Sunday, December 20, 2015

Silent night, silent writer, silent blog

Toots, my little writing buddy,
looking real cute in his Santa hat
The month of December has been a quiet month here on my blog. I’ve been a little distracted and very busy with work, family and other matters. You know how it goes this time of year. With a busy work schedule, family gatherings, shopping for gifts, holiday parties, and other events such as tree lightings, holiday bazaars, birthday parties, etc…there’s very little free time to be had this last month of the year. 

I have no particular reason to post now; I just wanted to say hello and happy holidays to those who are also busy this time of year. 

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to since I released my last title, the above is it. Writing has taken a back burner this month; even so, other writing projects have not. As I prepare to dive back into some serious writing after the holidays, I have continued to work on some projects to help me be better prepared for what I anticipate will be a consistent writing schedule. I want to seriously move towards a publication date for the next Jorja Matthews book and also continue to work on my young adult novel. 

I’m sure you’re busy; too busy to read long blog posts so I’m keeping this one short. Instead, I thought I’d share some photos from some of my excursions this month when I’ve been out and about…

This is Thompson's in Tumwater, a beautiful place to just stroll around and gawk, and where there's much to choose from when it comes to holiday decorations and gifts.





A Home Goods opened up a new store in Olympia so I had to check it out...found these televisions with miniature moving scenes. I adore miniatures, but I quickly decided not to add them to my Christmas decor when I saw the price.




However, I wasn't able to move way from this little guy so quickly...he was too cute to pass up and the price was just right.  He found himself a nice home on my wall in my office.


One of many holiday bazaars on the calendar this time of year; this was part of the Victorian Country Christmas at the Puyallup fair grounds.



These were a real find.  You'll only find the humor in these "pee here" rocks if you also live with boys/men...


A tree all lit up at Zoolights in Tacoma.  I can now say I saw Zoolights but will likely never go back. I enjoy Fantasy Lights in Spanaway much more.



So that's my little holiday collage...I hope you are also taking time to visit the sights and enjoy yourself.  Take care and happy holidays!





Friday, November 27, 2015

I am very thankful – so here’s a gift to you from me!

It’s the time of year when many make note of what they are thankful for – when I think about my journey as a writer, I am very thankful for those who continue to believe in me and who maintain a continuance presence, even if they wait somewhat impatiently for me to share more stories with them.  Some day, I do hope to publish more than one book per year, but until then I appreciate the patience, understanding and motivation I continue to receive from others who enjoy my work and who care about my journey as a writer.  

Because I am so thankful to others who continue to motivate me, especially when writing this past year became very difficult, I decided to offer you a gift, just to say thank you.  My most recent book, “11:11 Anna’s Awakening,” is part of a promotion this weekend so that the eBook version of the novella will be available, for free, now and through the weekend.  If you haven’t seen the blurb for this book yet, here it is:

Everyone deals with grief in their own way.  Death can bring families closer together; sometimes it can tear them apart.  Only time can heal the wounds to build stronger relationships and while some relationships survive, sadly, others do not.  This is the story of two parents who suffer a great loss and attempt to build a new relationship with the memory of their loved one between them.  But as they both work through their grief, their relationship is threatened by many things…fear, anger, selfishness, even greed.  As husband and wife tend to their needs to survive the numbing loss, one of them must become acutely aware of these threats in order to change their fate.       
   
Obviously, the premise behind the story may seem a little dark and depressing, but it was therapeutic for me.  It also gave me something to sink my teeth in to because the story involved a mixed bag, to include grief, relationships, numerology and spirituality, and in the end, the story took on its own twist, which always makes me happy as a writer because I enjoy it when characters surprise me. 
So as a thank you to those who continue to support my dreams as a writer, I want to share this latest story with you.  If you want to obtain your free copy, check it out on Amazon, where the eBook will continue to be available for free through Sunday.

Unbelievably, we can now check one more holiday off the calendar as we move towards the end of another year.  I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday and that you are now enjoying the weekend. 

Take care, have a terrific weekend and, as always, thanks for following!


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book #5 is officially out of the gate!

My latest novel, “11:11 Anna’s Awakening,” has now officially been published so that the paperback and eBook are available on line.  

It feels so good to be able to put another folder full of notes away so that I can focus on the next story.  My main goal had been to have “11:11” published on November 11th and because I missed that deadline last year, I was really hoping to make it this year.  

I just barely made it.  

It did take an extra day to get the eBook up and running and it’s going to take maybe another day or two until I’m certain the paperback and eBook are actually linked together on Amazon.  Regardless, it’s an early holiday for me, as I can now officially say I have published five books. 



Five books! 


The creative process is a crazy, rollercoaster ride of highs and lows but each time I’m able to hold another paperback with my name on it, I easily forget how crazy the ride can get and I just want to hop right back on the rollercoaster again. 

For anyone who isn’t up to speed on this most recent story, it is not part of the mystery series, but a novella about a couple dealing with loss.  Here’s what you’ll find on the back cover:

Everyone deals with grief in their own way.  Death can bring families closer together; sometimes it can tear them apart.  Only time can heal the wounds to build stronger relationships and while some relationships survive, sadly, others do not.  This is the story of two parents who suffer a great loss and attempt to build a new relationship with the memory of their loved one between them.  But as they both work through their grief, their relationship is threatened by many things…fear, anger, selfishness, even greed.  As husband and wife tend to their needs to survive the numbing loss, one of them must become acutely aware of these threats in order to change their fate.          

This story is a short read, but it’s also full of so many issues: loss, grief, friendship, marriage, betrayal, greed, numerology, spirituality and personal growth.  It’s an odd mix and might sound like a lot in such a short novel, but it’s just how the story worked out.  I’ll be interested to hear whether or not readers enjoy the story.  So far, the initial feedback I’ve received as been positive. 

The paperback is currently selling on Amazon for $9.99 and the eBook is available for $2.99.  It’s not currently available on Barnes & Noble, and won’t yet be available for the Nook, as I have decided to enroll the eBook as part of the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program on Amazon so that I can run some promotional offers soon.

I can now officially mark this project as complete.  I do realize that a book signing is long overdue, and I promise that it’s a task on my to-do list I hope to accomplish soon.  Maybe some time next year I’ll finally have another book signing…and if all works out, it could be right after my sixth book is published…but we’ll just have to wait and see. 

As always, thanks for following, and have a great week!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Another goal accomplished – now on to the next one!

The proof copies of my new book, “11:11 Anna’s Awakening,” arrived the other day.  Oh, happy day - I will never tire of the feeling I get when I open a box filled with copies of my latest book!  It feels good to finally complete another book and it feels even better to hold that book in my hands, knowing that very soon it will be out there for others to read.    

