What have you done today?

Soundtrack provided by:  Heather Small,  Proud,  Sara Bareilles,  Brave

Current Reading: The Millenium Series,  Stieg Larsson

So I am starting a new addition to the blog, above each blog post will be the “soundtrack provided by” that influenced the idea and whatever I may be sticking my nose in at the time.  I am an avid reader and if you have any questions about the books I’m reading or are curious to track them down yourself,  please leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I’m delighted to discuss.

In the last couple weeks, I have found myself inspired by a group of writers I more or less fell into thanks to a coworker.  The group is a bunch of writers, bloggers, and poets who are extremely passionate about what they do. That passion sparks me.  So, to start today’s blog, I’d love to give a shout-out to The Figment Writers and the group’s amazing creator, Mia. This group has been an absolute blessing and I recommend it to any writer who would love to network and get to know some highly creative, awesome people.

With that being said,  the group has a weekly writing prompt that have gotten my creative juices going in a variety of ways.  The first week was an Oscar Wilde quote that had got my  brain going and this week, the prompt was a simple word. Triumph.

So this got me thinking.  People make a pretty big deal about my published work. I’ve never signed with a publishing company and have basically stayed self-published.  I made this choice for a variety of reasons—the first and foremost being that I just don’t have the time to devote.  I realize that more now that I have met writers who treat their writing as their profession.  I applaud those that that can dedicate themselves. I just don’t know if I will ever be at a point in my life where I can do that and provide for my family.  Time only knows what the cards hold.  God knows I’m still figuring it out sometimes.

At any rate, back to Triumph.

Feelings of triumph are difficult for me because I take so very many things in stride.  I never take the time to absorb those triumphs or value the accomplishment itself.  In fact, my spouse occasionally has to force me to take time off.

Flashback four years.

I published my first book,  Maeseloria: Birth of Light through CreateSpace in 2012. My celebration was diving into the next story and continuing my next body of work.   The funny part about this is that I just didn’t see it as that big of a deal. Writing is something I love, something I do,  so the natural transition to me was just to keep telling the story.

And then I told someone I did it and promptly watched their face light up and proceed to lose their mind about the whole affair.  For the record, nothing embarrasses me faster than getting excited about my accomplishments to my face.  Mind you,  this person then also went out on our company people page and announced to the company what I had done.   The next month was a series of red-faced, stammering explanations to the question I am never quite comfortable answering:  “What do you write about?”

Three books later, I’m better about that .  I have felt elated, nervous, terrified, giddy and overjoyed about finishing a piece, publishing my work but triumph was never in my wheelhouse of emotions about my books. The prompt got me thinking. Well, why the hell shouldn’t I feel triumphant?  Between the four books, I’m looking at almost 1100 pages of words and a world that I created.  I should, to quote my best friend,  own that shit.  In the last four years I have accomplished things other writers only dream of.

Will I ever be a millionaire like most people perceive successful writers to be? No, probably not.  Other people’s perception of success has never been my driving force and probably never will be.

To me, that’s not the triumph of writing. The triumph is bringing your ideas to life.  The triumph to me is seeing your message, your characters touch people.  To me the triumph is when a reader gets mad at me over an event in the book.  To me, the triumph is writing a scene that brings a reader to tears because it touched them. (True story, the crier in question was my own mother to boot.)

I don’t know if I’ll ever be what society deems a “successful writer” to be. I don’t care. I get to tell my stories. I get to put to paper a world I have only ever dreamed about.  That’s triumph.  That’s what makes me proud.

What are your triumphs?

Quiet

I would love to tell you all this blog would be all about writing all the time but let’s face it, life happens.

Every year my husband, daughter and I participate in a local event called the Glass City Marathon. Specifically, we walk the 5k.  The event has become a family tradition 3 years strong. We have little things we do every year to commemorate the race. Normally, breakfast is involved and we sit around and laugh about the morning.  This year, my daughter and I decided to do something a little different.  At the expo before the race, we came across the booth belonging to a local artist who makes bead bracelets from local materials. If you’re unfamiliar with our area,  the material is called Lake Erie glass. The glass can be found from remnants at the bottom of the lake from multipe occurences;  shipwrecks, littering.

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So I told that story, to tell this one. This morning, during the 5k I had an “ah-ha” moment.  Just after sunrise; freezing my butt off and a lightbulb clicked.  Not a creative one, mind you but a light bulb all the same.  The years go by too fast. That was the first flicker.  I looked at my daughter, who is 15, and I realize we may not have too many more races until she’s flown the nest so to speak. That was the second flicker. Then I paused to absorb the moment.

The peace of the morning struck me and I realize that…life may not be what I want a 100 percent of the time, but damn it, I’m happy. Time may be short but every moment matters.    With my daughter and her obsessive love for being on stage and my husband and his craziness.  (Up to and including dancing like an terribly uncoordinated teenager in public.)  It’s busy,  I’m still struggling to carve out a creative niche but there’s laughter, some tears and it’s just…life. And with that, I leave you with one of my favorite movie quotes:

 

Doc Holliday: What did you ever want?
Wyatt Earp: Just to live a normal life.
Doc Holliday: There’s no normal life, Wyatt, it’s just life. Get on with it.

