Keys to the Kingdom #MFRW


 

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

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

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

Five Ways to Win My Heart

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

How a Romance Author Wins My Heart

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

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

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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Proper Nutrition for Preventing Cancer Reccurrence


Last week I posted No Cancer formed against me shall prosper,

today I’d like to address the first of four areas that is within our power to control.

Obesity increases your odds for a heart attack and diabetes, the two most medicated conditions in our society.

Obesity increases your odds for cancer. This is something I never heard before the diagnosis of breast cancer. Certain cancers like breast cancer feed off of the hormone estrogen, which is carried in the fat cells, and the more fat cells, the more estrogen, the higher your risk for cancer.

Don’t believe me?  Go here:  American Cancer Society

Sugar feeds cancer as well.

Let me tell you,  there is nothing that will put the fear of dying into you like CANCER.

Much like diabetes, cancer can be self-inflicted.

There are four areas that we can have control of whether or not we get cancer or get a recurrence of cancer.  Once you have been diagnosed with cancer,  there is always a risk of it returning. You’re always looking over your shoulder.  I want to put as much distance between me and cancer as I can.

IF I CAUSED THIS,  THEN I CAN FIX THIS.

I can at least do everything within my power to improve my odds of survival.  The first major area to help prevent or avoid a recurrence is proper nutrition.

A well-balanced diet, consisting mainly of plant-based nutrients with lean proteins as the best dietary plan that I ‘ve seen prescribed by doctors and the American Cancer Society.  I looked at various diet plans: juicing, (not recommended for diabetic patients) vegetarian, (also not recommended for diabetic patients) Mediterranean, South Beach, and the recommended My Plate diet plan.

The dietary plan that works best for me is a modified MyPlate plan that leans towards Mediterranean. This excludes sugar, soda, processed meats, processed foods, chemical laden anything. Which means  no more: soda, (yes I occasionally would enjoy a Coke, or Mountain Dew) bacon (ouch that really hurts but carcinogenic) hot dogs, bologna, processed meats, smoked sausage, processed cereals,  Kraft mac and cheese in a box (no more powdered cheese sauce mix), alcohol (I’m going to miss my wine),anything soy (soy doesn’t play well with breast cancer), and reduced red meats.  No turkey bacon– have you ever read the list of ingredients to make that? Talk about processed!

Think about the sugar alone –  have you ever checked the labels for ingredients to see if it has sugar? How many sugars? There is sugar in things you would never imagine. Crackers, for instance, some of them contain sugar.

I can have red meats once a week. So if I opt for a burger,  that is my red meat for the week.  If I have a slice of ham for breakfast, that counts for the week.

Just about the entire center section of the grocery store I can bypass. The bulk of my diet – no pun intended – is fresh fruits and vegetables. I am limited on the number of carbs I can have because of the diabetic issues, and I am hoping that over time and by following this plan, as my weight drops that I can lose the diabetic medications as well.

Part of the whole cancer treatment plan is seeing a dietician. Best part of the plan for me! It certainly beats the radiation therapy by a mile!

In all honesty, this has been a difficult change to make. A lifetime of bad eating habits have to be changed. So, I’ve been learning to adapt to a new way of eating because quite frankly,  my old habits were killing me – literally. It’s really easy to say no to the foods I shouldn’t eat,  all I have to do is look at my scars.

In order to give myself the best chance of beating cancer, I employ the top 10 list of nutrient dense foods. These are high in phytochemicals, which contain antioxidants, which help fight cancer. I eat  at least one of these a day.

TOP 10 Nutrient Dense Foods:

1. Salmon

Not all fish is created equal. Salmon, and other fatty types of fish, contain the greatest amount of Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the optimal function of your body. They’re linked to improved wellbeing and a lower risk of many serious diseases .

Although salmon is mainly prized for its beneficial composition of fatty acids, it also packs a massive amount of other nutrients.

A 3.5 ounce piece of wild salmon contains 2.8 grams of Omega-3s, along with lots of high quality animal protein and a ton of vitamins and minerals… including large amounts of Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium and all the B-vitamins .

It is a good idea to eat fatty fish at least once or twice a week, to get all the Omega-3s that your body (and brain) desperately need. Studies show that the people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart disease, dementia, depression and a plethora of common diseases.

Also,  salmon tastes awesome and is fairly simple to prepare. It also tends to make you feel full with relatively few calories.

2. Kale

Of all the super healthy leafy greens, kale is king. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and various bioactive compounds.

