Keys to the Kingdom #MFRW


 

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 37- Five Ways to Win My Heart

Hmmm, at first  I thought –  what would it take to win my heart, but then I remembered a few weeks back, the ‘open/shut door’ fiasco. I think I’ll address both!

Hello, everyone! Glad you could stop by!  I know I’ve missed the last couple of prompts, but I have good reasons. No, really I do!  Doctors appointments and making final revisions on Roxy!

Five Ways to Win My Heart

  1. Bring me coffee – My husband follows a very strict Christian regime with the coffee, following Biblical instruction – He Brews.  Not only does he brew the coffee,  but on the weekends he brings me my first cup, made just like I like it! He scores some serious man points here!
  2. HE Gets Me – Understand me, get my jokes, my sense of humor, sarcasm, understand my point of view. It’s not even necessary to agree with me, just  GET me.  My husband gets me.  He laughs at my corny jokes,  he gets my quirky humor, and sometimes off-color humor as well.  He gets it when I am upset, although often he wants to fix it even though I just need him to listen and understand why I am upset.  More man points!
  3. Pens – Every year for Christmas Santa’s helper AKA Hubster sneaks a few pens or a lot of pens into my stocking or in a box beneath the tree. This past year, he gave me a giant box of gel pens to use for my adult coloring books. My favorite uni-ball pens find their way into my stocking.  He brings home novelty pens from salesmen at work. It’s amazing how many interesting pens salesmen use in the IT world! My name is Ellie, and I have a pen habit. Supplying my habit is a fast track to winning my heart! Exponential man points!
  4. Notice my weight loss – OK, this one is tricky. Living with a person that you see day in and day out,  it’s often difficult to notice subtle changes. A quick way to a fight comes from comments that I need to START losing weight. I go from zero to ballistic in .03 seconds. Seriously, I have been denying myself so many things, have given up many other things, have changed my diet drastically, have been exercising a little more each week, I know I still have a long way to go, but DANG IT –  lie if you have to, acknowledge something.  My skin looks clearer and not ashen, my shirts fit better, my shorts have been baggy –  but those are things that I tend to be the only one to notice.  Some day, he will notice.  It will probably be after someone else comments,  but eventually . . . I hope.  No points in a long, long time.
  5. Enjoy being with me – It doesn’t matter what we do or if we are doing nothing. Someone who wants to spend time with me earns instant points. In our cyber age,  it’s rare to still have freinds that will spend real life time with you.  Face to face time, where you can actually engage in a relationship.  It’s one thing to be freinds it’s another to want to spend time with an individual.  The fact that the hubster chooses to spend his time with me completely wins my heart!

How a Romance Author Wins My Heart

  1. Beleivable characters –  I need a heroine that I can relate to. I need to connect to her, put myself in her shoes.  The hero has to be  relatable as well.  I don’t get into those billionaire books.  The likelihood of some uber rich guy coming into my middle class American world is  beyond my suspension of disbelief.
  2. Nasty villain – Give me an antagonist I can hate, which also causes me to root for the heroine that much more.  He doesn’t have to be nasty in the sense of vile or perverse,  but nasty as in mean and ruthless. The kind of person that makes you hope they get their come-uppance.
  3. Action – Action draws the reader forward, narrative can bog down the story. I want a story that will  keep me turning the pages. I’ve read enough romance books to know the formulaic approach, and if the author can surprise me, I will read them again!
  4. Cliffhanger –  there needs to be at least one low point that leaves you hanging,  makes you wonder if the heroine will make it or ever achieve their happily ever after.  This is romance of course,  so  we know the author isn’t going to kill the Main character, but when an author makes you wonder if they are bucking the system, it’s very gratifying.
  5. The Denoument – when all the ends are tidied up at the end and you are not left wondering,  but what happened to that guy that was in the hospital on life support? What happened to her dog? On page 145 her dog was lost after the tornado,  then on page 187 she searches the animal shelter,  then   she gets the happily ever after  with the hero, but the dog is forgotten. Did she give up on the dog? Did someone adopt the dog?  I know,  it seems like a petty thing,  but things like this,  the author used a certain trope or character to fill space, and tell the story from point D to E, and by the conclusion at K, there is never another mention of it. This is one of those things where I would say tell me not show me.  Because if the author is trying to show that she was heartbroken, then distracted by the guy, then that makes her seem a crappy pet owner and it maight be best if she never have another pet. Do you get what I am saying? It doesn’t necessarily have to be the pet. I’ve seen it with a neighbor,  a coworker, where it is just assumed that since they don’t matter to the final outcomoe of the story,  they aren’t mentioned again.
What about you? What does it take to win your heart in person or in a book? Share your thoughts below.

Here  are the links for other authors in this blog hop sharing  their five points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  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
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually, when I get to it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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A Typical Day #MFRW


What? Twice in one week? What’s going on?

It’s nice to flex that blogging muscle, just like when you’ve been inactive for a while, it feels good to stretch and feel the slight soreness that lets you know you’re working.

I had planned to blog on Wednesday – because I was really psyched to share a few things. Unrealistic as it was a nonstop day.

I finished two beta reads this week and have started on a new editing job for a favorite author. In addition, I’ve been trying to get as many words down as I can. They don’t come as easily as they did prior to cancer treatment, but they are trickling in. I had my follow up visit to the radiologist now that the burns have healed and I am starting a 12 week Strong Living program next week.  This has nothing to do with today’s blog, I”m just excited to be able to get out these days!

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 31 – A Day in My Life.

I’ve decided to give you a compare and contrast of the before and after cancer days because it really does change your life and make you see what’s important.

Prior to April 20:

  • Get up at 5:30 am. Make breakfast, pack my husband’s lunch. Drink coffee.
  • 6:30 shower, dress and get ready to tackle my day. Mental self-talk in the shower.
  • 7:00 to 9:00 Start on my MLO job. Go through admin stuff, check the website for inquiries, reference and respond. Drink more coffee.
  • 9:00  – noonish Take a break from MLO job, open WIP, Editing job, go through emails. Get crack-a-lacking on the writing.
  • noonish to 2 – Housework, errands, get back on the writing  – OMG I haven’t eaten anything yet today. This coffee is starting to get to me on an empty stomach. HEY, what’s in the fridge? OH, look I have this, and this, and this, oh and that sounds good.  How did it get to be 3 in the afternoon? Where has the day gone?
  • 3 -4 Afternoon round for MLO job. Go through company emails.  Feeling stuffed – gee, I wonder why?  I only ate 2 meals in one sitting because I hadn’t eaten all day and no, I have NOT had too much caffiene. I still have five things on my to do list and I need more coffee.
  • 5 – 6 Wrap up any open files – editing, writing, company stuff. I don’t feel so good. UGH, I have to start fixing something for dinner. I’m not hungry. Of course not –  you just ate! But I need to fix dinner. What’s on the menu? Darn it, I was supposed to thaw out the chicken. What else do we have?
  • 6 – 630 dinner
  • 630 to 7 clean up
  • 7 – 9  watch TV/ visit with hubby/ housework
  • 9 ish – crashed on the sofa, awakened by family member to get up and go to bed.

Simple right? Yeah, not like I created my own stress or anything. Did you know that high stress is one of the commonly shared things with over 60% of cancer patients? Hmmmmm.

A Day in my Life now:

  • Get up at 5:30 am. Make breakfast, pack my husband’s lunch. Drink coffee.
  • 6:30  Sit down and read, meditate – take at least 15 minutes to get my head on straight for the day. shower, dress and get ready to tackle my day. Sometimes I still do a self-talk in the shower, but more days it’s trying to encourage myself and speak what I’m thankful for. Have something for breakfast. Breakfast is still a challenge for me but I make a point to eat something.
  • 7:00 to 9:00 Some days, I go back to bed. My stamina is still pretty low. Most days though I spend some time reading then start on my writing or editing. Go through admin stuff, check the website for inquiries, reference and respond. Limit myself to 2 cups of coffee. For the last two weeks around 8 o’clock, I’ve been doing a low impact cardio workout that only lasts about 15 minutes. Sadly, it’s about my limit right now but I hope that stamina will begin to increase.
  • 9:00  – 10:00 I try to schedule my numerous Drs appointments for the mornings. If it’s a day for an appointment, then the drive time will eat up most of the day until afternoon. Whatever time I get back, I start on the MLO job.  I have a small snack around 10-ish whether it’s a pack of nuts from my purse in a waiting room or piece of fruit.
  • noonish to 2 –  Lunch –  something light. Most often a salad with some sort of protein in it. Snack wraps, . . . I could start sharing about some of my new recipes if anyone was interested. My diet has changed drastically between cancer and now diabetes and I’m still learning. I am seeing a nutritionist in a couple of weeks, hopefully, I’ll have a better idea of balance with these new dietary restrictions. Again- cancer sucks!
  • 3 -4 Check back on the company site and see if there is something I will need to tackle the next day. Do a little housework, sometimes just one or two simple chores. A couple of days a week, my afternoons from 2 until 4 are work at my office, but that’s only 2 days a week. I’m grateful that I still have the job and I hope to increase my hours gradually.
  • 5 – 6 Wrap up any open files – editing, writing, company stuff. I need to fix dinner. What’s on the menu? I start on my menu plan –  I work up a balanced menu for the week.
  • 6 – 630 dinner – conversation and catch up time with my husband
  • 630 to 7 clean up – sometimes.  Or I have my grown children do it.  After all, I cooked.
  • 7 – 9  Relax, unwind. Have conversation. On Wednesday, we watch Master Chef. On another day we have been watching American Grit. I don’t really watch much TV.
  • 9 ish – Read, sometimes I play a game on my kindle. Look at Pinterest – the bottomless pit.

