Post Penned

Penned Con 2016 has come and gone.  The adrenaline has worn off,  the euphoria  has subsided, and I am wondering when I am going to get a chance to read all these books! Also,  making sure I am able to attend next year.


Let’s start with my table.  I shared a table with Sela Carson and had to buy a bundle of her books. I’m reading the first one now, so I’ll let you know once I finish it.  So, I did a new thing. Check it out.

You may need to adjust the audio on that one a bit. Feel free to follow me on Youtube! Please. Don’t make me beg. I will, but don’t make me.

Penned Con is  not like any other author event that I’ve been to. Now, I readily admit that I haven’t been to that many,  but since it’s right in my back yard –  I was astounded at how fantastic this one was.

You heard from Rick himself reasons why Penned is set apart. There were 139 attending authors in all genres, newbie or old hat. It’s all about the networking –  authors, readers, and supporters.   I met some amazing authors, wonderful readers, got some new readers, and tried not to embarrass myself by fangirling over a couple of my favorites. (Sorry Quinn Loftis, I hope I wasn’t gushing too much!)

I will be following up in the next few days with some of the other interviews I did.

Shout out to Rick Miles for the interview!

Write on my friends, write on!



Plans Change

I recently had someone point out to me that I really don’t do well with change.


Are you kidding me? Every single day of our lives, we change, improvise, adapt, overcome, and make a new plan. Human nature likes routine. Human nature likes to  function on auto-pilot and reserve brain cells.

Improvixe, Adapt. Overcome.

Improvise, Adapt. Overcome.

Change happens. Hence, today’s post is changed from what I had planned. More about that later.

It seems a regular routine that I make plans and they are changed, they get changed, or I have to change them because I made an unrealistic plan.   Seriously,  I know it’s not feasible to unclutter my house in one week. The amount of STUFF contained by four people,  one of which is a serious packrat on the verge of hoarder, one that is completely disorganized and two that never put things back where they belong – yeah, I doubt I can get it one in a month! Maybe a room a week might be doable. That’s just one item on my list.

Here is a list of reasons why you have to  wad up your plans and  make new ones.

  1. Unrealistic goals.  You would think being over 30 that I would have learned a long time ago to make more reasonable goals. This is one reason I have to keep reminding myself to make SMART goals. I get excited with a plan and get overly ambitious. That’s when I set myself up for failure by saying things like – I am going to have our entire house clutter free by the end of September.  Guess what? September came and went and I barely made a dent in it.  Not that I was busy preparing for Penned Con or anything. I am learning however, to look at my planner first,  check to see what is already scheduled before I make plans. Yeah, it’s only taken me this many years to figure this out. *eye roll*  (Eyeroll inserted courtesy of Mandee Shanklin)
  2. Unexpected Surprises. Things come up. An unplanned trip to urgent care. A surprise visit from a stomach virus. Drop in guests that stay for hours and hours and possibly overnight. I’ve mentioned this before, but when you work from home, people assume that you don’t really do anything so you can go out to lunch at the drop of a hat,  you can have drop-in visitors that stay for hours, or you are free to go shopping with them all afternoon. While there are times that I may welcome the  occasional visitor,   most of the time it requires a great deal of self-discipline to manage my time.
  3. Giant wrenches! There are times when  a giant wrench is thrown into the gears and everything comes to a screeching halt. For example: allocating my time divided between writing, editing, and stocking the resale shop. I made a plan to  go to the shop on Tuesdays and Friday. On Wednesday I made tags and do inventory. On Monday I spent a couple of hours cleaning items and deciding what goes this week. However, when my daughter’s work schedule changes and she has to be at work at one in the afternoon that leaves me without a car to  take my items to the shop. We’ve been juggling three cars between four adults. I really don’t want to buy a fourth car. It’s time for our girls to work on buying their cars. But in the mean time, I am the one who ends up without wheels. Before you say just take public transportation, we don’t have any here.  I live in a rural area. The neighbor’s  horses aren’t up for rent either.
  4. Unforeseen Complications.  They pop up all the time.  This is why when you work for someone else and have to give an estimate for a deadline,  you factor 25% more time into your project projection because inevitably,  something will come up that delays your deadline.  It is more difficult to get step 4 accomplished than you originally planned for, so that means the extra time it took you to problem solve for that problem has pushed your completion date back by four days. This is also the reason why I have to make self-imposed deadlines. Without setting deadlines for myself,  I hit a snag and drift aimlessly for hours, days, sometimes it turns into weeks. Before you know it,  it’s been six months  that I’ve been stagnated.
  5. Too Many Irons in the Fire. This. Right here.  This one more than anything else is the root of my problem. I know some people who pride themselves on juggling multiples of multiples. I’m not a juggler.  I’m not a single-minded individual either. I’m  somewhere in between, closer to the single-minded end,  but erratic enough that I always, ALWAYS have too many things going on at any given time. The problem is,  nothing gets my undivided attention, therefore I don’t ever get that full sense of satisfaction from focused effort on one thing at  a time. I”m working on this. I’m better than I was,  but I still have a long way to go.

So, back to my original plan for today.  I did some really cool stuff at Penned Con that I am planning to share.  I was planning to start on Monday,  but I was exhausted. Sorry –  not going to make any excuses. I was wiped. The adrenalin rush subsided and I was drained.  So scratch Monday.

Yesterday I had a car, so I was in a mad scramble to get all of my errands completed. I got a couple of hours of writing time  in the morning, then it was off on a big circuit to the shops, grocery store, bank, post office, and I forgot to stop at the library.

This morning,  I get feedback from individuals that  I talked with at Penned and their first impressions of me were based on comments made by another individual. Wow! Thanks for that. It may seem like I don’t handle change well but in fact, I do.  I talk about it, talk about my frustration with it,  but I manage it. If I didn’t handle it I would need a prescription for Xanax or one of those other things daily. Of course, as it was also pointed out if I were to take the Xanax,  then I probably wouldn’t stress eat.

Xanax versus brownies . . .  I am fond of brownies. Not as fond of the chemicals in the drugs. I need all the brain cells I can muster.  I freely admit I am a long time self-medicator with food. Now put my  brownies back on the table and back away slowly and no one will get hurt.

Plans change. We adapt. We make new plans. Life throws us a curve ball,  we bunt. It throws a speedball, we hit a homer! Sometimes we strike out,  but sometimes it’s a grand slam.

What about you? Are you adapting? Are you still in the game or are you sitting on the bench wringing your hands?  I haven’t given up yet, you shouldn’t either. Take a deep breath and get back in the game!

Write on my friends, write on!



Penned Con Update

Penned Con has come and gone.



My little corner of Penned Con. OH and hey, I got my hair cut.


Next time there will be more books and less swag! I may still make sure there is chocolate,  but I’m hoping to have a few more books out by then.  Wow, what a tremendous event Penne Con has been.  They had great keynote speakers,  fantastic panels, fun stuff for everyone, and books, lots and lots of books.

Now that I am rested and mostly recovered,  I am going to be sharing all week long some fun little interviews and pictures that my  husband took from the event.  Today is just a small tease of what is to come. Trust me,  there is more. Lots more.

Trust me,  there is more. Lots more.


Did you doubt that there would be books?

Briefly, this two-day event is well worth any book fans time! All money raised from Penned Con goes to the charity Action for Autism.  I have so much to share,  but I need to organize my thoughts better before I brain dump.

I hope everyone has a fabulous day. Go read a good book, preferably one of mine.  LOL IF not mine, then one of my associates!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie Mack

And the Winners Are . . .

I was unable to attend the Penned Con event this year, but I fully plan to be there in 2016 – with MY BOOKS!

Penned Con 2015 

Have you attended an author event?  Did you get your picture with your favorite author? Did you get their autograph?  What was your favorite swag item?

Leave some feedback please!

And So It Begins

images (4)

First off – I know  you are waiting for a full report from Penned Con. It’s coming, but I want to give it the full attention it deserves.  I am  assessing my notes, making some new notes,evaluating the event,  and processing a whirlwind couple of days. I promise to give my full report soon. Just not today.

Today, I am asking something of my readers.  Something that I wouldn’t normally ask.  Tonight I begin a journey of exploration into my psyche as part of a counseling course, to deal with root issues in my life that stem from  abuse, rejection, living with an alcoholic parent, living with a self-absorbed parent,  and a variety of other issues that a lifetime of living has brought.

I’ve not made any secrets about my past,  about the skeletons in my closet.  I’ve not candy coated or diluted much of anything. NO, I haven’t divulged nitty-gritty details, this isn’t a horror story. I am not blaming anyone else for my problems.  They may have begun way back there but I have been a responsible adult for some time now and my decisions are my own.  My reactions to things are my own. Some of those reactions have become a real issue in  my relationship with my husband. He’s been an absolute amazing guy  and  if there is anything I can do to fix me, I will. I have caused him  a tremendous amount of pain, and  I feel horrible for the pain that I have caused.

So, I start this class tonight and for the next 12 weeks. It is going to be intense. It is going to be emotional.  It is going to force me to deal with issues that I’ve pushed under the rug for years. I have to face my demons full on. That’s where you, my readers come in. Patience, hang in there with me, and  maybe a word of encouragement now and again by leaving a comment.

Today, before the first counseling session – which lasted an hour and a half – I started an online course that I have to pass in order to renew my mortgage license.  Last several years when I took the course, I’ve passed with a 92 to 100%.  You can imagine my shock when after the first section of the course I failed that module with a 62%.  Yeah, my mojo is definitely off. My ability to focus  has dropped off the bottom of the chart and still plummeting.

I have deadlines looming for work projects, the first of which is passing this course to renew my license by a deadline that has always been December 31, but has been moved up to October 1.  Nothing like a little extra pressure, right?   I have a technical writing gig that the deadline has been extended  for two weeks because of a variety of things on my end and theirs. Thank goodness they gave me an extension.

Family issues, financial burdens, emotional baggage all combined to a cumulative of  off the chart stress.

So, hang with me please.  I haven’t completely given up and I haven’t lost very last brain cell.  It’s just a stressful time, and I have to make some hard choices about self-evaluation.  Cyberhugs accepted! Sometimes you just have to yell: ” Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” and get off for a while.

How do you handle stress?  How do you face your demons, or do you? Have you ever sought counseling for your issues? Do you view people who seek counseling as broken? Damaged?

That’s it in a nutshell.  I shall follow-up soon with a full report on Penned Con.  It was an awesome 2 days that opened my eyes to numerous possibilities and shattered a few ideologies I had built up in my mind. But life presses in and demands my full attention in other areas.

So while I am undergoing psycho-analysis, and battling demons –  write on and remember to tune back in for Penned Con updates soon.