Monday, September 18, 2017

Getting Your Writing Mojo Back

Lately, okay for the past few months, I've been struggling with getting even the tiniest bit of writing or revisions done. There's a great article by Elisabeth Staab on the Fiction University website about how to reboot your writing when you haven't written in a while.

Since I'm hoping I'm not the only one struggling to get work done on my manuscript, I thought I'd share the link to the article here. Link: Rebooting Your Writing...

Let me know if you find any of the tips helpful.

Friday, September 15, 2017

This I know for sure...

It breaks my heart every time I hear of yet another school shooting.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): As I mentioned in the previous What's Up Wednesday post, I had a card to make for my nephew's birthday party this past Sunday and my mom had a doctor appointment last week. While I was happy with how the birthday party came out, it took a lot of work so I didn't get any writing accomplished.

Quote of the Week:  “The value of persistence cannot be underestimated today. Every time you are knocked down, get up and try and do and do and try. This is the only way to break through.” ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I'm reading: The Sinner by Amanda Stevens. This is the 5th book in the Graveyard Queen series. If you like paranormal books, this is a great series.

Random Thoughts:  I like making the cards I give for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thank Yous, and the like, but some of the cards can take a lot of time to make. I've posted the card I made for my nephew below. Everything was cut by hand except the grass, the cake, and the two little birds. Even the tiny birthday hats some of the animals are wearing were cut by hand and placed on their heads separately so while I find the process enjoyable, it can be painstaking work. 

Random Photo of the Week:

                        Here's the front of the card...

                      and here's the inside of the card.

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11th

             Please take a moment today and remember all those lost on September 11, 2001.

Friday, September 8, 2017

This I know for sure...

I have an email account that I use when ordering online or signing up for coupon offers and the like. I really need to go through and unsubscribe from some of the emails I get. On any given day, I get between 90 and 100 emails that are essentially "Hey, buy our stuff." I even get emails from companies I've never done business with so obviously this email address is on a list somewhere. In some cases, I get emails from the same retailer three and four times a day, with each email telling how much time I have left to order in the subject line.

My only concern is if I click on the unsubscribe link, am I only just confirming to the company that it's a valid email address which will just convince them to send more junk email? I have tried unsubscribing to some and months later I'm still getting the emails. More often than not, I just group delete 95% of the emails unread that I receive on a daily basis.

Any suggestions on how I can pare down the number of emails I receive without abandoning the email address altogether? (Yes, that was a suggestion I received from a friend.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): I ended up having to work extra hours last week after all. I have a birthday card to make this week for my little nephew's party this coming weekend and my mom has a doctor appointment so I'm not sure how much writing related stuff I'll get done.

Quote of the Week: "Small daily habits will open the way for a lifetstyle change. You won't believe the remarkable difference one small habit can make." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I'm reading Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden. She writes really good romantic suspense novels. If you're a fan of romantic suspense, you'll love her books.

Random Thoughts:  Looking forward to the cooler fall weather if only so I can start baking again. I don't do much baking in the summer, it's too hot to have the oven on heating up the house already more than the weather itself does. 

Random Photo of the Week:  

This was me this past weekend. I don't know if it's because it's darker now in the mornings, but I slept in until just about 6:45am both Saturday and Sunday. I rarely sleep past 6:00am even if I don't have the alarm clock set.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Holiday

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Labor Day holiday. In our area, schools go back in session on Wednesday so it really does seem like this weekend is the end of summer.

Friday, September 1, 2017

This I know for sure...

I don't watch a lot of television, but I am looking forward to a couple of the new shows coming on this fall season. I love The Big Bang Theory with Sheldon Cooper being one of my favorite characters on the show so I want to check out Young Sheldon.

Another show I want to check out is The Good Doctor. I've seen the commercial for it a couple of times and it looks interesting. I'll watch it for a couple of episodes and decide then if I want to continue to watch it.

I am also looking forward to returning shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and Timeless. (I was thrilled to learn that Timeless was renewed for a second season after it was originally cancelled.)

Are you looking forward to any new programs or any returning shows?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress):  As I mentioned in the last What's Up Wednesday, I had to work extra hours at the day job last week and make a card for my niece's baby shower in any free time I had so I didn't get any writing done. (I also had to finish crocheting the baby blanket I was making to give with the rest of my gifts.) Now that the card and blanket are made and given and I'm back to working my regular hours this week, I hope to get some serious work done on Spellbound.

