It’s day 2 and I’m over at Lisa Hazelton‘s talking about…what else?,,,writing and my new release!! Stop by and take a chance on an Amazon gift card!
Category Archives: #Mfrwauthors
I live in New England where in Autumn, there is no prettier place to be, so this topic may be a little skewered to the FALL for me!!
For me, the best part of spring is the sense of ANTICIPATION I get. Flowers are starting to peek up from grass that is finally turning green. Daylight doesn’t disappear at four p.m. We shed our protective outerwear and begin to make plans for all the holidays to come – Memorial Day, The fourth of July, Labor day.
With SUMMER, I turn LAZY.
Mostly because I don’t like to sweat and the heat makes me clammy, so I tend to just not move much, hence, lazy. But….the days are longer and filled with …more. More of everything. More sunshine, more flowers, more ice cream, more vegetables growing in gardens, more reasons to relax.
AUTUMN, as I’ve said, is my favorite season.
Even though this is a season where things begin to wind down, I have to tell you the best part of this season is that I tend to RE-ENERGIZE during these months. When the leaves change and turn colors, I tend to clean out all the clutter from my house and life. I know I should be doing this in the spring ( they don’t call it spring cleaning for nothing!) but in the Fall, when I spend more time in the house and not outside in the heat, I fill the time with reorganizing, restructuring, and culling from my life, be it clothes that no longer fit, books I’ve read that need to be donated to the Library, or rearranging the furniture to satisfy my inner feng shui.
All the books I need to write for the next year; all the changes I need to make in my life in order to be a better person; all the things I need to do for the rest of the year that will lead to my happiness.
SO…what? You thought I’d write that the best part of winter is Christmas, gardening in Spring, picnicking in Summer, and apple picking in Fall? Well, duh! Of course those things are good. But for me, it’s not about the things, it’s about the feelings. Romance writer, remember? HeeHee
…and I’m sure my fellow #MFRWA authors have totally different takes on the best part of the seasons, so stop by their blogs and read all about it!
Before I answer that, let me explain something.
Most of you probably know by now ( because I’ve mentioned it ad nauseum!) I’m the only child of divorced parents. My parents separated when I was an infant and quickly divorced, each realizing the mistake they’d made. Too bad they didn’t realize it before a child came into the mix, but that’s just my anger speaking.
Mom worked full time and I rarely – if ever – saw my father. On the occasions I did, the day usually ended with tears.
Fast forward to my teen years. Suddenly and without warning, my father wanted to be a presence in my life. I was an overweight, myopic, shy, and wicked smart girl ( which earned me no points with my peers!) who had no friends. So when my father wanted to be a part of my life, actually asked to spend time with me, I was, to say the very least, thrilled. Our weekend visits became more frequent, and I spent an entire summer at his home with him and my step-mother ( a truly lovely woman). For the first time in my life, I felt like someone wanted me around; wanted to spend time with me. Me.
Fast forward to the college years. My decision to go to nursing school instead of into medicine drove a bit of a wedge between our relationship. To this day I feel the only reason my father wanted me to go to med school was because he wanted to brag about “my daughter the doctor.” To an uneducated, never having graduated high school man, this was, apparently, a big ego boost to him and I’d shot an arrow into his happiness bubble by refusing to be a physician. Our time spent together turned infrequent again. He claimed it was because he was working hard. He may have been. But I knew the real reason.
More years go by and it’s time for me to get married. What should have been the happiest time of my life…wasn’t. Let’s just be truthful here and say when your parents are divorced and they need to be together at an event supporting you, there is a great deal of tension in the air. The tension at my wedding and during the time leading up to it was so thick even a Roncomatic knife wouldn’t have been able to cut through it.
I didn’t see my father for almost 4 years after I married. Then I had a baby. You’d think that as the only grandchild my father would have been all over this child like white on rice. He probably would have if I hadn’t been the mom.
My daughter is now 28 and I haven’t seen my father since she was 8 years old.
Why did I tell you all this? The title of this MFRW blog piece today is supposed to be 5 ways to win my heart. For me, there is really only one way to win, claim, and keep my heart. And that’s to give me the precious gift of your time. Time is so fleeting, that any amount of it we can spend with, and give to, the people we love most in the world, is a good thing. All I ever wanted was someone to think of me enough, love me enough, to want to spend time with me.
So, the way to my heart? Yeah. It’s a straight road if you only take…the time.
This piece was a little depressing even for me, but I bet the other authors in this blog hop have happier tales to tell. Why don’t you hop on over and see what they have to say?
I’ve mentioned before that I’m blessed and lucky to be retired so I can write whenever I want, for how ever long at a stretch I want. This usually adds up to 5-9 hours daily, depending on everything else in life that needs to be taken care of : laundry, grocery shopping, exercise.
But….there was a time not too long ago where that wasn’t the case. I worked outside my home at a job I detested, so writing was relegated to the back burner. During that time I’d sneak a few minutes before getting ready for the day to jot down a few lines of dialogue. Or I’d bring my lap top to work me so and take a solitary lunch so I could finish a scene. My menopause insomnia ( don’t laugh. It’s a real thing!) was good for one thing and one thing only: I used my inability to sleep to write in the middle of the night when everyone else was dreaming. My first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, was completely written between the hours of 1 and 3 am.
My husband worked, my daughter was out of the house, so it should have been easy to eek time out of the day to write. But it wasn’t because, you know….life.
Balance is a hard work for some people and for me it’s one of the most difficult concepts to accomplish. I never felt like I was giving my all to anyone or anything when I was working and writing. I am in awe of writers who have small children, volunteer at their school, plus work and have husbands/wives they need to care, in addition to homes that need to be tended. And by tended, I mean cleaned! Those writers truly have super powers that I do not possess. They can write a book, bake cookies for the school fund raiser, prepare nutritious meals for dinner, and everyone has clothes to wear, even on laundry day.
These writers have found their inner balance between writing and life.
I never did. It was only when I retired from that despised job that I was able to finally devote the time necessary to each part of my day and not feel as if I was cheating some aspect of it along the way.
So the title of this piece is Managing my writing time. I’m doing pretty well now that I don’t have any place to be during the day light hours – and by that I mean I don’t have to go to a job location. All my friends still work, so there is no one I can get into Thelma and Louise trouble with during the day and the last time I went out to lunch on a weekday was way back in the beginning of the summer. I have no life, really, and I think I’m doing just fine!
Find out what the other authors in this blog series do to manage their writing time because they all have, you know…lives! I don’t! heehee
oh, peeps, there isn’t enough space in one blog posting for this topic as it applies to me!
Quick look at some of them: I bite my nails, I stress eat, I emotionally eat, I eat when I’m bored ( you get it: I EAT!) I have knee-jerk reactions to things, I’m impatient with people. The list goes on and on and…..
You get it.
So, instead of picking one of my own terrible character flaws to expound on in this piece, I’ll stick to a bad writing habit. (It’s easier and less demoralizing!!!)
The worst writing habit I have is that I am not focused. I tend to flit from project to project, book to book, plot to Pinterest, continually, taking forever to finish one thing.
Every night I make a list of the writing things I need to get done the next day. The list usually has between 5 and 10 items ranging from: finish current WIP plotline, to write Friday blog piece, to everything I have to post onto Hootsuite. Interspersed into those writing necessities are things like: do laundry, go to bank, iron. Here’s yesterday’s list:
And every day my list is completed to about 90-95 percent. I rarely have 100% done because…you know….life.
But still. 90-95 percent is great.
Yeah, it’s not, really, though. The 90-95 percent stuff that gets done, does so in drip and drabs. When I should be working -totally invested in- my current wip, I will write a little, stop, do one of the things ( or more) on the list, then MAYBE get back to my writing again later on. After errands….laundry…..lunch.
It gets frustrating at times that I can’t just sit down and focus all my attention on the one thing that I want to, namely, just write.
Is this procrastination? Distraction syndrome? Or is it just the flitting and meandering mind of a woman whose husband claims “has too much time on her hands?” HeeHee
I truly don’t know. My mind never rests, never stops, never says, “Whoa there, Nelly. Let’s focus on one thing at a time.” NO. My mind is like the genie in the Disney Aladdin, in constant motion, never calming, never taking a breath, always in motion, going from one thing to another.
And you know what else it is?
Me. That simple.
So, bad habit, curse, or just the way I’m made, my mind will continue to meander. My thoughts will continue to jump from one thing to the next with lightning speed. My focus will remain….un. (Focused, that is!)
Want to read about other authors and their “bad Habits?” click on the links below and visit them. Leave some love. Or support. Or encouragement….or, wait…is it raining? let me go look…..
My, my, my….there are so many ways to interpret what the title of this week’s blog challenge is. I’m going to go with the first thing that came to MY mind when I read it, namely, as a romance writer, do you write sex scenes openly, or do you leave them for behind closed doors?
The sexiest thing about that book was its lack of sex. No hand holding, no touching except with gloves on and while dancing, no stolen kisses behind chaperone eyes. Lingering looks and side glances were the extent of the sexual tension shown. And I wouldn’t even go so far as to call it tension. More…expectation.
For hundreds of years after that book was published, the majority of romantic fiction remained the same. The hero and heroine fell in love, had their troubles, then got married. The End. The wedding night was never detailed; their children seemed to be sent from God as immaculate conceptions. You literally didn’t know how they got it on in the bedroom.
Even in the movies things weren’t shown. Remember the great staircase scene in Gone With The Wind?
A drunken Rhett scoops his wife, Scarlett, up in his arms and carries her up that grand staircase, the light fading behind them the higher he goes, his intent obvious. End of scene. Cut to the next morning with Scarlett lounging in bed, a girlish blush on her cheeks, and our imaginations left to run rampant on what occurred after the fade out and the bedroom door was shut in our faces. (Click here to see the actual filmed scene)
Fast forward a half century.
A little independent movie called The Devil in Miss Jones opened and sex – raw, in your face ( and every other body part) sex between two people…and even more than 2 people at once – was now on view for all to see and be…entertained by. It wasn’t shown in back street, urine smelling alleyway hole-in-the-wall porno theaters, but right on Main Street, USA movie houses. The people who stood in line for hours weren’t pedophiles or sex perverts ( although, I’m sure there were a few of those!) but everyday men and women, NORMAL people who were intrigued -and let’s be honest, titillated – about this movie and its usually forbidden subject manner. It became an overnight cult classic that was accepted and viewed by the mainstream majority.
If you could watch sexual acts among consenting adults openly in the movie theater, sitting next to your neighbor, your boss, your politicians, even your doctor or dentist, why the heck couldn’t you buy a book and read about it openly as well?
And while this wasn’t classified as a romance story but as literary fiction – nowadays it would be referred to as Women’s Fiction – it was a runaway bestseller and the major reason it was is because it talked about people having sex — and showing it!! All kinds of sex in all kinds of places – and I’m not just referring to locales, but to different orifices! (Orifi?)
This new openness about sexual acts opened that bedroom door and they invited us in. All in! Before those two burst on the romance writing scene, if you wanted to read about what consenting adults did in the privacy of their bedrooms, you had to go to a certain brand of book shop and wander in the erotica section because that’s where the books with sex were kept. Or behind the counter and you had to – blushingly – ask for them by name and author.
Once that bedroom door was opened, it hardly ever closed again. Sweet romances still sell – a lot – but the majority of romance books written and sold now all have open bedroom ( and every other conceivable place and room) doors.
I’m with the majority on this one. I like reading about open bedroom doors and I write about open bedroom doors. In its baldest sense, I have an open door policy for my writing. Pun intended. I read all genres of romance except pure erotica. I do, though, read and enjoy erotic ROMANCES because –HELLO!!!– romance is the major part of the equation. A really good writer can devise a “love scene” where you never even realize the physicality of what you’re reading as much as you do the emotions involved in the physical aspects of what’s on the page. And let’s face it, if you’re getting a little…turned on…both emotionally and physically by what you’re reading, that author has done her job. I long to be that type of writer!
To quote the late and amazeballs George Michael,
“Sex is natural, sex is good
Not everybody does it
But everybody should
Sex is natural, sex is fun
Sex is best when it’s, one on one”
from I WANT YOUR SEX
Now, there are a bunch more authors in this blog challenge who may have interpreted this blog title just a little bit differently than I have. Let’s hop over and see what they’ve come up with, shall we?
Hop on over to this link for a chance at a HUGE RAFFLECOPTER prize to celebrate Long and Short Reviews Anniversary. Read the blurb and answer the question! The bonus of clicking? You may find your next favorite book and author….like….me! Cooking With Kandy
Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .
Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .
and that I bake? A lot? More about those things in a bit….
Today’s topic is what I do to recharge. By definition, recharge means: to regain one’s strength and energy by resting and relaxing for a time; or return to a normal state of mind or strength after a period of physical or mental exertion.
By virtue of those definitions, something must be done for a person to need to break away from to rest and regain their momentum.
yeah…not me. I’ve said this multiple, ad nauseum times: Writing is my oxygen. Without doing it, like without breathing, I would die. So I really have never come to a place in my life where I felt the need or desire to walk away from it for a while to reenergize my brain.
What I do, in essence, though, is take breaks during the day for the other things that I love to do: cooking is one. Making things is another. Let me ‘splain.
Those are my banana walnut muffins. The picture doesn’t do them justice about how big they are. Trust me: for the normal person they would not be a snack but a meal. For hubby though, who likes to graze, they are a snack. When I get stuck on dialogue or a plot point isn’t moving along the way I want it to, I go from my office to the kitchen and bake for an hour or so. Usually, that time away from the laptop, consciously writing, commands my unconscious brain to deal with the problem. Problem gets solved and I’ve got baked goods as the outcome.
The other things I do are along the crafty spectrum. I love to decoupage and restore old “things.” The things I love to restore the most are old trunks and steamer trunks. Here’s a project I did last year:
If you look super close you will see the cover of my first book SKATER’s WALTZ on there! Yeah, I”m not too conceited! ( sarcasm added). I also have my second and third book covers There’s No Place like Home, First Impressions )on the other side of the trunk! Yeah… I know.
I also paint. I’m not great at it, but it is very relaxing. One of the newest things I’ve been painting are those canvass produce bags you are now required to bring to most supermarkets to cut down on the throwaway plastic bags filling our landfills for the next 10,000 years. Since I’ve been writing a new food series — WILL COOK FOR LOVE — it seemed appropriate to give these away at book signings to people who want the books. Clever marketing tool meets relaxing hobby.
Now, I realize that my way of de-stressing isn’t exactly what other authors do. Let’s be honest, what I do sounds more like work to some people!!! Visit some of these authors to find out what they do to re-charge, energize, and how they cope with the stressors of life when they aren’t writing.
Because I have a scientific background, I’m a planner. That’s why I classify myself as a plotter for writing. But I digress….
I plan. For everything, Disasters, worst case scenarios, major illnesses, disease, pestilence, and plague. I have enough non-perishable food to last through the next zombie apocalypse, and if we get hit with a nucelar warhead, we’ll have clean water to drink..and douse ourselves in (!) So it’s no secret I’ve got a plan for the next ten years of my career.
Originally, when I started writing full time in 2015, I had a 5 year plan. I exceeded all the goals on that plan by 2017, so I broadened and increased it to 10 more years at the beginning of 2017.
Here are a few things on that new career plan:
Get an agent
Have at least 1 NYTimes and USA Bestseller, if not more.
Have a movie made out of one of my books – a good movie, at that, None of this wrecking the story by putting it on film crap!
Have at least 2 books per year, if not 3, published every year
Make enough money to hire a personal assistant who will do all my web media. ( since you all know how much I hatehatehate self marketing!)
Win a RITA ( or 2)
There are more things, but I didn’t feel I needed to share everything.
So…check back in 2027. Until then, I’ll be working on my plan.
I retired in 2015 when I got a book contract. I’d worked for about 150 years as a nurse in varying specialties, then as a contact lens technician. By the time I left the nursing profession I was dog tired, emotionally wrung out, and psychological drained. Having a full time job that could be at the same time uplifiting and soul-sucking was difficult. I figured retirement – and the oppportunity to write full time – would be much more relaxing and enjoyable.
What’s that old saying? You make plans and God laughs?
yeah…story of my life.
I figured writing full time would be a cake walk. Hey, I didn’t have to get dressed in professional clothes everyday any more, do my makeup, hair, and coordinate my wardrobe. I could stay in my pj’s all day and not even put on deodorant if I didn’t want to. ( I do, just for full disclosure here!)
That easy, carefree life of a writer I imagined? yeah..not so much. A few months ago I did a blog piece about a simple question my husband asks me every day at dinner: “So, what did you do today.” My usual response? “Worked.”
One night I figured he really needed to hear what I actually do under the definition of “work,” so here’s what I told him.
4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.
405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 16 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.
530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day. Made bed.
630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank. Got gas and went to the dump.
930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.
1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 3 in new cooking series.
1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.
130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 3 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. ) Folded dried laundry and put it away. Ironed shirts.
5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.
545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.
630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.
7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 3
830-10 read Netgalley again
Midnight-2 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.
Now, mind you: I have no children at home who need to be tended to, ferried places, or shown love and attention. I don’t currently, have a pet. My friends all work at full-time jobs out side of the home, so ladies who lunch is not on my menu. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, or have spa days. The last time I went to a mall my daughter was in college and I had a panic attack from the crowds. I simply write all day long.
But there’s nothing simple about a day in my life.
So, how do you think the other authors in this blog challenge spend their days? Find out by clicking on the links below