New Adventures on the Horizon

New Adventures

After some thought–careful thought, at that–I’ve decided to switch gears a bit and travel some new roads. In an effort to maximize my time (working a full-time job, authoring books, being wife, mom, and grandma to nine precious humans and squeezing in coffee with a friend here and there takes 30 of my 24 hours a day), I’ve made the decision to focus my attention on a newsletter rather than blog every week. The decision wasn’t made lightly because I truly love the blogging community and have made some amazing friends in the blogosphere, but change can be a very good thing. And I believe that is the case here.

I would love to have you join my newsletter so I can still connect with you in my world. I promise not to bombard you with emails, as I only send a newsletter when I have something worthwhile to say and/or give to my subscribers. I will still pop in on my blog from time to time when I have something exciting to say that I simply cannot keep to myself. ūüôā And I will make it around to other blogs as I can.

So hop on over here and sign up for my newsletter! A chance to win a free audiobook is forthcoming!

Also, I’ve started a private Facebook Group called Salon Talk I would love to have you join. It’s a place where we will share anything light and fun whether it be about reading, writing, pets, grandkids, kids, or anything in between. It’s a place free of politics, agendas, hate or derogatory speech about any person, place, or thing. Just good, clean fun. Sounds a little like a retreat, doesn’t it?

Salon Talk

It’s not good-bye, it’s only changing locations. Like changing coffee shops or hangouts.

Carpe Diem

Book in a Day

Book

Last week was perhaps one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a long time, in large part due to Crime Victims’ Rights week (more on that next week), causing me to fall a bit behind on my Camp NaNo hourly goal. Nothing I can’t make up, though. And Saturday’s all-day event made it worth it.

Book in a Day, put on by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, was an all-day event in beautiful Golden, CO. Although, to tell the truth, I didn’t get to see beautiful Golden because I was in a conference room all day with nary a window.

But, again, it was worth it.

The event began with Stuart Horwitz, founder of Book Architecture, a firm of independent editors, and Anita Mumm, teaching a class based on Stuart’s latest book, Finish Your Book in Three Drafts. Given how informational and motivational the class was, I would strongly recommend the book.

Following that was lunch with fellow creatives. And there’s nothing that gets a room more fully charged with inspiration than writers brainstorming, sharing information, and networking–with FOOD! ūüôā

Tummies and brains fed, we moved into simultaneous afternoon sessions, one on Indie Publishing and one on the path to Traditional Publishing. While I’m an indie author with seven published books, I attended the latter. I really enjoy being an independent author and it was my choice to do so (in fact, I didn’t even consider traditional publishing for a very long time), but with a new series brewing in my head, I’m considering shopping around for an agent. Considering. I’m still undecided. The class was taught by Angie Hodapp of Nelson Literary Agency. Now, let me say that I’ve attended several of Angie’s classes and have never been disappointed. The woman is a genius and knows how to deliver a message. In fact, when I attend the Northern Colorado Writer’s Conference in May, you can bet I’ll be attending her classes there as well.

The last session? Marketing. I tend to shudder when I say that word. Simply because if there’s one weakness I have in the writing life, it’s marketing.¬† The session, however, was a treat! Successful, talented, and kind-hearted indie authors (Bernadette Marie, Lisa Manifold, Corinne O’Flynn, Nathan Lowell) and, again, the wonderful Angie Hodapp, shared in an entertaining, informative, attention-keeping manner the ins and outs of what has and has not worked for them. Social Media appears to be the most agreed upon success.

To make it easy to find them, I’ve included the links to their websites. It’s well worth your time to check them out.

 

And now…I’m back off to Camp to begin week three of revising book two, Abby’s Retribution, in my Whispering Pines series. The lanterns are lit, the bonfires are burning, and the campfire conversation is flowing. I think it’s time to break out the s’mores!

 

Social Media – Friend or Foe?

Social Media

Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Instagram. Tumblr. Snapchat. Pinterest. Flickr.

These are only a handful of the dozens of social networking sites and apps. One study predicted  the number of those using these sites and apps is likely to cross the 2.6 billion mark by 2018.

And here we are. It’s 2018.

But is the facination with social media a good thing, a bad thing, or individual?

We are, by human nature, made to connect with others. People are relational. With so many options and opportunities to connect, we should be an enormous group of connected, people, right?

Yes. And no.

We have relationships that begin, flourish, falter, and end on social media sites.

The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other. JR

We as a society have become so busy multitasking and striving to use every free moment to be productive, that we have absolutely no free moments left.

We have no time to connect with family and friends in person anymore. And personally spending time with friends and family has been radically linked to better health and happiness.

