Tag Archives: #WritingLife #WritersLife

Tales from Iceland…

So. I’ve been on radio silence for the last week because I’ve been vacationing with the family in Iceland.

Yes, that Iceland.

Why Iceland, you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya.

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter and I no longer give one another birthday presents, instead opting to give one another experiences. Last year we went to trapeze school, so this year, I decided I wanted a trip for my b’day. My daughter went to Iceland for work a few years ago and loved it. I am a rabid fan and watcher of all things Housewives related and last year the OC girls went to Iceland and it looked beautiful. So, I said, why not go there this year? Daughter said yes, hubby said yes and we invited my niece ( who’s also hubby’s Goddaughter) to go with us. Hubby would be in charge of our itinerary, and daughter would reserved our lodgings. She did good, too. We AIRBNB’d at a farmhouse in Reykjavik.

Too cool.

Now, over the next few days I’ll give you a feel for what we did, but first I want to tell you the things I liked and didn’t like so much about Iceland.

Liked first:

1.The people

2. The roads

3. The venues we traveled to

4. The airport

5. The cleanliness of the country

 

The things I wasn’t too thrilled about:

1.The water smells like rotten eggs ( sulfur)

2. The weather is awful. All the time.

3. The price of things is waaaaaaaay ridiculous

4. You can’t go to the bathroom in a public place without having to pay.

5. it’s light out, literally and truthfully, 24 hours a day – no nightfall at all while we were there.

And now for some clarity. On the things I liked list:

The people are so friendly, they ALL speak English ( so yay!!) and they genuinely seem happy. The roads are amazing. Single lanes both ways, but not one pothole, dirt road, divet, or detour anywhere we traveled. You can see what they spend tax money on plain as day. All the places we went to visit were great! The airport was super clean,  accessible, and made sense to a foreigner ( me!). This is the cleanest country I have ever been in. No garbage, no litter, no homeless, no druggies.

Now, the negatives.

The country was formed when a volcano exploded so there is lava rock everywhere. Because of this, they are geothermal. The water comes from the underbelly of the lava so it smells like sulfur. Big time. I held my nose every shower I took. It rained everyday. All day. And never got above 50 degrees. I will never complain about the prices of things in the US again. A hamburger cost 29 dollars. A 16 oz. diet soda was 5.5o. Lunch routinely cost us 100.00. LUNCH! The kronur is 100 to 1 US dollar. 5 dollars is 500 kronars. Ridiculous. Also ridiculous is that you have to pay to pee. Everywhere. The public restrooms cost us 200 Kronur per pee each. I’m sorry, but there are some things in life that should be free: air, water, dirt, and the ability to pee. My daughter told me that this is a big thing in Europe = paying to use the public toilet. I stopped drinking completely when I found this out, Really. I was practically dehydrated, but I didn’t have to pay to pee. Everywhere we stopped I told my girls, ” find out if you can pee for free.”

A word about the perpetual light. It’s a real thing. There were blackout shades over all the windows in the house we stayed in, but it really didn’t make that much of a difference. At 2 oclock in the morning it looked like 3 pm outside. Very unsettling to the psyche.

Overall, I enjoyed the vaca, despite the few negatives. Would I go back? Probably not. It was a one and done for me. But I’m glad I went and saw the land of the midnight sun. Which is a thing. Really.

 

 

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Get your hands off my…..

I have simply lucked out these past few weeks with the writing prompts on this blog challenge. Today is another easy peasy piece for me to write.

The prompt is “the item I can’t live without.” As a writer, you may be thinking, “Well, it’s got to be a computer? Or a dictionary? Or a grammar book.”

Respectfully I say, you would be wrong.

Teeny bit of backstory: I am of Irish descent. I was born with jet black curly, kinky hair, hazel eyes and skin the color of pasteurized milk. In the 1960’s when I was a kid, no one believed much in sun block. In fact, the more color you had on your face and body during the summer, the better everyone thought you looked. Since I am so fair, I typically burned at least twice during an active outdoor summer. The fact my mother would slather me in baby oil and iodine didn’t help the situation any. In fact, I would venture to say all that oily manipulation added to the depth and breadth of my burns.

Flash forward to my teens, twenties, and thirties. Sun block was more popular and had numbers attached to it. Most dermatologists suggested you use it when ever in the sun and reapply often. I did. But I used an oil called Ban de Soleil that had an SPF of 2. Going without the block would have been better, probably.

In my forties I started noticing wrinkles on my face. By then, dermatologists world wide suggested – heavily – to stay out of the sun, and to never leave the house without a block on. I complied.

In my fifties I was diagnosed with skin cancer. First basal cell, then the more serious melanoma. I’ve had several surgeries to remove sections of my skin on my face, back, and legs. The scars left behind are not pretty. I venture to say they are hideous. With all of this, I became a vampire, shunning sunlight at all costs. If I do have to spend anytime outdoors, be it on a walk, or traveling, I now always wear long sleeved shirts, a hat, sunglasses, and a 100 SPF block that’s so thick it makes Desatin look watery. ( the mothers in this group will know what I mean, here.)

So, the item I simply can not, will not, and should not live without EVER is…sun block. Everyday, everyplace, no matter what.

I am an advocate for keeping skin protected whether you are 6 months old or 90 years young.

Everyday, everyplace, no matter what.

To read what the other authors in this hop can’t live without, simple click here.

And since I am never in the sun, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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When did this become my life?

There’s an old expression: If you want something done fast, give it to a busy person?

Story of my current life. Let me ‘esplain.

When I retired to write full time I thought, “Yippie! Now I get to spend all my time during my days writing down the stories that have been swirling in my head.”

That jubilation lasted about a year. With the advent of more books published, I had to start doing other things than write to ensure that my writing got seen by people so they could, you know…buy the books. ( It’s all about sales, peeps).

First came a website, then social media accounts that needed postings, then book signings, author appearances, conference presentations, media appearances, all to get my name and my work “out there.”

 

Soon, it wasn’t so much about the writing as it was about the selling, and my desire to write all day long the stories that had been swirling around inside me started to become secondary.

This is an example of what I’ve been working on the for the past week when I should have been concentrating on finishing a book with a July 1 deadline – a deadline that can’t be moved or added to. (And let’s remember, I’m traditionally published. If I had to do the self publishing of my work I’d probably quit because I’d have no time. Make that definitely quit because I had not time.)

  1. Listen to auditions for a new book going to audio.
  2. Listen to a completed book on audio for mistakes, changes, etc. and edit.
  3. Galley edits on a Christmas 2018 release.
  4. second round of edits for the first book in my new small town bridal series.
  5. work on writing the second book in my new small town bridal series.
  6. outline 3rd book in the new small town bridal series.
  7. promote ( via sm)my current book release
  8. promote ( via sm) my current audio relase
  9. finish first draft of book due COMPLETED july 1.
  10. blogs posts for the week for the website.
  11. MFRWauthor blog post for next friday.
  12. create sale posters for books to promote on sm
  13. a face book party
  14. read and write reviews for 3 friends’ new book releases.
  15. query letters to agents and editors
  16. sm posts to keep my name in the public eye, daily.

All of that in addition to the normal every day stuff like bathing, eating, laundry and trying to slip in a gym workout everyday. Plus, some very real and personal issues that have cropped up during the past few weeks and that are extremely time consuming, time sensitive, and soul sucking.

I don’t know how I would handle all this if I didn’t have chronic insomnia.

I’m not telling you this so you’ll feel sorry for me ( Well, maybe a smidge ***holds index finger and thumb up, almost touching!**) I’m simply lamenting that my desire to just write the stories that have been swirling around in me ( 3rd mention!! heehee)have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Another old saying? Be careful what you wish for; you just may get it.

Now you tell me!

In addition to everything else, you can usually find me hanging out here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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A conference, A wedding, A birthday….oh my!

So, this past weekend sosososo many things happened. Where to start?
Always best at the beginning, right?

This past weekend I attended my very first Maine Romance Writers Retreat and conference in Portland, Maine.  I was not only lucky enough to be a participant, but a presenter as well. What a wonderful, warm, welcoming, and TALENTED bunch of writers in this group! Just this year alone they have a Rita finalist and 2 Golden Heart Finalists. That’s pretty impressive, no? I gave my workshop on Baby Boomers and Romance ( euphemistically called Your Mama’s Got Game) to a rousing reception. I learned a lot. I met some new friends. And I networked with some wonderful individuals who share what I do – a love of all things romance and romance related.

Coincidentally, and really, I should say providentially, the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took place on Saturday morning. This, people, THIS is the stuff of what romance writers live for.

 

Two gorgeous people meeting, falling in love, and then having the wedding I bet every little girl dreams of at least once in their lives.

 

 

Although she wasn’t titled a PRINCESS, the new Duchess of Sussex and her Hunky Duke (  hey! That sounds like a good book title!) Meghan is a true Cinderella story if ever there was one. Don’t be surprised it there is a new wave of Prince/Commoner books published in the next few months.

 

Please forgive these slightly grainy, ultra cheesy photos I took while watching the wedding on the TV in my room. If I knew how to crop, I would. But, alas…

Now, combined with all this wonderfulness, it was also my birthday on Saturday. I turned 21 for the 37th time. You figure that out if you want to know how old I am, because my lips are sealed. But, isn’t it great I got to attend and present at a wonderful writers conference, AND I got to watch a royal wedding to boot, both on my day.

Le sigh. I love my life.

If you’re looking for me, I’m usually here:

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Thoughts from the Dentist’s chair

Had to get my teeth cleaned today. So NOT my favorite thing to do. But while I was sitting their, reclined and held captive while my tech did her thing, my mind started strolling through all the crap that I usually filter out every day just so I can work.

Things like:

~did I take something out of the freezer to defrost in time for diiner

~ can I put off doing the laundry for one more day or will we wind up without clean underwear tomorrow

~ how can I get more readers

~ will I fit into my clothes by the time RWA rolls around

~should I get my hair cut? Get botox? Get a face lift?

~ who really shot the deputy ( if you get this one KUDOS to you!!!)

~ where do I want my life to be in 5 years? ten? Will I even make it to 10?

~why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways

~ does menopause ever end

Believe me, there’s a whole lot more than just these examples that shunt through my head and annoy me everyday if I let them.

Le sigh…a writer’s life.

Looking for me? here I am:

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and one last shameless plug: Check out my new AUDIOBOOK version of 3 WISHES, available now at Audible // Itunes // and Amazon.

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Another word about speaking in public…

The other day I wrote about how miserable a public speaker I’ve become. In truth, it’s because I don’t get the chance to do it as often as I used to so I’m kinda out of practice. Hand in hand with being terrified to speak in public is my fear of reading my own words out loud when there are more people than just me in a room.

Case in point: last year at NECRW2017 I was part of a group of authors who did a live reading of their current books. I thought it would be a good way to get my written work out there and hopefully garner some new readers. No brainer, right?

Yeah, no.

Up until the moment I was called upon to read I still hadn’t chosen the excerpt I wanted to share. The book was my newest one for Lyrical, COOKING WITH  KANDY, which had come out a few weeks earlier, and I wanted to read something that would spark ( hopefully) a listener enough to want to buy the book. Right up to the second moderator and host Damon Suede called my name, I was still undecided.

Then, my name was called and up to the microphone I went. I took a breath – three in fact – so deep it looked like I might be having the beginning of an asthma attack to those who knew what to look for(!) and read a simple passage loaded with emotions between the two main characters.

495 words.

8 minutes to complete.

I kinda left my body for the experience, because I really don’t remember much. When I sat back down, Damon said, “Am I right that was your very first public reading?”

My heart stopped beating when he said that. Christ! Had it been that bad? That obvious? That horrible a reading?

I nodded, unable to form coherent words in response.

Damon grinned and said something like, “So, yay! You’re not a reading virgin anymore! We popped your cherry!”

Everyone – including me – laughed. I know I turned sixteen shades of boiled tomato red, but still, his comment broke the tension that had coiled deep in me. Bless the man!

Next time ( and I can hear you now asking She’s gonna do it again???!!), yes, NEXT time, I’ll be less nervous, better prepared, and practice what I want to read before I get up and do so.

And BTW, Damon Suede has a great article in this month’s RWA magazine –  for those of you who subscribe –  about authors and public reading of their work. It’s well worth the read!

When I’m not obsessing about speaking in public you can usually find me here:

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, female friends, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women

If it’s #Tuesday…it’s #Menopause time.

Tuesday sure does roll around fast every week! I’ve got a new topic for the next few weeks on my Moments From Menopause blog today. Stop by and leave me some support and love. Chocolate would be good, too. Just saying…..

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Hopeful…

 

 

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:

  1. a reminder
  2. a talisman
  3. 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….

 

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

I’m still alive…

 

I’ve kinda been on radio silence for the past few weeks and haven’t posted 4-5 times per week per my New Year’s Goal. I’ve been a little busy because I booked a blog tour for my upcoming 10.3.17 release of A SHOT AT LOVE and it required me to write over 20 blog pieces and fill out more than a dozen interviews.

Yeah… I know. Intense. Here’s a list of the stops I’ll be making. There are prizes along the way!!!!

September 25: Christine Young
September 26: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
September 27: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
September 28: The Reading Addict
September 29: Romance Novel Giveaways
September 29: Inside The Mind of an Avid Reader – review only
October 2: Danita Minnis
October 3: Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog
October 4: Hearts and Scribbles – promo
October 4: Nickie’s Views and Interviews
October 5: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart
October 6: Fabulous and Brunette
October 6: Two Ends of the Pen
October 9: Independent Authors
October 10: K.T. Castle
October 11: It’s Raining Books
October 12: Read Your Writes Book Reviews
October 12: Rachel Brimble Romance
October 13: T’s Stuff
October 16: Queen of All She Reads
October 17: Readeropolis
October 18: The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
October 19: Mixed Book Bag
October 20: Long and Short Reviews

When I’m not touring, writing, trying to write, or blogging, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Managing my writing time….

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

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