December 14, 2012

Healthy Writer's Club: Tis The Season

Tis the season for giving, so today I thought I'd share
about someone who really knew what "giving" meant.

(And yes, yes I am avoiding the whole physical health aspect of the Healthy Writer's Club.
I may just procrastinate until after the first of the year).

So today is Inspiration Day!

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Mother Teresa
Nobel Peace Prize-Winning Humanitarian
1910 - 1997

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
~Mother Teresa

Agnes Gonhxa Bojaxhiu decided at age 12 that her future was as a missionary. She left her native Macedonia to train first in Ireland and then went to India where, in 1950, she started her own Order. Through her tireless work in Calcutta, her mission grew to more than 400 sisters in 123 countries, establishing orphanages, homes for lepers, the cripples, those with HIV/AIDS and many more.
~Women Who Dared by Evelyn Beilenson and Lois Kaufman.

I know from reading her biography that Mother Teresa suffered from bipolar and it seemed like she was in agony every day and even struggled with her faith. But her dedication to the down-trodden never waivered. That is true giving.

I am humbled.
I will never be like her, but I can be inspired by her
and pray that just a little of her humanity will rub off on me.

I didn't get my calling until late in life.

Can you imagine getting a calling such as hers at such an early age?

When did you get your calling?

December 7, 2012

Healthy Writer's Club: The Love Doctor

Thank you Shallee McArthur for hosting!

My butt has been in a chair all week and it barely moved. I had great intentions. I really did. I went for a couple of walks with the dogs, but that's about it. I guess this is where I should start making excuses, right? Well, you've already heard them all, I'm sure, so I'll move on.

Have you ever heard of Leo Buscaglia? He wrote many books on love. In fact, he was called the Love Doctor and even taught a very popular non-credit class called Love 1A at USC. Strange, huh? And yet he had students clamoring to take his class.

I've read most of his books and am always inspired by what he had to say. Check this out:

You know, I love to walk in an elevator and turn around with my back to the door! And I look at everybody and I say, "Hi! Wouldn't it be marvelous if the elevator got stuck and we could all get to know each other?" And then an incredible thing happens. The door opens on the next floor and everybody gets off! "There's a crazy man in the elevator. He wants to know us!"
Leo F. Buscaglia, Ph.D

I probably would have been the first person out of that elevator, I'm not gonna lie! But he had a point. Six people ride in an elevator and don't speak, eyes up front. One person gets off, another gets on, turns around with eyes up front. Like Zombies.

I'm sure we're missing out on knowing a lot of awesome people because we distance ourselves. And I'm the worst. I'm quiet and introverted. But I'm working on it.

What are you working on?

November 30, 2012

Healthy Writer's Club: The Law of Giving

It's Friday and time for another Healthy Writer's Club post. But, um, well...I got nothing for you. Not really. I didn't exercise. I went for a few walks, but nothing really recordable.

But I have been focusing on the spiritual and soul aspect of my health. I just finished reading The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. And since we just had Thanksgiving, I pulled a quote from The Law of Giving.

The best way to put the Law of Giving into operation - to start the whole process of circulation - is to make a decision that any time you come into contact with anyone, you will give them something ... When you meet someone, you can silently send them a blessing, wishing them happiness, joy, and laughter. This kind of silent giving is very powerful.
I love this! It doesn't cost anything to give someone a compliment or a smile. There have been numerous times in my life when I was feeling down or out of sorts when a stranger's smile completely made my day.
I'm giving away prayers for Random Acts of Kindness Week on Facebook. Stop on by if you or someone you know would like a prayer. Can't hurt - might help.

And how was your week? Are you keeping up on the exercise, healthy eating and healthy soul endeavor?

November 16, 2012

Healthy Writer's Club: Godwinks

Thanks Shallee McArthur for hosting!
Sorry, my Healthy Writer's Club peeps. I don't have much of a post today. It snowed on Saturday with a high of 23 on Sunday, and so my healthy motivation just froze up!

I do have a quote, though. I just finished reading When GOD Winks at You: How God Speaks Directly to You Through the Power of Coincidence:

Leave your baggage behind and get onto your life's path, on a quest for your destiny. Your destiny will not come to you. You need to go to it. And this I promise: the godwinks will be there to guide you. p195.  ~ Squire Rushnell

Ah, yes. The Path.

For the past three years I've finally started to find and follow my path. I don't always know if I'm doing things right, or if the decisions I make along the way are correct. But I do know, without a doubt in my heart, that I am on the right path. It feels good. Am I chasing a dream? Absolutely. Will I be successful? Who knows? Am I happy with the direction I'm headed? Positively. It's not easy, that's for sure, but my heart is happy in a way that it never has been in the preceding 52 years of my life. I pray a lot - for direction, confirmation, a sign, a godwink. And the answer I get? Keep Going!

Not to sound like Oprah, but what do you know for sure?
Are you on the right path?
How was your week?

November 9, 2012

Healthy Writer's Club: Stepping it Up

Thank you to Shallee McArthur for hosting The Healthy Writer's Club. If you'd like to join, go HERE.

All in all, it was a great week. I walked a lot - almost double what I did last week. I walked two miles per day (for 6 days) plus my regular daily steps.

Here are my fitbit stats for the week:

Total Miles Traveled: 24.78 (just missed walking a full marathon!)

Steps Taken: 60,334

Sedentary: 84.1% (I walked a lot, and I'm still getting 84% sedentary?! I curse you sedentary statistic!)

Last Song: Angel by Shaggy with Rayvon

Best Quote: "You may face problems and setbacks, but remember, God is still leading the way. He has given us the strength to be where we are with a good attitude. When that discouraging spirit comes knocking on the door, you don't have to answer. Just say, No, thanks. I'm keeping my joy. I know God is in control of my life. He will allow me to go where I'm supposed to be." ~Every Day A Friday, by Joel Osteen. P 155 - 156.

Every morning and every night I read something short but inspirational, to both start out my day and end my day with something positive. Right now I'm reading The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo (mornings - a daily devotional) and Every Day A Friday by Joel Osteen (evenings - just a page or two). I have done this for years and find it helps to keep a positive attitude and lifts me up when things are rough.

How did you do this week?

What do you do for a healthy soul?

Any recommended inspirational reading?

November 2, 2012

Healthy Writer's Club: Stupid Sedentary Stat

Thank you Shallee McArthur for hosting!

Now that the company's gone home and I'm not housesitting with my granddoggies, I'm anxious to get back on track with my health and fitness.

I improved a bit over last week, when I was still away from home. I started walking again on Tuesday, a two mile walk per day plus my usual daily steps. So next weeks fitness should look a lot better than this.

Here are my fitbit stats for the week:

Total Miles Traveled: 13.2 (I did a half marathon! Now, I just have to put it all together at the same time...)

Sedentary: 91.2%

Last Song: How You Remind Me by Nickleback

I'm thinking that "sedentary" statistic above is just so wrong on so many levels. I think I'll stop looking at it. It's obnoxious, don't you think?

Also, does anyone know where I can get a mileage widget, other than the I have a running widget from there, but I want a separate walking widget. I've been told by dailymile that I can't have both.

Are you keeping track of your mileage?

What do you listen to while exercising?

How was your fitness week?

October 26, 2012

Healthy Writers Club: Blah Blah Blah

Shallee McArthur's Healthy Writers Club

So hey. You're here. Again!

And I got nothing for you.


Have a piece of fruit!

Because offering you a piece of fruit is probably the healthiest thing I've done all week.

I do have excuses reasons, though. Once again I'm away from home, housesitting with my lovely granddogs.

Diego and Chance

Aren't they the sweetest little things?!

It's been a crazy two months, but I won't go into the craziness right now. Just know that the blog tour is nearly over, the company has gone home, and my kids will be back from their five-week trip of a lifetime to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Fiji, Australia and other ports unknown to me, very soon.

How did you do this week?

Are your granddogs as cute as mine?

October 19, 2012

Healthy Writer's Club: Stepping It Up

Join Here

Hey! Thanks for stopping by. I'm away from home while writing this, but wanted to let you know I'd do a longer post next week.

I don't have my stats, but I walked about 4 - 5 times this week. Not long enough, I know, but more and more every week.

How did you do this week?

October 12, 2012

Healthy Writers Club: Can I Log Blogoverse Miles?

Thanks for hosting, Shallee McArthur!

I'm still not quite back in the groove of moving, yet. But I'm doing several small walks per day.

But I'm doing better!

Here are my stats, according to my fitfit.

Steps: 30,539

Miles: 12.56

Sedentary: 87.8%

I seem to recall my sedentariness was at 94% last week, so I'm improving. I've been all over the blogoverse, visiting all my host sites for my new book release. If I could just log those miles, I'd be doing good.

How'd you all do this week?

October 5, 2012

Healthy Writers Club: A Weak Week

Hosted by Shallee McArthur

Here's where you take me to task.

My goal in September was to lose 10 pounds.

Didn't happen.

But I have excuses reasons! I spent one week preparing for guests, then another week entertaining guests. And I wouldn't want to starve my guests, right?

So exercise sort of fell by the wayside. I did take a few short walks, though.

Here are my stats for the week, according to my fitbit:

Weekly steps: 14,288
Weekly miles: 5.87
Sedentary 94%

Yeah, it looks good until you see that last statistic.

But I'll try to be better!

How did you do last week?

Want to join the club?


September 28, 2012

Healthy Writers Club: Hiking and Writing

It's time for the weekly Healthy Writers Club hosted by Shallee McArthur. While the butt-in-chair idea works great for writers, it's not so great when we're trying to be healthy. So, once per week we will check in to let you know how we're doing health-wise and how it relates to writing.

I didn't do so well this past week on my health endeavor. But I have a excuse reason. I had visitors for the week.

However, between making personalized bookmarks and a personalized aspen walking stick with my sister, we did manage a five mile hike at Mueller State Park. It was absolutely gorgeous with the pines interspersed with gold and red aspen leaves.

The weather was clear and perfect, and the view of Pikes Peak was an added bonus. A nice little picnic completed the trip.

So, how does all this relate to writing? Well, I may have thought about writing while I was hiking.


I'll do better next week:)

How did you do?

September 21, 2012

Suicide Prevention Awareness & Healthy Writers Club

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is a subject near and dear to my heart as I have been profoundly touched by it, twice by close friends.  

Please! If you are depressed or having thoughts of suicide, tell someone. Anyone. A friend, family member or even a stranger. Help is available.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You are not alone. People care. I care.


Shallee McArthur has started The Healthy Writers Club:

Welcome to The Healthy Writers Club! As writers, we hear a lot about the "butt in chair" tactic, which is great for our manuscripts, but not so great for the actual butt in the chair. Every Friday, I'll be posting about how healthy I've been that week and how it connects to writing. If you're game to join the fun, you can run, walk, bike, make a healthy dinner, play tag with your kids, etc. Then, you post about it on Friday (or whenever you want).

To sign up, go HERE.


So, as it's Friday, I'm supposed to talk about my week and how healthy I was and how it affects my writing. Um, this week I deep cleaned, and trust me, my cleaning arm was sore! I walked three miles twice, but that was all. But I have a good excuse reason. My mom and sister were coming to visit. So yeah, this week flew out the door. But please come back next week because I am going to be sooooo good!

September 14, 2012

I Have My Grandma's Wings

I have my grandma's wings. I don't mean angel wings, though I'm sure she's earned them up in heaven.

Let me explain. I saw a recent photograph of myself wearing a sleeveless shirt. I was at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, petting a wallabee. My arm was stretched wide, and hanging below said traitor arm was a freaking, flapping, wing!

I knew it was there, but I didn't realize how big until I saw it in a photograph.

Yep, just like grandma's. I remember as a child playing with all that loose skin under her arm, just flopping back and forth (until she got annoyed, that is).

I had no idea it was heriditary.

What else did I inherit from her? Ankles. They turn in just a little bit - not so you'd notice, but - yeah.

Wings and Ankles.

We all have things we don't like about ouselves, and not just physical attributes like I described above. Trust me, there are tons of things I don't like about myself.

Every once in a great while I'll dwell too much on "things." When that happens, I remind myself about what Joel Osteen said in his book, Every Day A Friday:

"When God made you He wasn't having a bad day. He made you to be the way you are on purpose. He finished creating you and then He stepped back and said, "That is good. I like that; another masterpiece." There may be things about you that you don't like, but you can't allow those things to hold you back or keep you from pursuing your dreams."

I like everything about the above sentence, from me being a masterpiece, to not allowing things to hold me back or keep me from pursuing my dreams.  It's motivating. And so I'll keep moving forward, no matter what.

What do you do to deal with things you don't like about yourself? 
How do you combat against things or circumstances that seem to conspire against you?
What motivates you to keep moving forward?

September 7, 2012

My 750 Mile Badge Kicks Butt!

I just earned my 750 mile badge from fitbit!

I am so thrilled. It took me a while to get there. I've had some starts and stops. But since I started moving again a month ago, it's been going really great. Three miles a day, five or six days per week adds up. Then add your regular daily steps, and that's 70 - 80 miles in the past month. I didn't realize I was so close.

I love my fitbit. I just clip it on the waist of my pants in the morning and go. It tells me how many steps and miles I've walked in a day and calories burned. It does more than that, though. You can go to their website and log your food intake and monitor calories, fat, weight and other stuff as well.

It really helps to know how I'm doing, so then I can set goals for myself. 

My health goal for August was to lose 10 pounds and I'm happy to say I made it! My health goal for September is to lose another 10.

I know I'm sounding like an infomercial. But no - I'm not getting paid by fitbit. I just got excited and I'm feeling motivated.

What keeps or gets you motivated?

What are your health goals for September?

August 31, 2012

How Important Is Age-Defying To You?

Fountain of Youth by Lucas Cranach the Elder
What do you all think about this age-defying, anti-wrinkle world we now live in?

Of course, people have been searching for the fountain of youth for time immemorial. Even though realizing that's not a reality, some people go to great lengths to "appear" youthful.
You know, taking care of yourself and looking the best you can is admirable.

But when did age become such a bad thing? So bad that you have to, or are compelled to, "defy" it? At one time, age was respected and admired. It meant wisdom. You earned your wrinkles.

Plastic surgeons and pharmaceuticals are making a bundle because we're not comfortable in our own skin.

I don't mind saying that I really don't care about my wrinkles! Sure, I wouldn't mind looking youthful again, but I don't want to go back. It's just not that important to me.

Am I a freak of nature because I don't care?

How do you all feel about winkles and age-defying beauty products?

August 23, 2012

We Are Here, We Are Here, We Are Here!

Oscar Pistorius
"I complained that I had no shoes,
until I met a man who had no feet"
Indian Proverb
 And by "we" I really mean me!

I haven't gone anywhere, I've just been hanging over at my new digs, Gwen Gardner, YA Author.

If you haven't been by yet, please drop in. Lots of exciting stuff is going on over there!

So here I am at Run Gwen, Run! It feels good to be back. I've been wondering what to do with this blog. I really do love it here. But I've been wondering if all my writer friends will continue stopping by since I moved. But then I thought, writer's want to be healthy too! They need motivation and inspiration to be healthy, mind, body and soul.

I've struggled with health issues for a while, but the biggest problem I have is weight related. And so this month I've made the committment to move more and eat less.

I've set small goals so as not to give myself an impossible task. So far, it's going great! My goal for this month is to lose ten pounds. I'm really close!

How are you all doing?
Need inspiration?
You might find something on my Inspiration page above.

July 20, 2012

Friday Funnies: Critique Excuses

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at"

Who hasn't done this?

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Have a Great Weekend!

July 13, 2012

Friday Funnies and Social Media

Welcome to Friday Funnies!

(This photo has been removed due to copyright laws)

This is true in an oddly disturbing sort of way!

I enjoy social media, but it does tend to take away from my work
because it's so time consuming. I wish it paid the bills, though.

How much time do you spend on social media?

If you like this post, please follow me at my new blog HERE!

July 6, 2012

Friday Funnies: Writer's High

Writer's High 
Writer's Low

I totally resemble this...

How about you?

(This photo has been removed due to copyright laws)

I hope you get Writer's High!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Have a Fun and Safe Weekend!

July 4, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Welcome fellow Insecure Writer's Support Group Members!

For those of you who don't know about this support group, what rock have you been living under? we "meet" the first Wednesday of every month to discuss our fears and insecurities about writing, and receive support.

Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this group!

And so this month, here is my topic:

To self-publish or not to self-publish? That is the question.


Some truthful facts:
  • I'm a relatively new and inexperienced writer.
  • I've learned a lot and have a lot to learn.
  • What I write is quirky
  • I know I have not written the next Great American Novel.
  • My work is not five-star (except to family and friends! God Bless them!), but I hope it's three+++ or four +++.
  • I believe I can attract a following of people who like my stories and characters, even if I haven't created a Harry Potter world. Even if I'm no Hemingway or Dickens or Stephen King.
  • I've read some totally awesome books by self-published authors!
  • The more I write, the better I get.
Self-publishing facts:
  • No publisher shopping
  • In charge of own artwork, editing and formatting
  • Self marketing and social media
  • You're on your own timeline - no deadlines
  • Up to 70% of the royalties all to yourself
  • Instant gratification on publishing timing - no waiting.
  • Paid 60 days in arrears on royalties
  • Total world domination control and the final word! (Oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about!)
Traditional publishing facts:
  • Shopping for a publisher takes time, maybe even forever!
  • Once a publisher wants you, it takes 6-12 months to see your book in print
  • Gratification that a traditional publisher likes your work thereby validating you as a good writer (yes we all want this!)
  • Still self marketing and social media
  • 30% royalties? I'm not sure on this, but I know it's less than self pubbing
  • Not sure when the money starts "pouring" in... (maybe "pouring" is too strong a word, lol?)

So what have I missed? Any information you'd like to share? Any advice?

I've been going over this question and it seems there are so many reasons for someone like me to self-publish.

June 29, 2012

Not Everybody's Flavor

Drum Roll please!
As promised, I have the very lovely Tart Hart Johnson as my guest today.

Take it away, Hart!

Not Everybody's Flavor

First I want to thank Lady Gwen for having me! I really appreciate the chance to get around to other blogs and I've so recently discovered Gwen's ability to channel Tart, if you will! So before I get started, I want to ask ALL of you to do a little rain dance for Gwen and our friends in Colorado. And YES, a proper rain dance MUST be done naked—if you want something from nature, you have to request it au natural, ne? Otherwise it's only so much wiggling. That, though, illustrates my point a little...

I knew it was coming. It HAD to come.

See, I try to be NICE almost all the time, but I really make no apologies for not being a person who can behave. In fact I admit I am annoyed when people claim they WANT to be someone who behaves. (Proper behavior? Who needs it?!) So I shouldn't have even been a little surprised when my first negative review this week was about my slutty, swearing characters *cough* (never mind that NOTHING is on the page—the sexual references are ALL allusion (and unsubstantiated at that)... when Annie swears, it SAYS “Annie swore.” The word 'freaking' is used a time or two... (I so thought that wasn't really swearing! I swear!--DOH! There, I did it again!)

And I (meaning my book, not me personally) have a whole lot more sexual frustration than shutting the door and letting the imagination run wild... as for the actual on-the-page sex? A few attempts (with clothes on) to cop a feel... But okay... too much... I hear you (or rather her).

So yes. I confess to not living up to rated G standards... wait... I've seen rated G movies where the adults shut the door... and where there is a stand in for swearing that isn't really swearing... but whatever. I get that the SPIRIT of my characters really WANTS to be PG13 and I have to use some tricks to keep them in the Cozy Mystery PG parameters... And that an intelligent person may well spot them as tricks... allusion, innuendo, naughtiness... Guilty. On all counts.

I guess what I REALLY am reminded is... not everybody likes the same thing. Being who I am, I seem to draw friends who would be far MORE annoyed with a 30-something sleuth who was 'saving herself' (I threw up a little just writing that, to be honest—I don't believe in that—use it or lose it, Amiga—not that I can't respect that decision if made with sincerely rather than because of expectations, but I will certainly have to bite my tongue to not say 'oh, for pete's sake, that is such a bad idea!') And those friends (the ones who are used to me being naughty and just a little outrageous) are all cheering on any of those little hints at shenanigans.

But I GET that the other sort are out there... that want to believe that at least in fiction, storks bring babies and holding hands is high romance. I respect the taste differences, particularly as my own taste runs in the middle. I ALSO have erotica friends who keep asking when the hanky-panky is going to get spicy, only they don't use the word hanky-panky... (erm... sorry friends, wrong genre).

And I could have encountered a bad review related to the WRITING instead of personal preference as to how people ought to be—THAT would have caused some self-doubt. THIS... this is just a nice reminder that we all want slightly different things. Heck, there are even people who don't like chocolate. INSANE people, to be sure, but they exist. I don't pretend to be chocolate. I am more like dried ginger... sweet and sticky at first taste, but with a bit of a kick and a fair amount of 'well I've never had THAT before'. Some people love me right away, for some I'm an acquired taste, and for some I am just not a flavor they will ever acquire. I'm okay with that.

I guess the message is we need to stick to who we are. We will never ever please everyone. People will run into us who DON'T like us, but they will bounce off. The people who DO like us will keep coming back. So chin-up, friends! We can DO this thing!

The Azalea Assault

Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn't writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice).


The Azalea Assault is available at:

Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook

Amazon Paperback or Kindle

(pretty much any book store and some big boxes)

And Alyse/Hart/The Tart can be found at:

Confessions of a Watery Tart


Thank you so much for being my guest today, Hart! And especially for the very much needed RAIN DANCE!

June 27, 2012

Friday Funnies on Wednesday

This weeks Friday Funnies will be today (Wednesday) because on Friday, I have a special treat for you. Hart Johnson, from Confessions of a Watery Tart, will be my special guest to discuss something pretty exciting.

Intrigued yet? Then please come back on Friday!

Friday Funnies
(on Wednesday)

Have you ever been zooming along on your WIP, only to come back and find you've skipped a letter in a word and realized you've come up with something like this?...............



June 22, 2012

Friday Funnies

Friday Funnies!
(Don't forget to join my author blog HERE)

 (This photo has been removed due to copyright laws)

I found this funny on Rachelle Gardner's blog.

Too cute not to post.

I think I may have found my new Friday posting theme, cuz who can't use a laugh on Friday to start off the weekend right?!

Have a Great Weekend!

June 19, 2012

Setting Goals

(Hey there, my awesome blogsome buddies! Please follow me on my new author blog HERE. You'll find this same post over there. Thank you!)

I've never really been a goal setter when it comes to writing. Until I began BuNoWriMo, I didn't realize how important it could be. My goal, in line with BuNoWriMo, is writing 50,000 words in 30 days. 

When I think about my first novel being 68,000 words, and it took me two years to write, it's crazy to think I'll be close to finishing my second book in about five or six weeks! Sure, it will be a first draft and I'll have a lot of editing to do, but that's the point. I'll have a novel to edit in about an eighth  of the time it took me to write my first novel.

I was raised with a good work ethic and have always taken any job I had very seriously. I show up, on time, get the job done and do it well.  I've always been reliable.

I don't know why I've never applied this work ethic to my writing.

I'm sure most of you know Angela Brown. She is an awesome writer with an awesome blog. She routinely sets monthly goals and posts it on her blog. I've always admired that. It's about holding yourself accountable to yourself.

So thank you Angela Brown and BuNoWriMo for inspiring me to set goals!

My goals for the month of June:

  • Write 50,000 words toward my next novel in the Indigo Eady Mystery series, A Guilty Ghost Surprised.
  • Read four books.
  • Post 2-3 blog posts per week.
  • Visit 25 awesome blogs per week.
I will set/post new goals for July and let you know how I did in June.

Do you set goals? How strict are you about them? How do you stay on track? What are your goals for the month of June?

June 15, 2012

Such A Plotter

Please go HERE first to Follow me on my new author blog - this same post is over there. THANK YOU!

I am such an plotter! I try to be a panster, I really do. It just doesn't work for me.

While writing my first book, Givin' Up The Ghost (which took me two years to name, by the way), I sped along, and I mean fast...for the first three chapters. Then I hit a wall - a really hard wall. I didn't know where I was going.

I was forced to plot and write an outline. I didn't like stopping the writing process to write an outline, but hey, I was stopped anyway, so why not?

I faced the same thing in BuNoWriMo with my second book, A Guilty Ghost Surprised. Three chapters into my 50,000 words, I hit another hard wall. Again, I didn't know where I was going.

Perhaps it's the mystery book thing - you have to give clues and red herrings and frame decide the character whodunnit. I simply don't know how anyone could write a mystery without plotting and outlining. Perhaps it's the investigative brain it takes to write mysteries?

So I took three days out of BuNoWriMo to write an outline, and now I'm sailing along again because I know where I'm going. And the outline was fun to create and gave me a feeling of great satisfaction and even relieved my stress over not knowing where I was going. Pathetic, I know.

Here's what I did:

  1. Research (yes I had to research online for cases similar to mine - except the real life version didn't have ghosts, as far as I know.)
  2. Every scene is numbered and double-spaced, so notes could be added easily as I go along.
  3. I began with a list of victims, suspects, witnesses, clues, theme, summary and twist.
  4. I wrote a list of necessary scenes, clues and red herrings.
  5. I put in days and dates (my first book became very confusing because I didn't pay attention to timing).
  6. I color-coded. I highlighted dates in yellow, clues and suspects in red, paranormal/ghostly activity in green, love scenes in blue and mishaps in pink so I could locate and reference information easily.
  7. I circle the numbered scenes as they're completed.
The outline is fourteen, double-spaced pages with nearly 4000 words. Of course I'm adding scenes and other episodes as I think of them, but I have all of the necessary information required to set up and solve the mystery. With paranormal and romance elements added, of course.

How do you work? Plotting Outliner or Panster? How do you design your outline?

June 12, 2012

Lucky Me!

It seems like I'm napping,
but I'm really working hard.
First, as soon as I corral my Followers all in one place, I'm moving to my new author blog. So PLEASE go HERE and re-follow me. THANK YOU!
Second, I'm sorry I'm not visiting much this month because I am swamped doing BuNoWriMo (Burrow Novel Writing Month). The goal is 50,000 words for the month of June. I barely have time to write this post!

Third, I like to follow up with something positive after my Insecure Writer's Support Group whiny post.

The truth is, I've been very blessed. Some of it's luck and some is talent, but I wanted to share:

  • May 24 - Won an autographed copy of Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade.
  • May 31 - Awarded the Napping Blogger Award from Tara Tyler.
  • May 31 - Won runner-up in the Wilde's Fire Query Contestwith this entry.
  • May 31 - Awarded the Versatile Blogger award from Tuere Morton.
  • June 6 -  Won the Cozy Mystery Blogfest with this entry and the new releases from Hart Johnson (Alyse Carlson) and Elizabeth Craig.
  • June 8 -  Awarded the 7X7 Award from C.M. Brown.
  • June 11 - Won a T-Shirt from the new Sketcher Girls Studios.
Not to mention the free downloads I'm getting from some of my favorite bloggers:

And June isn't even over yet!

I'm sorry if I missed anyone - if I have, please let me know and I'll give you a shout out. So busy this month with BuNoWriMo!

I'll be passing the blog awards along to other awesome bloggers next month, when I'm done with BuNoWriMo. I didn't want you to think I forgot!

THANK YOU EVERYONE! I am truly blessed.

June 8, 2012

BuNoWriMo June 2012

(First, you might be tired of hearing this, but please go to my new author site and follow. I'll be duplicate-posting until all my lovely followers make it over to my new site.)


I'm participating in BuNoWriMo (Burrow Novel Writing Month), a month-long writing marathon during the month of June.

Head to the Burrow! You can find us on Facebook under BuNoWriMo.

The task is to *gulp* write 50,000 words! That's 1666.66 words per day, IF you write every day, including weekends.

I'm already crazy behind. After three chapters I didn't know where I was going so I had to stop and write an outline that took three days!!! But now it's plotted, complete with whodunnit and how and when. Needless to say, I am not a panster.

The best part about BuNoWriMo is that it forces me to get a start on my second book in the Indigo Eady Paranormal Mystery Series, A Guilty Ghost Surprised. When you consider the first novel is 68,000 words, that's a pretty good start.

Keep an eye on my badge in the sidebar because as my word count increases, more of the badge is revealed. How cool is that?!

What are you doing during the month of June? Writing? Editing? Are you making progress? Taking the summer off?

June 6, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group: Rejected

(First, please be sure to follow me on my new author's blog HERE. I'll be posting duplicate posts on both sites until all my lovely Followers join my new site.)

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly insecure writer's anonymous group (not so anonymous, though, cuz we're really putting ourselves out there) that meets (posts) on the first Wednesday of every month. Thanks goes to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting!

If you were by here last Friday, you will have read my post, I'm A Real Writer Now. It was all about getting my first rejection letter from a publisher. Some of you (most? all?) probably already joined the club a long time ago, but for me, it was my first experience with a publisher submission.

I took part in an editor-judged query contest. The good news is that I was a runner-up! I was seriously thrilled. She requested my first three chapters.

The bad news is after reading my first three chapters, she declined to request the full manuscript. The rejection was very kind, with the editor saying my work was really close but not quite there yet and she'd like to see other work from me.

Well, you know how it is. I started over-thinking it, and wondering things like, "what exactly is wrong with it?" and "what do you mean it's close?" Because seriously, just tell me and I'll try to fix it. And then you wonder if she "got it." Because my work is slated as a YA Paranormal Mystery Series, but the way I look at it, it's more of a YA Paranormal "Cozy" Mystery Series with a lot of mishaps, sort of like Scooby Doo Meets Nancy Drew.

And then I think, "well if she didn't 'get it', it's my fault for not getting 'it' across in my writing."

You all know how the evil mastermind Lord Mind-Chatter works!

Alas, I got it off my chest.

And I'm moving forward.

Thanks for listening!

How did your month go? Are you making progress?

June 5, 2012

Crazy Cozy Mystery Blogfest


I'm participating in the Crazy Cozy Mystery blogfest over at Confessions of a Watery Tart.  It's a combined effort between Hart Johnson, writing as Alyse Carlson (The Azalea Assault) and Elizabeth Craig from Mystery Writing is Murder (Quilt Or Innocence) in honor of their new cozy mystery releases on June 5, 2012.

To read the full rules, or a summary of what a Cozy Mystery is, or to find the list of participants, go HERE.

In short, here are the rules:  

Crazy Cozy Blogfest

The idea is to think of the craziest, zaniest set-up for a cozy mystery you can—this is strictly for entertainment value—we don't plan to take these ideas and actually write series (though if you think YOU want to, go for it!). But we are asking you to come up with a wacky theme, a zany sleuth, a crazy setting for your OWN Crazy Cozy Mystery idea.


1) Sleuth (age, occupation, maybe a little family info)

2) Sidekick (either friend or foil, but someone who always seems to be around)

3) Setting (town, city, or other sort of place)

4) Theme (go nuts)

5) Twist (be as creative as you like)

Write it up in 150-250 words (so short)--for the blogfest portion anyway—we want people to be able to read a bunch of these without too much burden. Keep the traditions in mind, but we are judging on entertainment value--which we enjoy most, not how realistic it is to make a best seller. We want people to laugh. WE want to laugh. (so consider those rules more like guidelines, really).

HERE IS THE "craziest, zaniest set-up for a cozy mystery" I COULD COME UP WITH:

Best Laid Plans

Madam Penelope Pope runs the family brothel passed down from her grandmother, Prudence Pope. But she’s no Buxom beauty like grandma and business is slow. To encourage more business activity, Penny decides to put on a contest for the local businessmen of sleepy little Buxom Bosom, with full approval from the BBB (Businessmen for Buxom Bosom). The grand prize is the coveted Golden Globes – a life size bust of grandma’s bust, made of solid gold.

The contest is going well until...

The president of the BBB is caught dead with his pants down, and Penny’s best girl, Handy Mandy, is caught red-handed with her hands on the prize.

Penny knew Handy Mandy was innocent, so the two set out to restore the hard-earned reputation as the best brothel in Buxom Bosom by conducting their own investigation to find the killer.

Will Penny blow the job? Or will she take matters in hand like a pro?


Okay, enough of the silliness! Check out these real cozy mystery blurbs from the real professionals:

by Alysa Carlson
nee Hart Johnson
by Elizabeth Craig

As the newest member of the Village Quilters Guild, Beatrice has a lot of gossip to catch up on—especially with the Patchwork Cottage quilt shop about to close. It seems that Judith, the landlord everyone loves to hate, wants to raise the rent, despite being a quilter herself… But when Judith is found dead, the harmless gossip becomes an intricate patchwork of mischievous motives. And it’s up to Beatrice’s expert eye to decipher the pattern and catch the killer, before her life gets sewn up for good.

Quilt or Innocence

by Elizabeth Craig

Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.