For this book, I opted to use the new matte finish, rather than the gloss finish.  I really like the feeling of the book but I will likely not use it again for any books that have dark covers, and thankfully this book cover isn’t completely dark.  I found out very quickly how easy it is to mark up the covers (my son had just eaten greasy chips before he held one of my books) and I’d rather not have to place my new books under lock and key in order to preserve them before a book signing, just to keep them nice and pretty. 

I wasn’t sure whether I’d keep the original look of the cover but I decided I like it and won’t make any changes.  While I’d like to make the title of the book a little bigger, I like the mood of the photo – it’s one I took during a road trip in 2007 when we were traveling through Nebraska – and I think overall the mood, photo and colors work with the feel of the story.

After I finalize this book for publishing, it will be book number five since I first published No Mother of Mine in 2012.  Honestly, I’m surprising myself at what I’ve been able to accomplish these past three years, even with the setbacks I’ve had.  Imagine what I’ll be able to do when I’m no longer working a day job! 

Even with the constant chaos around us, we’re all capable of finding inspiration and creativity within the chaos so that we’re able to feed our creative souls.  To anyone out there who feels as if they aren’t doing what they’re meant to do or who believe the goals they aspire to accomplish are just out of reach, I have two things to say.  First, find what speaks to you and believe in yourself, not the limitations set by others around you.  And second, always remember this quote:

 “The only limits you have are the limits you believe.”  
~Wayne Dyer~ 

It’s now only a matter of days and my fifth book will be published and available so that with another goal reached, my focus can shift on to the next task.  Very soon, I will be able to check this book off my to-do list as a completed task so that I can spend more time on my next two novels, currently in progress and waiting for my undivided attention. 

Another challenge overcome and another goal accomplished…the result is a feeling I’ll always enjoy!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

From Loss to Healing and everything in between = a new book!

Today is an important day for me…I’ve submitted another novel for publishing so that it will be available in paperback and as an eBook later this month.  I wasn’t honestly sure if I would be able to make good on my promise to myself to get this book completed and out by November, but I’m thrilled I’ll be able to make it happen.

This novel is technically a novelette and I had nicknamed it “1111” whenever I mentioned it here on my blog.  That title won’t make sense to anyone until they read it and it would be difficult to explain beforehand because the concept behind the idea might seem a little strange.  The complete title is now “11:11 Anna’s Awakening.” 

The protagonist is Anna and she, along with her husband, Keith, are both dealing with a terrible loss.  Believe it or not, I began writing down ideas for this story long before my Dad passed away and while I’ve dealt with grief in the past, it was never as strong an emotion as that after the loss of my Dad. 

So, what did this mean for the story behind Anna?  Quite a lot, actually.  Initially, I had other plans for Anna and Keith and I thought my intentions were good with regard to how their story would end.  But then, as I worked and re-worked the plot behind the relationship between Anna and her husband, and whether they’d individually and collectively be able to heal from their loss, something else came to light…how much people can change after a terrible loss. 

And not always for the better. 

The story took on a whole new direction and caused friction and challenges to the relationship between Anna and Keith in a way I hadn’t expected.  We all know everyone deals with grief in their own way but what has become more apparent to me is that death can either bring families closer together, or it can tear them apart.  Only time can heal the deepest wounds to build stronger bonds and while some relationships survive, sadly, others do not.  The story about Anna and Keith is the story of parents who suffer a great loss and attempt to build a new relationship with the memory of their loved one still between them.  But as they both work through their grief, their relationship is threatened by many things…fear, anger, selfishness, even greed.  And as husband and wife tend to their needs in order to survive the terrible, mind-numbing loss, one of them must become acutely aware of these threats in order to change their fate.          

In the end, the strength and character of both Anna and Keith are challenged, and also revealed, and in turn, the fate of both is much different than I had predicted.  It shouldn’t be surprising that my characters revealed to me what their true story should be.  Still, I am, again, pleasantly amazed by characters that steer me in a direction I hadn’t anticipated and who provide me with a story I can enjoy sharing with others.

I’ll post again once the book is actually live and available on-line…thanks for following! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Character Traits – it’s all in the details

I was having a conversation with someone the other day who tried to butter me up with compliments before turning on me like a rabid dog.  It wasn’t pretty.  I still run the conversation over in my mind, wondering whether there was something I could have done to change the outcome but realistically, the only way the outcome could have changed is if the conversation had never happened at all.

People react differently to situations based on their emotions, experiences, current mood, background, education and training (or lack thereof), expectations, fears and desires.  We might think we know what to expect of ourselves, or from others, when a situation arises but how we react today to a situation could be completely different than how we might react to the same situation tomorrow. 

We react differently to situations based on the above reasons, but another reason is due to our character traits.  Whether a person is confident, determined, conservative, good-natured, sensitive, unforgiving or diplomatic, our character traits say a lot about how we’ll respond to any number of situations.  It’s what makes each of us so different from the next because our past experiences and the baggage we carry from those experiences, while possibly similar to others, are uniquely our own.

As we deal with individuals in our personal or professional lives, we might have certain expectations with regard to how we believe someone should react or behave, but unless it’s someone very, very close to us, we really can’t know what they’ve experienced and how or why they may react to a situation the way they do.  Due to that, we just can’t always know what might set someone off, make someone mad, or even cause them to be anxious or miserable.

What’s interesting about human nature makes for interesting fiction, if we can give our characters believable character traits and back stories.  The difference between true life and fiction is that, while I might not know what will set off the guy in the truck sitting next to an SUV at a stop light, if I were to be the author writing about the character in the truck, I would know his back story, birthday, sign, fears, desires and current mood so that I should know exactly how he might react to the loud music blaring from the SUV next to him.

Another difference between true life and fiction is that, if a situation doesn’t quite turn out as you’d like in real life, there’s no taking it back, but as an author, you can play around with characters and their situations until it feels genuine, plausible and gives the story movement.  There’s real freedom in that ability but it’s never a guarantee that it’ll make writing easier because as the characters are created, they also develop, they transform and they tend to make decisions dependent of what you’d expect of them.

I’m still learning about my characters and their character traits and I know the back stories of some, but not all of them.  Some of those back stories will be explained, some will not, even if I do discover them, but it is with that information that I try to get a sense of how the characters should respond to different situations.  Like real people, characters in books are individual personalities with their own backgrounds and experiences, who then create a constantly changing fictional world as they react to those causes and effects.

With that said, I will also say, it really is a truly beautiful thing to create literary babies who become complicated characters.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Is it possible for characters to become jealous of each other?

I’ve been busy working on final tasks involved with my short story so I can publish next month, but that doesn’t mean the characters from my other books are laying low. It’s almost as if they are jealous I’m spending so much time with another character from another book. It’s an odd notion, certainly, but lately I feel as if the characters are competing for my attention.

It’s not an issue working on more than one book at a time; there’s good and bad with that process, especially since I’ve gone from hardly writing to constantly thinking about writing. It can be a little overwhelming. But I love being back in the saddle because, while it’s hard to explain, it’s an incredible feeling being plagued with ideas, thoughts to add to story plots and even input from characters who want to have a say in their fictional lives.

