Lamentations and Ecclesiastes


Breast Cancer awareness ribbons

Have you ever hit that point where you feel everything in your life is meaningless? The goals that you set for yourself seem like chasing the wind? Have you ever wondered what’s the point, when for all of your hard work, anxiety, stress, and aggravation that finish line seems elusive or when you cross it, it’s a day late and a dollar short? There has to be more to life than this, right?

I tip my hat to those men and women who continue in their daily roles after getting the diagnosis of cancer. The initial shock hit me hard. Making the decision for surgery seemed like a no brainer to me, I mean if there is cancer in my body – then get it out!

My blood pressure was the highest it has ever been the day I went in for surgery. I had never had a surgery before minus oral surgery which isn’t the same at all. Of course, Mother Nature thought it was funny to have major flooding in the area to cut off the major highways between us and the hospital. That had its own share of aggravation, but we managed it. It did mean, however, the day of the surgery I had one person in my corner to be there with me through all of it. My husband is a saint! He has been amazing through all of this, has been encouraging, loving, supportive and has been my champion every day.

It makes sense, of course, we are partners in life. When we took those vows years ago. . . we promised for better or for worse, through sickness and in health. . .

Funny how when you are young and in love, you never really think about the worse or sickness. Maybe it’s just me,  but there was a certain amount of moon-eyed happily ever after when I said my vows.

Honestly, I’d be in worse shape without him in my life. I know this for an absolute certainty. This wasn’t meant to be a “sing the hubby’s praises” post, but it needs to be said.

For all of his help and support, he can’t fix what’s inside my head. OH, that I wish he could. It has been a whirlwind of tests, needles, doctors, more needles, surgery, more doctors, back to the tests, the dreaded needles, and now radiation.  While I am thrilled beyond measure that I am not having to go through chemotherapy, I am trying to cope with the current radiation and oral medications.

Everyone around me keeps encouraging me and telling me how brave I am, how strong I am. . . not feeling it. At some point every day I feel exhaustion, fatigue, nausea, and that doesn’t even begin to get into the mental battles: the continued struggle to lose weight, the dietary restrictions because of cancer, the fear that cancer will be found somewhere else, the sense of failure as I slip further behind on my goals. At times the weight of it gets the better of me.

I think that one is the hardest for me. I can tough it out when I don’t feel great, but can still manage. I see my author friends cranking out one project after another and I get more discouraged. I know I’ve suffered from a lack of focus with too many projects in my queue. I’ve allowed criticism to derail me when I had a full head of steam working towards completion. I’ve  allowed the poison words of certain individuals to affect my mental state to the point that I quit working on particular projects.

You want to know what is really sad?  I have volumes of stories mostly written. For example, I was diligently working on Valkyrie’s Curse. I had the first draft completed, was 78% finished with second draft revisions when I realized that the story didn’t end at my ending. The overall story spans five more books which I outlined and have key scenes written for them.  I was excited, I was on a roll. I  can see the destination over the far horizon then the white haired witch rose up before me, hissing and flailing in wild gestations spouting words of her own self-righteousness, singing her own praises and that my methods and styles were wrong because they aren’t like hers. She was right, I’m nothing like her. I don’t want to be. After three rounds of being put off to review the manuscript, I got discouraged and set it aside. I will get back to it,  but I have been working on getting Roxy ready for her debut. I had my manuscript for VC ready to go,  had the second book first draft completed, so I needed something else to work on. In all honesty, I’ve had a dozen new ideas since then with a brief intro or scene written, enough to remind myself what the idea for that story is.

I sent my revised story of Roxy to a fabulous lady, who is an awesome author and mentor. She pointed out – very nicely I might add – plot holes and glaring errors. Hmmm, this wouldn’t do. I had to make it a story that I was proud of and that readers would want to read. I rolled up my sleeves and got busy. Very little of the original story remains, but  I think it’s by far better. So what’s the problem?

Finishing it.  I have nearly 60K words on this story. I’m adding in some transition scenes as well as some other scenes to take it to the final destination. I was on a roll right up to April 12th, when my world came crashing down around me. It galls me to admit that I can’t get it out by the deadline that I wanted. If that was the case it would have been published at the beginning of May.

There have been more than a few days since my surgery that I didn’t even get online. I didn’t crack my computer open. I didn’t have the mental energy to write a few hundred words. Now I am struggling to allocate my daily limited energy to what is important. I feel like a huge weeny because I  don’t have the energy to be superwoman – having my house immaculate, serving healthy nutritious and tasty meals to my family – five star restaurant quality because I am the overachiever, keep up with my day job – because I have medical bills to pay, this one has to go to the top of the list, writing, blogging, exercise, mental health activities.  Pick a day, any day and at least three of those things fall by the wayside. Care to venture which ones?

