Tag Archives: a writer’s life

Devices, Devices, Devices!

Today I’m channeling Jan Brady!

marcia

The reason? Because I need to whine a little and Jan’s iconic “Marcia, Marcia, Marica!” just resonates so well for that.

The other evening, as I was plugging in my iPod, cell Phone,  laptop and Kindle to charge, my husband was brushing his teeth with his electric toothbrush. When he was finished, he looked at me–struggling to get everything plugged in for the night in one little over loaded  outlet– and then down at his brush and said, “How many extraneous electrical devices do you think we own?”

“Define extraneous?” I said.

“Something we use that we could use something non-electric for. Like our toothbrushes.”

I thought about it for a moment, counting everything I used on a daily basis that needed to be charged or plugged in to work, and then said, “None. Everything we use we need.”

“Really? Do you actually need all that”–he pointed to the overloaded outlet–“all day, every day?”

“Yes.” No hesitation on my part at all.

And I’m being truthful.

“What about all the other things, like the microwave, your hair stuff, your lighted makeup mirror, the fans you keep blowing all day and night? Those aren’t superfluous?”

“No.” I should have known he wouldn’t leave it at that. Dog, meet bone. The definition of my husband.

“Why not?” he asked.

Ticking all the items off on my fingers, I gave my best argument ( debate club alum, remember?).

“When you work late and come home hungry but don’t want a full dinner, the microwave is the perfect thing for either reheating something, or making something small and quick for you. You’re hungry and you want to eat NOW not in 30 minutes after the oven has preheated. I need my blowdryer and all my straightening hair devices and tools because you know I look like I have a bird’s nest on my head if I don’t straighten my hair. There’s no other safe way to do it if I want to avoid the myriad of chemicals needed to attain non-pubic hair-looking status. Since I am in the throes of menopause and we don’t have robots or droids to fan me all day long to keep the heat at bay, I need those fans on or else I am in a perpetual state of sweat. Not attractive. And as for the lighted makeup mirror, I have two words to say on that subject: cataract surgery.”

A little disclaimer here so you get where I’m coming from: When I had cataract surgery it killed my near vision – I have perfect distance, but can’t see anything 5 feet or closer to me. I need, absolutely NEED that lighted, magnified makeup mirror or else I’d never feel confident in what I looked like to go out of the house and not scare children, the elderly, or small pets.

“And your computer, phone, kindle, iPod and Ipad? Those are necessary to your health and well being every single day?”

“Yes on all counts. I need the Ipod when I go to the gym ( 5-6 days a week) or else I’d be bored out of my gourd, and if I’m bored and not distracted enough, I won’t finish my workout, so that would be a waste of time. I need the iPad to watch my tv shows  when we travel. I need the Kindle to, you know, save trees. I read so many books every week. Just think of all those poor trees I’d be killing. It’s actually an act of Christian Kindness and Mercy to use the Kindle. Do I really have to explain the necessity of the phone? And as for my computer, well, my editor is not going to accept a handwritten manuscript.”

I took a breath. “And as for the toothbrushes, the dentist said our teeth are healthier since we started using them. Do you want gum disease? Excess plaque? Halitosis?”

He stood there, staring at me, while I prepared some other reasons why I needed every electrical device known to man to survive on a daily basis. I truly hoped he wouldn’t get me started on the necessity of dishwashers and vacuums. There’s a reason we life in modern times. If I’d been born in the dark ages ( aka the time before electricity when it was, truly, dark!) I wouldn’t have survived. In even older times? I would have been one of the ones eaten for the others to stay alive. And I would have been happy to make the ultimate sacrifice just to get away from the dark and cold and tedious.

There’s a reason I don’t camp, peeps ( aside from the going to the bathroom in the woods – never gonna happen!) All that wilderness living? Yeah, not for me. I’m like the character in Private Benjamin who said she joined the army for the condos and travel vouchers, not the marching and tents.

goldie

After a few seconds of staring, my husband shook his head and got into bed without another word on the subject.

Score!

When I’m not using every electrical device know to man you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Editors, Life challenges, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

My life in three words….

and those words would be, “Help me, Jesus!!”

Let me ‘splain.

I’m doing a presentation for my Romance Writers writing group in March 2017 and then giving it again at a conference to the New England Romance Writers group in April. It’s a good talk, even if I do say so. Timely and to the point. Plus dotted with humor.

But, I digress…

The lecture/talk is accompanied by a POWERPOINT presentation. Now, I am a great talker. I could ramble on for hours about any topic that strikes my fancy. I was on debating club in school so I can argue for both sides of almost any discussion. But I have never before used a machine to aid me in my discussions, and this is why I need celestial help. I have no freaking idea how to effectively use PowerPoint.

Now, because this is, well, me, and most of the things I’ve learned about in life I’ve learned about in books, I did the logical, smart, quick thing to do and bought a PowerPoint Manual. 2 in fact. Powerpoint for Dummies, ( because this is, like, me!) and Teach Yourself Visually PowerPoint.

