Archives

We Need Each Other

I’ve had many jobs over the years. The one thing that stands out in every one of them is the people I’ve worked with. I can honestly say that I’ve adored 99% of them. We won’t talk about that 1%. Some of the jobs weren’t exactly what I wanted to do at the time, but I made the best of them. The people around me certainly helped!

Now that I’m a stay-at-home writer, I have little interaction with other people. I relate to the characters I’m writing and talk to them. It’s enjoyable, but it’s not the same. So I make a point of getting out and having real conversations with genuine people. If I spend more than two days at home locked away with my laptop, I get cranky. Unfortunately, my poor husband pays the price of my grumpiness when he comes home from work in the evening.

What I’ve determined from all this is that we need each other. That should be a given, but trust me on this…it slaps you in the face when you’re alone for hours on end. I love my career, but I’m a people person and need to have that interaction. Besides, if I stayed locked away forever, how would I get inspired for my stories?

I often have people joke with me and ask if I’m going to write about them. If I do, they’ll never know. I pick up traits and add them to my characters. What’s really fun is that if I have something that happens to me that really upsets me, I can write about it. Plot it into a story. It’s self-therapy!

I hope you enjoy what you do for a living. I read a statistic once that indicated a very small percentage of people actually like what they do. They only do it because they have to. They need the income. (Of course, we all need that!) It’s sad that people spend the majority of their day doing what they don’t want to do. It reminds me of something I was told as a child, “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t like.”

I’ve been in that position. But even when I was, I put a smile on my face and made the best of it. AND I kept striving to reach my ultimate goal and follow my dream. Achieving what I set out to do wouldn’t be so fulfilling if I didn’t have someone to share it with. On a typical day my dear husband gets bombarded with chatter when he comes home. Most of the time ‘un’ cranky chatter. I LOVE to write, but I’ve learned to break up my days with time out in the real world and time at home with my laptop. It’s made a tremendous difference!

WRITE ON!!

We need each other!

We need each other!

Chasing the ‘WAS’ Monster

I’ve been thinking about this post for some time now and kept asking myself if I’m qualified enough to write it. I decided that even if I haven’t fully learned how to wrangle this beast, I’m still going to pass on what I’ve learned.

Every time I release a new book, I hope it’s better than the last. Not saying that my first releases weren’t good, but I honestly believe that the more I write, the more I grow as an author.

So, what’s a WAS monster? If you’re a writer, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. If you’re not a writer, then maybe I shouldn’t be telling you! I risk having you go back to my older books and look for ‘was.’ You’ll find it. Frequently. Was isn’t such a bad thing, (especially in dialog), but what I’ve learned is that it can be improved on. For the most part, taking was out of the equation brings more action to a sentence.

For instance, instead of saying: The man was walking down the street, I’d simplify it to: The man walked down the street. It goes from being passive to active. Simple, but effective.

And here’s the funny thing…once you start tackling this monster, you’ll find really creative ways to dig deeper into your character’s point of view.

I’ve been working on a rewrite of my first manuscript. I came to this ‘was’ sentence: When Reverend Brown announced their engagement and upcoming wedding, it was no surprise to the congregation.

Not a bad sentence, right? Well…when I looked at it, I thought, that’s kind of flat. Besides, this is an important part of the plot. I needed to make an improvement. That simple sentence became this:

When Reverend Brown announced their engagement and upcoming wedding, the congregation stirred with instant chatter. It didn’t surprise Claire. They’d expected it for some time. If they only knew the truth. Now that would create real chatter. The kind of gossip they’d love to share.

In my opinion, a HUGE improvement. I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having doing a ‘was’ word search. I believe that little trick alone will substantially improve my work. Let me know what you think!

I don't care about 'was' I just want a cookie!

I don’t care about ‘was’ I just want a cookie!

Amazing Creativity!

I’m constantly amazed at the ability of the human mind to create new and exciting works of art. Art in all forms. Whether it’s an artist with a paint brush, pencil, or their bare hands, or a writer of music and/or stories.

Everything starts with a vision. An idea that floats around in the brain until the person holding that thought has to let it out.

Throughout my life I’ve been surrounded by artists. People who are driven to set their creativity free. It’s incredible to watch!

My mom is an artist. For as long as I can remember she’s ‘created.’ While I was growing up she painted with oils, then a number of years later she took some classes doing water color and now does both. In addition, some of her creativity came out baking and decorating cakes. Watching her do those was really fun. Plus, there was always leftover frosting in the refrigerator. A great treat for any sugar-craving kid!

Mom is also a singer. She has a beautiful soprano voice. I have great memories of sitting beside her in church singing alto to her soprano. She’s always encouraged me to follow my dreams and use my abilities in any way I could. And since she’s still following my career, (and this blog!), I want to take this opportunity to say, “Thank you, Mom!”

Her example not only nourished my creativity, but taught me to encourage my son. His talent is drawing, and he’s been able to use his ability doing artwork for an on-line video game.

Parents should encourage the individual creativity in their children. It’s important to teach them how to be independent and make a living, but giving them an outlet to use their talents is just as important.

I belong to a writers group, Music City Romance Writers, and am surrounded by many talented writers. Talk about amazing! These authors are creating new stories and bringing to life a multitude of characters that will stay with you forever. I know that each of us hopes to one day write that particular book that will become the new ‘thing.’  And even if that doesn’t happen, we’re all thrilled that we have the opportunity to share our stories and have readers that embrace our characters.

I just heard on the news that we’ll soon be seeing clips from the new “Star Wars” movie. I’ll never forget sitting in a theater in Idaho watching the first movie. The ‘original’ “Star Wars.” (not episode 1) Darth Vader scared me to death just by breathing. And then years later there was the revelation that Vader was Luke’s father. How many of you remember gasping when that secret was revealed?

I can’t wait for the new movie! I’m ready.

These films started as visions by a writer who had a story in their heart that had to be told. Just like “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” or “The Hunger Games.” All of these dreams became books and later, movies. But they all started by an inspired thought.

I hope that if you’re inspired, you’ll follow your heart and mind and do something with that inspiration. Put it on paper, or canvas, or bake a cake that will amaze someone’s eyes and taste buds. And yes, if you’re a baker, it can’t just look good, it has to taste good, too!

Or … dance! Another favorite of mine. An art form unlike any other I’ve mentioned. I’m a big fan of “Dancing with the Stars.” I also used to watch “So You Think You can Dance.” I love to dance but my body doesn’t move like it used to! Still, I can watch and admire those who have the ability.

Thank you for following my blog! And now I need to go and see where my mind will take me today. Time to go down another road not yet traveled. Hope to see you there!

One of Mom's cakes!

One of Mom’s cakes!

Who Am I?

Since my grandpa lived to be 101, I keep telling myself that I’m only a tad bit over the middle of my life. I hope to be blessed with his longevity, and pray that I’ll have the good health he maintained up until the end of his life.

Thinking back on what I’ve done over the years, and the things that have shaped me into the person I am today, I’ve been reminiscing about the many different jobs I’ve held. I thought it would be fun to make a list, so bear with me. This list is in chronological order. You’ll probably laugh at a few of them…

1. Concession stand worker at the Valley Center Flick drive-in theater – Smelterville, Idaho
2. Camp Counselor – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
3. Outdoor Education camp instructor – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
4. Singer/Entertainer at Gladys’ Pizza Parlor – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
5. Burger King employee – drive-thru was my forte – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
6. Bakery worker (can’t remember the name of it) – Oceanside, CA
7. Concessions/Ticket sales/Asst. Mgr at Mann Theater – Oceanside, CA
8. Fill-in church secretary – Pinehurst, Idaho
9. Tupperware Lady/Mgr. – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
10. Maid at the Blackwell House Bed & Breakfast – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
11. Office manager for the Lake City Playhouse – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
12. Singer/Entertainer with Chris Driesbach – Coeur d’Alene & Post Falls, Idaho
13. Broadway & Beyond convention entertainer – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
14. Voice over talent & on-camera commercials – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho & Spokane, WA
15. Singer/Entertainer with the band, Jambeau – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
16. Singer/Entertainer with Chuck Borris – Post Falls, Idaho
17. Runway model – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
18. Voice over talent & on-camera commercials – Nashville, TN
19. Asst. Mgr. Everything’s a Dollar – Nashville, TN
20. Asst. Mgr/Mgr. – Stuart’s Clothing Store – Nashville, TN
21. Singing telegram delivery talent – Top Kats – Nashville, TN
22. Store Mgr. – Lechter’s Housewares – Nashville, TN
23. Accounts Receivable – Athena Computer Learning Center – Nashville, TN
24. Demo singer – Heartake Productions – Goodlettsville, TN
25. Self-employed doing eBay – Goodlettsville, TN
26. Server/Trainer – O’Charley’s – Springfield, TN
27. Accounts Receivable/Payable/Finance Mgr – Nashville Tractor – Nashville, TN
28. Actress – Murder Mystery Players – Nashville, TN
29. Full time home caregiver – Greenbrier, TN
30. Full time AUTHOR

Whew! Are you as tired as I am? I didn’t include all the community theater work I’ve done and I also realized I left out summer theater that I did for two consecutive summers with the Northwest Summer Playhouse in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I’m pretty sure I probably forgot some other little jobs here and there. I’m happy to say that I’ve never been without work, and that I’ve never been fired. I’ve always believed that no matter what job I’m doing I should always give it my best.

I feel extremely blessed that I can devote my time to writing now. I have a lot of life experiences to draw from. And I’ve worn many different hats! I actually still have a collection of name tags from some of my different jobs. Weird, huh?

I decided to write out this list because I’ve had people ask me, what haven’t you done? Well, that list would be a whole lot longer than this one. Still, I hope I’m done adding to my list.

But I have to say that above and beyond the things I got paid to do, the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done has been being a mom, a grandmother, and a wife. I wouldn’t trade those positions for anything!

In choosing a profession, writing fulfills me more than any other ‘job’ I’ve held! Honestly, it doesn’t feel like a job. That’s how I used to feel about singing. But the older I get, the less I think people will want to hear me sing. I’m sure glad I found something else I love just as much!

So, I’ll just WRITE ON!
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Nope. Never been a race car driver...Or anything close to it.

Nope. Never been a race car driver…Or anything close to it.

Guest Author – Rebecca Neely

If you followed my twelve days of Christmas posts, then you met a number of guest authors. Today I’m hosting another one of the wonderful ladies who participated in the blog tour!

Her books are a bit higher on the ‘heat’ scale than mine! But this time of year a little heat can be a very good thing.

Please say hello to Rebecca Neely!
A Mighty Good Man by Rebecca E. Neely

Rebecca Neely  A Might Good Man  Book Cover

3 days. 2 people. 1 story.

‘Hank’ Jerry, a down and out writer, and Jack Darcy, a former gang leader, team up to write his story for mutual gain and end up falling for each other.

It’s not long before their romance is as hot as the copy she’s writing, but they’ve both got something to hide that could blow up in their faces, and with time running out and gang enforcers closing in, will the trust they’ve forged survive the ultimate test?

Pick up your copy today from Amazon.

 

About the Author

Rebecca E. Neely was born and raised in a small town in western Pennsylvania. Her father, an English teacher and a writer, instilled in her a love of words, and literature, especially short stories, at a young age. Her mother, a voracious reader, gave her Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild as a Christmas gift when she was nine, and Rebecca’s been hooked on reading stories of all stripes ever since.

Rebecca’s family also owned and managed a restaurant until she was about sixteen, and she grew up in the business, working, cooking, and eating. Rebecca enjoys finding, and reading new authors via her Kindle. Live music inspires her, as do the characters she’s blessed to have in her life, including her daughter, her boyfriend, and her mother. She loves drawing, crafting, walking, and camping. She also enjoys traveling, going to music festivals, and exploring cities she’s never been to before with her daughter.

In a former life, she earned a B.S. in Accounting, and worked in that field for about a decade. Since 2001, Rebecca has freelanced, writing a wide variety of copy for local magazines, and businesses all over the country. She is a member of Savvy Authors, and a PRO member of Romance Writers of America.

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

The Twelfth Day of Christmas – Merry Christmas!!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Brooklyn Elizabeth

The greatest gift of all. A Baby born in a manger. Jesus Christ our Lord!

The wise men brought precious gifts and laid them before the baby. Sometimes we get caught up in the craziness of this season, but all we have to do is remember the reason why we celebrate and our joy should abound. We forget why we give gifts, but if you’re like me, I have more fun giving than receiving. Besides, once you’ve received the greatest Gift of all, what more do we need?

Even so, I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face this morning when she opened the gift we gave her. I’d had it in my closet for almost a year, waiting for today. I found it at an antique mall in Gatlinburg, TN. She’s tried for years to add pieces to her dinnerware–Stangl Pottery, the thistle pattern. It’s hard to find, and when I saw this incredible platter, I bought it for her. I think it brought tears to her eyes. She said she didn’t even know that there was a platter in the set. It’s nice to know we gave her something she’ll cherish.

I hope that you’re enjoying your Christmas with family and friends and that you’ve welcomed the love of Christ into your heart. God bless you in the year to come!
Day #12On the Twelfth Day of Christmas,

My true love said “It’s Here!

The tree is full of presents, so you

Must have been a good girl all year!”

The time has come to announce this year’s 12 Days of Christmas winners. I’m so glad you were able to join us and I hope you enjoyed our posts about the holidays and how we love to celebrate. I also hope you found a book or two you were able to relax with as you sat by the fire in the twinkle of the tree lights and sipped a cup of hot cocoa.

Click HERE to go to the Rafflecopter where the 16 winners are listed. If you are a winner, please go to my contact page (click HERE) and send me your home address so I can mail you your prize this next week.

ON BEHALF OF ALL PARTICIPATING AUTHORS IN THIS YEAR’S BLOG HOP

Final Picture2

The Eleventh Day of Christmas – Cynthia Gail

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…orlando26

An alternative to hot chocolate AND one of my dearest friends to host as my guest author!

First, the alternative.

On a cold winters’ day, it’s always nice to have something hot to drink.  I previously posted a recipe for Hot Buttered Rum. Today’s hot beverage is for people of all ages. It’s so easy that I don’t even need to post an official recipe.

Heat a cup of milk. Add  1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and then several spoons of sugar. (The amount of sugar depends on your taste.) And that’s it! You now have ‘hot vanilla.’ It’s very delicious! You can adjust the amount of vanilla and sugar to suit the size of your mug. Enjoy!

And now, please welcome Cynthia Gail to my blog! Her book is the perfect Christmas romance to read while you sip your hot vanilla.

 

Winter’s Magic by Cynthia Gail

Winter's Magic

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

Pick up a copy today at Amazon.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop Button with Frame

As part of The 12 Days of Christmas celebration, Cynthia donated a $10 Starbucks card, paired with a Bark Less Wag More coffee mug & author swag from Rachel Lacey to the prize list. Click HERE for this and many more random drawings. To follow the celebration, find a new recipe, pick up a holiday decorating or shopping tip, click HERE.

About the Author

My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads