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.

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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?

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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?

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Monday Mayhem – Are you an innie or an outie?

girl reading

Are you an innie or an outie?

I don’t mind telling you, I am an innie. Total introvert. An INTJ, to be exact. So, this weekend was challenging for me. 

I had two holiday parties to attend on Saturday. If you know me well, you know I am not an overly social person. Oh, I can turn it on and have a good time, but I have to be revved up for it.

It’s not that I don’t want to do these things. I always have a wonderful time once I’m there. It’s the ramping up and coming down that takes it out of me. If I had my way, this is how I’d celebrate the season:

girl reading

However, like the Architect I am, I have a plan for how to tackle the season’s greetings. I plan my naps. Block out chunks of time spent in yoga pants. Map tub time into my days. Then, I sprinkle it all with a liberal dose of seasoned salt.

Chex Mix

How about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Have you been partying the month away?

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Monday Mayhem – The Best Laid Plans

Plans

I’ve got ’em! I love ’em. Plans, goals, aspirations, hopes and dreams…Over the years I have purchased an assortment of lovely paper planners to write them in, too.

And so sad that I never use them.

It’s that time of year again…

December means my social media feeds are full of photos my planner friends have taken of their new toys. And they are beautiful. Spiral, ring, or perfect bound. Covers made of leather or emblazoned with inspirational messages. Washi tape. Stickers…

My covetous little heart hammers each time I see one. I run to the planner website and gaze at the photo insets of interior pages, drooling over:

  • Bullet Journals
  • Goal setting
  • Daily routines
  • To Do lists
  • Morning and evening reflections

See what I did there with the bullets and all? *le sigh*

But I don’t click. Why?

Because when it comes to paper planners, I am Meat Loaf.

I want them.

I need them.

But there ain’t no way I’m ever going to use them.

 

Still, I can admire them from afar.

Are you a planner person? I have a friend who will only use Erin Condren planners. Another was showing off her 2019 #PowerSheets, which, I admit, tempted me greatly. Last year, I bought not one, but two of the Blue Sky planners a co-worker swore by. In different sizes, you know – one for desk, one for bag. I never made it past January.

I’m not anti-scheduling. I use electronic calendars faithfully. Lord knows, I love a good deadline. It’s just the thought of messing up my beautiful planner with mistakes stops me in my tracks. And yes, I have erasable friction pens in every color.

Perfectionism is a disease, my friends.

How about you? Do you keep a planner or journal?

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Monday Mayhem – Nifty

I turned fifty last week.

I know, right? How did that happen?

It’s true. The big 5-OH! A full half century. I’m now officially eligible for AARP, not just some hanger-on who piggybacks on her husband’s DOB for 10 % off.

Sometimes, I wonder where the time went, but mostly, I think fifty is going to be nifty. I can feel it.

My forties were a big time of transition for me – personally, professionally, and creatively.

Looking back, I can’t say I didn’t accomplish anything. Ten years ago, I had not yet written my first book. Now, I have 40 novels and novellas under my belt and #41 halfway there.

At forty, I spent my days trying to climb a corporate ladder that was made out of rope and dental floss. I still thought money and accolades were important. I’m so glad I grew out of all that nonsense.

In my fifties, I plan to stand in my truth:

badass

I have a better handle on who I am and what’s important to me. I also have a more limited quantity of fu@ks left to give about everything else.  Other than the pocket issue, I can admit that I prefer elastic-waist leggings better than jeans these days. There are fleeting moments when I fret over the wrinkles that seem to be popping up all over, but then I laugh and remember where I got them. I look at old pictures of me and my friends and marvel at how young and fresh we were. I look at more recent pictures of me with those same friends and realize how incredibly blessed I have been.

So, yeah. Overall, I’m finding these middle years liberating.

I think fifty is going to be nifty.

Speaking of people in their fifties…

I was cruising the ‘Zon the other day and noticed that all of my Worth the Wait Romances are on sale for $1.99. If you like smoking hot stories about people in their *gasp* fifties, doing thing sure to make their grown children blush, snatch ’em up! https://amzn.to/2qOkAXY

  

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