February 27

So much can change in a month, two months…

I haven’t updated this blog in a while, but in October, I posted this post (If I thought things were crazy in March) back then with vague motions towards what I will be talking in today’s post.

In June, my husband was diagnosed, unexpectedly, with a terminal illness and we were given a prognosis of two weeks without treatments or significantly less than a year with treatment. We started treatments immediately as there were a lot of things we had to get handled, in addition to his hope to see our son graduate this May. The treatments were hard on his system and it caused problems for him, including drastic weight loss due to loss of appetite, etc.

Unfortunately, as is the nature with his illness, while things were going well for a while, it started turning in December. We changed treatment plans to a plan they felt would be more aggressive and might give him a few more months. The new treatment improved his quality of life in December, allowed him to enjoy foods that he no longer enjoyed; he had more energy and was enjoying spending time with friends and family. We had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family and friends and thought things were going better and things seemed to be turning to a semblance to normal. I was able to return to writing and working on projects for the future.

That was two months ago. A little more than a month ago, Jan. 11, my dad’s birthday in heaven, things started the downhill slope. Earlier that week, Dan had his second treatment of the new drug. We noticed he wasn’t doing so hot, but figured it was his immune system fighting the bad in his system, like it was supposed to. He ended up in the hospital mid-month and the day before they released him, we were told that if he didn’t show improvement in 24 to 48 hours, he’d be going into hospice. At that time, he did improve, enough to be cranky and stubborn and insistent on coming home and he was cleared to do so, but wasn’t allowed to be home alone any more, which frustrated him. I worked from home three days of the week while his mom was here the other two days. He came home on Tuesday and I’m glad he was able to come home one final time because a week later he was admitted to hospice.

It was not an easy decision, not by a long shot, to make the call on Sunday to say he was getting worse, to say we needed help, to say he needed to be taken to the hospice care facility we had decided on. However, I knew it was for the best. We couldn’t care for him on our own, nor could we keep him comfortable easily on our own. Ultimately, it turned out to be the right decision. Dan passed away early morning on Jan. 27, a month ago, at 42 years old.

The last three months have been a blur, more so the last two. Knowing he was going to pass, but not expecting him to pass as soon as he did, didn’t make it easy at all. All the decisions that had to be made, relatively quickly, after his death and still to this day have been just as crazy. I’m thankful that I have a job that was very flexible with everything happening so suddenly and for having a support group of family and friends that have been pillars for me during this time.

It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since he died. It’s hard to believe in just a few days it will be a month since we buried him. I miss him. I miss not being able to talk to him. I miss not being able to watch shows with him.

The silliest thing brought me to tears this weekend. Dan loved The Grand Tour. He was so excited when he saw it was coming out in November and couldn’t wait to watch it and watched each episode the day it came out. He thoroughly enjoyed it and would watch it while I was at work then would watch it with me when I got home and again and again. Sadly, he didn’t get to watch the last episode which came out the day he died. I finally got around to watching it, then started the series from the beginning and that made me cry. You can see the intro here: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x53mjqo_ford-mustang-intro-the-grand-tour-s01e01_auto

I think, the biggest relief for me, is knowing that he’s not suffering. Watching him be in pain, watching him deteriorate so fast the last month was the hardest thing for me. It was the hardest thing for all of us. And while I cried while writing all of this, this was easier to write than watching him suffer the last two weeks.

This is why there has been so much silence on this blog since last May. Life got complicated and was going to get more complicated before it gets better – and it’s not at the getting better stage yet, but it will eventually and I know that. I know it’s going to take time and it will take time for me to be able to get to writing again, but I plan to take things as I can – either in small steps, or really small steps, but I will keep moving forward.

See you around on the next post.

October 29

If I thought things were crazy in March…

1429208_25583604If I thought things were crazy in March, I was wrong. Dead wrong. At this time, I don’t really want to publicly discuss what is going on in my personal life, but suffice to say, when I do explain it in the future, many people will understand why the radio silence for so long. Those that know what is going on can tell you, you wouldn’t wish what I’m dealing with on anyone.

All that said, things have, for the interim, slowed down and is a little less crazy for the time being. I know the insanity will return soon enough in the future. I don’t look forward to it, but it is what it is.

Unfortunately, said previous insanity has stalled out The Wolf Siren but I do hope to finish it and start a few other projects in the next few months before the second round of insanity ensues.

As I write this, NaNoWriMo is a few days away. I wasn’t planning on participating, at least not originally, but my pesky muse has other things to say.  While I do have a project titled in there, I’ve got other projects I’m working on as well and with this NaNo, I’m counting every word of fiction written towards a project towards my NaNo Goal.  After all, the goal of NaNo is to try to get you to write every day (or as often as possible since we know life is a bitch).

