Affection

Affection like love is another word that is associated with this time of month, though I believe the two to be very different. But before we get into the details of that let’s get our definitions in.

Wiki

  • The act of affecting or acting upon
  • The state of being affected
  • An attribution; a quality or property; a condition
  • An emotion; a feeling or natural impulse acting upon & swaying the mind

Dictionary

  • A gentle feeling of fondness or liking
  • The act or process of affecting or being affected

Differences

Affection in all its wonder is sometimes, if not all of the time used interchangeably with love. Though they do have similarities and are closely related, they are not and should not be used in the same way.

Love is a strong feeling toward another with different levels or types of love being expressed at any given time. It’s the feeling you have for your significant other, your children or even your best friend or other acquaintances.

Affection, however, involves the little things. Those little details that tell another how much, or if you care at all. The actions and gestures that go along with those feelings. That is the difference between love and affection.

Benefits

Now, I’ve heard that there are benefits to expressing affection and receiving it as well. I won’t go into major details, but I found this fascinating. You can read more here.

Showing affection toward others has shown benefits, not just in making you feel good, but it can also lower stress hormones, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and provide a stronger immune system.

This can also happen when chemicals release in your body as you express these through actions, not just when you feel them as you receive the affection.

Expressing Affection

Now, let’s talk about how you can express affection. As I mentioned earlier affection is all those tiny details you probably never or hardly ever notice you’re doing, but I encourage you to notice them the next time you are showing someone your affection. Showing your affection to another provides the feeling of intimacy, security, that they’re significant and shows a sign of respect depending on how the affection is being delivered and expressed.

The Small

small touches of affection

Affection can be expressed by the small touches, or even glances you give someone. A hug, a kiss, holding hands, a loving glance, an arm around the waist, a touch on the shoulder, a soft touch or even an occasional gift can show your affection to another.

The Large

What about those larger gestures, like passionate kisses that last, making out or even the friendly high five or shout of encouragement? Theses are also ways you can show affection and support of another person. It’s like showing in a story instead of telling. You show how you feel by what you do and the actions you take.

Platonic Gestures

Even things you wouldn’t think would show affection, do. Carrying things for another, opening a door, even doing things around the house for someone can show affection, like cooking, cleaning or doing laundry. Now I’m not telling you to go to your friends house and start doing their laundry (unless you really are that kind of friend), but think about those things you do for another that wasn’t asked or was just done to show you care.

Speech

Another way you can show affection is by the words you say, and how you say them. Yes, saying ‘I love you’ is affectionate especially if it’s given in a romantic whisper, but have you thought to send a message, even one saying ‘Hey, how are you doing today?’

The smallest note scribbled on a post-it can have the same reaction as an elaborate card with large letters. The person you’re leaving the note for or even receiving a text or email will show your emotional connection to the person receiving the small gesture.

Final Thoughts

So, when you think of affection, what types of things do you do to show your affection for others?

Newly Implemented For 2019

With the start of the new year, and as many do, I’ve decided to implement some new items to my morning and my daily routine. These tools are helping me to keep my life and business organized. So far it’s working great. Maybe not as well when I travel, but it’s working great none-the-less. So, let’s talk about these new tools and daily routine that help me to get things done timely and efficiently. Who knows, they could help you too!

Tools

Everyone has tools they love and those they don’t. I’ve been using some for the last few years and tried others, with little success. This year, I decided to plan ahead and get things ready for working throughout the year. Here is what I’ve found so far. 

Asana

 

Implemented checklist

This is one that I began using a few years ago and I enjoyed using it. I like the checklist aspect of it and the way I could put my lists in categories, but it wasn’t personable. I would enjoy customizing them so I’m encouraged as I look at the lists, having images to look at for motivation. If you enjoy the benefits of multiple lists for organization, then this is the app for you. I may still use it for a running to do for our home, but I’ve decided to try something new this year, which leads me to my next tool… 

Trello

Implemented Schedule

I’ve heard a lot about Trello throughout last year and I did try it out, but actually hated it. I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to organize things or how to use it well enough at the time to fully enjoy this program. So, at the end of last year I went through tutorials and set up the program as I felt it would help with my life and my business. Using it these last few weeks has been fantastic. I know what I’m doing, what needs to be done and where I am with my projects to keep things going smoothly. That and I can add images, documents, or whatever else I feel I need to keep myself motivated and on track!

Planner

Implemented Planner

This is where I struggled the most. There are so many planners out there, it’s hard to find one that would fit me and what I wanted to accomplish throughout the year. If I took it with me, I wanted to have everything I needed with me and in one place. That, I couldn’t find, so I created one. This planner has all the information I feel I need whether I’m at home working or on the road. It’s taken me a year and a half to get it to where it is now and I’m happy with how it’s turned out. It has a section for business, books, personal, daily, blog, newsletters, and more. 

This been a fun project to complete and one that saves me from losing my mind while away from my home or at my desk when I need a piece of information, like brand (hex) colors, font names, character traits or a review of my plot. It’s always near me and I love it! 

Daily Routine

I’ve started a new daily routine that includes getting my mind in the right place for writing and getting things done in a reasonably easy fashion. Of course, I’m still working out the kinks, especially when I’m away from home. That seems to be when things get a bit out of hand, but I’m working on that. 

Creative Writing

Complete the Story Prompts

While out with my sister a few months ago, I purchased a book called “Complete the Story”, which contains a prompt on each page for you to finish. I’ve decided that I would complete one each day as part of my daily routine to get my creative flow moving and to get down new ideas for stories at the same time. What could be better than that? So far, I’ve stuck to that plan and have so many new ideas from these small prompts. Not to mention a book to keep then in. 😉

Posts

I’ve continued to post on social media daily and have a schedule of the categories I post from, but I would love to get down exactly what I would like to post as it relates to writing and inspiration. As of right now, things are going well and I’m really happy with my progress. I’ve also been posting regularly to my Patreon Page, which contains things you won’t find anywhere else! Head Here to check it out!!

Checklist

With Trello now working in my favor, I’ve got everything that I need to work through my business, books and products I plan to have go out this year. I’m ahead of schedule and that is a fantastic feeling. Even though I have a planner, I still have everything with me in Trello incase I don’t have my planner with me. It’s a win-win!

