And in the Beginning…

Beginnings

For those who have read my bio, you know my writing years began at the tender age of four. I took my fat little crayons in my fat little fingers and decided to experiment with words on the knotty pine walls of the living room. My parents were not impressed! But even back then, I had something to say and writing was the natural way for me to say it.
As the years went by, that didn’t change. The only thing that did change is that I graduated from crayon on walls to pen on paper. For that, my parents were grateful.

In my teen years, it was writing that helped me work through the tumultuous teen emotions and heartbreak. Many summer days, I lay in our little fishing boat, tied up to the dock, rocking as waves rolled up against the shoreline and lapped the bottom of the boat. I clutched my pen and paper and wrote poetry like there was no tomorrow. The words flowed endlessly. When I wasn’t in the boat, I was perched on the end of the dock, my feet dangling in the water, or plopped on my bed in my basement bedroom, crafting more poetry.

Fishing Boat
Fast forward a few years. I was still writing when I got pregnant with my first son. I penned 2 ½ novels (yup, not just 2, but 2 ½), which are still in boxes in my home office. I took a few writing classes, too. Then came my second son. The writing stopped. There was no spare time.

When my second son was in high school, I got my Associates of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies, and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. While everyone else was impressed, I knew it wasn’t what I was meant to do. My heart longed for the days when I was a writer.

When my second son graduated from high school, I followed my dream. I got back to writing and haven’t looked back. While I still maintain a day job in the legal field, my true calling, my avocation, is writing.

As I think about the journey to where I am now—five published books, two more in the works—there are three suggestions I have for beginning authors.

1.) Find a writing community, or even one or two other writers. Non-writers, family and friends included, think we just sit down, write and voila! A book appears. A non-writer can’t possibly know the blood, sweat, and tears that go into a piece of creative fiction—or non-fiction. And if that’s the only mindset you’re subjected to and hearing on your writing journey, you’ll start believing it yourself. Eventually you’ll start to think of yourself a failure when you’re unable to just sit down and magically produce a novel.

Additionally, the non-writer can view writing as a waste of time unless the writer is making a lot of money. You may hear that you should be spending your time on something more worthwhile, something “important,” whatever that means. “Important” means different things to different people. Writing is hugely important to me. And if you’re a writer, it will be to you, too. It’s not about how much money we make (though, I imagine you wouldn’t catch any of us complaining if we made a dollar to two), it’s about a need to express the creative side that’s burning inside of us. And it’s work. Hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

“To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

That being said, not all non-writers think this way. And if you feel they are, it’s important to ask yourself if there’s any validity to your feelings or if it’s your own insecurity and self-doubt that makes it feel that way. We writers are frequently tormented with self-doubt. It’s what many of us do best. Either way, let it go. If you don’t already, you’ll soon have a writing community reminding you you’re not alone. 

2.)  Plan your week and schedule in writing time. When first starting out, set a timer and just write. Don’t get up under any circumstance. Not for anything. This exercises your butt-in-chair muscle, even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time. And don’t open the Internet to check anything. Your email will still be there when you’re done with your writing session, and your Facebook likes will still be there waiting. Even hard-core social media addicts can stay away for 15 minutes. If not, invest in Freedom. After you’ve created a habit of writing, play around to discover which method most accommodates your lifestyle—continue with timed writing sessions, decide on a set number of pages per day, word count goals, etc.

3.)  Don’t compare yourself to anyone else in the writing industry. We all have mentors and people we admire in the writing industry (think Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Joanna Penn) but don’t strive to be just like them. You are you. And you are fabulous. You have something unique to contribute to the reading world. And it would be a waste to deprive the world of that because you’re trying to be like someone else. As well, comparing yourself to other writers is the kiss of death. I struggle with comparisonitis as much as the next person, but I recognize it for what it is and kick it to the curb as soon as I realize that it’s trying to sink its fangs into my writing life.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

And now it’s back for week three of Camp NaNo and more virtual camping.

Bonfire-Brainerd

Carpe Diem

Detour Home

Country Road

A while back I mentioned my new online home, where I’ve also transferred my blog. That being said, I neglected to include a sign up/follow button on my new site. It took me a while to get around to doing that, but it’s now done. I would absolutely love to have you visit me over there. So, despite taking a detour in my return to blogging, alas, I’m back, at my newly located blog home, ready to roll. Next week I will begin weekly Wednesday blog posts there. See you on Wednesdays, just around the bend.

Until then…

Carpe diem

 

Shear Madness is now Available!

My second book, Shear Madness, is now available!  **Doing a little happy dance**

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Melanie Hogan is anything but your average beauty salon owner. She’s created a life for herself that’s an exact contradiction to that of her wanderlust, absentee mother who bailed on her when Melanie was four years old. She has gone above and beyond to make sure her life is stable, predictable, and…boring. While deciding to add some spontaneity to her life, she learns an important lesson: Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. And she does. 

Velma Johnson, the town busy body, keels over in Melanie’s stylist chair just as she’s about to reveal a secret to Melanie. As details emerge around Velma’s death, Melanie enlists the help of her best friends and business partners, Claire Davis and Jack Dancy, to find the killer. Could it be one of the three girls who work side by side with Melanie at the salon, all of whom were present when Velma died? Or one of their clients that were present as well? Or what about Buford Woods, the client who threatened to have the last laugh when Melanie refused to date him and who suspiciously shows up outside the salon right after Velma died? 

It’s a race against time as Melanie finds herself prey to a stalker intent on ruining her life, and one who’s behavior is escalating. As Melanie sets out to solve the puzzle that has become her life, someone is dead set against letting her discover the truth, much less live to tell about it. And as she discovers the truth, she finds a missing piece to an unfinished puzzle from her past.

(Available at Amazon in soft cover and Kindle, and soon Barnes and Noble)

 

It’s hard to believe that I can make money at something I love so much. Now I didn’t say a lot of money, mind you, but a mere few bucks is more than worth it when you love what you’re doing so much it breathes life into you. When that “something” is something I can’t imagine not doing. When doing that “something” brings  joy beyond what I’d ever dreamed.

I’ve made so many friends in the writing community, and it’s that community that has encouraged me to keep on keepin’ on.

And to those of us who have moments where it feels nearly impossible, let’s remember the words of Winston Churchill.

Never give up

And now it’s off to plan some marketing strategies and to do some serious writing to catch up on my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo. Life is amazing! 🙂

 

Drumroll…

My novel, The Inheritance, is now out in softcover, as well as Kindle, at Amazon.  I would be immensely grateful to anyone who feels led to share this on their blog to help spread the word. Thank you so much! It’s this writing community of amazing bloggers that has given me the courage and inspiration to keep walking the journey to completion of this baby. 🙂

The Inheritance

When Victor and Vivian Forrester meet their unexpected fate on their way home from hosting a charity dinner, it leaves their three estranged adult children with an unexpected fate of their own. Madison has the perfectly planned life of which her two young children are the center, leaving no room for anything or anyone else, including her husband. Her career as a psychiatrist enables her to validate her self-worth and give her children everything they need. She has made a promise to herself that her children will never be without, vowing to give them the best childhood anyone could ever have. Maxwell is a successful partner of a law firm, who is as skilled at playing the ladies as he is in the courtroom. He has long since written off his family in order to avoid having to answer to anyone. Molly is a writer and free spirit who has lost herself in the miry pit of self-pity, claiming her title as black sheep of the family. She tries to drown and numb the pain from years of being misunderstood by her family. What none of them expect after the shock of their parents’ death is the shock of learning what is in the will their parents carefully constructed, listing what is required of each of them before they can claim their substantial inheritance. Those requirements take them on a journey of self-discovery and change that leads to a much greater wealth than any of them had ever expected.

Peace.

Who’s Up For a Challenge?

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge, that is.

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Arlee Bird began this challenge, which entails participants to post something on his/her blog every day in April except Sundays. The fun gets even better – the topic for each day’s post follows the letters of the alphabet, meaning there are 26 letters in the alphabet for 26 days.
The topic for April 1st begins with an “A”…April Fool’s Day? Hmmm… 🙂

April 2nd’s topic begins with “B,” the 3rd will begin with “C,” and so on.

Content is left up to the blogger, whether following a theme or posting on random subjects while following the alphabet letter for that day.
The letter of the alphabet reminds me of one of my very favorite detective series, written by Sue Grafton. (A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, C is for Corpse…)

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Knowing there are thousands of bloggers all in this together brings a sense of community, much like the NaNoWriMo community of writers, bringing the challenge to even greater heights. How awesome to know you’re part of a blogging community, supporting one another in something all of us equally enjoy–writing. Topics and support can be gleaned, not to mention exercising discipline in the writing process of writing every day. Complete with a break on Sundays. 🙂

Happy Writing, Reading–or both. 🙂