Suddenly


Hey, everyone!

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

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

ONCOLOGY

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

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

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

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

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

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

WRONG!

I called on Thursday because I suck at waiting patiently.

STAGE 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

When Inspiration Strikes #MFRWauthor


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Welcome to week 14 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

This week’s prompt:

“Story Inspiration”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

One Phone Call


I have spent the last two days on the phone trying to find out information on the exact requirements that I will need to fulfill for my job. I don’t know about you but waiting on hold is one of those time-wasters that I could do without. It’s that feeling of helplessness, this is out of your control, and you are at the mercy of the person on the other end.

If everything could be straight forward, the instant response then things would go much smoother. But, alas it isn’t to be. The forces that be have decided that it is a requirement to be put on hold for an untold specified amount of time. Please tell me that I”m not the only one who is impatient with these things!

In the meantime, while I continue my quest for answers, I thought I might share a teaser from Roxy Sings the Blues. Since phone calls seem to be first on my mind,  I thought I’d share this brief opener.

~~~~~~~~

One phone call can change your life forever.

I’ve heard it said many times and I get it. If you are a ball player waiting for that call to the majors, if you are waiting for the call that you got that job that you were hoping for. I always thought however, that most people are just being overly dramatic and using that as a cliché’ statement.

What if you didn’t get this job, but instead got a call from a different company that ended up being a better job? What if, as a ball player you didn’t ever get called to the majors but stayed in the minor leagues and ended up being a top-notch coach? What if that call was the worst thing that could happen?

It’s always been my view that there are multiple paths that our lives could take. There are multiple opportunities presented to us and that one phone call bit was a bunch of hogwash.

Until today.

Until I received the phone call that without a doubt, changed my life forever.

DO you want to read more? 

I”ll share a bit more soon . Until then I have to get back to my search.

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie

 

Break the Mold


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

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The army of plastics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go HERE to get your copy now! 

Write on my friends, and be yourself!

Till next time –  Ellie

 

#MFRW Best Friends


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‘Member when I said I was adding a new thing? Yeah, this is it. A blog Challenge. Like I don’t have any other thing to do. *Laughs uncontrollably* OK, now that we’ve had a good laugh.  You know me though, over achiever! Anyhow. . . I love a good challenge.

It’s week 5 of the 52-week MFRW blogging challenge. They said that it’s never too late to join, so I am jumping in at this point. I have to give you fair warning, I feel compelled to “catch up” and post the previous ones as well,  just not today.  To learn more and join in on the fun, go to MFRW.

This week’s topic is Meet My Best Friend. I can’t just pick one.

On one hand, my best friend forever would be my hubby.  He’s the yin to my yang. We are complete and total opposites in our personalities, yet we have common values. I’m outgoing and talkative and he’s the quiet reserved type. I’m creative, he’s analytical. It causes some problems at times but things are never boring. I’ve often joked that our problem has never been a lack of passion, but rather misdirected passion at times. Passion that has resulted in heated arguments. Passion that led to big fights. OK, I know some married folk who will say they never fight. Good for them but how boring. I mean come on! They miss out on all that good makeup sex!

He still puts the beat in my heart. OH wait,  you don’t want me to go there. Anyway, where was I? Maybe we should move on to my bestie.

My writing buddy, my sounding board, my soul Sista chick friend! That would be my wonderful friend Misty! If we lived closer, we would be a force to be reckoned with and get into way too much trouble.  It’s not like we are twinsies or anything,  but we think alike on several points. Misty writes horror/thrillers. I write romance/drama/ whatever I feel like dabbling in. We seem to have similar struggles in certain areas, and common core values.  Misty isn’t afraid to be gut level honest with me either and tell me when I am way off base, or what the heck was I thinking? I respect her opinion and honest talk.

I have to be honest, I  have been guarded most of my life against allowing anyone really close. One part of me sees other women with their girl friends and I am a bit jealous that I don’t have those kinds of connections. It’s my fault that I don’t though, because I don’t allow anyone to get that close to me. If you allow someone close, they can hurt you. Yes, issues that go way back to my childhood days and are tied to roots of abuse,  that have been dealt with but scars still remain.

You have to give the hubs credit for dealing with the baggage and the scars. Same goes for Misty or any of my friends for that matter. I tend to be cynical and not let very many people close.  I have a million friends that I can talk to,  schmooze with, talk about anything yet nothing. But, only a very select few ever get to that part of me that gets beyond the superficial.

Other than that, my close friends are limited to a couple of ladies from church and my writer group, Chatty Chicks. Without these wonderful online friends, I would never get any writing accomplished.  We discuss life, writing, struggles, drama, and everything in between over coffee and writing sprints. This is my rock solid grounding in the morning. We share in our victories and console each other in our losses. One of the ladies in this group does not drink coffee, but rather tea. It’s OK. She’s British, so I guess she can be excused. She’s also adorable and brilliant so we keep her. She’s our surrogate across the pond daughter. The rest of us tend to be mothering towards her. Part of it is the age gap,  but another part is she is just so stinking cute you can’t help but take her under your wing as if she were our own. Each member of our little group offers something unique. I guess if we didn’t, one of us would be unnecessary. As it is, it’s the perfect blend of sass, laughter, sense, and nonsense. Each of us are on our own path, but in that small group, our paths coalesce for our morning (afternoon for Emily across the pond which also allows the non-coffee drinker more grace.) sessions of chat and word wars.

Friends make life worth living. They truly help us get by. They help us get over the hurts hang ups and hard knocks. They urge us to do better than average. They push us to rise up out of the muck and mire. They are there for you, even if they don’t like where you are, what you say, what you are currently doing. They overlook all of those things to see the real you inside and come along side us during the happy moments and offer us tissues during the sad parts. They celebrate our wins, cheer us forward, and share the Ben and Jerry’s when we have fall aparts.

Give your friends a hug today. Send them a card, offer a hug, buy them lunch or a balloon!
http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=276245

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!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

22 Days Since my Last Confession


It’s been . . . wow has it really been that long? It’s been 22 days since my last post. Not good, not good at all.

I have no excuses. There were days when I planned on posting,  I even have half of a dozen posts in the archives because after writing them, they just didn’t feel quite right. Maybe a future day or maybe I’ll just delete them – who knows.

“Only the shadow knows.”

Stepping into the ‘Way-back’ machine for a moment, in my last post  on January 18th I shared this bit:  

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.

Alright, enough of the flashback. So what have I been doing with myself these past 22 days that I couldn’t be bothered to post on my blog?

I’m so glad you asked!

Yeah, that part above . . . in the midst of my sulk-fest, when  I got me out-of-the-way,  the ideas came like a grand finale of a fireworks display. One day to the sulk-fest, two days to get my ideas sorted into some semblance of intelligible speech/writing. ( My poor husband, Y’all should have pity on him. He’s the one that actually had to face the many phases of creativity.) A day and a half with two friends and eventually the hubby to take the pieces of the puzzle I had and make an entirely new picture. A half of a day lost to other things –  you know someone has to cook the meals. Two more days were given to brainstorming and ordering things.

Just a note here –  one of the things I like to do, and this may not work for everyone, is to write out my ideas on pieces of paper. Ideally, sticky notes would work for this but I was out of sticky notes.  OK fine – I wasn’t out of them I just couldn’t find any right then.  There are times when you need it NOW and you don’t have time to search the office, the desk, or the box of stuff you cleared off of the table.  Now the slips of paper are interchangeable on a large board  AKA my wall,  which I moved a few around to make more sense then numbered them from 1 to 25 and added a couple of transitions in between reaching my 30 points of light, er story.

Three days to let it sit while I worked on an editing job, hoping that things would mesh. Another day to go over and move a couple more things around slightly.  A couple of days for family/ married life – don’t judge!
Then the fun began. Six days of feeling like death warmed over until my daughter drove me to urgent care where they prescribed three medications for my illness.

Oh Joy! Fun fact –  the one medicine turned my pee bright neon orange. Let me tell you if that wasn’t a shocker!  That could really be used to freak someone out if played right, but sadly I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to exploit it.

OH, don’t even try to tell me you wouldn’t do it. Alas, I missed my window of opportunity.

So that leaves us two days where I had to redo some of the edit calls I made while feverish. I have my notes transferred to index cards in a neat little numbered stack that are right here beside my laptop. Now I can move from one card to the next, not wondering where do I go from here, not bored because I already know what’s coming,  but focused on that one card before I  go to the next.

This is the best method I have come up with for me. It doesn’t inhibit my creative flow or stifle the voice of the muse,  yet it reconciles my sense of order and OCD-ness.

Most of you know I’m not a neat freak, but I do like order.

So, February is shaping up to be a better month for me. I have a plan to move forward in my writing. I have 2 editing jobs on my desk and I am excited to get busy with these three projects. ( My writing plus the two jobs I have the privilege of editing.)

Glad that you’ve stuck with me so far,  things are going to get better.  I still haven’t  gotten my pizza fix, but maybe that’s for the best as I am serious about losing the weight I have gained. One bad thing about being a writer is the backside spread which has been complicated by the back injury.

Objects at rest tend to want to stay at rest and resist exercise. Regardless, I’ve laced up the New Balance and hit the track despite the cool weather. SIGH – ain’t nobody going to do it for me.

Nobody is going to write this book for me and nobody is going to whip this dough girl back into shape but me.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead. I hope you’ll join me in the upcoming weeks as I share tidbits of this new improved tale along with my usual sagacious wit.

You know you love me,  that’s why you keep coming back, right?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

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


man-looking-up-at-stars-milky-way-and-galaxy

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