Checklist

Another thing I have that I didn’t before is a “Catch all” or a small notebook to catch all the things that come to mind that would otherwise distract me. I put them in that spiral and when I’m done with all the other things that need attention, that’s when I’ll look at that list to see what else needs to be taken care of. It’s written down and out of mind so I can concentrate on what needs to be done instead of worrying about things that aren’t as important. 

I can still get things done and have a list where I can find the things I wanted to remember for later, it’s great!

Exercise

Exercise

Another area I’m working to do better at. Being a writer, I don’t get up and move as much as I should. So, I’ve scheduled time to exercise and since I like boxing, that is what I’ve been getting into. I was lucky enough to get a Nintendo Switch for Christmas! (Yeah, I know. I’m a gamer.) Anyway, my husband was nice enough to order Fitness Boxing on the Nintendo Switch for me to get back into the rhythm of exercising and so far it’s going well and I’m enjoying it. Who knew you could exercise and play a game at the same time! Well, I did, but it’s fun and I love it!!

School

school

As most of you know, I homeschool my children and although they do some things on their own, there is still quite a bit they need direction in. Even though my day is filled with school and work, but I wouldn’t trade if for the world. So far I’ve been using Homeschool Teacher/Student for their school schedule and grading, but there are things about it that still bother me. I look every so often, but haven’t found anything else I’m willing to put money into to take the place of it. We’ll continue until I do find something better. 

School takes up a good portion of the day, and there are some days where it feels like it’s taking forever to get through one subject, but we are working through it and are doing well. Know of any apps that would help with schedules, grading, etc. I’d love to hear about them!! 

Other

ahead

Here is where I try to get ahead or work on my running list of things that I wrote down to work on. Then I spend time with my kids playing games, or watching movies. I always make some time to spend with my children at night doing something fun after dinner. It’s a way we can connect better and do something we all like to do. What do you do with our family? Do you make time to spend with then each night/day? 

Final Thoughts

There are areas where I still need to work out kinks, but things are looking good so far and I’m happy with my progress. What does your day look like? Have you added or changed from your daily routine this year to make things easier? What apps are you using to organize your life and/or business? Let us know in the comments. 

Plans for 2019

Plans for 2019

As I do every year, I like to tell you what I plan to get done during the next year. You can do the same below. I would love to see what your plans are and we can encourage each other to complete our goals for the year.

Let’s get to it… I’ll be breaking things up into different categories so it’s easier for me to get down.

Books

Series

Since I’ve come to my senses and realize that I need more eyes going through my stories before they are published, I’ve decided to re-launch my series.

They are getting a whole new look, run through with betas and hopefully an editor before they are launched again. All seven books in the series are written and are in need of read throughs, so if you are looking to start a new series and would like free books I’d love to have you on my beta reader team!! Click Here to get started!

Books

Stand Alone/Possible Series

I have two other stories I’ve been working on. One is a stand alone while the other may become a series. I haven’t decided yet. The stand alone is written and a bit longer so it needs to be read through yet.

The second one I’m still writing and should be complete by the end of January.

My main series will be revised and published as I get them done, hopefully one a month until they are complete and published. The other two will hopefully be complete by the end of August, so keep an eye open for those.

To Be Read

I have a list of books I’ve been trying to get through and my plan for 12 throughout the year worked out last year, so I’ll continue that this year. Have any book you would like to recommend? I’d love find new authors to read.

I also have been reading at least three that are non-genre or educational related, so I’ll also continue that for this year as well. With all the things I want to do this year, I don’t want to overdue myself like I did last year.

Short Stories

Here is something I would love to provide. I tried last year to provide some, but things got out of hand and I had to put it on the back burner. My plan for these is to bring one out every other month, so the first one should be out by the end of February! Check out my Patreon Page for more and to support me if you wish. Every little bit helps to provide awesome products to you, the reader!!

Beta Readers/Arc readers

Ok, so I have a few beta readers who have started reading through my stories and I’m getting responses, but I would like a few more. You would become an important part of my publishing journey as you are given my manuscript for free and in return you would give me your suggestions on how to make the story the best it can be.

Reading

If you’re interested in becoming a beta reader, please head Here and I’ll get you started! Thank you in advance to anyone willing to read and provide feedback! You are Awesome!!

I’m not quite ready for ARC readers, but hopefully soon. I’ll put out a call for those as the time comes, so keep a look out for that.

Editor

I’m in search for an editor. I’ll be honest, I haven’t done much here because we just did’t have the funds, but it’s essential so we’ll do what we can. Investments of the trade, right? It’ll pay off and we’ll move forward as we always have.

Edit

Know a good editor who might be interested in paranormal romances? I’d like to get an editor soon so I can provide the best books for you, my readers.

Communication

Blog

If you are on my newsletter, you know that I plan to up my blog posts to weekly instead of by-weekly. My desire is to bring you even more awesome content than I did last year. There will be bi-weekly posts on an inspirational word while the other bi-weeks will relate to a writing topic.

Have a word or writing topic you would like me to write about? Go ahead and leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my list! Tell me what you would like to see here!

Communication

Connections

Social media is a big platform for me and I’ve been posting daily to those I want to keep active on. I plan to become more active and provide you with more inspiration, discussions and the like. You can even leave me a question and I’ll answer them on my FB and Twitter pages. Want to see images of what I do or my five cats? Tell me what you would like to see and I’ll put them on my instagram.

I love connecting with others so let me know what you’d like to see and I’ll do what I can get you a peak into my life as a writer!

Business

New Products

So, I’ve been thinking of expanding my business to more than just novels. I would like to provide items that would be fun and helpful for writers and readers alike.

I have some digital products in mind as well as physical products. I’ll be doing an extra blog post on those as they become available. Expect the first one near the end of January and throughout the year. Right now I have four planned, with more to come as the year goes by. If you want to be notified when all that is happening, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE!

Business Products

Video

Unfortunately, this is still in the works and I’m hoping to get it up and running with regular videos as soon as possible. I plan to have it going by the end of March.

I know some like video better than reading a blog, so I would like to provide more ways to connect with you as readers than just written words. Again, I’ll let you know when that becomes available!

Other Items

Educational

Every year I try to complete a few education classes, courses, books that will help me to improve my writing and skills. This year is no different. So my plans for this year are to complete three as I did last year. If I’m able to fit more, I will.

Guitar

Art/Music

Two of the things I love, but haven’t planned the time to do is draw and play my guitars. These are the two things that get pushed to the back while I’m focused on everything else. This year, I plan to fit them in, even if it’s just an hour on the weekends.

Final Thoughts

So, now that I’ve told you what my plans are, what do you have planned? Do you think I’ve planned too much?

Let me know what you have planned for 2019 and we can keep each other encouraged and motivated as we journey though the year!

Rejuvenate

Rejuvenate

With the new year right around the corner, I thought I would give a word that fits pretty well for the New Year. This is not just an encouraging word, but a reminder to take some time for yourself now and throughout the year to rejuvenate your mind, body, and even your writing/business.

Everyone needs rejuvenating, a fresh start or to refresh something in their lives. I learned that the hard way this year. I tried to work nearly everyday throughout the year with little breaks. It was extremely hard to keep going with my plans and a lot of them fell through. So, putting in some time to rejuvenate myself and my business is now part of my planning for next year.

Now on to our favorite part… definitions!

Wiki

  • To make someone or something look or feel younger, fresher, or more lively

Dictionary

  • To make young again; restore to youthful vigor, appearance, etc
  • To restore to a former state; to make fresher or new again.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the real reason we are here. How do we rejuvenate ourselves? and how do we rejuvenate different areas of our lives?

Well, that’s what I’m here to talk to you about, so let’s get started. You may want your planner for this one. I’m gonna mention it a few times.

How to Rejuvenate Yourself…

So, I don’t expect you to spend a lot of time with your planner and not enjoy the actual rejuvenating suggestions here. Go ahead, read through, get yourself ready and then get that planner out or visa versa, but we will be planning some time throughout the year. You choose!

Your Mind

Don’t overload Yourself

Here is something I tend to do all the time. I schedule way to much in a short period and then never get anything done. Do you ever feel like that? You plan things out and are raring to go, ready to tackle your projects, plans, and/or products and you find that you’re waisted by the time you get into the middle of the project because you’re trying to get everything going RIGHT NOW? That is totally me.

This year is different, I plan to schedule in things I feel I can get done and leave some space if those end up going longer than planed. The mind and body need to work together and scheduling your items with ample time to complete them will keep your mind on task, but without giving you the burnout you’re used too.

Take Breaks

This goes with the above, if you end up overloading yourself, which I’m sure some of us will do. Don’t forget to schedule in some much needed breaks. I honestly thought I could write everyday and work on everything else for my business at the same time without taking a break.

We all know that was a major mistake and I’ll be scheduling in breaks and days off so that my brain can rejuvenate and refresh itself instead of walking around in the fog I have now. Seriously, it’s a terrible feeling. Don’t do it!

Plan Ahead

I know every one plans ahead and if you don’t I highly recommend that you do. (At least make a list with deadlines) When you plan ahead, you have an idea of what is coming up and can keep that in your mind as you move forward. If you have a book coming out at the end of March, you know you have the pre-launch steps, graphics, artwork, posts, and more that need to get done. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be flying blind and scrambling to get all that complete before publishing.

Let’s save ourselves some time and frustration and get a plan down. You’ll be happy you did. This may not seem like something you would use to rejuvenate yourself with, but it will help you rejuvenate as you move throughout the coming year.

Me Time

You need to take some time to yourself occasionally in order to get your body and mind back into sync. Whatever you need to get your mind and body back on the same page, whether that’s taking a nap once in a while, meditation, relaxing with a movie, a good book 😉 and your favorite drink, or sitting on your porch watching the sunset/sunrise.

Whatever you feel you need to have some you time to recharge your batteries and realign your thoughts… make sure you put that in your schedule so you can forge ahead with the same vigor you had at the beginning of the year.

Your Body

Exercise

This may not be appealing to some, it’s definitely not for me, but us author and writers rely on exercise to keep us from becoming lazy, grumpy and irritable. Action and moving is necessary for good health and staying sane as a writer.

Yep, you know what I’m going to say now. Schedule that in your planner! No, don’t skip it. Put it in there right now. Ok, so if you’re reading through this first, make sure to put it in there when you go back through!

Water

If you are anything like me, which I bet some of you are… I hate water and only like drinking it when it’s ice cold. I know I don’t get enough water daily and I’m working on getting up where I need to be.

Many planners have a tracker somewhere and I’ve already started using mine. If you’re already drinking enough water, kudos to you, keep that up!

Nutrients

Yep, I’m gonna tell you to eat healthy and yes it’s coming from a chocolate lover (particularly dark chocolate… yum), but getting what your body needs to function on a daily basis instead of all the junk is going to boost your mood quite a bit.

No being sluggy or sleepy; get those nutrients you need so you can keep up with what your plans for the year. I’ll be here if you need motivation and you can throw some my way too. I’m gonna need it!

Sleep/Rest

Yep I’m gonna put breaks in here as well. Your body and mind need adequate sleep and rest in order to rejuvenate properly. If you’re not getting enough sleep and feeling tired all the time, you’re not going to be able to focus on what you’ve put on your schedule or get that big project done by the deadline you set. So make sure you’re getting the sleep you need to tackle all that awesomeness you have planned!

Posture

Ugh, sitting in this darn chair for long periods is killer on the back. It’s got support, but not enough. I guess I should invest in one of those back support pillows. It’s going on my list, right now… and done! 🙂

But seriously, your posture is important. You don’t want to get up one day and start feeling like your too old to even sit in your computer chair. Let’s take care of ourselves so that we can continue the things we love and bring awesome content to our readers!

How to Rejuvenate other areas…

Business

This may not seem like a rejuvenating category, but I guarantee you that if you take a look at these and adjust as needed, you’ll feel like a whole new business and ready to tackle 2019 and anything else that comes your way!

New Look

Sometimes you get used to the colors, fonts, pages of your site so much that you don’t realize that it’s just not working for you or your brand any longer. Here is the chance to evaluate how your site is doing and spruce it up if necessary.

Your readers and connections are going to know you by that site and brand. You want to make sure that it’s going to attract those you want to be fans of your work. So, go through and see if it’s still working as it was intended and make adjustments if needed to get more organic views.

Content

Now this goes for any type of content you’re putting out to the world. Blog, social media, books, anything. You may have been writing about whatever comes to mind or just journaling, writing what you feel may gain new views, but I encourage you to take a look at your past posts and see what got the most attention.

Use those to create new pieces of content to continue gaining new views and new fans.

Office

Again, here you wouldn’t think would be a rejuvenating activity, but that’s the beauty of business and organization. Once you know what your doing and where everything is. Things tend to go smoother.

Organization

Okay, I totally get that some of you are the ‘Organized chaos’ type of people and I completely respect that. You do what’s best for you, but if you’re the type that likes to be organized and have everything in it’s proper place. Here is your time to do that.

I love having an organized office (area), desk. It makes me feel more productive when I know where everything is and I can reach it easily. For me, it’s annoying to have a cluttered desk and to have to search for something when my brain feels it should have been within easy reach and organized.

Office Pic

Declutter

With organization, here is the time to get that clutter out and create the space you’ve always wanted your office to be… a zone of productivity and accomplishment.

Remove anything that shouldn’t or doesn’t have a home within your office, on your desk, or in your drawers. Find another home for it that’s going to create a sense of organized peace within your life.

My kids are notorious for putting random things on my desk. Get all that out and find a place for it or get rid of it if it’s not important for you or anyone in your family.

Rearrange

This one is optional, but helps me when I’m in a rut, visual wise. I like to rearrange my office once in a while to give my brain a new visual perspective.

Seeing things in a different way can get your brain working in creative ways that you never would have thought before with your things in their original position. This may contradict the last few items, but if you rearrange as your organize and declutter, I know you’ll love the outcome.

New Paint/Decorations

Something I’ve been waiting to do is repaint my office (area), unfortunately, it’s not in the plans until we take down the paneling and replace it with drywall. Hopefully that will happen this year! But that doesn’t mean you can’t add a new color that would encourage your imagination, ignite your mind and provide a sense of accomplishment as you walk in the room.

Decorations (not ‘decor’, my husband hates that word, not sure why, but I’ve learned to write it out for his benefit) are the window to encouragement and imagination. If you create them yourself, the more meaning they have. Find quotes and images that will encourage and keep you motivated.

Home

One of the things we really hate is going out or on vacation and returning to a dirty home. It’s not easy to keep a home clean with multiple people and small children running around, but with some planning and periodic pick up it can become a clean and welcoming place.

Deep Clean

Here is something that I’ve done this year, room by room. I definitely wouldn’t do this all at once unless you have an empty house for the weekend and determination to get it done in that time. I pick a room, remove everything from it, clean everything (scrub the floors, baseboards, windows and sills, and anything else that needs cleaning) before returning everything back to the room in an organized manner.

My kids actually liked helping me with this and asked when we were going to do the next room. It’s a nice team working activity, if you want to use it as such. 😉

Home

Organize

Same with your office, if you have your home organized and are able to find everything, creating a space for everything so you can find it when you need it. This is still something we are working on in our home, but it’s getting done so we know where everything is.

Renovate/Remodel

This is definitely optional and only if you were already planning to do this, but remodeling could also give a new perspective on things as well as a new feeling of accomplishment, not just on your home, but within your business as well (if the room was your office).

Use those small accomplishments to fuel your goals and missions for the coming year.

Relationships

Are your relationships needing rejuvenating? Are they getting stale and in need of refreshing?

Well, I’m not going to tell you what you need to do in that area, but I can give you some generic suggestions.

Connections

Are the connections you have with the people you care about falling to the wayside? Think of ways to create deeper connections with those you care for.

Find time to spend with them, got out to lunch, play a game, plan a party or just hang out and get some drinks. See what they like to do and offer to do that.

My kids love to play games and my husband loves movies so we plan game days and movie marathons regularly. Luckily for us our friends like games too, so we’ll plan game days with them as well.

Online connections are just as important if you’ve got a business. Ask them how they’re doing? See if they need any help with anything and be there if they need to rant. Connections are the best way to get fans of your business as well as network with others, not to mention creating a fantastic new group of friends.

Spontinaety

Being spontaneous has been some of the most enjoyable times for us. We’ve actually decided one day to take a trip to Tennessee and left the next day for a week. No planning, nothing. We just packed and went. It was fantastic!

Surprises also work the same way. Do something that will surprise your friends, family, and/or significant other. Don’t expect anything in return, cause that’s not how this works. Enjoy the surprise and joy you bring to others by providing something to their day they weren’t expecting.

Final Thoughts

Yeah, I know some of these are not your usual ‘rejuvenate’ type things, but they will bring a fresh start and a new perspective to your life that you may not have had before. Who wouldn’t want a fresh start sometimes?

What are you doing this year to rejuvenate for next year? Let me know below. I’d love to hear how you are. You never know, something you do could encourage another so go ahead and comment below!

Lessons Learned in 2018

Once again, the end of the year is near and there is so much I’ve learned this year in my life, my business, and my home. You may not think it would benefit you to read about things I’ve learned throughout the year, but doing just that may bring something similar to light that you may have learned and forgotten during the year or perhaps there’s something I learned that may enlighten you to something new. If you would like to see my list from last year you can find it HERE! Now on to this year… I’ve had a tough year writing this year. I had everything planned out, ready to go, my motivation high, a go-getter attitude until the end of March when I traveled a lot and lost the momentum I gain at the beginning. Although I was able to continue, I wasn’t able to regain the same passion and go-getter attitude I had at the beginning of the year. Because of that, things didn’t get done. I let some things go and I had not energy to keep going with my series. I took a break to try to re-energize myself, but even after that, I felt I put too much weight onto my shoulders to continue with much, which caused me to redo things and see things in a different light than I would have during any other time. Below are some things I learned to add to the list from last year. I’m only focusing on a few points this year as the holidays are near and I’m feeling drained as it is. Time to refocus and speaking of that…

Focus

With things going on during different times of the year, it’s hard to lose focus on what you really wanted to accomplish during that time. I had so many plans, but my problem was that although I had goals and ‘plans’, I didn’t really plan out the steps to keep myself accountable or moving forward as I continue my journey through life. You can bet I’ve revamped my planner to allow me to create action steps, deadlines, reminders and anything else I need to keep myself on track for the coming year.

