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!

Ray of light

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. 

This Month’s Writing Theme: Lesson You Learned…

It’s the last month of the year and we are heading into a  new year. 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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Where Did the Time Go… Half the Year Gone!!

Half of the year has gone… Where did the time go? It’s definitely going faster than I would like…

We are now one half of the way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to review my goals and see where my progress is at. So let’s get right into it…

Books

Book Lineup

Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • I’ve finally gotten back into a rhythm of sorts. Book One is now revised and published for your reading pleasure. Free as well as the Prequel
  • Book 4 is is now also revised, edited and published.
  • Book 5 is being written, though slower than I would have liked, I am getting somewhere with it now.

~ It took so much time to get back into things after all the run around in the first quarter. I’ve since made some changes, gotten back into rhythm and I’m off writing daily again!

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • So far I’ve read 6 books of 12 and I’m reading two right now, so I would say that I’m ahead on this one!

~ I’m having a bit of trouble reading these two as it is hard to stay with the story. I have faith I’ll get through it though and keep moving forward. One page at a time, right?

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • One down, one in progress and four to go! Yeah, I’m behind here. I need to pick up another book.

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • I have been in contact with two wonderful people willing to beta read for me as I return the favor. Would you like to be a part of my team? Gain free ARC of my books? And read some awesome fiction? Click Beta Readers if interested and lets go on an adventure!

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Uh! I haven’t even thought about this for more than two seconds! Still one of my goals, but my writing comes first and since I’ve lost time on that all my thoughts are on catching up. Hopefully, my next report will be better on this front.
  • Update: Still no editor, but I’m looking. Go some advice or know of an editor that won’t break my wallet? Please comment below and help a girl out!

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • I’ve lost some much time I haven’t even been on Scribofile in a while.
  • I have traded work with two great people who are willing to keep the relationship going.
  • I’ve also started a Wattpad account and have submitted a short story. Head on over to check it out and tell me what you think!
  • Otherwise, that’s as far as I’ve gotten on this. Comment below or click Critique Partner if you’d be interested in being a critique partner for Paranormal Romance/Fantasy books.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • Oh my goodness! Does the chaos never cease? Hopefully, I can get my butt into gear since I took nearly a month off for family reasons. One more thing to add to my list of things to do and very soon. If interested please sign up below!

           

Communication

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Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • Luckily, this is one area I’ve excelled at. I haven’t missed a post yet!
  • I’ve begun to expand my posts to be writing related one week and the next is an inspirational word. You can check out my blog HERE!
  • Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • I’ve started posting irregularly on my social media accounts, but I’m starting to get better at being on there regularly. More to come!

Business

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I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

~ Going Up!

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

~ Still Working on! You’re going to love these!

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

~ Lots of video training, hit a road block, but hopefully will be up soon!

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

~ Research and development are underway!

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

~ No where even close to 100 products, so I’m doing what I can and I’ll keep moving to gain more.

~ I may try a new storefront to get things out faster and easier, more to come on that!

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

~ Working on and progressing well! So many ideas to implement!! I’m sure you’ve seen a few if you follow any of my social media!!

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

~ New site is up and most pages are complete, just a few more pics and tweaks to go! I have pictures but the SD card isn’t compatible with my computer so hopefully I’ll have them up in a week or two!!

Extras/Other

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What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

~ I’ve completed three in the first four months! Still learning, but working on words more now to catch up!

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

~ This was going well in the first quarter, the second not so much, but I hope to get back into it soon!

What About You?

What About

Are you reaching your 2018 goals? 

Are you completing and accomplishing the tasks you set out to do? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s keep each other accountable and encouraged!

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What is a Story?

As I sit here typing this, I originally had a different topic to provide, but while reading a few nights ago, this came to mind and stuck so there has been a little change in topic for this post. Let’s get to it.

What Is a Story~

A story is a depiction of a character’s journey as they pursue an object, person, act of revenge, etc. while battling obstacles and challenges along the way.

Stories are here to entertain, educate, inspire and intrigue the masses with their tales of wonder, adventure, creative learning, and more. No matter what type of story created, there is someone out there ready to read it and many more endeavoring to write them.