Last night I started learning how to navigate through the PowerPoint system. Chapter one was called NAVIGATING THE POWERPOINT INTERFACE. Okay, what?? Navigate and Powerpoint I knew the definitions of. Interface? No friggin’ clue. This is Webster’s definition of Interface:

  • a device or program enabling a user to communicate with a computer.
  • • a device or program for connecting two items of hardware or software so that they can be operated jointly or communicate with each other.

Okay, once I got over being panicked by a simple word, I read on. How to choose a theme, how to decide on a design, how to create a SLIDE, how to navigate around the RIBBON. That’s another word I had trouble with because, you know, RIBBON signifies something I tie my hair back with or the backs of fancy dresses.

I dutifully created my first slide after about 50 stops and starts and deletions and begin-agains. I had some text – no pictures yet because my mind was boggled by now – but a starting point.

Okay, so now, how to save it? I did everything the manual instructed me to do. Perfectly, I might add, the first time.

Then I went back to check and see where the document had saved to and….couldn’t find it. Yup. Two hours of sweat down the drain. Another fifteen minutes of frantic checking and I “found” it listed in an obscure compartment titled PRESENTATIONS. Well, Du-uh and FML!

2 hours and fifteen minutes on just one slide. Here is what it says because –of course– I couldn’t figure out how to cut and paste it here!

Romance and the Baby Boomer Generation

or

Writing Romance about and for the Seasoned Crowd.

2 hours fifteen minutes, people. For that. At this rate, my presentation will be complete in 2020.

When I’m not pulling my hair out trying to learn something new, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Pet Peeves, research, Romance, RWA

Bribery…and why it works so well during NaNoWrimo

So this is a totally ridiculous, narcissistic blog post today. I’m going full honesty here and tell you how I stay motivated to write so much during the NANOWRIMO challenge. Be prepared…you may learn something that clouds your opinion of me forever.

Okay…Taking a huge, cleansing breath…Here goes.

I bribe myself to keep writing.

I know! How awful is that?? I should be writing because I want to, not because I’ll get a reward if I do. The 50,000+ word book SHOULD be the reward. The ONLY reward.

But no, it’s not.

I start off with a mountain of motivation each morning as I sit at my laptop, fingers flying across the keyboard, giving full vent to all the thoughts and scenes and dialogue that have been running through my brain for the previous 8 hours – the time I should be sleeping but, well,  you know. Chronic Insomnia. The brain that never shuts down. That’s me.

Anyhooooo….

I start off like a speeding train and about hour 2-3 I start to get a little fatigued, a little distracted, a little, well, bored. I know I have many more words to write – can feel them jumping out of my fingertips in their efforts to break free from my mind – but I start to wane. To keep myself glued to my chair ( figuratively, folks) I’ve developed little bribery rewards for my diligence. Here are just a few of the things I pamper myself with for my perseverance at the laptop:

  • If I get another 1000 words down, I’ll have a cup of tea and a Peppermint Patty
  • If I finish this chapter I’ll troll thru Amazon and look for new books to read
  • If I hit my 2500 minimum daily word count, I’ll schedule a facial this afternoon
  • If I can get this dialogue perfect in the next 20 minutes, I’ll go get lunch at Panera.
  • If I exceed my daily goal I’ll go shopping for makeup/skin care products/perfume, in other words, I’ll go to Sephora.

See how this works???

And isn’t it ridiculous? I didn’t raise my child to do what’s right in life by bribing her. I would  have never even thought of that. Her father and I taught her to do what is correct simply for the reward of getting it right. We didn’t say, “do you your homework and you’ll get a cookie. Get an A on a report and I’ll take you shopping.” We never even gave cash for good report cards. The end result – the good grades – was its own reward. None other was needed.

Why can’t I, then, as a fully formed and functioning adult, heed that wisdom?

See? I told you your opinion of me would get clouded.

Le sigh….

When I’m not ruminating on my hapless state or bribing myself to go on, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+

And if you are in need of it, here’s a little distracting motivation for you to peruse and ponder…nano23

you’re welcome………

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, NaNoWriMo, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

NaNoWriMo…How to make it a habit

nano

Three days down, 27 to go. So, how are you doing?

In yesterday’s post, I shared with you that I thought the main impetus behind the NANOWRIMO culture was to get writers into the habit of writing every day. I believe that. I live that.  But that got me to thinking, what exactly does it take for something to become a habit? To become so ingrained within your psyche that you don’t even question why you’re doing it, you’re just doing it?

When I was in nursing school (a 175 years ago!!) I remember reading in one of my psychology courses that it takes 7 days to make something a habit and 21 days to break it. That always explained -to me at least- why it was easier to gain weight than to lose it!!  Think about it….

But I digress.

Since I read that first article, lo those many years ago, I’ve actually heard those numbers disputed. At the end of this post I’m going to list a few links you can peruse and decide for yourself what the actual number may be, but suffice it to say, habits don’t form OVERNIGHT. They take time, dedication, and concentration before they are so ingrained in your thought processes that you just do them. Without thinking about what you’re doing or saying, Or even singing.  Like when you hear a song on the radio over and over again ( do people still listen to the radio??? Heehee. I’m old) until you’ve got the words memorized. They become  a part of your unconscious thought processes.

Here’s something that’s fun to do with friends. Don’t even stop to think – just respond the moment you read what I’m about to write. Ready?
Trix are for ????

ChooChoo Charlie was an ?????

It’s fingerlickin’ ???

Between love and madness lies  ????

?????. There is no substitute.

Takes a licking and keeps on ????

How many did you get correct? If you said all, you need to know you’re probably in the majority and not just super smart. Sorry! But the reason you got them all (or most of them!) correct is because you’ve heard these slogans over and over and over and….you get the idea….again. The first rule of advertising is to make sure people remember what you’re selling. How do advertisers accomplish that? By repeating, reminding, and reinforcing the product name or slogan so many times over a course of time that your brain automatically shifts to it the moment you begin to hear the slogan or jingle. The slogan becomes, for lack of a better word, a memory habit. You know what’s going to be said as soon as you hear the first word or so.

Well, the NaNoWriMo challenge is a bit like that. You write every single day, no matter what, no matter where, until you’ve become so used to pushing words out everyday, you continue doing it even after the challenge ends.

Does that make sense to anyone other than me?? I hope so.

So…onward. Keep writing EVERY SINGLE DAY. No matter what, no matter where, no matter what time it is. You’ve got this. 3 days down already. Just keep pushing and moving through.

Here are some articles on making something a habit I found interesting. What I find really interesting is that a few of them dispute one another, but that’s just me!

http://jamesclear.com/new-habit

http://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/18-tricks-to-make-new-habits-stick.html

And just because some people may not know all the answers to the above slogans/jingles, here they are:

Trix are for kids. (Breakfast cereal)

ChooChoo Charlie was an engineer. (GoodNPlenty candy song)

It’s finger lickin’ good. ( Kentucky fried chicken slogan)

Between love and madness lies  OBSESSION ( really lousy smelling perfume. My opinion. Don’t hate me.)

PORSCHE.  There is no substitute. (Ridiculously expensive male-menopause car)

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. ( Timex watch slogan)

And here’s a little eye candy motivation to keep you going strong on the challenge….nanosuperhearos

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NaNoWriMo, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

Goal vs. Dream

womensweekendad2016-copy

So…I’m giving this motivational speech next month at a woman’s weekend retreat and I’ve starting putting my thoughts together on what I want to say, the points I want to highlight, and the ideas I want to leave the women with.  And by starting to put together I really mean I’m starting to panic about what to say!! I’m going to use this blog piece as a way of organizing my thoughts, so please bear with me!

I’ve always asserted that there is a distinct difference between having a dream for yourself and having a goal. To prove I’m educated in the difference between the two, here are the definitions:

A goal is: an aim or desired result

goals

A dream is: a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal

dreams

Now, just looking at the two you might think they really are the same thing. But I don’t think they are and here’s why.

I always had a little dream to write romantic fiction and have it published. My dream was to be able to support myself as a writer and have the people who read my stuff like it, be loyal, and want more of it.  That was it. Just a dream. A little fantasy that played out in my mind time after time. I’d  imagine myself going to book signings and have the waiting line for my table be out the door and around the block! I’d make every bestseller list out there, and talk shows would be clamoring to schedule me whenever I had a new book released. Amazon would list me as a preferred author and my Goodreads page would be off the chart with followers.

Okay, so it was a BIG dream and not really a little one.

What turned my dream into a reality was when I set a goal for myself centering on that dream to write and publish. I put an action plan behind my fantasy. I set a time frame for what I wanted to happen, the means to make sure it did, and took steps to promote and push it along to fruition.

See the difference? My dream was ephemeral, just a thought, an idea, a wish. My goal put action behind the fantasy to make it come true. To break it down even further ( for you literary and English majors!)  my dream was a noun and my goal was the verb.

Make sense?

Now, of course,  I’m going to expound on that a lot more when I give my talk. I do have to fill an entire hour and not just a three minute ready-to-read-piece like this one! But I think my idea is solid. How I got to live out my fantasy, my dream, how I made it happen, will comprise the majority of the speech. But for now, I have a starting point, so thank’s for listening and ANY WORDS OF WISDOM would not only be appreciated, they would be cherished…so feel free.

Here’s the info, btw, if you want to attend the women’s weekend retreat and see me make a fool of myse–, er…hear me speak: Camp Takodah

and…if you can’t make it to the retreat, here’s where you can find me:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor