Sunday, December 25, 2011

Life Without Change

 Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change ~ Jim Rohn

Earlier this year, my partner, Thomas, started "lobbying" my mom and dad to come to Kansas City for Christmas, instead of us going to Nebraska.  Back in June and July, I have to admit, it was a bit against our tradition to plan for Mom and Dad to come to town and host them.  But now that the time is here, it sure has been wonderful that we didn't have to go anywhere this year!

I was able to have my traditional Christmas.  We eat no later than 1:00 PM on Christmas Eve, clean up the kitchen, then open presents.  After presents, we continue to hang out, usually watch a movie together and just generally enjoy the time together.

And then, since it's our first Christmas in Kansas City, we got to start some new traditions.  First of all, we got attend Christmas Eve service at Central Presbyterian Church.  Our sanctuary was so beautiful in the early evening and the service was amazing.  On our way home from church, we saw the luminarias lit in the 36th and Broadway neighborhood, a thirty-some year Kansas City tradition.  And we took my parents and grandparents through the Plaza and down Ward Parkway to see the Christmas lights.

So as much I hesitated at the beginning of year, I thoroughly enjoyed having everyone here this year.  Life certainly has gotten better this year by change!

I wish all my readers Happy Holidays and wish you a Joyous, and productive, and New Year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Here's to the Initial Feeling of Stepping into a Sauna

Here's to the initial feeling of stepping into a sauna ~ Jill Badonsky

I can't tell you the last time I got to sit in a sauna.  But this toast resonates with me because instead of thinking of stepping into a sauna, I love to visualize living my life in our dream house.

A couple of years ago, we found a rough floor plan of our dream home in a magazine while waiting at a doctor's appointment.  I tore the sheet from the magazine and we've had it hanging on our bulletins board ever since. My dad has even started working the blueprints and we have drawing of what it should look Ike that hangs above the mantel.

Visualizing your success at the end of your Dream journey is important.  So whether it's the materials things you might be able to realize at the end of your dream journey or the intangible rewards, visualize yourself reaching your goals and living the dream.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Be Patient With Yourself

When going through changes, be patient with yourself. Things usually take longer than we hope or plan, so when that happens just lighten up and trust the process ~ Jill Badonsky

It's been a crazy couple of months again. At the work job, I've launched five new clients within my group. Slowly but surely the novel is getting finished. I didn't participate in NaNoWriMo (again), but like I posted on Facebook, I'll get November figured out one year so I can.

And yes, every time I go to Safari on my iPad, I feel a bit guilty about not posting. And I feel a bit guilty for not getting up in the morning to work on A Place to Call Their Own. But I just have to be patient with myself and understand that this will take a bit longer than I really want.

So hang in there, on whatever dream journey you're working on. If you're in sales, the next couple of weeks should be a great time for your business. If you're in a more creative journey, do your best to balance the business of the season with driven to meet your goals.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Perseverance is Failing Nineteen Times and Succeeding on the Twentieth

Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding on the twentieth ~ Julie Andrews

In the last week, my Facebook feed has been "littered" with funny little pictures. Back in the 90s, I received these in emails and just deleted them. On Facebook, it seems I can only remove all pictures or all posts from the friends posting them or hiding each post individually (if you know a different method, please leave your comment below to educate me).

Even though I mentioned I usually delete this kind of email, there is one picture that has caught my attention. Wouldn't it be my luck I cannot find it right now to post on here, so bear with me. On the left side of the picture is a perfect arrow rising at a perfect forty-five degree angle. The caption under this line is, "Most people's definition of success." On the right side if the picture is an arrow that is a seriously squiggly line that eventually rises ton the top right corner of the picture. The caption under this arrow is something like, "the real path to success."

This is a great illustration of Julie Andrews' quote. I might amend it a bit and say perseverance is failing a million times and getting it right on the millionth and first.

So whatever success journey you're on, keep at it. Success is rarely a straight and easy path to follow.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Here's to Acknowledging our Moments of Willpower

Here's to acknowledging our moments of willpower ~ Jill Badonsky

Don't you just love it when your day starts with accomplishing small goals that help you make your dreams come true? Not only does it feel good to make small steps towards the big dream, the vision, but the rest of day just seems to continue to be a good day, no matter what obstacles might come up.

I actually wrote that introduction last Sunday morning after accomplishing my writing goals early in the morning. How fitting that it is so timely for me this Saturday morning as well. I've been working third shift the last. I decided to get back into the normal weekday routine I'd like, I would get up at 5:30 AM on Saturday and Sunday. I am hoping that come Monday, rolling out of bed at 5:30 am to work out and write before work starts to become old hat.

After psyching myself up all day on Friday to get to bed at 9 PM and reminding myself how good it feels to work out and write before work, my hopes and dreams were dashed when I was woke up at 11 PM. When I was still awake at 1 AM, I turned off the alarm and decided getting some good rest was more important. I had only slept and shout and a half after working a thirteen hour shift on Friday morning.

But it must have been in the cards for me to start this routine. I woke up naturally right before 5:30 AM, just as I had planned. I tried to roll over and go back to bed, but the cat was determined to get his breakfast so I went ahead and got up.

So even though I am behind in my week day routine, it does feel nice to be up and have both my exercise and writing goals done for the day. It took quite a bit of willpower to get up and get going, but I feel great!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Try to be Better than Yourself

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself ~ William Faulkner

I hope that you've been continuing on your success journey. I've been quietly and slowly working on my novel and really am hoping to have the first draft done by the end of October so I can participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. Then my plan is to start the New Year editing.

This quote resonates with me this morning because I can be a very competitive person. Although a bit of healthy competition can be good, no matter what you're trying to accomplish, it's also important to remember to just try to be better than yourself.

What do you want to be better than yourself at this week?

Have a great week!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are You Chasing Your Dream, Living It, or Both?

My j-o-b that pays the bills has been hectic again for the last two weeks.  But I just realized, I am living that dream.  I left a retail job last year to return to a call center and I love it.  I have been managing a new department since   February; we started from the ground up and everything is going pretty smooth.

Although I don't always have the energy to work on my writing and blogging like I should, my writing career is still on my horizon.  I am still chasing that dream.  No matter how tired and exhausted I am, I manage to get some reading done.  That's a writing activity, right?

So I hope that you're either living a dream or chasing a dream.  I happen to be doing both.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Here's to the Little Things...

Here's to the little things that bring great joy, like butterflies, comfortable shoes, and lying on a blanket in the sand ~ Jill Badonsky

Here's to the little things that bring us joy. I hope you are moving forward on your goal journey and it is something that brings you joy.

I've been reading a book written by a person from my hometown. As a matter of fact, she was a substitute teacher when I was in high school. How wonderful it's been reading The Buchanans: Storm, by Carlene Keim, having known Carlene from growing up. It's given me a new spark in m own writing as the first draft of A Place to Call Their Own gets closer and closer to completion.

So here's to the little things in life...I hope you're enjoying some of those little things in your goal/dream journey!

Have a great week everybody!

Monday, August 15, 2011

It is Rare and Difficult

It is a rare and difficult attainment to grow old gracefully and happily. Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it ~ Julia Child

I hope you are enjoying your success journey, whatever it may be. I hope that it is an extreme passion of yours that you find tremendously interesting. Keep at it, no matter what, and you'll achieve your goals.

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I'd Rather Regret the Things I've Done Than Regret the Things I Haven't Done

I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done ~ Lucille Ball

I hope everyone is having a relaxing and productive day, whatever that means for you. For me, that has meant getting up and getting the chores done and cleaning up the patio and rearranging the pots. Now that the chores are done, it's time to get productive with my writing and other activities.

Whatever goal or vision journey you are on, things can get tough and sometimes it's hard not to question the journey. I hope you're through that stage and moving forward. I hope you would rather regret some of the things that you did along the journey, than regret not starting the journey at all.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Without an Open Mind...

Without an open mind, you can never be a great success ~ Martha Stewart

As I've been on my journey writing my first novel having an open mind has been the most important assets on that journey. I always have the most success and learn the most when I have been open to receiving the lessons Intended for me to learn.

Just one of those lessons was to join Twitter. For two years, I resisted the "coaching" to join Twitter to build a group a platform. In just five months, I'm at nearly 2000 followers, and that feels great. I've increased my blog followers from 0 to 79 in that time as well.

Just this week I was asked to do a guest spot for a blog on Internet marketing, and that feels good. I don't confess to be an expert at this, nor are very many of my ideas, original, but I'm excited to share what I know and what I've done with others.

Reaching out and helping others is part of my vision of being an accomplished author; it's the sole purpose of my blogging efforts. This guest appearance will be another step in realizing that vision.

Whatever journey you're on, I hope you're reaching small milestones and I'd love to hear them in your comments!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Can Do This

Think to yourself, "I can do this" ~ Jill Badonsky

Twenty one years ago today, I started working full time. Since then, I've made no less than four major career transitions on this day/week. I also had two follow very close behind in September, which means I was interviewing during this month in preparation to transition in September.

And here it is the beginning of the month and I'll have posted to the blog two days in a row; I'm two for two for August.  And I have a good feeling about the rest of the year, as far as my writing goes. Work on A Place to Call Their Own is moving along very well. I hope to get the first draft done by the end of October so that I can participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). That will leave me the colder winter months to work on editing and finishing touches.

No matter what goal journey you're on, just keep thinking to yourself, "I can do it." Even Oprah just admitted this week that being the CEO of the OWN Network is ten times harder than running her daily show. And she's committed to making OWN successful doing what's worked very well for her in the past: allow it [the network] to serve her purpose and to serve her viewers.

And if I can do it, you can do it.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Here's to Life's Conveniences

Here's to life's conveniences ~ Jill Badonsky

Today in Kansas City, it was over 100 degrees and it's supposed to be even hotter tomorrow. Thank goodness for air-conditioning.

Another of life's conveniences is the farming equipment that our farmers have today.  I'm knee deep in researching harvesting in the 1860s for A Place to Call Their Own. And even though I was a "town kid," I knew that much of the farm work, even in the 80s, was done in air-conditioned cabs of the tractors and combines.

So here's to life's conveniences, most specifically air conditioning, during this extremely hot and humid summer. And here's to meeting my #writinggoal for the day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Here's to Your Jeans Feeling Loose When You put Them On

Here's to your jeans feeling loose when you put them on ~ Jill Badonsky

It's definitely not jeans weather in the Midwest, but humor me for a moment. What does it feel like when you put on your jeans and they are just a little loose? Most of the time, it's a nice surprise. It's a nice surprise because maybe you've been working on a goal to lose a bit of weight. Maybe it's just a nice surprise because you changed just a few routines.

Whatever the reason, doesn't it feel great to experience just a little bit of success? I have to tell you, it feels wonderful. Just yesterday I was able to write a blog post and in A Place to Call Their Own. I was dead tired by the time we were done watching the movie and doing that writing, but I got it done. I slept great and had a wonderfully encouraging comment when I woke up the morning. What a successful day in my writing life!

And that energy is fueling my desire to reach my goals today. Yesterday I wrote about finding the routines rooted in your reality. The only thing I would change about yesterday and today is getting my goals accomplished earlier in the morning before going to work. Maybe I just need to listen to the cat in the morning when he starts whining, feed him and then feed my soul the day?

Be sure to celebrate and marinate in any little piece of success you can achieve towards your dreams. Remember what that feels like on the days when goals and routines feel like chores that have to be done. Remember that especially on the days when working towards your goals feels like the worst chores that have to be done.

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Every Time I Close the Door on Reality, it Comes Through the Window

Every time I close the door on reality, it comes through the window ~ Jennifer Unlimited

Every time I've been successful with any goal, it's been about creating routines. At work, I accomplish tasks by following routines. I teach my staff to get their work done by routines as well.

I count quitting smoking and finishing my bachelor's degree as two of my lifetime achievements thus far. Both of those goals were achieved by creating routines and following them. (In the case of quitting smoking, it also meant breaking old routines.)

Publishing a novel is the next of my lifetime achievements. Everything I've read about accomplishing this goal says to follow three important routines: set aside time to write, read other novels to develop your craft, and start building a platform.

Reading is never a hard routine for me. If all else fails, unless I'm extremely exhausted or worn out, reading is the one routine I get accomplished.

Writing every day is a routine I've had to work at. I've tried to change up the time of day I write, I've tried to change up how much I write each day. I am continually adjusting that schedule and trying new things.

Aspiring writers have to be careful about building a platform using social media. If more time is spent on Twitter and Facebook and other sites rather than actually writing, that can actually be a detriment to a burgeoning writing career. I, too, was a slave to Twitter earlier this year. There were days I didn't get any writing done, but I guarantee that I got my daily "mentions" done.

The crazy thing about the routines is that only I can figure out what works for me, and only you can figure what might work for you. Just like my writing routines: only I can get them figured out and make progress. Lately, this includes multi-tasking. Because I didn't get up and get my writing accomplished this morning, and I am committed to getting some writing done today, I'm completing this blog while watching a movie.

Create your vision, set your goals, then develop and follow the routines needed to accomplish your goals. Make sure those routines are rooted in your reality so that you can follow them faithfully and accomplish your dreams.

Make it a great week everybody!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Creative Process and Your Vision

We need creativity in order to break free from the temporary structures that have been set up by a particular sequence of experience – Edward de Bono

My professional work life has calmed down and I'm been achieving some more balance again. I'm back to blogging a bit more than I did in June and I'm back to working on A Place to Call Their Own more regularly.

Although I wasn't actively working on my writing projects during the month of June, I was constantly thinking about them. My vision of earning a living through writing and my goal of finishing the novel this year kept me going and helped me pick things back up a couple of weeks ago.

Whatever journey you're on, use your creativity to create your vision. Once your vision is created, keep it in front of you. That way when there are roadblocks, like my stall in June, you can get around those roadblocks.

I hope everyone is staying cool during this heat wave that is affecting most of the U.S. For me, that means there's no excuse not to stay in and get some writing done. What about you? What are you working on inside since it's so hot outside?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

If You Cannot get rid of the Family Skeleton, you may as well make it Dance

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance ~ George Bernhard Shaw

If you ask most successful writers how they began or where to begin, they will tell you, write what you know. Sheila Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, and Kerry Riechs all write stories set in places near where they live or where they have visited. Marie Bostwick writes about quilting, which is a hobby of hers. I have thoroughly enjoyed all these author's works.

Especially if you are a beginning author, writing what you already know about will, help advance your plot, develop your characters, and create a story others will want to read. A Place to Call Their Own was inspired by a visit to the Pea Ridge National Military Park in 2008. After visiting the park and learning about this crucial battle, my ideas for the novel came together and I started writing. Again, I was living in the area at the time and I have an extreme interest in local history and the settlement of the West after the Civil War.

I'm spending the weekend in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. You can bet at some point in my writing career, at least one of my novels will be set in this beautiful, Victorian resort town.

Use what you already know to have the courage to step out of your box and go after your dreams.  For me that's writing a novel, what about you?

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reflections After Reading Heartwood

Heartwood was Belva Plain's last published novel before she died in 2010. I received the book as a birthday present and thoroughly enjoyed it. Heartwood is the mother/daughter story of Iris Stern and Laura McAllister as Laura navigates marriage, family, and career in the 1970s and 1980s. Of course, Iris has her own demons to deal with as her life transitions from middle age into retirement age as well.

What's fascinating about this story is how both women try to cope with what's going on in their lives. Heartwood is a study of generational shifts and how differently Iris and Laura view marriage, motherhood, and themselves through the transitions presented in the novel.

If you're a writer, you'll want to read Heartwood to study the differing points of view. The author uses each character's point of view at just the right time during the story to advance the plot and give the reader more information about the situation. From Iris's nearly seventy year older husband to tween-aged Katie, Laura's daughter, we are allowed to know what each person is thinking at just the right time in the novel.

The final book of the Werner family saga, Heartwood stands alone as a beautiful story in and of itself. Now I'm going to have to go back and read about Anna Friedman, Iris' mother and Laura's grandmother.

I read Heartwood in just three days last weekend. I started Friday afternoon and almost finished Saturday night. It's a spectacular summer read.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

...Look Foolish...Being Great

Until you're ready to look foolish, you'll never have the possibility of being great~Cher

What a great comment on success from one of the most popular pop artists of our time, in her sixties and still a beloved icon. What does it mean to us as writers, or for those of you that follow me on our parallel journey's to success?

To me, it means that I work tirelessly to balance a busy career with the dream of writing a novel. Not only does that mean working on writing every day, but it also includes blogging and developing a network on both Twitter and Facebook. I blog about this journey and pass on advice that I pick up and try to follow.

But even I don't follow the advice that I've passed along the way. The last eight weeks have seen sporadic blog posts and a non-existent presence on Twitter. The only routine I've kept going is reading everyday.

I've read three novels since the middle of May. All of them have been beautiful stories and well constructed by the authors. And all of them ended right when the characters realized their hopes and dreams. It's almost as if the universe is telling me that the journey is more important than the goal itself.

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and declare to the world what you aim to be: writer, successful business person, direct sales leader. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and pick yourself up and keep going along the way.

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Reflections After Reading Letters From Home

Letters from Home, by Kristina McMorris, is the story of three young women and their relationships with each other and their families during the last year of World War II.  As the war comes to a close and the world finds peace again, Liz Stephens Julia Renard, and Betty Cordell find themselves.  Life will never be the same for any of them after the war.

The heart of the story is a love story inspired by the author's own grandparents.  It's a beautiful story, but I had to stop reading at many points along the way.  This was not because I was tired, not because it was late, not because I was bored.  I had to put the book down because I could no longer read through the tears I shared the emotions that the characters were feeling on their journeys during this turbulent time in history.

As a writer, I learned how to construct the plot around multiple characters in multiple locations.  The chapter headings help, but there's a bit more to the construction of the plot than just the chapter headings.  The choices on how what happens to each character, in each location, at each time, is integral in the telling of the story.

Letters from Home would be a great addition to your summer reading list.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review - Cimarron Sunrise

I took a detour from my adult reading last night and read Cimarron Sunrise by Brenda Turner.  This is a delightful elementary-aged chapter book about a family's journey from Independence, Missouri to Arkansas City, Kansas to get ready for the first Oklahoma Land Rush in 1889.

The hopes, dreams, and fears of this story are told through the eyes of nine year old Maddy.  As readers, we get to experience most of the story through her point of view as she deals with the fear of traveling away from her familiar life at Granny and Grampa's.  Once the plans to move get going, she gets excited about the move West.  Even more refreshing is the fact that Maddy gets bored on the trail through the Nebraska prairie.  Most stories dealing with the westward expansion focus on the action and adventure.  Cimarron Sunrise deals with the boredom of day in day out travel across the limitless prairie.

Although most of the story is told through Maddy's point of view, boys will like reading this book as well.  There is plenty of adventure dealing with life on the trail, a bully along the way, and of course the Land Rush itself.  Maddy's brother, Nick, provides a character that young boys can look up to and admire while reading this story.

The heart of this story is an inspirational message of a young widow determined to make a better life for her and her children.  I've share before that I enjoy finding inspiration in fiction.  Brenda Turner provides two beautiful quotes that I've shared with my team at work:

"You are going to make history. Remember that and don't let fear take your dreams."

"We've got to have faith in our plan that things will work out."

If you're looking for a family story to read together this summer, Cimarron Sunrise is a great story that everyone can identify with and learn from.

Thanks once again, everyone, for sticking with me and returning to the blog.  Work is slowing down, team members are in place, and hopefully I'll be back on track with my blogging and writing soon.  Today's picture on the blog represents being back on track, enjoy!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Launch - Motion to Kill

It's been a crazy few weeks at work, thanks for sticking with me.  I am so excited to be back again helping to launch the Kindle Edition of Motion to Kill by Joel Goldman. If you like mystery and crime stories, you’ll love Motion to Kill.

I am absolutely a fan of fiction set in places that I live or places that I’ve been.  I’m new to the Kansas City area and I just think it’s the coolest thing to read stories set here in my new city.  Whether you live here or not, you get a nice tour of our city, it’s landmarks, and a bit of the history surrounding some of our neighborhoods.  And it’s not forced or contrived, it all fits nicely into the story.

As an aspiring author myself, I loved how his characters pause at different parts of the story and recount what they know about the mystery and crime.  They keep summing it up as they go and reviewing the information so you don’t forget what’s going on or what they do know.  I was able to use this device recently in my own work in progress, and it’s not going to be a mystery-crime novel.  As far as the who-done-it goes, Joel Goldman always keeps you guessing and I didn’t figure it out until it was revealed in the end.  I hate mysteries that make it too obvious who did it (but I love it when I figure it out!). 

If you haven’t read Motion to Kill yet, I definitely recommend you download it for Kindle today.  And remember, you don’t have to have a Kindle e-reader, you can download the Kindle app on your PC, smartphone, or tablet to enjoy Motion to Kill and thousands more Kindle titles.  Here's a link to Amazon:


Monday, May 30, 2011

If I had my Life to Live Over

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daises – Nadine Stair

That's just it...there are no do-overs. Are you doing what you want with your life right now (well, not right the moment you are reading this...but...)?

I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend if you're reading from the U.S. Make it a great week, everybody!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Disaster Hits Very Close to Home

Last night, an EF 4 tornado ripped through Joplin, MO.  Thomas and I lived in Joplin for a year and a half before landing in KCMO last year. 

It has been a mixed blessing to sit in my living room in Kansas City and watched the news coverage of the situation.  Even more heartbreaking, and soothing at the same, is reading all the Facebook posts.  It's heartbreaking to hear about the devastation and loss.  It's soothing to hear that friends and previous co-workers are safe.

Yesterday, I posted one brief question, "Are living a life that bears witness to all that is good and grand in this world?" This morning, that message continues to resonate with me as hundreds of friends start to rebuild their lives and I sit safe in my living room typing this post.

My partner, Thomas, has set up disaster relief fund for our friends in Joplin.  If you're local, we'll take the pennies in your penny jar, pocket change, etc.  We'll get those donations directly to our old church in Joplin.

If you're not local, The Heart of Missouri United Way has set up a donation link from their home page, specifically for the Joplin area.

I chose the picture above because it reminds me of the beauty that was Joplin before the tornado hit.  Thank you so much for your support.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bearing Witness

My only question for myself and the readers today:  Are you living a life that bears witness to what is good and grand in the world?

I hope you have a great week!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Here's to the classic movies we never grow tired of - The Awe-Manac by Jill Badonsky

Even if you claim that you only watch movies one time, I think everyone has at least one movie they can watch over and over again.  If you're like me and have lots of favorite movies that you watch over and over again, it's hard to define "classic.". Do you remember the first time you were possibly "forced" to watch some of those movies?  Only to discover later the art and beauty of said movies?

The routines we follow to achieve our dreams are much like some of those movies.  I remember reading about writing, and blogging every day.  The writing on the novel part excited me very much, blogging, not so much.  I didn't understand Twitter and the importance of presence there.

Now my day isn't complete without working on the novel, writing a blog post, and keeping up with Twitter.  These routines, recommended by other successful authors, are now a part of my day and I don't feel complete without working on them.  It's just like watching The Sound of Music Thanksgiving weekend or The Wizard of Oz in the spring around Easter.

What favorite routines do you look forward to on your success journey? Or, what are some of your favorite movies?  I'd love to hear about both, have a great day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

As One Gets Older, One Sees Many More Paths That Could be Taken

As one gets older, one sees many more paths that could be taken. Artists sense within their own work that kind of swelling of possibilities, which may seem a freedom or a confusion – Jasper Johns

The best advice about writing, or pursuing any goal, has been to do it and do it everyday. I work hard everyday to complete at least 250 words on A Place to Call Their Own and a blog post of 250-300 words.

Some days, the creativity just flows. Last Saturday was one of those days. I was able to get through five hundred words in the novel and had four blog posts ready to go, In addition to four blog posts being complete, I had the subjects/inspiration ready to go for ten more posts. That's enough to be able to post once a day for two weeks.

Work on A Place to Call Their Own is moving forward again. It's moving along quite well, considering I've been a bit reserved about how to proceed. I've been off work the last two nights, so waking up at 4:00 AM has turned into some extremely productive time for me.

What I've learned about he last two weeks, is just go with it. Force yourself to write, or work towards your goal, and you will see progress. I'd also let you know to take advantage of the times when the words, or whatever you produce, flow freely.

How about you, what do you do to keep yourself going? I'd love to hear your comments...have great day, everyone!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review - Crossfire

Crossfire by Dick Francis and Felix Francis is the story of Thomas Forsyth who is wounded in the Afghan War and goes home to heal for six months. He's not excited about returning to his childhood home, and his mother and stepfather aren't too excited about him being there either. While he's home, he finds out life for his well-known hire trainer other hasn't been the winner's circles she's used to. This was a great story wrapped around the British racing industry, the British tax system, and the effect of the Afghan War on British citizens. This was Dick Francis' last novel before he passed away in 2010.

As a writer what I liked about the way the story was the way the story unfolded. It wasn't easy to put all the pieces together to figure out who did it, but after it was revealed, there was still a lot of story left in the mystery.

Another plot device that makes this mystery different from many I've read lately is the catharsis that both the main character and his mother go through during the story. In the end, Thomas gets past his demons being second to the horses while growing up. His mother also goes through a change that is refreshing by the end of the story.

If you're a writer friend reading this post, my question for you is, do you find reading novels outside genre helpful or a hindrance to your writing?

If you're on another goal journey reading this post, my question for you is, do you routinely read outside of your favorite genre, or do you stick with what the same thing most of the time?

I'd love to hear your comments, have a great day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Understand Life's Mysteries as Mysteries to be Lived

Understand life's mysteries as mysteries to be lived - Robert Zemeckis

What a wonderful quote from Robert Zemeckis. He's the award winning director, producer, and writer of such great films as Romancing the Stone, Forest Gump, Cast Away, and A Christmas Carol.

I think life's mysteries speaks to anyone on a journey into the unknown. In 2005, a co-worker mentioned to me that she wanted to write a novel someday. That brief sharing opened up a desire in me to pursues that goal as well. When I met Thomas in 2007, he encouraged and inspired me to get started. Here I am today, blogging regularly, probably 40% done with my first novel, and ideas for future projects in the works, some with as many as 2000 words done.

Another mystery that is exciting for me in the publishing industry is the traditional versus self publishing model, print versus electronic revolution. A very good friend asked me recently what I'm going to do, self publish or try to get a traditional publishing deal. I answered I didn't know. Part of me is up for the challenge to find an agent to represent me and then pursue a traditional publishing contract. I could also go the self published route and be more in control of promotion, which I'll have to do anyway with a traditional contract.

So whatever mystery you're living right now, no pun intended for my mystery reading and writing friends, I hope you're pursuing it with all your heart and soul. For the first time in a long time, I can honestly answer yes, both personally, and professionally,

What mystery are you figuring out right now?  I'd love your comments!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guest Post - Why I Write by Janell Loveland

I am so excited to present my first guest post today!  Janell and I were co-workers.  I didn't know she was a fellow writer until I saw posts on Facebook.  Take it away, Janell...

Have you ever felt like you had something to say yet for some reason, fail to get it out? That's how I have always felt, and to an extent, how I still feel. My brain-to-mouth communication is less than acceptable, add that to already being shy and its a recipe for poor conversation. Now, give me a pen and paper and I can talk your head off any day. Sure, I still try my hand at talking, sometimes, but I find I stammer and lose my words. It's frustrating to say the least.

I think that's why I started writing. I got tired of boring people or coming off as a terrible person and instead started writing notes, or letters, or stories with a happy ending. You can ask any of my grade school teachers about me and they will tell you of a girl with a short attention span and an annoying habit of passing notes in class.

As I've gotten older and begun to understand myself, I know I was blessed with this gift for a reason. People deal with situations differently and oddly enough, I think I deal with the curve balls in life pretty well. Instead of keeping it all bottled inside or laying it on someone else's shoulders, I seek the comfort of a piece of paper. It listens to me as if I'm the only person that matters, is never judgmental and I always walk away feeling better. So, I put my emotions and hopes and dreams in words. I bare my soul on paper and am a better person for it.

I honestly don't know why I decided to take the route I have with my writing, or even why I decided to publish some of my stories. I just know that above all, writing makes me happy. I hope that even one person that reads my writing can be stronger for it, or smile because of it. 

Thanks, Janell!

You can find Janell's novellette's on Smashwords at:

She also uses the pen name Evangeline Love:
Here's a link to her blog:

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter:

We'd both love your comments, have a great day!