Most often the taking care of me part has been at the bottom of my priorities. Maybe it’s a mom thing or a woman thing but either way, I can’t do that anymore. I want to live to see my next several birthdays so I have to learn to make myself a priority. Why does this make me so emotional???  You’d think it was a good thing. I see people all of the time taking time for themselves, doing things for themselves, pampering themselves, yet I struggle to allow myself downtime to cope with cancer.

I will finish my books and get them published because that is a goal I have set for myself. The deadlines have been erased and pushed out even further. (I swear, if I were employing me I’d fire me to get a different content writer.) I may be in turtle mode, but by darn, I will get there.

So what doe this have to do with Ecclesiastes and Lamentations?  In the book of Lamentations, it was basically David crying out – lamenting his sorrows. Sometimes we want to vent or get it off of our chest. Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon,  astute observations and conclusions about life. Let me

Let me briefly summarize: Life sucks. It is like a wild rollercoaster ride that didn’t pass safety inspections and no one tells you when the dangerous curves or broken tracks will appear. We make the best of it, lick our wounds, recover, get stronger, and go on. We all die eventually and when we do, what will you have to show for your legacy? What will be your lasting mark on this world you’ve left behind? What of value have you contributed to this world? Or have you lived a self-serving existence that didn’t impact any other living soul in a positive way?

(This is by no means a church sanctioned summarization. For exact interpretation go read it for yourself.)

I know this is far from my usual uplifting encouraging post and I apologize for that. This is where I am.  I have been trying to remain positive, but there are days when I fail.

Tomorrow is another day and here’s hoping that it’s a better day!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

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A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor


Welcome to Week 8 of the MFRWauthors  blog challenge. This week’s prompt is: How  I Choose a Book Title. #MFRWauthor #amwriting #booktitles

 Good Titles may roll off of the tongues of some authors, but not mine. This is often why I refer to my projects as WIP – work in progress, and tell you right up front that it is tentatively titled XXX.

It is strange,  but when I am in my writing group, I can come up with good titles for someone else’s work easier than my own.

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For Red Wine & Roses, that title came rather easily. It was the key scene that I wrote for a flash piece, then later developed into the full novel. Red wine and roses were touchpoints to Derek and Julia’s dates from the beginning so it seemed like a logical title. Derek has an old fashioned view about romance that in his mind, one expression of his love for Julia is by showering her with red roses. Towards the end of the story, after the darkest moment,  the reader will see the depth of his love expressed in this manner.

 

 

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For my second book Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass, I had lengthy debates over whether to use that for the title or not. I thought about just going with 30 days of Sass.  This book is a compilation of 30 short essays tinged with a lot of sass. A humorous view on life from the writer’s desk, while offering a little motivation to the reader, this nonfiction book is straight from the heart.

Titles are something that typically, I  ponder over and then tend to stress over. Consider the current WIP which I am targeting for completion by the end of April  2017. (Please help me stay accountable to this date!) My original story idea was titled Oral Dilemma. An erotic short where the Main character was always getting into trouble with her mouth via smart-alec quips, vocal talents behind the microphone at the bar, or oral talents in the erotic sense. It fit and I thought it was clever. However, while dusting this off from my files and giving it a thorough once over, I  realized  how bad my pantsing was. This was a serial that I shared on a former group blog I was managing editor for called Storytime Trysts. First of all, I cringed at rereading it, scratching my head at what I thought I was doing. Secondly, the pantsing gave me a lot of background scenes, but no real story. I really liked this character Roxanne Winters though, she had a story that needed to be told.

I basically have dissected this story, taken it apart and tossed out the majority. I had 57,000 words in this story. The bulk of that is gone and it currently sits at 21,354 with a revised outline, a real plot, and very real character goals. Oral Dilemma was no longer appropriate, nor did it really fit the story. I came up with the title Roxy Sings The Blues after debating several other options: The Blues Singer, Foxy Roxy, Little Girl Blue, Whiskey River (I couldn’t go with that one because I decided to cut out the lengthy section of her falling into an alcoholic abyss.) and finally landed on Roxy Sings the Blues. It fits, it’s concise and there aren’t twenty other titles out there with the same name.

Roxy Sings the Blues is another stand alone romance, but this one is romance suspense. The tentative blurb for it is:

Scars tell the story of a past. Roxy’s scars aren’t visible but they have carved her deeply and the pain they have caused pours out through soulful song. If facing a motherless future wasn’t enough, a failed relationship from her past resurfaces to torment her. Just when she was trying to build a new life for herself, trouble making Devon Miller drags her into his chaotic life. The stakes are high as Roxy sits in the spotlight of a dangerous investigation. 

