Posted in Uncategorized

Merry Christmas…

It is Christmas week and I am enjoying some time with family and friends this year. Returning to the old Kentucky homestead for some much needed time with my grandparents, best friend, and my brother and his family is always a change from the usual hermitage I live back in East Texas. Taking time away from the normal routine is refreshing and this year, I needed a reminder of what the holidays are meant to be about.

I have enjoyed spending time talking into the wee hours of the morning with my grandpa. Discussing politics, history, science, and philosophy and religion have been staples since I was a girl.

I’ve also enjoyed meeting my new goddaughter who was born four months ago. Getting to spend time with her mom and the rest of her family is a blessing as well. We managed to have an afternoon at their house and then an evening here for dinner.

As I get older, the holidays are less about the gifts. Not that I don’t enjoy presents. I certainly do and I’ve been given some amazing things this holiday season. However, what I’m treasuring more is the time I am able to spend with the people I love in my life. Time to chat, to play board games, share meals, and generally feel normal amidst the chaos that’s been the last year; those are the real gifts this year.

We’re all blessed to be healthy and able to be around one another safely. I know that many are not. I have friends who are struggling with loved ones on ventilators. Others are financially struggling and there are hard candy Christmases all around. I think it is important to remember to pray for those families. My extended family is not immune to loss this holiday season. But we’re all clinging to what we do have. We’re celebrating together because we don’t know how long we’re given. So we’re cherishing these moments and making lasting memories.

This may be my last post for the year. I’m working on a plan for the new year, of course. However, I’m taking time with family and enjoying it while I can.  I hope that all of you reading this have a very Merry Christmas and my best wishes for us all in the coming new year.

Posted in Family Life, The Writer's Life

Preparing For Holiday Mayhem…

I may have been late to the party (seeing as I was born the following morning), but I am a Christmas baby. It is no secret to the people in my life that I love all things holidays. It is a special time of the year for me and my family. It has always been about making it magical for the kids in our lives while also remembering the reason for the season from a spiritual perspective. I think those spiritual reasons have become a bit more in focus for me in recent years, primarily because I am single and don’t have kids of my own. I still enjoy the festivities with those I love though. And I even get a little wistful hoping that someday I’ll meet someone that I can start some of my own traditions and make holiday memories with. I try very hard to let it all go and just stay in the moments I have with my family though.

Cakes by Me and Mom

It is also a very hectic time of the year for most people. While this year will be somewhat different for many, I am sure. 2020 has been a tough year for just about everyone you talk to. At some homes there won’t be holiday celebrations as in years past. People will be missing thanks to this pandemic. Sadly, many will choose not to gather with their family in a time when we really should be relying on family. Whether that’s because of guidelines given by medical advisors, mandated stay home orders, or fear of catching or spreading this virus it is just a sad thing that there will be families missing opportunities to make memories and share time with one another. For me, I’m looking forward to spending some time with my grandparents and my best friend. And the next few weeks are going to be full of preparations for time away from home.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner now. In fact, I’m going to have to get to the store this weekend to pick up the rest of the trimmings for our Thanksgiving meal here at home. Just my parents, myself, and the pups. However, we’ll enjoy Daddy’s smoked turkey, my devilled eggs, grandma’s dressing recipe, and Momma’s pineapple casserole just the same. It doesn’t matter that there won’t be a parade on TV. We’ll still celebrate the day, share what we are thankful for, and get into the holiday spirit.

In the next few weeks, there will be much to do. As is our tradition, my momma and I will be in the kitchen cooking, baking, and making candy for the family. Things we do every year together. And I’m looking forward to spending some time with my grandparents for Christmas. And I am increasingly grateful that I’ll have the opportunity to do so. That opportunity isn’t always there. So I am grateful to be able to do that this year.

There are always memories to be made at the holidays. I think that this year has put into perspective for me that we’re not always guaranteed time with the people we love. The reality, for me, is that I realize that eventually, I’m likely to face spending holidays alone. So, I plan to cherish the time I do have with my family and being part of something larger. I know that won’t always be the case for me. So I appreciate all that I can while I can.

