Connections


IN case you wondered, I”m not dead!

My internet has been. We had a series of storms come through and it knocked out power. When we got our power back,  we realized that we didn’t have any internet. It’s been weeks!

I didn’t realize how dependent on the internet I had become. Yes,  I ‘ve had very real withdrawal symptoms. I’ve had to go to local businesses to use their wifi in order to finish work related business. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic about this. I’ve had to budget my time a little differently is all.

It’s still not working correctly,  but my husband has managed to “redneck fix” it. NO duct tape was involved.

This couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

My new book just released. I’ve not been able to get on to order print books to have available. I ordered a few for prizes from release parties,  but that’s it. Then I find out that 2 recipients did not receive their prize packages –  but USPS tracking says they were delivered. I get it,  we have our mail delivered to wrong addresses all the time. It’s still frustrating though.

You’d think with all this time offline,  I’d have volumes written,  but I don’t.  I have made progress on the second book, and I’m in chapter 6.  I may start sharing some snippets from both – don’t even know if anyone would be interested in them.

I’ve taken my connections for granted, I’ll be the first to admit. I like having my wifi connections.  I like being able to scroll through my tablet from the comfort of my sofa.  I like being able to check facebook with my morning coffee.  I like being able to write a blog post when I have something to say – which is often. OF course, you’d never know it from the past few weeks, now would you?

So, I plan to get back into the saddle as soon as things get straightened out,  but in the meantime,  I have to budget my online time between the library and our local YMCA. After spending an hour and a half in my aquacize class, spending another couple of hours sitting in their lobby is not my idea of a good time. Besides,  I’m hungry after the classes!

Until next time,  be thankful you have internet!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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To, Two, Too – Which One?


Welcome to my blog!

For the month of June, I planned to post 30 Days of Definition, well . . . if you’ve stopped by this past week,  you know I haven’t managed to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still dealing with the malaise from medications, but trying to get on top of it.

Today and for this week I thought I’d talk about frequently misused words. We all do it, be honest.

It’s  – its has been my latest issue.  I thought everything was good to go on my newest release and just a couple of days ago a friend pointed out that I had it’s on my back cover blurb instead of its.  EEEEEEEK! I got so excited about the design and finishing this book that I didn’t read my own blurb, just glanced over it.

That’s just one example which is only noticed in print. HOw many times though,  have we been in conversation with someone and they misuse a word, or habitually misuse the same word.  Do you correct their grammar or just cringe a little inside? NO? Just me?

Here are some that I’ve heard frequently misused.

• Adverse means detrimental and does not mean averse or disinclined.

Correct: “There were adverse effects.” / “I’m not averse to doing that.”

• Appraise means to ascertain the value of and does not mean to apprise or to inform.

Correct: “I appraised the jewels for the insurance coverage.” / “I apprised him of the situation.”

• As far as means the same as but cannot be used the same way as as for.

Correct: “As far as the money is concerned …” / As for the money …

• Bemused means bewildered and does not mean amused.

Correct: The unnecessarily complex plot left me bemused. / The silly comedy amused me.

• Cliché is a noun and is not an adjective.

Correct: “Shakespeare used a lot of clichés.” / The plot was so clichéd.

• Credible means believable and does not mean credulous or gullible.

Correct: His sales pitch was not credible. / The con man took advantage of credulous people.

• Data is a plural count noun not, standardly speaking, a mass noun. [Note: “Data is rarely used as a plural today, just as candelabra and agenda long ago ceased to be plurals,” Pinker writes. “But I still like it.”]

Correct: “This datum supports the theory, but many of the other data refute it.”

• Depreciate means to decrease in value and does not mean to deprecate or to disparage.

Correct: My car has depreciated a lot over the years. / She deprecated his efforts.

• Dichotomy means two mutually exclusive alternatives and does not mean difference or discrepancy.

Correct: There is a dichotomy between even and odd numbers. / There is a discrepancy between what we see and what is really there.

• Enormity means extreme evil and does not mean enormousness. [Note: It is acceptable to use it to mean a deplorable enormousness.]

Correct: The enormity of the terrorist bombing brought bystanders to tears. / The enormousness of the homework assignment required several hours of work.

• Fortuitous means coincidental or unplanned and does not mean fortunate.

Correct: Running into my old friend was fortuitous. / It was fortunate that I had a good amount of savings after losing my job.