Social media has its perks. It allows for keeping in touch with long-distance friends and family. However, a telephone call works here as well. And social media allows for quick connections in an age where we’re chronically short on time. And because of how busy we are, it allows for more frequent check-ins with our loved ones.

In-person perks include deeper, more meaningful relationships. The handshake, hug, and physical touch that social media doesn’t afford. Not to mention the health benefits of friendships. It saddens me when I’m in a restaurant/coffee shop and see people spending time together physically but each is connecting to someone else on their smart phones.

Do you feel more inspired after a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with a friend or a quick social media check in? What about meeting a friend at the gym or connecting to work out via Skype. And is social media really more time-saving? I know I can spend an easy hour or two surfing Facebook feeds before I realize what happened. And I’m not a particularly fast texter, so calling someone often is much more time-saving. And yet, I default to whipping out my phone and shooting that text message.

For me, personally, social media is convenient, but I feel so much more fulfilled when I meet with someone face-to-face. Actually see the smile of a loved one rather than through an emoticon. Get that parting hug rather than the texted cyber hug ((((((Hug))))). Though I have to admit I often don’t take the time for it. It’s easier to take the quick route. However, it’s critical for me–and people in general–not to allow social media to fully replace face-to-face connections, because that would leave us relationally bankrupt.

Please share. What is your preferred connection style–social media or in-person? Or both? Do you love social media, hate it, or are you indifferent?

 Friends

 

 

My Least Favorite Four-Letter Word

Busy

B-U-S-Y.

It’s one of my least favorite four-letter words.

No matter where you look, people are busy. And the typical answer when asking someone you haven’t seen for a while how they’ve been, is “Busy.”

People are busy. Work is busy. Life is busy. Everything and everyone is busy. We’re busy at work and then busy when we get home as we try to get everything done before we fall into bed, exhausted, only to start it up all over again as soon as the alarm goes off. And when we’re not busy? We think something is wrong.

Too many people base their value on how busy they are. If they’re getting things done (aka: staying busy), it means they’re proving their worth.

I like to think back to when I was a kid. I woke up in the morning, got ready for school, ate breakfast, then caught the bus, riding an hour each way to and from school. While on the bus, I either talked with friends or read a book. I didn’t have a cell phone or computer. After school I made supper. When my parents got home from work we sat down at the table and ate together as a family. After dinner was dishes–by hand, homework, perhaps a little TV, then off to bed.

These days every moment of downtown is absorbed by iPhones, iPads, televisions, and computers. Texting, emailing, checking texts and emails every couple of minutes, YouTube videos, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and checking off the multiple items on one’s to-do list. And have you ever really paid attention to what’s on your to-do list? It’s typically things you have to do, not things you want to do. Trust me, if you enjoy something, you will remember to do it. Give your to-do list some white space so you have time to breathe. Only jot down what has to be done that day.

Don’t be so busy that you don’t enjoy life. Learn to say ‘no.’ Make a list of what’s really important to you and focus on doing more of those things. While I’m not suggesting shirking your responsibilities or letting your family fend for themselves every evening for dinner, what I am suggesting is to be mindful of what you’re keeping so busy with. If it’s not something that has to be done, consider cutting it from your list. Take a break from electronics and let your brain rejuvenate. Base your life’s worth on the quality of the relationships with the people who mean the most to you, not on how much you’re getting done.

Many people, at the end of their lives, have been known to have regrets about neglecting what or who is important to them. I’ve never heard of anyone having regrets about not being busy enough. Strive to be a human-being rather than a human-doing.

With text messaging and e-mails buzzing in our pockets, our constant availability for phone calls, and hot new apps and social media on our phones, we are more distracted, more unfocused and more enmeshed in sweating the small stuff than ever before. And this leads to many of us feeling like we’re sprinting every day but really not getting anywhere.
‚Äē Dean Graziosi, Millionaire Success Habits: The Gateway To Wealth & Prosperity

Be Still

 

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

Gratitude-photo

My Top Three For the Week:

3.)¬† Watching the movie Jane Austen’s Bookclub – again. I never tire of that movie. Or You’ve Got Mail. If you haven’t seen them, you won’t regret taking the time to do so.

2.)  Finding a quote that I needed to read exactly when I read it. Allow me to share it with you.

Kurt Vonnegut quote

1.)¬† Realizing that I need to take a break to re-prioritize. I won’t be¬†gone forever, only for¬†as long as¬†it¬†takes to¬†accomplish¬†said re-prioritizing. It may be a couple of weeks, it may be a couple of months, but I will¬†be back.¬† I enjoy this little corner of the world¬†too much not to. I may even post sporadically during my hiatus, but I feel the need to keep it loose and unplanned for now. I’ve met so many special people in this blogoverse, that I couldn’t help but return. I’m looking at more time¬†to work¬†on my novels, as well as less¬†time on social media and my I-phone. ¬†And time with God, family and friends? Well, that is most definitely at the very top of my list. ūüôā

Write on, and may peace be yours.

Carpe Diem

Back to the Basics

I’ve decided to take a week-long “partial” leave of absence from electronics.

I received an email the other day that contained a series of pictures, each with a brief caption beneath it, that had a profound effect on me. Let me share some of them with you here:

tech1

A day at the beach

tech2

Out on an intimate date.

tech3

A visit to the museum

tech4

Enjoying the sights

‚ÄúI fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.‚ÄĚ -Albert Einstein

What affected me the most about this email is the truth that lay within. It’s a rare occasion that I don’t see several people talking on their phones or texting while driving. And there is no finger-pointing going on here, as I’m among the ones talking on the phone.

One of the weekend magazines in the paper I read this past Sunday¬†had an article called “Massive Media,” and one of the sentences popped right off the printed page as I read it: Media went from a series of choices and a schedule of events to the air we breathe.

That same article also stated: With only 24 hours in a day, it isn’t possible to make a dent in everything that demands to be seen, listened to, read.

But how hard we try!

Some days, I’m so busy checking blog stats, Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds, emails (on two home accounts as well as my work account, and each email¬†opened leads to further reading/link-clicking and mindless wandering), Internet surfing, checking for text messages, etc., that I miss the majority of the blessings in my day.

So what does a “partial” leave of absence look like?

For me it means taking a complete break from social media and engaging in social human interaction. It means being present with the people I’m with, rather than being unaware of their presence¬†while I socialize elsewhere.

It means beginning my day with my good old-fashioned Bible rather than surfing for devotions online, which almost always ends up with me reading something completely unrelated.

It means keeping my cell phone on vibrate or silent¬†so I’m not checking every beep I hear;¬†¬†and checking for text messages once or twice a day is sufficient. In fact, rather than send a text, perhaps I¬†will make the old-fashioned phone call to humanize the connection.

It means checking emails once per day, rather than every half hour which I have been known to do. No joke.

It means not checking my blog stats for an entire week, and get back to posting because I love to write and share; and connect with wonderful like-minded people.

It means no Internet surfing unless it’s research on my novel.

It means living with intention rather than mindless living.

I want to say that again, to get it into my own head if for no other reason: It means living with intention rather than mindless living.

1000789_602599603108372_472059398_n

Here’s to writing a new page in my life’s story for seven 24-hour segments in a row. Perhaps it will be the start of something marvelous that will continue on.

And now it’s back off to Camp NaNo. ūüôā

All is Grace.

 

When I Just Don’t Feel Like Writing

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

Whether it’s revising my novel, journaling, blogging, or writing letters to the children I sponsor through Compassion International, I try to do some sort of writing every day. But truth be told, some days I just simply don’t feel like writing. And from reading what other writers have to say, I’m not alone in that area. It extends well beyond the perimeter of my own limited space. What I can say from reflecting on my experience, however, is that it usually comes from complacency.

I’ve compiled some ideas on how I can forge beyond that barrier of resistance.

Visualize the End Result

If I visualize the final product of what it is I’m about to write, it usually can motivate me enough to at least get me to the keyboard, which can be the hardest part. And from there, it gets much easier. If it’s revising my novel, I visualize being that much closer to being done and what that will feel like. I imagine what it will look like when I’ve completed the revision, or better yet, the entire process of writing the book, reminding myself that getting my bottom in that chair and my fingers on the keyboard are the only things that can make that happen. If it’s writing to my sponsor children, I visualize their smiles when they receive the letters, the joy it brings to their precious hearts, and suddenly my not wanting to write seems so small in comparison.

A Reward for Reaching the Agreed Upon Goal

I’m not above bribing, and that includes myself. Whether it’s dark chocolate, a computer game, surfing the Internet, napping–whatever it takes to get me to my computer. Once I’m there, I’m usually home free.

Write Something Fun

Create a scene in my novel that I’ve been looking forward to writing, even though it may not be¬†what happens next. it still counts as words written and has, on occasion, motivated me to write more from there.

 Enjoy Other Forms of Media

Read, read, read. Read work by an author I aspire to emulate, motivational writing articles in magazines or on-line. Personally, I try to keep the Internet as a last resort, because my lack of self-discipline can sometimes lead to surfing, and that does nothing but rob me of time rather than inspire creativity. Watch movies while thinking of plot–or subplot–ideas. Movies such as The Jane Austen Book Club and The Words particularly inspired me.

Please share with us what works for you.