I keep telling myself that I need to take more pictures, to document these times and memories so that I have them to look back on. The truth is that I get so caught up in just being in the moment that I don’t always pick up my phone or my camera to take pictures. I want to make sure that I take that time to document my memories with them this holiday season.

I also want to take some time to get some positive momentum going for a new year ahead. Please, God, let it be better than 2020!

So I’m looking forward to new projects, building new relationships online and off, and continued success as a student. I’m into my second term as an Elementary Education student with Western Governors University and I definitely have my work cut out for me. Coupled with trying to run a startup business as an author entrepreneur and likely working a day job (once I can find one). At least I’ll keep busy and hopefully focused on positive things in my life. Maybe I’ll get to have a few adventures along the way and take some time to have a bit of fun. We’ll just have to see what happens though.

As I usually do, I plan to sit down with my planners and put some goals and ideas down for things in the new year. I have several versions of planners that I use. I thought that I might do a post reviewing the different planner formats, tools, and what my planning process is for the new year. Drop me a comment if you’re remotely interested in that process and my honest reviews for the various planners I use.

Until next time, hug someone you love today. We all need a little extra TLC these days. So if you can’t hug someone, be kind and try to make someone smile.

Posted in My Process, The Writer's Life

Strange Research Happenings…

As a writer my life is full of research. Writing in the paranormal and supernatural genres doesn’t mean that we just make everything up by the seat of our pants. Believe it or not, there is a lot research and investigation that has been done in the paranormal field. (I know. I was part of that fringe group for many years and still occasionally partake of case work when I have the opportunity to consult etc.)

With that being said, one of my major projects is a series of shorter novels I’ve dubbed Armageddon Rising. The first book is out currently on Amazon.com. It deals with a protagonist who is a fallen angel and centers on end times prophecies. So there is a lot of research happening for me to carry on with the next book in that series. It is a very weighty topic to tackle even from the fiction angle.

Months ago I bought a book as part of that research. I put it on the shelf until I was ready to delve back into the topic and really didn’t think about it much after that. The other night, I was looking for something and it caught my eye. I thought I would go ahead and start reading it. Sure enough it is full of interesting and useful tidbits. I went to share those with family members who would find them equally as interesting and as we were talking about them my fingers randomly opened to part of the index. That’s when things got really strange.

In the second line of that page where I opened at random I find my legal last name.  Then on the opposite page, I find a close relative’s name. Crazy right? And I’m not talking about just a first or a last name. I mean the whole thing. Knowing this person as I do and the context of this site they are named on, I wonder if they’ve ever googled themselves. It was just a super strange way to end the day and start a weekend of my own work (as opposed to the day job).

This weekend will be busy. Working Saturdays is always a thing. At least it has been for the last two and a half years or so. But, after 2:00pm tomorrow, I can refocus my efforts on research, writing, and my own projects. I’m ready for that. It has been a long start to the month and a super busy day today. So this lady is ready for a bit of R and R.

Posted in Family Life, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized

Homecomings

It isn’t a secret that for the last year or so I have been trying to find the right mix of things to make my marketing life easier.  For authors, it is never just about writing the book (unfortunately). That’s a big part of it, of course. There are just so many other things that go into it if you want to make it a full time living. Which, I do obviously.

I’ve tried out other blogging platforms. I was a long time user of another for more obscure rantings and ravings about daily life. That platform has been through a lot of changes and I’ve been through them all. This last change however, made me decide to try something else. I had the bright idea that I would simply combine and consolidate using a new platform. Surely that would make my life easier. Right? No. So, here I am back on wordpress. And yes, I will consolidate here finally. I finally figured out that this is by far the best platform for what I need and want to do.

So what have I been up to, aside from writing?

I took a vacation and spent some much needed time with my neices in Kentucky. Going back to the old homestead is always interesting. This time was no different. Those three girls are just a joy to be around. I was able to spend a bit of time with my baby brother. It sounds like he may be making a move closer to us soon. So we’ll see what that brings.

I also had a chance to spend a day with my best friend since high school. Deedra is always keeping me laughing and motivated to keep going on the worst days. It was good to be able to go out to lunch and spend some time like we used to. It felt like we were back on “field studies” again and I really need to do that more often.

I joined a virtual women’s writers group a while back. I’ve gotten so much out of it. Really wanted to partake in a big workshop the leader was doing. With the trip and some additional expenses, I couldn’t afford it though. She’ll have another and maybe I can do it then. The support and encouragement happening in that group is amazing though.

WordPress is acting funny for me today so, I’m going to keep this little update brief. I’ll figure out what is going on and make more regular posts going forward. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have questions related to writing or the creative lifestyle. I’ll be happy to use them for a future blog or even possibly a video series. I’ve been saying I want to start a Youtube channel for a while. Maybe it is time. I just need to come up with ideas for what to talk about. That’s where all of you lovely readers can help me.

Posted in Family Life, The Writer's Life

Gratitude

So many things are happening in my life that quiet moments to reflect on everything seem rare. Tonight, happens to be one of those nights. Charles is at work and I just put the munchkin down for the night. She and the pup are all tucked in and things are still for now. This is normally when I get some time in to write. Frankly, when you have a six year old at home who is super active, you don’t get a lot of time to sit still and just be. Add to that, the fact that she gets into anything and everything she can find and I spend more time cleaning up messes than I do anything else right now. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

thankfulI am so very blessed and grateful. For the first time in what feels like many years, I wake up happy to greet the day. You see, what many people may not realize about me is that for years I struggled to figure out who I was and how I fit into this big world. I explored many things, had questionable friends, put my family through a great deal of worry that now seems very unnecessary. I married someone I shouldn’t have, for reasons that I shouldn’t have allowed to affect that decision. I paid a hefty price for my naivety for about six years.

On the surface, I seemed confident and self assured. I bucked the system, fought my instincts, and tried to be a rebel for all that time. And I somehow managed to convince myself that it was all okay. In fact, I did such a good job of it that I was blindsided when that marriage fell apart. I didn’t think that I could go on from it or trust anyone again. Now, I’m thankful that it all happened. I did get something out of it. I got a relationship with a pretty awesome young woman who will always be a daughter to me and I got my little cat, Mariska.

291826_364783330281701_2094463518_nI think I got my self-confidence back because I had to fight my way through such a dark place. Before it was over I was depressed beyond anything that had happened to me emotionally since college and dealing with my biological father. Realizing that I married someone just like him was literally a slap in the face that jarred me into realizing what I needed to change about my outlook on things. I was tired of being emotionally beaten down. I realized that I had been abused during that time by someone who would never ever appreciate me as a person and that had to change. I was better off alone.

Then within a matter of two weeks everything was different. After a month and a half, I put myself out there to meet new people. It was time that I try to become more socialized again. I’d been a hermit for the better part of two years. It was then that I met Charles and a host of other people. And I’m convinced that people are put into our paths for a reason. I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had in my life with people from various places. They’ve all helped me to come out of my shell in many ways.

But right now, I am most grateful for the way things are turning out. I can run down a list of things that are going amazingly for me right now. I won’t. What I will say is that I finally have an amazing man in my life. I’m doing something that I love to do and have become what I truly believe I was born to be. 

It is true that things aren’t perfect but, they never are. There are always things that could be better. But, we have a roof over our heads as a family. We have food on our table every day. We’re ready to home school our little one starting in September. We wake up every morning just thankful to be together and have our own lives.

I am so thankful that things have changed like they have. My life is completely different from what it was a year ago. I am happier and that makes a huge difference in everything.

Posted in Marketing, The Writer's Life, Writing & Publishing

On The Horizon

I’ve been absent much more than I wanted to. We’re still researching internet providers for the new apartment right now. Though we’re planning on having everything set up at the first of the month, we’re on a budget and looking for the best deal we can find. So, access to my blog, email, and other online things is very limited at the moment.

In fact, I know I was spoiled now. I got very accustomed to having high speed internet. My ex insisted on keeping it when we were living together because of his “hobbies”. Of course I took advantage of the connection. Since he was never without it, I’ve pretty much had continual access to high speed for about six and a half years. That is, until now. Now, I’m literally using a sort of dial up to post things and check my email. Sometimes I think it would be faster to do this by snail mail.

Regardless of whether the net access is up and running by the first of the month, there are still big things on the horizon. One in particular, I want to give you some details on.

Yes, I am planning to do a sequel to my debut novel, The Secret of the Storm. The readers are speaking loud and clear on this particular issue. And I have been putting pen to page to jot down ideas for the plot and a couple of new characters to add to the mix. I won’t give details away yet except to say that there are even more family secrets for Elora Castain to uncover in the next book. There is a certain small issue from the end of the first book to resolve as well.

As much as I am planning to do this, I have to admit that I’m concerned about the time that this “side project” will take away from the coming series Armageddon Rising. It will definitely make a lot more work for me in the coming months if I am going to meet a deadline as I have in mind. So, in a way, I’m going to leave it to the readers to decide if there will be another.

On August 1st, 2013 I will be launching an Indiegogo campaign to fund the sequel. There will be incentives for those who donate or pre-order the book. I hope to raise enough to pay off a couple of bills, market the books more, and allow me to get out there to meet the readers in a more one on one way, and give us a bit of breathing room here at home so that we can continue to move toward our goals for our family.

Yes, it will be up to the readers to help get this one done. I’m going to need funds to pay editors, artists, etc for things to make this happen quickly. If those funds aren’t raised to a certain level, I don’t think that I can sink as much time into it to get it done on a tight schedule as planned. Other works will take a front seat to this one unless I can reach at least half of my goal on this crowdfunding. I’m aiming for $3,000.00. If it funds completely or goes over the sequel will take a center stage for me for the next few months (aside from homeschooling the munchkin, of course) and will come out sometime in the spring. If I only get half of the amount it won’t happen until summer or later because I’ll have to put other projects into that mix and hopefully release two back to back. We’ll just see what you all say.

It may be the case that you’re all just being nice to the newbie on the market and saying you want a sequel too. In that case, I won’t bother with it. I’ll just move on to the new series all together.

In any event, there are a lot of things happening for me. I’ll be posting more about everything soon. I’m planning on starting my regular posts back up next week. So that gives me through Monday to get my thoughts sorted and things planned out. So, I’ll see you all on the other side of the weekend. Have a fabulous one!

Posted in Family Life, Lessons Learned, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized, Writing & Publishing