Communication/connections

I’ve read and read about connecting with other writers, but I never really took the time to actually do that until this year. Even though I wasn’t getting too much published with my own books, I took on some beta and ARC reading to help other authors with their stories. This has been a fantastic experience and every one of them has been awesome. I’ve asked questions, had one look at my covers, etc and they gave me their honest opinions and advice on everything I questioned, without hesitation on their part. I could not have asked for a better experience than I’ve had with the ladies I’ve connected with this year. Here’s to you: Raven Kennedy Ivy Asher Blake Blessing LM Wilson Lidia Russell Not only are they very talented, they’ve taken time out of their busy schedules to allow me to ask them questions, gain advice and learn from them as they continue their own journey. Check out their books and pages! These ladies are freakin’ awesome!!

New Programs

4thewords.com

I’m sure if you’ve signed up for my newsletter, you’ve seen me talk about a site called 4thewords.com. Listen, I know I’ve probably overstepped my welcome with this, but I honestly LOVE this site. During a writing slump near the middle of the year, I watched the girls of WordNerds (who I watch regularly) as they raved about this site. I had to check it out and it’s freakin’ crazy. Who knew you could go on your own adventure, fight your own monsters, collect rare items and more all while writing. Use your words to fight monsters and go on an epic adventure while doing it? Sign me up!!

Photoshop

I finally invested in Photoshop and really like the program. Though I wish it weren’t so expensive, it’s definitely worth the money you pay for the program and all  that comes with it. I’ve been creating my own book covers and I admit that my first few attempts were terrible, I’ve redone book 1 of my Conquer the Darkness Series three times now and I feel that my skills are improving.

Light X

Light X is another photo editor that was recommended by one of the lovely ladies from above. I’ve downloaded it and tried it out, but there is a bit of a learning curve as I am still trying to work though layers and being able to edit previous layers I’ve added. Since it came highly recommended, I’ll give it further attention and see where it takes me.

Breaks

Man, did I learn my lesson on this one. When I scheduled my time last year, I didn’t really schedule in breaks. I thought I would just take off on holidays and such, but my mind didn’t want to and trying to get back into motion after taking a week long break was so hard. You can bet my planner has breaks and that I’ll be creating a guide of where I left off so I can get back into rhythm after those breaks.

Writing Processes

So, I have to admit something. When I first started writing, I did everything myself. I wrote, edited, revised, published, created my own covers, EVERYTHING! Now, I knew that this was wrong when I started, but like many writers, I’m broke and can’t afford  many of the services required to create such an amazing story. So, to start off on the right foot, I’ve decided to re-launch my series in January and my first step is to find Beta readers who are willing to read my stories and give me feedback on characters, settings, arcs, and anything else they may find within my writings. If you are interested in becoming a beta reader for my story, below is the description (which will be getting a revamp to, so bear with me) and the newest cover. If you’re interested, please sign up HERE! I promise you won’t regret it!

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A nurse at the local hospital, Raylynn Bormarlian provides comfort and love to the patients she treats. But something inside keeps her from accepting the same love and comfort from others. As memories of the nightmare she experienced long ago return, Raylynn is forced to confront a man that created so much misery, pain and anguish to her younger self in order to find what is hidden deeper in her soul. Jynx Luminar is a top operative in an elite force determined to protect those with unusual powers and are in need of assistance returning to society after traumatic events. Assigned to protect and train the woman he once caused so much pain, he must find a way to tell her his secret before he loses her forever. From their first scent, Raylynn and Jynx could not resist the attraction simmering between them. Yet, Raylynn must face what has become her worst nightmare to forge forward with Jynx without fear of the past. Will they overcome their demons once entering the lab of a man who haunted her dreams and caused a terror so great she no longer willed to live? Will he find the courage to tell her of his past? So, what have you learned this year? Maybe I can learn from you. Go ahead, comment and let me know. Have questions? Ask those too. 

December 2018’s Writing Theme: Lesson You Learned…

It’s the last month of the year and we are heading into a new one. So for this month’s writing; tell me about something you learned that changed the way you think about writing.

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Example: This may sound silly, but I did realize how connections with others would streamline your writing. 

I’ve met some wonderful writers and authors that have helped me in ways no one else could. I needed someone who’s been in my position to give me advice and they are so cool about answering my questions and giving advice. 

If you’re in the same position, find a group of authors who will give you advice, encourage you and allow you to read there awesome fiction! 😉 Nothing better than learning from those who are successful. 

Our Traditions… What are yours?

Traditions

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Traditions are everywhere during the holidays and we are no exception. Though some may find our traditions silly or unique, they are ours and we will continue them for years to come; passing them to our children and our children’s children.

What Are They?

Well, I’ve touched on this as well as reasons for and the importance of traditions in another post you can find HERE. Today I want to tell you about a few we have in our family and I would love, love, LOVE to hear some of yours so comment below or send me a message!!

Reason For Our Traditions

Honestly, some of our traditions started by accident and continued from there. Perhaps it was a treat and was asked for year after year. Perhaps it was something we just always did naturally as the night wore on…

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Whatever the reason, I’m glad we have traditions to pass down to our children that show compromise, love and a willingness to come together no matter the circumstances. My and my husband’s families are quite different, but we’ve been able to blend them so that each of our traditions are still present for everyone to enjoy.

Importance Of Tradition

I’ve touched on this in a previous post as well, but the importance of tradition for us is massive. We are able to bring things to light that our children may not have known about their families, the differences as well as the similarities. It teaches them that even though we come from different families, we’ve come together as one to share in the events that we believe are special to us. Not just the ones that appear during Christmas or Thanksgiving, but during any time of the year.

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What stories can you tell your children about these traditions that they didn’t know about? Do they know how they started? Who started them and what they stand for? 

Some Of Our Traditions

Here is the part you’ve been dying to know, I’m sure.

Since it is the holidays, I’ll focus on those and perhaps I’ll update this throughout the year with our others as they happen.

Thanksgiving:

Every year on thanksgiving we spend time with our family, usually his side because mine is larger and everyone has their own things going on. We usually host, but this year his little brother hosted and it was wonderful. We had a great time with our nieces and their side of the family.

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When all the eating is done and cleanup is finished, everyone had gone home. We settle down with some hot chocolate (glass bottles of Coca-cola for my husband) and put our Christmas tree up while we listen to Christmas music.

