Tag Archives: writing life

So, how was your day?

Every evening when my husband comes home from work and we sit down to dinner, he asks me two questions. How was your day, and what did you do today?

My answers are invariably the same. Good. Went to the gym and worked.

By worked, I mean I did writing stuff. It sounds so inconsequential when I just say worked, so I decided to give you ( and hubby) a breakdown of what I do on an average day, so here’s what happened the other  from the moment I woke up until I finally went to bed for a few hours ( chronic insomnia, remember?)

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 6 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.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank.

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 2 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 2 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. ( book 3 is already done!)  Folded dried laundry and put it away.

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 2

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-4 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

So…..how was your day, and what did you do?

When I’m not exhausted, you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

My newest release, COOKING WITH KANDY is available now in e-copy and print on demand from:

kindle // Apple // Google //  Kobo //Nook

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Strong Women

Why #writers need to #recharge.

I’ve been going at 120 miles per hour the past 3 months – ever since the New Year. I’ve got two books in final edits and galleys, I’ve got three more I’m working on for release at the end of this year and hopefully the beginning of 2018. I’ve committed to blogging more and am going to the gym 5-6 times per week. I’m doing a presentation at a conference next week, in addition to traveling 4 major times this year  ( airplanes, people!) to other conferences. I’ve got a brand new book out  TODAY and am doing promo for it as well.

This is all in addition to my normal life stuff. You know: cooking, cleaning wife-ing

Oh, and I’ve got Dancing With The Stars in 15 friggin’ days, so practice, practice, practice!

It’s only the beginning of April, but I feel like I’m burnt out already. Or I did, that is, until this past Saturday. Saturday night I did something I haven’t done in a long, looooooooooong time: I went out with friends.

Thank God and all that’s Holy for friends.

These friends don’t write.

These friends are all my age ( give or take a few months).

These friends all have children the same age as I do.

I have a history with these friends that doesn’t include plot lines, story arcs, or Capezio dance shoes!

And these friends keep me grounded while at the same time recharging my soul.

It was so wonderful to spend a few hours just talking about nothing and everything. I didn’t think once about how terrified I am of giving my presentation to a (hopefully, fingers crossed) large audience next weekend. I didn’t for one second agonize over a line of dialogue that I just couldn’t get right. I didn’t think about my feet, sore, and huddled in Merrel’s because they were so swollen from dance practice.

I didn’t do anything other than simply be, have fun, and laugh.

My hermetic existence is a given. I accept that I need to spend long stretches of time alone just so I can get my stories on the page.  I know I let world changing events float by me without so much as even a comment or a consideration just so I can finish a chapter. I get that sometimes I’m grouchy and pale and my eyes look like they’re bleeding because I spend countless hours staring at a computer screen. I accept all this and I go with it.

But it felt so blessed GOOD to not think about anything other than the conversation drifting around me.

God gave the world so many wonderful things. Free-will; faith; chocolate; wine. But the best thing he gave us was each other. People. Friends.

If you haven’t talked to or seen a friend in a while, call them TODAY! Not email, not a text, Actually put your mouth to the phone and speak to them. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

When I’m not wallowing you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

And as an added reminder, TODAY is the day COOKING WITH KANDY is released. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet ( and that begs the question “why not?”) here are the links:

Amazon //B&N // Kensington // Kobo // Apple // Google 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, Project Graduation, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

Words that make me go “ick”; #Mfrwauthor #52WeekBlogChallenge

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I could write a dictionary here, folks. Truly.

Okay. Words have power.

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Anyone who’s ever been bullied or taunted as a child ( or even adult) knows this in their soul. Words can spear you straight through the heart, cut you off at the knees, and slice into your gut.

 

Late comic George Carlin made a million bucks doing a routine called the 7 Dirty Words. In 1972, he said these 7 words in a comedy club, forever immortalizing them:

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

It is now 2017.  45 years later than when Carlin first spoke those words in public. Since that time, society has shifted in what it deems inappropriate language use. Even just a few years ago you wouldn’t hear commercial television characters uttering anything worse than an occasional “Crap!” as an invective or a curse. In a recent show on NBC, I heard two characters say the second and last words above before the first commercial break.  Cable television has no such restrictions on language and I can tell you truthfully, I have heard every one of the above words – and a few more I hate – said without a flinch by the actors.

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In America, we live by the law of freedom of speech. It’s a good freedom. We can share opinions that differ, dialogues that intrigue us, and books that elevate and entertain us. And while that basic freedom is challenged every single day, it still stands strong.

But…

There are some words, expressions, and phrases that shouldn’t be said aloud. Remember, words have power to hurt, maim, and incite.  As a writer of romantic fiction, there are some words I would never use in a book. You probably think those words are slang ones for things related to the sex act. You would be wrong. I have no problem using words – slang or otherwise – to describe anatomy. What I do have is trouble using words that are mainly pejoratives. Words that do not belong in public speech or on the pages of books.

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So…words that make me go “ick.” In no particular order, here they are:

twat, cunt, retard,  any variation of the “N” word ( I can’t even write it, it’s so hateful). Any word that is derogatory to an ethnic group ( kike, wop, etc. You know the words I mean) I truly hatehatehate the word MOIST. I shudder when I write it.

Every word mentioned above ( except for moist, because that’s just my own particular hatefest word) is a pejorative. A word that makes me quiver and quake with anger, because they are used in totally negative ways. I see no positive translations in any of those words.

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Words that DON’T make me go ick? Any word that falls into this category:

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‘Nuff said.

Because this is week 9 of the 52 week MFRW authors blog hop, here are some other authors who are also writing about words that make they go “ick” today. Check them out…

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

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I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, First Impressions, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A #visit with #author Donna Simonetta

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You all know I lovelovelove introducing you to authors. It’s one of the most fun things about having a blog and a forum for writing. Today I have a real treat. I recently sat down with author Donna Simonetta for a little chat about….stuff. She’s got a new book out TODAY from Wild Rose Press called A SWEETER SPOT, and she graciously allowed me to share a little of it below. SO, sit back and prepare to be dazzled.

Here’s Donna… THE WRITER

  1. What drives you to write?

I have always wanted to write. I remember going to Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut as a child and looking at the stacks to see where my books would be shelved once I was a published author. However, real life got in the way, and I explored other career options. After a health scare made me evaluate my life, I realized I always wanted to write, and there was no time like the present to try it! So I did. And I love it, in a way I’ve never loved my work before.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

I write contemporary romance–some with strong fantasy elements, like in Angels Fly, and some without fantasy, such as A Sweeter Spot.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

The earliest romance books I read were historical. To be specific, Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. Loved them way back in the day, and still enjoy re-reading them now. However, now I also enjoy contemporary romances with a little humor and a little steaminess. Think Jill Shalvis or Rachel Gibson.

  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

I try to do something related to my writing every day, but now that I’ve been published, sometimes it’s more promotional in nature, but there’s nothing I love more than sitting down and writing. I work part-time in a school library, which limits my writing time during the school year, but I do try to set aside time every day to work on something related to my writing.

  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

My husband jokingly calls where I write my “Command Center”. I sit in our living room, with everything I need in arms reach. I keep a basket next to me, piled high with papers and notebooks related to my current work-in-progress. Right now, that would be the third book in my Rivers Bend trilogy, which focuses on Jason Braden, the youngest Braden brother. I’m enjoying writing about the woman who can make him leave his playboy ways behind! I’m also working on a ghost story that I’m really excited about!

  1. 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 am not someone who does well in total silence! I like to have some sound in the background. Maybe that comes from my years of being a librarian in a boys middle school library. There is always noise there.

  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

I do like to listen to music when I write. However, when I’m working on editing/revisions, I prefer music without lyrics. I find that they distract me from my own words at that point in the writing process.

  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

The kernel of the idea for my ghost story was a house my Aunt Em lived in for a while in Salem, Massachusetts. She was a social worker and the house was an old sea captain’s home, which housed the agency where she worked on the first two floors. She lived on the top floor, and family lore had it that it was haunted. While visiting when I was a child, my mom had an eerie experience there that I’ve knicked for my ghost story. I’ve transplanted it to Richmond, Virginia, but its’ origins are in Aunt Em’s apartment in spooky Salem!

  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

The character comes first for me. I start a new notebook for each book, and flesh out my characters right away. I might have an idea for the plot, but I feel that so much of what happens is character-driven, so I like to establish the people first. That way, I know how they’ll respond in any given situation.

  1. What 3 words describes you, the writer?

Happy. Passionate. Organized.

And Donna…the Gal

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

I met my husband over the telephone before I met him in person. I was working as an Account Executive and he was my client.

2.Who was your first love and what age were you?

I had LOTS of crushes over the years–ask any of my girlfriends from my teenage years. The first one I remember clearly was in fourth grade. But I have to say that, sappy as it sounds, my first and only love was my husband, and I was thirty-one when I met him.

3. 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….

My husband and I go to St. Pete Beach every year to celebrate the end of the school year. I would happily relive any day there, over and over and over again…white sand beach, tropical cocktails, a good book, my honey?? Who wouldn’t want to relive it every day?

4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?

Hmm..boxers or briefs…so maybe boxer-briefs! Commando seems like it comes with an inherent risk of harm.

5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?

My best friend lives in Ireland and last year she gave me a gift of a monthly beauty box delivery. Through it I discovered Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm for my hair, which is kindly described as ‘curly’. A more realistic word would be ‘frizzy’. A little dab of this stuff and it calms that frizz right down! Hard to find in the U.S., but…wow!…is it worth it!

6. What three words describes you, the person?

Funny. Loyal. Hardworking.

7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?

Elvis Costello, (What’s So Funny ‘ Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding.

8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?

Nancy Drew. And we would solve a mystery together. (Peggy here: that is sososo cool!!!)

Why? I had all the Nancy Drew books–passed down from a cousin, and I treasured them. I read, reread, and reread all of them. Again. And again. To have the chance to drive around in her roadster with Nancy, Bess, and George, while we solved a case, would be a dream come to life for me!

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound

The surf. There’s nothing more soothing than the sound of waves.

  1. Least favorite sound

Alarm clock on a weekday morning.

  1. Best song every written

This is a tough one. There are a lot of songs that I really love. Joni Mitchell is a favorite. Her songs were always like short stories, or poems.

  1. Worst song ever written

The Macarena came on at the spa the last time I was getting my hair cut, and it was even more dreadful than I remembered. And really long. My hair stylist and I couldn’t imagine who would pick it for a spa music rotation. At the first chord, she rolled her eyes and said, “Lucky you. You’re here for Macarena o’clock.”

  1. Favorite actor and actress

These are old school answers, but the truth is Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are my faves. ( Peggy here – love them!!!!! Bringing up Baby, The Philadelphia Story – classics!)

  1. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)Living or dead? How about imaginary? I would like to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer for one day. Preferably in the Spike years, not Angel. I would love to see how it feels to be so strong, powerful, and totally kick-ass. And a petite blonde.
  2. What turns you on?

As you can probably tell from most of my heroes–I like a man who is intelligent, with a sense of humor. Kind, with a little bit of an Alpha thing happening.

  1. What turns you off?

Arrogance and rudeness.

  1. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)

I can’t really think of an answer for this one, but I have to say that I love yours! Too funny! Peggy here – and it’s true!!!

  1. What’s your version of a perfect day?

I have two versions of a perfect day, but in either case it would have to be summer. I am not a winter person. In my vacation version, I would like to be on a beach somewhere, with a gentle trade wind blowing, a good book, no pressures or responsibilities. In my everyday version of a perfect day, I would get up, have a cup of coffee with a hazelnut flavored creamer, put on some music and write! Not so realistic in this version, would be servants taking care of cooking and laundry! Hey, what’s a perfect day without a little fantasy, right?

Blurb:

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Magda knows a 28-year-old shouldn’t run away from home, but Rivers Bend is the ideal escape. Helping out her best friend will get her away from her uber-wealthy, controlling grandmother and duplicitous ex. She doesn’t expect the quirky little town to feel so much like home. Add in hotter-than-the-sun Jeff and his daughter, and leaving seems as unthinkable as it is inevitable.

Raising Sam alone, Jeff knew he wanted her to grow up in his supportive hometown. The arrival of a feisty new tenant sends Jeff’s world spinning. Magda fills a void in his life that he’d like to make permanent.

Will love triumph over the most powerful woman in the country, and can they figure out how to make this happy-for-now in Rivers Bend into their happy-ever-after?

Excerpt:

“Being cheated on is no fun. It happened to me once. Up here,” he tapped his forehead. “You know it’s not your fault. But here,” he tapped his chest over his heart. “You feel like it has to be your fault – like you could’ve done something to prevent it. But you couldn’t have. It’s all on him, Maggie. Not you.”

She picked a dandelion, whose flower had turned into a puffball, and blew on it, scattering the fluff to the wind. “Maybe. Maybe not. But thanks for the support.”

She pushed to her feet and took a couple of steps toward the river. Jeff rose and followed.

How could he be so angry at a man he didn’t even know? How could this Pierce jerk have slept around on a woman like Maggie? And the prick had even made her doubt herself in the process. It was written all over her anguished face.

He stood behind her and gently kneaded her shoulders. He turned her to face him and cupped her face in his big hands.

“This Pierce guy is the biggest fool on earth to go to someone else when he had you at home, Maggie.”

She blinked away tears, and he felt his heart constrict. Before he could think it through and decide it was a really bad idea, Jeff dipped his head and captured Magda’s lips in a gentle kiss.

Buy Links: Amazon //TWRP //B&N //

A little more about Donna:

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After years working in the business world, my love of reading led me to get my MLS, and I currently work part-time in a school library, a job that allows me lots of time to explore my other love – writing romance! I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

You can connect with Donna here:

Facebook // Twitter

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

An #Interview with #author C.B. Clark…

 Today I’m introducing you to author C.B. Clark who paid me a visit a little while ago. I gave her the usual author interview and her answers are not only illuminating but insightful.
cherishedsecretschristineC.B.  has always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn’t until she lost her voice for a year that she considered writing her own romantic suspense stories. She grew up in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology, she has worked as an archaeologist and an educator, teaching students from the primary grades through the first year of college. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.
Please enjoy this interview and stick around because C.B. is giving you a little taste of her newest release, CHERISHED SECRETS.
C.B. : The Writer 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

On #gym disasters, #rockmusic, and #earbuds

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A little disclaimer. I go to the gym 5-6 times per week. Sometimes I just walk on the treadmill and watch mindless television shows on my iPad for an hour, racking up my steps on my FitBit Charger HR. Others, I work out with machines and weights and then speed walk on the treadmill to fast rock music. I tell you this boring stuff so you have a head’s up about what’s to come next (!)

The other day was a weight/machines/fast walk day. I  was just finishing up the cool down on the treadmill, getting my heart rate back to a normal, non-galloping rate, and enjoying Prince’s WHEN DOVES CRY as my cool down song. I’d put a link here to it on you-tube, but because of proprietary laws, his estate has removed them. prince5

Anyway.

I finished, pressed my Fitbit to stop recording my timed workout, then shut off my iPod and yanked my earbuds out of my ears. Here’s where the day turned-almost-to a disaster.

Apparently, I yanked so hard I caused a suction buildup between my inner ear and my earbud. This is what it looked like:

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Notice there is a white safety piece on one side and not the other. Where was that piece, you ask? Well, I think you can guess. Yup. Still stuck in my ear.

I tried to pull it out but it was lodged so securely ( suction, remember) and I have little ears, that I couldn’t dislodge it with my fingers. The more I tried, the further into the canal it went. Funny thing? After about a minute of fiddling with trying to get it out, I couldn’t hear as well. I’m deaf in my left ear due to a childhood accident and the piece was lodged in my right ear. Yeah. Not a good situation.

What to do? I mean, my options were to continue to try and remove it with my fingers, but that was proving impossible, take myself to the ER where I’d be charged a gazillion dollars for a stupid visit, or try and garner some help. The last one was the one I was most worried about. I mean, really. Would you want to stick your fingers in a stranger’s ear? Ungloved?

I went out to the front desk at Planet Fitness and stated my plight. As I was disclosing my stupidity I had a thought, so I asked if they had an emergency kit. They did. I asked if there was the typical plastic tweezer included in it. There was. I asked if I could borrow that said tweezer and attempt to remove this hearing-impairing, pain in the a** piece of plastic. They said yes.

So. Armed with the tweezer – and it wasn’t your typical little metal one. tweezersNO, it was a big, honking, blue and ugly plastic thingie that was way larger than my ear canal opening – I went back into the changing room and attempted to get the stupid thing out. Not easy. Not by a long shot. I couldn’t see what I was doing because they only have regular, stationary mirrors, and not makeup mirrors you can move around. I stuck the giant tweezer into my ear – blindly – and tried to grasp the edge so I could get it out. After a minute or so ( seemed like an hour!) I started to sweat because this wasn’t easy. I am not coordinated on the best of days and this was certainly the kind of procedure that required someone with three eyes. Or two people.

But.

After a few minutes, success. I pulled the offending piece of s**t out and tossed it in the garbage. Then I washed the tweezers and returned them to the front desk. I offered to pay for replacement ones because they’d just saved me about $ 1000.00 in ER fees and how much could the plastic ones be, anyway? About 2 bucks, tops? But they were so gracious and told me since they were plastic, I didn’t need to. They’d see to getting a new pair for the emergency kit.

Moral of this story- Oh, my God, there are sosososo many. But the main one is this: be careful of the types of devices you put anywhere in your body. Something even as innocuous as an ear bud piece can cause problems. Now I have the official iPhone earbuds for when I listen to music:

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Notice how they have no plastic coverings. I clean them every day after use with peroxide and water on a cotton ball.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness and safety.

‘Nuff said about my ears.

When I’m not getting into trouble at the gym you can typically 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, Strong Women

Does it make a difference where a #writer writes?

I live a solitary existence during the day. I write from home. It’s quiet, I can hear myself think, I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t want to, and I can talk out loud in my character’s voices when I’m creating dialogue without the fear someone will call the crazy police and have me carted off.

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I know writers, though, who actually write out in the…wilds. Or in this case, civilization. In coffee bars,  sandwich shops, at the local library. Places that have, you know, people, milling around. I’ve never written anywhere that wasn’t isolated and private. Even the library with its noise restrictions is too loud for me because…you know…whispering!

I’ve got a scientific background, so one day I thought I’d put it to rusty use and do an experiment as see how this other creative faction, well, creates.

I actually got dressed – makeup too! – packed up my laptop and ventured north to a popular gathering place in my neck of the northland: Panera.

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 I’ve been in Panera any time of the day and I know it’s always crowded, so the time I began my experiment didn’t factor in. Just for transparency sake, though, I got there a little before 10:30 am. After the morning coffe/bagel rush and before the lunch crowd pressed in.

The place was – as usual – packed, but I found a single booth off in one corner under a window overlooking the busy parking lot. Because I couldn’t just sit there and observe without eating something, I ordered a bagel and a soda and when it was ready, settled down to try and do some work. I was at a critical point in a WIP  plot line and needed to get through some emotional dialogue.

Laptop on and file opened, I took a sip of soda, a bite of bagel, and then put my fingers over the keyboard, ready to see what magic I could make.  Ready to see if I could make some magic without getting distracted, in actuality.

Know what?
Yeah, you’ve probably already figured it out. No magic.

Just when I thought I had an idea, I got distracted by the loudly whispered argument ( well, fight really) going on in the booth behind me between two college-somethings. It was a little difficult to navigate through all the college slang speak of you’s knows, and multiple likes every other word. Plus. neither of them knew how to complete a phrase without adding f**king to the word descriptors. I was able to get the gist of their heated dissertation, though, after a few minutes. Apparently, Freshman A hooked up with Freshman B’s main squeeze at a drunken frat party and now  both these young women had  a date at the school health center for “tests.”

Just when I thought punches would be thrown, one of them got a text and then they both zipped out of there right after.

Back to writing, Or trying to.

I got an entire paragraph down before I heard the squealing, high-pitched scream of someone being vivisected. Or at least I assumed that’s what was happening to the toddler  I spied out of the corner of my eye. He’d thrown himself down on all fours, writhing and pounding his puny fists into the faux marble decorated flooring, his lungs proving he’d have a busy career as an opera singer one day.  tantrumHis gaunt, anorectic looking mother,  red-cheeked and mortified, stood over him coaxing and cooing  him to stop. The more she tried to comfort him the louder his wailing pitched. All patron eyes were zeroed in on these two, rubbernecking the tantrum, myself included. I wondered why no one came to the poor woman’s help and dragged the little brat up by his Baby Gap jeans, giving him a good tongue lashing at the same time, but then I realized that most well-intentioned people didn’t get involved these days because of frivolous lawsuits and backlash.

Eventually, the little bugger got tired and momma was able to pull him up ( I would have yanked!) and led him out of the eatery.

Back to writing – or trying to.

Ten minutes later a very loquacious and vivacious group of three women around my age and garbed in what looked like workout wear ( spandex leggings that barely came to ankles; multicolored track sneaks over tiny socks, and skin tight racer back tops) sat down in the booth in front of mine and proceeded to talk.

working-out

A lot. Like, non-stop. They spoke over one another, trampled on each other’s sentences, guffawed at what they were saying-loudly!- and generally seemed to be enjoying one another’s company. They stayed for over an hour, much longer than the time it took them to eat their salads, just…talking. About anything and everything.

I’d now been in Panera’s for over two and a half hours and had written exactly 76 words. My usual rate for that amount of time is at least 1000-1500, easy. At this point, I felt it was safe to conclude I wasn’t one of those lucky writers who could block all extraneous noise and commotion from my creative subconscious. I wrote better-certainly MORE- when I was alone, it was quiet, and I had no distractions, so I went back home and proceeded to write 10 pages by dinner time.

And even though I proved my hypothesis ( I can’t write with distractions!) I will admit this: being out in the wilds, er, civilization, even for an abbreviated time, helped me hone in on varying speech patterns for age-appropriate dialogue, gave me a new appreciation for how well behaved my daughter had been as a child ( I need to call her to tell her how much I love  her!) and made me thankful I have girlfriends like those 3 women I listened to who- just when I need it the most- kidnap me from my self-imposed isolation and hermit-dom, and bring me back into the living fold.

Now, back to writing. Alone.

When I’m not doing social experiments you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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On #Snowydays and being a #hermit…

snowday

 

We’ve been having quite a few snowstorms of late here in the northland. Accumulation has taken on a whole new meaning this year with regards to the snow mountains we’ve already amassed. And it’s only January.

It’s wintry days like this when I’m glad I write for a living. As I watch the continual downfall of white cascading from the sky, I take real pleasure in the fact I am sitting at my laptop clad in my pajamas even though it’s two in the afternoon. My hair is up in a messy knot, devoid of even the thought of a brushing. I wear no makeup, just moisturizer with anti-aging stuff ( hey! I’m on the southside of 50…I need it.) My feet are warm in my fuzzy, faux-leopard print slippers. Eventually, I will shower. And by eventually I mean sometime before my husband returns from work and I have to start dinner.

I’ve mentioned several times before I could so be a hermit if need be. Stormy days go by where I don’t leave the house once, even to get to the gym. At those times I use the treadmill and weights we have stored in the basement. I go without speaking to anyone but my husband for a few minutes before he leaves in the morning, to nothing more until he returns back home later that evening. I don’t answer the phone, leaving the old-fashioned machine to do the honors. There are days when I’ve said about 20 words in 24 hours. A solitary existence, perfect for the creative mind.

reading7

And you know what? I love it. Love the isolation. Love the quiet. Love the natural beauty I can look upon through my window.

So. Snowy days and being a writing recluse….they’re good things.

At least for me, anyway.

While I’m being a hermit you can usually find me–if you need me–here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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#NewYear, #NewOffice…

I’ve mentioned here, ad nauseum(!), that I write in my attic overlooking my property. It’s private, spacious, and quiet most of the time. I put that last part in because of late it has become almost impossible to work in.

Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

The window overlooks the woods and the property next to mine. A property occupied by an elderly couple and their two very ….loud and obnoxious dogs. The dogs are put into a pen several times a day for hours at a time and the pen is directly in line with my window. In fact, they’re out there right now, barking away. When the window is open in good weather I am treated to hours upon hours of continual barking. It’s just as loud in the winter because the trees are bare and can’t buffer the sound. And it’s not just a few woofs and then a doggie nap. It’s like Dino Flintstone barking. Just click this link and you’ll get an idea of what I mean. This is all day, every day, no matter what the weather. Dead of winter or heat of summer. After a day it’s annoying. After a year it’s soul sucking.

So…this year I am moving to the other side of the attic into a room we’ve used as a storage/craft/sewing/painting room for me for the past 24 years. This is a sample of what was stored in the room until this weekend when I did a massive clean out!

newroom3

This is what the room looks like right now:

newroom         newroom2

 

Hubby taped the window, door and closet frames and now we are all set to paint. As you can see it’s a very light, pale blue. I’m going green on this…more pictures to follow once the process begins. I can’t wait to have my own REAL office.

And I can’t wait to get away from the Dino twins next door!

Here’s a quick video on my FaceBook Author, author page to “see” the renovations.

When I’m not redecorating or being annoyed by barking dogs, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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