Friday, January 29, 2010

Toothpaste! AKA Blogger's Block

I'm not a fan of writer's block and honestly think I just procrastinate more than anything or get easily distracted from the matter at hand, but seriously...this is getting OLD.

Of course, I realize today I'm now suffering from blogger's block. Yeah...I'm calling it that. I'm actually just feeling disconnected from everything writing related at the moment. Thoughts keep drifting, ability to concentrate is down to the bare minimum. I can't even journal because my thoughts are in such a jumble. Nothing's flowing.

I need to get the words and thoughts and feelings out but it's like it's jammed up in there and I can't get it the last little bit of toothpaste in the tube. No matter how tightly you smash and roll the tube up from the end and then twist it and mangle it, it's NOT coming out without a fight.
But I guess I'm going to have to fight back— write what I can, when I can until I get back in the groove of things. My world is just in a very strange place right now I guess...and my words are stuck back there in the back of the tube. I'm rolling it though and eventually it'll give. It has to.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What a Buzz Kill....

Negativity is such an buzz kill.

Well, as a writer, not so much- you need negatives to balance the positives, conflict in order to have resolution and a HEA- Happily Ever After.

But in real life? Honestly? I don't like to dwell on bad things, but it seems here lately I'm surrounded by so much negative energy— whether it's those around me or just things in the world itself. There are so many sad things going on- natural disasters, the economy, disease. I could list so many things that are heartbreaking, but I won't.

Instead, I will focus momentarily on things going on in the little world around me. I only bring it up because I have been in a "down" place for quite some time on a personal level and I've been trying to claw my way to the surface of this hole before it sucks me down so far I can't get out.

Yesterday morning I woke up in a mood that had me thinking about how badly I want more positivity in my life, more happiness and joy and I find it kind of hard to do when I feel the electrical charge of negative energy flowing around me, hanging in the ether and zapping me when I least expect it. It's like when you slide your socked feet across the carpet and accidentally shock yourself on the next piece of metal you come in contact with. Not fun and it gets OLD real quick.

I guess it started when I went searching for a quote to fit how I was feeling about negativity and cynicism the other day and found one that spoke volumes about how negativity effects us.

"Avoid destructive thinking. Improper negative thoughts sink people. A ship can sail around the world many, many times, but just let enough water get into the ship and it will sink. Just so with the human mind. Let enough negative thoughts or improper thoughts get into the human mind and the person sinks just like a ship." ~Alfred A Montapert

I've felt that weight of negativity in recent days trying to sink me like a ship, I tell you! It feels like a major force of evil attempting to hammer me into the ground and choke my happiness out of me. It makes me tired and exhausted and drained.

Perhaps it IS the state of the world we're living in now, that we expect only the worst and can't see the good in others- or anything for that matter. Perhaps being critical and cynical is just a way of life, but I would like to believe there's still good in this world. I struggle to think how much better life would be if I could wrap my head around the idea that I should "always look on the bright side of life."

If Monty Python's Life of Brian should have taught me anything, it's that!

Unfortunately, I've forgotten it along the way since I watched that movie years ago. Now would be a good time to take up that notion though, especially when things aren't going great, for me or for others around me— Negativity drags us down in this life and I'm tired of droopy faces always griping and complaining. I'm saddened to see people of faith lose heart. I worry about those who wear a phony smile and then endlessly find fault in everything.

Life is full of differences and it's those dissimilarities that make the world go around. Sadly I find myself wondering what kind of emotional or mental payoff people get from looking down their noses at others, always finding some way to "sneak" a snide or disheartening remark into conversation, always leaving crumbs of doubt in their wake.

This gets lumped into the "weighed, measured, and found wanting" category when others find fault in something we feel, something we've said, something we believe. Sadly, they use a measuring stick of their own making- THEIR "standard" of what they believe is right, all the while forgetting WE have the very same right to OUR own beliefs and "standards"- things we were raised with or have come to embrace as part of WHO we are. No one said we have to agree about things, but what makes them think their way is the ONLY way? Or vice versa?

Sometimes we need to stop and think about what that negativity does before we let it ooze out of us. Does it become so deeply embedded as a force of habit we don't realize we even do it? What would it take to trigger some sort of heartfelt knowledge that we're guilty of it?

Face it, people don't think before they speak. They don't reflect upon what their personal opinions or words might do to a friend or a loved one. Honesty is a good policy—up to a point- but every word spoken doesn't have to be cold harsh truth. There are ways to be diplomatic and kind and tactful, without tearing some one's heart and spirit to pieces because they aren't you and don't think like you.

To my understanding, this also falls under the heading of living with a critical spirit and leaves me shaking my head when I see so many "emotional" vampires out there- sucking the joy out of the lives of those around them, for whatever reason they have~ whether they be the doubting Thomas or the Debbie Downer or the Wendy Whiner.

Have we all forgotten that it's better to THINK before we speak- that if you don't have something nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all?

How about taking a deep breath before adding your two cents about someone else's life or feelings or opinions, because, you don't know where they're coming from or what they're going through. You might misinterpret what they've said or read something into it that isn't even there. Don't find a way to jab that cold cruel dagger of negativity deeper into a wound you may not be close enough to see or know exists. It does far more harm than good.

Show kindness. Use your head to speak from your heart. Remember to treat others the way you would want to be treated. Find a way to insert POSITIVITY into your words so that you also insert it into the lives of others you come in contact with rather than dwelling on the ugliness. There's enough ugliness in the world and I don't want any more of it. I'm sure most of us don't.

That's why I've decided to start turning my negatives into positives. Lemons to Lemonade. If I start to whine, I'm going to bite my tongue before I speak. I want to be a positive in the lives of my friends and family- not the grumpy Gus who always brings everyone down. The only way to do that is to flip the script.

You get the picture?

Positively Marvelous! Have a wonderful weekend! It's going to be great!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kindling on the Fire

Yes, it would seem this year is starting off on a different foot than last year. Albeit, Mercury was in retrograde up until the 15th, so it's just now making its way BACK to where it was before it went retro December 26th. It will hit it's mark on Feb 4th—my birthday— so things should get back to normal for everyone in terms of communication, but most especially those of us who write. I'm already feeling a few minor "good" effects of it going direct again.

I got through re-reading the historical I wrote a couple of years ago. I did a few revisions/edits to it- I can't recall how many times I've gone through it, but it's feeling far more polished now than it ever has before and I'm glad of that. I read through 147 pages yesterday (had already done 216 pages over the past week or so already) and finished up the last 16 pages this morning.

The only thing is- re-reading it got me to thinking and it has put kindling on the fire of something I have contemplated before.

Originally I only had this one idea, so the story would be a stand-alone novel set around the 1790's—perhaps the early 1800's. My mom, who doesn't write, but had a really great idea for a story, brainstormed it with me, told me all the details she had in her mind that she didn't feel she could get on paper and told me to take it and write it. Her idea is set toward the end of the Civil War though- a few decades from the one I have written.

Now I'm at a crossroads. I'm still in the process of writing my 2nd contemporary series about brothers, but there's a niggling- a reminder reaching out to me that I should do more with my historical—that I can't just leave it standing alone...that perhaps mine is only the beginning of a family saga series, passed down over generations, all starting with my main heroine and working its way through other stories until it gets to my mom's heroine, a descendant of my own. I want to do justice to both of our stories and feel they don't work, individually, but that perhaps there should be a collaboration that creates a beginning and an end, with other tales in between.

If I have the family tree/time line in my mind figured up correctly, I could end up with another 4 book series. Of course, I have only been chewing on this idea for a little while this morning. Before that, I hadn't thought about it in a couple of years because I had been delving into other stories that needed my attention.
Having said that, I haven't really charted it or figured out the details, but I think the flame is starting to grow and the torch light is leading me to wander back into the realm of historical romance. Or if nothing else, only these few, because in all honesty, I'm more of a contemporary gal—but just as with anything else, sometimes a writer needs more than one outlet for their inspiration and perhaps they might be the only historical romances I ever write, but they are tugging at me and I feel they need to be told. My first priority is to my current series, but soon. Soon I will get to the others.

I hear the whispers on the wind, the words calling me back into the universe of my imagination and it's ALL good....My stories haven't forgotten me and it seems the portal into those varied and mystical lands are opening up, welcoming and bidding me follow wherever they lead, even though I have been away for so long. I have journeyed there many times in my mind, traipsed through the forests and across the bridges, but now its a matter of capturing the words- gathering them together to bring them to life on the page.

