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!

Monday Mayhem – Resolution Revolution

pinky swear

Resolution number one

As the new year begins, I resolve not to make a single, solitary resolution. Oops. Um…

Well, you get my meaning. By not making any resolutions, I have made my life infinitely simpler, and that will be my ultimate goal for the year. Like how I did that?

I may not be making actual ‘write it down’ sorts of resolutions, but I have made a few pinky promises with myself. Want in on them?

pinky swear
  • I have promised to stop looking around at what/how other people are doing. In the past, I was really good at keeping my eyes on my own paper, but this past year I slipped a bit. Okay, a lot. It’s hard not to play the comparison game, but I have promised myself I won’t be using anyone else’s yardstick when it comes to measuring up. Man, I hope I don’t disappoint me.
  • I promise to work smarter. As you may or may not be aware, there’s no publicity machine working behind the scenes here. Well, there is. It’s me. I am the machine. But, I have to admit I’m getting a little worn out in some areas. The cogs are slipping. So, for that reason, I am going to reprogram a bit for better (hopefully) efficiency. More on that later.
  • I will write what I want to write. I know this sounds kind of silly, but trust me, it’s not. When a person writes for publication, it’s very easy to get caught up in chasing trends in the hopes of getting in on the next big wave of romance branding. No. Not for me. I will continue to write the stories I want to write. They may not be what editors are looking to add to their lists at this moment, but that’s okay. I think I’ve found my lane and I like it here. No swerving for me.

Promises promises

I know. they don’t sound very ambitious, but I did that on purpose. I’ve set smaller goals aimed at consistency rather than quantity. I’m going to do my best to work across all the platforms available to me.

And for that reason (this is the part I promised to elaborate on later), I will be cutting back my blogging to ever other week, and using the time I would have used to write a post to create newsletter content.

The newsletters will be different from these posts. I always view my blog posts as more of a conversation. A peek into what I’ve been up to and a chance to get your feedback. The newsletters will be more of a brief little hi-dee-ho-neighbor.

I’ll include book information or recommendations, a favorite recipe, quick Q&A with other authors, music playlists, funny pictures, or other random things I’d like to share.

Not on my mailing list? Why not? You can click here or there’s a little box in the sidebar of this page where you can add your email address.

So I won’t be here next Monday, but I will be in your inbox sometime next week, right? You signed up? I won’t say when. It’ll be more fun if it’s a surprise, don’t you think?