Thursday, July 20, 2017

Picnics and Sparklers and Roman Candles, Oh My! #MFRW Authors #29

Christmas used to be my favorite holiday.  Why?  Because it fell right after my birthday, then New Year's was a week later.  Three weeks of cake, presents, food, and parties.  Who wouldn't love that?

But then I married and had kids.

Since I married a man who didn't have my parents' income, the month of December soon became a headache.  We simply couldn't afford to spend a great deal on presents for our family, let alone my extended family!  He had grown up with only buying for his parents, a sister, and her two kids.  I had to buy for 3 grandmothers, one grandfather, two aunts, a cousin and her two children, my parents, and my sister.  Thankfully, my dad's side of the family decided to draw names, so I only had to buy for whomever name I drew.  Then later, we decided to only buy for the kids.  But this still seemed 'too much' for my grumpy spouse.

As my kids grew older, the toys got more expensive, and soon we were adding school parties and teacher gifts to the budget.  As a result, no matter how much I bought in advance, December always snuck up on me, and I soon began wishing we could simply skip it altogether.

That's why now the 4th of July is my favorite holiday.  We don't have to go anywhere; we can buy hot dogs and Johnsonville Brats and cook on the grill.  Watch the parade at 6pm, then find 'our spot' to watch the fireworks.  Eat ice cream.

No stress!

So what about you?  What's YOUR favorite holiday?

Want to know what others think?  Click here. 

Heart-felt apologies.....last week, I had to take a bus to Chicago with my mom, in order to help her catch her (very early!) morning flight out of O'Hare on Sat.  She's spent the last week with my sister in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.  Today, I'm taking the bus back to O'Hare, to help her get to the motel so we can return to Lafayette tomorrow.  I also have a class reunion tomorrow night, so I probably won't get around to commenting until Sunday or Monday again.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Need Advice? Read My Books....or Not.... #MFRW Authors #28

Sometimes when you write by the seat of your pants, weird things happen.  For instance, when I wrote Teacher's Pet, I was dealing with two characters who'd found each other, and a jealous woman who used to date Kevin.  How to extend this story into full-length?  Melanie decided to slap Kevin with a sexual harassment suit.

*needle scratch*

Wait, what?  I'd never dealt with anything like that before.  I had to stop and research it.  Best of all, how was Tammy going to deal with it?  Would she stand by her man or would she see it for what it was, a scorned woman doing everything in her power to destroy a good teacher?

This could have gone very differently, but I chose to show how common sense and loyalty can bring people together in a crisis, not tear them apart.

I used a life lesson in Appetite For Desire, ripped from my own experience as a server at a country club.  One of my favorite kids was a shy, introverted young lady, and not popular with her peers.  However, a mild show of favoritism managed to turn the other girls' attitudes into a more favorable opinion, plus gave her a confidence boost.  I often wonder if that act made any difference in her life as she entered her junior high years.

In my sci-fi series, I tackled the issue of homelessness, rebellious siblings, and mistaken identity.

If you really want some Life Lessons, my alter ego deals with everything from alcoholism to eating disorders to emotional abuse, as well as relationship dynamics such as age difference, long-distance relationships, and even IR.  You can find everything on her page of our collective website here.

Do you like reading romance with a subtle life lesson in it?
Do others work them into their stories?  Find out here.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rocky Mountain High #MFRW Authors #27

The most beautiful place I've been....recently (is 2013 considered recent, ha ha?)
Estes Park, Co




Here is the view from Chipmunk Mountain.  You can see Lake Estes in the center.



Estes Park to the left....



Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, Alluvial Fan.  Family pic.  (Yes, I married Santa Claus, lol!  Or one of the members of ZZ Top....)



Be honest.  Is there anything more majestic than a herd of elk on top of Trail Ridge Road?

I'm also a beach gal, but since none of my Florida pics are on digital, you'll just have to use your imagination.

Sandy white beach, blue water, the sound of a gentle breeze, the smell of salt water, sand, and sea life.  Ironic, since I can't stand seafood, unless it's crab or lobster.

How about you?  What's the most beautiful place on earth you've visited?  I've never left North America, so enlighten me.  I'll add it to my bucket list.

Want to see more beautiful places?  Click here.  See you next week! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Just Creative or Am I Schitzophrenic? #MFRW Authors #26

I've had a love of stories since I can remember.  I loved being read to, and was thrilled when I learned to read myself.  But somewhere about the 2nd or 3rd grade, something interesting happened:  I'd read a book or watch a movie, and would continue the story line with my Barbies or want to act it out.

Which, you might think is brilliant.  BUT....I didn't know how to communicate the ideas in my head, and would get mad at whoever was playing with me for going 'off script', which was weird, since there was NO SCRIPT!  (For more on this, go here)

When the concept of Creative Writing was introduced to me in the 5th grade, I was THRILLED!  Finally, all those story lines and characters in my head could be written down on paper!!

From the 5th grade through HS, I wrote fairy tales, essays, my own ending to Star Wars, poetry....anything that popped into my head during English class assignments, or even if they popped into my head after school.  Then I hit college.

In Jr high and in HS, I'd devoured the teen romance books, and even branched into Harlequin and the few romance books and adult fiction that my mom let me read.  But there was no dedicated series for college, unless you count the 50's series by Anne Emery and even a few by Rosamund Du Jardin which, by the 80's, was a bit outdated.  My prom dresses had puffy sleeves and looked like ball gowns, not layers of tulle!  Sleeveless?  Shudder...I didn't have enough 'on top' to hold it up!  But I digress.....

After going on a blind date, I decided to write the book I wanted to read.....and my alter ego's Arbor University series was born.  I was 'born' Feb 20, 2008, when more adult situations were being written by our collective brain, and the 12 year olds where reading AU didn't need exposed to more adult situations.

So back to Why I Write....I just gave you the long answer.  The short answer is, my head would explode if I didn't get these characters out of my head!  Yeah, if an outsider eavesdropped on a group of writers talking about their characters, he/she would wonder why these people aren't on medication or in a padded cell.

Truth is, the stories we write keep us out of that padded cell!

If you want to see why other authors do the things they do, click here:)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Dusty Bookshelves #MFRW Authors #25

What are my favorite books to read?
Since I'm involved in VBS (Vacation Bible School-does that shock you?  LMAO!), this post will have to be short, since I stupidly volunteered to create the 1st newsletter!  I've been photographer, Snack Lady, and Keeper of Wayward whistles/name tags/Golden Ticket7s.   And in some instances, that pest who's always got her camera trained to capture every spontaneous moment....

So, in no particular order, the books which, no matter how often I read them, never get old.

1)  James Michenor's Hawaii
2)  Little Women
3)  Dana Fuller Ross's Wagons West series (though Colorado and California have similar plots)
4)  Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts
5)  Born Trilogy by NR
6)  Access Denied by Jacqueline Roth
7)  Brotherly Bonds by Brynn Paulin
8)  Woman of Substance series
9)  Winds of War/War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
10) The Dutchess by Jude Deveraux
11) Separate Beds by Lavyrle Spencer
12) Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4)

What are yours?  What about others?  Go here

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pasta....Steak....Chicken....How Can I Choose? #MFRW Authors #24

If I Could Eat ONE Last Meal?

Pasta, how I love thee.....let me count the ways.....

*needle scratch*

Filet Mignon, how I love thee.....

*needle scratch*

Grilled chicken, how I-

Okay, okay, we get the point!  Just pick one already!

But it's sooooo hard!

Yes, I know.  But the topic is-

Screw the topic!  I want Filet Mignon with a side of Grilled Chicken in Pasta with Pesto sauce.  And Broccoli with Hollandaise sauce.  And cheesecake for dessert.  Or chocolate cake.  No, make that blackberry pie.

*writing on pad*  So you want for dessert a blackberry pie with a slice of cheesecake and chocolate cake?

Yes.  Or yellow cake with chocolate icing.  It's my last meal, so I'm going out with a full stomach.

That's putting it mildly.

So what about you?  What would YOUR last meal look like?

To see others, go here.




Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reality vs Ideal #MFRW Authors #23

Ten years ago this fall, when my kids were all in school, I was pounding out close to 1000 words per day.

Three years ago this month, I had turned over baby-sitting duties to my oldest granddaughter, so I could write Best of Both Worlds and turn it into my editor by July 1st.  Yes, I managed it.

During Word Wars on Twitter, where several friends and I devote 45 minute word sprints to encourage each other to get our books written, I was managing anywhere from 300-700 word counts....IF the words were flowing, I wasn't hearing "Grandma/Mo-om!", or distracted by conversations on Facebook.

Two years ago, I was trying to homeschool my youngest child, rid my house of a bed bug and lice infestation (thanks to the granddaughter's biological father), and write three books.  Only two were written; my child did manage to finish the 4th and 5th grades, and while we got rid of the lice, we still find a bed bug or two.  Bottom line is, they're under control.

So yes, my IDEAL word count would be that 1500-2000 per day.

What's my REALITY, though?
-We took possession of two abandoned houses and are in the middle of sorting, selling, donating, etc, the contents of both houses.

-My older grandkids are here for the summer

-We moved to our new house in December and I'm still cleaning out a storage unit.

-My youngest granddaughter is now five, and wants to spend more time outside in our larger yard.

-The only writing I seem to accomplish these days are two weekly blog posts, my morning FB updates, and the 300 words I can crank out at my weekly writer's meeting.

But hey, I've been here before, back in 2011.  Two short years later, I could barely write fast enough as the characters dictated their woes.

So do they really matter?  Only if you're on deadline.  I found out in 2007 that I have MAJOR perfectionistic tendencies.  If I've told someone of a goal, I'll sacrifice everything to attain it.  (I've eased up, somewhat....that's why I still have a book that's now 2 years overdue!)

It all depends on what goals you've set for yourself and how hard you're willing to work toward those goals.

Or if you're like me these days and LIFE has smacked you upside the head.

To see what other authors have to say on this subject, go here .

****If the topic was how many words are in a book, then my short stories run 4500-6000; my longest book is 54K; my 'comfort zone' is 30-40K.  Sorry if I've misunderstood the topic.*******