• Homogeneous is pronounced as homo-genius and “homogenous” is not a word but a corruption of homogenized.

Correct: The population was not homogeneous; it was a melting pot.

• Hone means to sharpen and does not mean to home in on or to converge upon.

Correct: She honed her writing skills. / We’re homing in on a solution.

• Intern (verb) means to detain or to imprison and does not mean to inter or to bury.

Correct: The rebels were interned in the military jail. / The king was interred with his jewels.

• Ironic means uncannily incongruent and does not mean inconvenient or unfortunate.

Correct: “It was ironic that I forgot my textbook on human memory.” / It was unfortunate that I forgot my textbook the night before the quiz.

• Irregardless is not a word but a portmanteau of regardless and irrespective. [Note: Pinker acknowledges that certain schools of thought regard “irregardless” as simply non-standard, but he insists it should not even be granted that.]

Correct: Regardless of how you feel, it’s objectively the wrong decision. / Everyone gets a vote, irrespective of their position.

• Literally means in actual fact and does not mean figuratively.

Correct: I didn’t mean for you to literally run over here. / I’d rather die than listen to another one of his lectures — figuratively speaking, of course!

I can’t tell you how many times I find these in editing, which is easy to mark for correction but when they are used in conversation . . . Irregardless is a major pet peeve with me. It seems to be the standard thing from several people lately.  I don’t know if this is a local colloquialism or just general misinformation but the grammar nazi in me wants to correct them every time.

What words do you commonly misuse? Which ones set your hackles up when others misuse them?

Tomorrow is the big day – come back and check here tomorrow.

Until then, write on my friends, write on!

What Can I Say?


Welcome to my blog!

For the month of June, I planned to post 30 Days of Definition, well . . . if you’ve stopped by this past week,  you know I haven’t managed to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to get the first week in –  defining moments. Sort of.

You know,  it’s like as soon as I make a plan to do X the universe conspires to make sure it doesn’t happen. Yes, that is an exaggeration,  but it sure seems like it at times.

What’s been happening in my world? Aside from the panic that comes with book publishing after the revisions are dead, I’ve been swamped in the day job. That and a general malaise that I”m trying to overcome with a change in medicines. (Have I said lately that Cancer sucks?)

I feel really bad now because I invited other bloggers to participate in this and I haven’t even managed to post.

Today I’m going to touch on something that defines us as individuals.  Or rather me.

I read a book once, can’t remember the title,  but in the first chapter, it asked –  how do we define ourselves. Without using our usual monackers of mom, wife, sister, our job – what defines US.

I had a tough time with this, and it really made me think. Beware, we’re going to the deep end.

We are not defined by our jobs-  that’s what we do. We are not defined by our titles or monackers – mom, sister, wife.  I was me before I became a mom. It changed me sure,  but I was still me.

It’s not achievements we’ve made, the laurels we have achieved, or battles we’ve won.

So truly, what defines me as different than everyone else? What makes me stand out from the crowd or am I just one in a crowd of lemmings?

I have to be honest,  I didn’t finish the book because it sent me into a tailspin. Since then, I’ve still thought on this many times.

This is the conclusion that I’ve come to: the essence of what defines us as individuals is ultimately our soul. It’s how you treat other people. It’s your humanity, your compassion, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, and the love that you show towards your fellow human being.

Human being – not those who are the same religion as you, same skin color as you, speak the same language, or have the same lifestyle.

I’ve shared my faith before and I am appalled at the hatred and prejudice that comes from many claiming to be Christians.  All of us are in the same human condition – flawed, broken, and mortal.

Love is the answer!

Seriously, would you expect anything less from a romance author? Wait let me amend that –  a romance author and paranormal fantasy suspense author.

The Awakening: Book 1 of the Valkyrie’s Curse series releases on June 20th! Yes, I had to get that in there-  I’m proud of my accomplishment and  I think this one will blow you away!!!

 

 

The Awakening 

Helena Eskildson is obsessed with Vikings and Norse Mythology. Neither Helena nor her sister know they are Freya’s daughters – Valkyries, the shieldmaidens to Odin.
When her obsession leads her to a remote site at Roskilde and it’s two monolithic rune stones, her destiny is awakened.
While the team wages a battle between a cursed site and a sociopathic killer, time is ticking closer to Ragnarok.
Will her friends be able to save her before the gjallerhorn sounds?