There’s one particular character fighting for my attention the most lately, and I certainly can’t blame them because as the story stands, their demise is eminent in the next Jorja Matthews mystery. I guess if I knew my time was almost up, I would also do whatever it took to prolong the inevitable. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to talk me into changing the story line for their benefit; time will tell as I continue to write the story but I will never put it past the characters to change the story so that I’m surprised by the outcome. We’ll just see how things go.

It’s not like this hasn’t happened to me before…
  • In No Mother of Mine, my plan for the babies in the beginning was much different than what happened and added a character I hadn’t expected to become involved until the story was already in the works.
  • The identity of the killer in the first book also took a surprising turn for me half way through the book; honestly, I thought I knew who it was going to be but then as the story unfolded before me, the culprit was a surprise even to me. As it turned out, I liked the surprising identity of the killer much better because of the ties they had with the characters, as well as their back story, and I had a lot of fun with what it allowed me to add in the second and third books, and what I will be able to use in the prequel.
  • And then there was the question of Jorja’s parents…if you really knew who I thought they were, you’d be surprised and the series would have taken a much different route than where they’ve gone. But again, the story played out in a way even I didn’t expect and I believe the results are much better. I’ve really enjoyed the way the story line has moved on and based on feedback from readers, they feel the same as I do.
  • Even with the short story I will be publishing soon, the ending was a twist from what I had originally planned and believe it or not, I give the protagonist all the credit. This story is about a character and their emotional growth through trauma after a life-changing event, but for me it’s also a true testament to how much a fictional character can fight for what they want. I won’t offer any spoilers but I will say that this protagonist grew stronger than I anticipated and provided me with an ending I hadn’t even thought of until I was already deep into the story.     
Obviously, my story ideas are not set in stone and my characters oftentimes have a say in the way the plot moves along.  It’s just the way I create and I really can’t imagine creating any other way. I have continued to allow my characters to play a part in story development and so far, they really haven’t steered me wrong.

Now the trick is learning how to divide my attention between characters from different books when they are vying for my attention at the same time!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Help wanted – a magician to add more hours to the day

I used to want to be a personal assistant…and I always thought to myself, what fun it would be to become a personal assistant for some reclusive big-shot author (is Stephen King in the market?).  Even though that might still be an interesting gig, I think I’d like to hire my own personal assistant.  How else will I find the magic that would add hours to my day to allow me to do all it is I want to do?

Maybe I just want to do too much?

Maybe – but after a pretty stagnant year with regard to my writing, I feel a huge urge to get caught up, in addition to the multitude of non-writing tasks I still need to take care of (just having a senior in high school doubles my to-do list!). 

I saw a post today, reminding me that we all have 24 hours in a day…it’s just in how we use those hours that counts towards what we may, or may not, get done. And that’s very true. I was also watching a show the other day and the person being interviewed was asked whether they were afraid of dying. Know what they said? They said it wasn’t that they were afraid of dying…but of dying an unfulfilled life. Very well said, in my opinion. None of us know when we’ll take our last breath and if we wait to do what we dream about, or what would fulfill us, we may very well regret it.

But sometimes our “wish list” gets a little large or, as in my case, we get behind due to other circumstances, and we have to take a step back to cultivate a doable timeline so that our expectations remain a bit more realistic.

Here’s just a sample of what I expect from my writing self over the next year or so:
  • Complete final edits on latest short story
  • Come up with cover ideas for latest short story
  • Publish latest short story by November 2015
  • Continue with the WIP on the 4th novel in the mystery series
  • Come up with a realistic timeline of the completion of the 4th mystery novel in order to get on my editor’s calendar
  • Continue with the WIP on the YA novel first drafted in April
  •  Begin the prequel for the mystery series (I’m really looking forward to this!)
  •  Follow up with a second book in the ghost story (it’s an idea, anyway)
  •  I’d also like to complete an author media kit, set up Pinterest pages for my books and characters, and possibly write and sell some non-fiction eBooks

Of course, these are all tasks that will take some time and effort, and some will require assistance from other people. This is my wish list of tasks that I want to follow through with and it’s only the beginning, as I continue to add to my WIP when new ideas arise, but this list is my main focus for the time being. Sometimes it feels like a whopper of a list – but then again, it’s what I will be working on for the next year or so. There are no firm deadlines, only those I impose on myself. The tasks on this list aren’t like the laundry that must be done today so we all have clean clothes for the week, but tasks I can work on every day until they are finally completed.

Even though this past year has put me behind what I would have expected from myself by now, I am happy with what I’ve accomplished so far because what I’ve completed continues to remind me what I’m capable of doing. What I have to remember is that any progress is good progress and that impatience is my enemy. And while I would love to have more hours in each day, I will continue to find plenty of time if I stick with daily writing tasks and remain steadfast with realistic expectations. That schedule and attitude is what I believe will unearth the magic I may be looking for. After all…

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”  
~Roald Dahl~

I hope you find your own magic in every day - have a great week!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

When we stand in the way of our dreams

I finally realized something the other day…sometimes, when things just aren’t going the way we expect, there’s one person we often overlook when passing out the blame:

Ourselves.

I’ve been getting this message in various forms for some time now but just hadn’t let it sink in until I finally fought against my own struggles with getting back to what it is I need to do – the need to write.

Even with the personal struggles I’ve been dealing with this year, was the lack of mental energy in response to those struggles the only reason I wasn’t able to get back to writing? I had hit a huge roadblock when it came to writer’s block, but until recently, I hadn’t realized what may have been the true reason behind my inability to get back to writing.

That reason?  It was very likely fear.

Why would anyone be afraid to write? It wasn’t that I was afraid of writing; I believe now that for me, it was the fear of what I would write, or how my story would cross across, considering the frame of mind I was in after all that had happened. 

That fear pretty much got in my way so that each time I sat down to write, I had a difficult time without realizing why. However, it may also be the reason why I was able to write a novel in a completely different genre during Camp NaNo in April; who knows, but time will tell when that novel finally surfaces for the masses to critic.

So what enlightened me with regard to the fear that may have limited my creativity? 

Like I said, I’d been getting this message in various forms, whether through blog posts, magazine articles, Facebook quotes and even television shows (catching up on Once Upon a Time I remember hearing Regina, the evil queen, say that we stand in the way of our own happiness). 

And through these various forms of enlightenment, this is what I’ve learned:
  • When we stop doing what we enjoy, when procrastinating becomes our new normal, oftentimes the reason behind the new normal is due to fear.
  • A way to know when fear is motivating, or limiting us, is when we avoid what we enjoy, have excuses as to why we aren’t doing it, find any number of ways to procrastinate and become overly anxious when we make any attempt to get back to our normal routine.
  • When it comes to creative individuals and writers like myself (or maybe it’s just us Type-A personalities), we are usually intense and react strongly to the highs and lows of life and when a road forks so that it alters  what we expected, the reaction to that change will likely throw us off balance. We just have to be prepared for this possibility so that we don’t stay off balance for too long.
  • For creative individuals, writers and even Type-A personalities, if we are avoiding what we love to do and resist what would usually challenge us, then it is definitely time to perform a reality check.
  • We must try to avoid:  losing sight of what actually makes us happy, giving power to fear, staying stagnant, or resisting what is needed to face the realities behind the fear.
  • To change our reaction to the fear we need to:  recognize what triggers our fears, let go of expectations, set reasonable expectations and goals, let go of the past if it denies us moving forward in a positive way, get back into what feeds our passion or creativity and when we feel the urge to resist, do it anyway.
  • Once the fear is gone, keep it at bay with positive habits:  appreciate who we are, practice daily with writing or whatever feeds our creativity, develop a habit of mindfulness, add meaning to our day, know our strengths and use them to the best of our ability, give back to others and never forget to be grateful.
I am grateful for the ability to write stories that others enjoy – writing them nourishes my creative side and hearing from others who enjoy my stories adds meaning to what I do. There is no reason to let fear take that away from me. And my reason for sharing my thoughts with you is this: if fear has controlled you and caused you to back away from what you really want to do, I hope you remember these words and when you feel the urge to resist, do it anyway.

Keep calm, stay strong and create!


  

Monday, September 28, 2015

A walk down memory lane…

I’ve been able to spend some free time reviewing my short story, with the expectation that I’ll have it out by November.  That is still the plan, and I’m optimistic and hopeful that the plan stays on track.

After completing another run through of my short story today to finalize what I hope will leave me much closer to a final edit, I became just a bit nostalgic.  As with many of my story ideas, this one came to me quite a few years ago and when I saved yet another draft on my computer today, it hit me just how  many years ago I first began to type up my notes about this particular idea.  It was actually in November 2011, which is fitting, considering my short story has been dubbed “1111” during the whole creation stage. 

It’s interesting to me how some stories are born.  The stories behind my Jorja Matthews mystery series all began with a simple idea that formed in my head years ago; however, many of the mini-mysteries in that series were all conceived as I created the main mystery surrounding Jorja and her family.  The story behind 1111 was conceived about four years ago now, while the story behind my short, short 1313 Psycho Path was created after a simple brain-storming session with my boys when they asked me to write a scary ghost story. 

The first draft of 1111 was written in early 2014 and I hadn’t planned to put off this novel for so long, but with the other books I’ve been working on, it just took a back seat.  I believe this is the only book that has actually sat for long periods between each revised draft, making the review less subjective on my part than with my other stories.

It’s a remarkable task, reading something you’ve set aside for awhile.  You can almost pretend you’re reading something written by another person.  Kind of like when you dig out your journals from when you were twenty-something or when you were a teen…for those who have kept their journals that long.  Stephen King is one author who suggests putting your manuscripts away for a period of time before reviewing them – to better gain some objective.  It’s an understandable concept and probably works quite well.  I’m just not a very patient person and have a hard time putting the review off for that long.  But I’ve had those rests between reviews of 1111 and it does give me a different perspective when I’m not as close to the story as I was when I had just completed the first draft.

As stories take time to bloom into what’s been imagined, authors also develop and flourish as they continue to write from year to year.  I am one who enjoys writing stories as well as blogging and as with authors and the books we write, those who blog also develop their voice as they share their passion. 

Ever since I wrote my very first post back in December 2011, I’ve continued to blog about my writing journey and that’s where my walk down memory lane occurred.  I thought about that first post I authored back when I shared my dream of writing with others.  It will actually be four years this December since I began this blog and shared my passion.  That’s incredible to me.  After re-reading my first post, I decided to read through some other posts, just to see what it is I had to say back then.  It was surreal reading back on old posts; I know I wrote them, and I remember many of them very well, but I’m reading them again from a more objective frame of mind. 

And the best thing about my little jaunt down memory lane? 

I still enjoying reading my old posts and referring back to them.  Maybe I’m a little less objective than I thought.  J  Here are just a few examples I’d like to share with you:  when a huge storm stopped me from using my computer for almost a week; my love for my dogs; my exciting news about my first book cover reveal; my first book signing; how I deal with distractions; when I entered my first book contest; note to self about how to relax more often; how much fun it is to attend different writing or book events; and how to work with others to make your book the best it can be.

Just some light reading for you, as I share with you my walk down memory lane. 

Have a great week!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

A book, a movie, a…completely different story?

Imagine having an idea.  Imagine putting that idea on paper.  Imagine others showing how much they love your idea by buying your books until eventually the dream of a lifetime comes true:  someone offers you big bucks to put your brilliant idea on the big screen.

It can be hard to envision, maybe because it is such a big dream.

The dream does come true for some authors, and quite often lately for the young adult writers.  And I say…all the power to them and anyone else who reaches this professional goal.

But then imagine having an idea, putting that idea on paper, feeling the love from all the readers who adore your story and buy your books and then, after the dream of having your book turned into a movie comes to life, the big screen version is quite different than your original story.

Does it bother the authors when movies don’t stick to their original story?  It may.  Does it bother the readers who love the books?  Yes, I believe it really does, most likely because they don’t want any changes to be made to a story or to characters they love so much.  And possibly because they believe their favorite author or story is being wronged in some way. 

This weekend I enjoyed a night out with my youngest son to go to the theater to watch The Scorch Trials, the second book of The Maze Runner series.  I read the series after I bought the books for my son to read (before it became a movie) and he finally talked me into reading them because he liked them so much.  I really enjoyed the books and, like my son, I looked forward to watching the series when The Maze Runner first hit theaters last year.

I really can’t recall how many big changes from book to movie were made with the first movie, but there were many differences between the book and movie with regard to The Scorch Trials.  Did it make the movie any less fun to watch?  No, actually, my son and I really enjoyed the movie – so much so that we went back to watch it a second time! 

So often the book is much better than the movie based on the book.  You’ve heard the phrase:  never judge a book by its movie?  But does it make the movie any less interesting or fun to watch?  Not necessarily, especially with the special effects movie producers have access to these days.  

Obviously, if readers don’t want to see a movie based on a book, they don’t have to.  If it’s not up to par, they can voice their opinion, but it doesn’t take away from what the author has accomplished by putting the story out there in the first place.

And actually, in keeping an open mind about what it takes to make a book into a movie, there’s something else to consider for those who are distressed when a movie is different from the book it’s based on.  Movies are just movies; they offer a few hours of entertainment and are based on the views of someone who uses the author’s original idea to provide a visual adaption of the story.  You can watch a movie that captures the story exactly as written and you may enjoy it or be disappointed with it because it’s not up to par but regardless, you’ll never be surprised by it.  Or, you can go to a movie with an expectation of what will happen from beginning to end, only to be surprised when the storyline takes a turn or two you hadn’t expected. 

