Golly Gee! #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

Today is brought to you by the letter G.

I don’t know if it was that my brain wasn’t awake yet, or that it was really difficult but it took me a long time to come up with G words.

Galleys: The initial typeset of a manuscript sent to the author for review before it is printed. Type size and column format are set, but page divisions are not made. Galley can be reviewed online in digital format as well. 

Genre: The type or category of writing – like mystery, science fiction, romance, fantasy, etc.  I write in the romance genre and in nonfiction humor. Upcoming work will be in a subgenre of romance. 

Ghostwriter: A writer who is paid to write for someone else. A ghostwriter does not get a byline or any credit. They get paid for the content they write, in a flat fee. They don’t get any royalties for the books, they don’t get any other recognition. Usually, celebrities hire ghostwriters and then sell the book under their own names. There are others who hire a ghost writer as well. 

Guidelines: Instructions for submitting work to a publication. Each publishing house has their unique guidelines. If the house does not have a guideline, I would advise staying away from them. I’m leery of small houses. Many of them either are closed or are closing.  Some of my author friends are having some terrible issues getting the rights to their books back from closed/closing houses. I count myself as lucky to have my full rights back for my book! 

 

 

 Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

E-F #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

Today is brought to you by the letter F.

However, I’m going to backtrack and include E because I was getting some medical tests done yesterday and it left me completely exhausted.

Edit: To review a piece of writing to correct grammatical, spelling, or factual errors. Editing often includes shortening or lengthening of a piece of writing to fit an available space before publication. Self-editing can save you many headaches once you send your work to an editor. I have started sending my clients a pre-editing form that they make certain edit calls before I see it. It’s in their best interest and it will ultimately result in getting their work back faster.

Epic: A long narrative poem, told in a formal, elevated style that focuses on a serious subject and chronicles heroic deeds and events important to a culture or nation. Nowadays, we see epic attached to just about anything. “That was an epic movie.” “Her response to the instructor was epic!” Epic is used as a subgenre of fantasy. An epic fantasy is like Lord of the Rings. It’s not written in poetic style,  but it vastly encompassing chronicling the heroic deeds of two seemingly unimportant hobbits.

Euphemism: A phrase used in place of something disagreeable or upsetting. For example – “passed out” for “fainted”. Using the word murder is distasteful, so instead authors will use snuff out, rub out, knock off,  kill, a one-way ticket, and other slang terms. Just as an interesting aside, I  have found many confuse euphemism for colloquialism.

 Fees: Money paid to the writer for his/her services.

 

Flash Fiction: A piece of fiction written in less than 500 words. I first stumbled upon the phenomenon of flash fiction via Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds. It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

Formatting: The manner in which a manuscript is prepared and presented. There are professionals that do this although many Indie authors do this themselves. Formatting has changed a lot with the advent of ebooks. 

Freewriting: Writing continuously without worrying about how well you are writing. This kind of informal writing is meant to explore one’s thoughts, unload one’s feelings, or reflect on something. This takes practice!  This is one of the ways that I clear my mind. I will set a timer and for thirty minutes just write –  write whatever I am feeling, whatever I am grumbling about inside, whatever is weighing on me at that moment. Then I take a break, get a cup of coffee or a glass of water and then free write my story. I get the most words down like this,  but it will require more time spent in editing. I use this when I’ve been logjammed in my writing. For instance, yesterday I was working on my WIP, and I got hung up on a small detail. This happens often, getting hung up on a detail. This particular detail is the name of my Main character. When I read the beginning of the chapter to my daughters, they began laughing and giggling. My character’s name was Terbius Jaspar. They thought it was hysterical and couldn’t believe that I didn’t see that everyone  – EVERYONE – would hear it as turd bus -AKA the big green rolling turd. *Hangs head* I spent the rest of my writing time coming up with a new character name. 

Then of course there are the rabbits that pop up everywhere!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

When Inspiration Strikes #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

Welcome to week 14 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:

“Story Inspiration”

Or as my title suggests, when Inspiration strikes.  This is definitely one that I will be reading all of the other blogger’s posts!  I find it fascinating what inspires writers to write and write the specific story they end up writing. I wonder if anyone else sometimes does like me — the initial story is not what ends up on the pages.

The myriad of things that inspire me are as diverse as the many things that our world offer! Stop laughing, I’m serious. I’ve been pondering how to best convey this and I’ve come up with a simple plan, to list some of the ideas and where they came from.

  1. An argument over the finances with my husband. Feeling a bit singed around the edges,  several hours after the argument, I was talking with my oldest daughter about something unrelated, probably something to do with a video game that she was playing. Suddenly it struck me! OH, I remember now it was a discussion of the movie The Hobbit. So, she’s going on about some of the scenes in the Hobbit, and describing the scene whenBilbo Baggins enters the dragon’s lair to find the stone amongst the hoard of gold. Dragons – gold – Eureka! I commented about the dragon complex, certain individuals who seem to be obsessed with the HAVING of money, not using the money to enjoy life. Not to name names or anything but being the spendthrift in this marriage I’m sure you can see which of us has the dragon complex. Hmmm, . . . dragon complex. . . gold . . .  shapeshifter dragons. . . attracted to gold. . . I’ll bet they can smell it! I got what my kids call my scary inspiration face and was off and running.  Just a short time later I shoved fourteen pages of handwritten story stat into my daughter’s clutches demanding – READ IT! From that start, Kiss of the Dragon was birthed. I used that story for my very first Nanowrimo story. It still sits in the file drawer because I will admit, it has so many rabbits popping up in it that it’s like a game of whack a rabbit! It needs a lot of rewrites. Don’t fret though, it isn’t forgotten.
  2. While reading the fourth book in a series by an author that I absolutely loved at the time, I didn’t like the way this particular book was playing out.  I kind of felt cheated, to be honest. I had paid good money preordering my first edition hardback copies of these books, and it seemed that it had become more about getting the books published to make money than caring about constructing a quality story. I didn’t like the turn this story was taking.  There was a lot of gratuitous sex in this book, to the point that I was frustrated with the author. To be honest, after finishing this series I’ve not bought another of their books. So the inspiration part: during this “Ugh, this is awful! Way to sell out just to get the books out there. If I were writing this story I would have character X do . . . And the relationship between X and B would end and the heroine would see that character D is the right one for her. As Gru says – Lightbulb! I guess this is the premise of why some people write fanfiction. Not me though,  I  was inspired by the world that this author built, but could see the cracks from the stage so much that it just seemed like stage props. I would take that stage prop, rebuild it, add a dash of humor here, a bit of danger there, oh yes, throw in some dark magic and terror. . . .whala – Faere Warrior and Faere Guardian were born. Yes, these are in my files as well becuase again   – over run with rabbits!
  3. Story prompts! I used to be the managing editor for a group blog, where each of the authors including myself had an assigned day of the week to write a short or serial. The idea was to generate traffic for the up and coming authors and gain them a following.  I’d like to take credit for it,  but I can’t. I  kind of took over for an amazing friend whose brainchild it was when she became overwhelmed with dealing with it. Cathy Brockman was the genius behind it and I owe her a debt of gratitude for helping me in so many ways. My initial debut story was inspired by an online friend that lies in the UK. I only knew them via Facebook. At that time,  the big thing was catfish stories. For those who don’t know what that is,  it was meeting someone online, talking to them, then finding out they weren’t who they said they were. There was a show on tv about it even! So my brain started working on the “What if?”. Love Notes came out of that. No that isn’t published because of some other issues. My first published book, Red Wine & Roses also came out of this group blog. It actually came from a photo prompt. Our family had taken a vacation to the Smoky mountains and we hiked up to Grotto Falls. The scenery inspired me to think while hiking. I was in free think mode, where the sky is the limit and laws of nature can be discarded while thinking in the whatif. I had learned a lot during my tenure at the group blog, one of the lessons being to focus on and finish a project. Thanks to an amazing lady – Vicki Locey – she is helping me to not only focus on one project at  a time but managing revisions of my previous stories.
  4. While driving my daughter to work a few years ago before she had her license, we passed a field that was flooded.  There were many places flooded and in fact, that was the last day we were able to travel that road for a week and a half due to flooding. This field had been planted with corn and the tender young plants were either completely under water or partially underwater. Once the road was reopened,  you could see the high water marks,  the pitiful looking plants that you knew were going to die, and a vast field of mud. It was obviously too muddy for the farmer to get out there yet and replant the field but the thought stuck me – If a person were to try to walk through that field, they would sink up to their hips. Hmm, . . . whala! Another story idea. I haven’t developed this one very far, but it’s on my todo list.

Inspiration is all around us. I have never had a shortage of ideas. If I ever do,  I always have a plethora of projects in my unfinished files. By the time I finish that, maybe I’ll have more ideas.

What inspires you? What prompts a story idea for you? do you ever wonder where an author gets an idea for the story?

How are you liking these posts? YOU may want to check out these other authors views as well:

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

Snap Shot – Cayuga Cougars #1


Snap Shot – Cayuga Cougars #1  by V.L. Locey releases today! This is an LGBTQ Erotic Hockey Romance.

 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34429408-snap-shot

 Blurb:

 Mario McGarrity has been around the block – and rink – more than a few times.

He’s creeping up on retirement age, has some dings and dents, and says what’s on his mind. Not exactly what most would consider a luxury ride, but his beautiful Lila – the transgender woman who stole his heart – loves him like no other woman ever has despite a little rust here and there.

Everything is good – no, great – aside from the distance issue, until a surprise from Lila’s past crops up and moves in with her. Can Mario be the family man that Lila needs, or is this one game the old vet is unable to skate in?

 

R-rated Excerpt:

“Every time I see you in my bed, I have to wonder what I did to get so lucky.”

Her hand wiggled between my legs, her warm fingers cupping my balls then squeezing. My legs spread for her of their own accord. The ice pack fell off my lower back. I figured she might pick it up and fuss, and I was right.

“I can’t imagine anyone thinking that having a washed-up hockey player in a kilt rolling around on their fancy pillows is lucky.”

My cock was pinned between my stomach and the bed. She began working on the muscles up by my shoulders after placing the ice pack back where it belonged.

“It takes a special man to come back to my bed,” she said while her strong fingers dug deeply into my flesh. It felt fantastic. “Most come once, pun fully intended, and then they leave, curiosity abated, never to be heard from again.”

I rolled onto my back to look at her. Her eyes widened slightly.

“Okay, that is total bullshit. Any man should be dropping to his knees and thanking God Almighty for a woman like you.”

“And I love that you think so.” Her gaze was tender for a moment, then it flittered from my banged-up face to my cock. The tip of her pink tongue moved over her lower lip, her eyes growing smoky and sensual. “I wish you’d keep ice on that nasty.”

“I’ll be fine. I’ve had much worse, trust me. Why don’t you lose that nightgown and shawl and plant that sexy ass right here?” I patted my thighs.

She struck a thoughtful pose, her long yellow fingernail tapping her chin, her red lips pursed. I wanted to roll her onto her back and laugh all at once.

“Come on, baby. I drove all the way from Cayuga for some sweetness.”

Her gaze flickered to me right before she reached up to push her hair from her face theatrically.

“That’s true.”

With that pronouncement, she stood. The shawl shimmied from her shoulders to the floor. I grabbed my cock and ran my thumb over the weeping head. A shudder ran through me. She stood with her back to me.

“You sure you’re up to this, Seamus?” she asked with a coy peek over her broad shoulder.

I tugged on my hard dick in reply.

“You do have a way with words,” she sighed humorously.

“You want a redhead with flapping gums, hook up with Kalinski.”

“If he and Daniel weren’t wed, I’d do so, and happily,” she teased, pushing one thin strap off her shoulder.

“Over my dead body,” I snarled, just as she wanted.

The other strap shimmied down her arm. I gave my dick another tug, my gaze locked on her as she wiggled free of her nightgown, slowly revealing her bare body.

“Fuck,” I moaned when she turned to face me, arms over her head in a pose aimed to titillate.

It worked. Oh man, how it worked. She was stunningly beautiful and as sexy as a fucking pagan goddess. I ached to get my hands on her, but I knew she had a wee bit more prancing to do.

  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

Author Links:

Website: http://vlloceyauthor.com/

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/pages/VL-Locey/124405447678452

Twitter- https://twitter.com/vllocey

Pinterest-http://www.pinterest.com/vllocey/

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5807700.V_L_Locey

My blog- http://thoughtsfromayodelinggoatherder.blogspot.com/

 

Other Books by V.L. Locey

Gone Writing Publishing M/F Backlist Books and Upcoming Releases

Pink Pucks & Power Plays (Book One of the To Love a Wildcat series)

A Most Unlikely Countess (Book Two of the To Love a Wildcat series)

O Captain! My Captain! (Book Three of the To Love a Wildcat series)

Reality Check (Book Four of the To Love a Wildcat series)

Language of Love (Book Five of the To Love a Wildcat series)

Final Shifts (Book Six of the To Love a Wildcat series)

Clean Sweep (Book One of the Venom series)

Twirly Girl (Book Two of the Venom series)

Tape to Tape (Book Three of the Venom series)

Roster Addition (A To Love a Wildcat novella)

Angle Play (Book Four of the Venom series)

 

Coming 5/3/17… Playmaker (An F/F Venom series novella)

Coming 11/1/17… Flow (Book Five of the Venom series)

 

Independent LGBTQ Releases

On Broadway (Part of the 2016-2017 Changing on the Fly M/M charity hockey anthology)

Holly & Hockey Boots (An M/M holiday hockey romance novella)

Point Shot Trilogy Boxed Set

 

Coming 2017

Coming 4/6/17… Snap Shot (Cayuga Cougars #1)

Coming 6/1/17… Goaltender’s Penalty (An M/M hockey romance novella)

Coming 7/12/17… Changing Lines – Harrisburg Railers #1 – Coauthored with Rj Scott

Coming 8/1/17…Open Net (Cayuga Cougars #2)

Coming 9/27/17…Finding the Edge (book #1 of the Brighton Wood Blades series)

Coming 10/17 – Rookie Moves (Part of the 2107/2018 Changing on the Fly M/M charity hockey anthology)

Coming 12/1/17 … First Season – Harrisburg Railers #2 – Coauthored with Rj Scott

Thanks for stopping by, be sure to go check out Vicki’s latest!

Write on my friends, write on!

D is also for Deadlines


My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms. Today is brought to you by the letter D.

D – Dialogue:

The words spoken by the characters of a story.

In order to tell the story, every dialogue needs to have meaning within the story. Whether that is character development in showing their strengths, weaknesses,  their backstory, or foreshadowing, it conveys an integral part of the story otherwise, why is it there? A dialogue can also be a way to share information without sounding like an info dump. Michael Crichton was expert at conveying information within the dialogue. By doing this he also kept the action going in the story, which in turn keeps the reader moving forward!

D -Denouement:

The final outcome of the main complication of a story or play. It usually occurs after the climax and reveals all the secrets and misunderstandings connected to the plot. In other words, you tie up all of your loose ends including that minor character that you left back at camp with a bullet hole in his leg, hoping that the field doctor would arrive in time. Inquiring readers want to know!

D – Draft:

A completed version of a writing which may be rewritten, revised, or polished. Just because you have a draft does not mean you have a publishable manuscript. On the other hand, I need to learn to let go and cut the cord. 

That concludes our lesson for the day. Tomorrow, it’s back to double bird killing. We writers are an evil lot!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

April A to Z Challenge 2017


Greetings! I’ve been pondering what to do on the April challenge for the past couple of weeks.  I have been wondering how I would do this challenge and manage to continue posting the #MFRW challenges on Friday.

In doing so, I’ve managed to miss getting my posts up! Way to go Ellie, way to go!

I’m still not sure how to get them all in, but I will try my best. I’ve been going gangbusters on revisions to Roxy Sings the Blues. April is Camp Nanowrimo and I am working on a new project that is top-secret for now in addition to the rewrites on Roxy. This new project has a hard deadline, so I have to be diligent in getting this one finished.

Despite all of the advice that is the current trend, which was the opposite advice from the 80’s and 90’s, the best way to get it all in is to multitask. Really, women are conditioned to multitask from the get go.

First thing first –  I have promised an excerpt or teaser since the beginning of the year. I shared one in Inquisitive Minds,  One Phone Call,  and Life Isn’t Fair, but aside from those, I’ve been negligent in sharing. So, today I will share a Tuesday Teaser from Roxy Sings the Blues.

“Detective Miller, Detective Alvarez.”

Devon Miller nodded in acknowledgment. He hated these calls. He hated seeing veterans in the homeless shelter. It never made sense to him. “What have we got?”

“Two males. Looks like meth heads, but we need to find out what’s going on. This is the fourth time this month that homeless guys have shown up dead. I’m putting you two on the case. Check with Dickerson in narcotics, see if he has any leads.” Seargent Brenner stood, flipping the body bag back over the victim’s face. “I want to know what they are taking, who they are buying from, what the cause of death was. I want a full tox screen and have Simmons report anything out of the order. Anything. Talk to some of the regulars at the shelter up the street.” He tucked his hands into the pockets of his black leather jacket, eyes downcast to the ground. Hesitating as if he wanted to add something more, but then changing his mind. He added, “I want reports on my desk in the morning.”

Devon watched him walk away before bending to examine the body. He reached for a discarded straw in the pile of trash that the first body lay in. Using the straw, he opened the vic’s mouth checking for missing teeth, foaming, anything. “Still got his teeth. That’s something.”

Alvarez stood with his hands shoved into his jacket. “This kid is too young to be here.”  He bent swiping the hair out of the eyes of the second body. “Both of them are. I’d lay odds that test results are going to be the same as the last guys. I think our best bet is going to be Dickerson. See if he knows who’s dealing the designer drugs down here and find out how bums can afford it.”

Are you curious? Let me know in the comments! 

The second item on the agenda –  the A to Z challenge. With my push for Camp Nano, I ‘ve forgotten to put up my posts for Saturday and Monday.

First the rules of the challenge – every day of the week minus Sundays,  you are to post that letter of the alphabet. The theme is something that your blog is typically about. My theme is:

 

Are you surprised? I liked last year that there were categories to choose from but this year, there isn’t a list of themes it is make your own! Although, it did get me out of my comfort zone to try my hand at some photography which was fun!

That’s what this challenge is all about –  fun!

A – Attitude

(April 1) Writing requires a certain attitude. You have to have confidence in your ability. There is a certain egotism in thinking that others should read what you have written. I prefer to call it confidence but on the days that I am faltering in confidence, I go back to the word attitude. It’s a stance, a unique voice, your reason behind the desire to spend countless hours behind a laptop in solitude. It’s that gnawing at your soul that if you don’t get it down on paper it will make you go mad. It’s the knowing in your heart that drives you forward and overrides the countless times you’ve thought of giving up. In the end, there is a certain attitude, sometimes cocky sometimes timid, but overall it’s knowing that you can do this and do it well!

B -Books

(April 3) There are certain books that a writer should have on their bookshelf. I have:

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

On Writing by Stephen King

Writing Down the Bones  by Natalie Goldberg

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

And . . . if you are anything like me more than a dozen others.

 

 C -Characters

Characters drive the story. The best stories are character driven because it’s the connection to the characters that keep us interested. If the character is nothing more than a flat Stanley then who cares what happens to him but if the character is well-developed, we become involved, putting ourselves in their shoes, sympathizing with them,  on the edge of our seat hoping they make it out of that dangerous situation. What would Gone With the Wind be without the narcissistic Scarlet O’Hara?

So, … two birds with one stone or rather two topics in one post and it is by far not my longest post! I call that a win.

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

MANN Cakes


My guest today is the lovely Mysti Parker with her latest.

What’s tastier than savory bacon and cheese cupcakes? The men who make them, of course!

If you’re a fan of romantic comedy in the same vein as Janet Evanovich, Lauren Blakely, Kylie Gilmore & Louisa Edwards, you’ll enjoy this! Plus, you’ll get REAL bonus Mann Cakes recipes.

Release date: May 11

Preorder now on Kindle for just $0.99

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSHTPYY
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSHTPYY
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XSHTPYY
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/B06XSHTPYY

Blurb:

Love makes men do desperate things, if desperate things means opening a rival cupcake shop to drive your ex-girlfriend crazy.

Twin brothers and Air Force vets, Tanner and Garrett Mann, return from deployment to find their thriving business burned to the ground. Time for Plan B: Move back to their hometown of Beach Pointe to start over.

But that means running into Paige and Morgan Baxter –gorgeous, curvy, and owners of Two Sisters Cupcakes.

There’s an old diner for sale across town, Garrett’s a great cook, and Tanner has an idea. They’ll make savory cupcakes that men would like. We’re talking bacon and Cheez Whiz. Even better? They’ll call it Mann Cakes. Problem is, they end up attracting an unexpected crowd.

Paige is furious. Every man in her life has left her behind, including Tanner. She’s sacrificed everything for her shop. She won’t lose it over some egotistical ex-boyfriend, even if he does have an Air Force-chiseled body. Her younger sister, Morgan, isn’t helping matters. She’s been gaga over Garrett since high school.

To hell with that. If it’s a fight Tanner wants, it’s a fight he’ll get. But how much is Paige willing to risk to win a cupcake war?

Contact Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RomanceforEveryReader/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MystiParker

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Mysti-Parker/e/B0055LOTX8/

Website: http://www.mystiparker.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/chMhoH

Thank you, Mysti for sharing with us!

Go get your preorder in! Write on my friends, write on and read a good book!

Ellie

Author Superpower #MFRW



This week’s writing prompt is “My Greatest Strength”

Welcome to week 12 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

Welcome back to my little corner of the world. It’s interesting to me, one of the comments that is on the MFRW page; “Blogging is an opportunity for authors to connect with readers. Despite being fiction writers, blogging is an entirely different style of writing and often stumps us. Our challenge is designed to help our authors blog consistently, thoughtfully and with purpose.”

The reason that I find this interesting is that I have the opposite thought. It’s easier for me to write short blog posts than to stay focused for longer lengths of time to write a finished novel. There, I said it. My confession. It is difficult for me to focus –  hence why I have multiple unfinished and unpublished novels. I guess those earlier days of being an opinion columnist have conditioned me for the short bursts of thought, rather than to keep plugging away on one continuous thought. ADD tendencies don’t help. Anyway, moving into the focused topic for the day, my greatest strength.

Well, I can tell you ten things that it isn’t! Maybe that is a topic for another day. I had to think about this for a while,  in fact, I logged off of everything and pondered,  making a mental checklist of what I wasn’t good at. Those are easy and added to the time-wasting while my gears turned. I’ll admit it, I sulked.

My mind went down the list of all the things that I could see that my friends were good at. It’s a good thing I didn’t have any ice cream in the house or I would have drowned my sorrows in the company of Ben and Jerry’s.

It wasn’t until a phone call from a friend that I had a valid answer. I know, insecure much? She asked what I was doing and I told her bluntly I was wasting time while I was trying to think of something I was good at, something that would be my greatest strength if I even have one.  Don’t think I can’t see those eye rolls now, just as I’m sure she was rolling her eyes on the other end of the phone.

After a stern lecture for being down on myself,  she quickly rattled off things that she saw are strengths. She didn’t have to stop and think about them, she just rattled them off! Right, add ‘quick to think’ to the list of “not my strengths”.

I recalled a list that my media coach made me put together when I was in a mood like this a couple of years ago. What did I do with that list? Add ‘organized’ to the list of ‘not my strengths’.

My husband and I went to marriage counseling, and one of the things I had to do was put together a lost of his strengths, and things I loved about him,  then put together a list of my own strengths. Compiling his was easy. Mine? Not so much.

Just a side note here, but don’t you find it ironic that karma or fate tends to throw things like this topic up in your path when you are at a low point in that area? Hmm? Just me then? Yeah, irony.

My readers don’t care that I’m a good cook – no make that a damn good cook. I’m not going to appear on Master Chef or anything,  but I manage quite well to feed my family tasty nutritious, and sometimes not so nutritious foods. None of us are starving.  You guys don’t want to hear that I am an exhorter, finding value in everyone else. If you’ve read even one of my blog posts, you probably already know that.

So as an author, what am I good at? Isn’t it sad that it took cheating to come up with something?

OK, asking my friend over the phone, going through my stack of notebooks for that list, going through the marriage counseling folder, are technically cheating. Hey, when you’re down you’re down.

In that folder, I found the list my husband made about me. I was in tears. It amazes me that he sees all these wonderful things in me.  OK, maybe I should make a run to the store and bring Ben and Jerry home for a celebration. Instead, I decided to make his favorite meal and dessert for him. ( It’s a small thing, but something I could definitely do for him!)

In the top five of both lists – the one from the media coach and my husband’s list, and one of the things mentioned from my friend on the phone made me smile and I admitted,  this could be the thing. OK, let me be honest here. There were actually a couple of things that were on all the lists, which made me smile this ridiculous goofy smile and cry happy tears.

So what is my greatest strength?

I am never lacking ideas. I rarely ever get writer’s block, instead, I have a flood of ideas and have trouble focusing on just one.

A friend will ask my advice on how to move her characters from point A to point B, and I have a couple of ideas. I don’t even have to think about it, I can rattle off a list of options for her. Another friend needs a title – BAM I give her a list of options and more than a few times, the author will decide on one of my suggestions.

I have a creative mind. I can come up with an idea from just about any prompt that you can throw at me. I can make a meal that is practically gourmet from simple ingredients. I can make an elaborate plot out of a simple idea.

I can throw boulder-sized obstacles into my character’s path to keep them from their objective. I can always think of “what can go wrong now” to avoid a straight line to the end.

My name is Ellie Mack and my super power

is my Creative Mind.

I have no problem with doubt in this area. I know I am creative. this is not an area that I second guess myself. Why it was so hard for me to see it, I don’t know.

  • Lame plot? I got a solution.
  • Flat characters? I have some ideas.
  • A new twist on an old theme? I got a million of them!
  • Wrote yourself into a corner? Did you see the loose ceiling tile?

A brilliant mind is one of the sexiest qualities a person can have.

Being smart is sexy!

It feels great to know that I can in all sincerity say I am confident that this is a strength.

Confidence is sexy!

Confidence gives you the inner fortitude to be bolder in your endeavors.

Boldness is Sexy!

Knowing that you are strong in an area is enabling and allows you to work harder.

Strong is sexy!

Being smart leads to confidence. Confidence leads to boldness. Boldness leads to being strong. Being strong builds confidence  . . . and the cycle begins to gain momentum.

I’ve got my sexy back!

*does a smexy dance to my inner music*

Yeah!

YEAH!

OH YEAH!

What does sexy have to do with strength? EVERYTHING!   Sexy is so much more than a perfect size four female body. Sexy is a state of mind. A romance writer needs to have a certain sexy state of mind in order to write those steamy hot scenes and interconnective tissue that weaves a magical story that unites two individuals within the pages of a novel. Confidence gives you strength in who you are and what you are capable of.

Just like the rock hard muscles of a trained athlete, an author’s mind flexes with training and conditioning. It builds strength. A strength that others easily recognize, even when you can’t see it. Plus, the strong sexy author can make the voices of doubt that echo through the dark corridors of my mind shut the hell up!

This week’s prompt came at a time that I was truly down and I seriously needed this to get myself back up out of the mire. Thanks, MFRW! I needed that!

What is your greatest strength? Do you need someone else to point them out for you like I did or are you confident in your own to know your strengths and value?

You can check out what these authors have to say about it as well! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

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!