Author and Wild Rose Press sistah, Brenda Whiteside had been reposting some of her favorite blogs from the past. I was lucky enough to be included in that list and here’s what she shared today:
Tag Archives: #amwriting #amblogging
Lovelovelove this challenge this week!!!
We all have (or should have) dreams, wishes, desires that we want to accomplish/do someday. Just like the movie it was named for, these dreams are called our Bucket list.
I will admit, mine was an empty list until 2 years ago. Up until then the only thing I wanted to do was make it through the day, upright, healthy, and fairly unscathed.
Then I got a book contract….and retired from the work force.
And then I allowed myself to dream about what I wanted for my future. I’ve narrowed it down to five because that’s all the blog post allowed for, hence the title!
In no real order, the top 5 things I have on my bucket list are:
Visit Hawaii – and not just visit – take a helicopter flight over the islands, swim under a waterfall, climb the Road to Hana
Skydive with my daughter. She’s already done it so I figure, go with an expert!
Make the USA bestseller list – this one is a little farfetched, especially since I’ll need a runaway bestseller in a category that’s glutted ( contemporary romance) but hey! It’s a wish list, so why not?
Open a charitable foundation – the concept of to whom much is given, much is expected rings sosososos true to me. I have been blessed. Spiritually. Career-wise. Financially. I want, one day, to empower others the way I have been. By paying forward my blessings, I can accomplish this.
I can’t wait to see what some of the bucket list items for my fellow blog challengers are. Click on their links to find out:
See this picture? What do you notice first? The keyboard? The notebook? Or is your eye drawn to that Bridal Cake Christmas ornament?
Yeah, mine too.
I found the ornament in Michael’s Craft store the other day and bought it on the spot. Why you ask? Well, I’m gonna tell you.
I think I’ve mentioned in a few previous blogs that I’m the kind of person that puts action and intention behind wishes and dreams.
I made those wooden book holders for my books because I have a dream to someday be published in hardback, not only in digital and paperback. By making those boxes and placing my paperback books inside of them, it gave the illusion of a hardbound copy. So, see? Dream…intention…action….hopefully it’ll come true.
I’m using the ornament the same way, as:
- a reminder
- a talisman
- visual prompt
The reminder is for me to think good and positive thoughts about the new Bridal Series I just sent to an editor ( who asked for it!)
The talisman is for the ornament to–hopefully– bring me luck with getting these books published.
The visual prompt is so I stay focused because sometimes I start to lag a little when I’m waiting for things to happen.
Cute, isn’t it?
The next time you see that ornament on any of my social media will mean I have good news to share….
So, this is the first time in my NaNoWriMo history that I got to the 50,000 word mark in so short a time span. Yesterday, I hit 51,000 + words. Yay, me!
But I’m not done yet. I’ve got miles to go in word count, plot points, characterization, etc, before this little book in officially deemed DONE!
Why did I get to this point so quickly this year when other years I’ve struggled to get to my minimum daily word count?
I think the real reason, aside from plotting ( which I always do) is that this time I actually saw the entire book play out in my mind like a movie, from beginning to end. A movie I really enjoyed watching and one I wanted others to go see ( metaphorically, of course, because you can’t, like, see into my brain – that’s another genre, not romance. HeeHee)
I’m uber motivated to get more words on the page and will continue to track them on the NaNo website. But as far as the NaNoWriMo powers that be feel, I’m a winner.
Winner, WInner, Chicken Dinner!!
Okay, so did I admit I’m tired, too? And punchy with it?
So, after missing last week because I had nothing to contribute to the topic, I thought long and hard about this week’s prompt. Originally, I had an entirely different posting planned. Then the terrorist attack in NYC happened. I tell you this because of the person I’m going to highlight as my inspiration.
My beautiful daughter lives in Manhattan. Now, she lives nowhere near where the attack took place. But she was four blocks from it at a conference during the time it occurred. Sitting in my little cocoon of an office in New Hampshire, writing away, I knew nothing about the event until she texted. Once she did, I was all over the news wires like white on rice.
The text said If you hear about a shooting on the West Side, just know that *** ( her boyfriend’s name) and I are okay. Can you just imagine the ice water that sluiced through my veins when I read that? As I said, I immediately turned the news on and watched the entire event unfold — as most of America did — in real time. What in the world did we ever do before we had cell phone cameras?
My instinctual reaction was to tell my daughter to come home. Move from her apartment, give up her job, come home where it’s safe and sound and I know you are okay.
That, as I said, was my first reaction. I did no such thing, of course, because we’re talking about my daughter here. She’d already lived through the Boston Marathon bombings when she resided in that town. She’d sheltered in place with one of my nieces who was attending MIT at the same time, and survived the ordeal a stronger, more determined person.
When I’d asked her to move home then so I could be assured she’d be safe, her response had been, “Then that lets the terrorists win because I’d be running away from my lifestyle and the life I’ve made. Their goal is to instill terror so we bow down to them. I’m not moving. I’m not giving in. Aren’t you the one who taught me the Tao of NGU NGI?” ( Never Give Up Never Give In).
Well, yes. I was. It’s very humbling having your words tossed back at you, especially when they’re used to prove a point.
This time, when terror struck, I knew better than to state my case for her coming home again. My daughter, who was born in a tiny town in Wisconsin, is a true New Yorker. She’s got the grit, the determination, the steadfastness I so admire in anyone. She will go about her living her life — as all New Yorkers do — more determined, more focused, more kick-ass.
Oh, and just to walk the walk and talk the talk? She’s running the NYC marathon this weekend. No crazed lunatic of a terrorist is going to make her change her life.
I guess it’s pretty obvious now that my lovely daughter is the person who inspires me the most. She inspires me to be strong, determined, steadfast, daring. She’s encouraged me to live outside my little box, explore the beautiful world we live in, and to make each day a testament to freedom and love. By living her life as she does, she’s setting an example to people everywhere, especially her mother.
Now, the other authors in this blog hop all have people who inspire them that they want you to know about, too. Click on the links below and visit them. Leave some love and pass it on. And be an inspiration to someone if you can.
Yes, it’s November. You know what that means.
No, not colder days (Brrr), daylight savings time ( a stupid idea), or Thanksgiving.
It’s time for NaNoWriMo.
For the next 30 days, millions of writers around the globe will attempt to bang out 50,000 words in a new novel. Some will succeed. Some will…not.
I hope to succeed. More to come on that.
I can still be found here daily, despite being locked in a cave, typing:
Today I get to introduce you to another of my wonderful, talented, and prolific Wild Rose Press sistahs, Karilyn Bentley. Karilyn writes in a genre I am ashamed to say I don’t know much about: Urban Fantasy. But I’m going to rectify that today because the little snippet of her current work she’s talking about today sounds amazeballs! Come and meet Karilyn….
Karilyn,The Writer Questions
- What drives you to write? The stories and characters in my head keep talking to me and I have to put them on paper or go nuts!
- What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why? Currently, I write urban fantasy. I started off writing paranormal and fantasy romance, but something about the urban fantasy genre drew me in. I love to write in first person with a snarky female heroine.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Historical, paranormal, mystery, and urban fantasy are my favorites. I like to be taken to a different place when I read, and of course, I need the HEA.
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every day but oftentimes am not successful. I work mornings at the day job, so I try to write either in the afternoons or the evenings.
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? We moved last year and prior to that, I had my own office. When we moved, my desk went into the room where my hubby works from home, but instead of using that desk, I now write at the kitchen table. The view is prettier. And I don’t have to listen to hubby’s conference calls. J
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I need almost total quiet. I can’t even put on headphones or listen to music. Spoken words distract me when I try to write. (Peggy here: me, too!!! I should live in a sound booth that keeps all noise out!)
- Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? Nope, no music. Too distracting!
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? It’s part of my urban fantasy series so I am trying to wrap up plot threads. J But, the original idea for the series was a cross between an old TV show and a nurse who has problems. I wanted it to be a little funny, a lot snarky, and have a bit of a mystery.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Usually plot, but for this series, the main character came to me first. I wanted to tell Gin’s story. But now that I have her character in my head, it’s the plot that comes for the other books in the series.
What 3 words describe you, the writer?
Slow. As in, I’m one of the slowest writers ever!
Pantser hybrid. As in, I have to know where the story ends but nothing else.
Karilyn, The Person
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
- I can’t leave the house until the bed is made. (Peggy here: oooo! Me, too!!)
- Who was your first love and what age were you?
- I was in love with a little friend from the time I was 3 until I was 12. Yeah, crazy. As far as men goes, I’d have to say it was my hubby. J
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….
- Oh wow. I have no idea. But that’s a great question! There are a lot of things I’d like to do again (as in places to travel to) but I’m not sure about one day.
- Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?
- What three words describe you, the person?
- Funny, a good friend, likes to listen (Okay, so that’s more than three. I’ve never been good at math. Ha!)
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?
- I can’t sing!!
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? Claire and Jamie from Outlander. They always seem to be having an adventure, so I’d go along with them.
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
- I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound — My windchimes
- Least favorite sound – I know it’s cliché, but anything that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard (am shivering just thinking of that noise!)
- Best song every written – Too many to pick just one!
- Worst song ever written – I don’t like country/western, but not sure it’s the worst ever written.
- Favorite actor and actress – I love Harrison Ford and Robert Redford. Not sure about the actress, I like several of them.
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)
- A guy, just to see how the other half lives. (Peggy here – this is one of the best answers EVAH to this question!!!)
- What turns you on?
- What turns you off?
- Rude people
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)
- I can’t believe someone asked you that on your first date! Here’s mine: “Let’s go to Hooters. They have good wings.” (they do have good wings, but let’s face it, that’s not why the guy wanted to go)
- What’s your version of a perfect day?
- Sleeping in late, drinking several cups of coffee while sitting on my deck and reading a book.
- DEMON CURSED
- Gin Crawford, the world’s newest demon huntress, just wants to enjoy a football game, but finds herself hunting a serial killer minion instead. When his victims turn out to be the local football star’s female fans, she must determine if the player has joined forces with the minion, but her efforts lead her deeper into danger. When her mentor, Aidan Smythe, is attacked, Gin resolves to go to any lengths to save him, even if it exposes her most tightly held secret. Minions and demons, however, aren’t the only terrors she faces. Will she realize the greatest danger lies within—before it’s too late?
- Excerpt:I shake my head at him before straightening my shoulders. And slapping a hand over my mouth and nose. Yuck. Hours-old death in humid Texas weather makes for a smelly situation. At least I’m not the only one with their hand, or handkerchief, over their mouths.“What happened?” Smythe meets the gaze of each guard and the hyperventilating janitorial women who clearly found the body.One of the women points to where the body lies in front of the Dumpster, flat on her back, hands resting in classic death pose on her bloody stabbed chest, a red rose clasped in her fingers. Her open eyes stare into the night, her mouth curled into a grimace of pain and death. Her clothes look like she came from a club: tight, short, and low-cut, with spiky heels. At one time, I would’ve been jealous of her hot-to-trot figure. Now all I notice is the pain and terror stamped on her face and the unfurling anger deep in my core.Fucking murderers. I might be a fancy-assed demon huntress, but I destroy minions, not human killers. Lucky for me, I can tell which type of kill this scene belongs to with little effort.
Closing my eyes, I start to take a deep calming breath, think better of it, and focus on activating my minion sensors. Tapping into the power of the entity lying along my nerves, I open my eyes to a tactical grid display of reds and oranges, a clear indication of a minion’s presence at the scene.
Looks like I’ll get my wish to annihilate the bastard who killed this poor woman.
A little more about Karilyn
- Karilyn Bentley’s love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, a crazy dog nicknamed The Kraken, a silly puppy, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.Connect with Karilyn here: Website // Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter //Blog // Goodreads // Pinterest //AmazonPeggy here: Karilyn, it has been such a privilege and joy getting to know you, today! Much luck in all your future endeavors! Keep writing.
I will admit this freely: I hate a preachy book. You know the kind. The book that just bleeds with not-so-hidden messages for the reader. The book that condescends to the reader, the author making sure you know he/she is so much more educated than you on the topic.
It even happens in romance books. I read a book years ago by an author who I won’t name ( and never read again!) whose secondary character was basically a doormat and let every person in the book walk all over her because she thought that’s how she deserved to be treated since she was a bastard. All through the story, her internal dialogue droned on and on about how she was unworthy of ever finding love because of this. In the end, she winds up alone and caring for the heroine’s two children. The life lesson I took away from all that drivel, and the one I really think the author intended: bastard children don’t deserve happiness.
Yeah…that’s why I’ve never read anything by this author again.
When I set out to write a book I don’t automatically think about the life lessons that should be incorporated into the story. For me, I think the story itself and how the characters move in and out of their lives, should decide this. Looking back on my books I can objectively say these have been the basic life lessons I’ve written about:
- Trust is earned. Every day. (First Impressions)
- Everyone deserves a second chance at love. (There’s No Place Like Home, The Voices of Angels)
- You can’t be all things to all people and you are stronger when you let people help you (Cooking with Kandy)
- First Impressions aren’t always the correct ones (A Kiss Under the Christmas tree)
- Forgiveness is a gift (3 Wishes)
- Family is more than just the people you are related to (Skater’s Waltz)
I don’t preach in my books. That’s not my job. My job is to entertain the reader. If the reader gains any insight into her own life, or sees parallels within it from the storyline, then that’s a good thing. What isn’t a good thing is if I’ve insulted the reader by presenting a situation or a problem that may be comparable to something in their own life, and then telling them this is how the situation should be solved. No. Not gonna happen.
Life lessons are important. No one is denying that. I just don’t want to get slapped in the face with it when I read. And, I also don’t want to be the one slapping!
I’m sure the other authors in this blog hop are just chock full of life lessons, so why don’t you hop on over to their sites and see who they handle writing these lessons in to their own books.
Today, I’m over on the Contemporary Romance Writers blog talking about the upcoming RWA conference. I’ve include dthe text here if you don’t want to follow the link.
Here’s the text:
A few weeks ago, I blogged about what to do if you’re attending the Annual RWA conference for the very first time. Being a first-time attendee can be daunting and overwhelming. So many fabulous courses to choose from; the amazing publishing spotlights; the free books, oh Lord, the free books. That moment when you realize your favorite author of all time is in the same elevator as you.
It’s all heady stuff and those of us who are conference veterans know the feeling well. Which is why I want to concentrate on us old timers today and what I think our responsibilities should be when we attend the conference.
My very first RWA was in San Antonio in 2015. First timers are given an actual stick-on to place on their name badges stating they are first timer conference attendees. Like everyone else, I attached my badge banner after registration. I was standing by an escalator nervously trying not to look conspicuous and awkward in my solitariness the next day, when author Shirley Jump approached me and introduced herself. She stated she was an RWA Board Member and asked how I was liking my first conference. She asked what I wrote, was I published, what chapter did I belong to, all questions that engaged me in conversation and put me at ease. She was absolutely charming, lovely, and (if you’ve never seen her) gorgeous. She made me feel so special, I went about the rest of the day feeling less like a fish out of water.
Knowing that she took the time to reach out to me, a total stranger, to welcome me to RWA and to encourage me to take advantage of the parties, courses and workshops, gave me such a feeling of acceptance and belonging.
The next year, as a seasoned conference attendee now (LOL) I remembered that encounter and did the same thing Shirley did: I reached out to several people who had first timer banners on their badges. I introduced myself and then engaged them in conversation about their experience the same way Shirley had.
It felt marvelous to reach out that way. I met three women who were much the same age as me, who were at that point in their lives where they wanted to devote themselves to their writing more and were attending the conference to network, see what was happening in the industry, and take advantage of some of the fabulous workshops and courses. They even asked me advice on publishing. Imagine. Me!
Ego-boosting stuff to be sure.
Every year since then I’ve made it my business to connect like that with first timers. And every year I’ve made more writing friends because of it.
Every one of us who write has at one time or another felt that solitary, awkward, what-am-I-doing-here feeling. RWA is a supportive community of writers in all phases of their publishing careers and we should embrace one another on all those levels. A smile and a word of encouragement go a long way when someone is feeling out of place or overwhelmed. So, I’m challenging all of us RWA seasoned members to reach out this year to a first-time conference attendee and welcome them into the community we all love so much. You just may make a novice writer’s day. And conference.
As the Secretary of my chapter’s local RWA, I’m always thinking of ways I can help get the writers in my group motivated. Okay…let’s be honest: I’m always thinking of ways I can get myself motivated to write and I just use them as the excuse!
I write every day. I’ve mentioned that ad nauseum in this blog. But just because I write every day it doesn’t’ mean I wake up every morning with happy butterflies swarming around me and snow-white unicorns frolicking in the living room, thrilled to start the day’s writing session, my brain filled with award winning ideas and storylines. There are mornings ( a lot of them, truth be told) where I am just brain-fart dead and thinking of what to write makes me queasy.
So…in an attempt to get myself to finish the two books I have due, I’ve promoted a summer Mini-NaNoWriMo session with my NHRWA chaptermates.
I mustn’t be the only one who needs a fire lit under them during the summer days because a whole passel of them are writing along with me.
The rules are a little different from the month-long NaNoWriMo of November. We have 2 weeks – not 30 days; we can set a daily word count, a weekly one, or a total two-week count of any choosing, not the standard 50,000 words dictated by the NaNo-Gods. There is no official website to track progress, just a little ole’ Google.doc where I’m keeping track of everyone’s counts.
Easy peasy. No pressure.
I’ve got motivational memes lined up, words of writing inspiration and motivation saved in a NaNo folder, and I’m going to have little writing sprint sessions throughout the days to pushpushpush, I mean, HELP, my fellow writers. And ultimately myself!
My goal is my standard 2500 words per day, so after 14 days I should have………….(sorry, math isn’t my thing) 35,000 words. We’ll see how that goes.
Pray for me!