Memories in the Corners of My Mind #MFRW


This is week 21 -A Childhood Memory

 

I don’t know if any of the others participating in this blog hop have this problem, but with every prompt comes a flood of questions. It takes me a good while to go through the questions and decide if they are valid or not. This is a process that started with me way back, . . . yeah back to my childhood days just shortly after the stone age.

How far back? What topic? I mean, a scary memory? fun memory? life lesson learned? funny memory? sentimental? How can I narrow it down? Should it tie in with last weeks post about movies?  Does it tie in with writing somehow? What does this have to do with writing? What if . . . . and then I have to tell my brain to SHUT UP! This pattern emerges somewhere before kindergarten.

I learned fairly quickly to keep them to myself as I often got in trouble for asking too many questions. That is a whole other post and that’s not the memory I decided to share. That will go under the category of my mother, learning to deal with ADD, and a creative mind. Maybe I should do that.

Anyway, the memory I decided on is one I will never forget.

I grew up in a small town south of the St. Louis metropolitan area. It’s a rural area just outside of a small town. In the midwest , e get hot summers, sudden thunderstorms and are always ALWAYS aware of the possibility of tornadoes.

The morning started out as any summer morning. It was my job to go out and pick strawberries. My parents had June bearers, which means they put on fruit for about three weeks heavily then are done for the season. School had just let out the week prior and it was my parent’s method to make sure I knew that I wasn’t going to be a slacker. Chores had to be done before my fun started. Most of the time, picking strawberries was an easy task as I love strawberries and I would wash about a pint for myself and eat them. Cost of labor, right? Plus it was a nutritious breakfast. Trust me, I wasn’t thinking about nutrition at that age, I was thinking strawerries – yummmm!

While picking the berries, about three forths of the way down the row – the row was about twenty feet long and three feet wide – I reached for a big juicy berry when movement caught my eye inches from the berry. A snake! Not some little five inch snake, NOOOOOOO! It was a full grown three to four footer. I know now that it was a king snake, not harmful but tell that to my ten-year-old self. OH heck no! He could have the rest of the berries. I grabbed my buckets that I had filled and ran to the house. I set the berries on the counter and realized there was one more bucket out there. Out there where the snake was. I had to go get it. It was going to rain and I needed to get them. Berries don’t keep well once they are picked.

Anyone watching would have thought that the entire garden was infested with cobras. It may as well have been. I knew from experience of where we lived, snakes could move fast. We had a few blue racers around the yard, we had the occasional copperhead show up, and black snakes were common. It could have been anywhere.

Two steps, then looking all around. A couple more steps, watching the vines and foliage around the beans, the cucumbers, the tomato plants. There weren’t any vegetables on them, but there was foliage where a clever snake could hide. I could see the bucket ahead about ten feet away. The closer I got, the slower I moved. My heart was in my throat, pounding out a tattoo of terror. I was bending, reaching for the bucket when I saw it less than three feet away, slithering from the strawberries towards the neighbor’s yard through the fence.

AAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHH!

I grabbed that bucket and ran like my clothes were on fire.

Three gallon-sized buckets of berries sat on the counter. I wouldn’t eat any. Dad wouldn’t know that I didn’t finish. I would offer to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the garage, anything that didn’t involve the garden area or snakes.

I finished my other chores then hopped on my biketo meett up with my neighborhood friends and do the all important stuff of summer vacation. (Which roughly translated to riding our bikes till exhaustion, stealing grapes from Mr. Winslade’s vines that poked through the fence, swiping apples from Mr. Eaves tree that hung over his fence, more bike riding, finding a shady place to stop and talk about what else we would do over the summer, more bike riding until our parents were home, and what we’d do the next day.)

I couldn’t tell you what time of day it was other than at noon Mike’s mom would call him for lunch. That was our cue that it was lunch time. I’d cycle back home, grab a tuna sandwich or peanut butter, drink a gallon of tea then vacuum mom’s big rug in the front room, wash the dishes then run back out the door. When Brooke’s dad pulled into the driveway it was time to head home. My dad would be pulling into the drive shortly after his. That meant it was time to clean up and start on dinner. I offered to cook dinner in order to get more allowance. I liked to cook and every kid needed money to get pop and candy at the local gas station.

Dad asked about the strawberries. I said yes, I had picked them. “Was that all of them?”

“Was that all of them?”

“Ummmmmm.”  I’m a terrible liar.

“Well,  I picked all the way down to the telephone pole.”

“Why didn’t you finish?” He showed no emotion, no anger, just a simple question.

“Dad! There was a snake. I could have been bitten. He was huge!” My heart began to race.

“Well, I’m sure he’s long gone so go out there and finish up.” As a parent, I can appreciate this now but at the time, I would have sworn my father was sending me to my death sentence.

“But, I started cooking dinner. Mom will be home at six.”

“You’ve got time. Just go finish up. It shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes.”

I knew there was no reasoning with him. I knew he was right, I had seen the snake leaving. But what if he came back? What if he was waiting for me? What if he wantto curlurl around me and constrict me then eat me whole like Kaa?

I grabbed an empty bucket and walked, head down, towards the strawberry patch. My steps weren’t cautious like before, what did it matter if the snake shot out like an arrow and latched onto my leg. If I were going to die,  then it was going to get me one way or the other.  I knew exactly where I had left off.  The telephone poll was about a foot behind the place I stopped. Plus for anyone who has ever picked berries, it’s easy to see there are red berries here but not there.

I knelt down, picking the berries as quicly as I could. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, seeing a few green bottoms when I dropped them into the bucket. I knew dad would have something to say about that, reminding me that they needed to ripen. I stood, one foot on either side of the patch, so that I could move quicker down the row. There was only about four feet of row remaining and if I managed to get to the end of the row without being bit by a snake, or the imagined tangle of multiple of snakes that I knew were just waiting to strike. My heart pounded as I filled the bucket.

The end was in sight. There was only about ten inches of row left. I could do this. I might survive after all and not end up with the epitaph on my tombstone: Done in by strawberries and the snake that resideth therein.

A particularly large berry, at least four inches wide, red and luscious. My mouth watered remembering that I hadn’t eaten any that morning. Maybe dad would like some strawberry shortcake for dessert. I reached for it. Confident that I was about to cross the finish line unharmed and return to the house victorious.

Then the brown stick that was laying at the end of the row curled up and moved.  I had been bent over, knees slightly bent, one foot on either side of the row  as I worked my way towards the end. I shot up arrow straight, eyes wide, shaking like a leaf. This was not a king snake nor a black snake. It was a copperhead. Copperhead’s are poisonous.  I didn’t dare move. Any movement might make it strike.

I was frozen. Well, aside from the shaking bit. My jaw clenched tightly as I  stared at the snake. I couldn’t let it out of my sight. I couldn’t turn and run. I couldn’t move.

“Stay still, don’t move.” Dad’s voice behind me was both comforting and disconcerting as I detected a note of seriousness in his voice that wasn’t usually there. Slowly, he walked down the path between the strawberries and beans. One step at a time, stalking his prey. When he was just about even with me, he raised the hoe overhead and held it there for a minute before bringing it down with every bit of strength he had. In one move he had chopped it’s head off, picked up the tail end and tossed it behind the neighbor’s garage, then picked up the head with the hoe and flung it in the same direction.

“How about we have some ice cream with our shortcake tonight?” He nodded towards me as he used his hoe to cut a few weeds from the beans. ” Don’t forget that last berry, that’s a beaut!”

I let out a deep breath as I plucked that last berry, grabbed my bucket and walked as quickly as I could towards the house.

My father’s two joys were gardening and fishing. I am grateful that he  taught me about gardening even though I didn’t listen half as much as I should have. I’ve had to learn some of his wisdom through my own trial and error. I am glad that I was his “fishing buddy” for many years. He didn’t often talk, but occasionally. . . occasionally  he would offer pearls.