Quote of the Week:  “There’s nothing false about hope. It may not change things immediately, but it will change you immediately, and that will change things eventually. Hold onto hope, white-knuckled if necessary.” ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I'm still reading The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander. I'm enjoying the book, just haven't had a lot of free time to read.

Random Thoughts: I can't believe it will be September in a few days. The summer months have flown by. If only the winter months would go by so quickly.

Random Photo of the Week:

                            Mrs. Green helping me crochet the baby blanket I gave my niece.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Writing a Series

I'm working on my first series. I have the first two books written and part of the third. I hope to have at least six books in the series. While doing research on how to write a series and maintain continuity, I ran across an article on The article is a bit dated, first posted on November 6, 2013, but it has good advice that is still relevant.

If you're interested in writing a series or are curious how an author writes a series, here's the link: How to Write a Book Series

Friday, August 25, 2017

This I know for sure...

While my day job is now much, much, much less stressful, I still consider the time I spend doing crafts to be a form of stress relief. I like to do a variety of different crafts.

I like to crochet, but usually only do it during the colder months. It can sometimes be too hot to have a blanket covering you as you're working on it in the summer. As I mentioned in previous posts, I make cards for various card giving occasions. I really enjoy doing this and am always on the look out for ways to make the cards unique and different. I dabble in scrapbooking, but don't do it enough to really make it worthwhile. I like to make Christmas ornaments to give with gifts. I also like to do cross stitch though I haven't done it in the last couple of years.

What do you like to do for stress relief? Do you have a favorite type of crafting that you enjoy?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I didn't get much accomplished last week. I ended up having to work extra hours at the day job. I'll be working extra hours this week too. I also need to make a card for my niece's baby shower this weekend.

Quote of the Week: "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." ~ Oprah Winfrey

What I'm reading:  The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander. I've been looking forward to reading this book.

Random Thoughts:  I try to make the cards I give for birthdays, the December holidays, baby/wedding showers, and such. While it can be time consuming (each card takes an average of 4 hours to make), I find it relaxing and I love seeing people's reactions to the cards.

Random Photo of the Week:

 Christmas ribbon on sale at a local craft store. While I understand why it's in the store so early - so crafters have time to get their holiday projects completed before Christmas actually arrives, I'm still not ready to see Christmas stuff in stores in August.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Driving to Distraction?

With the change in my day job, I now have a longer commute. Not that much longer than the old commute, only about 10 minutes more unless the traffic is backed up due to inclement weather or an accident or in my area, the ever-present ongoing road construction for three seasons throughout the year.

I like the longer commute in a way. It gives me a bit of decompression time to leave the stresses of the work day behind before I get home. It also gives me a little time to work on story lines in my head. I talk through any problems I'm having with a scene or character. Talking out loud while I'm alone in the car seems to help me sort out what needs to change to make the scene work or the character or dialogue believable.

Another nice thing about my new commute is that it's not so long that I forget those lines of dialogue or how I solved a plot, scene, or character problem. I do have a voice activated recorder app on my phone that I try to turn on when I get in the car, but I don't always remember. If I am stuck in traffic where I'm sitting still, then I will sometimes jot down a brief note or two to remind myself of whatever it is I want to make sure I don't forget.

At the same time I can't help wondering if doing any of the above is safe. What if I get so wrapped up in a scene or working out a problem, or working on dialogue that I start not paying close attention to what is happening on the road? Is it any different that people who sing along to the radio or talk back to it when they listen to talk radio stations? How about people who eat and drive? Drink coffee or soda and drive?

Anything can happen in the blink of an eye even if you're distracted for only a second. I know of someone who lost a loved one when a driver looked down to pick up his/her beverage and hit the loved one who was legally crossing the street. The driver was distracted for just those few seconds to pick up the drink and drove through a stop sign and into the crosswalk.

Do you find yourself thinking about things when you have a commute longer than fifteen minutes or so? What are you thoughts on spending the drive time working on story lines in your head?

Friday, August 18, 2017

This I know for sure...

Some days I don't think I know anything for sure...especially in today's world. 😢

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

 My current WIP (work in progress): I completed 25 pages of revisions last week on Spellbound. My goal is to get double that amount done this week.


Quote of the Week:  "You put your mind to it, you work hard, you do the best you can and good things will come out of it." ~ Beth Mandyck


What I'm reading:  Until You Loved Me by Brenda Novak. This is part of the Silver Springs series. Brenda Novak is one of my must read authors.


Random Thoughts: I feel like I've finally found my writing groove after three years of it being missing in action. I lost it after we suffered a sudden loss of a young family member. I wish I was one of those writers who write more or better during their grief. I was the exact opposite. I struggled to get even a few words on paper much less write pages and pages of new material.


Random Photo of the Week:

Mrs. Green trying to sleep despite our noisy neighbors.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Orange Cranberry Muffins

I'm a big fan of muffins for Sunday morning breakfasts. Or really any morning that I can sit and linger over coffee and a muffin while reading the newspaper. Since I work a day job during the week and try to get out of the house early on Saturdays to run errands, that usually is only leaves Sundays for a leisurely breakfast.

I tend to like fruit based muffins - lemon blueberry, lemon raspberry, triple berry, and the like. One of my favorites is orange cranberry. Our local grocery store has an in-store bakery that makes an amazing orange cranberry muffin. I only have one recipe that I like, but wanted to try other variations. I came across a recipe posted on Sally's Baking Addiction that uses fresh or frozen cranberries. I'd only used dried cranberries in the past so this was something unique for me.

If you're a muffin lover, or love the flavor combination of orange and cranberry, this is a must try recipe. Link:  Sally's Baking Addiction - Orange Cranberry Muffin 

Let me know if you give them a try.

Friday, August 11, 2017

This I know for sure...

I was speaking with my nephew the other day and we happened to get on the topic of favorite foods. He stated he could eat pizza every day and not get tired of it. While I love freshly baked bread, I don't think I'd want to eat it every day.

The conversation did start me thinking though. Was there a food that I liked so much I'd want to eat it every day? I decided there was. Eggs. Eggs are so versatile that you could make them a number of different ways and never get tired of them. It also helps that breakfast is my favorite meal type of the day. I often eat breakfast foods for dinner.

How about you? Do you have a favorite food that you could eat every day and not get tired of?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Last week was a disaster in terms of getting anything done. I'm determined that this week will be better.

Quote of the Week: “Opportunities are gifts. To seize the opportunity and run with it is a living, breathing thank you note.” ~Unknown

What I'm reading: The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne. This is the second book in the Victorian Rebels series. I love Ms. Byrne's books. If you haven't read any of her work, I highly recommend them.

Random Thoughts: I think I need to either take a time management course or cut back on some of the things I try to fit into a day.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                                         Somebody acting crazy. :o) 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Daydream Believer

When I was a kid, I was always told I had my head in the clouds or that I spent too much time daydreaming. Mind you, my mother never said these things to me. It was always a teacher or school counselor even though I was in accelerated classes and never had a grade lower than a B. (Except for Algebra, but that's a story for another day.)

I would ask what was wrong with daydreaming, with wondering what would happen if...  I was told people in life that were considered successful were those that worked hard and didn't spend time spinning tales in their head. What if you did both, I'd ask only to be told it wasn't possible. Either you worked hard in life and became a success or you would end up a drain on society. In less than polite words, you'd be a loser, a good-for-nothing that amounted to nothing and a shame to your family and, if you were lucky to still have any, your friends.

Now that I'm years out of high school, I wished I had the bravery and knowledge to ask what those teachers and counselors thought of writers. Most writers I know, published and unpublished, well known, best-selling, or just starting out with a small following of readers, are among the hardest working people I've ever met. And yes, they spend a lot of time daydreaming.

How else are they able to come up with plots, characters, dialogue, plot twists the reader doesn't see coming and more? If a writer works at a day job for 8 or more hours a day, loses time commuting to said job, then comes home and makes dinner or takes care of the yard, or does any other household chores that need to be done nearly every day, if not every day and takes care of their children, or elderly parents, or both and yet still manages to find time to write on a regular basis, how is he or she not hard working even though they are daydreamers?

So for all those naysayers out there who say you can't be both, I say yes, you can. You just need to believe in your daydreams and in yourself.

Friday, August 4, 2017

This I know for sure...

It's been unbearably hot this week - highs in the upper 80's and humidity at nearly 90% every day.  I don't know it it's the heat or the fact that I haven't slept well all week, but I've had zero motivation to do anything after arriving home from the day job.

Dinners have consisted of sandwiches or a quick thrown together salad. I have so much to do but can't seem to muster up the motivation to get anything accomplished. I've felt distinctly sloth like all week, spending too much time on the sofa reading or crocheting instead doing what I should be doing. (I do have a good excuse for crocheting though - I'm making a baby blanket as a gift for a baby shower I'm going to at the end of the month so I do need to get it finished.)

The weather is supposed to cool down considerably (into the the low to mid 70's) and the humidity is supposed to dissipate over the weekend and into next week. Here's hoping I find my missing motivation once the heat and humidity break.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I was able to revise 25 more pages last week. This week I'm going to work on adding needed transitional paragraphs. 

Quote of the Week:  “The value of persistence cannot be underestimated today. Every time you are knocked down, get up and try and do and do and try. This is the only way to break through.” ~ Unknown

 What I'm reading: I started The Visitor by Amanda Stevens. This is the 4th book in the Graveyard Queen series. While it took me a bit to get into the story, I'm loving it and hate when I have to put it down. You definitely need to read this series in order. The 3rd book in the story came out 5 years ago and the 4th book came out in 2016. Because I read the 3rd book 5 years ago, it took me a bit to get back into the story line in the 4th book because of the time lag between the publishing of the books. The 4th book refers to things that happened in the 3rd book, but because it had been so long since I read the 3rd book, it was hard to remember what exactly happened in the instances the author refers to.

Random Thoughts:  Feeling really grateful for how great my day job work life is now. 

Random Photo of the Week:

                                                Mrs. Green likes to sleep on laps.

Monday, July 31, 2017

First Draft vs. Revisions

I've found that many of the writers that I've spoken with prefer to work on revisions, edits, or rewrites than write the first draft of a novel.

I'm the exact opposite. I find it much easier to write the first draft than have to go back through the completed work and look for plot holes, proper grammar and sentence structure, pacing, and inconsistencies such as changes in hair and eye color or names, and time of day or the timeline in general... The list goes on and on.

One of the reasons I prefer to write a first draft than work on editing or revisions is while I try to use proper grammar and keep inconsistencies to a minimum during that first draft, I don't sit there obsessively worrying whether I'm following the "rules" and such. The words usually flow from my fingers to the keyboard. When I'm working on edits or revisions, I feel like the words come in drips and drabs if I have to flesh out a scene or add a new one. I'm too worried about those rules, whether everything flows and makes sense etc.

It seems to take me two or three times as long to revise a completed manuscript than it does to write a first draft. I'd like to find a way to do revisions/edits that doesn't take quite so long and doesn't make me want to pull my hair out during the process but at the same time, improves the novel to the point it is the best I can make it.

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. :o)

Friday, July 28, 2017

This I know for sure...

A city about an hour or so away from where I live has a NFL football team. Every year they hold a training camp open to the public for about two weeks in early August at one of the major universities in the the city where I live. 

Whenever I think about football, I equate it with the fall season so every year when the football training camp starts, I get a bit depressed because it seems like summer is ending already. I know in my head that there are at least four or so weeks left of the summer season, but as soon as people start talking about football and the training camp practices and games, it seems like summer is all but over.

It seems like it takes summer forever to get here and is gone before you know it. Having the NFL team come and practice as they get ready for the upcoming season just seems to make the summer go by even faster.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress):  My goal last week was 50 pages revised. I only finished 25 pages, but I don't feel too badly about it. I knew going in the goal was probably a bit unrealistic due to other commitments.

Quote of the Week: “Know your reasons. This is the difference between resolutions that fail and resolutions that succeed. When your reasons are good enough, your resolve will make things happen.” ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: I started reading Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout on Sunday night. This is the first book I've read by Ms. Armentrout. I didn't realize she wrote other genres besides YA (Young Adult).

Random Thoughts:  The squirrels are so determined to dig in every pot I've planted something in, they even tipped over the pot that still has old dirt from last year in it. It got left out on the porch under a chair over the winter and spring.

Random Photo of the Week:

                              Mrs. Green sleeps with the tip of her tongue hanging out.