 

Available now on PReorder for $0.99

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Nothing Goes As Planned


Welcome to my blog!

I’ve been doing the MFRW blog hop for a while, kind of hit or miss.  I’ve tried to get back onto the WEWRIWA Sunday Snippets, mostly off. Things have been hectic and overwhelming lately, so of course, I decided to do a new thing! You know how I love new things!

For the month of June, I will be posting Definition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first week is defining moments.

de·fin·ing mo·ment

noun
plural noun: defining moments
          an event that typifies or determines all subsequently related occurrences.
~~~~~~~~~
And this is where things have gone terribly off track!
Seriously, I had a plan outlined and scheduled to write on for each day this month.
Then, Tuesday through Thursday,  I was neck deep in it getting my manuscript ready to send to the editor and formatter.
I was determined to get it sent out to the point I have neglected my housework, preparing proper meals (What adult has a PBJ for dinner one night and BLT the next?), and pretty much everything else in order to make certain that I had my t’s crossed and i’s dotted.
So here’s what I’m going to do since I’m a few days behind.  I”m going to give you the abbreviated versions of the other Defining Moments.

Day 5 – Public Speaking

I am an extrovert. I’m the kind of extrovert that most introverts hate.  I will talk to strangers in an elevator.  I will smile and say how you doing to a stranger as I pass them in the hallway.  In fact, I will confront someone who is doing something uncouth.  Don’t get me wrong,  I’m not going to be stupid about it.

When my mother was in the hospital numerous times,  I hate that ‘get on the elevator and stare straight ahead and don’t talk to anyone’ thing.  The guy is holding a plant with a Congratulations on a new baby balloon – heck yeah I’m going to comment “Good news I see”  Or if it’s nothing so obvious I’ll comment about the weather –  whether it’s hot, cold, raining, or gorgeous.

Most people will respond with at least a nod.  Here’s the thing though,  our society has been teaching kids for ages “Don’t talk to strangers”.  But, in a self-defense class, one of the things that they said was rapists and muggers will target the fearful.  I don’t cower.  I don’t walk with my shoulders slumped,  or curved inward.  I walk with my head held high and if a guy is coming towards me with intent to harm me,  I’m going to make the biggest loudest scene I can. 98% of criminals will walk the other way and wait for an easier target.

For that 2% –  I have pepper spray and know some maneuvers to protect myself.  Anyway,  this isn’t about not making myself a victim.  This is about the extrovert thing.

When I was in college and had to give a presentation to the department staff for my senior theses, I was shaking like a leaf.  When I was first asked to speak publicly it was awkward,  filled with OK, and ummms,  but I lived.  The next time it was easier.  If I have the time to add lib a little I can have the audience laughing.

I’ve mentioned before that I try to use the EIEIO method, it seems to work for me. Along with informing and educating,  you have to entertain them at least a little.  If you can do that you can keep their attention.

OK, well it may help that I’ve been told that I should be a stand-up comedian as well.  Not going to happen,  but I use the sense of humor to help with speaking.  My largest crowd so far has only been about 150 people which is small,  but I’m not done yet.

Day 6 -Moment of Clarity

I really don’t have a better way of describing this. So here goes.

Several months ago, the doctor prescribed a medication for me to deal with the increased anxiety after the cancer diagnosis.  Part of that is I can’t “cope” with the same habits I had before.  I am a stress eater.  I have self-medicated myself most of my life to avoid the feels, the hurts, and the emotions. Just being honest. If you have ever watched Biggest Loser,  you’d see that the majority of fatties are in the same boat.  It’s not the simple formula of less food in more calorie output equals weight loss.

Why does someone eat themselves up to 200, 250, 300 or more pounds? It’s insulation.  Insulation from having to deal with life.  Having to deal with our past.  Having to deal with emotional wounds and baggage.

So I can’t do that anymore,  most of the “comfort foods” I would turn to are now off the menu because of the big C. Hence, the increased anxiety.

So I was taking this medicine and my daughter commented that I was considerably more chill.  IF it weren’t for some very bad side effects that I couldn’t live with,  it really did help. During the time I was taking it,  I could see clearly the issues.  I could see that the problem was that I had all these emotional issues that I would have formerly turned to food and that wasn’t an option. I’ve said before,  the best diet in the world doesn’t fix the most important six inches.

During one of those moments of clarity, I was reading some articles that the dietician had directed me to, and one of them was a quiz for a food addict. I got a perfect score! NO, that’s not a good thing.  I had to say yes to every single question. I never put two and two together,  but after answering those questions,  I can see it.

Trigger foods that cause that reaction inside my body or head,  that I have to have more. The biggest triggers across the board are sugar, carbs, chocolate, fast foods, and most junk foods.  A new study shows that the brains of women with food addictions are similar to drug addictions and an alcoholic. Since then, I’ve recognized the cycle and been able to stop before binging.  I”m happy to say I’ve stayed on the wagon.

We all have our issues,  don’t judge.

DAY 7- The Big C

Cancer has a way of leveling the playing field.  One day, you’re carefree and even though you know you’re not immortal, you plan to live to a ripe old age and spoil grandbabies and cause a ruckus at the old folk’s home. (I’ve already warned my kids that if they stick me in a home it better be in Florida or I’ll be causing a scene weekly.)

Then one day you get a diagnosis that literally changes your life. Cancer is an equal opportunity bastard of a disease. It doesn’t care what race, religion, persuasion, financial status, or age you are.

At first, I was in shock. I’ve shared before that from the date of diagnosis to the day of surgery was a whirlwind that didn’t give me time to think.  It’s just as well. It was during the radiation treatment while taking the oral medications that I had a true “Come to Jesus” moment.

I was slapped in my face with my own mortality, and I very much view this as a second chance to get it right.  What was important to me?

What did I want to accomplish in my life?

What would my legacy be?

The most important thing to me is my family. I decided that I would make certain to spend time with my family, including my siblings and extended family.

I wanted to publish as many of my books as I could get out.  I looked at the pace I was going and realized that I was a long way from getting even half of them out if I didn’t kick it into gear. When I first tried to sit down and write,  I couldn’t focus.  My mind was blank.  I cried numerous times thinking that I may have lost my opportunity. However,  after radiation was over and I was slowly beginning to recover,  it started coming back to me and I was determined in a way that I was never determined before.

I don’t even care if people don’t like Roxy Sings the Blues,  it will forever be an important milestone to me because I managed to finish that after Cancer. It made me realize that if I wanted to achieve my goals, I was going to have to put out a concerted effort which meant I have to focus.

There are many other moments in our lives that we could say are defining moments and many other moments.  It’s what we do with those moments that matter.

What are your defining moments?

Write on my friends, write on!

Resignation/Retirement


WElcome to my blog!

I’ve been doing the MFRW blog hop for a while, kind of hit or miss.  I’ve tried to get back onto the WEWRIWA Sunday Snippets, mostly off. Things have been hectic and overwhelming lately, so of course, I decided to do a new thing!

For the month of June, I will be posting Definition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first week is defining moments.

de·fin·ing mo·ment

noun
plural noun: defining moments
          an event that typifies or determines all subsequently related occurrences.

DAY 4 – Resignation/Retirement

For most of my young adult l had focused on career. Graduation from high school was briefly celebrated as I moved to the next stepping stone – college. College was a means to an end – a well-paying career.

I had already made the decision that the double major of forensic anthropology wasn’t going to work, and focusing on cartography. My father worked for Defense Mapping Agency and urged me to pursue cartography.  It’s currently known as National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Cartographers make good money –  I mean, really good money.

Life was great. I was in a department that I enjoyed and had worked my way up to target expert in the digital productions division. I was a shoe-in for the position after working in points during Desert Storm.  I liked what I was doing and I was good at it!

Then I delivered my second child. I returned to work after maternity leave,  but my daughter caught RSV virus at the daycare that we had our children in and ended up in the hospital.  My husband and I alternated who would take off work to stay with her. The opportunity came up to do a buyout, and essentially retire. We ran the numbers and I was shocked to see that despite my great salary,  I was essentially working for 5 an hour after gas, auto maintenance, and daycare expenses. The decision was easier to make after seeing the numbers, and the nudge that made the decision final was another admission to the hospital for my baby. It’s hard to see your child under an oxygen tent, and that was the last straw.  I had to stay home with my kids.

Before that, I identified myself as what I did in my job. I was identifying myself as a mom also,  but when people say tell me about yourself,  the government employment came first.  I was proud of my job, proud of my work,  and proud of who I was.

IT was quite a shock to only be a “mom” for a while.  Don’t get me wrong please,  I love my kids with everything I am. It’s just that I was a professional for ten years before kids. It took some adjustments.

I loved those years though,  and so glad that we made the decision because I was able to raise my children, not someone at a daycare. Which of course means that anything they are screwed up about is on me!

I enjoyed the majority of those years.  I would trade the vomit in a heartbeat, but everything else – priceless!

OUr kids have turned out to be amazing young adults that I am so very proud of, I guess maybe I did a few things right or I was just blessed with amazing kids.

Anyway, leave a comment and brag about your kids if you want!

WRite on my friends, write on!

Get On With It


It’s been a little over a year since my diagnosis, and a year yesterday for surgery. Wow, what a whirlwind ride this has been.

I’m thankful to still be here. I’m thankful to have hair, even though it’s white now.

I promise I am not going to dwell on this forever, but since I’ve been riddled with anxiety for the past week over just about everything, this is part of my healing process.  I have to process these thoughts, learn to manage the emotions and the overwhelm.

What has changed?  Everything.

OH, on the surface onlookers may think I’m the same old same old. but I’m not. I am learning to make myself a priority –  still learning, still trying to use that word NO, and still doing the self-talk to tell myself I’m worth it. Because you know what?  I am!

We all are.  Each one of us deserves a fulfilling life and to achieve our own happiness.  Each of us is a unique one of a kind original. It’s hard to keep that in mind at times when the lemming tendencies of our society scream that we need to fit in and do what everyone else is doing.

How are we ever going to stand out from the crowd if we are doing the same thing, looking the same, wearing the same hairstyle?  There is nothing wrong with being ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with being who you are, regardless of that mean bitch from school says.

Screw her! OH wait,  most of the guys already have!

That was a joke, sort of.

We need to stop being influenced by those mean girls and the pretty people. They are a minority and we outnumber them into the millions. Why do we ever care what they think?

For me,  I’ve always had this element of people pleasing. It’s a lifelong habit that I’m working on breaking.  It’s part of exercising that word NO.

What do you think?  What do you want to do? I”m not saying that you do whatever you want even if it’s illegal or immoral. I’m talking about pursuing your dreams, setting goals for yourself and learning to get our thoughts in line with drawing what we truly want out of life.

There are times when the overwhelm is just too much for me. This was never an issue before cancer. I’ve been thinking about why that is.  Part of it, as listed in the side effects of the chemo meds I have to take is increased anxiety. OH, joy! But I take the meds because I want to live cancer free.

Part of it, I’ve deduced is because I’ve spent a lifetime stress eating and putting myself into a food stupor when I was overwhelmed so that I could numb myself from the pain and anxiety.  Do you think overweight people simply eat too much?  It’s so much more than that.

OK, you take someone who has put on twenty pounds because they’ve been hitting the pizza and beer too often and no biggie,  they cut down on their consumption and within a short time have taken the weight off. But a fat person?  I mean someone who has been overweight for a long time, maybe their whole life, it’s a psychological issue as much as it is about overeating.  Hence the yo-yo up and down the scale.

Anyway,  this isn’t about being fat or me being frustrated that the weight isn’t coming off faster. This is ultimately about change and learning to control the thoughts and emotions.

Some things change quickly –  surgery – I had cancer, they removed the tumors.

Some things take time –  it took many treatments for the radiation to be effective.

Some things take even longer – learning to eat differently, learning new habits, learning new limitations.

Ultimately though, aren’t we all learning? Whether we are adjusting to dietary limitations, or physical limitations or emotional,  we have to overcome, adapt, and learn what our best is each and every day.  Maybe today it’s learning that “I’m OK. Tomorrow it may be “I can’t do that but I can tackle this.”

Early in the week, I was a whirlwind of energy and productivity. Yesterday I fell into a pit of overwhelm and could barely function.  I was a mess of tears, snotting and snorting and nearly hyperventilating. My friend Misty talked me down. She walked me through the sensory steps,  reminded me of the four agreements, and then my husband called around lunchtime and told me to throw away my list.

 NO, not my list! The LIST is like, THE PIRATE CODE.

Cue increased panic.

He reminded me that nothing on my list was mandatory. (But,  it’s my list.  I don’t list unnecessary things to do.) Nothing is mandatory and has to be done today.  The only mandatory things on the list were my day job, getting my blog post up (because it was a personal goal) and making sure I did my physical therapy.

As I glanced over my precious list of twenty-seven items, I realized he was right. As much as I wanted to get those other things accomplished and checked off the list –  only list makers will get that – the world was not going to end if I waited for another day to try to tackle them.

One of those items was a social situation with someone that causes me continued stress. At the end of the day, I realized that it was in my own best interest to say NO, and bow out. The second part of that is allowing myself to not fret over the decision and accept that I need to take care of myself.

Why does it have to be so hard to say no? What is it that I was so afraid of? That they would be mad at me? They don’t like me anyway. Hard to imagine, but they don’t.

I refer to Agreement Number 2: Don’t take anything Personal. Nothing others do is because of you. What others do or say is a product of their own reality, their own dreams and actions. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of suffering.

Breathe.

Inhala . . . exhala . . . and now I can get on with it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Three’s a Charm


I did it! Three days of posting in a row! Yes, this is an accomplishment for me. It’s been a while since I have done more than a once a week post. Ironically a fellow blogger and Romance author commented about my regular blogging and then suddenly,  I couldn’t seem to manage more than once a week if that.

Before I start in on my celebration dance, I suppose we should get to the 3rd and final quote for this challenge. I’ve been nominated to participate in a 3 Day Quote Challenge by Misty Harvey at her blog Misty Harvey. This is the third day of the quote challenge.

Let’s not waste any time dilly-dallying around.

There is tremendous joy in accomplishment. As an author,  I can definitely say that there haven’t been too many “thrills” as satisfying as completing my books.  The combined effort of the creative process that culminates in a completed book – priceless.

Last year,  I wasn’t able to work on my writing at all while going through treatments.  After completing it, I was determined to get myself back on track.  The satisfaction of completing Roxy Sings the Blues, after going through cancer treatment was in my mind,  a great accomplishment that made me uber happy!

Now I come to that part of the challenge to nominate another 3 people to carry the torch.

As for the way this challenge works I  nominate 3 new blogs to carry the torch. I have picked 3 people that have inspired me in various ways and I think will really bring great things to this challenge.

  1. Dana Ellington
  2. BrokeBella
  3. joyful2beeblogs

Thank you for joining me for the 3 Day quote challenge. What quote is meaningful to you? Do you display them in your home? On the walls? As framed art?

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Time to Celebrate!


Welcome to week 15 of the MFRW blog hop.

This week’s prompt: How I celebrate completing my manuscript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How appropriate since I just completed Break Line!

I have different levels of celebration for completion. For instance,  I finished Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price and celebrated by doing an online giveaway party, going out to lunch with author friends, and of course the happy dance at home. Faere Warrior was accepted by a small house publisher along with Faere Guardian, Faere Mage, and Realm Wars with the stipulation that I do a prequal. I’m still working on the prequal –Rift, but the series has developed a lot more since that manuscript and I’ve learned a great deal since then.  I didn’t meet the deadline for submitting Rift, so the offer was withdrawn. My own fault there.

Releasing Book One for Realm Wars series, Rift is written in my planner –  in ink! I’m hoping to finish revisions on Faere Warrior by the end of the year as well.

I completed Break Line and am going today to celebrate with a luncheon with a fellow author,  the instigator of the anthology as a matter of fact! AND, to celebrate:

With Red Wine & Roses,  I didn’t celebrate until I received my box of books from Createspace. I made a steak dinner and Red Wine Chocolate Cake for dessert.

After completing Roxy Sings the Blues, I rewarded myself with a mani-pedi, and a fresh haircut to tame the short growth into a manageable coif! This one was a huge accomplishment for me after going through cancer treatment. I needed the pampering!

I will have Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening completed in May. What do you think I should do to celebrate? I’m trying to get away from food as a reward, although . . . I cook at home most of the time and we rarely go out to restaurants. Maybe something in addition to a night out?

 

Go check out what others are sharing on this topic: MFRW BLOG HOP. Be sure to leave comments!

Write on my friends, write on!

What’s Going on In Your Neck of the Woods?


Forgive me, readers, it’s been weeks since my last confession. I mean blog post. Well, sometimes they are about the same thing.

At the beginning of each year, I make plans.  Often, big plans! One of those plans was to get back to regularly posting. If I could figure out how to get onto my blog from my tablet, it would speed things up tremendously. Sometimes I am technically inept. I’ll figure it out eventually.

My husband is an IT guy. A code monkey. Name the electronics, he masters it. He writes in SQL all day at work. I was lost back in the day when I had to use Fortran and Cobol. Yes, I’m showing my age but oh well.

