Monday Mayhem – Figuring it all out

Newsflash:

I’m almost 50, and I’m still figuring it all out. Where did we ever get the idea that people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond should have their lives completely under control?

woman trying to keep track of it all

Did you read the the headline? We don’t.

Who started this rumor? Whoever it was, has obviously never spent any time wrestling mid-life into submission, that’s for sure.

The only thing I’ve figured out about life, is that I will never have it all figured out. And, I’m not sure I want to. How boring would that be?

Here’s my take on it:

Life loves to throw curveballs, and no one is prepared for them – no matter how many candles they blew out on their last birthday cake.

I write a lot of romance featuring characters 40+, which is a little out of the main for commercial romance. Inevitably, someone (usually and acquiring editor, an online reviewer, or maybe a reader who is email inclined) will ask whether the heroine/heroine should have had a better grip on what they wanted, needed, or even their physical desires.

My answer is no. The fictional characters I create are supposed to be human, just like you and me.

We are supposed to be continually figuring it all out.

Our relationships blossom, fail, or float along until the next storm brews.

I’ve been over a decade into a job, only to discover the career ladder I thought I was climbing was actually a rope ladder, and someone was taking a blowtorch to the rungs below.

Our bodies will betray us. That’s an inevitability.

At times, our minds play nasty tricks on us.

People we love will disappoint us.

We will disappoint ourselves.

Love is a shape-shifter. Our ability to love and allow ourselves to be loved is constantly evolving.

Mistakes will be made.

Failure is not fatal.

This is all I have figured out so far. How about you? Any wisdom to add?

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Too much time on my hands

Okay, I admit it, I am not good at living a life without structure. Given too much time on my hands, I tend to do…nothing.

Shocking, I know.

It seems counter-intuitive. I always thought that if only I didn’t have to work that full-time job, I could crank out a book a week. Okay, maybe not a book a week, but you know what I mean. I thought I didn’t have enough time to work on my writing because that pesky job kept getting in the way.

Turns out, I had all time I needed.

I’ve had exactly the right amount of time (for me) all along. I have a limit to how much creativity my brain can export in a day. It’s about a 2-3 hours. Huh. Who knew? Yes, I can spend additional hours doing writing-related tasks such as editing, creating promo materials, etc., but actual words on the page? Yeah, I’ve only got a couple hours in me.

I know I can (and have done) more than that on occasion, but I’m talking about writing as a daily habit.  Lesson learned.

I started a part-time consulting gig this week. Not only am I making a little money, but it turns out, it’s been a boon to my productivity as a writer. I’ve produced more words this week than in the previous five weeks. It also allows me flexible scheduling, and a late start, so I can maintain my morning workout/wellness program. Bonus!

With this new focus in place, I’ve managed to complete the first round of revisions (with the help of my fab crit partner, Julie Evelyn Joyce) on DOUBLE PLAY (Love Games #3), and have submitted the complete manuscript to my editor, Gilly, for review. I’ve also have some preliminary cover art. Want a peek?

Double Play Cover

LOVE GAME is still on sale at Amazon, so be sure to tell all of your friends!

I’m off to work now…after Sally and I have a little snuggle, that is. Happy Monday, my friends!

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Monday Mayhem – Family

My family

I spent a bit of time with the family this weekend, which means 9 hours up on Friday, and 9 hours back home on Sunday.

Time spent getting to spend family time?

Je ne regrette rien.

 

We’ve added two more generations to this brood. The excuse reason for the trip was a celebration of my nephew’s recent marriage. Therefore, we spent the weekend eating, drinking, and dancing like and with toddlers.

My great nieces and nephews are super impressed with Aunt Moogie’s moves.  I even got to meet a great-nephew and great-niece I had not seen yet. 🙂

In addition to busting a move on the dance floor, the first round of revisions on DOUBLE PLAY is nearly complete.  Next, it will be on to my editor for a rigorous scouring. We’re aiming for an October release date on Avery’s story.

Did you know LOVE GAME is on sale? Have you told your friends? The eBook is only two bucks and paperback copies are available for nearly 1/2 price!

And did you see the trailer for the new A STAR IS BORN movie? I squeed when I watched it because I like to say the book I’m revising now (SUPERSTAR) is a sort of Nashville meets A Star is Born family saga. I have high hopes for it!

Also, I am getting very excited for the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Denver next month. I’ll be participating in a romance panel and signing at Boulder Books on July 18th, and the RWA Literacy Signing on Saturday, July 21st. If you live in the Denver area, be sure to mark your calendar!

Whew! Busy week/weekend. Hence, I have to go appease a needy Labrador now.  Anyone have any extra Milk Bones?

Sally stare

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Monday Mayhem – Audiobook binge

I’ve been on an audiobook binge this summer – thank you Central Arkansas Library System and Overdrive.

Margaret’s Summer Reading (Listening) List

1) Britt-Marie Was Here – Another delightful character study by Fredrik Backman. The humor is off-kilter, but the heart is spot-on.

Britt-Marie was Here

2) The Room on the Rue Amelie – Kristin Harmel’s story of the ordinary people who did extraordinary work in French resistance during WWII.

Rue Amelie

3) Far From the Tree – Robin Benway wove a wonderful tale of three teenagers with nothing more in common than a mother who gave them for for adoption.

Far from the Tree

4) Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan’s over-the-top Southeast Asian soap opera had me riveted. Reminded me of those fabulous Jackie Collins books of the 1980s-90s. I picked this up because I was enthralled by the trailer for the movie coming this August.

Crazy Rich Asians

5) China Rich Girlfriend – The follow up to Crazy Rich Asians. Listening now and just as enthralled.

China Rich Girlfriend

I’ve become a big fan of audiobooks. I started out just listening to them in the car. Now, I listen all over the place. I particularly like them for re-reads. I thoroughly enjoyed all of Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter series. Davinia Porter not only rocks all the Outlander books, but she reads Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. I’ve listened to all of Susan Elizabeth’s Phillips backlist as well as Herman Wouk’s timeless Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

How about you? Do you listen to audiobooks? Hear anything good lately? Don’t forget that the entire Love Games series will be available in audiobook. LOVE GAME and PLAY FOR KEEPS are available now, and DOUBLE PLAY will be coming this fall!

 

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Monday Mayhem – A Grateful Nation

A grateful nation

Today, a grateful nation remembers all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to defend and protect our country. I think we can all agree that there are many, many things wrong with they way things are in our country, but there are also many, many things that are right about being an American.

Today, I will honor those men and women by focusing on the things I love about America. We can all go back to arguing about what’s wrong tomorrow.

America – Hell yeah! or 10 Things Maggie is grateful for:

1) Hot dogs. I love them. I particularly love them charred on the grill with charred buns. If I had to request one last meal, I would ask for two all-beef hot dogs burnt to a crisp and served on over-toasted buns, Lays BBQ potato chips, a Diet Coke, and some Toll House cookies. Proving that I am the most American of American girls.

2) Opinions. I’ve got ’em, you’ve got ’em, and we’ve got the right to air them. The good, the bad, and the Potter-inspired.

Protest

3) S’mores. Need I say s’more?

s'more

4) Ice. We have it, we love it, we have opinions on the subject (see #2). This is a picture of pellet ice, aka ‘the good ice’. We have all the good ice anyone could want, and we aren’t afraid to use it.

the good ice

5) We smile a lot. I’m told other cultures find Americans a tad too friendly. I find this is a flaw I can live with.

6) The Chicago Cubs. Okay, maybe not all Americans love the Cubs, but the really friendly ones with the good ice and charred hot dogs do. Just my opinion.

Cubs Win - Fans holding W signs

7) Optimism. Say what you want about all that’s wrong, but we still believe everything can be fixed. One day, we may even agree on how. That’s how optimistic I am.

8) The freedom to be/do anything you want to be or do. Even if it makes no damn sense. People forget this is not an option in many parts of the world. Go. Be. Do. It’s never too late. Hey, look at this – I’m an author! And I didn’t write my first book until after the age of 40.

maggie wells author

9) The pursuit of happiness. Americans excel at this one. Sometimes, it may be viewed as self-indulgent, but I think chasing happiness is a good thing. It leads us to doing things that can be good for us, like yoga, meditation, journaling, or petting plastic flamingos whilst drinking ice-cold American beer.

high life

10) Americans. Those everyday people who show their teeth and believe they hold the winning lottery ticket. The ones toasting marshmallows with their grandkids, or sassing the color commentators when the game isn’t going their team’s way.  Those hot dog loving, ice chomping, obnoxiously opinionated, optimists who believe the American dream is not dead.

A grateful nation thanks you.

For making it possible for us to enjoy these simple things. We promise to keep tackling the tough ones. Rest in peace.

 

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Monday Mayhem – Goals! Almost…Maybe… Okay, not even close.

I didn’t make my goals for the week. Not almost. Not maybe. I didn’t even come close.

The sad part is, I have no excuses. I had the time, just not the motivation. But I resolve to keep trying to pull my feet from the muck. So, here is my update.

Last Week’s Goals:

1)  First of all, I will finish first pass edits on chapters 7-18 of DOUBLE PLAY so they are ready for Jewels. This also includes actually writing scenes for the spots where I wrote {Big fight scene here} because I was feeling non-confrontational that day.

2) Add at least 7500 more words to THE FIX UP (current WIP). This is going to be a fun series. Sort of a Fixer Upper meets It’s Complicated thing. I hope it plays out well.

3) Read through and take notes on major revision points on SUPERSTAR. This one is more of a Nashville meets A Star is Born thing with a juicy family dynamic and intergenerational storylines.

Results:

1)  I edited chapters 7 – 12. Like most writers, I tend to seriously underestimate the time it takes to edit and polish words already written. But still, this goal was doable. The remaining chapters (with additions) will go on this week. I swear! *Shakes fist at Amazon Prime Video*

2) Fell short here, too. But as I am typing this, I realize I didn’t count any net words added to the Double Play chapters edited. Who knew there’d be so much math involved in being a novelist?

3) Yeah, this is the not even close one.

Fail Stamp

What did I do, you ask? Well, with the help of my ever-diligent critter, I did pull the proposal for the Love Renovation series (Fixer Upper meets It’s Complicated) and send it off to my agent. So check that off the list…for now.

I also watched about 3 seasons of Sex And the City. I’m finally up to the Baryshnikov episodes.

This week’s Goals:

1) Finish editing Double Play chapters so they are ready for critique. Priority one.

2) Superstar read-through. I have ideas for revision, and notes must be inserted before I lose the thread.

3) Create new words. I won’t even put a number on them because the math is so intimidating.

In other news:

Tonight, I’m recording my first podcast guest spot tonight for Write With Love with Sarah Williams, and I found out the Skype chat will also be video recorded for YouTube. Hence, I’ll have to dig out some makeup. Eep!

I’m getting psyched to attend RWA national conference in Denver this July. Jewels convinced me to sign up to a murder mystery thing. Rumor has it there’s a dessert bar. If you’re in the Denver area, I’m signing LOVE GAME and PLAY FOR KEEPS at the big Literacy Signing on July 21st!

So, yeah…I’m trying again this week. Because writers are nothing if not resilient. Therefore, I’m shaking off this week’s fail and starting fresh.

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Monday Mayhem – It’s May! The month of yes you may!

We are finally hitting our stride with Spring. It seems like it took a long time coming – even here in the Natural State. Late freezes and a shocking April sleet storm stunted some of the spring growth, but we have finally leafed out here and it is stunning.

I always marvel at the wide array of Pantone greens Mother Nature provides each spring.

Last weekend, Fodder and I spent a gorgeous cloudless Sunday on the Buffalo National River. Never visited this beautifully preserved national park set in the heart of the Ozark Mountains? Here’s a taste:

Sadly, it’s one of those things that is so close to home for us that we rarely do it. Last weekend, we vowed to change that.

Like many authors, I used to think being a writer meant having my butt in the chair writing every possible moment I had. I’ve let that fallacy go. Now, I know that letting my mind wander as Fodder paddles me along in a canoe is just as important as putting words on a page.

I came home exhausted, wind swept, gritty eyed, and sun toasted.

I also came home relaxed and ready to dive into a new series.

So, spend a day in the hammock with a good book, or go for a walk along a river trail. We bought a new frisbee to toss in the back yard. Doesn’t matter what you do, just go out and play a little bit each day.

And stop and smell the roses. Admire the fifty-billion shades of green. Pet a puppy or kitty cat. You’ll feel better for it. I promise.

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Monday Mayhem – Back at it! What is she up to now?

I’m hard at work again. Next up, revisions on DOUBLE PLAY (book #3 in the Love Games series). It’s Avery’s turn at bat, and boy does she clobber poor Dominic Mann with a grand slam!

After that, there’s another rough, rough draft that will need to be polished. It’s a sort of an ode to those glitzy 1980s-90s romances I loved so much

I am also working on a new project I hope to shop on submission. It’s pretty rough around the edges, but I’ll fix ’em up and get them going sometime this week.

People are still reading and loving the LOVE GAMES series.  Have you left a review on Amazon? If not, please consider doing so. My algorithms need you!

The hunt for a new day job continues. Had an interview last week for one I think I’d really like. Cross things for me, will you?

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Monday Mayhem – That whirring noise you hear…

Is me winding down from a fabulous weekend in the Chicago area.

I attended the 2018 Chicago North RWA Spring Fling. I am home now. Exhausted and exhilarated. There’s nothing like spending time with other writers to recharge the creative juices.

The big advantage to attending a conference in Chicago is the fact that I can combine it with family and friends time.

I got to visit with my niece and her boys, where I met my new (ish) great-nephew, I had time to hang out with my sister one-on-one, and had pizza with my brother and his family (where I had my butt kicked playing Sequence for Kids).

I also got to spend an evening with some of my sorority sisters – some of whom I hadn’t seen in mumblemumblemumble years. 

The best part, as always, was having the chance to catch up with my life-long besties. From cooing over prom dresses and repeatedly apologizing to Jen’s daughter for being…us…to sweet, gorgeous young Mike, who had no idea what he was getting served when the hostess seated this party of four.

I’m home now. The laundry had to be piled up whilst Sally and I got reacquainted with an epic nap, but there’s always tomorrow.

Oh! And I finished the first draft on my latest work in progress before I left, so if you are looking for me, I’ll be in the revision cave for the next couple of months.

Thanks to all of my hardworking members of the CNRWA chapter for putting on such a great conference. See you in 2020!

And go, Cubs, go!

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Monday Mayhem – Leavin’ on a jet plane!

Super excited to head north for the Chicago North Romance Writers of America conference on Thursday!

This conference is doubly exciting for me because I have tons of fun writery things to do – including attending workshops, catching up with writer friends from all over, presenting a workshop, and participating in a multi-author signing. I’ll have copies of LOVE GAME and PLAY FOR KEEPS available for purchase at the signing. If you are in the area, make plans to come by!

AND when that’s all said  and done, I get to spend some time with my family and friends. My evening hours are just as booked as my conference hours, and I cannot wait to see everyone!!!

I’m just hoping they finally get some spring-like weather. This girl has been living in the South for too long to deal with April snow showers!

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