Where They Come From~

They have been an intricate part of life, of history, and of dreams since we learned how to communicate long ago. It’s how we learned vital information that’s been passed on throughout the ages.

Stories grow from the every day. They are created to make a point, to imagine a possible future, to remind us of our past, the actions we’ve taken (successes or failures) as well as to comfort and entertain. They also have a tendency to blossom from daily lessons, random objects, experiences, and pain/emotions of the creator. Stories grow from everything around us.

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How They Are Created~

Ideas and thoughts are taken from events, activities, actions, objects of things we experience everyday. Stories are told from family member to family member on traditions, proper behavior, cultural history, moral values and more.

They can be told around a campfire to exhilarate, frighten, or enchant the young and the old of legends long past.

Stories spoken of ever day actions of every day folks, whether it be good deeds or bad, an adventure or overcoming of obstacle. Things others can relate to on a physical, emotional, or psychological level.

Others are created from memories of times past. Family vacations, celebrations, tradition, and more. One that goes around our family has to do with a fruitcake from 1998. Yep, that sucker is still being passed around! I’ll be posting on my Patreon page about that each year. Check it out!

Imagination is another source of stories. There are so many stories out there created solely on the writers imagination, their thoughts of how the characters are, how they react to different situations and obstacles they throw them into. It’s amazing what the imagination can create when you really sit down to put it together. While the inspiration can come from those who came before or the things around us. A story can be created from literally anything.

What Makes a Good Story~

Really, this is the opinion of the writer and of the reader. But looking at stories, the all have things that are in common to create fantastic stories.

  • Well-crafted characters
  • Experiences
  • Trials, obstacles, and challenges
  • Goals and motivation
  • Effective narrative
  • Pivotal turning points
  • Resolution
  • Resonating with readers

If you think of tales and stories today, think of what the author created to make the story one you come back to time and time again. Those aspects that make you want to revisit the characters, setting, and to journey once again along the path they choose to reach their destination. That’s what makes not only a good story, but a great one.

There are many types of stories told within fiction, non-fiction, through pictures, movies as well as art. Everything around us tells a story, you just have to look closely enough to find it within the chaos of life.

What is your favorite story and why? What is the best part of it? 

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Events For Readers

As an author I am alway thinking of ways to engage my readers, to give back to those who support and read my work. Well today I wanted to give you, the reader, more than just books to read.

After doing a quick search, I realized there are so many events for readers and writers alike and I want to share some with you.

Conferences:

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Title: Readers & Writers

Locations: Seattle, WA & Tampa, FL

Dates: July 14 (WA) & August 25 (FL)

About: Meet Authors and Models from all over the world with an after party to enjoy

For More Information:readerswritersevents.com

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Title: Penned Con

Locations: St. Louis, MO

Dates: Sept 20-22

About: Keynote Speakers, informative panels, workshops, book signings with over 150 authors, parties, and so much more!

For More Information:Pennedcon.com

Retreat:

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Title: Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

Location: Rockville, Maryland

Date: 2018 is closed, Registration is open for April 5-6, 2019

About: This is a one day event gathering of Christian Fiction readers and authors. There will be featured speaker sessions, author panels, breakout sessions, prayer & worship along with author signings.

Meet and chat with authors, eat food, play games, enjoy giveaways and free books!

For More Information: Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

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Title: Reader Appreciation Weekend

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Date: 2018 is closed, April 2019

About: This is a one day event for readers to meet authors, have lunch, play games, and possibly a party or two!

Meet and chat with authors, eat food, play games, book signings and more!

For More Information: Reader Appreciation Weekend

Book Fair:

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Title: Book Lovers Convention and Book Fair

Location: Reno, NV

Date: May 15-20

About: If you are an author, reader, or anywhere in between there is something here for you to enjoy. From crafting your writing, to book events, to themed parties, there is something for everyone!

For More Information: Book Lovers Convention and Book Fair

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Title: Book Expo America

Location: New York City, New York

Date: May 30 – June 1

About: More business related for meet and greet for authors, booksellers, distributors, literary agents, publishers and more. Build relationships that last!

For More Information: Book Expo America

Other:

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Title: Romance Writers of America “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing

Location: Denver, CO

Date: July 21

About: A two hour free event, where the public is welcome to purchase books for a good cause.

For More Information: RWA “Readers for Life” Literary Autographing

Create Your Own:

There are many ways you can create your own reader events. Here are some I’ve thought of:

Book Clubs – These are pretty self explanatory as we have seen, heard or even participate in one.

Book Parties – Whether is a lunch party or a themed party based on a book, genre, or story, these can entertain readers for hours.

Giveaways – Also self explanatory, but you could always get creative and offer something unusual, but still book related. Perhaps an object used in the book or crazy author swag.

Scavenger Hunts – This is something I enjoyed greatly. Authors come together to create a scavenger hunt for readers to participate in for prizes. They can search within a series, within blog posts, or within the author website if a single author is performing the event. Have your readers find words to create a short story, a popular sentence, or anything else your creative mind can come up with.

Game Day – Something my family does each weekend is play board games. Search out games that are within the same genre, location, characters, etc . and play games to have some fun. One of my favorite games is called Shadows Over Camelot where you have to work together to defeat different battles from the tales of King Arthur. (One of my favorite tales!)

Extras:

Looking for more? I’ve got you covered! There are so many more than I could list here so below are links to many more for you to enjoy!

Romanced Redefined

African American Literature Book Club

Book Events By State

13 Literary Events for Readers

Know of any more events for writers to add to this list? Any other ways to engage readers with fun activities? Comment below, I’d love to hear about it!

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My Progress so Far…

One quarter gone… Where did the time go?

We are now one quarter of the way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to review my goals and see where my progress is at. So let’s get right into it…

Books

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Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • I would like to say that I am progressing here, but it is definitely slow going as I am in the process of revising book one of the Conquer the Darkness Series due to a publishing conflict.
  • Book 4 is still in the editing stages due to the revision of book one
  • Book 5 is being written, though slower than I would have liked.

~ Some life events took precedence this quarter and I’ve gotten a bit behind here, but never fear, I’ll get back on track bringing you awesome stories and fantastic content!

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • So far I have read three of the twelve books, so I am behind one book. The last book I read was really hard for me to get through and caused me to put it down for several days at a time before picking it back up.

~ Now that I am through that one, I’m ready to pick another and forge ahead!

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • One down, one in progress and four to go!

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • Again I’ve done research and have a goal of getting qualified readers for my Beta group, but have yet to gain actual people to be in the group. So, now I ask you… would you like to be a part of my team? Gain free ARC of my books? And read some awesome fiction? Click Beta Readers if interested and lets go on an adventure!

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Uh! I haven’t even thought about this for more than two seconds! Still one of my goals, but my writing comes first and since I’ve lost time on that all my thoughts are on catching up. Hopefully, my next report will be better on this front.

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • Yet another area I’ve worked on very little. I’ve signed up for Scribofile, which is on-line critiques of your work, but you have to critique and gain points before you can publish your own work to be critiqued.
  • I’ve also started a Wattpad account and have submitted a short story. Head on over to check it out and tell me what you think!
  • Otherwise, that’s as far as I’ve gotten on this. Comment below or click Critique Partner if you’d be interested in being a critique partner for Paranormal Romance/Fantasy books.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • Oh my goodness! Does the chaos never cease? Hopefully, I can get my butt into gear since I took nearly a month off for family reasons. One more thing to add to my list of things to do and very soon. If interested please sign up here.

           

Communication

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Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • Luckily, this is one area I’ve excelled at. I haven’t missed a post yet!
  • Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • I’ve started posting irregularly on my social media accounts, but I’m starting to get better at being on there regularly. More to come!

Business

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I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

~ Going Up!

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

~ Working on! You’re going to love these!

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

~ Lots of video training, may get this up before scheduled!

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

~ Research and development are underway!

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Want to visit my store, click HERE!

~ No where even close to 100 products, so I’m doing what I can and I’ll keep moving to gain more.

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

~ Working on and progressing well!

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

~ New site is up and most pages are complete, just a few more pics and tweaks to go!

Extras/Other

classroom-2093744_640

What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

~ I’ve complete three already and it’s only been four months!

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

~ This was going well, and I hope to get back into it soon!

What About You?

What About

Are you reaching your 2018 goals? 

Are you completing and accomplishing the tasks you set out to do? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s keep each other accountable!

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