I feel as though I have been gone from my country of origin for ages, but perhaps my time away the past year will help me see more clearly, describe more vividly, and write more adeptly. I believe it is all writers' great hope that when they set out on this journey, they discover these things about themselves and learn to use and wield the tools to their advantage. Perhaps last year tripped me, perhaps I was wounded in an imaginary battle by an invisible warrior set against me, but I am healing and will find my way back into the action and back to what I love doing.

But for now- here is my battle cry—

Write On!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Bright Spot In Gloomy Winter's Embrace

My Hippo is blooming...I mean- my Hippeastrum...LOL

Yes, I'm naming the blooms and from Alice in Wonderland at that...Any takers what the other two blooms will be called? LOL

The first two blossoms-

Tweedle Dee

Tweedle Dum

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Long Weekend & The Growing TBR Pile....

With the kids home Thursday and Friday due to snow, I'm surprised I got as much done as I did this week. I guess I did read-throughs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and got through 170 of nearly 400 pages. Thursday I took the kiddos out to play in the snow and spent precious time with them and had a Day of Play.

A close friend of mine chalked it up to me just being lazy in regard to my writing, but as I so eloquently pointed out, the kids won't remember it that way. They'll remember that cold snowy winter day that school was closed and Mommy got out in the snow and took their pictures and threw snowballs with them. My daughter swore it was THE best day of her life. I reminded her she says that about most any day that she gets to do what she wants, but she said, "Yeah, but this really IS the best day of my life. I had SO much fun!" Bless her 7 year old heart! LOL I miss the simplicity of childhood, when all it took was something like that- a snow day- to make me feel like bursting with joy.

The back pain is slowly going away, though I still feel slightly stiff, especially during the night. Seems my back "stoves" up more then than during the day. Slow easy stretches and just resting as best as I can and hopefully I'll be back to normal before too long.

In the meantime, I'm still working through the manuscript and the house work and I've been reading the anthology Never After that includes stories by Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu and Sharon Shinn. I've read Laurell and Yasmine's so far and both were good!

Among so many other things that I'm going to try to figure out and move forward with in this new year, one is to attempt to whittle away at my TBR pile. I know I have more books than I can read in one sitting and I continue to add to it (I have about 6 more books I'll be getting once they ship, that I ordered the other day....) I'm a book worm...a book hog. I LOVE books. mother and I were discussing it and she said I should set aside at least 1 day a week and mark it on the calendar as my day to do nothing but read a book. I got to thinking about it and in a year (52 weeks) I could read 52 books if I set aside just one day to read just one book all the way through. It's a thought and I'm seriously chewing on it.

It would definitely get that pile down a bit. I don't feel so stressed about it when I look at my bookcase across the room to my left, but when I remember that what I see isn't ALL of it, well that's another story.

What I keep in here in the living room on a small 3 shelf bookcase only scrapes the surface of my book obsession collection. I have to remember there's an entire bookcase FULL of novels in the bedroom just waiting for me to take them up and love them, too. Will I get to them? I sure hope so.

I know I'm missing out on a lot of great tales....but I also have tales to tell myself and I need to remember to make them a priority- to write them, finish them, polish them, etc.

Here's to enjoying the rest of this weekend and getting a great start to the coming week. Not sure if I'll read through my own work when I get off here or get back to reading Never After....would enjoy either. Have a good evening everyone!
(Finishing off the blog on a great note- I just got my email notification that my other books have shipped! YAY!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Upcoming Meetings for KYRW

Check out the website for the upcoming meetings for the next three months. All kinds of wonderful things going on!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just for Laughs

Mizzy..... Leave the Hippopotamus....I mean Hippeastrum alone!
(Hippeastrum hybrid, aka erroneously called an Amaryllis. Hubby found it at the grocery the other night for 99¢ marked down from $9.99. It's still in good shape and starting to bloom. Can't wait! Will post new pic when it does.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snowbound... pain......with kids.

It wasn't snowing this morning at 5am when hubby left for work, but just before he stepped out the door, our County became part of the growing list of school closings. A moment after he left, the phone rang- the County's automated "news call" letting me know further that school would be closed.