While I don’t enjoy watching movies right after I’ve read the books, since I still feel deeply vested in the story and would be more prone to have issues with any changes made to the plot, I do enjoy movies the most when I don’t always know what to expect (except for those I enjoy watching over and over, such as The Lord of the Rings).  I don’t mind taking a chance on a book-based movie and I don’t mind when they surprise me.  I also know that if the movie really isn’t up to par based on a favorite novel, I can always read the book again.

And that’s the great thing about books and the imagination:  books are the stepping stones to the imagination and they’re always there when you need them.  

So keep calm, read on and have a great week!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Exciting news! I’m hearing voices in my head again!

Okay, I don’t mean to come off sounding a little…off, but there’s some truth behind hearing voices when you’re a writer.  At least there is for me.  It’s that part of my imagination I’ve made very good use of over the past few years since before and after I wrote and published my first book.  It’s what happens when I get just a hint of an idea for a character, a plot or just a simple storyline, and the characters or story idea continues to haunt me so that I’m no longer able to ignore it. 

Eventually, the characters or story idea is something I go to sleep thinking about, wake up after dreaming about or just can’t get away from while I lose myself deep in thought during my drive to and from work.  The thoughts become something I amuse myself with, make notes about and eventually begin to write about.

Although I did set aside the month of April to start a new book during Camp NaNo, and I am happy with the results of what I was able to accomplish, the rest of this year has proven to be difficult when it came to writing.  My imagination has been difficult to breach and the voices of my characters have been stubbornly quiet.

Back in March I posted about my inability to create, and I believe now as I did then:  writers block is nothing more than where your mindset is at the time you need to write.  Here’s a paragraph from that post:

This occurrence of writer’s block is much more extreme but again, it is only due to where my mindset is at this moment. It’s obviously going to take more time before I’ll be able to delve deeply into the stories and characters I enjoy so much. There are a few hurdles I need to get past, some more fears I need to face but eventually the huge, ugly wall that’s been blocking my ability to create will finally begin to crumble so that I can toss the pieces aside and move on. There are no odds against me making it through these tough times; it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of time.    

I did have to get past some additional fears and move through some more difficult times but the time away from writing also allowed me to focus on family and healing.  I may not be completely healed from my grief and we may still have some difficult times ahead as a family, but I’ve noticed something lately… I feel as is the fog I’ve been shrouded in is beginning to clear and I now have the sense of being prodded more often by thoughts about my characters and stories.  Lately it’s to the point that I am regularly thinking about the mystery surrounding my characters and I have new ideas stirring, as well. 

It’s been so long…and I’ve really missed it.  I feel as if I’m welcoming an old friend. 

I don’t know what I have to do to keep my imagination churning or the characters chattering, but I’m going to do my best not to let either slip away or hide again.  I have too much to complete when it comes to writing and time slips away so quickly…I have a hard time believing it’s already the middle of September. 

So where does that leave me with my work in progress?  I’m still going to try to complete my short story – in a perfect world I’d like to have it out by the beginning of November so maybe I can reach my goal if I set a strict deadline.  We shall see.   My new young adult novel is still going to remain a work in progress, one I’ll add to as the muse allows and one I hope to complete and publish later next year.  But it’s the new characters in my fourth Jorja Matthews book that are speaking the loudest so I’m going to spend the rest of my free time working on that book.  Especially since I’ve heard from so many people lately how much they have loved the series (thank you!!) and can’t wait for another.

It may sound strange when I say I’m happy to hear my characters are speaking to me again, but for those who enjoy my stories, I believe you’re probably happy to hear this news as well. 

Thank you, take care and and have a great week! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I’m still here…I just fell back down the rabbit hole.

I’ve become one of those bloggers…one of those writers who I found by chance, who piqued my interest by the way they wrote and who I soon became a fan of, either because I felt a connection with them, was curious about what they were up to next or because they had something to share that I could learn from.

And then suddenly they didn’t have as much to say, or they became consumed with a new project, or life just took over and they were too busy with a new job, new house, new baby, a business venture, death, divorce…you name it. 

We all stumble or fall; sometimes we only stumble over a pebble while other times we take a face plant off a boulder. Or even worse, it could be one huge boulder after another, making it harder to climb out of the rabbit hole our lives can sometimes throw us into. 

That’s pretty much where I am right now.

This has been one of the most trying years of my entire adult life. No question. I’ve dealt with some trying years in the past, but this one has hit me the hardest. My dad’s death was obviously very difficult for me and, while time does heal most wounds, it’s much easier to heal from those wounds when you aren’t also dealing with other serious matters.

And that’s where my silence the past few months has stemmed from. After my last post, two months ago now, I learned that not one, but two loved ones had been diagnosed with serious, life-threatening illnesses. It was a punch in the gut back-to-back when I haven’t yet caught my breath from the last gut shot.

So I understand why some of the writers I follow might become too busy or distracted to share their thoughts on their blog, or Facebook, or whatever social media voice they prefer to communicate with. What consumes them is too big or personal to share with others or when they make an attempt to post anything at all, it’s very difficult to come up with any subject beyond what has invaded their thoughts day and night.

I don’t offer this information to excuse my lack of writing, gain sympathy or appeal for understanding with regard to my silence; although I admit it has helped me gain a better understanding when it comes to the writers I follow. I offer this update to show those who follow me, or who check my blog and wonder where the heck I am, that I’m still here and that I do appreciate those who do care to follow me.  

At some time or another, we all fall down our own version of the rabbit hole...the trick is finding our way out and hopefully learning a thing or two about ourselves in the process. I agree with the character of Alice in Alice in Wonderland that, “It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.” But we often learn more about ourselves during the most difficult situations and even if it doesn’t seem likely at the time, it also helps to believe in this possibility:

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”  ~Author Unknown~ 

Until next time. Take care and find the joy in each day.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Making a list and checking it twice

I know…it’s not the holidays but lists to me are a part of life and lately, I need them more than ever to try to stay on track.  Even more than that, I need a running list so that on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, I don’t forget what it is I need to do as I continue to release new books.  There are so many little details that can easily be forgotten and even though I’ve released four books so far, all those little details can still be difficult to remember. 

I realized this a few weeks ago when I was checking on my stats on Amazon and discovered that my paperback and eBook for Ties That Bind had not been linked so that a reader would immediately see both options are available.  Instead, they would have to actually look the formats up separately to find them!  That’s not supposed to happen, they should always be linked together but what I forgot is that I have to actually request that they be linked together.  It doesn’t just automatically happen. 

And I know I have that little tidbit on a list somewhere…problem is, over the years I’ve made a number of lists and if I’m not looking at the right one, well then, I can make a mistake by forgetting important details like that.

So last weekend and the weekend before, I went through all the many folders I’ve compiled over the past three years relating to writing, marketing and promotion, publication, motivation and time management. 

I can’t believe all material I’ve compiled over the years!

I still have some organizing to do with my lists but eventually I will have a final detailed list of what I could or should be doing from beginning to end as I move on with each new project.  Eventually, I’d like to share all the lists I’ve made so that hopefully others can use them if it will benefit them with their own work.

I’ve been working on three different projects lately and some days it’s good to have the variety but other days, my head can feel like it’s swimming with too many characters and details.  If this were a regular season for me, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but this is not a regular season due to the grief I’ve been trying to manage so I finally had to come to a decision to pick one project and stick with it.  I had already started the fourth book in the Jorja Matthews mystery series before I began the new young adult novel during Camp NaNo in April and before that, I had already completed a short story last year that just needs to be edited, revised with edits and gifted with a nice cover. 

Obviously, it makes sense to finish and publish the book that’s already complete so I’m going to manage my time around the short story first.  My short ghost story, 1313 Psycho Path, was around 13,000 words.  My latest short story, which at this time is simply titled 1111 (as in, eleven-eleven), is actually twice as long and not a ghost story, but about a woman trying to deal with a difficult marriage while also grieving the loss of her young son.  Or maybe 1313 is a novelette and my newest short is actually a novella… depends on who you ask, I suppose.  But as with all my stories, there is a twist in 1111 and the characters surprised me with an ending I hadn’t expected.  That’s always the fun part for me and it makes publishing my work for others to read even more fun.

So I will focus on finishing up the book that’s just itching to get out there.  Tomorrow is a new day and the beginning of a new month so for now, June will be focused on finishing up 1111, getting it published and then moving forward with the other novels.  That’s not to say I won’t cheat and add to my novels if inspiration (or characters) speaks to me, but that’s what’s so great about being an author…you don’t have to limit yourself if you really don’t want to. 

After all, “The only limits you have are the limits you believe.”  ~Wayne Dyer~ 

Have a great week! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why’s it so dark? Because my head is back in the sand!

It’s amazing to me how impossible even the smallest tasks can be when you’re fighting thoughts and emotions you can’t quite explain or even want to deal with.  It’s a battle that’s both exhausting and mentally time-consuming.  Blogging is usually more of a medium-sized task, but the past few months it has become a large chore only because I have such a hard time expressing what I’m dealing with as I continue to remain on task with my writing.  Lately, when I am able to make the time to blog, I feel I’m writing more about why I’m not writing than what I’m writing about.

Last month finally proved productive and even though I had a slump due to the criminal trial involving my dad’s death, I did very well in accomplishing the major feat of reaching my writing goal of 30,000 words during Camp NaNo.  Considering my time spent writing for Camp NaNo, rolled in with the emotions I was dealing with during the trial, as well as a writing conference, a busy birthday weekend and a month-long journaling and photo challenge, I’m quite amazed with myself for what I was able to accomplish during the month of April.

And then…the month of May rolled around and my writing routine, my blogging and even my regular time journaling took another hit.  Today, I feel like I finally woke up…or rather, I finally pulled my head out of the sand, and now, I’m glaring at the calendar after realizing half the month is already gone. 

What the heck happened?  What have I been doing for the past 16 days? 

That’s the problem with grief, heartbreak, stress, depression, illness, or whatever might be ailing someone during a difficult time in their life…sometimes it’s so much easier to hide in the safety of darkness, in an attempt to ward off all the terrible thoughts, complex emotions, ugly details and awful truths.  So much easier.

But there’s a real problem with hiding in the safety of that darkness; instead of working through the grief, heartbreak, stress, depression or illness, you’re left swimming in all the negativity involved with the circumstance.  And the deeper you dig yourself into the darkness, the harder it can be to find your way out. 

Oh, this is getting heavy.  I know.  But for anyone who has dealt with an extremely difficult time in their lives, I’m sure you understand just what it takes to dig yourself out in order to finally get back to living life to the fullest extent possible.

So what caused me to finally focus on the date today?  What made me realize I’d buried my head right back in the sand again? 

Honestly, it was from taking part in a women’s conference last night.  Not an on line course…that would be so much easier when I would just rather not socialize right now.  No, I finally agreed to make my unsociable self available to actually attend a live event.  The theme of the event is what finally woke me up because it was about being brave and to remind us how unique and unstoppable women can be (and should be!). 

Why did this theme affect me so much? 

Because I was reminded that I am brave, I am unique and no matter what life throws at me, I should remain unstoppable.  I was very brave when I finally decided to put the stories in my head down on paper and actually publish them.  I was even more courageous when I finally shared my dreams with family, friends and anyone who might care on the World Wide Web.  I am unique because the stories and characters born from my imagination are my own creation and, based on the wonderful feedback over the past few years, my books are enjoyed by many readers.  I am unstoppable because I have continued to resist the urge to quit even though writing and publishing will always be an uphill climb.  Why?  Because I absolutely love to write and I take pleasure in sharing my stories with others.

Now that my head is out of the sand, I see I’m at another fork in the road and I’m going to choose the direction that will move me forward again.  I will likely hit another bump in the road, or another fork that forces me to re-evaluate things, but I as long as I remember to remain brave and continue to believe in myself, I will hold on to my title as unique and unstoppable. 

Is anyone else going through a difficult time?  Dumb question, as many are, I’m sure.  Whether my experiences and what I share help others or not, I truly do appreciate the fact that I can continue to express myself as I continue to work through things.  And if anything I say gives someone a little push to work their way out of their own difficulties, I’ll call it a very good day. 

Take care and stay courageous.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

When your life feels like a Lifetime movie

I like Lifetime movies…some of them anyway, so don’t get me wrong.  But lately, what I and my family have been going through the past few months has been so surreal, I sometimes feel like I’m watching or taking part in a Lifetime movie.

And I guess I'm still waiting for the happy ending.

I ended up taking a long break from writing for about ten days this month, from the 15th through yesterday.  Now, my reasons are all pretty solid…I’m working the day job, took part in an on-line writing conference from the 15th through the 17th, and spent my birthday weekend combing the beach, visiting seaside towns, attending a wedding, hanging out with friends and taking a chance on long shots at the horse races.  While I did my best to push down the guilt of not getting in my word count, my birthday weekend was some much-needed time away and I enjoyed every minute of it.

This past week I could have easily made up for the days I missed writing except that an event occurred which nothing in the world would keep me from missing.  I’ve shared very little about the incident surrounding my dad’s death and I don’t know if there ever will be a time when that subject is something I’ll feel I can freely speak about.  It’s just too raw and too emotional to share right now, as the loss of my dad has affected me and my family in ways I still can’t comprehend.  But this past week we were finally able to close one more door in our attempt at moving towards healing and while nothing will ever bring my dad back, I feel a little better knowing the person responsible for his death will not be able to heave another family into such a tragic set of circumstances.

Sometimes the difficulties we face in life do leave us feeling as if we’re stranded in some Lifetime movie.  The way of getting through the tough times is to take care of ourselves and try to find time to focus on what might give us rest or raise our spirits, if even for a little while. 

And sometimes, that’s difficult to do. 

You can freeze a movie on television to take a snack break but it’s certainly more difficult to freeze life if what you need is time to catch your breath.  The trick for me that I’m still learning is not to be so hard on myself when I have to make a choice that results in both a positive and a negative.  During my birthday weekend, I had to choose between giving myself that much needed time to catch my breath or spend the weekend at home writing to reach my word count.  I knew that the weekend away would screw up my word count, especially when the following week would involve even more pressing family matters.  However, while I love to write and I’m doing my best to focus on my goals, I also know that setting aside time to unwind is good for the soul and is especially important during the most difficult of times.   

Until yesterday, I honestly hadn’t realized that I spent so little time writing during those ten days but due to everything else I had going on, my writing (except for journaling) had to take a back seat.  Even if I had made a small attempt at writing during this past week, I just didn’t have the emotional energy to focus on anything other than the case surrounding my dad’s death.  The fact that Camp NaNo is continuing with or without me and will end only four days from today meant that when I finally got back to my novel yesterday morning, I was a little disappointed in myself for getting so behind in my word count.  But then, writers tend to easily disappoint themselves, even if everyone else continues to believe what they do is amazing.

So what did I do? 

I broke out of the fog I’d been in for over a week, dusted off my keyboard and read over the last chapter in my novel.  This novel has been enjoyable to write so it didn’t take long for me to get back into the story and for the characters to get back into my head.  Then I began to write…and I continued to write all afternoon and into the early evening.  I took a break here and there but by the end of the day, I’d added over 5,300 words to my novel and if it weren’t for the pain I was beginning to feel in my back and shoulder blades, I could have added more.  What I accomplished yesterday doesn’t make up for 10 days of big fat zeroes, but it’s a good effort and leaves me a manageable word count requirement for the next few days.

In addition, the results from yesterday remind me that time spent replenishing my soul also feeds the source of my creativity and ultimately, gives me the focus and energy I need to take on even the toughest tasks.  Right now, my toughest task is to complete Camp NaNo with the word count I committed myself to…so I guess it’s time to get back to it!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

F.E.A.R…to Face Everything And Rise


This was a busy week for me, not only with work and my personal life but also with my writing.  Considering that my schedule was all over the place, I impressed myself with the fact that I was able to maintain my word count by the end of the week so that I have continued to add an average of 1,000 words a day to my new novel.

It would appear my ability to remain focused has finally returned.

And I intend to keep at it.

That’s no small feat, considering the difficult time I’ve had with focusing lately.  But sometimes what it takes is finally just jumping in and hoping for the best.  I saw a quote recently, I believe by Zig Ziglar, which said: 

“F.E.A.R. has two meanings…
Forget Everything And Run
or
Face Everything And Rise. 
The choice is yours.”

I finally had to force myself to make the choice to face my fears when I realized after three months that I still wasn’t getting anywhere with my writing.  It’s why I joined Camp NaNo and committed myself to at least 30,000 words for the month.  It’s also why I joined another challenge involving journaling and photography so that I could continue to express myself creatively and use it as a means to continue to heal. 

Some days are easier than others when it comes to making time to write, but when I have been able to get in a good chunk of time to work on my new book, the results have been very satisfying.  I’m relieved by the notion that each day will continue to get easier and that also means that each day will allow me to move forward to meet my writing goals.  

I’m also pleased to have characters talking to me again.  J

My first full week in April has provided me with more confidence as I forge ahead and I eagerly look forward to what I will accomplish by the end of the month.  Next week I have a difficult hurdle to cross so it might not be the best week as far as productivity goes, but I will do what I can as I’m able, knowing the last two weeks of the month will leave me with plenty of days to make up for lost time. 

And I will remember the wise words behind the meaning of the word “fear” so that I’ll continue to make choices that will allow me to rise rather than cause me to run. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April is proving to be productive

We’re only into day five of April, and Happy Easter by the way, but even after only five days, I’m feeling pretty good about my creative progress so far.

I began Camp NaNo on Wednesday and after committing to 30,000 words for the month of April, I was able to get 1,500 tackled by the time I finally had to tear myself away from the computer and get to bed.  That’s after I’d already worked a full day and spent a little time with the family before I hid away in my office for the remainder of the evening. 

The fact that I should be writing an average of 1,000 words every day isn’t very difficult.  It’s just that I know I might not get to write every single day considering other factors that will come up during the month so I was very pleased with myself for doing so well the first day.  Thursday and Friday were off days…that didn’t take long did it?  But my excuse is a late parent-teacher conference on Thursday and time spent with my family on Friday evening.

I made it up yesterday, though.  I took on the bare minimum of household chores I knew I couldn’t put off and then I got to work on my book.  After a couple of hours I had another 2,500 words added to my word count.  When I realized I had reached 4,000 words, I took a much-deserved break and spent a couple hours outside in the sun, but afterwards I was still able to add about another 1,000 words to my word count before I finally called it a day.  It felt great.  Not just the number of words, although I’m happy about that, but what felt great was that I was already beginning to feel drawn into the story through my characters.  Due to the timing and the fact that I’m working in a completely different genre, I thought I’d have to work harder at it this time to hear what the characters had to say.  But it happened much sooner than I expected. I love it when that begins to take place because I know the characters are going to help me move the story along and I look forward to what happens when the characters begin to surprise me. 

It’s a good thing I put in that little extra work yesterday because today was spent with family for the Easter holiday and I haven’t had any real time to write.  Even so, I’m pleased with my word count after the first five days of camp.  I’m at just under 5,000 in five days, so at this point, I’m right on track with my word count goal.

You’d think taking part in Camp NaNo might be enough for me right now but I also decided to take part in another challenge during the month of April.  This challenge is easy in that I can do what I want, when I want, but I’m trying to take in all that’s being offered because it’s come to me at the perfect time as I try to sort out my thoughts.  The daily reflections and photo prompts provide inspiration and help me focus on some much-needed attention when it comes to my mind, body and soul.  I’ve really enjoyed the challenge so far.

I’m also posting again only a week later than my last post, so the beginning of April has proven to be a productive one.  This is a step in the right direction as I continue to get back into the grove of staying focused on not only what I want to do, but what I need to do to plow through the field of grief I’ve been stuck in for the past few months.  Any movement forward is good, whether it includes baby steps or great big leaps.  I’m happy either way.  With the progress I’ve made so far, I’m now even more excited to move into my second week of challenges. 

I’ll try to post an update with the progress I’ve made again next weekend.  Have a great week!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting back in the saddle

As I began to write this post, I wondered whether my tone would be any different than my posts since the first of the year.  It was immediately evident to me, as I wrote a sentence before deleting it and starting again, that my tone was going to start out exactly the same way.  As I hold my hands over the keyboard, take a deep breath and square my shoulders against the idea of having to “think” about why I haven’t been writing the past three months, my chest tightens, my jaw clenches and I notice that my eyes are blinking a bit too rapidly in what must be my body’s attempt to ward off the fear.

But the fear of what?

There are just too many fears to count these days.

When I was a kid, I used to hang out with my cousins on the other side of the valley and I loved the fact that they also lived on a farm but even better, they had horses.  We used to ride together and it was exhilarating to have control over such a large, strong, beautiful creature.  But if you’ve ever ridden, you know how quickly something so much bigger than you can completely turn things around.  I discovered this the hard way one particular day while I was enjoying an afternoon visit with my cousin; we were riding the horses out in the field together when there was just the slightest noise…my recollection is that it was nothing more than an owl hooting in a nearby tree.  But that noise was enough to turn the massively strong horse I was riding into a quivering scaredy-cat who wanted nothing more than to be away from the unknown hooter and in the safety of his own stable.
 
The fear this horse felt was instinctive and nothing I could control.  I was only along for the ride.

And it was one of the most frightening rides I’d ever been on.

I could have literally died that day, when I think about it.  The horse had only one thought in its mind and I was not going to stop it.  He headed directly back towards the stable and he would have raced into the stable with me on his back, where I would have very likely struck my head on the roofline just above the entry.  My saving grace was the fact that the horse had to take a hard right to enter into a small field just off the stable entry and when he did so, I was unable to hang on and I slipped off his back, hard on the ground and into a patch of stinging nettles.  This was unfortunate, especially since I also landed on the same arm that had only just recently had a cast removed after healing from a wrist fracture.

I felt real pain that day and I also felt real fear.  My fears were genuine and instinctive, because I really had no time to think of anything else than my personal safety.  When it was over, even though I was bruised, shaking and my skin was itching from the stinging nettles, I was relieved not to have been hurt any worse than I was.

And then came the day when it was time to consider getting back on a horse again.  Here’s where genuine and instinctive fears become misguided fears blinded by misperception…

Even if I were to ride a different horse, how was I to know it wouldn’t also easily spook?  What if the horse ran?  How would I stop it?  Would I be hurt again? 

These were all valid thoughts based on how scared I was at the time the horse ran on me but I was holding one terrifying experience against every single horse I came across and, of course, that’s not really fair to the horse, is it?

Just because we grow older, and wiser, it doesn’t necessarily make us more prone to understand the difference between our genuine fears and our misguided fears.  We just have to figure out how to realize when the limitations we have unconsciously set for ourselves are actually due to those misguided fears. 

But that’s easier said than done. 

I’m learning as I go and due to what I’ve been through the past few months, I’ll admit I’m not a quick learner because the fears I have, whether genuine or misguided, are always on the cusp of every thought I have.  It might seem a bit extreme but when your world has been shaken to the core, you tend to slowly rebuild what you lost very carefully, as you want to avoid any potential for future fractures. 

So how am I going to move forward in an attempt to push past the fears I have?

I’m going to remember what I did when I had to face that horse again.  When I looked that horse in the eyes and decided I had no choice but try to ride, or admit defeat to the fear of something that might never happen again.  I did get back in the saddle and, I’ll admit, I was extremely scared.  Not very smart when animals can sense your fear but the only way that horse wouldn’t smell my fear is if someone had knocked me unconscious before tying me to his back.  I won’t say that horse and I ever became the best of friends but I’m very proud of myself for having the guts to push aside my fears so that I could once again take part in something I enjoyed.

And that’s what I’m going to do today…I’m getting back in the saddle and regardless of everything else, I will do what I can to keep myself firmly planted and ready for the ride. 


Sunday, March 1, 2015

My best metaphor for writer’s block


It’s been two months since I had to do one of the most difficult things in my entire life…when I had to say goodbye to my dad.  It’s been two long months.  Some days it still seems like yesterday while other times it feels like an extreme amount of time has passed, due to everything that has occurred from then until now.  It’s all still just a bit surreal.

I had hoped to be on a better schedule by now, both with my writing and with my blogging, and as much as writing could possibly “take me away” from all this, my focus just hasn’t returned and my mental energy is not yet there.  I’m still journaling but that’s for myself, as I try to make sense of what has happened.  I want to get back into writing.  I need to move forward with my writing goals.  But there are a number of reasons I haven’t been granted some of the closure I need to get myself back into writing as much as I should.   

I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m going through.  But maybe you don’t, as I haven’t been able to completely express exactly what has happened.  Losing our parents is what we expect to happen in the normal course of life, just maybe not as soon as we sometimes do.  When my father-in-law passed away, it was due to a long battle with multiple types of cancers over the course of a number of years until the last cancer was just unbeatable.  Losing a parent to illness is very difficult but in retrospect, the illness helped the family prepare for the inevitable, albeit very difficult, outcome. 

Losing my dad the way we did was extremely difficult.  None of us were prepared for what happened.  The accident was not only unexpected and violent, but it was also due to the criminal negligence of another.  I won’t go into detail about exactly what happened, but for those who understand the legal system, you can appreciate why there may be a number of reasons closure, or at least an attempt at moving towards closure, is not quite within my grasp.

It pains me to write this way.  It pains me to have to share such a depressing update.  And it pains me even more that I haven’t been able to move forward with my writing the way I need to, as it would likely be very therapeutic for me.  But when I started this blog, just a little over three years ago, it was to share my writing journey.  My dad’s death isn’t something I really wish to share, but when it comes to how it has affected my ability to write, that is unmistakably affecting my journey as a writer. 

I’ve shared my thoughts on pursuing my dream, doing what I’m passionate about, fighting the fears I face, persevering against the odds, and jumping the hurdles involved with the daily grind as I try to map out my future as an author.  I’ve had my own little bits of “writer’s block” but I’ve never really believed in the concept as a whole.  Writer’s block is nothing more than where your mindset is at the time you need to write.  For the most part, any lapses I’ve had in writing were usually due to being too busy in other areas of my life and the oftentimes difficult task of time management.  I don’t believe my imagination has ever stopped thinking up new stories or the characters I love to create.  
     
This occurrence of writer’s block is much more extreme but again, it is only due to where my mindset is at this moment.  It’s obviously going to take more time before I’ll be able to delve deeply into the stories and characters I enjoy so much.  There are a few hurdles I need to get past, some more fears I need to face but eventually the huge, ugly wall that’s been blocking my ability to create will finally begin to crumble so that I can toss the pieces aside and move on.  There are no odds against me making it through these tough times; it’s going to happen.  It’s just a matter of time.