When was your last “ah-ha” moment?

PS. Bonus points to any fellow lover of that film.

 

 

 

News, News, News

Hello!

So a little over a month ago I blogged about this amazing site called Hometown Reads.  The media buzz has continued with an article featured in the Toledo Blade .  So many fascinating authors have been added to the site in the last month.  I cannot encourage people enough to invest in local authors; local business.  Those little things, to me, build a village so to speak.

With that being said,  I am happy to share that Hometown Reads is expanding beyond the Toledo community.  You can still get to the site by clicking on the badge below for authors in Toledo.

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If you live in the Cleveland or Ann Arbor area,  make sure you check out the pages for these cities. There are some fascinating books on the site.  If you know anyone that has a published book and is looking to get some exposure, these folks are absolutely fantastic in getting the word out.   My first book was sitting on the shelf since publication in 2012 and, unfortunately, I simply did not have the time to devote to the marketing aspect of our craft.  This site has given my book a new life and the lovely people I’ve networked with because of it, well..I can’t thank them enough.

So…calling all authors in the Toledo, Cleveland, Ann Arbor  areas,  they’re still taking submissions.  Also,  a little birdie told me they are accepting submissions for the Columbus, Cincinnati and Detroit areas. The submissions are limited to one book per author–so if you have friends that write series like I do,  make sure you let them know.  So support your friends and local authors! Visit the sites and share, share,  share the works you’re interested in.

And, of course, if you’re interested in my work, please check out the Books section of the site, or drop me a line through the Contact Me section of the site.  I would be delighted to hear from you!

Thoughts on creativity

Have you ever set down a project because you wrote yourself into a corner and weren’t sure how to proceed?  Months go by and you’re working on a new project, discussing it with someone and suddenly this unfinished project pops into your mind.  The genre is completely different than your typical work and you have the internal debate about putting the time in to revising it and working with it.

Have you ever treated other projects as a fun escape from the work of your writing? Or use different avenues when your characters decide they want to give you the silent treatment?  I use multiple outlets when it comes to striking characters.  The other outlets temporarily divert me but I always come back to my core writing.

The funny thing about this project?  This project distracted me for almost 50 solid pages of manuscript.  This story was supposed to be a short story but seems to evolve into a larger work. I’m okay with that.  I believe the story was one I started between Birth of Light and Duty’s Song.   The work needs some hard core revision and smoothing so we’ll see.  I have enough revision going on right now.

What other avenues do you use to give yourself a creative outlet when the writing isn’t always there?  For me, the creativity has to go somewhere.  I knit. I cook.  I make fleece blankets.  What other hobby gives your creativity somewhere to go?

In search of inspiration…

Does anyone else struggle with the question “where do you get ideas?”  Or better yet, do you struggle for inspiration when you’re stuck? Also, if you write or create, what do you do to get yourself un-stuck so to speak?

For me, these questions have always caused a moment’s reflection.  Truth be told I freeze as much at this question as I do at the question “What do you write about?”  As far ideas go,  the attack at all times, all hours and without mercy.  I usually have a little notebook or post-its  with me. If I don’t,  I have digital access to google docs or my Quick-Memo on my phone. As a writer,  many times that faucet of creativity is either running full blast or completely off.  I am not sure about other writers but for me it’s one extreme or another.

I am learning that carving out my writing time for a set time of day helps when the faucet’s off.  I would love to tell any of you that want to have this that it works when you have a full time job, a family and more obligations than I want to put to paper at the moment.  A wise friend advised in her blog that boundaries and being true to your writing time is important.  (If you’d like to read the full post and check out her work,  go here.) Like all things, this is a work in progress.

So when the faucet’s off, what do you do to get the pump running again?  I listen to music. Go for a walk.  Brainstorm with a friend. Music tends to be the medium that speaks to me most.  I range from instrumental such as Lindsey Stirling or A Break of Reality to Linkin Park,  My Chemical Romance,  Lifehouse or Sam Smith.   Feel free to sound off on the comments below.   If you want to sample any of the artists I’ve listed, also give me a shout out.  I’d be happy to share.

Have an amazing weekend everyone!

Who likes free stuff?

Hi everyone!

“I hate free stuff.” Said no one ever. So for those that have expressed an interest in my work, I am giving away two signed copies of my first book, Maeseloria: Birth of Light. All you have to do to win is head on over to my author page on Facebook,  follow the instructions and you’ll be entered to win one copy of the book.  You can get to my Facebook author page by going here.   Good luck! Thank you for your interest!

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The things we learn…

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So, on March 1, this amazing local business launched this amazing web page called Hometown Reads.  This is a project from which I’ve learned a great deal about marketing my work and met some sincerely amazing people.  If you have not checked it out, you can do so by going to here.  I hope to reach more readers as I’m learning and revising the fourth book.  This definitely adds another layer to my plate but this too shall pass and become easier with time. I think getting everything set up the way I want it is what is giving me gray hairs.

If you know anyone in the local area who has their work published,  pass the site information along. After all, who doesn’t love a free plug for their work? The things I have learned from these amazing people makes me enthusiastic about my own work and getting it out there for readers.  To quote a much-loved video game,  “this is my story.”

Check out one of the plugs Hometown Reads has received from Toledo 11 here.