I turned off both kids' alarms before they could go off and wake them up, which afforded me maybe half an hour of quiet before they both got up. Snow days were so much more fun when I was a kid, not a grown up. ;oP

Shortly after, it did begin to snow, but as the picture above depicts, we've got a dusting, but not much more. It apparently has made the roads just a wee bit hazardous as I've noticed cars and trucks driving by slowing instead of at break-neck speeds that would be normal- though against the law- on our road. We're in a 'children at play' zone or one of like it, but there are quite a few drivers who zip up and down this road like they think they're on a Nascar circuit.

Needless to say, I'm tired already and the day has only barely begun. In a way, I'm glad the kids are home because I don't have to worry about them being on the bus on these roads, but having them home affords me no real "rest." I honestly could have gone back to bed today because I'm in physical pain.

In the middle of the night, Girly Girl woke up and had accidentally wet her bed, so I groggily set about changing the sheets. I leaned over rather hard and fast at one point to tug at the covers and I don't know WHAT I did, but I suddenly felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest attempting to crack my ribcage open like someone trying to pop open a walnut. Lifting my arms up and down was a struggle because my entire upper body felt stiff and sore as though I had a stiff neck- you know the kind- similar to what I imagine having whiplash is like. If you have to turn, its a slow intentional full body turn to look at things- NO fun at all. It also hurt a little to breath too deeply.

I don't remember what time that was, though I want to say it was around 12:30 or so. After that, I tossed and turned for hours, trying to get comfortable, but by 3 am, when Hubby attempted to wrap his arm around me and snuggle, I shoved his arm off of me because the weight of it seemed to suffocate me. I got up and heated a rice pack in the microwave to lay on my back and took a couple of ibuprofen.

By 4am, when the alarm went off, I was still groaning with each move. Hubby got up shortly there after and I followed suit, slowly, about a quarter till 5 and took two more ibuprofen and reheated the rice pack. I've been keeping it warm off and on all morning and that, on top of the medicine, seems to have helped a little, not to mention that I have popped my back in a few places and that brought some minor relief.

Either I threw something, pulled something or it just got "stoved up"- though this felt different than any back issue I've had before. Usually mine is lower back and when it's up in your ribcage and makes your chest ache heavily, it does give you pause when a moment of concern flickers through your sleep deprived mind. plan for this snow day now that I'm feeling a smidge better and want to get something productive done?

Think I'll get back to what I have been doing the past two days- reading through my historical/paranormal manuscript for the gazillionth time, but still liking it and finding only minimal things that need changes and polishing. Of nearly 400 pgs, I've read through 110. If I can hear my thoughts over the kids playing about 4 feet from me, I might get even further today. Might have to convince them to take their play to the other one's room...LOL

Happy "Skiff of Snow" Day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Heart In Hand

We all do it, I suppose. Put our hearts out there for all the world to see, for others to take or leave, to love or let go.

Whether we know it or not, we carry our heart in hand all our lives, allowing the pulse to lead us, sometimes offering it to those who couldn't appreciate it even if it were their own. Sometimes finding another soul who willingly shares theirs in return. And though we know that we run the risk of getting it dropped, broken, stepped on, we still put it out there saying "Here. Would you like this?" because we want that "great love." We long to find "The One" who completes our puzzle.

Early on in our lives we look into others expectantly, hoping to see a reflection of our own needs and desires to be loved with that "great love" that is sometimes truly out of our grasp, always an apparition just out of reach.

Sometimes we do find it- that special "something" that envelopes us in a warmth that's foreign, yet familiar~ something otherworldly and ethereal that we know we can only feel when we're with that special someone and its something that nearly rips us apart when we are separated and divided from them for any length of time.

When you've been hurt, you want to reject it, while at the same time you embrace it and want to feel it for always. You can't imagine that you never felt it before and want to die to think you might never feel it again. There's a sense of rightness, a sense of completion and it's only when you are with this person, only when you look into their eyes and feel their hand in yours that you KNOW and understand WHY you carried your heart in hand to begin with.

If you've felt it...if you've known this kind of love, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Count yourself lucky because so few of us get to have it. It means you connected with your soulmate- your split apart, as Demi Moore called it in The Butcher's Wife. They are the one who knows you unlike anyone else has, does or ever will again. They see you for who and what you truly are and love you for it unfailingly.

It means they saw your heart, sitting there on the palm of your hand and wanted it, accepted it- accepted YOU~ just as you are~ saw within and gave you the missing piece of you needed when you gave them the piece they had been searching for. You loved them immediately, without question, without saying a word and that love was returned.

It's these things I try to project in my writing when I bring two characters together. I want the reader to feel it as deeply as they would their own bond to the one they love. The hero and heroine need to come together in a way that has the reader, whether they've known that kind of love or are still searching for it, cheering them on and keeping their fingers crossed that "The End" finds them together at last~ happy and enveloped in a love that will last them a lifetime and bring them immense joy.

As a writer, especially of romance, its the best way to give love to the readers- by giving our hero and heroine the kind of love we all long for.

The only way to do that is by writing with heart in hand.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Putting It To Bed (2009, That Is)

When I started this blog a few years ago, I was writing almost nonstop, full to the brim with inspiration and I blogged a LOT. I felt I had a lot to say, and looking back, I realize I struck when an iron was burning hot in my soul. I had spent so many stagnant years THINKING about writing, DREAMING about writing, that when I finally found my inspiration, discovered my muse, it burned like rich fuel and engulfed me for nearly 2- 2 1/2 years. It was one of those "eat, sleep and breathe" it things.

And then along came 2009 and it threw a big ol' monkey wrench into all I had been so proud of- all that I had accomplished. When I said this blog was for the ups and downs of my journey as a writer, I can now honestly say it and mean it because it has been a rough year all around and seemed to be the year I would be hit by one of those writing downs I spoke of, but it also seemed to flood over into other parts of my life. 2009 seemed to become a year that was about losing other things, as well.

I lost my writing mojo~ my flame shimmered down to an ember and the strong foundation I thought I had poured for my life as a writer chipped a little bit. Self-doubt and self-pity crowded around me and shook that foundation some more and gave me pause to look back and wonder what in the world I was doing. In the past year, I have honestly thought a few times that the white hot flame of inspiration had burnt out completely, but I'm starting to see the sparks again, feel the low rumble deep within and think perhaps I needed the break before the next big rush of inspiration and writing frenzy washes over me.

In the past year I also lost a couple of teeth via excruciating pain that led to extractions. I lost a classmate and dear friend- a young woman who had once been one of my very best friends. She died far too early in her life- she was only a couple of years older than me. I lost a family member to cancer. We miss you Aunt Faye!

I even lost a bad habit- smoking. I broke a 16-year habit in a matter of weeks. I'm now 9 months+ smoke-free and looking forward to March when I can proudly say I've been smoke-free for a year. Never would have thought that when I started smoking at 18, I'd be able to give it up, but I did. If 2009 was good for anything, it was that...It was time.

A few things I didn't lose- weight, though I wish I had. I HAVE to get back to the Gazelle. My sense of humor- I can still laugh at how silly and naive I can be. My mind and my grasp on reality...though those two are questionable and have yet to be confirmed, though I hope I haven't lost either. Mwahahaha!

I guess really though, losing isn't always about losing, but about growth and change.

I get this way every time and there's a lot of relief to see the end of one and beginning of another, and yet I'm overcome with melancholy and find myself seeking moments of deep reflection.

In the closing months of every year I decorate my world in bright sparkling lights and decorations and surround myself with the cheerful twinkle of the holidays, but at the same time, it's hard not to think about how I'm also saying a joyous hello to a new year and a sad goodbye to the previous one, especially after all the "light" that surrounds me for a month or more is snuffed out.

Seems it takes forever to get the decorations up and I usually revel in it, but then the "light" goes away so much more quickly. Yesterday as I carefully took down each ornament, strand of garland and string of lights, and again today as I froze my fingers removing stiff wires and frozen bows from the hedges and porch in the bitterly cold wind, sadness crept up and slipped into my heart. I realized all the "light" was being packed away yet again. The trinket shelves in the living room are so dark now that the village is gone and the corner to my right where the tree stood just a couple of days ago is shadowed. Instead of the tree there is a rocking chair and my Gazelle folded up and leaning against the wall, waiting for me to start the new year off right.

Sad as it is, there's also that wonderful sense of normalcy returning and I'm glad of it. The kids go back to school tomorrow, hubby goes back to work and hopefully it will be the first day of a new beginning for me in regard to my writing. I'm putting it to bed, though we're already a few days into 2010- Goodnight 2009, for the last time.

2010~ Bring It On!!!