homeslide1Sailing is one of those activities that I dream of . Maybe it’s  being landlocked in the midwest, but I love the ocean and all things nautical. Except octopus. (Hence the decor ideas for my new office space – more about that later.)

In one of my speaking engagements,  I talked about goal-setting. I used nautical terms to get my point across along with images and youtube videos. Granted, most of the audience didn’t care about sailing and I knew that but by the time I had finished, a few simple terms stuck in their mind and several people sought me out at the end to share with me  that they appreciated it.

Tacking is one of those terms.  Tacking is the heading of a sailing vessel, when sailing close-hauled, with reference to the wind direction. . . one of the series of straight runs that make up the zigzag course of a ship proceeding to windward. . . to change the course of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack.  It is a zig-zag course as opposed to a straight line. It is the constant readjustment  of your vessel to reach your chosen destination.

tackThere are 2 ways to accomplish this, through several small zags or fewer larger zags with greater impact.

Small zags would be akin to my monthly adjustments when I evaluate where I am compared to where I want to be. Larger zags would be changing careers, taking a new job.

Life will carry you downstream if you let it. Stuff happens. Disappointments happen. If you let the current carry you along, you will end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Way back when I chose my first career as a cartographer, I had a fascination with maps, mapping, exploring, charting unexplored lands. Still have the fascination,  just not the job. By the way, for those who don’t know cartography is the study of maps, a cartographer is a map maker.  I made maps. I wished for the days of the large sailing vessels and to be an ancient mariner creating those magnificent maps that are adorned with sea monsters and forebodings such as “here there be dragons”. The career choice landed me a profitable career with our defense department with a tidy income and numerous perks. Until the point when I decided to pursue an alternate career choice that turned out to be the biggest blessing and the biggest source of stress. What are you going to do, right? I wouldn’t change it for the world, though.

If you don’t adjust your compass heading,  tack starboard or tack port, you’ll end up dashed on the rocks.

I find myself diametrically opposed however, to certain individuals who  believe –  make a plan and stick to the plan. Keep working on THAT plan.  But what do you do when that plan is snatched from your grasp? What do you do when the company that you have  worked for twenty years decides  they need a cutback? It’s nothing personal, they just need to cut their workforce by 15% and you happen to be on the list? How does that figure into THAT plan?

It doesn’t. That’s when life  has dealt you a bad hand and you can’t even bluff your way into a winning round.

So you adjust, overcome, improvise. Pull up your big girl pants, put on the  steel boned corset and chart a new course.  It’s far easier to make minor adjustments on a regular basis than end up in some strange land where you don’t speak the language and discover that you have lost your way.

Today is that day for me.  I evaluate where I am on my projects and determine my plan of action for the coming month. Last month I started on the massive project of  caring out an office area in our basement.  I shared pictures of the unfinished but mostly clean area. Another project moved into top priority and I lost some ground. The temptation to put stuff in an empty space is too great for some people to resist. I’m not going to name names as I am guilty myself. I don’t even have an office yet,  but I have shelves of my writing related stuff moved in. It would have been so much easier to  get flooring, walls, lighting, and all that painting business done first but it didn’t happen that way.  I needed it out of my kitchen and living room where it was in the way.

Anyway,  tacking to the starboard. The plan for June  on the office front is ramping up  this project and  focusing on existing writing projects. I’m not taking on any additional editing jobs until I get the ones I have completed. I hate falling behind and these will go back to the author  with no charge.  I’ve edited her entire series and I can see growth and improvement in her writing from the first one to this one. This is encouraging to me as a writer and as an editor because it means that my own writing can improve. It also means that it doesn’t have to be perfect to release my babies into the world.  It’s not like the old days when  the only means of publication were the big seven.  It provides a moment of opportunity to tack starboard or port in my writing as well and adjust my course to reach my destination.

Take a few moments today to check your headings. Where are you in comparison to where you want to be? What adjustments can you make in the coming month? year? What goals are you working towards? Do you need to set a new course entirely?

I plan to start  tomorrow on the right foot, the right headings, and make every day count.

Write on my friends, write on!

Til next time,



Revision #32


For as many years as I have been an adult, I’ve always  implemented a bit of advice my father shared with me during a fishing trip.

He had asked me what my plans were for a future career.  At that time, I was planning to pursue  becoming a psychiatrist. After he explained to me how many additional years of schooling that would require, I decided to change courses. I sometimes wish  I hadn’t but that is neither here nor there. The point is adjusting my course.

“There are several options that are available to you. College has a limit, however. Your scholarship will only cover four years, so make those four years count. Make certain that the path you choose is the one you want. You can always adjust your course but it’s more difficult. It’s always good to evaluate where you are as opposed to where you want to be. If you are on the wrong path, get back on the right one.  If the path you’re on meets with a dead-end, then  look around at  another route or change the destination.”

Those honest words spoken in advice when I was 17 or 18 have stuck with me. I assess where I am,  in comparison to where I want to be. Always adjusting  my course.

When one door closes another one opens. When one path is blocked you must choose or make an alternate route.

It’s one thing to set your heading in a direction, another to check to make sure your ship is running true. Mile markers along the way let you know you’re on the right path or  if you’ve gotten off track.

“Memphis? We should be seeing signs for Lexington not Memphis!”

Set your  course and  head to your horizon.  I’m having to adjust my sails into the wind.

 “The second star to the right, and straight on till morning” 

 – James M. Barrie

I hope you find your dreams, your Neverland where your inner child never ages. It’s where the fountain of youth really lies.  Our outward bodies  will waste away, but the internal spirit lives on, changed and transformed  by each life lesson, our hope renewed and invigorated.  Such a grand adventure in store for each of us!

Pursue your goals,  chase your dreams,  and never give up!

Write on my friends, write on!



Understanding Who We Are

Ten Rules to Live By in Order to Achieve  Success

  1. Feed Your Strengths! Understand your personality and know what your strengths are.  Work with your natural bent instead of trying to be something that you were never designed to be. If you are a creative, embrace the creative nature. If you are an analytical thinker then go forth and analyze! For me, the daily doldrums can get the best of me.  It’s part of why I get bored with long term projects. New experiences stimulate my mind whereas  routine gives others comfort.  I need to make sure that I have opportunities for new experiences in order to fuel my quest of understanding the world. I’m never going to be a skydiver –  that’s a little too much experience for me. However, safety within the four walls of my home become stagnant and are soon interpreted as imprisonment just as if I were sentenced to solitary confinement.  If you don’t know what your personality is, google personality tests. Here’s an example of one that is helpful: http://www.16personalities.com/  Here’s  something it said about mine: ENFPs are fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom. Don’t Lose That ‘Little Spark of Madness’  Now, how accurate is that? 
  2. Face Your Weaknesses! Every one has strengths and everyone has weaknesses. I know – difficult to believe but it’s true. Realize and accept that some traits are  your strengths and others are  your weaknesses. By facing your weaknesses, you can overcome them and they will have less power over you. My effervescent personality makes me vulnerable to schemers and cons. I hate the word,  but naivity is one of my biggest downfalls.  I’ve been “suckered” many times. I tend to be too trusting and believe that people are honest and have integrity. They aren’t and they don’t.  Human nature is lazy and selfish – a lesson that I often have to be reminded of.  I’ve gotten myself into some very dangerous situations because of this blind trust. An eagerness to push the envelope means that I often act before thinking. I have anger issues.  OH, some people get angry,  but I have had some real issues with  anger to the point of rage. It’s a real thing.  The hell hath no fury like a woman scorned type of thing. I have a long list of unfinished projects.  Writing projects, craft projects, home improvement projects, you name it. This is one area that I have made improvements on,  knowing that I work better with a deadline and a todo list in order to progress to  completion.  I have this inner need to experience everything that life has to offer and could lead to some real problems.  While I’m not going to  sample heroine or meth just for the experience,  I have been known to do some daring things. Daily routine is the bane of my existence.  I need change, variety, something new. For others that would be a nightmarish existence.  I get that – we are all different. I get angry when others try to make me conform to their ideas.
  3. Express Your Feelings. Emotions – they aren’t always sweet.  I love passionately.  I give generously.  I feel compassionately.  I act impulsively. I get hurt easily. Don’t let anger get bottled up inside you. If you have strong feelings, sort them out and express them, or they may become destructive! I’ve made a lot of stupid decisions either on impulse, or out of anger. I hate the question-  why did you do that because I don’t alwayhs have an answer.  I just did it.  I didn’t think about it,  or weigh the consequences  I just acted. Why does there need to be a reason?  I have had to learn to think first act second. That is not a natural process for me.
  4. Make Decisions. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion. You need to know how you feel about things in order to be effective. There are times however that it is not wise to share your opinion.  Just because you have a thought does not mean it needs to come out of your mouth or be typed into social media.
  5. Smile at Criticism. Try to see disagreement and discord as an opportunity for growth, because that’s exactly what it is. Try not to become overly defensive towards criticism; try to hear it and judge it objectively.  YEah,  I’m still working on this one.  I don’t take criticism well.  Smile? Are you kidding me? More like grit your teeth and breath a deep cleansing breath.  Let. It. Go. Sometimes they are trying to help, however misguided they are.
  6. Be Aware of Others. Remember that there are 15 other personality types out there who see things differently than you see them. Most of your problems with other people are easier to deal with if you try to understand the other person’s perspective. I often have to remind myself of this. OFTEN. Just like above,  there are people who think through, analyze, weigh the options, consequences, how it affects other people before they act. If I did that,  I would  never have done over half of the things I have.
  7. Be Aware of Yourself. Don’t forsake your own needs for the sake of others.   I am so guilty of this.  As a mother I am a giver.  My personality lends itself to giving out and putting myself last. Realise you are an important focus. If you do not fulfill your own needs, how will continue to be effective and how will others know you are true to your beliefs? If you do this  very often, you will find yourself at a place of dissatisfaction in life.  This is where I am trying to work back from!
  8. Be Accountable for Yourself. Don’t waste mental energy finding blame in other’s behaviour, or in identifying yourself as a victim. You have more control over your life than any other person has. So be in control.  Own your actions,  live your own life.  Stop blaming others, stop making excuses, and stop waiting for life to happen.  Waiting means life will pass you by while you sit in the bleachers.
  9. Assume the Best. Don’t distress yourself by assuming the worst. Remember that a positive attitude creates positive situations. OH I am all over this one!  I am probably guilty of being the eternal optimist,  always looking at the best case scenario. Now, when I (best case scenario visionary) work together with my husband (analytical thinker who tends to be worst case scenario) we can come up with a plan that benefits us both. Isn’t that kind of the idea?  We balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
  10. When in Doubt, Ask Questions! Don’t assume that the lack of feedback is the same thing as negative feedback. If you need feedback and don’t have any, ask for it.  Asking questions does not mean you are stupid, it means you are curious and interested. When was the last time you asked a question in something that you had no interest? Hmmmm?


You want success in your life,  you  take the pilot seat. You want it? Work for it, work towards it.  Understand  your own strengths and weaknesses.  Stop beating yourself up over  a personality trait that  is different than the majority.  It may  be the very catalyst to  change the atmosphere!

Write on my friends, write on!


Setting Parameters



Most everyone else I know has already tackled this topic for their New Year’s Resolution.  I was  down with the flu and still not quite over it so I’m just now getting things started.

Last year I posted my goals, and asked for accountability partners.  That got many responses from friends on Facebook,  private messaging, and  numerous phone calls.

‘It’s too ambitious.’

‘You’ll wear yourself out.’

‘It’s not challenging enough.’

All feedback is appreciated even though I disagree.  I’ve done this thing called life  enough to know what works and doesn’t work for me.  If I don’t have a goal, I will wander aimlessly accomplishing nothing.  I know many of my friend’s  relate to my as a free spirit,  but this free spirit needs a finish line,  something to keep my eye on the goal to not let life distractions keep me spinning aimlessly off in one direction or another.

Why am I sharing them with everyone else then?

Simple! By posting them here,  I am writing them down, making them plain for all to see so that I have  accountability and a feeling of  commitment. They become more tangible when they are written down.

In review of last year’s  goals, being brutally honest, my progress or lack of on Ellie’s big goals for 2014: 

  1.  Home/environment:   Remove 5 items from house every week whether through throw away, give away, or sell.  If I am to count clothing donated to Goodwill along with  other household items then I exceeded this!  Between myself and two daughters we donated enough clothing to outfit a village!  WIN!
  2. Home/environment: Get my desk set up and have a stable work area that is my dedicated  space. Well,  I had plans.  Had paint picked out for the office, made some progress towards but by the end of the year my ” desk” is still part of my kitchen table.  Different plan but this year I WILL have  my desk!
  3. Home/environment:  Have kitchen and living room flooring replaced in 2014. What was I thinking?  Between medical expenses and college expenses there wasn’t much left over. 
  4. Relationship:  Spend 50 minutes per week  doing something for  the  man of my affections. Didn’t do this every week,  but after March – yeah pretty much.  Mostly a WIN!
  5. Relationship:  Have 25 dates – no kids, no double dates, or group  parties that count as dates but real life  mono y mono date. More like 15 – but hey it’s moving in the right direction, right?  I’ll count that as a win considering the year before was 2 dates – my birthday and our anniversary. 
  6. Health/fitness: Lose 50 pounds  by December 31, 2014. FAIL. Umm,  I kind of went backwards on this, gaining weight back that I worked so hard to shed. Looks like I need a do-over on this one! 
  7. Health/fitness: Eat 5 fruits and vegetables daily, or at least  5 days a week. Mostly a win!  
  8. Health/fitness:  I will consume at least 50 ounces of water every day.  I know I should do more like 100 ounces but let’s start with 50. FAIL.  Seriously,  I may have gotten like 24 ounces of water on a daily basis. Now if I could count coffee consumption . . .  you see why I have this on my list???
  9. Growth/Learning:  I will learn 5 new skills this year. I learned: 1. how to imbed a video on my blog not just the link! 2.  you can open a link in an incognito window – who knew?? 3. how to put sharks in Facebook’s comments ( real valuable skill I know But I’m counting it never the less!) 4. I learned 3 new features on Scrivener that makes writing even easier 5. I  trained my dragon naturally software to recognize my voice! ( It still has a few issues, but for the most part works like a dream!) 6.  learned how to make flourless cake! (This may or may not have contributed to some of the weight gain) 7. I learned a few things about myself through counseling, and the skills to break those wrong thinking attitudes  Overall I call this a definite WIN!
  10. Growth/Learning:  I will read 50 books this year. I only managed 28 books this year. Haven’t had as much free time to read as I used to. 
  11. Career: Attend 5 professional seminars, workshops, &/or  courses.  3 for the mlo job, 3 for personal development, and 3 for writing  – WIN!
  12. Career:  Finish and publish 3 books this year.  Well that didn’t happen.  I submitted 5 different books to various publishers.  I wrote a short story specifically for a submission call, and received rejection letters. One publisher was kind enough to give some pointers  for rewriting at least.
  13. Career:  365 Book.  Write 500 words every day for 365 days. I think I got to day 45 on this one. 
  14. Money/ Finances:  Get all medical bills from 2013 paid off! Did that!  All medical bills for 2013 and 2014 are paid in full! WIN!
  15. Money/Finances:  Invest 500 dollars this year from wages. Yeah, this one went the way of the flooring up there. NOT a WIN!
  16. Social/relationships: Go out with my friends 25 times in the year.  I knew this one was ambitious when I wrote it. It was more like 10 times but I am still going to count it as a win because I consciously thought to connect to my friends! 
  17. Social/relationships:  Host 5 theme parties over the year. End of School Year Party, Fourth of July BBQ and fireworks, Back to school/end of summer/we need an excuse to act crazy party!, Blogging Goals Reached party!,  oh and birthdays – do birthdays count????  Win!
  18. Community:  Knit/crochet 50 scarves to donate to the homeless shelter. Didn’t manage 50. It’s so hard to be motivated to knit or crochet with yarn when it’s hot outside.  I managed to make 34 scarves that were graciously accepted and appreciated!  WIN! (34 are better than 0 right?)  
  19. Community:  Do 50 kind deeds for  someone – anyone, over the course of the year. I never really thought of myself as a do-gooder, but dang I passed 50 somewhere back in March then lost count. Stuff happens, you run into people, what can I say?  Win!
  20. Fun:  Make a list of 50 things that make me happy and refer to it often when I get down.  Somehow this one completely escaped my attention. 
  21. Fun:  Try 50 new recipes this year. I’m not going to list them all here.  Some were in fact recipes for dishes that I already made,  just a different recipe.  For instance I used a different recipe for making turkey enchiladas, and the family overwhelmingly decided that my original was better.  I cook the meals here basically every day – so trying a new recipe every week is a simple thing for me. 
  22. Fun: Spend 5 nights in  5 new cities. We went to St. James for an overnight. Visited a few other cities, or towns  but as to spending an overnight – no. NOT a WIN! 
  23. Spirituality:  Spend 50 hours over the year  improving my spiritual well-being though healing, counseling, prayer, and meditation.  Including counseling – it’s more like 100 hours at least. Not exactly what I had in mind, but improved so – WIN! 
  24. Spirituality:  Spend 50 minutes of ME time each week. Yeah, that didn’t happen.  Maybe 6 weeks out of the year I did this. 
  25. Spirituality:  Start a gratitude journal – one good thing for each day. Did this!  There are days that it was difficult,  days that it was easy but I stuck with it. WIN!

