Monday Musing

Hey, I’ve been out of touch for a few weeks. Sorry about that. Well, in a way I am, but the bigger part of me isn’t too worried. I’ve been scrambling, editing book two in the Diamond Series to get it finished.

I’m not done yet, but it’s coming along. The book will be released in the next few weeks. I’m a co-host on a release party with my friend A.L. Kessler. More information later.

But, I want everyone to stop by my other blog to see excerpts from book two. Check out the headline animator in to the right of the posts. Click on it and you’ll get a sneak preview from chapters in book 2.

Happy Monday to you all. I’ll be back once the book is released.

Thanks for you support.

Monday Musing – Am I like Molly?

I’m working on the last chapter of book two in my Diamond Series. (Happy Dance). But, I can’t stop thinking about my husband’s comment that I’m procrastinating about finishing the book.

If you’re a Mike & Molly fan, then you saw the last episode where Molly hurried down the stair, waving her manuscript in the air, yelling “yeah, I finished.” And Mike, her mother, and step-dad just grunted. As the scene continues we find that she just finished her manuscript for the 4th time.

Her mother gets the champagne out, and her step-dad makes a smart-alec remark about adding an erotic scene, and Molly gets a new idea, rushes back upstairs and begins writing again. Just a few scenes later, she’s finished once more, but hesitates to send it in. Mike takes matters into his own hands and emails the fifth finished product to her publisher.

While I’m not that bad, I do take more time writing a book than I’d like. It’s been almost a year since I began writing book two. Now in my defense, I do have a day job, and am a freelance editor. I write book reviews, take care of my guy. (Hey, you don’t know just how much I have to do to keep him happy Not talking about in the bedroom either). Not to mention the weekends where our son is home (bachelor) and help my widower dad with Sunday dinner. Weekends are mostly family time so writing is limited.

A pattern is emerging.  I have no problem setting aside time to grade college essays or edit manuscripts, or write book reviews, or even keep up with my blogs. But, I have a hard time blocking out time each day to write.

Now that I see the pattern I’m setting up for myself, I’m working on changing it. I plan to write every day, I mean week day, and get in some time on most Saturday mornings as well, since my guy works half a day. I made myself just relax yesterday. I kind of panicked, but, I figure that I didn’t really have to begin editing a manuscript that just came in or do a second read on a manuscript that I sent back to an author.

I already had ideas written on paper to add to book two, and instead of spreading myself too thin, working seven days a week, I took a break. I may not do that every week, but this morning I’m on track with working on book two. I have been writing this morning, and though it feels strange, I normally grade papers on Mondays, but classes just began so no grading until next week.

Yes, I took a break to during lunch to get this out, and I’ll do a little advertising as well. But then, I’m back to writing for the day.

Happy Monday.

Monday Musings

I just spent the better part of half an hour writing the perfect blog post only to realize it would be better to leave until next week. So, now I haven’t got much of anything to say.

I could talk about my year as an author. I could look back and tell you what I did that worked and what didn’t. I.e. Don’t publish in December. Make sure you have a marketing plan in place 3-6 months before release date, get to conferences whether you’re published or not.

But, I ‘m sure you’ve heard it all. So, I ditched that idea knowing readers can find blogs that talk about those things from seasoned writers that tell it much better than I could.

That year end musing, got me to thinking about giving a year in my life synopsis that I seem to get from several friends and family members. I received a poem from a friend that covered an entire 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. I’m not a poet, so I was impressed.

The best scene I read was written by Draven St. James using ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas theme. It was hilarious. Again, not something I could pull off.

But, I am in awe, and quite envious of those who easily produce those types of things. Let me pause and say, I’m happy and celebrate that with them. I might be envious, but there’s no petty jealousy. I gladly support writers in whatever they’re doing. It doesn’t matter the genre, we all need cheerleaders, and I’m happy to be in that section.

However, it seems that too often my characters clam up. But, I realized a few things. 1. That’s my fault. You see my characters like to tell me all about themselves and the situation they’re in at 11:30 – 12:00 p.m. while I’m getting ready for bed. 2. I’m busy with work during the day, so whatever idea comes my way, I put it on hold, hoping to remember it later in the day. 3. An idea for a new story pops into my head, and those characters want equal time.

Right now, I’m writing the last chapters of book 2 in the Diamond Series. And for once, me and my characters are on the same schedule. So, while they’ve go my attention,and have fed me some really great lines, I’m going to say Happy Monday to you all. And get back to writing.

Monday Musings

Another Christmas and New Year has come and gone. But, the sentiment still lingers. It’s not because I still have decorations up. My guy added a new decoration to the hundreds we already have. I’ve posted the pic here, so that is most likely part of me still feels Christmas is hanging around. And it’s not because our son is home for the season. It isn’t even because of the parties and baking that goes on. (I didn’t mention the candy, cookies and other goodies I’m still eating on for a reason. If I don’t talk about them, then the calories don’t count).

It is about the fact that I have a reprieve from teaching until mid-January. It’s about being able to write and edit at my will instead of allotting time between grading on Mondays, editing manuscripts later that same day, and on Thursdays (my guy’s day off).

But it’s mainly about college bowl season.

I’m sure you didn’t see that coming. Yes, the last regular bowl game aired last night.  You see, it’s the time of year my husband I, pick our teams and watch the games religiously to see who gets the better of whom. We don’t have set rules. We can pick the same team or choose separate teams. We both have our favorites. My team won, well the team I picked one. That puts me ahead of him this year. And with just the final game left, airing Monday January 12, with both of us for the same team, he can’t win.

Because of our location, we’re both SEC fans. However, for some reason I also cheer for western teams like USC, Fresno state, etc. whereas my guy likes middle region teams like Illinois and Nebraska.

While the SEC rules in our house, we differ greatly. We have a major rivalry. He’s a UT fan through and through, and I’m Alabama, Crimson Tide all the way. I have bragging rights, and I believe this is the 4th year Alabama will be vying for the championship title. But, they lost to Ohio State while Tennessee won their bowl game. They made a tremendous statement and my life is much happier because my guy’s team won.

My second favorite college football team is LSU. Now, I’ve loved LSU for years. I’m also a big NO Saints fan, but that’s for another time. This past year, I had a new reason to celebrate and cry with the wins and losses of the team. A young man J. D. from our area became a red-shirt freshman as a walk on for the team this past season. He was home for the holidays and it was good to spend time with him again. (My son mentored a few high school teens a few years back and J.D. was one of them). He and another young man, who went in a different direction spent Sunday afternoons around our table. I can’t wait to see him getting some good playing time next year.

As I write this, it seems this is the major part of our holiday, the most ongoing, but also most fun. I am relaxing this upcoming week, not going anywhere, doing anything major. But, we’ll be watching commentators and sports analysts discuss the Oregon and Ohio State championship game all week. This rivalry, between my guy and me, sets the timeline for our holiday season. Once it’s over so is the season. It’s sad to see it go, but we know it will return next year.

Which brings me back to the holiday season. Like our college bowl games, it’s here for a time. For us it’s sometimes seems to long, but actually it’s just the right time. Then, we’ll set it aside until next year, take it out and enjoy food, family, friends, traditions, and our faith. We’ll make new memories and relive old ones.

 

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A Joyous Season to All

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my friends and fans.

May this season give you joy and happiness and peace. May the new year be filled with expectations and wonderful surprises beyond your wildest dreams.

Monday Musing

We all have our holiday traditions. And one of the traditions my son and I share is seeing a movie the Friday before Christmas. Not just any movie, a J.R.R. Tolkien movie. It began with Lord of the Rings Trilogy and segued into The Hobbit Trilogy.

And, sadly, now that tradition is coming to a close. The last Hobbit movie opened to audiences all over the world on December 17. The fans, old and young have been heading to the theaters in droves. As I sat in the theater on Friday afternoon, I was please to see a diverse age group, race, gender, economic background. And of course that one section of the population that the media likes to label, “nerds/geeks”.

What has me pondering this morning is when did such a literary figure become immortalized in the lives of nerds and geeks? Not that I’m complaining that some of the smartest people on the planet lean toward Tolkien’s writings. But what happened to the other 95% of the population?

Today, that small number of individuals are immortalized by Hollywood and the media as socially inept, unattractive, recluses. Which is far from the truth. My son’s IQ is well above 160. He’s been working with computers since he was eleven. And, he’s quite handsome. Except for being a little too stocky, he could be a leading male in romance novels. He’s six, three. He works out. His mind is quick, he’s researched more material for back stories for novels than I could think of. I could go on and on. And not because I’m his mother. He’s a man I’d be proud to know for his intellect and common sense alone.

If we look at Tolkien, we will find a prolific author, poet, and professor of Oxford into said category. Queen Elizabeth conferred upon him the title of The Commander of the Order of the British Empire.  C.S. Lewis was a close friend and he was a member of Inklings, a literary social group at Oxford.

But Hollywood and American media scorns intellectuals today. It says something about America that doesn’t bode well. That the masses of Americans are a bunch of mindless twits who will allow the media to lead us around by our nose. That we would rather idolize the uber-attractive, mega sport stars, bad boys of the movie industry than to openly accept intelligence for what it is, a gift that should be praised and not bullied for.

Yes, I’m guilty of promoting the attractive by writing romance novels. But, think about this. The most widely known male romance cover model in the U.S. is an intelligent businessman who not only cashed in his good looks, but used his brain to diversify, knowing that he wouldn’t always be cover model material.

As I celebrate the holidays, the last Tolkien movie, I am reminded of the literature courses I took in college. Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, and more. Let’s embrace those men and women who’s intelligence shaped the lives around them, and continue to affect us today. If it weren’t for these literary giants, I may not have become an author.

merrychristmas

Monday Musings

I just posted the final grades for my students. It’s an incredible, yet somber occasion at the same time. Now, I’m not a teacher. I think of myself more as a guide on their adult journey for knowledge.

Knowledge that will assist them in higher courses that continue onto obtaining their degree that carries over into their career. I’m just a small blip on their radar. But for eight weeks, I get to know some and share moments with some pretty amazing students.

You see I mostly teach military students, or retired military or their children. I know I’ve discussed part of this before, but here I want to take the time to honor them.

It’s not unusual for me to get emails like, “I’m going/coming from the field can I make up my assignment?” I’m in Iraq or Afghanistan or oversees and my books won’t arrive, internet service is sporadic, and my CO has me… so can I have an extension?”

Some may think what in the world are they doing taking classes instead of keeping us safe? But, I have to tell you. I have firsthand knowledge of the hardships they go through.

I’ve been teaching military students for almost thirteen years. And nine years ago my youngest step-daughter married a career military guy. They met online while he as in Afghanistan, and I’ve watched their lives unfold as he was deployed for eighteen months just after they married.

I’ve listened as he’s changed directions in his career which now keeps him home, but because his job is in special forces, he’s constantly training. It’s nothing for him to be gone eight to ten weeks at a time keeping up survival skills, as well as his physical ones.

Taking classes is a way for these men and women to keep something normal in their lives. And I consider it a privilege to be part of that normality. militarychristmas

So, I want to thank all the students I’ve worked with this year. Your hard work and dedication, in the classroom and in your diligence to keep this country safe, is appreciated. You have made my life better for being in it. I know I fall short at times, but I hope I’ve done the same for you.

I am wishing military personnel (all branches), and especially those of Fort Campbell a safe and happy Christmas and New Years.

Monday Musings

I had to grab a cup of coffee before I begin. It’s not that my mind isn’t working, it is. It’s working too  much. While coffee was brewing, I thought I’d quickly peruse a few holiday food gift catalogs that were sent to my door. Now one, I normally order from every year. It has a great selection of cheeses and chocolates.

And, there is one gift in that book that my son, 30 year old man, insists on having. So, I did the mother thing and asked, “son you still want … this year?”

“Of course, It won’t be Christmas without it. Even if I just take one bite.”

Internally, I hand my head, but I’ll do the motherly thing and get it for him. After all he’s my only son. (I have two step-daughters).

But then, I thought I’d try a competitor as well. Not for his special gift, but for similar cheeses and chocolates. They’re offering free shipping, which, well it’s free shipping. Anything free is good, right? Anyway, that was where I messed up.

Now, I’m flipping through pages of one catalog, (An aside note, really hate it when a sentence begins with now, or even now in a sentence because way too often it isn’t used properly, but in this case it is correct). A few items catch my eye. And I begin a frantic search for their confections of raspberry shortbread cookies and chocolate cake in individual orders with no luck. From the other catalog, I’m tempted with selections of toffee, tortes, and truffles. (Note to self, eat breakfast when shopping for food).

Then I remember I haven’t bought gifts from Godiva yet. Their hot chocolate and truffles are perfect for cold winter nights. I’m getting carried away, and hungrier by the minute. Is it all right to eat chocolate cayenne cookies and brittle for breakfast?

I mentally shake myself out of the Christmas food shopping coma I’m in. But it’s so easy to just purchase it all. I mean, I could pick and choose from so many assortments, and walk away with spending thousands of dollars (their handy payment plan only charges me $10 a month for the next five Christmases). But by golly, I’ll have my Christmas candy, cakes and assorted snacks, lovingly massed produced in a factory, and delivered right to my door all with the push of a button.

I pause. Not because I won’t order, but to reflect if I really need all of this. If I give into my impulsive spending, this wonderful food is going to be around for months after Christmas. It’s only me and my guy here. His daughters live hours away and we won’t see the grand-kids again until March or later. No worries though, with all the preservatives the goodies would still be fresh. But, I’m just not sure I want that temptation. Chocolate has a way of disappearing around the house, while my hips expand. Not sure how that happens.

And then again, my pocketbook won’t take a beating. Maybe I’ll just…

Sorry got distracted by the sight of a praline cheesecake. Oh, and there’s a tin of petits fours, I love petits fours. And… Gotta go. Gotta see how much I can spend without going over my credit limit.

Happy shopping!