Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve ...

Looking back over this past year, the first thing that jumps out at me is all of the goals I didn't meet. But rather than dwell on what I didn't do, after all, I can't get that time back, I've chosen to embrace the things I did accomplish.

1) I attended an author signing in Biloxi, MS, a city I'd never been to, and met some wonderful people like Amanda Lanclos, Anna Kristell, Anne Welch, and Lila Felix. I was also able to catch up with friends I hadn't seen for several months as well as meet lots of readers.

2) I wrote and published a novella and a non-fiction short story. While that isn't even close to the goal I'd set for myself, I'm proud that I kept writing and didn't give up.

3) I learned that I'm not as invincible as I once thought. And, yes, that's something I embrace because I was able to let go of a lot of thought patterns and feelings that hold me back. I still have a long way to go but it's a start.

4) I've continued to grow as an author, and the audience for my books has grown as well. Nothing makes me smile more than hearing from a reader who liked one of my stories. Sales are great, reviews are nice, but it's hearing that you made a difference in someone's life, that you made them smile or laugh or cry, that pleases me most as an author.

5) Not that I've ever doubted this one but the knowledge that my husband is always there for me, literally in sickness and in health, was reaffirmed. I'll admit, I like to be the one in control (stop laughing, those of you who know me). I like to be the person who anticipates needs and gets things done. I've acknowledged that this comes from a need to fix something in myself. I'm not sure what that is yet but I'm enjoying the journey of discovery. I think learning what makes me tick, and adjusting my behavior accordingly, is the greatest gift I can give myself.

6) Back to the goals thing, I've realized that not meeting a goal is not the same thing as quitting. I don't see myself as a failure; I see a determined, non-quitter who will pick herself up and continue on the path I've made. I am only a failure if I never try in the first place.

7) I've come to the conclusion that life's too short to keep putting off simple pleasures. Have I mentioned how much I love pie??

8) I've accepted I'm where I'm supposed to be at this moment in my life. It might not be where I want to be, but it's where I am. That has to be enough.

9) I decided to take the plunge and host my own author event in 2016. I'm so excited for the chance to meet new authors, welcome ones I know, and generally, have a blast. It's called Pages in the Caves if anyone wants to come. Here's the website - (I never said I was above self-promotion!)

I'm looking forward to a wonderful year but I also realize it will only be as good as I make it. And I plan on making it a GREAT one!!!

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to health, happiness, and prosperity.

One more thing ... 2015 gave us a Triple Crown winner for the first time in 33 years. I've never missed my dad more <3

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Do most people grow more reflective this time of year?

I do. Even though I'm not much into celebrating Christmas (my hubby could take it or leave it, and we have no kids, so...)I still get caught up in the remembrances of my childhood. My mom did all holidays up in a grand way but I think the one she went over the top with (in a good way) was Christmas. In our household, the holiday began on December 1st. As kids, we would go to school in the morning, leaving behind an ordinary house, and return to a winter wonderland. Every room was decorated, with garland and lights decking the halls, figurines and villages adorning every flat surface, spray snow on the windows, and Christmas music playing on the stereo. It was magical!

Recreating those enchanting moments were one of the things I missed most when kids didn't happen for us. For decades, I'd looked forward to bestowing that magic into my children's lives. My first few years of marriage, I tried to keep the spirit alive, if only for the hubs and myself, but his lack of enthusiasm - not that he minded if I decorated or not, it just made no impression on him - gradually dampened my passion. Add to that the addition, over the years, of dozens of furry 'children', and dangling lights and a live scratching post in the shape of a tree didn't seem to make much sense.

But as I get older, the desire to recreate my childhood Christmases grows stronger. In a few years, we'll be able to reclaim our home from our furry rescues (not that I begrudge one single moment, cat, dog, ferret, puppy, or kitten that has enriched our lives) and at that time, I'm hoping to rekindle the spark of magic that glows inside of me this time of year. Because to me, it is magical, this season of giving and loving one another just a little bit more. Laughing a bit easier and showing appreciation for what we have in our lives.

Whatever meaning one associates with Christmas, whatever traditions that find their way into homes around the world, I wish you peace and happiness, not only for this month or that one day which most of us celebrate. I wish you peace and happiness for the entire year, and the one after that, and the one after that. I wish it for myself, too. I love this nostalgic feeling and I want to keep it with me every day.

That's my Christmas wish. What's yours?

Friday, October 23, 2015

I've been down on myself lately...

I had huge plans going into 2015. I had a book release timetable on the calendar, events scheduled, and a really great attitude toward this new adventure I'd started. By March, my plans began to slowly unravel. I blamed it on lack of motivation, writer's block, being in a funk. I attempted to barrel my way through, only to become increasing frustrated when I failed to meet my goals. One month slipped into another, into another, and into another, and my lack of progress became depressing. I felt like I was losing all of the ground I had worked so hard the previous year to gain. I felt like I was letting my readers down by not publishing books I had promised. I felt like I was letting my husband down for not following through on yet another new project I'd undertaken. Most importantly, I felt I was letting myself down. After all, I wanted this, didn't I? I love to write. So why wasn't I writing?

I'm having surgery next week on my back. It's for a condition I've had since childhood, one which picked this time in my life to begin causing me problems. I have a fairly high tolerance for pain but this brought me to my knees - often literally. All of the time I spent making excuses to myself for not writing, I never once attributed it to pain. I've always been a push-through-it kind of gal and this time there was no push left. Some days I couldn't even get out of bed.

Now I know there are people out there who deal with much more than I have, and they soldier on. They have my complete admiration. Truly. I don't know how they do it. I guess you just keep going because the alternative ain't that great.

My point to all of this is, I think it's time to let myself off the hook. I can't get back the past eight months. I can't wave a magic wand and suddenly have four completed manuscripts in front of me. (Wouldn't THAT be nice, though?) I can't reschedule all of the events I've missed. All I can do is look forward. The stories are there inside of me. I can only hope that my readers are still looking forward to them. I'll make the same promises I did last year, only this time keep them. Or better yet, not make promises at all. Just take one day at a time, to coin a phrase. Breathe deeply, concentrate, feel the creative juices begin to stir. Not be so hard on myself. And if I have to start from the beginning, I will. I did it once. I can do it again.

Look out, 2016. Here I come!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I wish I were a kid again...

One of the great things about being a kid, a young kid, is that, in most cases, you're free to be exactly who you are. Good personality traits or bad, you hold nothing back. As you grow older, you begin to temper those traits to conform with what's acceptable. Sometimes it's a necessity - belting out every answer in math class as a show tune certainly isn't acceptable. And sometimes, it's our peers who decide what's 'cool' or not. We start to section off little pieces of ourselves and bury them, deep down inside our soul, so that we fit in. So that we look like we belong. So that we're normal.

What we don't realize is by doing that we're stunting the person we authentically are. We're taking our creativity and stuffing it into a pre-formed mold, hoping beyond hope that we can still reach the artistic pieces of ourselves on command. But the years go by and as adults, we're discouraged from being who we truly are by spouses and kids and jobs and life. And one day we look around and wonder, "How did I get here? Who is this person? This isn't me."

For decades, I tamped down the me I knew I was whenever something I did was met with disapproval, real or imagined. That's all it took to break any defiant streak I had. Disapproval and judgement. A scoff, a word, a look. I towed the line, rarely defying the confines of what was acceptable. But every once in a while, a spark would flare, and that person I remembered from childhood would shout loudly enough for me to hear. And I'd take a chance, risk the condemnation, and go for it. And I'd be happy.

I've reached the point in my life where I recognize the inner conflict I deal with on a continuous basis is rooted in the 'real me/me I have become' dichotomy. I don't like it anymore (not that I ever really did). I'm tired of being the person everyone else thinks I should be; the person everyone else expects me to be. The person I expect me to be.

So I'm letting go of the filaments that bind me. Tearing down the walls I've built. Digging deep to rescue the little girl who once viewed life in a completely different light than I do now. Because if I don't do this now, I'm afraid I never will. It won't be easy. It won't be something that I can do overnight, or in a day, or in a week, month, even a year. It took a long time for me to get where I am and it will take a fair amount to get me to where I want to be. But I'm determined to get there. Because I liked that girl I was. I liked her a lot.

The question is, will everyone else?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

On a personal note...

If you've read any of my prior blog posts, you may have noticed a theme. This has not been the best year for me. I've been off my game, out of sorts, and waayy behind on my projects. My life has been a pain in the ass, figuratively speaking. More to the point, it's been a pain in the back. Literally.