Until I have the time, (*cackles hysterically* time,  as in extra time – a delusional thought that most authors fantasize about) I’ll keep coming back to the laptop to enter my posts. Now that I’ve met my deadline for the anthology, I can return to a more manageable writing schedule.  Well, more manageable for me anyway.

My friend Vicki Locey is like a writing machine. She doesn’t use any dictation aids,  she just plugs away every day at her writing while managing a small farm. I don’t know how she does it. Other author friends have to juggle their home life, some with jobs whether part time or full time outside the home and still manage to crank out the books.

OK, a year ago I would have been stressed to the max over that,  but not anymore.  It is what it is and if nothing else, I’ve learned over the past year that I have to put blinders on to what “Other authors” do and DO what I can do. PERIOD! So, let’s do a little catch-up, shall we? Since I’ve been in absentia, maybe one or two of you have wondered where I disappeared. You did, right? Right?

January I had big plans! Some, I realize are on the dream level because if you never aim for the stars, you won’t ever clear the trees. I was super focused on decluttering our home and preparing to move closer to my husband’s work. We did great on that,  taking several carloads full of plunder to Goodwill. The estimated dollar value for all of the stuff we removed from our home –  $3500. Yes,  you read that right. Between clothing, (mostly mine in larger sizes that I am proud to say no longer fit!) furniture, small appliances, children’s toys that somehow got stored in a corner of the basement, and a plethora of knick-knacks. I should mention that our kids are adults now. I was shocked to find that we still had toys from their grade school years.

Just a word of advice –  if you are planning to make donations to a charity,   if you limit the donation amount to under $500, you are less likely to be audited.  We wrote off most of the stuff because I doubt that we are going to be able to itemize anyway.

The house was looking better,  after each purge we let the dust settle,  literally. Had to give a day or two between sessions because the dust aggravated the sinuses. Then we found the shop vac –  and began to be more proactive.

One shocking bit of purge –  books.  I know, I know,  y’all are shocked. I got rid of over 100 books. A few of those were my books from college, my husband’s books from college, reference books, and many old novels. I kept my first edition copies, despite the hubs protests.

February – decluttering continued but I was more focused on writing.  Value of things hauled out of our home to Goodwill or set on the curb with a sign  – FREE estimated at $2600.  (Not that I’m bragging if anything it’s embarrassing to admit how much stuff I didn’t need that I purchased with retail therapy over the years.) I had two anthology submissions to have in by the beginning of April.  The doctor appointments,  weekly therapy for lymphedema and aquasize classes kept me more than busy and by the time I got home from the aquacise classes and the therapy, I was drained.  My stamina is greatly improved since radiation treatments,  but I’m still not there yet.Fatigue is a very real issue.

I spent the majority of the month writing The Blood Key for the 12 Realms Fantasy Anthology while I worked out a plot line for my short novella for the Cancer Research anthology. Then I went gangbusters on that one. More about this in a bit.

March – this is where the train comes to a screeching halt while our lives are derailed. Things were going well.  We were making progress on the house. We could start renovations mid-March if we kept going at the same pace.

March 12 – 16, our oldest daughter was home for Spring Break. She didn’t get to go to Ft. Lauderdale or anywhere cool because she had doctors appointments, dentist appointments, and had to get her regular scheduled auto work done. While home she told us her big plans for the following school year, which were quite frankly ridiculous.  Her plans were to move back in with us and commute every day. Now, that may not sound like a problem except that the commute would be an hour and forty minute drive one way, every day, to and from.  That’s three hours on the road on a highway that semis use regularly. Sometimes she works late hours.

Being a mom,  I was terrified!  What if the semis push her little car around and she has an accident? What if she is so tired that she falls asleep driving?  What if she starts skipping classes because she’s tired of driving????? 

The following week I spent a day researching available apartments in Cape.  I set up appointments for the next day when she would be available to go see them.  We viewed 14  apartments in about four hours. They ranged from roach motel to the Bates Motel, to meh, to College Life Resort center. Obviously, we didn’t want her to be in the roach motel, and we couldn’t swing the Resort.

So, our plans for renovations are on hold for a while so that we can help her finish to get her degree. Our plans to move closer to his work are on hold because, . . .  well,  moving costs money. There are closing costs, moving expenses and we have decided that our daughter’s safety is more important.

This put a big kink in the writing for a few days, so then I was back at it like gangbusters when I got news that the 12 Realms Fantasy anthology was canceled. SIGH

I’ll take The Blood Key and work on it some more,  develop it more. 15,000 words were limiting, I was just getting warmed up at 10,000! Now I can put in some of those scenes I had in my mind. It will have to be worked into the schedule for writing though as it’s been pushed from top priority to about fifth down the pipeline.

Now the good news! Break Line is complete! Cover Reveal for the anthology, next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought things were getting back on track and then . . .  hospital. People need to stop getting sick and hurting themselves! I’ve been to the hospital more times than I can count over the past few weeks.

Life always throws you a curve ball when things are going smooth, and sometimes the ball machine goes haywire and throws out multiple balls when you’re already under the gun!

For now, things are calm and I’m back to writing or rather revisions. Valkyrie’s Curse has been on my desk for a while, a couple of years. In 2016, I did revisions on it and realized that it wasn’t a complete story. Back to the drawing board. Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening is in revisions again. This time I’m checking my grammar before sending it off to my alpha. The release date for this one will be in a couple months,  I’ll have more of a set date next week.

So, now you know what I’ve been up to. There was a funeral,  sickness,  and dealing with anxiety all thrown in the mix as well. More about the anxiety at a later post but for now,  I need to get a couple more chapters done for today.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

Thanks for stopping by! Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Win, Lose, or Draw


Welcome to week 12 of the MFRW blog hop.

This week’s prompt: My contest experience: Win Lose or draw!

 

How far back do you want to go? Hmmm . . .

In Junior High, there were essay contests.  I won 2nd place in our 8th-grade competition out of 120 students. I think I won a gift certificate to Spinning Wheels for a season pass. Disco Skating was all the rage and the roller rink was where the in-crowd hung out.  It was an essay about exploring, modern-day Tom Sawyer girl scout entrepreneurial adventure! I reread that about a year ago as I was clearing out some of the junk, and tossed it.  It would make you shudder to see the poor grammar. In a way, it brought a smile to my face as I was obviously very naive, had an idealistic view of the world, with childish expectations. Remind me again, why were we in such a hurry to grow up???

In my high school days, I took the obligatory English Composition but then took 2 creative writing classes. I loved those classes. The teacher,  a 5-foot tall lady named Mrs. White, who was married to the girls’ basketball coach – obviously Mr. White who was 6′ 6″. They were quite a pair! Anyway, Mrs. White encouraged me to submit a couple of my short essays to competitions in the region.  I got an honorable mention in a competition hosted at Lindenwood College.  It was a humorous piece, but I don’t have a copy of it anymore.

My passion for writing continued to a degree, I wrote several more short essays between 1000 and 5000 words. Most of which didn’t even get honorable mentions. During my college years,  who has time to write for fun??? I wrote term papers, assigned reports, and other miscellaneous papers that were required for my classes.  I usually got A’s on my term papers.

One mention here,  I wrote a report on the Battle of Antietam for a US History class.  I got an A on the paper,  but the instructor wrote a note on the side that it wasn’t necessary to be quite so graphically descriptive in my report, that it nearly made him sick reading my descriptives.  The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It isn’t my fault that he assigned that one to me. I wasn’t about to copy verbatim the research I read before writing my version.  It isn’t my fault that the weaponry of the day didn’t kill a man with one shot.  At least it wasn’t a medieval battle with broadswords and hatchets. The fact that he could connect to the horrors of battle as described in my paper means that I nailed that scene,  right?

Then the years went by while working for the defense department,  working in the corporate world,  raising my children and there wasn’t any time for writing or pursuing my writing dreams. Once my kids were in school,  I had a little more time that I could put my thoughts down and started entering contests again.   I sent in a few submissions to Writer’s Digest contests and other contests. I had a few responses but few wins.  Then I entered a competition for the opinion column and won. It was a rotating position with 3 others and mine got a LOT of feedback. That was really the turning point when I started putting more efforts into my writing whether it’s fiction or humor.

It’s been a long bumpy road for me from those early efforts to now. If I had it to do over I may make some changes but since I don’t,  these are life lessons along my highway. Live, Learn, do better!

 

 

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Write on my friends, write on!