The Challenges Of The Writing Life

944e903479c324fa_Self_Motivation.xxlargeBeing a writer is not an easy way of life. Some people seem to think it is. They think we all sit around in our pajamas all day, sipping wine or a spirit of choice, tapping away at a keyboard and then playing games most of the time. Then we miraculously sell a book, make millions, and live on easy street while we play with our stories.
Oh how I wish it worked this way! I would be living the high life by now if it did. But, the reality is far different from what you see in the movies. In fact, the only reason that people take it on is because they love to do it or they have an idea that they just can’t let go of. For me, it is a bit of both. I have plenty of ideas that I want to put into words but, I love what I do. Like all writers, I want to do it full time.
There are things that I have to consider though. I have bills and a child to think about. While I want to write full time, that can’t happen without people buying my books and supporting what I do. It takes a great deal of time to produce a book. Then it takes even more time to publicize and promote a book once it is in print.
For me, there are challenges right now that I’m not used to facing. The fact that I have a child in the house full-time is new to me. It is a wonderful thing but juggling the kiddo and the writing is a big challenge for me. While I’m arguing to get her to finish her handwriting practice or reading a simple book my attention is wholly focused on her and getting that done so that she learns. As a mom I am responsible for her learning and understanding what she’s being taught. I take that seriously. But the moment the schoolwork is done there is the constant chirping of:
“Momma can I have a drink?”
“Momma what are we going to have for supper?”
“Momma what is that smell?”
“Can I watch a movie?”
“When will Daddy be home?”
“Can I go outside and play?”
“I’m hungry!”
“Watch this Momma!”
“Look at me Momma!”
So, it is a constant juggling act. My attention is rarely focused on the writing when I am working on it. I’m always listening for the silence and having to get up to see what she is into, when I send her to her room to play.
Charles did set up the desk at the window so that I could watch her and work at the same time. Where it is sitting I can see the majority of the yard. I only let her go out when there are other kids out there. Then there is the fact that we managed to get a TV and DVD player in her room. So, now, instead of having to write with Oliver and Company or the Care Bear Movie in the background, she can watch them in her room instead.
This whole process has been a learning curve for me. Trying to get keep it all in check, learn how to work with people around more often, and manage a household while trying to write is a challenge and a half. It is one that I welcome though. In fact, I wouldn’t have my life any other way right now.
Then there are the challenges that all writers face. The midnight oil burning as you pour over the manuscript wondering if you’ll ever be satisfied enough with it to call it finished. The agonizing over a pivotal scene and details like; whether or not the hero should have worn white or burnt orange as he slays the villain. The plot twists to add to the story come to mind. Did you put enough description into the prose? What statement about social issues are you presenting and will some humanities professor tear it apart and call you insane like they did Van Gogh.
BookCoverPreview1We can’t forget the question of how to get the book into the hands of readers. Decisions about whether to hire an agent or not, traditional or indie publishing, and of course how are you going to market and get the book into the hands of readers all come to mind. You see, so much about writing isn’t really about the writing. Now it isn’t enough to simply write stories that fascinate people. You have to be fascinating yourself and wear a multitude of hats in order to put your work out there and get noticed.
It is all one big challenge after another really.
For me, I’m trying new ways to reach an audience. I’m attempting to narrow down who I am writing for. I’m looking into the options of crowdfunding the sequel to The Secret of the Storm and I’m trying to engage my audience using Facebook. And now I’m in the process of starting to set up a local area book tour. That will enable me to get out and meet the people who are making it possible for me to follow a dream and help support the family while staying home to be a mom and teacher to this little girl.
For everyone reading who has a creative person in their life: just remember that they need a little room to do their thing. I’m one of the lucky ones. Charles understands my need to work like I do. He’s a huge supporter of my work and what I do. In July there will be big changes for me in the writing field. I’m hoping to be able to announce a release date by the end of the month on The Fallen One. And I’m looking forward to promoting The Secret of the Storm locally as well. If you haven’t picked up your copy in print or for Kindle you can do so here.
Just remember folks, when you support an independent author, artist, or even a local business you aren’t padding the pockets of executives. You’re helping people stay in their homes, feed their kids, buy that jersey for a sport or leotards for dance classes etc. You’re helping to make lives better and giving back to your community to those who are giving what they know how to give to the world.

Posted in Family Life, The Currents, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized

On The Move: Big Changes Ahead

It has once again been a while since I last posted. I am happy to say that I have a good excuse for my absence. One that, in all honesty, I should have talked about prior to it all happening but, with everything that’s happened in the last two years, I was afraid of jinxing it. Considering how hard my fiance and I have been working toward this for a while, I didn’t want to speak prematurely. Then when it happened it was all so fast that honestly, my head is still spinning.

We got our own apartment finally. Not that the arrangement we were both in was all that bad, it wasn’t. It was just time for us to have our own space for a change and get on with our own family life. So, we’ve done just that. Yes, there are still things to work out. But things are all coming together finally. It seems like it has been a long time in coming honestly. I couldn’t be happier though.

Writing is, of course, going slow at the moment. Unpacking takes a toll on you. But, after next week it seems I will be back in the saddle on a regular basis. And let me just say that will feel pretty good. I am feeling very inspired in the new apartment though, I don’t think it is the apartment itself so much as it is the company within it. Having the ability to feel like I have my household again is something that I have wanted for a while. To actually have it is a little surreal right now. Things have become blissfully normal.

I am keeping this short to get back to work on things while I have a chance. Just know that I’m working on scheduling things. If you email me it may take me a week to respond. Just be aware and I’ll say thanks in advance for your patience. I’ll be back to posting regularly soon.

Posted in Family Life, The Writer's Life

Life Gets In The Way…

My life has been a little crazier than usual lately. I have been on the go all week and I didn’t take my laptop with me for many of the errands I was running. Among the list of things to happen this week was my six year old graduating from Kindergarten, fiance got a new job, helping out family with errands, and trying to make plans for summer vacation and homeschooling. Yes, this writer feels like she’s run a race this week already. So, is it any wonder that I decided to take a nap this afternoon while it was storming and overslept? Not to me. I’m still fighting a nasty cold and trying to hold things together and keep working on writing.

My nap is over though. And I’m trying to make up for some lost time in the word count and editing departments. So, I’ve turned on my “feel-good music” and I’m trying to find my rhythm for a night of escapism into my manuscript. Yes, Michael Buble is crooning at me through my headphones, I’m surrounded by notes, dogs, and cats watching my type away and yes, I love it.

But let me get to the heart of why I am blogging today. Big events have happened this week. Not only did my little girl become a first grader but her Momma became a published author with a debut novel out on the market.

BookCoverPreview1Yes, The Secret of the Storm is out in print now. I announced it the other day briefly. I do, however, want to take the time to encourage you all to take time to review it and pick up either the ebook or the print version.

I did a lot of work on that novel. Elora and I went through so many changes as I wrote and edited that manuscript. Her story is one that will always stick with me because it was so similar to my own life. Now it is a work of fiction, mind you. However, Elora and I both found ourselves in situations that we didn’t expect and we both had to make the best of them. Elora’s life changed dramatically. So did mine. And the truth is, just as Elora’s will continue to change if I go on with a sequel, my life had changed in leaps and bounds as well.

When I was writing The Secret of the Storm, I spent a lot of time listening to music and writing. This is a habit that I continue to have today when I work. Yet, back when I was initially drafting an online friend actually turned me on to a band called The Tea Party. I’ve since fallen in love with their deep lyrics and their overall sound. We won’t mention just how incredibly sexy Jeff Martin’s voice is… okay, yes we will. They’ve stuck with me as a favorite over the years. You’ll find them on nearly every playlist that I use to compose. So, I thought I would simply share one of the songs that I heard more than a few times while writing.

Posted in Family Life, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized, Writing & Publishing

State of the Fluff….

First off, apologies to all of you dear followers and readers. If you’ve been following for the last couple weeks, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to keep something of a schedule here on The Writer’s Studio while finishing continuity edits and trying to juggle everything else going on. I have been slacking a bit the last few days though. For that, I do apologize.

You see, I am incredibly blessed. I have an amazing family that includes my fiance and our six year old. A whole group of extended family and well, because I enjoy it, I spend a good amount of time over there with them. The weekends are the typical time for me to spend all day but, Charles has had a few days off from his job and it is our little girl’s last week of Kindergarten.

We are all excited to be attending her graduation tomorrow morning. So, why am I sitting here at nearly midnight, when I have to get up at six in the A.M.? It would be an excellent question to ask.

BookCoverPreview1The answer is really quite simple though. There was more big news for me today. After more than two and a half weeks of waiting Amazon finally sent me the news that the technical glitch was fixed. That means, The Secret of the Storm is now available for purchase as a paperback edition as well as in ebook for the Kindle. It also means that I can finally start planning a book-launch event and booking signing events here in East Texas.

It is all very exciting for me. I’m sure that it will be something that I talk about often in the weeks ahead. Not to worry though, the blog isn’t going to become one big promotion for the book. There are plenty of other things I have to talk about and give my two bits on.

That being said, the state of the fluff lately is up in the air. I’ve been on the go, lost my voice intermittently thanks to some sort of allergy attack or cold, and haven’t been paying much attention to what I’m eating. So, we’re going to have to jump back on the band wagon at some point. I think I’m going go back to doing my “health sheets” to track and maybe that will give me some motivation. You’d think that a pending wedding would be enough, right?

Keeping it simple so that I can still get some rest. If you have ideas for book-launch events, how to get the word out about the book, or just words of encouragement (this is my first “major event” with our daughter as someone she calls Mom) I will gladly take them in comments or by email. If you haven’t liked my facebook page, feel free to. There is a box on the right for easy access. I look forward to meeting all the readers as time goes on. And yes, I do try to answer all my messages.

Wish me luck! And thanks for sticking with me. Share a link. My philosophy around here is; the more the merrier.