It began in March of this year as just another backache, a little more severe than usual, lasting a couple of days longer than one of my typical backaches, but nothing I was too worried about. By April, the pain was constant, and building rapidly. Along came May and by then, I could barely walk. Time to see a chiropractor. I found a good the best one and started making weekly visits. While he helped return certain areas back to normal, there was little headway to be made on one particular spot. An X-ray later and the culprit was revealed. My scoliosis had twisted its way out of control.

What's scoliosis? you ask. It's a curvature of the spine that occurs more often in girls than in boys. (Google it if you don't believe me.) I was diagnosed with an 'S' curve when I was fourteen, and to be honest, except for a twinge now and then, I never gave it any thought. My mistake. For while I spent the past 34 years in happy ignorance over the state of my back, my spine was executing a great rendition of a geometric angle.

The chiropractor recommended I see an orthopedic surgeon, who in turn referred me to the Spine Clinic. It's never a good thing when you're referred to the 'Spine Clinic' (or maybe it is, there's no doubt what they specialize in.) More X-rays and the verdict is in. I get to have my spine straightened.

"We can rebuild her...we have the technology...we'll make her faster...stronger..." wait - that's The Bionic Man. Oh well, I'll settle for the extra inch of height that I'm likely to gain after the surgery. And less pain in my back.

So, the next few months aren't going to be fun ones for me. Due to the pain levels I'm dealing with at present, I've cancelled all remaining signings for this year. And since I have no idea how long it will take me to recover, it's not looking promising that I'll be signing anywhere next year, either. At least not in the first half of the year. But that's okay. I have my own event to plan - Pages in the Caves anyone? - and many, many books to write. Several that I know a few people are impatient to get their hands on.

In the meantime, I'll putter along, whistling a happy tune and trusting that all of this will turn out okay.

Later, dudes...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I'm taking the plunge...

I've decided to host an author event next fall. I've toyed with the idea on and off over the past year but I blame the hubs for talking me into it. (Little did he know what he's getting himself into.)

I hear a lot of talk amongst authors and readers alike that there aren't enough events being held in smaller towns. It seems that most events are held in bigger cities or at the beach, most likely to draw in a huge crowd because, let's face it, there's a larger population in urban areas. But readers in the smaller towns want to attend events, too. And they want something within driving distance. We all know that traveling expenses can add up, and if a reader (or author) can make it a day trip, it benefits everyone.

So I chose to have the event in Cave City, KY. Although it's a small town; I'd be surprised if many people outside of the locals have heard of it; it's centrally located between Louisville, KY and Nashville, TN. (Please don't MapQuest it...I'm making an estimate.) The convention center is just off of Interstate 65 and right up the road from a bunch of hotels and restaurants. There are plenty of family activities in the area - Dinosaur World, Jesse James Riding Staples, Kentucky Action Park (can you say "zipline"?), and more caves than you can count. Mammoth Cave National Park is only a few miles away, and if small town life starts getting on your nerves, Bowling Green, KY, home of the Corvette, is 25 minutes away.

But enough about the extracurricular activities...I'm planning to put on a kick-ass event!! I already have pages of notes that I add to daily as more and more ideas pop into my head. I almost wish that the event was this September (almost) because I can't wait for everyone to come. Am I building up my expectations? Damn straight, I am!! I think I might have a little bit of party planner flowing through my veins.

Anyway, if you're an author and you'd like to sign up to attend, you can fill out this form. If you're a reader who would like to meet the awesome authors who will be signing their books, keep an eye out here. I'll be posting ticket information in the near future. And everyone needs to mark their calendars for Saturday, September 24, 2016 for the Pages in the Caves Author Event.

Would a clown be too much?? Hmmm...where's my notebook?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately...

As I've mentioned a time or two in other posts, my mojo has been off this year. Not just off. Missing. Totally in hiding. Lying on a beach somewhere in a country that has no extradition. And I've been left here, fumbling around with my writing, trying to figure out how to get back on track. Then it occurred to me. I never left the track. It's still there. What I've done is throw up HUGE mental roadblocks. That's right. I said me. Mojo had nothing to do with it. (Technically, I said 'I', but proper grammar and all that.)

I'm a worrier. I try not to be. It's not a fun thing to be. I've read all the wisdom about "not borrowing trouble", "you can't predict the future", blah, blah, blah. It's in my nature. I'm a worrier. I prefer to think of it as being a realist - seeing exactly what's in front of me and going from there. But sometimes you need a little faith ~ hope ~ wishful thinking, whatever you want to call it; a little optimism that everything will work out. So that's what I'm working on. Relying a little more on chance than on fact.

I think there needs to be a balance, and I'll be the first to admit, I'm a bit top-heavy, or bottom-heavy, as the case may be. I let situations stop me before they occur because I can't see a way to make them work. And that's what I've done this year with my writing. Oh, the writing part still happens on a semi-daily basis. It's the production of the books that's slowing me down. There are factors that go into publishing a book, factors that I can't see beyond, and rather than take a deep breath and trust that they'll be there when I need them, I sputter and stall, wondering what the point is of having a completed book if I can't publish it at that moment. And it took me more than half a year to realize it, that I am the one slowing me down, stumbling over roadblocks that I put up. Slow learner here.

But at least I've realized it. Better late than never, right? More importantly, I can do something about it, knock down those roadblocks, or climb over them, or better yet, close my eyes and wish them away. Because that's all they are...invisible barriers that my mind created. And what my mind created, my mind can change, reshape, mold into opportunity instead of misfortune. Hey, I think I hear my mojo calling.

Nice tan!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Today I begin my 49th year on this earth...

Yes, I'm one of those people who counts my birthday as the end of the year of my age. Huh? Did I confuse you? What I mean is, though I turn 48 today, it is because I've completed 48 years of life. Kinda like high school, only different. Well, maybe not that different.

Anyway, though I am one year away from starting a new decade in my life, I'm not quite ready to give up on this one. Even though I can honestly say that I'm not as far along on my journey's path as I would like to be, each year does get better. Although I do wonder why my mind and my soul still feel like they're 20 but my body feels like it's 80. Hmmmm...gotta work on that one!

Most people make their resolutions for the upcoming year on January 1st. I make mine on my birthday. Not really resolutions, rather goals, both personal and professional. I can honestly say that I didn't meet many of mine that I set last year. Life got in the way and messed with my mojo.

But all that's in the past. Today is a new day...a fresh start. Today is the day I wipe the slate clean and start over. And the goals I've set for the upcoming year are lofty ones. I'm determined to be a better person, not only to others but to myself. There's no way in hell I'm heading into my 50s on a negative note.

So, Happy Birthday to me. Here's to many, many more!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I haven't written in a while...

Not my blog post, or a new manuscript, or anything I deem worthwhile. I've kind of been in a funk lately, and though I really don't like it, I'm not sure how to make it go away.

A year and a half ago, oh hell, my whole life, I've attempted to better myself, do SOMETHING that would bring about a catalyst for change. While there's nothing wrong with getting up in the morning, going to a nine-to-five job, coming home in the evening for dinner with the family, watching a couple of episodes of your favorite show, and then going to bed, only to repeat the next day, that has never been the life I wanted. That's not to say I haven't lived it. For decades I've lived it. But I always yearned for something else - something just out of reach. Maybe I don't know how to be contented with what I have. Could be. I wouldn't argue with anyone who suggested that. Or maybe I think - know - feel - that I can be something more. Have something more. I'm not talking about fame and fortune. Really, I'm not. Okay, maybe just a little fortune. I'm talking about a life that fulfills me. That eases the place in my soul that is never quite satisfied with how I'm getting along in life. Is it supposed to be this hard? Seriously??

So back to the funk. I see myself today in the same place I was a year and a half ago, before I began writing. Oh, there are miniscule changes. I've published books, met new people, made new friends. I've learned how to do things I never imagined doing and stepped out of my comfort zone on many occasions. But when I look at the big picture, I'm still standing in the same place. Day to day life hasn't changed. It hasn't gotten better or, thank god, worse. It just is. So it makes me wonder, is the effort worth it? Is all of the time and money and emotional upheaval worth being in the same place I was when I started? Would I be happier if I went back to that nine-to-five life, vegging out on the sofa in the evenings, watching TV? I know the answer even without anyone telling me. No. I wouldn't be. I wasn't happier then, so what makes me think I'd be happy going back to that? There's something in me, deep down in the furthest reaches that pushes me to challenge myself, challenge the nine-to-five way of life, do something different, creative. So I do.

In the meantime, I attempt not to give in to the lack of progression that I see. And before anyone jumps on me about it taking time, just keep going, blah, blah, blah, I'm not only referring to the book side of my life. I'm talking about me - the person. The whole person. Not only an author, or wife, or co-worker, or friend, or mother to my furry children. I'm talking about all of that plus the parts of me that only I know exist.

I was hoping that by writing this down, getting it 'off my chest', so to speak, I'd feel better. Writing usually helps. This time it didn't. But that's okay. I'm not quite ready to turn on a Netflix marathon just yet. I don't think. Now where did I put that remote?

Saturday, June 27, 2015




By Dawn’s Early Light by Kristine Raymond

Monica Russo was more than ready to start a new life and leave her old one behind. The last thing she expected was for her car to break down in the small town of Celebration. Joe Callaghan has never quite recovered from his disastrous marriage. When he happens upon a woman stranded on the side of the road, it doesn’t take long for him to become enamored and when sparks fly, he knows he’s finally found the right woman. Once the fireworks fade, will their destinies be changed by dawn’s early light?

Ignite by Andrea Michelle

Playing with fire was sure to burn, but I couldn’t stop myself. I loved him into insanity. He left a gasoline trail across several states when he walked away from me to become a screenwriter, but I held the match that would ignite us both. Again. I’m Angel Solis and this is the story about how heartbreak, deception and betrayal can lead a person to insanity. I only hope that the madness will ignite a lifetime of love from the ashes left behind.

Moonlight and Music by Grace Augustine

Blake McIntyre was one of the most successful marketing representative in the music world. He'd built a great reputation and even taken a few artists to the top of the charts...that was until he was fired from a job he'd been at for fifteen years. Renee Manelli worked her way up the legal corporate ladder from receptionist to Chief Legal Assistant to the CEO of a prestigious law firm. One of her goals was to retire early and pursue her lifelong dream…her music. The journey that begins at 2 a.m. changes the lives of all involved. Anything’s possible When Sparks Fly.

Fireworks over Fairfield by Maryann Jordan

Welcome back to Fairfield, home of good friends and romance. Brock Sinclair retired from the military, living a solitary life, moved to Fairfield looking for his estranged daughter. Jean Roberts was a widow not looking for another love. When they meet, neither can resist the sparks between them. When an arsonist threatens the town and Jean, Brock will fight to save her. Along the way, both discover that love the second time around is just as sweet.

Something in the Mix by B. Maddox

Ivy Smith is trying to get her life back on track after a failed marriage. Everything in her life seems to be falling in place, especially now after a blast from her past reappears. However, someone else has other plans for Ivy and has been watching her every move. When Drew Evans waltzes into her life again, sparks start flying and her stalker starts making his presence known. Can Drew keep Ivy safe while figuring out who is stalking her and is there something in the mix for the two of them?

Patriotic Rodeo by J.M. Nash

Kennedy’s life would never be the same after the horrific night when her husband was brutally taken from her. She kept her heart protected and vowed to never love again, until a bull rider appeared in town. Tucker. One touch was all it took from him. Kennedy felt the fireworks start and knew that her life would forever be changed. Was she ready to let go of the past and move on or would Tucker end up a distant memory…

Fly Boy by Anne L. Parks

A weekend fling in Tahoe turns into something more for Jordyn and Grant. When tragedy strikes, Grant is left wondering what happened to the girl who stole his heart over the 4th of July weekend. When the two meet again the next 4th of July – sparks fly. Will Grant be able to let go of his pain and let Jordyn back into his life?



Amazon - U.S. -
CA -
AU -
UK -

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm great at making excuses...

Hugh MacLeod, author of Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, calls it 'hiding behind pillars'. Excuses, pillars, waiting for the stars to align...however you refer to it, I'm great at it.

I've always wondered why I'm this way. Why I procrastinate and fabricate reasons for not taking the leap, trying something new, or hell, just working on the project in front of me. And I think I've finally figured it out. Fear. Yup, that's right; I'm afraid. You want to know what I'm afraid of? Well, do you?

I'm afraid that I'll become successful. And I can honestly say that I don't have the first clue how to handle something like that. I'm not even sure how I would define 'success'. Celebrated? Wealthy? Contented? (Insert your own definition here.) I don't know. But the thing is, I know what I've got. I know what to expect from my life on any given day. Oh sure, every once in a while the universe will throw something at me that I wasn't expecting. A death in the family. A cancer diagnosis. The loss of a job. But I know how to deal with those things. It's the unknown that frightens me.

What if I'm not strong enough to handle my life changing for the better? What if I curl up into a little ball and hide in the corner, sucking my thumb? What if I pull the blankets up over my head and pretend that the world doesn't exist? What if...?

Wait a minute...isn't that why I try time and time again to find that one thing that I'm really good at? That thing that will give my life purpose and meaning? That thing that will bring me contentment? To be successful? Yeah, that's right, I remember now...

Fear of the unknown is a stupid waste of time. It sucks all of the creative energy right out of my very marrow. I want my soul back; I want to believe that great, wonderful, stupendous things are out there for me, even if I don't think that I'm ready for them. The universe seems to know when I'm ready (so to speak) for the bad stuff. Why not trust that she also knows when I'm ready for the great stuff?

So that's it. Mark your calendars. Today, April 22, 2015, is the day that I make no more excuses!!! (Okay, I could have made this proclamation a little earlier, so that I could have at least enjoyed a good twelve to fourteen hours of it, but I'll take what I can get.)

No more excuses...I'm going for it! Who's with me?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A word (or two) about book signings…

Signings are fun. They’re a great way to get your name out there, and a wonderful place to connect with readers and other authors. They can also take quite a bite out of your budget.

First, let me state unequivocally that I admire and respect the event planners who take the time (we’re talking months here…many, many months) out of their lives to put on these shindigs. I’ve seen the amount of work that goes into these things and let me tell you, if you really sat back and thought about it, put yourself in their shoes, you’d have a whole new appreciation for the amount of phone calls, interviews, and flat out, back-breaking work these people put into the events. My humblest thanks.

That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when you, the author, sign up. For those new authors out there, let me give you a word of caution. It’s really easy to get caught up in the signing frenzy that is our world. If you notice, most events sell out a year or more in advance. If you want to secure your spot, you have to pay your table fee, or at least half, up front. That can add up quickly. Eight signings a year (what I did in 2014 and what I had planned to do in 2015) at an average of $100 a spot (yes, yes, some are more, some are less, that’s why I said average), that’s $800 right there. And since the event might be a year or more out, you’re not even thinking about travel and lodging expenses yet. You just want your name on that attending authors’ list.

Now for the caution part – make sure to read the fine print (usually not so fine, I’ve never had to go digging for this) regarding refunds if life happens to step up and you find you can’t attend a signing (or three). Keep in mind that each event is different, being put on by different people, and will have different exclusions. Some signings offer a refund by date. In other words, if you cancel before a certain date, you will get your table fee back, no questions asked. Some event coordinators allow you to try to sell your spot on your own, thereby recouping your money that way. Some don’t offer any refunds and restrict the selling of your table.

Here’s the deal – the planners who are putting on the events, taking the time out of their day, get to make the rules. If they decide no refunds (and it’s stated) then there are no refunds. **Let me just say here that I have cancelled three events this year and was fortunate enough to recoup my table fees for all events** It’s difficult to anticipate what life may throw at you eleven months from now. So if you do pay in advance for a bunch of events, make sure that it’s money you can afford to lose because you may or may not see it again. I know, I know, I’m not in the position to lose $100, either. But if the event planner was upfront about the refund conditions (and I wouldn’t sign up for one without knowing what those are), then you know what to expect.

So, be wise and thoughtful about your signings. And I’m saying this from experience. Give some thought to your total expenses; not just the table fee. Consider travel expenses, eating out, lodging, and let’s face it, you know you’re going to be splurging on some books! You want this to be a fun experience; one you look forward to, year after year.
And don’t blame the hosts if you can’t make it. You wouldn’t expect Katy Perry to refund your ticket if you ended up getting sick the night of the concert. Signings are no different.

One last thing to keep in mind; you will attend awesome events and you will attend lousy events. Again, I speak from experience. No matter your experience, have fun and meet people. That’s what it’s about. Sure, you can mentally file the bad ones away so that you don’t go to them again. But I never once felt (well, maybe once) that my money had been wasted at a signing. Because I met readers, hung out with other authors, in most cases did some sightseeing, and overall had a wonderful time. Oh, and sold books! Yeah, that’s right, that’s why I go to these things.

Remember – quantity isn’t better than quality. And an awesome signing will stay with you for the rest of your life!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why I write...

I've thought about this a lot in the past year. Why do I write? It's not a calling for me, like some authors I know. I didn't win any grade school contests or have my sophomore essay raved about in those hallowed halls. Sure, I wrote poetry as a teenager; some of it good and some of it painfully horrible. I toyed with the idea of writing a book 'someday', not because I had aspirations of becoming an author but because I thought it would be a cool thing to do. So why do I write?

There are several things about me that few people know. In fact, I think only my husband knows all of them.

First - I always like to be doing something. Not necessarily something physical. I'm not into sports or hiking or anything like that. But I truly believe that the only way to make my life be more than it is, is to be doing, learning, creating something. Anything.

Second - I've always felt deep down that I have a creative streak, I've just never been able to figure out what it is. I enjoy crocheting, and I've made a ton of jewelry. (see pic of my poor dress form loaded down with pendants).
I've tried painting (pictures, not walls), and even attempted to make my own greeting cards. And while I've had fun stringing, dabbling, and cutting, none of those hobbies satisfied my creative nature.

Third - I have very little confidence in the things I create. I'm hyper-critical of myself, finding fault with everything I do. The finished product is never good enough for my liking, no matter anyone else's opinion.

It wasn't until I began to write that I felt something shift and fall into place. Suddenly, all the years of buying beads and yarn and paint seemed to lead up to this. The act of taking words from my brain and weaving them into satisfying tales fulfills the creative urge that builds inside of my soul, (although I will admit, the process is frustrating as hell), and putting my work out there for everyone to see forces me to free my inner critic (to a point).

So there you have it. That's it. That's why I write. I've finally found my creative outlet. Am I any good at it? Who knows. Maybe. I know I could be better (there's that pesky critic again). But honestly, I always think there's room to improve no matter what I'm doing. I like the freedom writing offers me. The freedom to create what I want, the way I want.

That's why I write.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I dislike February...

I haven't always. The second month of the year held no special meaning for me whatsoever. It was a countdown towards Spring; the last full month of potentially crazy winter weather; a month of chocolate hearts and valentines. It was a month like all the others - until three years ago. February 15, 2012, my father died. It was unexpected; and though I'd spoken to him on the phone just days earlier, I hadn't seen him in over a year.

I was Daddy's girl; still am, I suppose. Every day I miss him, though thankfully the sharp, stabbing pain through my heart has eased into a dull, throbbing ache, lingering on the fringes of my soul most of the year.

Though it's not through conscious thought, my mood begins to change around the first of February. Always a vivid dreamer, I am tormented in sleep by images of death and torture; I am chased by unseen pursuers; I am prone to violence, defending myself against those who wish me harm. By day, I am moody and unable to focus. I drift from task to task, not sure how or if I will accomplish anything. I know that it's my subconscious dealing with the loss, but I wish I knew how to make it stop.

I love my Dad; I always will. Tears roll down my face as I type this. I don't cry for him often, but occasionally a moment will occur when I think, "I need to tell Dad about that" or I see a news item about something we would have discussed. It hurts, but usually just for a few minutes, then it recedes back into a general kind of melancholy. Except this month.

So if I seem a bit off, I apologize. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately, mostly to myself. I hope that with time, the dreams will stop, the lethargy will turn into something useful, and I'll feel like a normal human being again.

How many days until March?

Friday, January 30, 2015

I have a lot to learn...

In fact, I never want to stop learning. And while I believe that the people who are in our lives hold vast amounts of knowledge, I also believe that I don't necessarily need to know it all.

Confused? Let me explain...

Everyone has their own way of interpreting information. Presented with the same exact set of facts, people will interpret those facts in different ways. That's why when there are six eyewitnesses to an accident, six different accounts are given.

I appreciate that everyone has an opinion, especially on a subject which touches their life. I've been known to have an opinion myself, a time or two. Authors are no different. Read an article or a blog written by an author, and you'll be privy to all sorts of information; how to write from a character's POV, whether you should or shouldn't use purple prose, slang usage do's and don'ts. There's a plethora of knowledge within our reach if we're willing to open our minds to it. And herein lies the issue - while I appreciate a person taking their time to pass on what they've learned, I try to keep in mind that their knowledge is just that; theirs. It's the way of writing that works best for them, and their stories.

I remember reading an article once that explained you should never use the phrase "his eyes followed her around the room". The reason being that eyes cannot follow anyone; they are not able to walk around on their own. Their gaze is what can follow a person. For some reason that stuck with me and every time I write about someone's eyes following someone, I am conscious to change it to gaze. Should I? Not necessarily. I think that most readers know what it meant if they read "his eyes followed her around the room". I'm sure they're not envisioning a pair of eyeballs floating unencumbered behind the character.

So did the article I read have any merit? Yes, to the person who wrote it. Is the knowledge useless? No, not at all. The information I gleaned from that article keeps me aware of my word usage every time I write. Waiting for me to get to the point? I guess it's this. Be open to new ideas, to other peoples' ways of doing things. Learn as much as you can about everything. Then, filter out the stuff that YOU can use, and use it! Make your work be the best that it can be. Don't get hung up on whether you're doing it the right way or not, or if you're doing it like someone else.

Learn, filter, then be an original!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My biggest flaw...

Well, not really my biggest but certainly not my only. One topic at a time...

Comparing myself to others. I do it every day. I'm not competitive by nature; at least not with other people. My biggest competitor is myself. And that means, no matter what I do, I will never win.

Regardless of the project that I'm working on, I never think that the finished product is good enough. Others may rave (stop laughing) but I can pick out at least a dozen things that could, not necessarily should, be changed.

It took me a long time to figure out that I want a career as an author. It actually came upon me quite suddenly, truth be told. I always knew there was something missing; I just didn't know what it was. Writing, publishing, signing, yes, even marketing, fill the hole that's been in my soul for 47 years. So what's the problem, you ask?

Comparison. I know authors who write every spare minute that they have. They get by on three hours sleep a night, work 40-50 hours a week at their day job, shuttle their kids to extra-curricular activities, and still manage to log 3,000 words a day. I feel like I'm lacking if I can't match their pace, as they scribble furiously between bites on their lunch hour. I feel like this proves that I don't want it badly enough. How can I want this as a career if I'm not writing EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of my life?

Comparison. I have to constantly remind myself that I'm not them. I'm me. I work at my own pace. It doesn't mean that I'm lazy or want it any less than anyone else. It's means that I'm wired differently; I function differently. I can't force the words to come (believe me, I've tried.) I've sat in front of my computer for three hours at a time, staring at the same paragraph, desperately searching for the right words. You know what? The words do come. In their own time. You know how I know that? I've published five books. Five complete stories that are more than words on a page. They're tears, frustration, struggle, low self-worth. They're me.

I've read a lot of the self-help books that tell you to give up your negative feelings, that you are your own worse enemy (I believe this one), to think positive thoughts and positive things will happen. I know what I should be doing to succeed. If only I could let go of that little voice that tells me that I'm not good enough. That what I create sucks. That it could be better if only I'd change this or that.

Our inner battles with ourselves are worse than anything the outside world can throw at us. So let's stop the war, lay down our weapons of self-degradation and low self-esteem. Exchange them for self-confidence and self-worth. Believe in ourselves. But most of all, burn the flag of comparison. It has no place in any of our lives. We are all individuals. And no one can ever take that away.

Now if only I could take my own advice...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My writing process....

People ask me about my writing process and my answer always sounds kind of obvious. I just write. I don't have any rituals that I go through before starting. No special mug filled with Earl Grey tea brewed at a perfect 180 degrees. No certain chair adjusted to exactly twenty inches. The shades don't have to be drawn halfway, and it doesn't matter if my desk is clean or messy (which is a good thing because it's usually messy!)

I just write. I sit in my cat-hair covered chair, at my messy desk, turn on my computer, open up my Word document, and write (or type, as the case may be.) I don't worry about word count or chapter length or number of chapters. I don't stress out if one paragraph is longer than another. I tell my story, the way that I want to tell it. Want to know why? Because that's what makes it mine. It comes from me, deep down in my authentic self. It's a story that I choose to share with my readers, a story that hopefully they will love as much as I do. But I write it for me.

That's not to say that I don't wonder how a certain scene will be received. Will readers love that I disfigured a main character, killed a puppy, or let the bad guy off the hook? Probably not. (Just to be clear, I've never written any of those things...yet. **evil grin**) But I have to write what I feel; what I think the story needs to move forward.

So my advice to you, whether you are a new author getting ready to type your first word, or a seasoned pro who has already published a gazillion books; just write. Write what you love, what you feel in your soul.

That's what makes a great story!