Anne Saucer, (now everyone knows her as Mariana Campos, and I are still working on our future Think Happy Club books. As can be expected, things going on in my personal life affected that as well and haven’t moved as far forward as I had hoped (and I’m sure she hoped as well).  I am resuming work on those and hope to have something to her soon so we can publish a few new books still this year (might be far fetched plan, we’ll see). I also plan to self-publish a book of poetry I wrote years upon years ago (when I was still a teenager) hopefully by years end.

While I can’t promise to be posting more often or more regularly, I definitely will try. My writing has definitely fallen to the wayside and I need to bring more focus back to that.

Until next time….

March 21

First Update in Almost 5 Months

The only thing I can say, easily enough, is things got crazy. Very crazy.

The last post I made to this blog was Nov. 1, right when NaNoWriMo got started. I spent more of my time writing on my novel in November than I did writing for any blog I had (including this one, my social media blog and others). By the time December hit, my brain was fried and I was still working on my novel until work and being sick caught up with me.

12316498_10207558135221981_6610205390906462467_nHowever, I hit my goal in NaNo and I wanted to share that fun graphic with you here. I intended to do this two months ago when I realized I hadn’t posted in three months, but I got sidetracked every time I went to post.

Day 1 I started out with a little over 32,000 words. By the end of November I was exceeding 83,000 words, but the novel still isn’t completed. I expect it to be 95,000 words by the time I’m done (at least).

I didn’t write every day. Often times I had to write more in subsequent days to make up for the days I missed. I have excuses, sometimes valid excuses, for why I missed days (Thanksgiving and a retirement party being two of those valid excuses). Other times my brain was just mush and I couldn’t see where the novel was going. I got past that each time it happened, which helps, but I still haven’t gotten much further than the numbers above to finish the novel.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.31.31 AM

So the good news, five months after the fact, is that I won. YAY WINNING. The bad news is, I haven’t written on this project since then and I plan to tackle that problem in the next month.

So what have I been doing in the past five months? Well some of those answers will be coming in future blog posts this week and next, but it involves working on another Think Happy Club book – technically three books, two of which will be published later this year, one that will be published next year, being sick, starting a new project, starting another new project, starting a life change and more.

Which brings me to the point of this post – sort of (winning NaNo was one of the topics included here.

As my health affects a lot of what I do as a writer, I’m going to start creating blog posts about some of the things I’ve encountered as a Type 1 diabetic for 30+ years now. So in addition to writing posts, motivational posts and promotional posts, etc., you’ll also find blog posts on diabetes and how things are changing/affecting me.

Diabetes affects more than people realize and I think, as an author, it helps for readers to know more about me and what I am going through than to act like it doesn’t happen.

All that said, here’s to more regular posts in the future. And look forward to the cover reveal of our next book.

November 1

It’s November 1 and I have two questions…

reading-book-by-candlelightNovember 1 marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been signed up for NaNoWriMo for the past 5 years, knew about it for even longer. Last year was the first year I really tried to participate and wish I hadn’t because I had unrealistic expectations of myself. Who was I kidding? There was no way I was going to be able to meet or exceed word count each day (or catch up) between packing up my apartment, cleaning the new house, moving into new house, unpacking, cleaning and finishing moving what remained from the old house, being sick and everything else during November. Hell, I didn’t even have access to my personal computers to write for almost two weeks – yet I thought I could do it so I could finish off The Wolf Siren. I was only a few thousand words into it, needed a lot more. I think I ended up with a little more than 15,000 added to it. I can’t remember.

Fast forward a year where I have been writing sporadically. My novel count looks like this:

word-count-1013

Not too shabby, but I still have 52,000 words to go to complete this, edit it, then send it off to the publisher that has requested to see the finished version before I shop it out anywhere else.

While I know NaNoWriMo is for new ideas (and believe me I have a ton of them), I really want to get this novel finished first. If I have pauses in this one I may add to a new one in the same world/series, but I hope to really put this one to bed this month and then keep writing.

I see NaNoWriMo as a time to help me achieve my goals, even though I write all year long. It’s a nice go at solidarity and makes things go better.

Now, on to the questions I mentioned in the headline.

  1.  How the hell was July the last time I posted here?
    Well I know how…sort of. I just swore I had made posts here. I guess I had the intentions to and I forgot and I vow to get much better at posting here on a more regular basis than I have been. To start with that, I’ll be posting screenshots of writing progress, excerpts as well as some exercises.
  2. How the hell is it November already?
    Time sure has passed fast this year and it seems like it’s continuing to fly by. My birthday, which was August 1, seemed like only a few days ago, the beginning of October seemed even sooner and yet we just held a Halloween party and released the Think Happy Club Halloween Color Along in this month.

2015-10-30 13.06.22We have a lot in store for the holidays with Think Happy Club. I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am.
My writing partner – Deathly Treats- is telling me I should get to work. Now that I’ve got this blog post done, I should probably get to working on supper so I can work on my novel.  I still have stickers from last year to use for word count.  YAY stars!

July 23

Review: Character Interview with Kelly Blanchard

meeting-with-the-museA two part interview process, last week I reviewed the author interview Kelly had with me two weeks ago. This week I follow that up with a review of my character interview with her.

Much like the first interview, it’s much like writing a story together, except instead of her setting the scene for it, I set the scene of it, taking on the role of my previously un-named pseudo-antagonist. He’s sort of an antagonist but as the story goes, we’ll quickly learn he’s not the real antagonist – that wasn’t revealed to me until I did the interview with Kelly.

The character, named Marcus Diehl, is an entertainment lawyer who is also a werewolf. Marcus has been a thorn in my side for a while, not really telling me much about himself and I used this interview to help figure out the details by, literally, taking him on as a role and answering the questions she had as him.

In doing this, the character opened up and let me – and her – know a lot more about him than I had previously known.

Outside of the first chapter and preview of my book and me letting her know that he was the antagonist (sorta-antagonist), she knew relatively nothing about the character and this allowed her to ask questions that made me think and figure out the answers about him (or made him reveal them to me).  I’m often of the opinion that my characters write themselves – they often do – just sometimes they need outside help to make it happen.

I have to say I was very pleased with the interview and it has helped me move forward and add chapters into my book now that I know what is going on a bit better.

For examples of other character interviews, check these out:

My interview won’t be available until sometime in January.

Kelly is offering character interviews outside of these that she’s currently doing for $25 an hour of $50 for two hours. If you have a character that just isn’t talking to you, I suggest looking into her offer. It will be money well spent.

July 17

Review: Author Interview with Kelly Blanchard

A week ago I had the delightful opportunity to participate in one of Kelly Blanchard’s author interviews. This week, I’ll be participating in her character interview and while my interview with her is today, I still haven’t figured out which character she is going to interview from The Wolf Siren.

Even though my interview won’t be shared on her blog, Meeting with the Muse, until late in January 2016, I wanted to take a few moments to share my experience and encourage other authors who are looking to promote themselves to consider her services for both author interviews and character interviews. However, today I will just review her author interviews since the character interview hasn’t happened yet.

With the author interview, Kelly offered me an interesting opportunity: for me to be interviewed instead of me being the interviewer. In the course of my day job, I spend hours interviewing subjects for the various publications I write and then writing their articles. It is rare that I get to be interviewed and even rarer for me to talk about my love of writing. But this isn’t my first interview with Kelly either – she was on the receiving end when I interviewed her character, Lorrek, from her novel Someday I’ll Be Redeemed, so I had a bit of an idea of how things would go.

Interviews with Kelly are unique. Instead of the standard, boring Q&A format where the interviewer asks questions that get bolded in a story and the author replies, you, as the author, and Kelly write a story together. The interview is set in a fictional location where the author and Kelly interact and talk about the projects they are working on.

In many ways, this can be considered roleplaying – and with the character interviews it definitely is roleplaying because you are taking on the role of the character she is interviewing and writing what they would say and do.

Kelly interviewed me in the gardens of Cuskelom and Lorrek was the one who brought me into her world for the interview. We walked through the gardens and chatted not only about my history as a writer but also about my books, focusing on the book that I hope to finish first.  I don’t want to spoil the interview more than that, but I think many will be surprised about the things she asked me about and learning more about me.

I don’t think she knows I did this, but I did count the words I wrote with her for the interview – a little more than 1500 words in an hour interview. I’m guessing with her words it will be close to, or more than, 3,000 words.

If you are looking for a different, refreshing way to be interviewed, I strongly suggest seeking out Kelly Blanchard and Meeting with the Muse. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results of the interviews.

For some examples of her author interviews, check these out:

Note: I do believe she has interviews scheduled to be published through January or February now, so if you are interviewed it may be a few months down the road before your interview is published.

July 14

Discipline: AKA The Skill I Lack After Work

poetry-in-motionI write – a lot. And while I get a lot of work writing done at work, I tend to do other writing when I’m at home in sporadic bursts. The reason for the bursts – I suck at being disciplined.

I get home, I’m trying to relax. Play a little video game or watch a movie then come get in front of the computer.

Then there’s Facebook and instant messengers. Oh look I got a few new followers on Twitter. I should look and see how the posts are doing on my social media blog. And oh look someone replied to post(s) on Facebook.

The next thing I know, it’s 11 p.m. and I need to be heading to bed to start all over again.

I have been getting better at being disciplined by setting myself goals – whether it be one article or several articles a night to get done before I do something else. I also have weekly goals of articles for my websites. I failed, miserably, at those this weekend but I had other things going on this weekend to help with that, but I still got some of it done and other things accomplished not on the writing list (like a few more boxes of books unpacked and shelved.

Then writing on the novels – lately it feels like pulling teeth with them. Anytime I sit down and try to write other things (son, husband, phone) interrupt me and make me lose my train of thought.

So, all of that being said, what things do you do to keep yourself disciplined on your writing? Do you ever suffer from writing overload? How do you get past that to continue on your path?

Share your answers below!

March 13

7 Things You May/May Not Know About Me as a Writer

writers-dreamI was tagged by Laura Chapman to reveal 7 things you may not (or may) know about me as a writer.  Since she did this, I told her it would double as my blog post, so I am sharing it here too. This was a fun challenge to try and come up with seven things people don’t know about me:

  1. All of my current works-in-progress were generated by very vivid dreams that wouldn’t get out of my head until I wrote them.
  2. I write in several genres: fantasy, romance, paranormal romance, sci-fi and, most recently, comic/picture books. I have determined I cannot write historical fiction because I’m far too much of a history buff to write it.
  3. Most of my novels have the middle chapters written first and have chapters written here and there without a beginning in mind. Only two of my novels started out with the prologue and first few chapters written first.  Even here, the first few chapters were written then chapters down the road were written and other chapters I have yet to figure out where they go.
  4. I am not an out liner. I can’t imagine outlining a story that writes itself as it goes.  Thus, totally a pants-er.
  5. I have always been very shy about sharing my writing. Only in the last year have I started sharing my works in progress and competing in contests. This has helped me to become more confident and decide that I will find an agent and get published sooner rather than later.
  6. I tend to overthink when I can’t figure out how to connect the dots in a story. This often leads to chapters I trash and start over with and rewrite much better.
  7. I have a bunch of partial stories written because I had inspiration, but I have no idea where they’re going after the short story part of it is written.

Share your 7 things in the comments below!

March 4

Has it really been more than a month….?

1429208_25583604Time flies when you’re having fun. Or when your sick or swamped at work or all of the above.  Actually where did the first two months of 2015 go? It’s hard to believe it’s March 4 already.  It definitely doesn’t feel like it.

I’ve been adjusting to a heavier writing work load, both at work and with my blogs and while I had thought I had scheduled things to post on this blog, it is very apparent that I hadn’t. I swear I must have dreamt that I scheduled posts because I really swore I had – I guess that’s what I get for not checking to see.

That being said, I plan to do with this blog what I do with my social media blog – writing and scheduling posts ahead of time that way there’s actual content here to promote on a regular basis.  Unlike the social media blog, there won’t be as many regular posts, but there will be a few regular days along with sporadic days.

I’m also going to field questions, so if you have questions that are bugging you and want answered, feel free to ask them here.

January 26

Musing Mondays: 01/26/15 Edition

musing-mondaysMusing Mondays, a weekly blog meme hosted by Should be Reading, asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

  • Describe one of your reading habits.
  • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
  • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
  • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
  • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Today we’re going to go with the final point – rambling on about something else pertaining to books.

I have three works in progress, each WIP sitting between 10k and 20k word count.  Yet it never fails, when I start working on one of them – and make some progress – later that day/night/few days later, the muse for one of the other WIPS will pipe up and won’t shut up till I write the scene she’s come up with.  Sometimes it isn’t even for the works in progress, but I write it out anyway, just to get it down and out of my head so I can, hopefully, get back to what I was working on previously.

My muse also has a horrible tendency to want to write after I’ve crawled into bed and start dozing off.  Just then, she’ll have a wonderful insight, which I hope to remember when I wake up in the morning – and often I don’t.  When I do remember, it’s a good one and it gets written down as soon as I have time to sit down with one of my writing devices and write it out – or even note it out to write in detail later.

It also doesn’t help that lately I’ve been procrastinating on sitting down and writing – mainly because I have other things to do that I have also procrastinated getting done.

And if I were talk about the number of books I recently started reading and haven’t finished…that would be a whole nother chapter on procrastination.

One of my goals for this year, besides having a book written and submitted to a publisher, is to find a happy medium between the amount of words I write for my day job and what I write for blogs/novels outside of work.  One I find the medium, I think I’ll be able to write on both without brain overload.  The other goal is to set myself hard deadlines with rewards.  I haven’t figured out quite what those rewards will be yet, but I find I work a lot better under hard deadlines than I do without them.

What are some ways you motivate yourself to write when life is just getting in your way?