Devon,  a homicide detective is hot for the case and stirring embers of a forbidden fire. Will Roxy hit the right note and help her old flame solve his big case or will she be left singing the blues?

An author’s book is like one of their children. We give them life. We watch them grow. We correct them when they go down the wrong path.  We scrub them clean to be presentable to company. We hope that when they go out into the big world, they are ready. We have to cut the chord and let them stand on their own. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series. Especially if that name is

Our book babies need titles that will grab a reader’s attention. This is an artform in and of itself. One that I feel that with some of my future projects – Valkyrie’s Curse (NO, I haven’t given up on that one.) Realm Wars (This is the series title for the books that will include Faere Warrior, Faere Guardian, Faere Mage, and two more that I haven’t decided on titles for.)I am pleased with my title names. But for others – The Hamilton Project, Vamps Couture, my dragon shifter series,  my nefleheim series, I’m either not happy with my working title or don’t have a title yet. It is as personal as naming our biological children. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series. Especially if that name is

Funny story about that – my oldest daughter’s name was selected when I was 6 months pregnant. She was going to be Rachel Lynne. Many of my shower gifts were addressed to baby Rachel. However, the moment that she made her debut into this world, I looked at her while the doctor was cleaning her up, suctioning the birth gunk, and she let out that first baby wail – she was not a Rachel. For the first twenty-four hours of her life, she was Baby girl. The nurses were counselling me that I could apply for her name with the state once we decided because I was to be released soon. You know how fast they kick you out after giving birth, right?

Well, after a gruelling delivery, I had a fever, extremely low iron, and was severely dehydrated. They kept me for another full day in which time my wonderful hubs brought the baby name books back to the hospital and we pored over them. I’m happy to say her name suits her, but it’s not Rachel. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series.

That’s how we want our books to be –  well suited with a title. It can be a tricky thing.

How do I come up with a title?  Usually, it’s an element of the story like the roses, or the obvious sass. Sometimes it is the character’s name. I have to admit, I see the titles of other authors and wish that I were as clever. Ah well, maybe someday.

Let’s go take a look at how others come up with their titles!

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You can find other posts in this series here:

  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

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Maintaining My Voice


I’m still here guys. Let me catch you up to speed:

I’ve been working on my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Revising, editing, rewriting, . . . and  I just wasn’t happy with it. It wasn’t flowing.  It wasn’t drawing me forward even and I am the author! I had to take a serious look at this and step back to evaluate what I had as opposed to where I wanted this to go.

I set it aside for a couple of days as I researched master plots. This was prompted when I was trying to convey my story idea to a wonderful lady who is kind of mentoring me in my writing. OK, I was a persistent nag until she took me under her wing. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I was working through her class, had fully developed character worksheets,  even made myself character cards to stick on my bulletin board. I spent 4 days working on shaping my plot into a reasonable timeline and developing the major nine points of my plot. I thought I had it all worked out.  It seemed logical. There were twists, turns,  lovable characters, one that you love to hate. . . I thought I was ready to go.

Of course when it was time to meet,  either my computer or hers was acting glitchy and we couldn’t connect for video chat. So we went to the phones.  I have to be honest, the fan-girling  had to be tampered down under control before I could get any semblance of intelligible speech out of my mouth.

She was pleasant enough about it,  but basically, I needed to start over. Maybe not over,  but my starting point was 13 chapters into the story. Hangs head. She was right of course,  it will make the story better. Tighter.

I spent a day sulking and fighting the urge to pig out on pizza. I didn’t have anything to make pizza,  we live in a rural area where there is no pizza delivery so I avoided the pizza. I sulked some more while eating celery. Not as satisfying but I am determined to regain my curves from what has become more of a  Staypuff marshmallow woman blob.

My wonderful friend Misty talked me down off the ledge more than a few times. She encouraged me to not give up. Even while going through an emotionally draining stressful time with a family member, she  offered encouragement. This is the kind of freind everyone needs! You can’t have Misty, she’s mine! Go get your own. I jest, in part.

While sulking I  snuggled up under a blanket with my kindle and a good book, and of course turned on the TV as well. Netflix, . . . that evil bottomless pit of time suck, that shiny den of temptation pops up with a movie I hadn’t seen that had an actress that I like in it and I thought why the heck not. I’m already pouting about my story,  and about not having pizza,  why the heck not?

Best decision I made. Well, maybe going to the gym would have been better but I didn’t choose that because I was sulking ok? Geez – small steps here. Anyway, it got my mind out of the infinite loop of what I had been thinking, because when I  get something in my mind it’s like it’s carved into my gray matter. In the middle of an angsty part of the movie my brain says  ‘What if . . .’

I honestly couldn’t tell you much about the movie as my brain kicked into high gear, working out details to fix my story. It’s not quite there yet,  but  I’m on the right track now and out of the sulking phase. Never did get my pizza fix.

I’m going to focus on this for the rest of the night after dinner and tomorrow I start tackling this again.

That’s what I’ve been doing, trying to maintain my voice as an author without being formulaic but also establishing a good story and writing well.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Phase 1 – Master Plan


Quotidiandose does not own this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

Quotidiandose does not own this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

Welcome to Operation Rockstar.

2017 is going to be my banner year. How do I know that? Because I am going to make IT happen!

If you are anything like me, you’ve got your goals written down. Writing down your goals is an important step towards getting them accomplished. But, how do you move them from written down to actually accomplishing them? It starts with planning.  By making a plan, then working the plan, you can move items from your to-do list to checking them off and moving onto the next item. In order to do that, though, you need to take your goal, or goals and make a plan of action.

Let’s back up a bit for a moment and take a peek at the Master List. The Master List to make 2017 the year you become the rockstar!

  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?
  2. Make your goals crystalline. For some, this means one goal. Just one. For me,  it means a few. You know, an overachiever and all. I’ve narrowed it down to just a few. A few years back, I had 50 goals. Yeah, who was I kidding?  I did manage to accomplish a few of those things but for the most part, they were on the wish list, not the master list. This is where you write them down. Post them on your fridge, on your bulletin board, wherever it is visible for you to be reminded often.
  3. Become a Rockstar! Become amazing. Become the best version of you that you can be. Become the you that you want to be. Become the you that you want to see in the mirror.  How?  Small steps. That is how we get from the not so hot mess to the total rockstar that everyone is going to take notice of. Look, I don’t expect to be on par with Gina Carrano, or Sophia Vergara. Those women are hot! Those women are amazing but I’m not them. I am ME. You are you. That sounds like a duh moment but if you think about it,  it’s a profound revelation. My job is to be the best ME I can be. Your job is to be the best YOU. Each of us is a one of a kind original masterpiece. Don’t be a copycat of someone else when the starring role of YOU needs to be filled! Take a few moments every day to contemplate your life,  what your hopes and dreams are, who are you?
  4. Get it done! Take your master list, and break each item down into bite size steps. For instance, a top priority goal for me is to lose 50 pounds. How am I going to get there? It seems like an insurmountable task when it has been such a  problem for me. How? I am going to take steps to do that. 1. I am going to follow a healthy, portion controlled, carb controlled diet plan. 2. I will increase my physical activity for improved cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. (Say that 3 times fast!) 3. I will use daily meditations, prayer, and motivational material to improve my mental state of being because the battle is in my mind. 4. I will break it down to smaller increments of ten pounds with nonfood rewards when I reach those smaller goals. 5. Work those steps until the goal is completed.
  5. Work the Plan! You have to stick to it.  It gets hard. It gets dull. It gets tedious, but don’t give up. This is where a vision board might help you. I am creating myself a vision board this weekend. A vision board can be a very personal thing. It is what motivates you. The point is to make your dreams visible in order to achieve those dreams and make them your reality.  If anyone is interested in me sharing the vision board, leave me a message and I will take a photo of it to share. I haven’t done one in a few years,  but it really did help when I did it. It also helps to have an accountability partner. Work with someone that will encourage you, that will celebrate your wins, give you the pep talk when you are in the pits,  scream at you like a drill sergeant when you’ve been a slacker,  someone who will call you on your bull! Just for the record, an accountability partner is not someone who is simply going to be your cheerleader.It’s the coach making you drop and give him twenty, the drill sergeant that sends you out for a five mile run to clear your head, it’s the personal trainer that pushes you to do more than you FEEL like doing because our feelings are liars. It’s the person that knows when you are honestly sick and should rest for two days, then gets you back on track for 363 days to achieve your goals.

There you have the master plan. 5 easy steps to make this year a great year!

Mile Marker Ahead


I must have started and stopped writing a post at least a dozen times. Based on my draft file, that number is more like fifteen. Why the false starts?

I have a milestone rapidly approaching – my 500th post! This isn’t that post,  but when I saw that little bit of information, my brain went into overdrive thinking about what can I do for a special post? What can I blog about that anyone would care to read? If I can post 500 posts, then why can’t I get my crap together to  finish revising my books?

Then I went and reviewed past posts, to see which ones were the most read.

Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass  started from my top posts, then were expanded.

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This compilation is in part a celebration of that 500th post,  but I wanted to do something on here, with you, my readers to celebrate.

Well, it’s difficult to have virtual cake. It’s difficult to share virtual cocktails.

I will still be thinking about it, but for now . . .  I thought I’d take the opportunity to  let  everyone know of a shake up.

Beginning at the first of the year, my plan is to get back on track with my blogging. I know, I know,  I’ve said that before.  I stick to it for a while then  when life seems to pull the rug out from under me it takes a while to regroup.

I’m going to go back to a format – of sorts – for my blog. My Monday mojo posts will still go up because I need a Monday pep talk and everyone seems to  enjoy them. I’m undecided on the other days of the week at this point, so I’m not  going to share with you the new revised schedule, because It’s a very rough draft. When I get things  narrowed down a bit,  then I’ll share. In the meantime,  I can use you guys’ input. What do you want to see? Which posts have you enjoyed? What do you want more of?

Here are a few things I’ve shared in the past:

  • recipes
  • photography ( not a professional by any means but fun)
  • bullet journal
  • writerly stuff
  • writing snippets
  • diet, exercise, fitness ( or my version of it anyway)
  • guest posts
  • guest interviews
  •  fun posts
  •  family
  •  flash fiction
  •  random madness and all that life brings with it
  • Penned Con
  • live interviews

If you like any of these in particular, please leave a comment. Want more recipes? Leave me a comment! Trust me, I have  loads of recipes,  between my own concoctions and the myriad of cookbooks I have, I could write a recipe every day for the next five years. But then again I’d be bored and quit so if that is something you like,  I can designate a certain day of the week to share recipes, photos, and even fails.

I happened to think  yesterday,  that I haven’t shared a snippet in a while. I’ve been so busy with doing NaNoWriMo – I won by the way with a grand total of 101,330 words in the first draft of Murder by Moonlight.

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In the middle of that, I was doing revisions to Red Wine & Roses for it to be rereleased. Even though I didn’t blog much, I was busy busy busy writing my little fingers away.  At least my fingers got a good workout during November!

My writing focus is  on revisions to Roxy Sings the Blues. I have my editor lined up, fielding some ideas for cover art, and  fine tuning so that I can send it off to my beta readers very soon.

Anyone care for a snippet of that?  Maybe a few teasers  over the next few weeks as I move closer to the finished product?

My current daily todo lists are crazy busy, and if I don’t write it down I forget. My bujo goes everywhere with me.  It’s my downloadable brain in print.  I am wondering about next year’s  journal though,  I wonder if Leuchterm makes a thicker one. Hmm, I may need to investigate.

Let me know what you like about the blog and let’s see if  I can’t make next year better than ever.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

Issues of Life


The past few days have been an emotional rollercoaster for me. It’s times like this that I question Cassidy’s sanity. I mean, who would choose this?

We had such a good day on Saturday, I suppose it was inevitable that the wheels should fall off on Sunday.  While tackling one project, I was being pulled by someone else’s project, continually asked questions until I reached a point where I had to stop what I was working on.

First off, this project was one that I had procrastinated on to the point that I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I needed to get it done. So I was already aggravated.

The project that my husband was asking questions about, was valid for him to ask me questions as it was pertaining to our finances. Then everything degenerated down from there. *hangs head*

How many of us know, I mean really know that you can’t compartment your life like a waffle into little squares? If you can manage that then message me  and share how you do it.

In my world, things are all interconnected like a woven cloth. The white strand touches twenty others. Or you can look at it like the plate of spaghetti. Well, I got my spaghetti all over his waffles.

If we are being  honest,  it’s more like spaghetti. How we view our finances are affected by a) our upbringing, b) past problems c) expectations d) fears e)our relationship with the financial partner. All of those factors come into play at some point and are often expressed through what we communicate.

I’m not going to  tell you all about our finances,  that’s not what this is about. We have some differences between us about them that we will work out. My problem is the underlying problems that come out in  moments like this.

I have been so guilty of this in the past,  that I am acutely aware  of carefully choosing my words and not blasting my first thoughts without a filter. The filter needs to be applied to similar problems in the past, past words that were spoken, past situations that you’ve been through,   past fights over the subject. . . it all plays a part to the emotions that come up with the current topic.

In a microsecond, our brain goes to our retrieval file and pulls up the entire folder on how we feel about finance anything. Last time we got into a fight – shields up. We’ve been married for a few years,  there has been more than one fight over finances. In most marriages, there is one that spends and one that saves. I’m the spender and I know you aren’t surprised.

My issue with this whole thing is not the finances.  It’s not about how much I spent because I know that I spent too much. It’s  the comments that cut me to the core that are outside of the topic that are affecting the statements made.

The current plan isn’t working, so I need to rethink, reevaluate, and make a new plan. How ironic that  I got a notification this morning that  two readers liked my post, Unceasing. Wow, thank you for that reminder. I needed to hear that.  I needed to be reminded that it’s not the negative words of someone else. It’s not getting validation from anyone else. The reason I write, and that I will NOT stop pursuing my dream even if it is at a snail’s pace, is because it is part of who I am.

I had some amazing  friends encourage me in this  matter, some were kind loving words, others were  straight and to the point, and yet others were tactlessly pointed out,  but valid all the same.

On one hand, it is devastating to hear that  a loved one doesn’t believe in your vision.  That’s ok. It’s not his vision after all but mine.  It’s not his place to validate me or give me approval. I need to do this for myself. On the other hand, it’s good to know where they stand so that I can adjust my course, my expectations accordingly.

Giving up on my dream isn’t going to make him think any differently but it will certainly make me think differently.  It would be quitting on myself and I can’t do that.

I’m not angry anymore. I’m not hurt either. I know that I am taking the road less traveled.  This is my path and it needs to coincide with our path as much as his career path does also. Neither of us is wrong, just different.

Sometimes we embrace the differences, other times we accept them.

Soon I will have important news to share and to think, I almost  quit just before the finish line – tsk tsk.

It’s all good! Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

A Day to Celebrate


Sorry folks I know it’s been a while. I haven’t been lollygagging around or chilling on the beach. Sadly, no. I’ve been juggling hot irons anxious to remove a couple of them from the fire. My goal is to reduce the number of irons, simplify and streamline to become an efficient writing machine!

As most of you know, November is NANOWRIMO Month. It’s a guilty pleasure that I along with numerous others giddily or insanely commit  to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  * insert cackles of laughter here* We’re all mad here!

I am behind.  My word count is lagging. The fear monster is threatening  to overtake my rational mind, but I’m determined to keep the hound at bay.

Why is my word count lagging?

  1. My contract with Eclectic Bard Books ends today! WOOHOO!  Red Wine & Roses is no longer available through Amazon or Walmart. However, I still have an even dozen print copies left over from Penned Con. that I will ship to you! Don’t you deserve a romantic interlude for the holidays? For $8.00 US, plus shipping (2.00 US, outside US varies) These are limited! Get yours now!  What about that special woman in your life that loves romance? Get one for her!  Contact me on Facebook through pm or email me: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com 
  2. I have been working on revisions on this so that I can republish it! You’re going to like the improvements!  I was pushing real hard to get this ready to go up today, but then reason number three grabbed me by the throat and body slammed me.
  3. Sickness –  yes it’s that time of year. The creeping crud, the phlegmy phantasmagorical nasty, – I’ve had a bout of pneumonia and laryngitis that has literally kicked my arse.
  4. My deadline on the last edit job was this week also,  paid jobs get first priority!

While the decision to set aside my NANO novel was a difficult one,  It had to be done. I think in the long run it will pan out but that means that for the next two weeks I have to be an insane writing machine to the tune of about 5000 words per day in order to hit my mark.

Also, be looking for announcements in the next few days for the 2nd edition release, with a brand spanking new cover and extended scenes for Red Wine & Roses. I’m still working on the revisions. One of the complaints from a reviewer was that it seemed rushed. Well, yes. In the initial edits,  several scenes were cut that lead up to  a crucial scene and a couple afterwards.  I am rewriting those now. I think it flows a lot smoother and tells a complete story instead of having small vignettes with pieces missing.  But that’s just me.

Today I will wrap up the revisions  and be ready to share my brand new cover-  I’m stoked! It’s gorgeous!

Be looking for the cover reveal soon, and a couple of guests coming up! After I get this off of my desk, I have a new master plan to share! Be patient young padawans, all good things will come in time. Like a release schedule! How cool is that?

Have a great Friday! Get out there and spread some happiness to your fellow man, woman or child! Share some love! Buy someone a coffee  or open a door.

My Holiday  giving plan starts now –  at least one act of kindness every day!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

Unceasing


It’s been a while since I’ve made one of my Monday Mojo posts. I’ve thought about it,  debated over it, let the time pass me by, but it’s come down to a case of necessity.

Maybe it’s just me,  maybe it’s  a common thing, I really don’t know. What I do know is this: vacation time is a necessity. I’ve said before that I thought vacation time was essential and I’ve even made my case for it. However, coming off of the backside of vacation the necessity is crystalline.

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This was my morning view for a week. Coffee,  my bullet journal, notebooks, and  ocean waves. The stress and strain slowly melted away. It didn’t happen the first day.  I was up at 5 am, not by choice.  Hotel mattresses aren’t the best and my back was hurting, so . . . up at 5 am  it was.  YES, on vacation. It sucks. Sort of.

So, up at 5 against my will, I started the coffee pot and donned the sweat jacket. Most mornings I was out on the balcony before sunrise. I never thought I’d ever say that. Sitting in a hard plastic chair, with a hot cup of joe, staring out at the ocean under  moonlight and listening to the waves caress the beach in its rhythmic cycle worked its magic in chipping off the stress that had built up over the past year.

The pressure builds slowly,  so slowly that it doesn’t register with us until it’s relieved. That’s how I was.  That’s how most of us are.  Maybe if you are an adrenaline junkie and you go do wild and crazy things on the weekends like base jumping,  then you don’t have that built up pressure. For the less adventurous of us, we work on a regular schedule,  knuckling through the day/week/month over and over not even realizing that it’s building.

Life has stress. Family gives us stress. Relationships give us stress. Our jobs give us stress.

I had been looking forward to a vacation, because it’s always nice to get away. I couldn’t even think about anything before Penned Con was over. My husband couldn’t take off before now because of production deadlines at his work. As adults, we don’t always get to do what we want when we want to do them. Sometimes we have to do unpleasant things because they are the responsible things to do and we have people depending on us.  Then, we get the chance to get away and somewhere between the first day and the trip back home,  you realize just how wound up and stressed out you’ve been.

Clarity –  it’s one of the side effects of being refreshed. 

During those early morning sessions on the balcony, yes it happened every morning except one, I breathed in deeply and exhaled the stale air of daily living. I shook off the tension that had built up over time and had been weighing me down. I have pages and pages  in both my bullet journal and story notebook that I logged in those early morning hours.

Time. Time to think, examine, search, ask questions. I realize that I am probably the last one in the boat on this but bear with me. In the words of Ferris Beuller, life moves pretty fast. Sometimes you get carried along life’s highway and find yourself at a spot where you aren’t really clear how exactly you got there, if you want to get back to point A or move onto point C, D, or Xeta.

I know for a fact that I don’t want to continue with how things have been in my life prior to this time away. My fitness level is at an all time low,  my self-esteem falling rapidly back to a low spot, my confidence withering, and the  home environment has not been a place of peace.

When you reach those types of crossroads,  you can either accept  life status quo or make changes towards the direction of your dreams.

I was at a point of feeling like why am I bothering trying to make a career of writing. I had someone close to me say just before penned con that it was a ‘glorified ego trip’, an expensive hobby. They quickly apologized for expressing it so bluntly but  things like that don’t come out of your mouth unless that is what they are thinking.  It always starts with a thought.

Are they right? Am I chasing a dream that I don’t have the talent to achieve? That was something else they said a few years ago.

Sitting on that balcony alone before the world began to stir, I asked myself questions. What if they are right? What if I never try? What if they are wrong? What do I WANT to do? 

I have to admit, and this is no secret to anyone that knows me or tunes in here very often.  I struggle with time management,  I struggle to stay on task with a project.  I have multiple books in my files that haven’t been published. One canceled contract,  another withdrawn contract, and very soon a contract ending. Maybe they are right. But my best work isn’t out there.

I feel good about some of the things I’ve written.  The Faere Warrior,  does anyone remember that one? It is actually book 2 of a Fae series, set aside to work on book 1.  I got discouraged and set it aside.  Kiss of the Dragon, remember that one?  I worked my butt off writing that and even had part of the second one, Embrace the Dragon written, then some critical comments and a withdrawn contract and I shelved it. Valkyrie’s Curse, started as a serial on Storytime Trysts.  I expanded it, revised it, and it became a series, planned for six books. Then there were differences with the publisher, it was put off,  pushed back and I shelved it.

Do I just give up too easy?  Do I not have the right stuff?  

The waves continued against the shore. Some crashed against the sand, others rolled in gently, some curled back outward to meet the next one.

Why do I push myself to write, then give up on myself?

I have this self-sabotaging cycle that I seem to be caught in.

On the third day of vacation, we were sitting on the deck of the hotel, overlooking the ocean. The waves were gentle, the water became crystal clear. Just like that,  you could see the shells and fish in the water from 100 yards away. In that moment, clarity also came to my mind. The waves have not ceased, they still came in, but they were gentle. Unceasing, never ending, relentless.

What did I want out of this life?

For me. What goals do I have for just me, not my marriage, not my kids,  not my parents or friends,  but for myself?  It’s not wrong to have aspirations.  It’s not wrong to have ambitions.

Why did I want to write?

Because I feel that it is something I can do and do well.  I want to inspire someone else the way that Tolkien inspired me.  I want someone to connect the way Twain did for me.  I want someone to be entertained and laugh the way that Louise Rennison made me laugh.  I want to inspire, encourage, entertain others.  I am an encourager.  Inspiring or entertaining others is part of being an encourager. I’m your biggest cheerleader and my own worst enemy.

Then why would I consider giving up my dream?

Words that someone else says to me? NO

Their fear or lack of confidence in me? NO

Because it’s too hard? NO

I had no good reason to give up but I had every reason in the world to keep at it,  to relentlessly, unendingly, unceasingly pursue my dreams.

I may fail but I’d rather try and fail than to never try at all. At least I will know that I gave it my best effort.

My best effort –  well that was a different matter. My best was far from what I’ve been doing lately.  There needs to be several changes occur in order for me to do my best.

That’s where I start. Get my house in order,  clear out the clutter of our house and my mind.

I don’t expect everyone to get aboard my dream train. In fact,  I rather expect some resistance and maybe even some sabotage.

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The plan is simple. That’s part of the clarity.  I need simple in my life.

Step 1 – WRITE! Step 2- See step 1.

Write on my friends, write on. I know I will.

Ellie

 

 

 

 

Editorial Comments


I had a long post planned that was all about Penned Con,  all about Bullet journaling, and all about what’s next on the agenda. That is all going to have to wait because:

THIS!

Friendly Neighborhood Friday

Make sure you visit and say HI!

A quick summary of the above:

  • Penned Con is only 6 Days away!
  • I still do not have my books.
  • My bullet journal is flooded with panicked notes, phone numbers,  notes from each call, shipment numbers, and I’m too stressed to add any purties to it.
  • What’s next on the agenda? You’ll have to tune in next week to find that out.

Meanwhile,  my frantic Friday continues.

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie

Success in September


Ah September!

There’s a promise of cooler weather, at least some of the days. I am looking forward to fall fests! Our local town will be holding  an Octoberfestus, (Town name is Festus –  I thought it was cute) which is the end of September and beginning of October. Penned Con is coming up fast!

As usual, my to-do list for the month is lengthy. I know, none of you are surprised.

Before I get to the point of  what I wanted to say, I’m going to  take a little side trip. A bit about the to-do list and  the  over scheduling – I went to a training class this past week where we had to do a personality quiz, (yeah, I’ve done those many times and crazy thing – they always come out the same)  and surprise,  I am an overachiever. Was I supposed to be surprised? I mean come on, I could have told them the results before  I ever had to take that stupid quiz. Let’s see on one test – I am

Was I supposed to be surprised? I mean come on, I could have told them the results before  I ever had to take that stupid quiz. Let’s see on one test – I am a choleric/sanguine. On another, the Myer-Briggs I am ENTP,  and on this one – called a DISC test I am a D/I which al translate basically to the same thing –  Type A overachiever.   I’m going to address this again maybe next week,  but for now . . . I was just aggravated that 1. I was required to attend this stupid training class which I have already done before a few years ago and am only required to attend because the director revamped  the courses, but the content is basically the same. Why do I and many of the others have to redo these stupid courses because he feels the need to micromanage and has to redo everything repeatedly? This is the types of things that stress me out. Someone else’s stupidity shouldn’t become a crisis for others. But that’s what happens when you  get a spoiled toddler in charge of things, they get upset and take their ball home when they don’t’ get their way. Or else they make ridiculous requirements for others. Not that I have strong opinions  or anything.

Back to the main point – Success in September.

Part of succeeding at something is planning to succeed.  I am a firm believer in planning. I don’t always follow through, sometimes I change the plans midstream, and other times I toss out the plan altogether.  The point is,  it’s a compass heading.  I have a rough map and a direction to head in.

My success plan for this month is mainly focused on health and fitness. I focused on getting back in my daily habit of writing last month. I plan to continue that while adding another ball in the juggling mix.  Getting myself back to a healthy lifestyle. How in the world did I get so far off track? Oh gosh, who knows! One slight deviation here, a wrong turn there, then  continuing on that path and I find myself miles away from my intended destination. I’m not doing any crazy diet or extreme fitness program.

I shared on Monday with my cover reveal that I get my rights back for my first book in November. I have many many books that are backlogged to be released. Which means I have a lot of work to do to clean them up and  make them presentable to the world. I can’t do that if I am running on empty. The past several months have been  draining for me. Stress has been a constant from various  sources.

Not focusing on the  ” it’s been a bad several months” part, I’ trying to turn things around for the good.  I need to get back to being in charge of myself and my life. I am going to be the captain of Steamship Mack and I am going to need some fuel in the tank.  I have  just a couple points I am going to focus on.

  1. Eating healthy foods in appropriate portions.
  2. Daily movement. Starting off  with just ten minutes of movement,  by the end of the month I plan to be active for thirty minutes a day.

Sounds simple enough right? Well the overachiever part of me has already been fighting my beginning point. ” You should be able to do at least fifteen minutes starting off.” I had to remind myself of the  guidance in a medical journal that stated, to START SLOW in order to avoid injury. I tend to ignore that voice and I’ve injured myself by pushing too far too fast.

I’m not ignoring  that guidance this time. I can’t afford the downtime for injury. Besides, it will give me more chances for stars in my bullet journal!

What are your goals for the month? What area are you focusing on?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie