ll omit the graphic details, but  I didn’t willingly stop. Mr. Influenza didn’t exactly ask me if I wanted to spend the majority of my time in the bathroom. I had all of  the what if I don’t pass/ I’ll lose the job/but I feel like crap/ they don’t care/ license requirements don’t make exceptions for special snowflakes/ life isn’t fair/ oh my god I feel horrible/suck it up and  try again/I’m locked out/ now what do we do?/ contact them NOW/ it’s in their hands/ get some rest . . . this is when it got crazy.  I gave up on the course and sat down on the sofa. Immediately I had dozed off fitfully. I had chills so bad, the queen sized comforter wasn’t enough. My temperature was blazing hot, my heart was pounding in my chest – I knew I needed some sleep. So, when I moved to my bed, my nasal congestion immediately got worse and I literally couldn’t breathe. Yeah, add that to the mix! Because, you know things aren’t bad enough yet.  I needed sleep. I couldn’t sleep. Now I was afraid to go to sleep, what if I didn’t wake up? I mean, breathing is kind of a necessity.

I bounded out of bed like I had springs in my butt. The chills were gone and the fever was blazing. I considered going outside onto my front porch –  even in my state of undress. Who cares if anyone saw me in my undies, I needed fresh air STAT!  Now, doesn’t it just figure that we had record high temps in February? Going outside didn’t really help much. It felt just as stifling out there as it did inside. I ended up getting a cold washcloth and wiping my face, neck arms, stomach, legs, then repeating.  I was in this  fugue state of panic/fear/exhaustion.  I had taken some Nyquil and a couple of tylenol for the fever, but they had yet to kick in.

Misty suggested that I go through this technique to bring me down from the anxiety, which worked after several repetitions enough for me to relax so that I could at least breathe. It doesn’t help that my sister told me that people die from the flu! Not what I needed to hear just then.

Anyway, once the fever had dropped enough that I didn’t feel as if my brain was boiling, and the meds had kicked in enough that I could at least breathe, I decided that I would give my bed another go. Exhaustion can do strange things to you. Rest is the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re sick. I’m a terrible patient. There are things that need to be done, chores that don’t get done unless I do them.

Sometimes it takes an emergency to put things into perspective that if it doesn’t get done without me, maybe it isn’t really that vitally important. Has anyone ever died from dirty dishes left undone? Laundry accumulating? NO! It was waiting for me when I started feeling better. I have a lot of mixed emotions about that,  but in the end, I take care of it.

By Saturday morning I was feeling a little better. However, the hubs now had it. While he slept, I wrapped myself in a cocoon of blanketed warmth, got myself a new box of tissues, and put the kettle on for a constant refilling of hot tea. I made those classes my bitch! Owned those suckers with a final score of 92 out of 100. Hey, not bad considering I was under the weather. That material is dry, dull, boring, legaleze jargon that could put anyone into a comatose state.

Anyway, after completing the course I moved to the sofa where I crashed hard for  the remainder of the day. That’s my big accomplishment –  I have aced the courses ahead of schedule even while having the flu!  TADA!

*Throws confetti* This calls for a celebration!  Since I missed celebrating publishing my 500th post – which was One Phone Call,  completing my MLO classes is certainly means for celebrating.

Anyway, now that I’m moving back towards a healthy state, it’s time to tackle those undone things.

Write on my friends, write on! I promise less ranting next time!

Ellie

 

 

Crafty Author #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

Welcome to week 6 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week will be a new topic. Isn’t that fun? 

This week’s prompt:  My hobbies.

I have more hobbies than I have time for, but I’ll share just a few in order of time actually spent doing them.

  1. Bullet Journaling – OK, technically this may or may not be considered a hobby. It’s a productivity tool but it’s also an outlet for artistic expression. I haven’t shared any of my pages for a while because they tend to look alike. For the most part,  my daily entries consist of my to do list, maybe a quote or scripture, and a few personal notes. There are days when I have a lot more on my mind and my journaling can be long winded.
First bujo cover - This is the 33 cent comp book. Notice the tabs, these are necessary for me.

First bujo cover – This is the 33 cent comp book. Notice the tabs, these are necessary for me.

From my humble beginnings last year, a 33 cent clearance  5 x 8 composition notebook, to the current one – a  dotted Leuchterm that was received as a gift, my bullet journal keeps me on track, allows a little artistic expression and allows a place to enter my thoughts.

A few pages are fancy schmancy, artsy fartsy but most are repetitive dailies. You can make your journal however you want. This is mine and I do what I want with it. I can color the page entirely black if I feel like it. I don’t see what that would accomplish, but I could if I wanted to.

Below is a quick gallery of a few pages. The cover is red, not sure why it looks pink in this photo.

2. Crochet – I have a multitude of projects from quick cup cozies to lengthy projects like afghans. I am currently working on 2 projects – a manghan – basically an afghan in charcoal grey for my husband ‘that is larger than a regular afghan so that it will cover his feet and still be able to tuck in  under his chin, in a basic design that doesn’t have big holes that  his toes can go through and not in some god-awful color that looks like someone couldn’t decide’ was his request, and a market bag which I am freestyling. I have to admit, I’ve ripped this one out a few times already. It’s currently about a third finished.

 

3. Furniture refinishing/repurposing. I haven’t been as diligent in taking photos of my before and after projects, but I do have a few. We find odd pieces at auction or yard sales. I can’t ay that I look for any specific style, it’s more a matter of what grabs my attention. 20160305_123147

This metal framed vanity chair was literally on the side of the road. Most people would look at that and say good riddance. No, not me. I look at that and see the bones of something more. So after a little bit of work,  and a lot of elbow grease to polish the metal, I transformed it into this:

20160314_174857I’m not a fan of orange, but the fabric popped and it sold for $40.00. Not bad for a scavenge, using up a bit of leftover padding, and a half yard of fabric.

Here are a few of my finds:

4. Crafts – all of the crafts that don’t easily fit within crocheting, refinishing, or journaling.  This includes sewing which I will do again when I can replace my sewing machine that died after twenty some odd years. As part of my office space that I am going to carve out in our basement, a craft area is going to be part of that plan.

I’ve been scouring Pinterest on the best way to handle storage in this area.  I need an area for items that will go into a resale shop, and an area for handcrafted items also. I have to admit before I can get the clean, tidy work area that I desire I will have to purge my stash and start over. It’s difficult to create a clean area when you are overrun with stuff.

5. Gardening –  I didn’t do much last year, and I really missed it. I love having fresh produce from the garden. I love planting the seedlings and watching it grow. I can’t deny I love the fresh produce that I know is organic as well. This month is the planning stage of gardening. I’m plotting out on graph paper to plan what seeds and starts I will need for my garden area. Yes, I’m a geek.

Managing time for all of these things however, that’s another story.

I wonder if there are hobbies that don’t cost money. It seems everything I do ends up costing money in some way. At least the refinishing/repurposing is getting a return! Do you have any hobbies?

Don’t forget this is a blog hop. Anyone can join at any point in the MFRW 52 week challenge…  Click here. Make sure you check out some of the other authors.

Other posts in this series:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

Break the Mold


“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The army of plastics.

It is frustrating to see  your work crumpled up into the trash bin however, it would be far worse to not understand that it wasn’t right.

I’ve been working frantically over the past couple of weeks to salvage/improve my WIP. For those of you who read Oral Dilemma on Storytime Trysts,  it is nothing like that anymore.  For those who have read the snippets of what is tentatively titled Roxy Sings the Blues,  it’s not like that either.

‘Roxanne Winters, student, MMA fighter. A woman barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild her. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic blues singer. Roxanne Winters will be that woman. Better than she was before. Better, stronger, smarter.’  Don’t deny it –  you heard that in Oscar Goldman’s voice from the Six Million Dollar Man. OK, well I did even if you didn’t.

OK, don’t panic – breath.  That is self-talk for me, not the readers. 

I’m so close, yet so far away. There is always a giant obstacle before the goal is achieved, right? Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know but there always seems to be a few kinks to work out even when I have my  basic plot and outline. I don’t know the exact story yet, I haven’t written it! As it unfolds, I’m going to touch base on something that has been asked more than a few times.

Is Julia Mathers in Red Wine & Roses based on you? I see a lot of similarities in her personality and yours. 

NO! She is not me and I am not her.  As to similarities, I have been wracking my brain to figure out what similarities that these readers see.  We both have dark brown hair, brown eyes, but so do many men and women. When you think of a fashion model, what is the first image that comes to mind? Short, stocky, dark-haired beauty or tall thin blonde? (I have nothing against blondes, my sister is a blond and I love her dearly!)

Yea, me too. So, in essence, Julia is the antithesis of a fashion model.  Before Tyra there was Christie. The symbol of beauty in the 80’s, every man wanted Christie, every woman wanted to look like Christie.

I can only speak from my experience, but I know thousands of women can relate, so here goes.  From a very young age, I was expected to act a certain way, be a certain way, look a certain way.  My mother was very strict. Even though I was a tomboy at home, barefoot more often than not, outside until after the cows came home (we lived in the country), unhindered by the dirt smeared across my face, arms, or legs, when it was time to go anywhere I had to clean up.

I remember so many times being assaulted roughly with a washcloth as she frantically worked to clean me up to a presentable child that could be seen in public. Maybe that’s part of my obsession with being presentable before leaving the house now. Freud would be happy with the mental connection! You might laugh at my choice of wordage there –  being assaulted – but to a ten-year-old child that was more interested in playing ball  or bike riding with the neighborhood kids, when I was called home to change clothes and clean up, it was akin to me asking my own kids to do their chores or bloodletting which are apparently the same in their eyes. (I had chores, they were done first thing in the morning before I was allowed to go play. I would need much more coffee and time to share about mental scars from gathering eggs. You know back in my day . . .)

This seems so insignificant, yet,  it made a mark.  It contributed to the greater idea that I was expected to be something I was not.  I was not the shy little girl who would sit quietly on the church pew.   I got spankings because of my fidgeting. I was not the pretty girl in the party dress.  I was the one who still spills stuff on my clothes, still do! I was not the cool kid with the stylish new designer clothes. I got loads of hand me downs, it was a thrill to get brand new clothes in bright unfaded material! I was not the popular girl in high school. (Really, I knew practically everyone in my high school because it was a small school in a small town but knowing everyone isn’t what constituted popularity.) I was not the cheerleader, the pompom girl, or the beauty queen. There were so many things I was not.  It always seemed to be about what I wasn’t, that we were expected to fit into the societal molds put on us and assimilate to the plastic army.

We were supposed to look like Christie Brinkley. We were supposed to be nurses, secretaries, or school teachers. We were supposed to  . . . .. ugh.  The list goes on and on and on until one day you either give in to depression and booze and think that you don’t measure up or you wise up and realize that you aren’t part of the plasticine dream mold and decide to live as who you really are.  Are you following me?

I’m still working on accepting my own value.  I am very well acquainted with the things I am not.  What I am working on is finding value in who I AM.

In that regard,  my life experience lends itself to my character Julia.  She learns to value herself for who she is and overcomes her feelings of inferiority.  I’d like to say that I was inspired by overcoming my own sense of inferiority but I haven’t.  Perhaps I’m writing it prophetically. Yeah, instead of Chuck the prophet I am Ellie the Prophetess. Doesn’t quite have that ring, does it?  Maybe Sam and Dean will show up to correct me. Shhh, don’t break the fantasy.

My inspiration for Julia is the average woman: Every woman who has ever felt inferior. Every woman who has felt less beautiful than the fashion industry standards. Every woman who has sold themselves short for the attention of a man who disrespected them. Every woman who struggles with their sense of self-worth. Which I believe includes every single woman on the face of the earth over the age of twelve.  Did you know that even Christie Brinkley sees faults in herself? I don’t know what they are, but I know human nature.  Trust me – she sees them.

I am still learning how to be me. I know that sounds weird, but it’s  true. There has always been these expectations put on us by our parents, society, our peers and by ourselves. As life plays out, we discover who we truly are and who we aren’t.  I was never cut out to be a nurse, I accepted that early on. Trust me it’s best for all of us.  I was never cut out to be an Olympic gymnast, my rendition would look more like a Carol Burnett rerun.

One thing I have always been gifted with is a vivid imagination. It got me into trouble – often. That same imagination fuels my mind with story ideas. Well, with the addition of coffee.  Coffee is my catalyst. I think maybe today I’ll have a little Irish coffee.

Do you struggle with aspects of your self-image? Do dudes struggle with self-image or inferiority? How dull would it be if everyone conformed to the Stepford plan? Variety is the spice of life and some of us are a little spicier than others.

So why do I go back and rehash over my first book when I am in the trenches with Roxy And Devon?

Because my lovelies, I’m running a special deal over at Amazon.

For the next two days, you can get your copy at 60% off! What are you waiting for? Go get yours now while I get back to wrecking Roxy’s world. Errr,  I mean,  helping her discover who she is. Yeah, that’s it.

Go HERE to get your copy now! 

Write on my friends, and be yourself!

Till next time –  Ellie