Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday

A while back I started doing these posts called "Thankful Thursdays" and, as with all my other writing, I stopped. I have no idea why.

I've decided to start them again.

I firmly believe that we should take time once in a while to realize what we have to be thankful for. It's not something we have to do each day, but once a week is good I think. I believe that taking the time to see what we have in our lives that's good is one step to being happy. Focus on the positive rather than the negative.

I've said for a long time that I believe that happiness is a choice. And I totally do. Doing something like this reinforces that.

So without further adieu....

Ten things I am thankful for this week:

1. Time with my friend Tracy. Tracy has stage four terminal colon cancer. I am eternally grateful for each day that I have to spend with her, talk to her on the phone, joke around on Facebook. Whatever. She and I share many of the same philosophies of life. We believe that life is short - you may as well have fun and enjoy it. We believe that drama sucks and isn't worth it. And we believe that you take responsibilities for your own shit, but that whatever that shit is? It isn't the end of the world. Own it and move on. I know the day will come, probably in the not so distant future, that I won't have her to call and share my day with. And my life will be bleaker for it.
2. Time with my husband. I've been with my husband since I was 16 and he was 17. He is my best friend and truly the other half of my soul. He loves me despite (or perhaps because of) all my quirky flaws. He keeps me grounded while still letting me live in my own little world. He takes care of all the things that stress me out, like car insurance and finances. He is nearly my polar opposite. He is the caution to my daredevil; the neat freak to my slob; the reality to my fantasy; the morning to my night; and the serious to my goofy (though he does have his moments). He forces me to accept reality occasionally and I force him to have a good time, enjoy life and not take everything so seriously. We've had our issues - separated and nearly divorced before, and I'm thankful for every day that we have together.

3. Fall/Autumn. I love this time of year. I love seeing the leaves change. I think all the colors are just beautiful. I love it when a tree is half changed and you have the contrast of the colorful leaves against the normal green. I love the cool, crisp air. I love football Friday nights (and college Saturday - Go Bucks!). I love taking a walk and stepping on all the crunchy leaves. I love Halloween, decorating, carving pumpkins, passing out candy, haunted houses, hot apple cider, caramel apples, wearing sweatshirts, getting my comfy winter boots out, flannel sheets and breaking out the down comforter to snuggle under.

4. My house. We just bought our house last year. It's the first really nice house that we've owned (the first one was a hundred and fifty year old money pit house that we finally let the bank have back because the foundation was crumbling under us). I have my own den, with a door that I can shut when I want to work. We have a stairway that I love and can decorate. A portal window that I adore. A finished basement that we have set up as a workout room. A kitchen with an island. A jacuzzi tub in our bathroom. And a walk in closet. If we could pick the house up and set it down in a different neighborhood it would truly be our dream house.

5. My dog. I have a standard poodle named Lucy. She is a smart, ditzy blonde that is my shadow and I adore her. She makes me laugh, is always happy to see me, sleeps at my feet and follows me everywhere I go. Oh, and she loves getting new outfits and dressing up.

6. Laughter. Nothing beats a good laugh. The kind where you laugh so hard that you cry and makes your belly ache.

7. Music. My life would be incomplete without music. It can inspire me, make me want to get up and move, make me want to cry and fill me with joy. It can lift me up, change my mood or commiserate with me when I need a friend to be sad with. It can say "I know exactly how you feel, I've been there too" or it can say "Do good. Go make the world a better place" or it can say "Just have a good time and feel good!", or any number of other things. Music speaks to me.

8. Colors. I love colorful things and all colors. I love the way they can brighten things up. The way they contrast and compliment each other. The way they can change a mood and make me happy.

9. Sunsets. I love colorful sunsets. So pretty.

10. Pinterest. It's my new addiction. So much fun and such a great way to keep ideas in one space. If you want an invite, let me know. Here is my page:

So, that's my week, in a nutshell.  What made you happy this week? What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Write On Wednesday

I've decided to start doing an activity on Wednesdays that I'm going to call "Write On Wednesday", where I write something from a prompt. I'm hoping that it'll get me a) writing on the blog again, and b) into a regular practice of writing something for fun. When I can, I'm also going to try to use a character from one of my WIP's for the prompt. That should help me get to know the characters better, and see how they react in different situations. I'm not editing any of the work from any of the prompts and I'm limiting myself to a thousand words or less. This is just supposed to be a fairly quick writing exercise. Let me know what you think!

Catelyn is the MC from the romantic suspense that I've been working on (forever). She has gone away to college and is majoring in art. 

The prompt: "It was the first snowfall of the year."


Catelyn stood looking out the window of her room at the sorority house, watching the snowflakes fall. It was the first snowfall of the year, and an event that she always looked forward to. The snow always seemed to somehow make the world seem quiet and it gave her a peaceful feeling. She loved the concept of snowflakes and how each one was unique. It inspired her and made her feel creative. If enough snow fell tonight, she planned on going out tomorrow with her camera to capture some images she could paint, or at the very least, use for inspiration.

