I have a new project running around in my head. I don’t want to talk about it too much, because I’m not quite to the point of writing it. What if the kind of magic I have in my head doesn’t translate to the page? But I am excited about it. I’m just… waiting for that magic moment when I feel ready to start spinning the tale. Maybe this guy can help:
In the meantime, work is coming along on TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE. No release date set yet, but we’re well into editorial and I have cover art, and I love it. Here’s a little hint of what’s to come. Reveal to come as soon as I set a release date. In the meantime, I’ve got plenty to keep you occupied on the My Books page.
Spring has come to Central Arkansas. Thank goodness. As much as I love and miss my friends and family up north, I do not miss the winters. There’s a fresh-cut hyacinth in my bud vase. Last week, Fodder clipped these beauties and brought a little sunshine into the house. We’re supposed to be entering into a rainy stretch over the next 10 days, so Sally and I sat outside soaking up the vitamin D over the weekend. Hopefully, the rain will help keep the green pollen monster at bay.
Speaking of Spring…I will be attending the Chicago North Spring Fling in Chicago again this year. There’s a multi-author book signing scheduled for Saturday, May 2, 2020. If you’re in the Chicago area, be sure to mark your calendar!
I won’t lie, it’s been a rough year (or two…okay, three) for me. I’ve been struggling with my writing for a while, and this year, I finally hit the wall.
I’ve spent some time sulking and whining, and even more pretending everything is okay, this was just a phase, and I would get through it if I could just focus, manage my time better, buy 3-5 different planners, convert my bulletin board to a kanban, etc.
But mostly, I’ve spent 2019 wondering if I am done.
I realize now (thanks to this series of videos by Becca Syme), that I’ve been sliding into burnout since about 2016.
Looking back, it’s really no surprise. While 2016 was the annus horribilis personally (and not because of anything political – though that didn’t help), it was an exciting year for me as a writer. I signed contracts, made plans for mass market and audiobook releases, and generally threw myself and my balled up emotion into all the things that go along with writerdom.
I worked steadily through 2017, my eyes on the prize that 2018 was sure to be. 2018 started out fabulous, back to back releases, and a starred review from Publishers Weekly. And then the hits started coming.
You’d think I’d be used to the subjective nature of the business by now, but you never really get past the gut-punch. Somehow, I muddled through another two lackluster releases, plastered an ‘all is well’ smile on my face and played the conference circuit, then struck back with an ‘I’ll show you’ indie release that netted me more profit in one month than the 4 others have combined since publication.
But it wasn’t about the money.
I was reeling. Am reeling. After 9 years and 39 books, I am out of contract. An orphan. I am a woman with lots of planners, but no plan.
I’ve spent much of this year dealing with the fallout from what I see now were unrealistic expectations. I’d been listening too much to the noise around me. I’d been immersing myself in the quicksand of social media and other forms of busy work and distraction to self-soothe.
But it isn’t working.
I haven’t been working. I’ve been sulking. And hurting. And wondering if there’s anything left in me.
I’ve had a first draft on my computer that has been thiiiiis close to being complete since November, but I just can’t stir myself to finish it.
But I don’t want to quit. I know that much.
If I did, I would have a while ago, and wouldn’t have spent so much of this year fretting over it. So what to do now? I’ve licked my wounds for long enough. It’s time to figure out how to move on.
My biggest leap will be stepping off the forced productivity treadmill. I will no longer conform to what “everyone says’ is the ‘right’ way to do this author thing.
I will refill my creative well.
I plan to read, listen to music, watch television and movies… In other words, do all the things I eschewed over the last few years in the name of productivity. These are the things that feed me. They spark ideas and give me the impetus to ask, “What if this happened?”
Those who have been around since my Gilmore Girls days know my biggest works of fanfic started with Lorelai asking Luke if he was ‘good at dating’, and I wondered, “What if Luke took that opportunity to tell Lorelai he didn’t want to wait around for her to finally see him and pick him?”
I want to get back to that feeling…the need to explore possibilities within my books. The possibilities inside of me.
So yeah, that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about what goes on inside my brain. But there you have it.
We got away this weekend! My company took a long holiday weekend, so Fodder and I ran away to the river. We found an adorable AirBNB on the edge of the Buffalo National Forest just big enough for Fodder, me, and our master, Sally.
We’d never taken Sally with us on a trip, so it was an experience for all of us. But look at this happy face:
We had a lovey, relaxing weekend. Our little cabin in the woods was perfection. Sally swam with us, we ate BBQ, built a little fire in the fire pit, and generally kicked back. We even had a bit time to just Netflix and chill.
All in all, it was just what we needed. July is quickly booking up with activities and events, so the timing was excellent. More happy faces:
How about you? Do you have any travel plans this summer?
Later this week, the mister and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. Our marriage has finally reached the age of majority.
As I am now the proud owner of a mature (giggle-snort) marriage, I thought I’d share a few random lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Liking is every bit as important as loving.
He may only hear about 23% of the things I say, but he always hears me bitching about not listening to me.
He does not want or need my direction whilst driving, but will miss the appropriate exit 8 times out of 10 if I am derelict in my duty.
A ten minute lie-down is the key to a happy, relaxed evening.
No one wants responsibility for deciding what’s for dinner. Ever.
So, yeah, finally starting to feel like we’ve got a handle on this marriage thing, even if our selfie game is still a bit weak. Looking forward to seeing what trouble we can find together in the years to come.
How about you? What are some of the life lessons you’ve picked up in the last couple decades?
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?
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!
Tell me, what’s blooming in your neck of the woods these days?
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…
There’s been a tiny dino to take on adventures:
And a kitchen garden to construct so we could plant tomatoes, peppers, and herbs:
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.
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!
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.
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?
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:
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?