Yes, I know its still Thanksgiving and we are very thankful. Thankful that we have each other present to participate in this tradition that been in my life since before I was born. My children are experiencing something I loved as a child.

Christmas:

Now here is what you’ve all been waiting for, right?

With our two families coming togethers and some other complications, we have 3-4 Christmas celebrations beside our own. We schedule a day to meet with all my sisters for a sister Christmas, which is scheduled whenever we can get six sisters together. We see my parents on Christmas Eve, his family on Christmas day, and my family has an extended family party too.

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But that’s not what I wanted to tell you about. One of our traditions came by accident when our middle sister couldn’t think of what she wanted for Christmas. My parents would ask her and she would say she didn’t know.

So, my dad being him, did something that would create the best tradition we have ever had. That one act had created years of creative enjoyment for all his daughters to enjoy and it will continue for years to come.

What is it, you ask? What did he do that would spiral us into a creative tradition that we all love? Well, he grabbed a large box, some rubber bands, and one of those rectangular fruitcakes. He taped the fruitcake to the rubber bands, stapled the rubber bands to the inside of the box, wrapped it and had fun asking people to guess what was inside it whenever they came over.

To be honest, I thought it was a bunch of small bouncy balls, but the great thing was that we all laughed when we found out what was inside. And don’t worry, that wasn’t the only gift she received that year.

The Christmas Fruitcake:

That was the year of 1998 and every year since it is passed to another sister to disguise and re-gift to another sister for the next year. Yep, it’s the same one from 1998 and yes, it’s been wrapped multiple times in plastic wrap and duct tape.

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It’s one of the things we look forward to every year and gives us another reason to see each other, cause really? Who wouldn’t want to see what you could do with a fruitcake.

If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve done with this fruitcake, you can check out my Patreon Page. I update it every year with the latest disguise. We couldn’t remember all of them when I decided to start keeping track, but will from now on.

To not leave you hanging, I’ll give you a few things we’ve done.

~ It’s been baked into a birthday cake (my and my twins birthday is close to Christmas)

~ It’s been put in a bear you have to squeeze for it to poop it out.

~ It’s been literally mailed to another sister

~ Buried in a box of coal (I was the lucky one to get that one!)

~ Buried in a box of Crackers (They had snacks for a long time!)

What are Your Traditions?

I would love to hear about your family traditions! Do you have something unique that you pass around as we do?

Favorite Writer/Author Gifts

It’s that time of year again where everyone is struggling to find the perfect gift or perhaps you haven’t even begun to think about the holidays.

Well, I’m here to give you a hand. I’ve written about Writer Gifts before and you can check those out here, but I feel I should add to that with some new items Writers and Authors may like as well as book lovers! Us authors would be nowhere without our lovely readers that keep us sane and encourage us to continue providing fantastic stories!

Note: No affiliate links are contained within this post. All thoughts and opinions are solely those of the author and provided for your benefit.

I’ve decided to create some categories this years for gift ideas so bear with me.

Let’s get started:

Tools:

These are things that every Author or Writer could use. You may have to do some digging for some of these, but it’ll be worth it. I promise you.

Subscriptions:

Find out discretely what they subscribe to in their business… writing programs, classes, etc and gift them some subscription time.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, If you, er, they haven’t tried 4thewords.com, they gotta try it. Fight monsters by writing words and collect awesome stuff. What could be more fun?!

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Check it out on me, enter this code to get a month free: OSUBW81786 

Software:

Has the writer in your life been hinting, or just plain out blabbing about a some new software or gadget they want?

Well, here’s your sign… you would make their day by gifting it to them!

Have they always wanted to get Scrivener? The Hemingway app? or even upgrade to Pro-writingAid? This is the perfect time to surprise them and show them that you do indeed listen when they talk. 😉

Books

Have they been raving about a specific book? Have they been telling you, you need to read one they thought was awesome?

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Buy them the paperback to add to their library. Even better… get it signed by the author! Bonus points!!

Or you could just look at their amazon wish list, they always have books on there. Whether it’s books they’ve saved to read or ones they want to learn from. Go ahead, take a look.

Small Tools:

Now, you may think the author/writer in your life has plenty of these, but I’m telling you right now that they could always use more. No matter how large that bin of pens is.

Us authors and writers are picky when it comes to our writing utincels. Sometimes one pen will work and the next time we pick it up, it just doesn’t feel right. We’re crazy like that. So here are some things we are always looking to get more of…

Pens/Pensils:

Like I mentioned, the more of these the better. Make them colored and you add more bonus points! Anything to make our dark and dismal lives in front of the computer a little more colorful.

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One thing I found interesting is this Attachable pen case! They can use on just about anything. Any writer would love this!!

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Markers/Highlighters:

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Again, the more the better and the more colors the better. If you can get scented ones that would be awesome too! Let them write with their favorite scent permitting the air. They’ll find a reason to write if they could write with their favorite scents!

Journals/Notebooks/Spirals:

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Like the others these are a must have for any writer/author. The more the better. We may never fill one completely, but we’ll feel better knowing we have plenty of space to write those random notes, inspirations, story ideas and more.

Comfort:

If the writer/author is anything like me, they want to be as comfortable as possible whenever they can. Why not help them out with that? And If they are even more like me… the warmer the better.

Foot Hammock:

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What better gift than to allow them to put their feet up while they are working, right? This is just the thing!

 

Book Rug:

The best thing to add to any writer/author’s office. What could be better than a rug they’ll love?

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Travel Bag:

The perfect thing for the author/writer on the go. Something to hold everything they could ever need AND keep it organized. It’s a dream come true!!

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Mugs:

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There are SO many mugs out there for writers/authors. Ones about writing, ones about books, ones about popular novels, but you could take this a bit deeper and scan their FB. See which authors are providing some awesome swag and purchase one from their favorite author!

Touchscreen Gloves:

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I’ve seen a lot of people use fingerless gloves, but if your writer/author is anything like me, their fingers are the first to go when cold. So get them something that will keep them productive and a bit warmer with Touchscreen Gloves! I SO need a pair of these.

Fuzzy Socks:

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Dude I am all for fuzzy socks. We have all hardwood floors and man they get cold. Someone just wanna buy me some more? I could really use some. My feet are always cold.

 

Shirts/Sweaters:

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Like the mugs there are so many shirts and sweaters out there that have awesome writer quotes and sayings on them. Any writer would love one!

 

Extras:

Stockables:

Anything they can stock up on to make their lives easier would bring them joy.

Snacks:

I love munching when I write. I always have to have something next to me, so getting a stash of whatever your writer/author/reader loves to snack on would make their day. Especially if it’s their all time fav treat!

Drinks:

Do they love tea? hot chocolate? Monster? La Croix? Get them some to stock up their fridge and if you want to be that ultimately awesome person in their life… add in the mini fridge while you’re at it! 😉

Jewelry/Accessories:

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You’re not going to hear this from me very often, cause I am totally not the whole wears jewelry/make up kind of person, but I may wear jewelry more if it related to books or stories in any way. Look up some awesome ones and add to that girl’s collection. Or guy, you never know, right?

Signs/Decorations:

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One thing we all love are quotes from and about writing. Find some your writer/reader friends love and either purchase them one/some or make it for them. They will love you for it, I swear!

Unconventional:

Those gifts you never would think of as gifts but are THE BEST ones you could give to an author/writer.

Reviews/Compliments:

What every author/writer wants for their career/business are more reviews. Be that awesome person and do something that only takes a few moments of your time and no money. Yep, it’s completely free! Write a positive review on one (or all) of their books.

Go ahead and screenshot it to them, print it and put it in a card, but make sure you show them that you’re thinking of them and appreciating their work.

Critiques/Suggestions:

Offer to beta read or critique their work. Even if you’re a loved one, they will appreciate the gesture and your interest in their work. Offering them some constructive and helpful critiques will keep them on the path they’ve chosen, and show you care for what they believe in. Good going you!!

Purchase Their Book(S):

Now this is probably tied with reviews, but purchasing their books allows them to continue what they love. Providing amazing stories to readers just like you. Add the review and they will love you forever!

 

So, what else could we add to this list? What are you getting your writer/author/reader friends/loved ones this year? Go ahead add to the list. 

 

Discover

This weeks word is Discover. What does it mean to discover? Well, let’s take a look before getting into some other aspects of the word.

What is Discover?

Dictionary

  • to see, get knowledge of, learn of, find, or find out; gain sight or knowledge of (something previously unseen or unknown)
  • to notice or realize
  • Archaic. to make known; reveal; disclose.

WIKI

  • To find or learn something for the first time.
  • To remove the cover from; to uncover (a head, building etc.).
  • To expose, uncover.
  • To create by moving a piece out of another piece’s line of attack.
  • To reveal (information); to divulge, make known.
  • To reconnoitre, explore (an area).
  • To manifest without design; to show; to exhibit.

 

So according to those Discover is the knowledge, uncovering, exploring or exhibiting of something new or unknown. This is where this word gets interesting. If you think of this word, what comes to mind? Discover what? I’ll be focusing on a few topics that relate to writing and you as a person for this post, so bear with me here.

Writing/Business:

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With anything in life, things are learned, discovered by doing, reading, and performing actions. Nothing is ever found by being stationary… unless it stumbles upon you. Than you are just darn lucky.

Discover Your Purpose?

Are you trying to discover the reason you are here? What to do with your life? What purpose you bring to others?

This is something that you will have to discover 😉 for yourself, but if you look deep down as to the things that interest you, your passions, and your dreams, you’ll find what you’re looking for. This may come to you when you least expect it, during a time you dread or a time you are happiest. Keep searching and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

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My Experience~

For me it was while working in a factory. Something I told myself I would never do… work in a factory or in fast food like my parents. Now working in a factory or fast food, if it’s a necessity isn’t bad, but I wanted better. I wanted to follow my dreams. What were those dreams? Well, up until my fist year in college, it was to be a teacher. When my financing fell through I had to bring in something and off to a factory I went.

While working on presses, I would dabble with stories, create characters, go on journeys that tested the character’s resolve, their strength and their love for others. That is when I knew I wanted to be an author. And yes, I’m still working on that story, but that’s what happens when you want it to be freakin’ awesome. You work and slave to bring it life and then sit on it for ten or so years before picking it up again to find out you have a really good story, but ten year younger you really didn’t have the writing skills you do now. It’ll get published, don’t worry. 🙂

Discover Your Businesses/Work?

As above you’ll discover what you were meant to do, but what about what you were meant to do as a source of income? How will you contribute to the household in a financial way? Now some of you may say, “Kelly, I’m a stay at home mom. I don’t have a job.”

Well, my response would be, “You absolutely have a job. You don’t contribute financially, but you do contribute in other ways.” I would imagine you as a stay at home mom (like myself) take care of the house, take care of the kids, homeschool them perhaps, run the errands, take care of the bills, laundry, and more. You contribute in so many other ways that benefit your household that having a normal job makes no sense.

Now if you aren’t a stay at home mom and you are looking for that perfect position, it’s much like that of your purpose. What interests you? What makes you the happiest? Is it working with children? Working with animals? Working with machines? Making music? Singing? Or are you content in the thought that no matter what you do you are contributing to the human race in some way?

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My Experience~

I met and fell in love with such a man. We decided after our son was born that it didn’t make sense to pay someone to watch, care, and teach our children. We were missing out on so much of our daughter’s life already that we didn’t want to miss more of either. What was the point? To help another succeed when we were miserable? That’s when it clicked. Though I haven’t made as much as I would like on my writing, brutal honesty here. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My husband works knowing that what he’s doing is helping others with the products he makes and that’s enough to keep him satisfied until things get better. Are there hard times? Of course. Does that way of thinking falter? Yes, but when you really sit down to think about it. What do you do on a daily basis, that makes you happy you’re doing it?

I get to bring you content that, I hope, is useful, insightful and inspiring while writing stories that invoke the same feelings while being able to raise and teach our children. My husband creates a product that makes building easier and until we are able to fulfill his dreams, he makes the most of what he has.

Think of the questions above and work out what you believe would make you wake each morning ready to tackle the day with the biggest smile because you know that what you do is making a difference in not only your life, but those you interact with or bring benefit to on a daily basis.

Discover New Processes?

What better way to discover something new, than to learn. They say you learn something new everyday. Though that’s sometimes hard to believe, I bet if you looked back on the day you would be able to find something you did learn that you didn’t know before.

