Monday Mayhem – I Kanban Do It!

A couple weeks ago, I re-purposed my bulletin board into a Kanban organizer. What was once nothing more than a collection of random reminders and goofy pictures is now a model of goal-setting organization…and goofy pictures.

Actual goals and notes redacted for privacy purposes.

What is Kanban?

It’s a method of visual project management. It allows the user to track goals, progress, and monitor success rates all at a glance. They can be set up in any number of ways, but I chose to set weekly, 30 day, 90 day, and yearly goals. By using post it notes, I’m not only committing the goal to writing, I can move them to show progress.

For me, the ‘Do It Now’ section will likely contain those items I’m procrastinating on, or am awaiting input from other parties.

The overarching goal is to get all those little slips of paper (plus any others that come along) to the bottom of the board.

This, of course, is just my latest attempt to put my thoughts in order and achieve something, anything, before the year flies by. We won’t talk about the three paper planners abandoned on my file cabinet…

How about you? Do you have a tried and true planning method? Can I borrow it if it turns out I kant-ban after all?

Monday Mayhem – Give it away, give it away, give it away now!

Are you on my mailing list? If so, you know I’ve done nothing but give it away this past week. I celebrated Julie Evelyn Joyce’s book, STEEPED IN LOVE, being named to the short list of finalists for the Kobo Emerging Authors prize by giving away a few copies of Steeped. Then, I celebrated those fabulous readers who actually open, read, and interact with my newsletter with a special Amazon gift card giveaway just for them!

This could be you!

Not on my mailing list? Look on the top of the sidebar of this page. There’s a little spot that says, “Join my readers group!” Enter your email there, and I’ll get you added too!

In other news…

I’m still hitting the gym. I don’t like it, but I’m doing it. Anythng to avoid writing, you know…

Okay, I’m not really avoiding it. I’m….circling it. I’m in the homestretch of drafting LOVE RENOVATION, and this is a tricky time. I know where it needs to go. I know what I need to change in the front 2/3 of the book. I know all of the work that needs to be done before I can call it done, and that is just…paralyzing.

So I am chipping away at it little by little. Because a little is more than zero, right?

*nods*

My herb garden is struggling. We’ve had a cool, wet spring so far. Very unusual for us. We usually skip spring and plunge into the summer sauna, so I don’t want to complain too much, but my pal, Basil, isn’t liking it. My Roma tomatoes are scrawny and shivering. Oh, and some insect is eating my pepper plants. *scowls* I hope they get heartburn.

On the other hand, the flowers are loving it. The irises were spectacular, as was the clematis. And just look at the Mr. Lincoln and Knockout roses!

Mr. Lincoln rose
Knockout rose

Tell me, what’s blooming in your neck of the woods these days?

Monday Mayhem – Tempus Fugit

The view from my atio chair

I know, I know. I should watch my phraseology, but it’s true – time does fly. I know most people apply it to the short days and long nights of winter, but for me, Spring always seems to zip past me.

Look – Wednesday is May 1st. Gah!

And this year, rather than careening straight in to the oven-like heat of summer, we are actually having a spring. Fifty shade of gorgeous green. The flowers and shrubs are thriving. Highs have been in the 70s and low 80s.

All of which means a young woman’s fancy has turned to anything BUT writing.

I mean, I’ve had to sit on the patio and read books…

The view from my patio chair
The view from my patio chair

There’s been a tiny dino to take on adventures:

Rover the Garden T-Rex is back!

And a kitchen garden to construct so we could plant tomatoes, peppers, and herbs:

Kitchen garden adjacent to patio beds

Then there were the sexy Saturday nights spent assembling a new basketball goal so Fodder and I can shoot the hoops:

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t writing stuff happening too. I’m back to working on LOVE RENOVATION, TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE is still out on submission, and some old friends are coming back this week! I have repackage Spring Chickens – which means it has a new title and cover art. Lynne and Bram’s story will be available again as HOME IN HEARTSFIELD.

Exclusively for Amazon Kindle

So there you have it. It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Don’t forget to add your email address in the sidebar to receive my reader group emails. Jennifer C. won a $5 Amazon gift card in last week’s drawing!

Monday Mayhem – A Little Help from My Friends

I have to admit I have been struggling with the writing thing…and by struggling, I mean I haven’t been writing. The publishing world has been a little disheartening.

I have a book on submission, which basically means I am waiting for someone to say yes or no. That’s one of the things people don’t know. The potential for rejection in his business never ends. The next contract is never a given, even when your books win critical acclaim, or have decent sales. Publishing is a business with a bottom line. If we don’t set the world on fire straight out of the gate, it’s back to the drawing board.

So yeah. I have one that’s out there waiting for a bite, another that’s 2/3 written, and an idea that scares me just enough to make me think it’s a good one, and yet… I can’t seem to get in the groove.

For the past few months, I’ve just been going with the flow, trying not to stress, etc., but at some point, I’m going to have to write or get off the Mac.

So, I did what any writer does when faced with the abyss – I hooked up with my writer friends. Yes, we did a little whining and scary soul bearing, but the magical thing about these days is the fact that we realize we are not alone. And as much as I hate the fact that my friends are struggling too, there’s also some strength in it.

By talking through our fears, or what’s holding us up, we help one another find a way through to the other side. When we take time to talk about all that’s making us feel overwhelmed, we find that our friends have a totally different perspective. Sometimes, we just need feedback from someone who is in the trenches with us to see through the smoke.

And sometimes, we need people to remind us that we have magic, bullet-repelling bracelets.

Monday Mayhem – What’s so funny?

Here’s a fun fact about me – I hate April Fools Day jokes. In fact, I am not a fan of practical jokes at all. I don’t find embarrassment amusing.

You know what I love? Silly jokes. Absurdities. Your mom jokes.

I bought a new iPad this weekend. Poor Penelope iPad was so ancient Apple wouldn’t update her anymore. Gradually, my apps lost functionality because my operating system was antiquated, and so on, and so forth…

Anyhoo, she will now host fun and educational games for the grandboys. I am typing to you now from my new iPad, Pluto.

Pluto was named for my favorite disrespected planet and one of my favorite jokes:

This makes me laugh. Making someone believe something untrue, or tricking them into making a ‘fool’ of themselves, not so much.

But it is April 1st. A fact that amazes me, all shenanigans aside. Where is this year going? Our trees are budding like crazy. Our world is Fifty shades of green. I planted my first herb garden in an old washtub.

Oh! And I’m leading my first online workshop next week. It’s called Even Superman Had A Day Job and available through the Contemporary Romance chapter of RWA.

As of Wednesday, I will be 8 years without a cigarette. On Saturday, I reached my 900th day of meditation. I am think I may try incorporating some tai chi flows into my yoga routine.

How about you? Planning to try anything new this spring?

Monday Mayhem – Flowy me

Okay, so I’m trying to be more on task this month. One of the tools I’m using is a nifty bullet-list site/app called WorkFlowy that one of my Twitter pals turned me on to. It’s super simple and streamlined, but allows me to make lists and check things off. I’m using it for everything from a sort of writing brain-dump, a diary, a gratitude journal, and a running to-do list.

Super simple, but a great way to keep up with things. I can use it on my desktop or mobile devices. If you want to give it a try, click this link and we both get bonus storage space.

In other news, I tried my first wardrobe styling service this week. I signed up to try Dia & Co in hopes of shaking myself out of the solid color shirts and Levis rut. They sent me a box of super-cute stuff – none of which I would have chosen myself – and I’m keeping all five pieces. It’s not cheap, but I think the clothes are good quality and it’s a nice splurge. I’ve signed up to get another box in May.

Check out this cute flowy blouse I can wear while I’m using my WorkFlowy app:

pink blouse

Congratulations to Nancy B! She won a $5 Amazon gift card last week in my newsletter giveaway. Are you on my mailing list? If not, be sure to add your email in the sidebar!

And I just realized I just linked you to a bunch of stuff like I’m some kind of marketing maven, but we all know that’s not the case. If I were, I’d have linked my BOOK PAGE and suggested you share it with a friend.

Slick, huh? Yeah, not so much. I just like sharing cool things I am doing and trying. And I’m always open to any fun stuff you want to share with me, so don’t hesitate to comment or email any tips, tricks, apps, or services you like to use. Spring is the time for new growth, right?

So, tell me…are you trying anything new as Spring approaches?

Monday Mayhem – March on

It’s finally March. Thank goodness. February may be the shortest month, but it is my least favorite. Too gray. Too sad. I hate to wish my life away, but once again, I am glad it’s over.

February

Now, it’s March and I have no more excuses. I need to get my mind right and delve into this new project, rather than just fiddling with it. I’m just not quite sure how to do that.

One of my writing groups posts a weekly discussion question. A couple weeks ago, they asked what we thought our greatest writing strength is. Anytime up until late 2018, I might have answered with words like drive, perseverance, or focus. But lately, I find all my heretofore unassailable strengths have failed me.

It seems writing has become my Kryptonite.

kryptonite

I’ve spent a month coddling myself, and for the most part, I’m okay with that. February is rough for me emotionally, and though writing has provided some escape in the past, that wasn’t the case this year.

But now it’s March, and I need to figure out a way to march on.

Most people tend to seek comfort in the familiar when trying to push past troubling times, so I think I’ll do the same. The desk set up isn’t proving conducive, neither is dictation, so I think it’s time to roll back to the original writing zone – the recliner.

I’ll try to re-establish my grooves (writing and butt) this week. I hope it works, because I don’t think Fodder is going to be on board with me jetting off to Jamaica to hook up with Taye Diggs. I mean, he’s pretty understanding, but I don’t think he’s going to be cool with me pulling a How Maggie Got Her Groove Back.

So wish me luck, friends. I wrote Contentment and Commitment in that recliner, so it is a proven winner!

Monday Mayhem – Buckle up!

Buckle up, friends, we’re at it again!

I have completed revisions on my Nashville story (Tentatively titled: Make You Feel My Love) and it is going out on submission. What does that mean? It means I’ll be a wreck for the next 3-6 months as we wait to see if any publishers bite.

nail biter

What will I do while we wait? Start the next book!

I have an idea. A big idea. Something different from anything I’ve written before. There’s going to be some world building involved, and a bit of a leap out of my contemporary romance comfort zone and into a world of intrigue, but I’m pretty excited to give it a shot.

ideas

Right now, the ideas/details/possibilities are are swirling around in my head. I’ve tried to capture the higher concepts and work them out in notes, but I’ve never been an extensive plotter. I think I kind of want to let my imagination go wild on this one. So, I’ll be writing it in a sort of ‘go big or go home’ mindset.

Wish me luck!

In the meantime, keep a nervous author in Diet Coke – buy a book. Already read them all? Gift one to a friend! I’ve been spiffing up the website. You can check them all out here.

Monday Mayhem – No Vortex to See Here

Hi gang! It’s me again. I’ve missed you! I’m back from a quick trip to Chicago for my niece’s wedding, and I’m happy to report we flew in and out just before the vortex descended upon the city.

Whew!

As a matter of fact, it was a balmy 61° when we landed in Little Rock. I’ve never been so happy to be in Arkansas rather than Illinois. Still, we had a fantastic time with the family, and I’m so glad we made the trip.

And now, it’s February. Can you believe that? Our foretasted high for today is 70°. Can you believe that? We’ll be seeing buds on the trees soon. (Here’s hoping!)

So, yeah, winter can just move right along.

Fodder and I are celebrating Valentine’s Day by going to see Book of Mormon because we are super romantic that way. *snickers* I’m generally not the flowers and candy type, I do enjoy any excuse to tell people I love them.

How about you? Are you planning anything special with your guys, gals, or pals?

Oh! And have you been getting my newsletters? You know, I do a giveaway in each one, so be sure to open it as soon as it lands in your inbox. All recipients are eligible to win! Not on my list? Sign up in the sidebar of this page!