15 out of 25 – that’s 60%. Well, it’s better than 50% or 0%!

Goal setting is a good thing even if you don’t achieve all of your goals.  Goal setting gives me something to aim for, a direction to follow.  It sets the parameters of which road I need to be on for my life journey. Specific goals  sets parameters as to what direction and which lane I should be in on life’s highway or if I should be on the country back roads enjoying the scenic route.

I like to be working towards something, setting milestone markers along the way.   Where is your path taking you?  Do you like living the grand adventure?  Or do you like to discover the adventure while following the map?

What are your goals for this year? Next week, I’ll share the goals for this year. Now that I’m back in the land of the living and not stuck in the flu-ish state of nonexistence.

Write on my friends and set those goals.


Genre Tropes

Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image. Al rights reserved to artist.

Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image. Al rights reserved to artist.

I’ve been working  on an editing job  for the past 3 days.  (By the way – check out my editing page; look up there at the tabs and click on Editing Services)  The book is scheduled to be released on the 30th, so we are under a bit of a crunch. This author ran into a dilemma, a problem that seems to plague many  authors.

In the process of  this line edit, the author   found a problem in her story with her  heroine.  I don’t think it’s a problem, but we’ll work something out to get it out on time.  For readers of romance, there are a few standard things that define the genre.

  • Happily Ever After ending; but there are some happy for now stories.
  • Hero/ heroine fall in love, something is keeping them apart, then  they get back together.  but . . . there are some that deviate from this plan.
  • Strong relatable, appealing characters that the reader can connect with.  (The definition for “connect with” is in that grey area )
  • Conflict – in a romance the conflict is most often of the emotional  type, character driven as the two build a relationship.
  • conflict must be believable – really?  Have you never read some of what is marketed in trade paperbacks?  Define believable.  Wait,  let me disconnect my suspension bridge over the valley of disbelief.
  • dialog – your dialog will make or break your books.  Ideally yes, but I’ve read some pretty crappy romance.

Honestly, for as many readers as there are in the romance genre and as many that read nontraditional romances perhaps it’s time to reevaluate these standard tropes.  I personally don’t relate to the damsel in distress tales,  or the  womanizing bad boy who has been with a  hundred women, but decides to settle down with our heroine.  Right –  once a player always a player. (And let’s talk about the reality of an STD – I know,  this is fantasy not real life)  What happens when our heroine puts on fifteen pounds or more after carrying his baby?   What happens if the  unspeakable happens and she loses a limb in a car wreck? or shark attack?

I realize that there are readers of romance that want  the dashing hero to come sweep the heroine off their feet and they live happily ever after.  We don’t want to put too much realism into it because that would be too much like our every day lives.

I personally root for the underdog.  I am an underdog.  My characters tend to be underdogs. I want to write characters that say to  all women that love can happen for them.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  The fantasy of falling in love, the thrill of those rollercoaster emotions without actually having to put yourself out there and risk the heartache.

A small percentage of girls were cheerleaders in high school.  A small percentage were pom-pom girls, or on the dance squad or whatever they call it these days.  Another percentage of girls were athletes, on the volleyball team, basketball, softball,  swimming, gymnastics – whatever sports were offered for girls to participate.   These tend to be the mainstream heroines that are depicted.  What about the rest of us?  What about the average girls, the book nerds, the science geeks?

Not every girl is a bubble headed bimbo.  Not every girl is the perfect size 2.  To be honest in real life I have yet to meet a female that is a size 2 and has C cup boobs that aren’t implants.  Just saying!   With curves usually comes   more body fat, a tendency for wide hips and  derriere.  Those naturally thin Taylor Swift girls  have to buy boobs,  they aren’t part of their natural makeup, yet  we think that every guy wants a size 2 Barbie look-alike with big boobs, tiny waist, and  curvy backside.  Well, we’ve been lied to. Women come in all shapes, sizes, and manner and  many men prefer curves and a woman with a brain.

Why is it then that in a romance novel, the heroine has to fit the paper doll cutout?   How many bad  romances do we have to endure before we meet a woman of substance?  I can’t relate to the perfect girl,  the cheerleader, daddy bought her a dream car,  she got into the perfect school, has perfect hair and never even burps.  Puh-lease!

Life happens.  Even to people that we think have the perfect this or the perfect that,  life happens.  Maybe Patty Perfect had a tail when she was born, but mommy and daddy had the doctor perform a surgery to “fix” their perfect princess.

I know,  I have a morbid sense of what if at times.  Life is unfair to all of us equally.  Accept it and move on.  Even on the crappiest of crap days, you can find the silver lining to the blackest cloud.

my house was destroyed by a tornado –  I’m still alive and so are my loved ones

 I was raped –  but I wasn’t murdered! 

I lost my job –  I can find a new one that I enjoy! 

My husband left me –  I won’t have those nightly fights! 

What doesn’t kiss you makes you stronger. You don’t have to remain the victim forever.  Put the past in the past and make each day count,  own it!  You’re a survivor not a victim!  You’re an overcomer – not defeated!

So back to  our overused tropes.  I’ve had  people tell me  to not use those overused tropes.  I’ve had people tell me that  my characters need to conform to the standards.  I’ve had people tell me I need  original characters that stand out as unique.  I’ve had people tell me that I need to make the character relatable.  ARRRRGGGHHH!

Just like my inability to  conform to the CBA  guidelines, I can’t force my characters to conform to some  preformed mold.  So I either quit this nonsense of dream chasing ( and y’all know that isn’t going to happen)  or I get on with writing  in my own style.  Nobody told Stephen King how to write Flagg, or Pennywise.

I have to admit,  I contemplated it for a brief period of about an hour.  After receiving two more rejection letters I felt like I should just quit altogether. Then this crazy thing happened.  My friends rallied around me,  encouraged me to not quit,   praised my writing,  picked me up out of that mud puddle and brushed me off and  pointed out the guy that knocked me down then said – go get ’em!

RAHR!  I am not defeated and you shouldn’t let others define who you are or what your style is because of current standards.  So what if your story doesn’t fit nicely into this  niche subgenre.  MAKE YOUR OWN!   Twenty years ago noire fiction wasn’t a thing,  now it’s a thing!

If you’re in the writing industry strictly to make money then  follow the trends,  see what’s popular – see if you can jump on that train before it reaches the final station.  * cough cough – vampires, zombies*

OR,  be a trail blazer, a maverick, an innovator!  Ask yourself why are you doing this?  Is it just to make a buck?  Do you feel compelled to write? To tell stories?  Is it an inner drive that you must  do?   What do you get out of writing?  Is it a sense of accomplishment?  Satisfaction?  A check to boost your account? Is it to prove something to someone else?

Think about why you do what you do.  If it isn’t benefitting you in some way then you may want to find something else to do.  As for me,  I feel an inner driving force to write,  to tell the stories that are inside my head.  Yes, it may be a little arrogant or egotistical to think that  people will want to read my stories, but  I have to try.  If I fail, I fail honestly, by giving it the best shot I could and not measuring up. But there is something inside me that says I will not fail!  I will succeed at this and the sense of accomplishment by typing THE END  is almost as good as, well I’ll let you use your imagination there.

Pursue your dreams, don’t let others tell you what to do. Don’t be a lemming!  Don’t be the guy that is miserable with his day job and takes it out on his family.  DON’T BE THAT GUY!

Write on my friends, or go after whatever your dreams are. Make your life count!




Quotidian dose does not own rights to this image. All rights reserved to artist.

After the usual workday routine, it’s time to don the domestic goddess apron.  There has been a disruption in the force, a deviation from our usual routine. I had roughly an hour to myself  which I used to write! I have numerous manuscripts, all in various stages of completion. As I worked on my favorite project,  fingers flying over the keyboard, I had an epiphany.

This particular project is my favorite.  In the writing community there is that old saying that your first draft is always crap. Well,  in this case it was absolutely true.   Many years ago I had the inspiration for this story.  Alright I’ll be honest, the characters took up residence  and demanded my attention.  Lexy and Kyle are about the cutest couple you could imagine.  Sweet, young, and somewhat naive Lexy charmed her way right into my heart.  I know my readers will adore her. Maybe not as much as I do, but it’s kind of like a mother’s pride since in a sense I’m the one that gave her life so to speak.

My first rendition of Lexy and Kyle’s story was to be a Christian romance.  My hat is off to  those that can write those, cause I couldn’t.  First there were the CBA (Christian Bookseller’s Association) list of words that aren’t allowed.  REALLY?  I can’t use Angel?  One of my character’s is named Angel.  (Y’all are going to love her as well!)  I wrote  twelve chapters then allowed a good friend to read it.  Sitting back anxiously wringing my hands, nervous but expecting to hear – wow great job. It didn’t come.

“Well,  it starts off with action and that is good but that’s really the only action that happens and it’s kind of dull.”  Numerous chocolate shakes, pout-fests and Dove dark chocolates later I realized how invaluable this honest friend is.  AHA!  I’ll rewrite it. She’s right, it needs a lot more action.  I worked furiously at a fevered pitch.

 “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology, we have the capability to build the world’s first bionic book. Faere Deal will be that book. We can make it better than it was before; better, stronger, faster.”

My original title was Never Judge a Book by its Cover;  then Faere Deal, then a dozen other things.  I gave up on trying to write to the CBA guidelines.  My life hasn’t been squeaky clean, and if the saying holds true about write what you know, there will be some grit and grime in my world.  Besides, how do you rectify the Faery race with Christianity?  I didn’t know and gave up on  trying to make that work.  I recreated my story, keeping the initial scene that sparked the  whole thing and this crazy thing happened. It wasn’t really about Lexy and Kyle.  They were key players in a much larger scheme.  HUH!

I called my friend over to reread my new revision and complete outline, bribing her with a hot home cooked meal and dessert.  “Wow, there’s so much action I can barely catch my breath! I feel like I need a seatbelt on my chair.”

*FISTPUMP*  YES!!!!!  “Care for a second slice of pie?”  I continued working on that story, then  I was suddenly struck with the idea of “dragon complex” thanks to my daughter’s comment.  (That one is being edited currently.) In the back of my mind though, Lexy and Kyle were impatiently waiting for me to get back to their story.  Kyle  is sometimes a really impatient jerk! Since things weren’t happening he decided to get my attention.  That ploy backfired on him though, as I  started telling his brother’s tale – part of which appeared on Storytime Trysts as Passion’s Price.  AH,  yeah THAT story.

I revised Passion’s Price to a point where I thought it was good enough to submit.  My first beta reader was wowed.  She had questions though.  My second beta reader however wasn’t so impressed.  A gazillion questions, asking me about the back story,  about the overall arc, asking about the why’s whens, whats and whatnots.  *BROWS FURROW*

Fine!  I had all the information in my head, no big deal.  I’d get it all down on paper.  It was slow going,  as I went from averaging about 3000 to 5000 words a day to maybe 1000 if I was lucky. ( I had a really rough time after that auto accident, whiplash can do that!)  Slow and methodical, and then there were the days that work demands were greater and there was no writing time.  Anyway,  I’ve been editing all that additional stuff that I added.

If I were to include this part with Passion’s Price, then the book would be about 175000 words.  Combine that with Lexy and Kyle’s story, and Rob and Lana’s story with the conclusion of the overall bigger picture — I have 5 maybe 6 books instead of 3.   AND – here’s the clincher –  I have the larger majority of that already written. And I’ve been beating myself up over not having anything completed.   Honestly,  I guess it’s best that I have taken so long to tell the entire story.


As I prepped our evening meal enlisting the help of my daughter home from college, we had the chance to talk while we worked.  We talked about family stuff, about her school and about writing.  I shared my outline with her and she gave me some pointers.   We are both encouraged once again to continue on our writing journey. Sometimes, it’s just what you need to reignite the fires.

Write on my friends, write on!

Dare to Live Beyond the Rut

What do you do when you are stuck in a rut?  I find that by the time I realize that something has become routine, it’s already a rut.  A rut is one step away from a grave.  ACK!

I know, but routines are comfortable. Routines are easy, we are used to them.  It’s important to establish a routine. Pffft!

NO Comfort Zones here!   How are you ever going to be creative if you are in a routine?  Here’s the thing; a routine lets you coast, puts your brain on autopilot because you’ve done this so many times you know ‘the routine”.  That’s good if you’re a Rockette, very bad if you are an entrepeneur or an author.

Be brave, bold, dare to think outside the box.  Often it is the daring choices that fuel creative and entrepreneurial thought.  Leaders  learn to operate outside their comfort zones.  OK, sometimes it’s with a dose of Pepto, but never the less. Ingenuity is the thing that makes you stand heads above the competition. (That and the four-inch Jimmy Choo’s.) You’ve got to learn to take some risky chances.  Learning how to manage the anxious feeling of being outside the box is good for you.  The dry mouth, gut jittering will soon give way to euphoric adrenaline rush.  Either that or you’ll puke.   In the end you’ll feel better though.

There are many ways to push your boundaries.  Start small, take a different route to work.  Instead of getting a bagel, eat an orange.

Here aer three quick ways to add some zing to your thing:

1. Take a class.

NO this isn’t crazy talk, I”m serious.  Learn something you don’t know.  It could be Tai Chi, creative writing, yoga, or mixed martial arts smack down! It will also provide a little blood flow to the brain so that by the time you are doing sun salutations your brain realizes “What am I doing?” By then your downward facing dog has submitted to the warrior and soon you’ll be in the pretzel pose.  Well, that’s what  happened to me.

2. Trade jobs for a week . OK, not a good idea to pose as a nurse when you’re like me  – needle phobic, but you can mentally trade places with someone.   Fill in for the receptionist.  Come on, you can answer the phone can’t you? Walk a couple blocks with your mail man.  Don’t freak them out with writer type questions, but ask about their routine. Nevermind, any way I look at this one they might think you’re stalking them.  Maybe just observe another job, without appearing like you’re scoping them out. OK Mark this one out and forget I ever said this.  If the investigative  services ask, you don’t know anything!

3. Analyze the critics comments . sometimes amidst all the mudslinging, back handing, and face slapping there is a grain of truth  in their comment.  Use it and improve yourself with it.  Then kill them with kindness by telling them “Oh hey, thank you for that.  It really helped me improve that scene that you commented on!”  Works better than getting angry every time.

What strategies have helped you break out of your comfort zone? Tell me in comments!

Whatever you decide to do, keep it fresh and exciting.  Life is to be lived out loud!  Not shuffling in a daily routine of mind numbing autonomy.  Get  out there and live!

Write on my friends, write on!

Mountain Climbing

Perseverance is  a good quality to have.  Determination is also a quality that will help you achieve your goals.  When perseverance is combined with determination it’s an almost unbeatable formula.  Unless it is applied to the wrong things.

In “hunker down” mode, head down determined to achieve the end, it’s not till you reach the top of the mountain that you realize you’ve been on the wrong mountain all along.   I can do this!  Pushing through the pain, setting small goals, and passing the milestones while failing to read the signs along the trail that read ‘Mt. Trouble’ instead of ‘Mt. Accomplishment’  is an unsatisfying victory.  Egg-faced and exhausted, Mt. Accomplishment still remains to be tackled.

Is it a complete loss?  Not necessarily.  Did you learn anything from the experience?  Like maybe read the signs along the way and look up once in a while?  SIGH!  The right turn at the giant sycamore led to a harrowing,  dangerous path, perhaps you learned from that little side trip. Sometimes even though we are sincerely trying, we are sincerely wrong.  I wont say it was wasted effort because there’s always something that can be learned.

We either learn not to do that again, do it in a different way, or in this case I know the steps that need to be taken to reach the top of the right mountain.  I’ll just chalk it up to experience, and practice.  Yeah, that’s my story and that’s what I’m sticking to.

It’s sort of like I got a chance to preview the terrain, a sneak peek at the course.  There may be deviations along the way because there are always subtle differences.  However, the larger scheme map is basically the same.  If you can climb one mountain, you can certainly climb another.

It doesn’t matter how high the mountain, it can be conquered.  My own personal K 2  may seem like a foothill to others, but that’s ok.  We each have our own strengths and weaknesses.  Where I’m strong, some one else may be weak.  Where they are strong is very possibly my own weakness.  When we work together we can accomplish more.  There are benefits to bringing someone else along on your mountain journey.  First of all you have a witness!  OK, when you’ve climbed the wrong mountain that may backfire but you have someone to laugh with.

Sharing our successes is even sweeter when our companion has shared in our defeats.  A true friend will rejoice with you, knowing that you’ve tried, knowing when you’ve been defeated and encouraged you along the way.  For every three mockers that said you couldn’t do it there’s at least one person that wants you to succeed.   Listen to the one that believes in you.

They are gracious enough to not beat you up when you hit the peak of Mt. Trouble.  Mine was as encouraging as possible, congratulating me on the success while subtly pointing out that the distant mountain “over yonder” was in fact the one I needed to climb, while taking a few moments to point out that I’m stronger now from my practice run.

Yeah, practice run.  I am stronger now, more knowledgeable and better able to tackle the right mountain. I’ve learned along the way and figured out how to lighten my pack from some unnecessary items.  You can guarantee that this friend is going to go with me up the mountain.  Besides, it’s never a good thing to start out alone.  Trail blazing is one thing, but when you have a course, bring along a friend.  Having someone to talk to along the way makes the trip more fun as well.

What about you?  Ever climb the wrong mountain?  Ever sincerely pursue an endeavor to find out that you were a little off course?

There’s always another mountain to climb, whether you tackle it or the practice hill, there’s always another.

Write on my friends write on!




The Winner’s Circle

I have accomplished something that I have only accomplished one time before.  I feel like there should be a party or cake or something.  I am practically giddy with joy!  I could certainly get used to this feeling, and am encouraged to go forth and write more prose.

I have two completed stories!  Yeah me!!  My past record of unfinished projects is going to be put to rest, retired as I diligently pound out  little bits here and there.

Just as weight loss is a gradual thing, so is writing.  Typically you can’t lose a large amount of weight in a short amount of time.  It’s not healthy unless you are under doctor’s supervision.  Well, for writing you don’t need the doctor’s supervision at least.  A little each day, my goal is 1500 words a day.  Most of the times I meet that.  There are days that I don’t even meet that with two blogs, and if you count FB or twitter.  Come on you know you guys do it too don’t you?  Those days when you’re grasping at straws to get something written.  It’s not that I have writer’s block.

Often it’s that I have too many irons in the fire! I’ve got three projects I’m working on, and five more lined up for the future.  Ever have that moment when you’re itching to start that new project?  It’s calling to you.  Shiny, new, the creation stage.  *sigh*  I do much better at the creation stage than I do the follow through stage.

As much as I love the creative process, it’s only a small part of writing.  As in any field there is work involved.  The moment of brilliance, the lightbulb spark that gives a thousand jolts of mojo, the creative ‘sparkjuice”; is only the beginning.  That’s like the runner taking off when the starter pistol is fired. Remember the old adage that it’s not how you start the race?

Right, then comes the mad dash sprint.  The fast furious scribblings approaching madness as the thoughts flow through finger tips through keys or pen.  I usually  take my burst, and make a rough outline.  This is when I stop and get to know my characters, chat with them, find out their dirt.  I don’t want their resume, I want to know their dark secrets that they don’t want anyone to know, which of course I will exploit to the fullest.  What fun is it to have their resume when everybody knows everyone has secrets to hide.

I wonder if people take that into consideration when they ask me if I will make a character based on them?  I”ll bet they will now!

The rough outline then becomes my chapter outline, then a scene outline. From this scene outline I begin working.  I’ve found in many instances my initial burst was nothing more than back story.  I’ve also found that at times I wrote hundreds upon hundreds of words that were yep, back story.  I typically write by scenes, making a completed scene before I end a writing session.

One scene soon becomes ten, ten grows to twenty and eventually you have a finished product.  Just like in weight loss, 1 pound then another and another, and before you know it the scales show a 40 pound loss!  Woo hoo!

In weight loss you’re told to celebrate to small victories when you have a large amount to lose.  A five-pound loss is a victory!  A completed project that’s nota single stand alone article is a victory!

Faere Warrior:  Passion’s Price is the short story I”ve been doing on Storytime.  It’s not the same as my original outline, far from it in fact.  It is however a completed short story.  This is a prequel to my Celtic Ties series, Faere Guardian; Faere Warrior; and Faere Lover.  Working titles of course.  It’s an 8 week story, that’s a vital part of the Celtic Ties world.  the last chapter will be posted next Tuesday.

This is like winning your  event at the district meet!

I realize there are no medals, no trophies, no wild applause – yet.  But for me, this is a personal victory.

As I leave to crank up the stereo and have a little dance party, I leave you with my parting words.

Write on my friends write on!  It really does add up!


The Friday Before

First of all I have to give a huge shout out to my followers.  You guys rock!  I commented on my Facebook page about how excited I get when I get an email notice that I have a new follower.  I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but it really makes my day.  I love checking my notices and seeing comments, and likes.  The family doesn’t understand my obsession with it, they threatened to take away my phone.  I think I made a sound akin to a hiss at them, clutching my phone as I fled the room.

I check my stats, and ashamed to admit that I allow the rollercoaster ride affect my moods.  If I don’t get any hits I feel like I am a hack.  If I get a large number of hits I’m ecstatic.  Strange isn’t it?  There are many bloggers that can relate to this self-inflicted roller coaster ride we put ourselves through.  Writer’s are a weird lot.

Here we are on the last Friday before the girls go back to school.  It’s a bitter-sweet day.  We’d like to do something, but we just got back from Florida and there are things that need to be done around here.  Friends are coming over for a mini birthday celebration.  I’m making cake!  Any excuse for a chocolate fix, right?  Technically we are also mourning the end of summer.

Senior year for my oldest daughter, she’s stoked.  the back to school business has already began.  As she is often lamenting, it’s her last summer to have fun.  She is young, you’ll have to forgive her.  I’m not sure what it is she imagines past this point but I still manage to have fun and I’m way past high school.  Thing will change that’s for sure.  There is life beyond high school. I feel sorry for those friends of mine that are still stuck in their high school glory days. Even the ones that are stuck in the college glory.  College was a blast for me, far more enjoyable than my high school years but life has moved beyond that.

I’m so proud of my kids.  They are smart, sensible, and I’m confident that they will do well.  Isn’t that a parent’s goals after all?  To raise our children to be responsible people who will go out and make a positive difference in their generation.  It’s always a little scary when one chapter of our lives comes to an end, and we have no idea what lies in the next.  We try to ‘party like it’s 1999’, to borrow a phrase from that purple crazed artist.  Yet, we go forward with fear and trepidation, taking a deep breath.  Sometimes we fall but that’s ok.  I’m excited for her, wonderful adventures await her.

Of course, adventures are still in my future as well.  It’s good to remember the good times as long as we don’t get stuck there.  I’ll leave you with this video, because it’s been on my mind all day with her latest Last Summer lamentation.

Write on my friends, write on!