When I first started writing full time, I had to discover processes on how to do the things and organize them in a way that I felt I could achieve the goals I set out to do. Now last year I hit every goal I had. I didn’t have many, but I did hit them.

This year, I overloaded myself and let things get in the way of my writing so my goal list is slowly being pushed off to next year, but that doesn’t get me down because I’ve learned and discovered that writing itself, is all about discovery.

You discover what works for you in planning your novels, plotting your novels, writing them, editing them, revising them, and then publishing them. If you are anything like me, you have not only a ton of notebooks on novel notes, but tons more on learning everything you can on the art of writing and I’m still learning.

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My Experience~

I tell my daughter all the time that you will never stop learning. She is the type who feels everything should be easy, that if you want to do something you should be able to do it without having to practice every day to learn to do it. Now she has an exceptional talent for acting. (I am her mother, I can say that, but it’s true.) She doesn’t like the fact that she will have to practice hard to make it as an actress. Imagine her disgust and disappointment when she discovered that you have to continually follow directions and practice your lines until you know them by heart, among other things. Good thing I’ve added Theatre to her curriculum this year.

Anyway, enough about my family; I may not know everything about writing, but you bet your butt I’m still learning and will continue to learn. There is no stoping when you are doing something you love to do. You do what you need to in order to keep going.

Discover New Items/Tech/Utensils?

Ah, here is something I am a complete sucker for. I love new things. Though I find not all of it pertains to me, but I love new things for writing even if I may not use them. I’m always looking for new sites, apps, items that will make writing fun, more organized and the process easier. See, I’m a sucker.

 

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Let me rant for a moment here… I love antiques so imagine my excitement when a new keyboard came out that has the feel and look of a typewriter that’s compatible with tablets, iPads, and desktops! The company is called Qwerkywriter and it is freakin’ awesome… looking. Unfortunately, I haven’t the money to get one… yet. I will though!

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Above is a screenshot of my actual profile from a week ago.

There is also the site 4thewords.com where you can write while going on your own adventure, fighting monster, collecting items and traveling to distant lands. Now who wouldn’t love that? It got me out of a writing slump and I couldn’t be happier!

Now what new tech/apps/etc do you have? Or would suggest? I’d love to hear about it! 😉

Personal:

Discovery into your personal life and yourself can also be a difficult and painful process, but sometimes you really need to look deep within yourself to find out who you really are.

You as a Person?

This is where discovery could get hard. You may know yourself pretty well and have everything figured out or you may be wondering what on earth you are here for. What are you alive for?

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You as a person must look deep within to find… you. Everyone says you should be happy with who you are on the inside as well as the outside. Now, do get me wrong. There are definitely some things on the outside I would absolutely love to change, but I love every part of me. I may not like it, but I do love it.

Heck, I created to beautiful children (with some help from my husband) with this body. I have a mind overflowing with the creation of worlds, characters, events, and more. My life is that of a happy family of four over run by four legged critters. If I look deep down. I love my life and I love me. Do you love you?

Look inside to discover who you are and what you want to be know for, for you.

Your Relationships?

 

Another thing to think about are your relationships with others. This means your family, friends, even the people you meet for a few seconds as you go about your day. What can you discover about those relationships that you might improve on?

Do you smile and greet those you walk by, or are you to busy worrying about other things to take the time to send a smile to someone? It takes two seconds to smile and make eye contact with someone and I believe wholeheartedly that, that one action can brighten someones day.

Knowing that someone took even that tiny amount of time to show a greeting makes me happy to be out and about.

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Family and friends are there for you when you need them, to lean on and take encouragement from. That may not always be the case, but I urge you to work on it. My relationships with some of my sisters were not the best and I realized that I wasn’t putting the effort in to voice my thoughts. I mean, how can they take you seriously if you don’t open your mouth, right?

Since then things have gotten better. Not the best, but definitely better. What can you do to improve the relationships you have? Discover who you are and how you can enrich others with just that… you.

So what are you ready to discover about yourself, your writing, career, anything? Comment below, I’d love to read about it!!

 

 

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Planning the Rest of the Year

Half of the year has gone… And it’s time to revisit, adjust, and plan the rest of the year.

With all that’s happened this year, my goals and plans have changed drastically. Things in life highjack the scene where you tumble down a rabbit hole so big you feel there is no end. But I’m determined to salvage what’s left of this year!

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I sat down a few days ago and looked at my plans realizing I’m months behind schedule for which I am eternally apologetic. We as authors never intend for life to throw curve balls, tornados, tsunamis, or earthquakes that swallow you whole to where if you decide to climb out your emerge bloody, sore, and exhausted, but victorious.

Writing/Editing/Revising/Publishing…

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After revamping the rest of my year I realized if I work hard, I can still publish the books I planned if I can keep focused and push through the difficult life of being a mother, wife, animal parent, and author at the same time. 😉  Writing, editing and revising are my top priorities as far as writing goes, right now. Don’t worry, my regular posts and newsletter are the few things I’ve been able to stay on top of.

4thewords.com

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I cannot recommend this site enough. Since I love fantasy, quests, and stories this site has done wonders to keep me going the last few weeks. I know I’ve mentioned it before and I’m mentioning it again, cause it’s freakin’ worth mentioning. If you haven’t checked it out, you must do so now!!

Climbing from the hole and emerging from the train wreck that’s been my life the last few months.

I’ve now created a schedule and so far I’m on track to do as my plans are laid out. I’m very happy with my progress these last few weeks and will continue to strive for my goals as I provide quality content and fantastic stories for you, my readers.

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Since I’ve been traversing this long tunnel, trying to find the light at the end. I’ve been a bit slow at posting, but my goal is to keep trudging through the sludge that has taken over my brain. It’s time to forge ahead, find a better way and keep going.

So if all goes according to plan; I’ll have another book out with updates to previous and a surprise at the end of the year. We shall see, so keep an eye open for that. 🙂

In the mean time, enjoy the Conquer the Darkness Series; join my newsletter to get bi-weekly updates, writing fun, and more.

Book Lineup

What about you? What have you been up to?

Reply and tell me how your writing has been going. Has it been a total train wreck like mine where even wizards and giants need help putting it back in line or are you cruising smoothly along enjoying the scenery and cocktails? In which case, I’m completely jealous and perhaps you can stop to pick me up on your way?!

 

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