Checking Up

Floating in and out
Of consciousness, I sleep
Not wanting to wake

Who taps my glass pane?
A glimpse of red wings, he flies
I smile. I’m ready…

20140421-093514.jpg

Where Did November Go Already? Gone!

keyboardDecember 1 how did you get here so fast? Wasn’t it just yesterday the calendar read November 1?  Last year at this time a smile crept across my lips as I’d finished the first draft of my second novel the evening before with the help of the folks at the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website. Every November thousands of writers take up the “50,000 words in 30 days” challenge — daunting, but totally doable.

After meeting that challenge last November, I signed up for CampNaNoWriMo in July to knock out my third novel. The ideas and characters were in my mind waiting to make their way to be words and sentences on my netbook screen. Life happened and I didn’t even make it to the cabin check in. With the sun on my back and the wind in my face I focused on running and spending those summer days with my girls. I told myself I’d push my next novel to the spring instead of the fall and get that allusive draft done in November as I’d done the previous year.

November arrived and I started strong. The words flowed and the storyline progressed. Unfortunately for my characters (and the three or four readers awaiting my next book) life happened – mine that is. Interruptions (from children who should be sleeping) and distractions (like the new Nora Roberts and Barbara Freethy novels and a new season of Once Upon a Time) beckoned to me.

I tried to get back on track and then, as I often do when I know I should not, I checked the reviews of my books on Amazon. Every five-star and kind review makes me smile and feel good about my writing. I know logically, I can’t please every reader, however, those one-star reviews, have just as big of an effect on me as a writer as the five-star ones. I have a hard time blowing them off and tend to dwell on them and doubt my writing abilities. So, reading the review below in the beginning of my second week of writing, my motivation flagged and I just never got back to it… Here it is in its entirety…

If I could give it a -5 I would have.
I could not read the entire book. I’m sorry, I try to be fair but I cannot see how ANYONE in their right mind could give this book a 5, 4 or even a 3. I paid for the darn book based on reviews. These reviews have to be from family and friends of the author. I really wish I could get my money back. It was as if I were reading some teenager’s diary. Not sure how to describe the immature writing skills. The story might (big questionable might) have had a good storyline if it wasn’t for how this writer just dragged on and on on every single detail. For example, Mason taking a shower and every single detail about the towel and such…. really? It was a detailed description of EVERY SINGLE thought. I wanted to pull my hair out! The entire story was lame. This author needs a better editor if she has one at all. I’m sorry to say but don’t spend the money. I could not even finish the story.”

Sigh. Double-Sigh. I resisted responding and defending my position. The majority of the other reviews were not from my family members and personal friends. It should be enough that I know that, but it still doesn’t take the sting away from a bad review! After stewing on it and re-reading the positive reviews I’ve gotten on my first book and on this one as well, I realized that even though I failed to get that draft done in November, I shouldn’t give up. Writing is something I love and I shouldn’t let one hater take that away from me. Now, I just need to find that uninterrupted time away from distractions.  Early mornings? Late nights? I don’t know. I need to make it happen though!

Any ideas on finding the time to pursue your passions?

Huge Sale: Book Lovers Buffet May 1-3

bouquet-sale-header[4]

The Buffet’s “Bouquet of Books” sale will be open May 1-3. More than 175 ebooks, all reduced in price to just 99 cents. Save in categories such as Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense, Erotic Romance, and more! PLUS, visit the website to win gift cards to your choice of online retailers. $400 in gift cards up for grabs!

Both of my contemporary romance novels are in the sale!

Take a Deep Breath - Shar DimickABNA Quarter-Finalist, Second Chance at Love: TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Liv Reynolds can’t remember when anxiety and panic didn’t play havoc on her life. Recently divorced from a man who wouldn’t or couldn’t understand her, she retreats with her daughter to her grandmother’s summer cottage on Lake of the Pines. Liv has fond memories of the summers she spent there with her grandparents. Always a safe haven, she hopes to spend the summer relaxing, healing and finding herself again. In the midst of a panic attack, she finds herself face-to-face with Cameron Preston, the boy with whom she’d spent her childhood summers. In love with him back then, she never found the courage to tell him and they drifted apart…Her heart leaps at the second chance for love. Confusion swamps her as she tries to figure out why Cam keeps pulling away… Can Liv rekindle their old friendship and to turn it into something more?

Cam quit his busy big-city medical practice exhausted and disillusioned. He returns to his family’s summer home on Lake of the Pines to regroup and determine where and what he wants to do next. When he runs into Liv, the girl he let slip away, he knows where wants to head and with whom. When Cam meets Liv’s eight-year-old daughter, he assumes Liv is married. He struggles to keep his feelings for Liv in check while resuming the friendship he desperately misses. His one regret was not kissing Liv all those years ago when he had the chance… He has never stopped loving Liv. Will he let her slip away again? Not if he has his way.

timecoverart200X300New Release, Blind Date Leads To True Love?: TAKE YOUR TIME
Content to hide behind her camera, Maddy Adams often feels more comfortable observing life rather than actively participating in it. For the past five years she’s focused only on her studies and building her photography career. The summer after her college graduation, Maddy returns to Lake of the Pines for her sister Liv’s wedding. While she’s happy her sister has found love again, Maddy wonders if she’ll ever find love herself. Her college roomie keeps pressuring her to go out with her older brother, who happens to be vacationing at the same lake. Maddy doesn’t want to go on another blind date, but after blowing it with the gorgeous man she met on the beach she doesn’t have anything to lose. Or does she?

Mason Ellis finds himself on a beautiful house boat docked at Lake of the Pines after finally taking his best friend’s long-standing invitation to visit. He has two long weeks away from his fast-paced software development business to relax and unplug if he can. Six months ago the woman he’d lived with for two years left him for someone else. Tired of meaningless hookups, Mason wants more, but is afraid of getting burned again. When he spies a woman on the beach taking his photo, he’s intrigued. However, when he finally meets the mystery photographer, she brushes him off. Meanwhile, his little sister keeps pestering him to go on a blind date with her old college roommate. Maybe a blind date is just what he needs to get back into the dating scene. It’s not like it will lead to anything more. Or will it?
bouquet-sale-button[4]In addition, you’ll find titles from popular authors such as:

·         Gemma Halliday
·         Angie Fox
·         Jenna Bennett
·         Amanda Brice
·         Jennette Marie Powell
·         Clover Autrey
·         Carly Carson
·         E. Ayers
·         Genevieve Jourdin
·         CJ Lyons
·         Renee Pace
·         Sophia Knightley
·         Tori Scott
·         Meredith Bond
·         Emily Ryan-Davis
·         Anthea Lawson
·         Diana Layne
·         Lindsey Brookes
·         Gina Robinson
·         McKenna Chase

And many, many more!

Load up, you won’t gain a pound!

Hosted by Indie Romance Ink.

If You’re “Zappy” and You Know It…

2013-01-29 09.07.38No, that isn’t a typo in the headline. And, I am definitely a little zappy today this last day of the A to Z April blog challenge. I’ve zig-zagged through the alphabet and made it all the way to Z! Yeah me! For those still wondering, according to my good friend dictionary.com, zappy is a slang word that means “energetic, lively, or fast-moving; zippy.”

While I typically would describe myself more as “zapped” than “zappy,” I am excited that I made it to the end of this 26-day, 26-letter writing challenge. I set a goal and accomplished it. That in and of itself, feels pretty damn good! On the flip side, I’m sad to see the challenge come to end. I’ve found some pretty interesting blogs and fellow bloggers along the way that I’ll continue to follow. I like having a focus or theme to help guide my writing. Without this challenge I never would have written 26 posts in one month. While I know I can’t keep up this pace and market my new book and write my third book, I hope I can find time to write two or three posts a week. Writing is my outlet, whether anyone reads my words or not, I’m still going to spew them.

Zippity-Doo-Dah…

If anyone knows of any other blogging challenges I’d love to hear about them!

Yes, I Mean No

2013-01-29 09.07.16Sigh. Why do the words “Yes” or “No Problem!” or “I’d glad too” or “Sure thing!” always flow out of my mouth before I can stop them?  The word “yes” to any request comes naturally to me. I truly love to help others. Whether it is genetic or some quirky personality defect or residual guilt from twelve years of Catholic education, I’m not sure. I do know saying “no” is difficult for me, although more and more I find myself saying it. Not so much because I want to, but because I’ve finally realized I can’t do it all anymore.

In years past I ended up being the president of multiple committees, donating to causes I’d never heard of and volunteering hours of time on stuff I really didn’t care all that much about, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and always glad to help out. Saying “yes” when I really meant to say “no” often left me feeling resentful inside instead of happy. It took me 43 years, but I figured out the hard way, it’s better to say “yes” only to the things that I really want to do, can afford to do and actually have time for. I’ve learned to bite my tongue when people are seeking volunteers and resist the urge to offer my time when I know I really don’t have it to give.

Instead I’ve limited myself to only one or two volunteer activities at a time. My daughters are also involved in activities and I am responsible for getting them to and from these extra-curricular activities. I want them to participate and have fun. However, that makes little time for my activities. We have dance on Monday’s and Thursday’s and choir/catechism on Wednesday’s. 4-H is every other week on Tuesday’s. We just finished up basketball and cheerleading which also on Tuesdays with games on Saturdays. In less than a month everything will be finished except 4-H until September. I breath a sigh of relief. I know other mothers who have even more activities on their schedules. I’m dizzy thinking about it.

Anyway as a solution to my “yes” quandry, I decided to volunteer my time to the activities my daughters participate in. I figure if I’m going to be there anyway, I might as well help out.  So I helped coach my daughter’s basketball team earlier this year and currently I’m helping out with the 4-H club and am teaching Sunday school. It’s a win-win…I get to help out and spend time with my daughters. Now when someone asks me to help, I can politely say “I’m sorry, I’m already committed” and decline without being overcome with guilt. And by learning to say “no” as hard as it may be, I now have a bit of time for me – to write, to work out and to just be.

How hard is it for you to say “No?”

Today. Not Tomorrow.

2013-01-29 09.06.00Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. The sound of an old-fashioned, wind-up clock ticking off the seconds grounds me in the moment. Yet, no matter how you slice it, a day only contains 24 hours or 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. No more and no less. Why then do some days pass quickly while other drag painfully on and on? 

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.”  While on the surface I agree with that sentiment, it seems the myriad of tasks that need my attention today often spill into tomorrow and the next tomorrow and the next. The question is not so much putting off those things that could be done today until tomorrow, but more on prioritizing those tasks appropriately. Which tasks if I complete today will bring me closer to my goals tomorrow? Which tasks if I put off until tomorrow will cause me to get an overdue charge or lose out on an important opportunity? Which tasks can I put off forever because they no longer matter? If only I had more time to figure it all out!

I work full-time as a technical writer. I’m a wife and the mother of two young daughters. In my spare time, I write contemporary romance novels, blog and try to promote my books. I want to be the best employee, wife, mother and author I can. When I focus on one the other areas in my life suffer. I don’t want to settle for mediocrity yet can’t imagine giving any of these roles up. How could I? They all define me and make me who I am. But because of them, I often find myself overwhelmed, irritable and struggling. I struggle with not being good enough, with being satisfied with where I am today and not worrying too much about what tomorrow might bring. I struggle with letting complacency keep me from longing for the perfect tomorrow. And, I struggle to keep that longing from preventing me from happiness today.

 

QWERTY Queen

a-to-z-letters-qAccording to Wikipedia, Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer, invented my beloved QWERTY keyboard. His basic 1878 design still graces the majority of keyboards and touch-pads today. That’s pretty amazing if you think about it! He sequenced the letters on the keys so the typist must alternate hands when typing words. This  speeds up the typist as well as prevents jams in the original typewriters when two letters next to each were pressed too quickly.
2013-04-19 20.12.42 (2)I can remember play “typing” on my dad’s old type writer and jamming the metal arms when I rapidly pressed the keys as I pretended to be a writer. In high school I took a typing class and actually learned how to type without causing a pile-up on the type writer. Not to age myself too much, but I learned on an “electronic” type writer that actually had correction fluid built-in. I have to say for all practical purposes and real life uses, this was one of the best classes I ever took. I use my typing skills everyday of my life. I did a quick typing test and came out at 46 words per minute. Not too shabby.

I didn’t move to a computer until my first year in college. Computers and word processing programs made my life as a budding typist and writer even better as now I didn’t have to start over because I wasn’t paying attention and typed off the edge of the page or made a mistake. Cut and Paste and the Backspace key are my heroes.

I  now do all my writing on a little netbook. The keyboard fits my hands and fingers perfectly. While I do use my smart phone for quick emails, I’m nowhere near as fast touch-typing. I’m awed watching kids quickly type out texts and Facebook statuses with their thumbs or index fingers. I’ve heard some schools have even stopped teaching keyboard. That makes me so sad. I’ve thought about moving to a tablet, but I know I couldn’t live without my QWERTY keyboard.

What about you? Do “hunt and peck” or do your fingers know where to find the letters on the keyboard seemingly on auto-pilot?