We had our differences at times, but my dad was always my hero. I miss him terribly.

That night after dinner we enjoyed our strawberry shortcake, and dad made sure I got the biggest berry. When I sat down on the sofa reading a book, I overheard him telling mom that he was proud of me.  That I finished the job even though he could tell I was scared. He had followed me out, going to his garage/ work shop. He watched me out the window for a few minutes and he knew the minute I saw that snake.

My wild imagination often got me in trouble as a kid. Asking a million questions also got me into trouble.  My father was far more patient than my mother. His method of dealing with my questions was to answer them to the best of his ability until he could find something else to distract me.

At some point in our lives, all we have left of our parents are our memories. We sift the bad and keep the good, choosing to hold onto the moments that shape our lives.

Father’s Day is coming up soon, if your father is still with you do something to honor him. Take time to visit him. Share a memory that means a lot to you with him.

Ironically, this wasn’t the memory that I was originally going to share, but it’s the one that came up. Perhaps another time I’ll have the opprtunity to share about the tornado.

Until then, go check out what the other’s are sharing on this blog hop!

 

Leave a comment below  then visit the other authors. Write on my friends, write on!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

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My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book #MFRW


Greetings everyone! It’s a been a while since my last post and even longer since I made an MFRW post.  Life has been – different. I’ll address all of that later, but for now . . . . on to the fun stuff!

The topic for this week –  week 20 – is My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book.

I realize that many of my constituents (aka other bloggers participating in this blog hop not to be confused with political opponents vying for same geographic region) will probably reference some of the most recent book/movies such as Divergent, The Hunger Games, 50 Shades. Not me.

The subject is MY favorites.

There are many movies made from books, then made into screenplays. There are movies based on books.  Quite often I find that I greatly prefer the book to the movie. There are a few that have translated well to the big screen.

The Polar Express

It’s amazing what they can do with animation these days, isn’t it? Well, the book made me cry when I first read it to my kids, and that same emotion hit me when I watched it the first time. No, it’s not a sad movie. It’s a wonderful story. They were tears of joy, heartfelt compassion. Yeah, I’m a softie. I cry at commercials sometimes as well.

The Princess Bride

Inconceivable how anyone could not like this movie! This is one of the rare instances that I prefer the movie to the book. If you haven’t seen it, why not? GO – get it now. Download it on Netflix or Amazon and watch it. I’m serious!

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Based on: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Wang Dulu

Year published: Between 1938–1942

The novel is actually the fourth book in the Chinese author’s five-part Crane-Iron Series. This martial arts extravaganza is well-written, with a wonderful plot, great characters, action, drama plus it has Donnie Yen, Jet Li,  and Michelle Yeoh! Maybe you aren’t a martial arts fan, but this movie is worth your time. I never read the book for this one either but I saw an interview with Jet Li where he stated about reading the book and he was excited that it was going to be made into a movie. I’ll warn you though, most Asain movies don’t have a happily ever after. Often they are tragic. This book/movie – and the movie followed the book fairly closely – has a dynamic plot that engages the reader/viewer, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

It’s not just another cheap Martial arts movie – this one is worth your time!

Probably not what you would have expected, but there you go! I could list twenty others that I liked but these three are at the top of my list.

What’s your favorite book adapted to the big screen?

Leave a comment below and let me know. Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

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


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

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

For me, that would be purple prose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find other posts in this series by yours truly 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
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

23.

A Progress Report of Sorts


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellie

 

 

Crafty Author #MFRWauthor


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

This week’s prompt:  My hobbies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Here are a few of my finds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other posts in this series:

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

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

New Day


It’s a brand new day! It’s a new month – yay! This is the point when we get a do-over for good intentions. For instance with the blogging. Even the best-laid plans sometimes fail.

Nothing can be done for the days lost in January, it’s now a fresh month. In the past, I have taken all of my unfinished plans from the previous month and started there before tackling the items I had designated for the current month. That is a fast track to being overwhelmed and giving up before you even begin. Trust me, I’ve done it numerous times.

For instance, with my bullet journal, I had an entry on January 22, then nothing. The next day I felt nearly human again after several days of illness is January 30. Last year, I would have felt guilty. I would have made entries for each day in between, trying to squeeze something from the brain to fill in for those days, but this time I didn’t. NOPE. I simply wrote ‘And then . . . ‘ in large bold letters, with a brief journal entry about what was going on, namely, I felt miserable until my daughter took me to urgent care.

Then I made an entry for Monday with the header Moving Forward. That, my friends, in a nutshell, is my entire philosophy for the year.

Moving Forward

I have five large projects on my plate for this month:

  1. An editing job that has a firm deadline. ( I love editing for others. It gives me a chance to read their work, help with something that I am good at and also stimulates my creative brain at the same time. I am always energized to write on my own work after I do some editing for someone else and I have been anxious to  work on this one!)
  2. Rewrites on Roxy Sings the Blues, now that I have a  workable plot. (This is where my 30 index cards will be put to use!)
  3. Passing the 20-hour course for regaining my MLO license. This one has to be completed by February 28th. This is not an arbitrary deadline that I picked,  my job is contingent upon passing this course and getting licensed. I’ve done it before, I can do it again! (This is a tough class. Dry material, legal schtuff, technical mortgage  blah blah blah,  a whole lot of laws and acts and this will require inordinate amounts of caffeine in order to get through the volumes of materials I must relearn. Yes, I am regretting letting my license lapse this past year. Infuriatingly regretting it, to the point of mentally beating myself up over this decision.)
  4. Make progress in my fitness and weight loss plan. (My goal for January was to lose 8 pounds, I only lost 3. I did, however, get my behind out to the track and started back walking at least.  We’ve had mostly mild winter days. I have used a workout video that a friend referred me to during days that are cold, wet,  or the roads are bad. I’m ready to add another lap this week, and  by the end of the month I plan to double the length of that walk.)
  5. Decluttering and updating our house so we can move closer to my husband’s  work. (He has a very long commute now. )

So, of course, this is the perfect time to add something else to the mix, right? Of course, it is!

An author friend has been encouraging me to join this blog hop thing, 52-week thing. I’m already behind the curve, but I can make those up, no problemo! You’ll see the first installment for this on Friday. What’s one more thing, right?

Following the categories that I have already used for blogging,  I will on occasion – I’m not even going to say I will post every Monday because you know as well as I do that I may or may not manage every Monday. Seriously, take a look at my list above! BUT, I guarantee you that at some point throughout this month, I will give updates.

I had already agreed to share tidbits of the WIP, which will cover item number two. I will share a couple of things throughout the month on editing. This is something that I’ve thought about many times,  making editorial posts to address common mistakes that we all make and are things that you can fix yourself.

BUT, I was wondering does anyone even care about my weight loss and fitness journey? Does anyone really care about my home improvements? Renovations? Updates?

IDK –  I had thought about sharing that month’s projects with pictures of before and after, but does anyone really care?  Honestly, I am not doing major renovations like tearing out walls or adding on to the existing floorplan. We are on a tight budget here and most of these changes are simply going to update and make our house saleable.

I’m still undecided on those two points, but if you have an opinion feel free to comment or message me.

I’m heading to my editor’s desk to dive back into this book.

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!

New Year, New Plan


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Just when you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth . . .

Between colds, flu, and a bout of food poisoning December took it’s toll on me. I”d like to say it was reflected on the scale,  but I can’t. That would have been a desirable side effect so we can’t have that, right? That’s how it seems at times.

I fully intend to get back on track with my blog, with writing, with my fitness goals . . . which brings us to that time  – the New Year – when I make my new list of goals.

Three things that you should know about me if you haven’t already gleaned this info:

1. I’m an overachiever. I know it and yet I find myself compelled to continue in my overachieving way. Doesn’t mean I always accomplish them, in fact, it’s often to the contrary.

2. If I don’t plan, I will drift aimlessly along never accomplishing anything, then beat myself up mentally over my lack of focus.

3. I’m seriously ADD and find it difficult to focus on much of anything for very long, hence why I change my themes regularly, digress in the middle of a five hundred word post, and am easily distracted by the next shiny.

So I have multiple categories,  varied topics, and the most consistent stream of conscious seems to be random madness. I didn’t do so well on this past year’s  goals. 2016 was not my best year in any stretch of the imagination. On to the new year, right? It isn’t going to do much good to keep pondering my failures. Learn from them and move on, which brings us to the present. A new shiny!

2017 Goals for Ellie:

  1. Publish 4 books. I’m not restricted by any small publishing house’s  whims or schedules. I have multiple files sitting in my folder with finished projects that are ready for an editor. Valkyrie’s Curse was finished  – so long ago I don’t even remember when. I went back over it in April of last year, making revisions and realized that I hadn’t really wrapped the story, which led to expanding it into a series. Revisions put it’s completion in July, and I was supposed to hand it off to Eclectic Bard at Penned Con before my contract ended.  I am really going to try to focus on one project at a time until completion so the order of release will be: 1)Roxy Sings the Blues, 2) Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening, 3) Eerie Isles Chronicles book 1, 4)The Piano.
  2. Blog 12 Times per Month. Goal 1 transitions into Goal 2 because after discussion with other authors, one of the  ‘hits’ of my categories was shared snippets of current writing. ( To include revisions as well.) I’m planning to be back on a regular blogging schedule and do NOT plan to be sick for five weeks straight ever again if I can help it.  But that’s just one topic, right? I mean there are so many other things –  bujo, food, fitness, current events,  and a myriad of things that may pop into my head from time to time. (Trust me, it’s better if you read them one at a time instead of the rapid-fire barrage that  exists inside my cranium.)
  3. Read 30 books. Down from my usual 50 but I still have to read. Consider it research and a job requirement.
  4. Lose 50 pounds. I hate where I am. I never wanted to be here, and yet here I am. This goal is the top priority and if I accomplish nothing else this year,  this one is a MUST. Fifty pounds doesn’t even get me to my goal weight,  but that’s  nearly a pound a week. If I lose more great, but I am currently not at any semblance of a healthy weight.
  5. Build my author’s website and integrate my blog there.
  6. Get our house ready to sell and move. This is a major undertaking as we’ve lived in the same house for 23 years and my husband is a packrat. I tend to procrastinate and avoid dealing with the stuff. We are surrounded by stuff and I can’t take it anymore. The austere living is becoming more and more appealing.
  7. Get my office set up. We’ve been over this so many times. Last time I shared pictures of the area that I worked my butt off ( unfortunately not literally) clearing out only to have that area filled with more stuff. It was disheartening. I haven’t made a lot of headway since then. It’s like getting your feet cut out from under you. Not just having the rug pulled,  but someone hacking your feet off and then having to continue. How can I make myself focus on a writing career as a business when I have to keep moving my laptop off of the table every single night? I need certain writing tools and stuff when I am writing. I need my reference materials, resources, notes, planner, and my to-do list. These end up stacked on the shelf that tops the short wall of our stairwell. For a visual, it’s a stack of clutter in the kitchen of an open floorplan home. This sets off my OCD-ness every day.

Seven goals for 2017. Streamlined tremendously from my 50 a couple of years ago. Should be simple enough to accomplish right? Simple but not easy.

It’s going to take a concerted effort in order to accomplish each one. It will require effort, a great deal of effort. I could use some encouraging along the way. I’ll make you a deal – I’ll cheer you on with your goals if you help me with mine. Deal? So what are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish in 2017?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

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