I’ve made some improvements  and I know there is plenty of room still for more improvement.  I don’t stress over what’s not done. I will do what I can today, the rest will have to wait. My stamina is improving ever so slightly each day but is still pretty weak.  If you compare the two,  there are a few things that you may notice are different.

Reduced coffee.  I can’t quite give up my coffee, but I have cut down considerably.

Reduced stress. I just can’t go there. I really don’t care if twenty other people are running ninety to nothing with their hair on fire.  I can’t. My life is valuable to me. I’ve been given a new lease on life and I am going to make the most of it. At my own pace with no apologies to anyone ever again. I’m alive and I’ll take each day and be thankful for it!

Reduced irons in the fire.  Nope my house isn’t spotless. The laundry isn’t caught up. The dishes occasionally pile up. I need to dust. Nope, I’m not making any record breaking pace for writing, editing or  the paid day job. I still have to juggle a lot of Drs visits and tests. I need down time.  I went for thirty some odd years with little to no down time.  I can’t anymore.

Me time.  This is a whole new thing and it still feels awkward and uncomfortable.  I have a little breathing room, it’s nice!

It’s like I’ve become more Jamaican mahn. Don’t worry. Every little ting, gonna be alright. It’s all good mahn. The sun will come up tomorrow and we get to do it all over again and if it don’t, it don’t matter anyways. So chill. Enjoy the sunshine,  the  cool breeze, the people in your life –  that’s what is important!

Here  are the links for other authors in this blog hop sharing  a glimpse into their day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  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
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually, when I get to it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

How Do You Do That? #MFRW


So, you know how I said I was debating about just using the bloghop prompts? I have this OCD issue . . . leaving things undone is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  There is no way I can go back and do over all of the weeks I’ve missed,  but I can still use the posts

One of the weeks that I missed was Week 11. Plot Away. . . My Writing Process. 

Oh boy, this is going to be difficult!

LE SIGH!

I definitely need to improve my process. I have numerous books that haven’t been published and I need to get on the ball!

THE PROCESS:

  1. The Idea Garden – every great story starts with an ideal. Every idea doesn’t have to be great. You can have five writers use the same basic plot and write five different stories and one of them might be great. Take for instance romance- the basic plot of any romance is boy meets girl, they fall in love, *complications* they live happily ever after. The thing that makes each story unique is that *complications* bit. An inspiration for an idea can come from anywhere – prompts, pictures, people at Walmart.
  2. Plotting or Pantsing – I’m a Planster. That is mostly a plotter with a bit of pantsing. I take my initial idea and make a rough outline. For the WIP that I’ve been working on and revising, this process has been a bit different than in the past. I’m trying to write a better book. The wonderful Karen Docter gave me a few pointers which I have taken to heart, revamped the plot which was weak leaning towards lame, scrapped most of what I had before and began earnestly writing in this new method that makes more sense to me. My new method is using the W Plot method. I am embarrassed to admit that I had to go through the course 3 times before I got it. Well, I think I got it. Time will tell. Making sure that I hit the nine major points,  I then begin to write. It takes me a while to get from one point to the next because there could be ten chapters between the two points. Or in later sections, it’s only five chapters between points. The W does not have to be symmetrical! Nobody told me the plot has to be symmetrical. You’re warned, so don’t be leaving some comment in the review that says the pacing isn’t the same when things start escalating and moving faster and faster until the climax. I’m just going to leave that.
  3. Write the Words – Write LIke the Wind BullsEye! This is the nitty gritty day to day word count. I’ve only recently been able to get back into my author’s chair and have clear thoughts to be able to focus on my plot. Hey, don’t judge me! Chemo brain is a very real thing. Just another little thing cancer robs you of. There were days, it was like I was absolutely stoned out of my mind. Not that I would know what that was like. *Cough cough*  The point here is that I’ve been back to writing this week. My story sits at 52,764 words and I have about ten more chapters to add. I can’t tell you how long it will take me because it’s a new world for me. I don’t know what my new normal is. I don’t know which days are going to be good days and which are chemo brain days. Yesterday I got 1200 words down, then was sick the rest of the day including when we went out to celebrate our anniversary. JOY!
  4. Revisions, Beta Feedback, and Editor woes! – To be honest, 50K of the words have already been revised. I will have to get new beta readers because I had asked my beta readers to read back in April before I got my diagnosis. *Hangs head* It’s been a long, long arduous four months and my journey isn’t over yet. AS soon as I can get the other chapters done, I’ll send it off to my betas and then make corrections before sending to my wonderful editor.
  5. Covers! –While the editor is going over my book it’s time for cover creation! Unfortunately, what I had originally planned for this cover isn’t going to happen because medical expenses are astronomical. The out of pocket isn’t anywhere near the total charges which are over $100K, but still, I don’t know where we are going to come up with the thousands we need.
  6. Correction Center – It takes me a while to go over the calls made by my editor. As an editor myself, you’d think the calls are easy to go through using Word, but it’s so easy to get confused and lose track of where you were, especially now with this brain fog!
  7. Release the Kraken! Or erm, your baby – the project that you’ve toiled over, created the world for your characters to live, made your reader love them or hate them, all of the dirty deeds you’ve done to your characters in practice runs or in the final print, it’s finally ready for reader’s eyes. You pray, you chew your nails, you have a few drinks while laughing nervously and alternately crying, and have a few moments of “I finished a book!” before the “Get your butt in gear on the next one” hits.

Yeah, that about sums up the process. Of course, I’ve omitted the psychological process of going from the brilliant idea when you feel absolute genius to useless failure to chasing dreams to the determination to see this through to the end. But that’s a whole other post.

My process may be different from everyone else. I’m trying to focus on one project at a time. A quick update on progress – Roxy Sings the Blues is the current WIP that I have about ten chapters left to write. It was supposed to be finished in April then my world fell apart.  Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening is written. I’ve been holding off on that one until I get my major points in book 2 far enough to feel comfortable that I am not going to need to add that bit to book one or omit that other bit that foreshadows book 3.  Realm Wars series is basically waiting on me to finish book 1, which is a prequel to Passion’s Price and Faere Guardian. I got hung up on Egyptian gods and their system and fell into a research pit with that one and shelved it. Guess what? Soon I will dust them off and get them out there.

Anyway, now you know my publishing goals for the next year. Three of those were supposed to go out this year, but CANCER. Anyone who feels the need to comment on my slow writing can suck it!

You can find previous posts in this series here:

 

 

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Old School Reader


Hey, I’m back!

It has been a while. The radiation treatments were totally kicking my butt for a while there,   but I survived and am making my comeback.  This week has a been a learning curve in what my new normal is going to look like as my stamina is measured in micro bursts. It will increase, however slowly.

I debated about borrowing the prompts for this on my own schedule, or jump back in since I’ve missed so many weeks. A good friend said just go for it and jump in again so here I am.

Welcome to Week  30 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge: Paper, e-book, or audio?

Quotidiandose does not own the rights to this image. All rights reserved to http://amysvintagethoughts.blogspot.com/2012/01/broken-resolutions-stack-of-books.html

I am old school, I prefer to have a hard-copy print book in my hands.  Whether it is hardbound or a paperback, I prefer the print copy to an e-reader. That isn’t to say however that I don’t own an e-reader because I do. It has nearly 300 books on it, many of which I have started but not finished. When I have a print book, I will read it through. I usually have a couple of books that I alternate between but lately, it is all I can do to focus on one.

I have been working my way through the digital material as I have been spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. *ROLLS EYES*  By mid-August, I should be able to leave a dozen reviews.

There’s just something about the smell of paper and the gratifying sense of touch to handle the print copies.  I own a shelf full of first edition books which are part of my treasure hoard. There are only a handful of authors that I care enough to get first editions. A couple of my prized first editions: Arabian Nights. YES, the 1704 edition! I don’t dare handle it too much, as it is delicate. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Then I have some more modern first editions by Karen Marie Moning and Clive Cussler.

One of my greatest thrills is going to author events and getting signed copies from other authors. Sometimes I trade my book for theirs, which is a complete thrill to me that they think my book is worth trading theirs for!

I’m not much on audio books other than when I am listening to them at the gym and since I haven’t been to the gym for a while. . . .  yeah, that’s a whole other story. I have listened to audio books during my cancer treatments. I got through 2 Clive Cussler books, a Stephen King, and Anne Rice.  I find though that if I am doing anything else, I lose my place in the story and have to rewind and listen to that part over whereas with a print book I am less likely to get lost.

We each have our own preferences! One thing I do like about ebooks though is the price. I can get three books for every one of my print copies!

You can find other author’s take on this top here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you read? Which format do you prefer for your books?

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  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
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Suddenly


Hey, everyone!

How to write the post I need to write . . .  there is no real clever way so with all the tact I can muster, I’m going to plunge in.

With the A to Z Challenge, I left off with the letter O. I have a new word, that inadvertently has everything to do with my own writing right now –

ONCOLOGY

On March 28, I had my annual OBGYN visit. I shared some concerns with her about the girl parts, namely issues that indicate menopause.  She sent me to the Imaging center for a pelvic sonogram, and the annual mammogram. I expected some news on the lower region but not the tatas.

A scheduled date for a routine procedure for the girl parts was made. Later that day, I got a call saying I needed to return for an additional mammogram and breast ultrasound because I had some areas of concern. OK, that’s a bit disconcerting but no biggie, right? I figured fibrocystic breast syndrome because the girls aren’t exactly smooth like a muscle,  they are kind of like a well-used pillow. NO, I’m not going into detail on that but after nursing two babies, being a ‘mature’ woman I’m grateful they don’t drag the floor.

April 6th I go back for these additional tests and the Dr. that oversees the imaging center came in and told me that it’s cancerous. BUT, don’t worry, most of the time it’s benign.  He had one of those plastic forced smiles that is used to break bad news. I instantly don’t trust him.

April 12th, I have a Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy. Don’t let anyone fool you – it hurts. “Oh, you’ll just feel some pressure and hear a click” LIARS!!! 

IT HURT!  IT HURT FOR DAYS AFTER!  IT still hurts as the bruised area changes from purple to greenish yellow.

I wait for the verdict phone call which was supposed to happen either last Tuesday or Wednesday that never came. On one hand, no news is good news.  If they don’t call it can’t be too urgent right?

WRONG!

I called on Thursday because I suck at waiting patiently.

STAGE 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

Yeah, that’s something you want to hear when you are in the office alone. I mean, literally alone. There wasn’t another breathing soul in the office complex.

The only time I’ve ever known doctors to act fast is when it’s serious so it didn’t alleve my fears when they called back to confirm an appointment with an oncology surgeon for the next day. Friday the 21st was a marathon. I would gladly attempt a running marathon as opposed to my day. The doctor explained completely with drawing little illustrations to emphasize the points. My options were presented to me, initial treatment assessment was discussed, and then it was off to the labs for more tests.

Bloodwork – one of my big fears about this whole thing is the needles. I have small veins, they are deep (being fat isn’t the only reason for this) and they roll. When I get blood drawn they use a child’s butterfly needle. What is going to happen if I have to go through chemotherapy and they blow my veins? I don’t have enough time to build my cardio level to have super veins like my husband. He makes a fist and the veins just pop out. Of course, that would look bad on me as a female.

Chest x-ray, EKG, new mammogram, additional close up mammogram slides, 3D Ultrasound – I was there from 8 in the morning until almost 5 at night.

I’ve had the weekend to digest all of this.  I’ve shared with close family what the diagnosis is and the plan for treatment, and have even shared on my Facebook account.  I was almost at a place of peace about accepting this. Nobody wants to go through this. Nobody chooses cancer.

Then, I get another call. Just a few minutes ago actually. I have to go back for an MRI and a second biopsy of additional spots that they found. This may determine whether or not I can have a lumpectomy or have to have the full mastectomy.

I’m not sharing to gain your sympathy. I’m not sharing because I overshare – if anything I hear from people that I don’t let others in, don’t share what’s really going on.

This isn’t about writing yet it is.  I write with passion. My passion. Passion for life, passion about love relationships, passion about the emotions we go through. My plan for today was to share some more from Roxy, a segment that I’ve recently tackled – one that was very difficult to tackle and I had to be in the right headspace to do. Ironically I had to draw on the raw emotions of my own mother’s funeral to write this. I’d put it off for weeks, but finally tackled it and was quite proud of myself for not only tackling it,  I think I did a pretty good job on it as well.

Then I get this news.  Well hell!  Oh trust me, I could write the emotional scene now. I could pour my heart out on the pages and nobody is the wiser that it was me going through this emotional tidal wave with the diagnosis of ‘You have breast cancer’.

Ironically, Roxy’s mother died after a long battle with breast cancer. Should I wait and experience first hand and rewrite? Should I proceed with it as scheduled? I know that women dying from breast cancer is rare, it’s usually when it’s metastasized beyond the breast and invaded other organs. Ultimately it started with breast cancer, and Roxy’s mother was a woman that put off her own medical treatment until it became critical.

For me, they caught it early with the mammogram. Of that I am grateful. Ladies, don’t put it off.  I still can’t feel any lumps even knowing that it’s there. I don’t have a family history of it. I don’t have the usual symptoms that indicate cancer.  In all of my regular doctor’s comments about concerns for being overweight he never said cancer was one of them. Now as I am reading the material provided to me by the breast cancer center, obesity can lead to cancer. Heart disease and diabetes were on my mind, not cancer. Never cancer.We hear the words “save the tatas” and kind of laugh, but we do the self-exams. It has become a reality for me now. This is a path I never wanted to go down but am forced to embark on this journey.

We hear the words “save the tatas” and kind of laugh, but we do the self-exams. It has become a reality for me now. This is a path I never wanted to go down but am forced to embark on this journey. April 20th is a day of demarcation for me. My life as I knew it ended that day, so tears were to be expected. Tears of grieving for what was,  what dreams may die, all of the changes that have to be made and tears to face the great unknown.  A little encouragement for saving the woman would be appreciated.

I’ll try to stay away from the pity parties but from time to time I will be sharing my struggles in this battle. I’m not looking forward to the needles. Not looking forward to losing part of my breast or the full breast or breasts depending on what they find. Not looking forward to possibly losing my hair. Not looking forward to much of any of this,  but it’s the path I’ve been put on and I’ll make the best of a bad situation.  I come from good stock and I am my mother’s daughter. My mother was ” a tough old bird”. I hope I have half as much chutzpah as she did.

I plan to continue writing, still pushing for my delayed deadline and praying that I don’t have to push it back further. The A to Z challenge . . . I don’t have the energy to continue that now. I thought about making a video, but I didn’t think I could get through it without an ugly cry and who needs to see that?

Hope you stick around to see me come out the other end of this!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

O Brother – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

O  my soul cries out!

 

Ode: A lengthy lyric poem that often expresses lofty emotions in a dignified style. Often relayed in meloramatic tones.

On Acceptance: When payment is given to the writer after the editor accepts the finished nonfiction article. This is more often used in article writing, not novel writing. 

On Publication: When payment is given to the writer when the piece is published.

On Spec: When the editor is not obligated to publish the piece as the writer was not officially assigned to write it.

Onomatopoeia: The use of words that resemble the sound they denote. For example – hiss or buzz. Batman was rife with onomatopoeias. POW BANG CRASH!

Outline: A point form or list of short sentences that describe the action or major ideas in a written work. Some pantsers abhor the idea of outlining so much, they won’t even write down a vague outline such as: MC goes on quest to save the world. Meets with opposition from the antagonist. Overcomes obstacles, saves the world! That is a basic outline. 

Overview: A brief description of a novel or non-fiction book intended to introduce the work to a publisher. 

Oxymoron: A phrase composed of two words with contradictory meanings. For example – original copy.

This morning at six am, the only O word I could think of was outline. After three cups of coffee, hours of waiting for a phone call, my nerves were shot and the only other O word that was on my mind was oncology.  I’m still waiting to hear the verdict, in case you wondered what the ‘O my soul cries out’ bit is about. Trying to remain positive!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

M and N – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

 

Since I missed posting on Saturday, I’ll start with M.

Manuscript – literally meaning written by hand. A term used to refer to the finished novel of an individual.  Back in the day . . .  it was required to send a printed copy of your finished manuscript one-sided, with one and a half inch margins all around, boxed to a publisher. Yes, I’ve been doing this for a while. Thank God for the digital age!

Meditation: A thoughtful or contemplative essay, sermon, discussion, or treatise — especially one that encourages introspection and self-analysis.  A meditation is a window into the author’s soul. It’s a glimpse of the beauty or darkness within. It can shed light on how they think, how they feel, what’s important to them, what hurts them, what they rejoice over. It makes the author vulnerable.

Muse – As a noun, it means a person — most often a woman — who is a source of artistic inspiration. The author’s muse specifically is often referred to in the female gender because she is the most fickle of creatures. She may bless you today with a brilliant idea then disappear leaving the writer pulling their hair out not knowing how or where to begin, only returning weeks later laughing giddily at the writer’s frustration. She’s not only fickle but fiendishly wicked as well.

Today is brought to you by the letter N.

Narrative: A collection of events that tells a story, which may be true or not, placed in a particular order. The narrative part of the story fills in where the dialog leaves off, where the action leaves off.  It is the backstory that tells you why your characters flaws make him vulnerable.

Newbie: A new writer.

Novel: A work of fiction consisting of 45,000 words or more.

Novella/Novelette: Short works of fiction consisting of between 7,500 and 40,000 words. I am currently working on a novella – I know shocking for me, isn’t it?

Nut Graf: In journalism, the paragraph that contains the main point of the story. I”ll make a confession – the only reason I remember this one is because when I took my online writing course, this term sounded ridiculous. At that time my kids were watching Over the Hedge, and there is this character in it that is a squirrel and  he forgot where he puts his nuts. The main character voiced by Bruce Willis commented on ‘he should have a nut graf and a stand by drink’ that was the equivelant of Mountain Dew. I had just read the section about nut graf. The squirrel was integral to the nut graf of the movie, but that’s all I am going to tell you. I will forever remember nut graf with that squirrel and his fizzy drink! 

Hey, I didn’t say they were all going to make sense. These are my terms and my understanding of them. You are free to alliterate terms on your own blog!

Do you have any interesting anecdotes of why you remember certian things? Care to share them?

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

Literary Lead – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

 

Today is brought to you by the lovely lavender letter L.

 

See? In the image, the letter is lavender. . . .  Fine! We’ll just get after it then.

Lead: The first paragraph of a manuscript. This is where the “hook” (to grab the reader’s attention) should be.

Lead Time: The time between getting the query or article and the publication of the article. Vital for seasonal articles and stories. This was more of a concern for article writing than for  novels, but  having said that, it would be best to coordinate the release of a Christmas story in December than to release it in June. 

Legend – a story or narrative which lies somewhere between myth and historical fact. As a rule, is about a particular person or figure.  (Legend of Zorro) Conversely, a legend is also the “map” of the story much like a legend on a map. 


Logline: 
One sentence description of a manuscript.  Some people call this your elevator pitch.

 Love. Not the soppy Valentine kind. The life’s work kind. Love what you do. If you do not love writing, you cannot become a better writer. Being a writer is a lonely isolated existence. You have to love it in order to spend hours isolated from the rest of the world. Also, having written romance – love is a hot topic in various genres.  How many stories have some sort of romance within them?

Also, having written romance – love is a hot topic in various genres.  How many stories have some sort of romance within them?  Whether you think love is for saps or the ultimate prize for each individual or find yourself somewhere in  the middle, love is a huge topic for authors.

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

JK – I’m not ‘Just Kidding’! #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

Yesterday was a difficult day. I was scheduled for additional medical tests and delivered not so good news. I have to wait until after the further testing to have a definite answer. I’m sure you can see how my mind was not in a place to write a blog post. I hope you can forgive me.

Wednesday, April 12 – J.

Jargon – Potentially confusing words and phrases used in an occupation, trade, or field of study. We might speak of medical jargon, sports jargon, police jargon, or military jargon.  In some writing,  a  bit of jargon is acceptable and actually expected. But, I guarantee that if you fill your medical drama with volumes of medical jargon the vast majority of your readers are going to stop reading. They want fiction, not a medical journal! Be careful in including jargon in your story. It’s kind of like seasoning – a little goes a long way. If you add a dash of cayenne pepper to your chicken for fajitas, it enhances the flavor but if you douse it, covering the chicken so that it appears red only those individuals with a high tolerance for spiciness will be able to ingest it.

Journal: A diary or record of events, feelings, and thoughts usually recorded by date. You knew it was coming and I’m sure that you are surprised that it didn’t appear under B, . . .  but my bullet journal is a lifesaver! Yes, there are places that I have lengthy journal entries.  There are also days that I only have a daily to-do list. It is the perfect balance for me. I can’t recommend it enough!

 

 

Kenning: a form of compounding in Old English, Norse, and Germanic poetry. In its poetic device, the poet creates a new compound word or phrase to describe an object or activity. It uses mixed imagery to describe the properties o the object in indirect, imaginative, or enigmatic ways. They are designed to be somewhat like a riddle since the reader must stop and think or a minute. Vikings used kennings on their petroglyph markers that they left behind to guide and direct the wise Vikings to follow their footsteps.

 

Some examples are:

  • hwal-rade = whale road – a reference to the sea
  • thor-weapon= smith’s hammer
  • shield tester=warrior
  • banhus (bone house)= body

Modern examples:

  • beer goggles=skewed vision from the effects of alcohol
  • rug-rats = children
  • Bible thumper =  intolerant Christian

I  referenced kennings in Valkyrie’s Curse. Once I finish Roxy Sings the Blues, I will dust that one off and give it a final once over.

Kicker: In journalism – a sudden, surprising turn of events or ending; a twist. Just when you think the antagonsit is going to triumph, the author will throw in a kicker to  block their victory. Or another example of a kicker at the ending is one that resolves the plot of the current book but creates an entirely new dilemma that must be solved in – you guessed it – the next book!

Kill Fee: Compensatory payment made for an assigned article which was completed but not used or published. Kill fee can also be used as the  cost of getting out of a contract that is not satisfying the author’s needs. 

Kindle –  the current mode of reading ebooks. How could I cover K without mentioning a Kindle? Seriously!
Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

HI!#AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms. I was working on this post when I received a phone call with a bad report from the doctor’s office. Please excuse me for being derailed from posting. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes you get news that you find so upsetting you can’t think straight. I’m hoping that it will turn out to be nothing, but  forcing my mind to stay off the worst case scenario, researching on WebMD, and consulting other WEB medical sites has required my full attention.

Monday’s letter was H.

 

Haiku: A three-line, seventeen syllable poem, usually about nature. I’ve tried my hand at Haiku a couple of times and only managed a few meager poems. Some of these are beautiful. Some of the haikus, not my haikus. Mine were more like misguided limericks.

Hardcover: Book bound with hard cardboard cover, then covered with a paper dust jacket. There are very few books that I will spend the money on for a hardcover book anymore. However, having said that I will throw down some jack for a select few first edition hardcovers! 

HEA: The Happily Ever After ending.  This used to be standard fare for romance novels. It used to be standard fare for several genres in fact. Louis Lamour’s westerns typically had the HEA with the hero riding off into the sunset at the end after beating the bad guy, getting the girl, saving the current town from ruin, and getting Timmy out of the well! The fictional world of HEA is a far better place than the current trend of noir, harsh reality within fiction. Seriously, who wants to read the same terrible tragedies that we lie?

HEMINGWAY CODE: Hemingway’s protagonists are usually “Hemingway Code Heroes,” i.e., figures who try to follow a hyper-masculine moral code and make sense of the world through those beliefs. Hemingway himself defined the Code Hero as “a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage, and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful.”  This code typically involves several traits for the Code Hero:

(1) Measuring himself against the difficulties life throws in his way, realizing that we will all lose ultimately because we are mortals, but playing the game honestly and passionately in spite of that knowledge

(2) Facing death with dignity, enduring physical and emotional pain in silence

(3) Never showing emotions

(4) Maintaining free-will and individualism, never weakly allowing commitment to a single woman or social convention to prevent adventure, travel, and acts of bravery

(5) Being completely honest, keeping one’s word or promise

(6) Being courageous and brave, daring to travel and have “beautiful adventures,” as Hemingway would phrase it

(7) Admitting the truth of Nada (Spanish, “nothing”), i.e., that no external source outside of oneself can provide meaning or purpose. This existential awareness also involves facing death without hope of an afterlife, which the Hemingway Code Hero considers more brave than “cowering” behind false religious hopes.

The Hemingway Code Hero typically has some sort of physical or psychological wound symbolizing his tragic flaw or the weaknesses of his character, which must be overcome before he can prove his manhood (or re-prove it, since the struggle to be honest and brave is a continual one). Also, many Hemingway Code Heroes suffer from a fear of the dark, which represents the transience or meaninglessness of life in the face of eventual and permanent death.

Hook:  A narrative trick in the lead paragraph of a work that grabs the attention of the readers and keeps them reading.

HOMILY: A sermon, or a short, exhortatory work to be read before a group of listeners in order to instruct them spiritually or morally. Examples include Saint Augustine’s sermons during the patristic period of literature. Chaucer himself took two Latin tracts on penitence, translated them, and turned them into a single sermon by placing the text in the mouth of the Parson in “The Parson’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales. In the Renaissance, the content of English sermons was governed by law after King Henry VIII, becoming an avenue for monarchist propaganda. I find this term is often misused by many authors. I don’t know what they are referring to when they use it but it isn’t this. 

Homonyms: Words that are spelled and pronounced alike but have different meanings. For example – pool (of water) and pool (the game).

Tuesday’s (Today) letter is I.

(See, I knew you’d get the HI eventually!)

ICEBERG – THEORY: Hemingway’s idea that good writing should consist of simple, direct sentences and plain description on the surface, but beneath that simplicity should be hints of psychological tension or symbolic depth suggested by what is visible above. He told an interviewer, ” I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eights of it under water for every part that shows.” What remains unspoken or unwritten may be as important as what appears in the text.

Imprint: Division within a publishing house that deals with a specific category of books.For example, Harlequin has several imprints. Mira,  Silhouette Desire, Nocturne, Historical Undone, Romance Suspense, Harlequin Teen, Steeple Hill are just some of the imprints from Harlequin.

Irony: When a person, situation, statement, or circumstance is not what it seems to be, but the exact opposite. 

IDEAL READER: The imaginary audience who would, ideally, understand every phrase, word, and allusion in a literary work, and who would completely understand the literary experience an author presents and then responds emotionally as the writer wished. Something my social media coach taught me,  make a wanted poster for my target audience – the group of ideal readers.

IMPLIED AUDIENCE: The “you” a writer or poet refers to or implies when creating a dramatic monolog. This implied audience might be (but is not necessarily) the reader of the poem, or it might be the vague outline or suggestion of an extra character who is not described or detailed explicitly in the text itself. Instead, the reader gradually learns who the speaker addresses by garnering clues from the words of the speaker. 

INFIXATION: Also called epenthesis, infixation is placing an infix (a new syllable, a word, or similar phonetic addition) in the middle of a larger word. Some languages regularly use infixation as a part of their standard grammar. In English, infixation is often used in colloquialisms or for poetic effect. Shakespeare might write, “A visitating spirit came last night” to highlight the unnatural status of the visit. More prosaically, Ned Flanders from The Simpsons might say, “Gosh-diddly-darn-it, Homer.”

INTERNAL AUDIENCE: An imaginary listener(s) or audience to whom a character speaks in a poem or story. For example, the duke speaking in Browning’s “My Last Duchess” appears to be addressing the reader as if the reader were an individual walking with him through his estate admiring a piece of art. There are suggestions that this listener, whom the duke addresses, might be an ambassador or diplomat sent to arrange a marriage between the widower duke and a young girl of noble birth. This term is often used interchangeably with implied audience.

Boy oh boy, let me tell you if that didn’t play havoc with spell check!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie