Thursday, April 17, 2014

Opportunity

Today's letter for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge is O.

Opportunity: I've really been trying to take to heart the idea of being open to opportunity. In a way this may sound odd that as a writer I'm working on being open to the idea. The thing is though, in some respects, I'm kind of shy. I think most people that know me will be scratching their heads over that sentence. The thing is, when it comes to the act of sharing my writing it is absolutely true that I shy away from doing so. I think that that is due in large part to a fear of rejection. So, I'm actively working on getting over this and embracing opportunities to share my writing. It's not an easy thing for me. For example, my husband has asked me to read something I've written out loud on more than one occasion. I can't do it. I physically cannot stand in front of him and read a chapter or even a paragraph of something I've written to him. I don't mind if he reads it to himself but I can't do it. I have to get over this and I know it. To a degree, I feel like I should be able to read and share my own writing with people I know. I know that I am becoming a better writer everyday. Now I just have to create and accept opportunity to move another step forward with my dream.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Networking

N is today's letter for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge.

Networking: As in any field, networking within the writing community is very important. I didn't used to think so but have definitely changed my mind about this topic. Whether you're going the traditional publishing route or self-publishing I believe having a strong network of people in your corner is key. I also believe it's beneficial to have a network of writer friends who understand exactly what you are striving to achieve.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Music

Today’s Blogging From A to Z Challenge letter is M.

Music: This was another definite topic for me to blog about. I am, and always have been, extremely inspired by music. The majority of my childhood memories have music attached to them in some fashion. Of course, as a teenager, music ruled my life. I discovered the ever so amazing Duran Duran at the age of twelve and have never stopped loving them. My daughters even love them, thanks to the fact that they have always been exposed to their music.

Music inspired me as a writer as well. The majority of the time when I’m writing, I’m listening to music. All of my books and stories have a soundtrack. Now, whenever I hear a song that I associated with writing one of those books, I think of that book and those characters. It seems a little funny and yet I’m certain I can’t be the only writer who does this.

Right now, my main female character is a flute player in a symphony. This is proving to be a very fun person for me to write as I was a flute player through school. I’m enjoying writing about what it’s like to be a part of the world of classical music and auditions and rehearsals and the thrill of performing. I’m also rediscovering a love for classical music through listening to it. Another positive to this is that my kids have discovered they like classical music, too. They even want to be in band! Right now they’re saying they want to play flute but I’ll understand if they change their minds. J

We love all kinds of music around my house. Duran Duran and classical, as mentioned but also Country, some Top 40 and my husband loves hard core techno. And it’s all inspiring to me as a writer.

Teaser Tuesday's: The Collector by Nora Roberts

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from Nook page 13 of The Collector by Nora Roberts:

The apartment complex hugged an entire city block, and that offered little glimpses into other lives. Other lives just fascinated her.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love

Today's Blogging From A to Z Challenge letter is L.

Love: Love is the first word, feeling, emotion that came to mind for me when I was planning a blog post for the letter L. Love is the topic I have decided to stick with. I write mostly romance stories. When my daughters ask what I'm writing about I tell them love. This answer is true but it's also one they understand. They know their daddy and I love one another. They understand that they, as sisters, love one another. They hope that they'll fall in love someday, too. While I have the same hope for them I'm perfectly all right with them taking their time on that, though.

The thing is, there are many different types of love and most of my stories contain more than one of them. In addition to romantic love my stories nearly always contain love of family. I really believe the foundation (whether good or bad) we grow up with shapes up as humans. Of course, I also believe one can overcome a bad childhood. And often my characters are overcoming something difficult in their lives as they find the positive love(s) that will strengthen them and their surroundings as they move forward. I'm all about people being strong, happy and self-confident and that appears in my writing over and over again.

Another reason I chose to write about love is the fact that I love writing. It's as simple and as multi-layered as that. I love most things about love.

Thank you for stopping by; for this post or any other. Have a great day.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kids


Today's Blogging From A to Z Challenge  is brought to you by the Letter K. Wait, this is my blog, not Sesame Street. Now you're possibly scratching your head and wondering if you're in the right place. You are, and I'm using my K topic to write about the particular lights of my life.
Kids: I have two kids whom I love with all of my heart. They are my first priority always. After I had my first I stopped writing. I think that's somewhat normal. My husband and I were new parents. We were completely in love, in awe and severely sleep-deprived. It makes sense to me that some things in life would be put aside for a while and for me that was my writing. I started writing again when the first was a little over a year. Then repeated this cycle with our second child. However, I missed my writing more quickly the second time. Then I struggled with balance. I wondered if I could give my writing the attention I had before and still be a good mom. The answer is yes but it took me a while to realize and truly accept that I could - and should - continue with my writing. The reason I said I should is because following my passion and my heart's desire has truly made me an even better parent. My husband knows this, our daughters know this, as well. My point is, always follow your dreams and show your children that your dreams are as valuable as theirs.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Juggling

Today's Blogging From A to Z Challenge letter is J.

Juggling: It turns out that this is a very timely topic for me. This entire week has been nothing but an amped up juggling act for me. Actually, my extreme juggling is continuing until Tuesday. It's true that I make time to write everyday. It's also true that juggling everyone's schedule is a regular occurrence. It's something that I don't mind, though. My kids' routine is busier than mine and my husband's were when we were kids but that's somewhat a product of our times I suppose. This week though, oh my gosh. It's been an amazing week but it has been cram packed with extra stuff. Granted, it's been fun stuff but quite time-consuming. So I've added a few extra balls to the juggling act this week. I'm happy to say that so far every thing has come together nicely. We're all a little tired and there's still more that needs to be done but we'll get there. I'm pretty sure that come Tuesday evening everyone in my family will be breathing a giant sigh of relief. I know I will. I'm also happy to say that I've still managed to fit in my writing each and every day.

I must admit, I love my juggling act.

Tomorrows letter for the challenge is K. I hope everyone has a great weekend - whether you're relaxing or juggling your own stuff.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Inspiration

Today is for the letter I in The Blogging From A to Z Challenge.

Inspiration: I used to stress out about inspiration. I used to wait until I was feeling inspired to write. People ask me somewhat regularly where my inspiration comes from or what inspires me. In fact, I would say questions relating to inspiration are what I'm asked most when people want to talk about my writing. The interesting thing is, the answer(s) is not black and white. I'm inspired by many different people or things. My husband and children inspire me. I have been inspired by reading a really good book on more occasions than I can count. As stated in my A post about Authors - I was originally inspired to be a writer by Madeleine L'Engle and her book A Wrinkle in Time. Sometimes the amazing beauty found in nature inspires me to write and other times it's the beat of a song. I've also found that the more I write the more I'm inspired to continue to write. There's no clear cut response to what inspires me but I am certainly thankful that I stay inspired to write my stories.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Please come again.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Home

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge continues today with the letter H.

Home: My youngest daughter just came in and saw this post. She said, "Home is nice. Home is where we live and love our family." I had a different beginning in mind but what she said is even better. Home to me is also a safe place where I can be myself and that helps me to create. Home and family play a role in every book I've ever written. I feel safe in saying that the elements of home and family will continue to be in each of my books. It's important to me that my husband and I give our daughters a safe, happy place to call home. So my daughter saying what she said has touched my heart in an enormous way.

Her quote is exactly what I hope to convey in my stories, as well. Often, my characters are either struggling with a big issue or have something from their past that needs dealing with. I admit that there have been times that they haven't come from the best of families so I try to make up for that in their present situations. In my opinion home is a place but it is also a feeling and a sense of security.

This is a quick post tonight but please don't think that makes it less meaningful. Tomorrow I'll blog about Inspiration and Integrity for the letter I.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Goals

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge continues this evening with the letter G.

Goals: I wrote a post a few months ago all about goals. I think it's good to re-evaluate goals every so often and determine whether I'm on track or way off. I also think it's a good idea to determine if some things need to be changed or simply left out of the routine.

I made a goal to continue writing everyday and I'm happy to say I have kept up with this one. It's my passion and I'm aiming to make it my career. In regard to making a career out of writing novels I need to be a whole lot better about revising my work and querying it. So, going forward, I will continue to write every single day. I also believe I need to commit to at least thirty minutes of revision per day with queries to follow.

Another goal I had made was to exercise four to five days per week. I was keeping up with this and feeling really good about it. Then, almost two weeks ago, we had a weekend of earthquakes and aftershocks here. I'm a tad embarrassed to say that I haven't been out for a walk or run since. I'm a little bit afraid to go alone. I know I need to get over it but it's very freaky to me when the earth shakes like crazy under my feet. And I really, really don't want to be alone when it happens again. Anyway, I'm going to force myself to do some sort of exercise tomorrow, even if it's simply to put on a yoga DVD at home.

Water. It's part of the life force. I like water and it makes me feel good. Then why am I so bad about drinking enough of it? I had a daily goal of drinking fifty ounces per day. I started off really well and managed to keep it up for about six weeks. Then I started drinking less and less. Now I'm back at a pathetic amount per day. Beginning tomorrow - no, make that right now, as soon as I hit publish - I'm getting back on the healthy track of drinking a lot of water. It's healthy and I want to be as healthy as I can possibly be.

So there's an update and a re-evaluation of my goals. Do you make goals and if so, how are you doing with keeping them?

Teaser Tuesday's: Dash of Peril by Lori Foster

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from Nook page 46 of Lori Foster's Dash of Peril

She was already on the ragged edge. She didn't need Dash adding to her confusion.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Blogging From A to Z: Family

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge continues today with the letter F.

Family: Family is my number one priority. So it is not a surprise to me that family was the first thing I thought of for the letter F in this challenge. My husband and our daughters mean the world to me. My husband and I often joke that our kids have a busier schedule than we do. It amazes me how many things related to school (that aren't actually done during the school day) fill up their non-school hours. And I do my best to be involved in as much of it as possible. This was something that my husband and I agreed upon before we even had children. So, there are times (this week and next, for example) when my writing is scheduled around many hours at or for their school. I don't mind it and actually cherish the fact that I'm able to do this for my kids.

I will admit that I used to get a little cranky when I was getting my time to write, though. However, making the commitment to myself to write daily had a positive impact on my family as well as myself. They know I have daily goals for my writing that must be met and are very supportive. My husband doesn't always like the topic I'm writing about but I can always count on him to be a sounding board when I need one. Our daughters have taken to writing their own stories, which I love so very, very much. Someone asked my youngest daughter who her favorite author is and she said, "My mom." It made me teary-eyed, of course. My daughters also illustrate covers for my books. They haven't read any of my books yet because I don't write children's books but they are still so adorably supportive. I love all of them so much.

Thank you for stopping by. Please come back tomorrow if you'd like to read about my writing goals.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Energy and Emotions of my Writing Life

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge continues with the letter E.

I admit that I had a bit of a hard time coming up with a topic that relates to my writing and the letter E. Now, as the day is more over than not, I have a good idea:

Energy: Writing requires energy for me. It requires physical and mental energy. I know that I am a much better writer when I am well rested or have recently completed some exercise. Speaking of exercise, I have the best brainstorming sessions when I am working out. I get so much clarity for my stories in the midst of a workout. If I am having a problem writing a scene or something about it just feels off I usually go for a walk. I can guarantee that during that time I will figure out what I need to do in order to advance or even fix my scene or chapter.

I have also been known to get some really crazy ideas while working out. Some of them I have used while others I probably won't. However, I try to write down all of my ideas, regardless of genre. You know what they say; Never say never.

I've noticed that food also plays a part in my writing. What I mean is, the healthier I'm eating, the better I feel I'm writing. It makes sense to me but it's still interesting to see and feel it in motion. That's not to say I don't have a stash of chocolate because I do, believe me.

Emotions: Emotions are actually two-fold: Mine and my characters'. My emotions definitely play a role in my daily writing. It's a fact that if I'm in a good mood my writing flows a lot better than if I'm in a funk. Although, sometimes I get a lot done if I'm mad, too.

There have been times when my emotions or moods have bled into my characters lives. I try really hard to avoid this as I want them to be authentic but it is true that small pieces of my life appear in theirs now and then.

Thank you for stopping by. The challenge takes Sunday's off so F will be brought to you on Monday. I know for certain I'll be discussing how my family and friends play into my writing life. We'll see if I come up with something else to add.

Friday, April 4, 2014

D: Daily Writing

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge is up to letter D today.

I want to devote this post to something that is very dear to me and has changed me as an author -

Daily Writing: In one statement, I write everyday. I haven't always practiced a daily writing routine, though. In fact, my writing habits used to be very sporadic. I'd write a lot for a good chunk of time and then write nothing at all for another chunk of time. I had the idea that I needed to wait for inspiration to write. That's a method that works for a lot of people so I'm not putting it down. It's simply that I discovered - for myself - waiting for inspiration was becoming a big waste of my time.

Last summer, I wrote virtually nothing. I wasn't keeping track of my word count at the time but I know I hardly wrote at all. By the end of the summer I was depressed, feeling uninspired and generally unhappy because I wasn't making any progress toward my writing goals. How could I make progress when I wasn't 'inspired' to write? After my kids went back to school in August I decided it was time to make a change. I started writing a bit more frequently and I was happier. I had discovered writeclub on Twitter and it was really motivating me. Then I learned of writechain on Twitter and decided to give that a go as well. (I'll be posting more about both writeclub and writechain later in the month).

I decided to start writing fiction daily in the middle of September. I have now written for 205 days straight. I can honestly say that I am a better, stronger and faster writer now that I was six months ago. The inspiration I was always concerned with is a daily part of my life now. I found that the more I wrote, the more I was inspired to write. In fact, ideas began coming to me so rapidly that I began writing them down in a journal so that I wouldn't forget them.

Daily writing has also made me more confident. I've had a short story published and have made a couple other strides toward making my writing dreams come true. So I am a definite believer in the power of daily writing. It doesn't have to be an enormous amount that you write, either. Although, I will say, that the amount I write each day has increased since I started this new path in September.

As I've said before: People say "just write". I say, "Just write daily."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C: Characters and Conflict

Today's Blogging From A to Z Challenge is the letter C in my writing life.

Characters: I feel safe saying a writer absolutely must have characters. Without characters we'd have no stories. However, creating these characters isn't always an easy thing. I want my characters to be as fully developed as possible. That means I want my protagonists to have flaws mixed in with their positive traits. I want them to have hopes and fears and dreams and goals. I want them to have achievements as well as screw-ups. Basically, I want my heroes and heroines to be people you'd want to have a beer or a glass of wine with and call them a friend. Developing this sort of character takes time and love and patience but it's so worth it to see them come alive in my imagination, on paper and for other people.

As far as the not-so-nice characters (and sometimes their outright villains) I want you to loathe them. Of course, they may have a moment where they are so human you almost like them but that never lasts. I hope to create characters people can love or hate and feel as if they've really gone on someone's journey with them.

Conflict: Conflict is necessary in a story. The truth is (for me anyway) sometimes adding the conflict is painful. I love my characters and I'm sure that is probably true for most writers. Since I love them, I don't want to put them through bad things. And yet, as I said, it's necessary in order to move the story along. It's necessary to help the characters grow, as individuals and together as friends, lovers, families, whatever the relationship dynamics may be.

Thank you for visiting. Please come back tomorrow and learn about the letter D.