A 2/3 cup portion of kale contains:

  • 200% of the RDA for Vitamin C.
  • 300% of the RDA for Vitamin A (from beta-carotene).
  • 1000% of the RDA for Vitamin K1.
  • Large amounts of Vitamin B6, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese.

This is coming with 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and only 50 calories.

Kale may be even healthier than spinach. Both are super nutritious, but kale is lower in oxalates, which are substances that can bind minerals like calcium in the intestine, preventing them from being absorbed.

Kale (and other greens) are also loaded with various bioactive compounds, including Isothiocyanates and Indole-3-Carbinol, which have been shown to fight cancer in test tubes and animal studies.

BOTTOM LINE: Kale is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can eat, with large amounts of vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting compounds.

3. Garlic

Garlic really is an amazing ingredient. Not only can it turn all sorts of bland dishes into delicious treats, it is also incredibly nutritious. It is high in vitamins C, B1 and B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.

But garlic is also loaded with another incredibly important nutrient called Allicin, which is the active ingredient in garlic. There are many studies on the health benefits of allicin and garlic. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and total and LDL cholesterol, while raising HDL… which should lead to a reduced risk of heart disease down the line.

It also has various cancer-fighting properties. Studies show that the people who eat a lot of garlic have a much lower risk of several common cancers, especially cancers of the colon and stomach. Garlic is also very potent at killing pathogens like bacteria and fungi.

BOTTOM LINE:Garlic is both tasty and extremely healthy. It is highly nutritious and the bioactive compounds in it have known disease fighting properties.

4. Shellfish

Out of all the wonderfully nutritious organisms found in the sea, shellfish may be the most nutritious of all. This includes clams, oysters, scallops, and various others.

Clams are among the best sources of vitamin B12 in existence, with a 100 grams of clams supplying over 16 times the RDA! It is also loaded with other nutrients, including Vitamin C, B-Vitamins, Potassium, Selenium and Iron.

Really, shellfish are among the most nutritious foods in existence. Unfortunately, people rarely consume them.

BOTTOM LINE:Shellfish are among the most nutritious organisms found in the sea. They are very high in important nutrients like Vitamin B12 and Zinc. Really,  who needs encouragement to eat more shellfish, right?

5. Blueberries

When it comes to the nutritional value of fruits, blueberries are in a league of their own. Although they’re not as high in vitamins and minerals as vegetables (calorie for calorie), the antioxidant content is where they really shine. They are loaded with powerful antioxidant substances, including anthocyanins and various phytochemicals, some of which can cross the blood-brain barrier and exert protective effects on the brain.

Several studies have examined the health effects of blueberries in humans. One study found that blueberries improved memory in older adults. Another study found that obese men and women with metabolic syndrome had a lowered blood pressure and reduced markers of oxidized LDL cholesterol, when they added blueberries to their diet.

This finding makes sense, given that eating blueberries has been shown to increase the antioxidant value of the blood. Then multiple studies in test tubes and experimental animals suggest that blueberries can help fight cancer.

BOTTOM LINE:Blueberries are very nutritious compared to most fruits and are loaded with powerful antioxidants, some of which can increase the antioxidant value of the blood and have protective effects on the brain.

6. Dark Chocolate (Cocoa)

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

It is loaded with fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. But the biggest factor is its amazing range of antioxidants. In fact, a study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate scored higher than any other food they tested, which included blueberries and acai berries.

There are multiple studies in humans showing that dark chocolate has powerful health benefits… including improved blood flow, a lower blood pressure, reduced oxidized LDL and improved brain function .

 

Make sure to get dark chocolate with a 70% cocoa content, at least. The best ones contain 85% cocoa or higher. Eating a small square of quality dark chocolate every day may be one of the best ways to “supplement” your diet with additional antioxidants. Permission to eat chocolate!

7. Spinach

Popeye knew what was up: Spinach is one of best sources of potassium and is also rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, and iron. One cup raw provides over half of your daily recommended value (DV) for vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy vision, immune system, and reproduction. Want even more? Cooked leaves provides over 100 percent! Sauté in a little olive oil and garlic to accompany your dinner or add to a salad.

8. Brussel Sprout:

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap, but their nutrient profile will set the record straight: One cup cooked provides 195 percent daily  of vitamin K—crucial in helping your body absorb calcium—and 125 percent of vitamin C, which plays an important role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of skin, which helps to reduce wrinkles. Plus, they offer more than 10 percent of your vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folate, potassium, and manganese needs for the day. Try roasting brussels sprouts with olive oil and then tossing in balsamic vinegar to enhance their flavor.

9. Almonds:

We might not always think of almonds as produce, but remember they do come from a tree. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, biotin, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They’re the perfect afternoon snack to rack up nutrients and help hold you over ’til dinner. Just be sure to stick with a one-ounce serving (shot glass size) or you’ll wind up consuming too many calories.

10. Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet potatoes are, of course, best known for being a great source of beta-carotene (hence the deep orange color), which may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, decrease heart disease, protect against asthma, and slow down the aging process. But one medium sweet potato also provides over 100 percent of your daily needs for vitamin A, 37 percent for vitamin C, 16 percent for vitamin B6, 15 percent for potassium, and 28 percent for manganese. You’ll also find small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, and folate in the bright veggie.

I have had either spinach or kale nearly every day. Brussel sprouts makes a good side with salmon. Half of a sweet potato with a little salt and pepper is very satisfying. Blueberries are one of my favorites.  I like to have blueberries with cottage cheese, with a little lemon zest.

There are more nutrient dense foods, but these are my fast go to foods to ensure that I get the nutrients I need. I hope this helps some of you,  it’s sort of my go to cheat list when I am pressed for time,  haven’t thought out what to cook for dinner or what sides to have. It’s super simple to throw together a salad that includes either kale or spinach.

Any excuse to add shellfish to my diet is a good one.  Since I have to eliminate red meat from my diet most of the time, shellfish and fish have been staples. Plus, a light meal of crab salad replacing that burger is much more satisfying.

If you find this interesting,  then leave  a message.  I’m considering sharing recipes for this new eating plan.  It may not be a big deal for most of you,  but growing up in middle America, in a large family that celebrated with food, it’s certainly a deal for me.

Let me know what you think.  Would you like to see recipes?

Cancer took a big part of my peace of mind and has left me with a compromised immune system.scars, I am determined to do everything within my power to never have to go through this again.

Write on my friends, write on.

 

The Doors! #MFRW


Happy Friday!

 

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 34 – Open Doors or Closed Doors? 

I have a small confession to make. I often think in song.  It’s true! Just about any topic, and my mind goes to song lyrics. Maybe it’s all those musicals my Mom used to watch on TV. Maybe it’s the musicals we went to the Muny to see. (ST. Louis Municipal Theater, Forest Park) Maybe it’s the eighteen years of piano lessons, ten years in band counting college, or maybe it’s just an annoying quirk that I have. It drives the  hubs bat sh** crazy.

See what I mean? 

I’m sure you can make the leap of why my mind went automatically to The Doors given the prompt.  I mean come on, that was an open door! *snorts*

But what if that wasn’t what the MFRW challenge

had in mind? Hmmmm.

 

 

It’s a horrible thing, this ADD brain of mine. Look- Squirrel!  Back to the topic – doors. How can any writer worth their salt not think of JRR Tolkien in reference to doors?

I put the  thought on the back burner while I attempted to upload my new  book to Createspace. I say attempted because my laptop is not cooperating with Adobe flash player, and it won’t let me review the insides. It simmered back there for a few hours.

*ding* It’s soup!

What if . . .  yeah, I could go with that.  Since this blog challenge is  related to romance writing,  maybe I should share about doors in that field.

In 2015, I had made myself a resolution that I would submit my manuscripts to publishers through July and if none were accepted,  I would attempt the self-publishing route.

I have regularly submitted articles to magazines and online magazines. It’s similar but different to novels. I sent Kiss of the Dragon off to 3 publishers and got two rejections and one – if you rewrite the entire thing and change the characters then we will review it again. That kind of changes the entire story, don’t you think?  I shelved it.

I sent Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price off to 2 publishers. One rejection, one – if you add the backstory in and set this as maybe the second or third book in a series, and make the overall story the realm war,  then we would be interested in the series. I was on cloud 9!!!

I worked on it diligently, had the foundation story down, made the suggested tweaks to it, then had a falling away with an individual who unbeknownst to me was part owner of this small publishing house. Offer retracted. Sigh. Project shelved.

I sent 3 other stories off to publishers, some were unsolicited to houses that it was a long shot; nothing.  I submitted to a specific call for romance shorts, nothing.  I submitted to a call for a BDSM short, made the first round, then was cut in the second round.

I nearly quit. I thought I’ll just write for myself and file them away and maybe some day when I am dead my kids will find my manuscripts and read them and think they might be worth publishing.

 

 

I was ready to throw in the towel on getting any books published.  I had been successful in article writing for the newspaper, maybe that was all I was cut out for.  My dreams ‘done fell through’.

In my morning sprint group, the wonderful ladies encouraged me to keep writing and suggested that I consider self-publishing. I have to be honest,  I had a tainted view of this.  I thought self-publishing was Vanity Press.  Most of the people I knew that published books were through vanity press and they were a joke. Not to make light of their accomplishments!

Several church friends published their books, most of which was their life story. They sold a few at a table at church when they were first published then ended up with boxes of books in their garage or basement.  I didn’t want to be that person.

Then I started seeing more and more fiction writing in the Indy market. I finally bit on a friend’s novel about zombies and I loved it.  It was hysterical! They convinced me to consider it. So, back to the time line – I told myself if I didn’t get a contract by July, I would pursue the Indy market.

I finished my first book Red Wine & Roses.  OK, it wasn’t the first story I finished, but those were rejected and I was told to revise them, rewrite them or add X amount more to them. I made a post on Facebook that I had finished it! An individual whom I had worked with on the group blog got in touch with me for Eclectic Bard Books.  AN OPEN DOOR!

I jumped through that door so fast it made my head spin. It was a whirlwind of deadlines, demands, and then nothing. We came to a mutual point of not renewing the contract and they were gracious enough to release the rights to my story. I am truly grateful for that and the opportunity.  I learned a lot, but small house publishers . . . CLOSED DOOR! Locked, bolted, NOPE!

I learned a lot through that experience.  Some good, some bad,  all of it memorable.

I have edited some truly crap writing. I have also had the privilege of editing some great writing. In both cases,  the author was confident enough in their work, even if I thought it sucked, (hello –  there, their, they’re; to two too; affect, effect; was/were; numerous cases of  that doesn’t mean what you think it means;  and sex scenes that read like a clinical post rape exam – shudders)

Yet, they were determined to get their baby out there. What was I so afraid of?

Life has a way of impressing upon you what is really important.  I had been making excuses for not finishing my work, and not focusing on one project. I was a story polygamist. Either I wanted to do this or I didn’t, which is it?

My second book, a nonfiction humor collection of posts that started on my blog was my first shot at going Indy. Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass: I got the formatting wrong, got the margins wrong, but I learned. Soon I was able to get Red Wine back out there under my name.

I continue to learn. This year,  life smacked me around pretty hard but it drove home the point of either do it or shut up. I am going for it! There is still an open door, I’m going to use it.

There are a few other areas of my life that I have made huge revelations in as far as excuses. Some are harder to change than others but not impossible.

I feel like I am getting a second chance in life, I don’t want to waste it.  I’ve had some real issues with what our church teaches about personal goals and striving for your own desires. It’s sad that it has taken me this long to get it,  but I believe  God gives us the desires of our heart.  I believe that His word is true.  But I also believe that He expects us to work our little or big, fannies off. I don’t think there is anything wrong with personal aspirations –  it is what drives us to become better.

Maybe I’m wrong and y’all should pray for me in this. But tell me this,  Kurt Warner achieved his goal of becoming a professional football player. How is that OK, yet being an author isn’t? This lack of self-esteem that was established in my young years has somehow made me think that my goals aren’t as important as anyone else’s. That is wrong thinking.  I’m shutting that door right now. By doing so,  I am opening multiple doors of opportunity.

We are often our own worst enemy.  I know I am. I’m the one that put everyone else’s needs above my own. I’m the one who sidelined myself in life.  I’m the one who shelved my own dreams. NO MORE!

This isn’t a dress rehearsal,  this is real life. We are responsible for what we do with it.  I’m not happy with what I’ve done with mine up to this point,  so this second chance is a breath of fresh air. It has driven home the point to let things go. Shake it off.

I don’t want my eulogy to be, oh she was nice.  I want it to be bolder.  I want people to know that I gave my all, pursued my dreams,  living life with gusto and no apologies. I’m through apologizing for being me!

This wasn’t the direction that I  intended to go, but this is what came out. Doors are apparently a touchy subject with me.   Maybe I should have stopped with The Doors. NAH!

Let’s be real. Let’s be authentic with each other.

Life sucks at times, it’s up to us to make lemonade with the lemons we are given.

What doors are you keeping shut? Which ones have you opened? What doors are standing open waiting for you to go through?

There are a lot of other author’s in this blog hop that may have a more sound post. You may want to check them out at:

 

 Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:
  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually when I get to it. I’ve been working on Roxy and this week, I FINISHED IT! Roxy Sings the BLues in is the hands of the editor!

Here is the preorder link for ebooks:

As soon as my laptop cooperates or I figure out how to bypass flash player, the print copy will be available!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Hello Beaches!


Happy Friday! I lift my cuppa to you.

You might think that I am trying to be super clever with a play on the word,  for all of my B**** friends. Sorry, no. Although, I lift my cup to you as well.

I recently had a major run in with a mean girl B that was callous, insensitive, and absolutely rude. Not inclined to humor those who think it’s funny to be an absolute B to others and think it’s all good because it isn’t. I think more of someone who takes the time to be kind than blast another person. Alas, it seems kindness is a dying art.

But, since I went there I guess I can tie in my vent with the theme for today. Let me refill my cup, while I think of just how to do that.

Ah! That’s better. Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 33 – What I Do to Recharge. 

Coffee is what I do to charge in the morning,  not necessarily recharge. By late afternoon after you’ve dealt with horrible people and want to strangle someone, I really don’t need more coffee or else I’d be wearing an orange jumpsuit. Not a good look for me and I’m not interested in being Beulah’s latest girlfriend.

Ah, but we’ve hit part of the topic there, for the reason we need to recharge. Honestly, if we just did our work day in and day out, it does tend to be a bit of a grind, but it gives you a feeling of satisfaction to know that you’ve been working.  It’s kind of like going to the gym.

At first, your muscles are sore and protest. ‘We don’t want to exercise. We like being soft. Don’t make me do that.’ It’s your job to be drill seargent and whip those saggy wing flaps into shape, get that bounteous backside in tight formation, and push the thunder thigh twins to peak performance. “Ugh! But it hurts. I don’t wanna”

Shut up and give me ten more.

“Wah!” 

Just for that let’s make it fifteen more. 

By the end of the third week, however,  things are beginning to take shape, and show signs of improvement. Another couple months of this and the troops may just thank you for it. Or not, by nature we are lazy.

The point is though, that if it were just doing the work,  it would be a cake walk. After a few weeks of disciplined work, we’d feel great about ourselves, our abilities, our strengh. . . . but it isn’t just that.  We have to deal with people.  It’s people that create the stress.

No, it isn’t it’s deadlines and demanding schedules. 

Who makes the deadlines? Who gives us the demanding schedules? Who creates the stress in our day? PEOPLE!

The difficult client that refuses to listen to what you are telling them.  The customer that is rude in the checkout line simply because they don’t want to have to wait in line like everyone else. The person who nearly runs you over with their cart in the grocery store because they are in a hurry.

THIS is what causes the stress. OK, let’s be honest, it can be our own dearly beloved family members as well.

Mo -mmmm, where’s the scissors?”

“Why?”
“I need them for a school project.”

ten minutes later. “Since when is cutting your sister’s hair a school project????”

Take me away Calgon. Maybe forget the Calgon and go for Captain Morgan. However, since I can no longer imbibe anything stronger than Welch’s . . . . Oh right, Cancer! Health issues can be another stressor.

So now we have a list:

  • rude and impatient people
  • kids
  • demanding schedules
  • health issues
  • self or other imposed deadlines
  • add your own personal pet peeve here

I may as well as add that last line because we all know we have them. When people violate them, we get all sorts of bent out of shape. Whether it’s dropping the towel on the floor in front of the towel rack, ( “Come on! It’s 3 seconds to hang it up!”) OR the dirty clothes on the floor. . . five inches from the hamper. OR dirty dishes in the sink. (Where did these come from? I JUST washed all of the dishes!) See what I mean?  Most of our stress comes from other people! SIGH

But then again, our lives would be pretty boring if we were in isolation. Isolation is one of the forms of punishment in prisons and concentration camps.  It’s said to be one of the cruelest punishments.  There are days I wonder if it really is punishment, though. How long do you think you would last in true isolation?

So, back to the top.  My little run in with the mean girl who has ruined it for me for those “Friends” who delight in being B****es.  I started taking part in this program offered at the YMCA for Cancer survivors. It’s a free, 12 week program designed to get you back into shape after treatment.

OH man, do I need it!  Radiation treatments themselves don’t hurt,  but the cumulative effect causes fatigue. . . and burns.  We won’t talk about the burns. Shudders – thank GOD they have healed!  I thought I knew what fatigue was before going through this. NOPE. Got a whole new appreciation for it first hand.  My stamina is nonexistent, and my muscles are weak. It’s like learning to walk all over again. OK, so maybe not quite that bad, but having been able to do 45 minutes of cardio a year ago, to struggling to do ten minutes without stopping. . . it’s frustrating and emotionally draining.

I found out last week that part of the reason that my fatigue was so bad, is that during the course of tests and all, they also discovered that I have diabetes. OH JOY! So, I’m trying real hard to follow the guidelines for this new diet.  My doctor told me that I should aim for 15 grams of carbs or less. So that was what I was doing. For the day. He didn’t specify that was for each meal, that my daily total should be 45,  I’ve been making sure I only had 15 for the day!~ So yeah, I have been exhausted. No carbs, no energy. Part of the hair loss is probably because I haven’t been eating. Part of the fatigue from radiation is probably due to no carbs.  So a little self-induced stress to add to the mix.

Anyway, the mean girl . . . a fellow Pink sister (Can you believe that? Wait, it gets better!) comes up to me after the class to inform me that they were talking about me, and they noticed that I am lopsided and I should really refrain from wearing sports bras.

 

Really?  REALLY??  OH, let me get right on that! Heaven forbid my less than perfect physique should interfere with your rose colored glasses outlook on life where everything is picture perfect. This from a fellow survivor who just the week before admitted that she had been admitted to the stress unit for suicide watch because of depression post-surgery before she got implants. REALLY ? And you think it’s OK to point out someone else’s flaws?????

Mean B****es can suck it!

AAARRRRGGHH!

Yeah,  I’m stressed. I need some down time that isn’t medically induced.  I need some refreshing. I’ve been pushing myself hard to get this book out in time for Penned Con. In the past week, I’ve added 11,000 words. I’ve wrapped an editing job for an author, and I have to say this second book is better than the first in the series. I don’t say that very often.  My life has been a scary rollercoaster ride since April. (Jane! Stop this crazy thing!) My eldest daughter left for college on Monday – yet another change to adapt to.

It’s about time for some refreshing.

My husband scheduled vacation time to take me to my favorite place – the beach.

There is just something calming, relaxing, and refreshing about the salt wind, and the constant sounds of waves crashing on the sand. I could do without the seagulls, but since they are a package deal I suppose I will have to deal with them.

“That’s great and all,  but stress happens every single day.

What do you do to refresh on a daily basis?”

I play Sudoku puzzles.  I play match three games on Facebook. It’s addictive. There’s this Fishdom game, and I run out of lives nearly every day. I often play those games on my tablet when my husband is watching funny cat videos.

I read. I read my morning devotional, and take a few minutes to pray. I’m  doing my cleansing breaths in the morning,  mid afternoon, and sometimes right before bed.

I would very much like to get back to crafting, but I will need more energy in order to tackle that.

I sometimes crochet, but honestly, it’s been too hot to have yarn lay over my lap. I’ve been having a cup of chamomile tea in the evenings before bedtime. I’ll be glad when the weather is cooler, we can sit by the firepit and enjoy some cocoa and watch the sunset. As Ferris said so long ago:

 

So, welcome to my  stress/chaos/ ADD world. Yeah, I know. I covered about four topics there, but really they are all tied together. Don’t argue with me, they are. Don’t stress me out man! LOL

Thanks for stopping by. Find what other authors in this blog hop have to say their dreams are for ten years from now here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually when I get to it. I’ve been working on Roxy! Don’t pressure me!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Ten Years from Now . . .#MFRW


 

Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 32 – Ten Years From Now

So, here’s my top ten wish list for ten years from now.

  1. BE CANCER FREE – I hope that I never have to go through this or any other form of cancer ever again. I have made drastic changes in my diet, my work load, my habits, and my mental state. I hope and pray for that day to receive the status of SURVIVOR. I’ve made it through treatment, but the Status of SURVIVOR doesn’t  come until I’ve been cancer free for three years.
  2. BEST SELLING AUTHOR – I plan to continue to get my books out.  I have enough books in the queue to keep me busy until I’m in my nineties and that isn’t counting any new ideas I get between now and then and you KNOW that new ideas will come. In Ten Years, I plan to have at least twenty books out! BTW, watch here because I have something coming soon.
  3. MOVE TO FLORIDA – My husband will retire in ten years and I am hoping we can move to the sunny Gulf coast for the next five or so years. This is in discussion, or in his mind – we won’t talk about this anymore because he doesn’t have any desire to live on the coast.  We’ll see.
  4. HAVE TRAVELLED  – In ten years, I hope to have traveled to many wonderful locations on this beautiful earth. We plan to take more cruises, in addition to visiting places in the United States that we have never been to like The Grand Canyon, Scotland, Ireland, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, the Biltmore Mansion, Cape Cod, Washington DC, and anywhere else we decide to go. I’m not sure about those travel trailers, I see people that get in a Winnebago or whatever the latest brand is and take off.  Not sure how I feel about those.  I think I’d prefer to get to the location and stay in a hotel room. However, having said that there is always those news reports about bed bugs . . . that’s enough to creep even the hardiest of souls to avoid hotels.
  5. HAVE AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE – I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to be so fatigued that just walking out side to get into the car makes me feel. A few years ago, I was active. I could do 60 minutes of cardio at one time. I am out of breath just doing 15 minutes now. This sucks! I will work on improving my physical state so that if I felt inclined, I could run a 5K. Not saying I want to,  but I would be able to. If I attempted that now I am afraid I would collapse of a heart attack. If we go to Mexico, I want to be able to climb the steps of Tikal. I want to be able to hike up Ben Nevis. I want to be able to walk the beach – whatever beach and not worry that my husband would have to drag me back the way we came because I gave out. I might even start getting out on my bike! Can you imagine a 60-year-old me in biker shorts, gray hair, crash helmet, barreling towards you,  head down, pedaling like my butt’s on fire???  It’s an exhilarating thrill that I haven’t felt in a while.  I want to feel that again.  I want to feel healthy again.
  6. SPOIL GRANDKIDS –  Right now our daughters are both single. There isn’t a grandkid in sight for the near future. But in ten years, I hope that will change. I hope they both find mates that love them and treat them like the gems they are and of course then they make beautiful grandbabies for me to spoil. Maybe by then, I’ll forget the Millenial attitude. Probably not, but there’s a chance.
  7. CELEBRATE OUR 40TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY –  although technically, in ten years from now it will be 42 years of marriage so I guess this one will have to have already been checked off. OK, so then we celebrate our 40th with a Cruise to the Western Carribean and I have lots of pictures to share. That will work!
  8. SOLD 1 MILLION BOOKS – Everyone has to have a goal right? I mean if you shoot for the stars and clear the trees then you’ve made progress.
  9. HAVE A CLEAN TIDY HOME – OK, I’m not Suzy Homemaker. I’d never pass the white glove test but I do like things neat and orderly.  We won’t talk about the clutter – moving on. Let me just say this –  2 adult children still living at home! I may have to seek professional counseling soon. My OCD twitch is getting worse every day.
  10. DISCOVER THAT THING CALLED SPARE TIME – Alright, I shared last week that I had to totally change my schedule. It’s supposed to be a much more relaxed pace, not pushing myself constantly. A lifetime of Type A personality is difficult to change. I’m working on it,  but I still haven’t managed to get everything – even the shortened to-do list – accomplished within my 24 hour day. Where do you find this “spare time”? Is there some secret store somewhere that you purchase it? Is it some contract you sign in blood with a devil? ‘Cause this chick ain’t afraid of no crossroads demon. Have you discovered how to clone yourself? PLEASE, somebody, let me in on the secret! Taking time to relax and unwind in theory sounds like a good plan for mental health. IN theory. IN reality, it’s a fast track to guilt if I chill on the patio knowing that: a) my book is not finished, b) all of the other books aren’t’ finished c) there is more housework to be done d) I should really tackle those bills e) laundry, the neverending story, f) . . . you get the idea, right?  It’s not as easy as it sounds.

So there you have it, ten goals that I will be working towards in the next ten years. I’m trying to chill. I”m trying to get things accomplished. For some reason, they seem like polar opposites to me. Good thing I’m not dead yet,  ’cause I’m still a work in progress.

Thanks for stopping by. Find what other authors in this blog hop have to say their dreams are for ten years from now here:

14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

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

Write on my friends, write on!

 

A Typical Day #MFRW


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

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

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

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

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

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

Prior to April 20:

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

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

A Day in my Life now:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

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

Write on my friends, write on!

 

How Do You Do That? #MFRW


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

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

Oh boy, this is going to be difficult!

LE SIGH!

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

THE PROCESS:

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

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

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

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

You can find previous posts in this series here:

 

 

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Old School Reader


Hey, I’m back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Road to Recovery


Hey!

It’s been a while.

Surgery was a success! They removed the cancerous mass from my breast, about 8.5 cm in circumference with clean margins. That’s the part that made it worth it – clean margins and it had not spread to my lymph nodes! If I felt better, I would be doing the happy dance!

The incisions are healed, mostly. The one under my arm where they removed the lymph nodes opened back up during radiation treatments. I was assured that it is not a problem but it’s disconcerting that there is an opening in my skin under my arm! OK, it downright freaks me out.

Radiation therapy was completed on July 7th – with a celebratory dinner out! In all honesty, it was the first social outing since before my diagnosis. It seems that any “outing” has been to doctors, medical appointments, treatment, picking up prescriptions, or obtaining necessary food stuff. That last week of treatment, the burns started getting pretty bad. I had four days of intense pain – and little to take the edge off.

For those four days, it was how do I get through the next few minutes? Then the next hour? It wasn’t a day to day thing,  it was intensely minute by minute. I spent a lot of those four days in tears. The skin had begun to peel away in the area of the burn which extends from the top of the breastbone to just below the breastbone, and around my side up to the underarm area. For those four days, the area was flaming red, skin gone, several spots of open sores and weeping blisters. not pleasant! Oh the joys of being a white girl!

If you know someone who is going through radiation – do something nice for them! Maybe not hug them, because it hurts. The treatments themselves are painless. Just lay on the metal table, get into the exact location, and let the machine do its thing. Simple – it takes all of about fifteen minutes from donning the hospital gown to redressing.

But later, the after effects of radiation are cumulative. In the digital age of Google and WebMD, I can honestly say my burns were not the worst I’ve seen. I am thankful for that! They were/are painful never the less. What I wouldn’t have given for a morphine IV drip for that week!

I smell like burned flesh – gee, I wonder why?! My husband tries to say he can’t smell it but I catch him cringing on occasion as he brushes by in the kitchen, or if I move my arm in bed. He is trying so hard to not make me feel bad about it. He’s been my champion. I am very thankful for his support.

So, why am I telling you all of this?  I’m not looking for your pity. I’m not even looking for sympathy. This is where I am. I’m not sharing to lament and whine. I’ve had numerous friends call me or say to me that I need to stay positive. A positive outlook is a key tool to fighting cancer. I have a positive outlook. I have a positive view on the whole overall deal.

Let’s be honest though, life isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes we have to go through the hard times. I could have opted not to have treatment and then live with the constant fear that it may come back. It might anyway,  but I am doing everything I can to win this battle.

Just because I am being real and honest doesn’t mean I am depressed. It doesn’t mean I feel hopeless. If I felt it was hopeless, then it would be moronic to endure the radiation! There are parts of this that absolutely suck! There is no way to pretty it up.

You can hang streamers on an IV pole all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that the IV is there. You can laugh and joke about all the crazy things people say when they come out of anesthesia but then there are people like me who can’t say a single funny thing because of the violent vomiting post surgery. It’s hard to be happy when you burst a blood vessel in your eyeball from straining because of the vomiting. These things do not make me happy! But, being happy isn’t really the goal, is it?

Isn’t the goal to fight to live another day? To live a better day in the future?

I think part of that 8.5 cm mass they removed also held my tolerance for stupid people. Not that I had much of it to begin with, but my tolerance for things are at an all time low.

  1. Pretentious people – Just don’t. For all of the effort in trying to appear to be something they are not, it’s blatantly obvious to everyone but the most obtuse that they do not possess such skill.  Or those who try to act like caring individuals but in reality  are mentally checked out as soon as they say “how are you doing?” They don’t really care, they don’t want to know. They really didn’t plan on seeing you. It’s much easier to post a smiley face on your social media page.
  2. Perpetually happy people – AKA PLastic Barbie world. Seriously, life isn’t always happy. The day your puppy got run over is not a happy day. The day your fiancee’ breaks up is not a happy day. My guess is they are either in denial because they believe the lies that if you admit that you aren’t 100% happy then you are depressed and may need to take medication.  I’ve got a news flash – you may need it anyway. Seriously, life has some pretty crappy days. The fact that you can dry your eyes and move beyond them to see the bigger picture and a future sunrise is an absolute miracle. I rejoice that they found this cancer early I rejoice that they got all of it in surgery, and I rejoice that I am through the treatments! I still feel like crap. I still am recovering from radiation burns. I have to take this medicine for the next 5 years – but I can make the most of today. And tomorrow. And many tomorrows to come.
  3. Rude people that say rude comments about anyone who is not one of the pretty people. This stems from a couple of experiences I’ve had. The first was an incredibly rude woman dressed like white trash waving her arms around in line at the pharmacy. She elbowed me post surgery in her demonstration of her actions to the other person on the phone – yeah, I don’t get it either. Then yesterday, while waiting yet again at the pharmacy – I got to hear the whispers of people, pointing, whispering, commenting on the horrible burns that I dared to expose to their sight.  I mean the nerve, right? How dare I expose people to an uncomfortable “condition”. Shame on me!

Yes, I’m sarcastic.

So here’s the deal: some days suck. Most days rock. I  plan to have the percentage of good days far exceed the sucky days from this point on. I’m still not up to 100% but I may have to find what the new 100% will be.

I see better days ahead! OH! and writing days as well!

Write on my freinds, write on!

Lamentations and Ecclesiastes


Breast Cancer awareness ribbons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie