Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A quiet retrospect on this #TuesdayswithTaryn

Been thinking lately about how quiet I've been. I've been more crafty than writerly in my mood. Making homemade gifts for my loved ones feeds my soul and blesses me with a form of joy I can only get from doing those kinds of things (even when some people look at me like I've lost my ever-loving crafty mind), but tonight I keep thinking about my stories and the joy they used to bring me- those written, those not yet finished, and even those not yet begun & I feel melancholy.

I miss writing- I mean I miss it so much it hurts. It feels like I have a deep black hole in my heart because it's missing and yet, I don't know how to get back to it. Certain revelations about myself as a writer, about my stories, my characters, what's lacking in the stories I've written has bogged down my creative juices for months, and the process just doesn't want to come to me. I feel alone in this journey and have at times wondered what I'm even doing and why.

I know WHY- it's because my heart does not stop desiring to put words to page, even when I'm feeling creatively blocked, emotionally disconnected, and frozen in place by fear and self-loathing of myself as a writer. Self-doubts and misgivings press in on me from all sides and make me question whether the stories I have written and want to tell are even worth it. I keep thinking that there are so many other more talented authors out there and that what I have to offer would fall short of the readers' expectations, and mine.

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me and there are changes I need to make to my characters- in their personalities, their strengths and their flaws, the very essence of their stories and who they are. I feel so overwhelmed by it that I can't even begin... Every time I think of opening a file and working on it, I feel panicky and scared- and I'm not sure what scares me more....the fact that what I might find could be trash by my own standards, or might be trash in the eyes of others----

And worse yet, what if it only serves to reveal to me that I'm a sub-par author with little to offer in the way of a heartfelt story that touches a reader and proves that I'm nothing more than a fraud--- that silly dancing chicken on a hotplate. (I seem to recall that being something George Strait talked about in Pure Country when he was tired of all the razzle-dazzle of the business and how he felt like that dancing chicken- which seemed like a neat trick at a county fair or something, but in truth, it was just on a hotplate, burning it's feet and just dancing as fast as it could to get away.)

I do think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it's not just one book, but many, that I know I need to take a good hard look at and decide their fate through editing, rewrites,(and it might mean massive rewrites) before I can move forward with my plans to self-pub. Some days I wonder if I should even continue, but its nights like this when the ache to get back to work on it burns so brightly it hurts my chest and brings tears to my eyes.

I will sleep on it tonight- hopefully.... and maybe this is just a sign that my time to come back to it is drawing closer....that I need writing to quench a thirst I can't quite seem to vanquish...


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dreadfully Absent in Mind, Body & Spirit #TuesdayswithTaryn #burnout #tiredauthor


I've been dreadfully absent around here I know. I can't even remember the last Saturday recipe I shared or Sunday Snippits, but I had to step away for a while and I might still be spotty when it comes to posting.

Last month I took a huge step for a "woman my age" and finally took the road test to get my driver's license. I failed MISERABLY the first time, so I had to wait, practice and go back the following week to re-test. I passed with only 1 thing marked off the 2nd time, so I'm now a licensed driver- look out world! Some have already been warned, but I'll share here, just to warn everyone else.

I'm still getting used to the knowledge that I can come and go, pick up things from the store, do the grocery shopping- ALONE!- I can do birthday shopping now for family in my household without them being with me or finding out what I got them before I get to wrap it.

It's definitely given me a new sense of self and a sense of freedom, but there are days that I find myself wanting to go driving, or take off to go visit family and friends while the hubby and kids are at school, but it would be a 2 1/2-3 hour drive to do so, which is frustrating and makes me melancholy during a season that usually rejuvenates me. This year I'm torn between the joy of this newfound freedom and the fact that I can't just go visit my close friends and family at the drop of a hat.

Another reason I have been absent around here has a lot to do with my writing- or the lack thereof. Even with editing and getting help from fresh eyes to see where my faults lie in my writing, I feel like a car stuck in the mud, spinning my tires and getting no where fast~ except exhausted and burned out. And unhappy. Discouraged. Disappointed in myself and I'm mentally exhausted and even though I KNOW I don't want to give up writing, I just feel tapped out....I still have stories to write, begging me from the inside out to bring them to life, but I have no zest, no zeal, no desire to write, right now.

I found myself cycling through edits until all I wanted to do is cry because I'm so overwhelmed by the work I know needs to be done, not just on the one I've been editing, but the ones that come after, which are "1st-Draft finished". Talk about that sense that you are drowning. I found myself promo'ing for fellow authors and myself (for the one book that is pubbed) more than working on my own stuff that I intend to pub. When I did look at my own stuff, it just made me sick to my stomach and well, when you no longer "love" what you do, sometimes you have to step back and refocus and reassess where you are and what path you are going down. For me, I feel like a snowball, rolling rolling rolling, picking up speed, but headed for disaster. I've even backed away a lot from my real life social networking as well. I check in ever so often but not like I was before.

Now Mercury is in Retrograde and has been for about a week and will be till mid-November (the 10th actually), so I'm too superstitious (or silly) (or crazy) to pick up and start ANY new project at this time. I'm concentrating more on things I need to do around my house, making lists for holiday treats I plan to make before Thanksgiving to take to family and friends, playing seamstress to take up my daughter's oversized costume for Halloween (She wants to be Sabrina the Teenage Witch, though no one will get that unless she explains it. She got hooked on the show this past summer on Netflix/Hulu and just LOVES it). Normally I would dress up too, but I'm just not feeling it this year.

Now, even in my absence/quiet- I still have a book available- Castaway Hearts, which I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you'd check it out and let me know what you think of it, but for right now, I think I'm going to step back from writing all together, at least until after the New Year. I've tried before to step away but I don't think I ever truly gave myself time to clear my head.

I'm so tired. My mind, body and spirit need time to rest and adjust and find the heart of my writing again. I think somewhere along the way, it's gotten buried deep beneath everything else in my life. It's the "autumn of my discontent" and on a personal/emotional level, I'm trying to figure out what's best for me and eliminating stress and unhappiness is a big big part of that.

Besides getting my license, I have two very busy kids~ stepson's on the Academic Team and has meets, daughter's in Jr. Beta, chorus & joined a run club. I visited family & friends during Fall Break earlier this month and with the upcoming holidays and knowing I'm not feeling up to NaNoWriMo next month at all, I think I'm going to step back into my life and try to figure out how to find true balance again. I know I don't have it.

I'm not sure I'll post anymore of the recipes I had slated for the rest of the year, but will try when I think of it. Same goes for the Sunday Snippits. And I will post from time to time, if the mood strikes me. If anyone is interested in taking a Tuesday or Thursday spot for some promo, please feel free to email me and let me know.

To close out today, here's an inspirational blogpost I JUST happened upon today that brought me tears and reminded me that I am NOT alone in being a TIRED writer. I just hope I find my way out of Tired, as well- very soon!

at ROMANCE MAGICIANS

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Welcome to #TuesdayswithTaryn @ChristiCorbett #Author of Along the Way Home #historical

~Tuesdays with Taryn~
Christi Corbett

What book(s) most influenced you as a writer?
I would say my favorite book series of my youth, the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I got my first book of hers at a yard sale at age seven, and read it so much the covers literally crumbled from wear and eventually fell off the book. And I had my first moment of absolute book joy when I learned that there were many more (which was my first brush with the concept of a series).

What book do you read over and over again?
Pieces of Sky, by Kaki Warner.

Tuesday/Thursday Trio-
1)      Movie- Legends of the Fall. However, I must add that while most swoon over Brad Pitt’s character, Tristan, I’ve always respected Aiden Quinn’s character, Alfred, because he was so steadfast and loyal and did the right thing no matter the cost to his own life plans.
2)      Music- I listened to the soundtrack to the movie “All the Pretty Horses” when I wrote Along the Way Home, as well as classical music (Mozart and Beethoven are my favorites). However, when I’m not writing I enjoy a random collection of anything from techno to jazz.
3)      Decadent Dessert- Plain Cheesecake. I just want to taste the actual cheesecake without having it masked by toppings like fruit or chocolate. Tiramisu is a close second, but cheesecake always wins!

What’s the most interesting or bizarre bit of trivia you’ve learned from researching for a novel?
This is probably a little bit on the TMI (too much information) side, but did you know that to create a “bathroom” on the prairie parts of the Oregon Trail, women would stand in a circle with their skirts in hand, spreading them out, while one woman would do her business in the middle of the skirt circle? Necessity really is the mother of invention!

Novel on your Nightstand:
Who/what are you currently reading?
Research books for my next books, so I’ve got a stack I flip through when I’ve got a few minutes to spare:
Letters of a Woman Homesteader, by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Pioneer Women, by Joanna L. Stratton
Women’s Voices from the Oregon Trail, by Susan Butruille
The Gentle Tamers, by Dee Brown
Jessie Applegate, by Leta Lovelace Neiderheiser
The River of the West, by Frances Fuller Victor

Whom would you cast as your Main Characters/Hero/Heroine if your book became a movie?
I’m going to pass on this question.


Along the Way Home:
 (click book cover to go to Amazon buy page)

Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father’s mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia’s elite society.

Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he’s eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation—he is in complete control.

Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother’s heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs—even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.

Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice—go back to everything she’s ever known or toward everything she’s ever wanted?


A note from Christi-



When I’m not writing I love chatting with readers and writers alike. You can find me in one of the following locations: 
EMAIL  
BLOG  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Taryn's Snippit Sundays~ "...so long as you dress appropriate this time." CASTAWAY HEARTS #excerpt



Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of—her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.

Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.

Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?

     Catherine’s smile spread, her heart rising up on wings of hope at his offer.
     “But how?”
     “Meet me tonight, around the same time. I’ll bring along Willow, the gentlest mare in my barn. Saddled and ready. We’ll race along the beach.”
     “You’d do that for me?” Catherine pressed a hand to her bosom, surprised by this fortunate turn of events.
     “Yes, so long as you dress appropriate this time.” Dawson whispered—his words husky.
     Heavens. He saw her in her nightgown!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Way to a Man's Heart~ Juicy Lucys #recipe #goodeats

The Way to a Man's ♥~
Juicy Lucys
This is one of the easiest recipes and one we took note of because of one of those Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives or Man Vs. Food episodes. In all actuality, it's not even much of a "recipe" per se-


I pat out 8 "thin" patties (I use a rolling pin and plastic wrap to get them approximately all the same size)


Make sure they're big enough for the slice(s) of cheese to fit. If you notice, my front flat top burner (not turned on) makes a good measurement for the size of each patty.



Place the cheese slices (your favorite- doesn't have to be American, though that's what I used)
 Sandwich the cheese between two patties and press edges together to form a seal.

I tend to "bake" my burgers these days on a lightly greased broiler pan rather than in the skillet where it tends to hold a lot of the greasiness.

I preheat my oven to between 400º and 425º and simply pepper the tops of the burgers, bake for approximately 10 minutes, flip/pepper them & bake another 10, flip again. With a plain burger, I can usually cook them within 30 minutes and add cheese slices at the very end. With the Juicy Lucys, I'd say it would be wise to go at least 40-45 minutes, to be sure the patties on both sides are fully cooked.

Top with another slice of cheese just before removing from oven and then whatever your favorite burger toppings after that.

Also wise is to give the burgers 5-10 minutes rest before biting/slicing into, as evidenced by my top picture- When I sliced into mine, it oozed EVERYWHERE! What a mess, but it was delicious!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Taryn's Snippit Sundays~ "You were riding a horse on the beach?" CASTAWAY HEARTS #excerpt



 
Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of—her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.

Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.

Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


     “I did not spy, young Miss. I was out for a late night horse ride on the beach, and I heard a ruckus. I figured I better check things out to make sure someone or something wasn’t drowning.”
     There was much more to it than that, but she ventured no further questions in that regard.
     “You were riding a horse on the beach?” This thought piqued her interest.
     “Yes. I couldn’t sleep…” Dawson began. “I have several, do you like to ride?”
     “Yes, but I’ve already been warned away from it.” Anger singed her insides. “Again, it’s not something a lady, like myself, should be doing.”
     “Well now, that’s a might shameful.” Dawson’s lips curled up on one side before he drew on his pipe and looked thoughtful. “I tell you what. If you like to ride, I’d be more than happy if you’d ride one of my fine mares. Gypsy’s mine and trusts only me, but I have several others that are good and gentle for a lady like you.”