She had just sat back down at her desk when one of her sorority sisters poke her head in the door. “Cate, the Kappa guys are having a party tonight to celebrate the first snow. Come on, get ready!”

Catelyn glanced over at Libby and smiled. “No, thanks Lib. I have some stuff I want to work on tonight. You guys have fun though.”

Libby rolled her eyes at her. “You never want to go out, Cate. You know, college is about more than work. Come out and have some fun with us.”

Catelyn barely heard her, already focused on her sketch pad. When Libby's words finally sank in, she barely restrained herself from rolling her own eyes the way Libby had. It's about more than partying too, but she didn't say it aloud. Instead she looked over at Libby and just shrugged.

Libby sighed. “Look, Cate, you should know that some of the girls are talking about removing you from the sorority. You never make an effort to participate in anything that we do and they just feel like it would be better for the sorority if your slot was filled with someone that actually cared about being here.”

Seriously? Participate in anything they do? Cate put her pencil down and stood up. Turning around to face Libby, she leaned against her desk. “Really? Is that what they said?”

Libby fidgeted with her blouse. “Yeah, it's how pretty much everyone feels, Cate. They plan to take a vote at the next meeting.”

Cate laughed, which seemed to shock Libby, judging by the expression on her face. Cate was sure that everyone expected her to be devastated but she was a little relieved. “Participate in anything they do, Libby? Really? What do they do besides party?” Cate laughed again. “You know, I joined this sorority because I thought it would put me around other creative people who were interested in the same types of things that I am. Even without factoring in art, you'd think they could at least attempt some sort of activities that didn't involve drinking.”

That seemed to make Libby angry. She fully walked into the room and tossed her purse on Cate's bed. When she turned around to face her, she put her hands on her hips and glared at Cate. “You are such a self-righteous little bitch, Cate. You want to judge us for having a good time while all you want to do is study and draw and paint and whatever else it is that you do. You think you have to be little miss perfect southern belle. Why don't you just go home? Obviously college life is not for you.”

Catelyn's eyebrows rose at the last statement and the amusement she felt threatened to make her start giggling. She snorted instead. “You are unbelievable, Libby. All of you are. You are such hypocrites. If all you wanted to do was party, why go to college? You're paying a lot of money just to party. And yet you criticize me for actually doing my work. You're funny. Don't worry. I'll leave voluntarily. I'd rather be in the dorm anyway. No need to vote me out.” Cate walked over to the door and held it open. “Now get out of my room, please. I have work to do.”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I want to make love in the dark...

Do you remember those days (or maybe you're still living them), when your kids were little and you would wait until you got them in bed, tiptoe to your own room hoping they wouldn't wake up and play under the covers?

That giggling and laughing under the blankets, groping, trying to figure out where everything is. Finally getting into the groove, hands become more sure, the giggling stops to be replaced with breathy sighs and groans. And then maybe, if you are like us, more giggling and laughing and snuggling and playing under the blankets afterwards?

Do you remember that? I kind of miss that.

Because now? I have teenagers. Older teenagers. Like practically adult teenagers. The kind that you can't tell to go to bed because it's summer and they don't have school. Or the kind that are basically adults still living in my household. The kind that know what's going on if they hear anything.

One is almost always here. Seriously, the boy doesn't leave much. And if one is sleeping? The other one is up.

So we sneak whenever we can. And because we are so different, we have very different schedules and rarely go to bed together at the same time. He's a morning person and I'm a night owl. So that sneaking usually ends up taking place sometime in the morning while those teenagers are still sleeping. Or sometime in the afternoon. But it's always light out. Not that I mind the light but I miss playing under the blankets in the dark.

I know, I know, probably more than you needed to know but I'm in a sharing mood tonight.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Koosh ball philosophy

Do you know what a koosh ball is? They are those squishy balls that come in various sizes with little things that stick out all over them. They are squishy and fun and a major source of stress release for me. Even though they are for children, I just love these things.

I don't actually own one of these. Mostly because I hate to shop and every time recently that my husband has dragged me into a store, I keep forgetting to get one. I want to get one though, to use like a stress ball. I think it will help me get rid of some of my stress. And maybe some of those aggressive tendencies during the PMS times. 

Before I had decide that I would, in fact, like to buy one of these my husband and I had gone to the store and there was a display of these right inside the door. Every time I would see one I'd say "oh! Look honey! Koosh balls!", and I would have to pick one up and play with it. Which would, inevitably, lead to my husband rolling his eyes at me and informing me that they are for children.

So, this particular time at the store, I picked one up and said "Look honey! Koosh balls!". I tossed one to him and then picked up another to play with. I was squeezing and squishing it (they are very squishable) causing one side of it to pop out and just having fun. He tosses the other one back to me and starts to walk away. After catching it, I push them together and squeeze both of them, causing them both to pop out on one side. At this point, being the crazy woman that he loves, I held both of them in front of my chest and started bouncing around. I called out to my husband, who was probably 20 feet away by then, and said "honey! Boob job!"

He turns around to look at me, turns beet red and (literally) hisses at me "you know they can see you in the security cameras!" I'm like "hello, have you met me? Do you really think I care? Besides, if they are watching me, they are probably laughing anyway." I know my husband though. Even though he is mortified on the outside, he is laughing at me on the inside.

It's probably the biggest difference between the two of us. I have never really cared much what people think of me. I'm also the person you'll see driving down the highway and dancing in her car. My personal philosophy is that life is short, you may as well enjoy it and have fun. He cares more about what people think. He is not one to just cut loose and have a good time. He's quiet and reserved. Looking back, I'm amazed that we ever ended up together. 

On the other hand, I think it's one of the things that keeps us together. I keep him young and force him to have a good time and enjoy life. Whether he wants to or not. He keeps me grounded in reality instead of off in my own little world. He handles the bills. I handle the fun. He is like a stodgy, old man. I'm like the perpetual teenager. 

Next time we go to the store, I have to remember to buy myself a koosh ball.

What keeps you and your spouse/significant other together? Are you opposites? And what's your personal philosophy?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What I've Learned

My blog has been neglected lately. I have no excuses because every single writer that I know has an insanely busy and chaotic life. You have my permission to call me lazy.

Over the past several months I have taken tons of workshops, along with dealing with a son having ACL surgery, painting several rooms in the house (including my den where I do everything), and drama with a friend. So, what have I learned along the way?

  • I definitely need more practice painting or I need to just let my husband do it.
  • When you know that a friendship is over, let it die a natural death. Even if the other party keeps trying to prolong the agony.
  • When you have a son that is having his "First. Surgery. Ever. mom", even if it is the third surgery of the same type in your household, don't act like it's routine. 
Oh, wanted what I learned about writing? Hmm, well okay...
  •  The internet is evil. Mostly.
  • I really need to stop procrastinating and just write.
  • Fear only has as much power as I give it.
  • I don't know nearly as much about writing as I thought I did.
  • You can never do enough research. So stop researching, thinking that you'll get to that point where you have enough, and just write.
  • Nobody, not even published authors, write a good first draft. 
  • Just get it down. Stop letting the fear control you.
  • Deep POV is harder to write than you would think when you've grown up reading something different. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Same with show vs. tell.
  • Even published authors struggle and doubt.
  • The writing community is the most supportive and greatest that I have ever found. I need to let new experiences cast out the old. 
  • Being busy is just an excuse. Stop making excuses. Everybody is busy.
 So that's what I've learned. Now I just have to learn to implement all these little nuggets of wisdom into my daily life. :)

What's the most useful thing you've learned on your path to writing (or being published)?

Happy Easter to everyone!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How do they do it?

A few weeks ago I applied for my first paid freelance writing gig. You all were witness to the sample article I had to submit. The good news is....I got the job! Yay me!

The bad news? Is that I missed out on the Winter Writing Festival because I had NO time to keep up with keeping track of everything. I have been writing though.

The other bad news? Is that suddenly I find myself busy as hell. Seriously. It's craziness. Between my regular paying job, reading books to review, writing articles, doing some research for the local stuff that I have to write about with the article, trying to write my own stuff, Digi-Con (which was awesome), workshops that I paid for, trips to the chiropractor/physical therapist three times a week and normal family stuff? I am exhausted.

It's a good thing I have an incredible husband that cooks and cleans. Otherwise, I might end up being featured on an episode of Hoarders or something.

To all you published authors out there that hold down regular jobs while writing, meeting deadlines and marketing yourselves on the web? Mad, crazy props to you. You have my utmost respect.

I just have one question.

When do you sleep?

My first noteworthy article was a review of Terry Campbell's book "Craigs' Legacy", followed by an interview with her. Next up will be Wayward Soul by Kim Bowman. Which will hopefully be up in the next day or two.

Want to read it? You can go here.

Oh and ...please go read it. Or just click on the link. I need the page hits. Those are what get me paid. And I'd really like to go buy an ereader so I'm not glued to the computer to read the books I'm reviewing. :D

One word of advice though? Add the site to your pop-up blocker.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The World As I Know It

As a little girl growing up, one of my dreams was always to become a published author. I used to imagine the day that I would see my book in a book store with my name on the cover. Oh, that day would be fabulous! I would dance in the aisles and declare to everyone within shouting distance that "Look! That's meeee!".

But the world has changed. Technology came along. And not only did it come along, but it accelerated at an alarming rate. Now, the chances are good that  if  when I get published it it will be with an e-Publisher. Does that make my dream any less exciting? Does it take away something from that original dream? I don't think so. And I don't think any of my friends that have already been published with an e-Publisher think so either.

Sure, I think most of us still have that dream of having a solid, paper book in our hands with our name on it. I think we still strive to reach that goal. Getting a book published is a huge accomplishment, regardless of the format, and with the popularity of Kindles and Nooks we can still point to a cover and declare our ascension to writer's paradise.

And, if we have to run about with an electronic gadget in our hands instead of a paper book while we do it? Who cares.

Image obtained here