About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

My Writing ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers

Saying-#1-Resized

I really must apologize for not doing the blog for the last two months. Sure, I have an excuse and a valid one at that but it’s still no reason for not letting you know what was going on.

Recently, I moved from Vienna, Austria back to my hometown in Nevada. Now this may be a temporary move at best but still, like any move, it is a whole new experience. Frankly, I don’t know what I expected because my youngest, his girlfriend, his best friend along with his girlfriend all live in my house.

And I asked for very little when I returned. I wanted the smallest bedroom, a corner of my wonderful office and the walk-in closet in my office. Right now, I feel lucky to have a bedroom. Needless to say, I’m going crazy without a place to write and no place to hang my clothes as my husband has the very small closet in the bedroom. I figured since he had all the suits for work, it was the only solution.

Right now, I’m cranky, unreasonable and argumentative when I really don’t want to be. I live in chaos with 3 dogs, 5 cats and 5 other humans in a house that doesn’t have enough room for all of us. Did I mention, there are only two bathrooms as well?

So, it doesn’t leave much in the way of writing. I don’t have a dedicated place and I’m trying to keep the spark alive by working on my dining room table. Sometimes it’s fine, others it reminds me of the total chaos I live in when the dogs start playing under the table and actually move it. Add to that the cats who start running and the dogs take chase. All in good fun of course.

Except for Harry. Most of the time he’s fabulous with all the critters. My youngest’s cat, Gatsby, and he are great friends. Until the other dogs start playing with him too. Then it becomes a free-for-all that tells me I’m going to lose my mind.

Then I think of some well-loved movies and I know it will be okay. I remember the scene in The Christmas Story where the pack of dogs come in and steal the Christmas bird. Yeah, my home looks like that and when I calm down, I can see the hilarity of the situation. Or how about the many funny scenes from the movie, Yours, Mine and Ours. It doesn’t matter which version you get, it’s all much the same.

The point here is that while my writing reality may suck, the opportunity for ideas and stories and just living life abound. Don’t get me wrong…I loved my life in Vienna for it’s ordered manner and calm…I hated it because I was 7000 miles away from my immediate family and 4500 from our nearest relatives who live in New Hampshire. I wanted to figure out a way to successfully combine them and this is what I got.

I guess in my quietness, I forgot that life isn’t calm, nor as ordered as I was used to. Life is messy with all its foibles and ugliness and just plain chaotic nature. Life ebbs and flows, like a river. Sometimes it’s raging and makes great canyons, others it’s a meandering ribbon that brings life to the farmland but can flood when the sky opens and sometimes, it goes down to a trickle to die a slow death. Yet somehow, it has lived a full, rich life by just being.

Even though, life is throwing me a few, or a lot, of curves I remind myself every day of the wonder of being here in the chaos, surrounded by family and friends, feeling the awesomeness of where I am as I gather more story ideas for the day where I can again sit at my desk and write all day.

See you next month…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Ringing In The New ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers

Resized-Goals

Just like when we run around before the holidays, many people decide on their New Year’s Resolutions during the month of January. I have read many things that people are going to do, or hope to do, for the coming year. Some are so specific that there appears to be no wiggle room whatsoever.

Unfortunately, I know me, I have to have that wiggle room or I feel crushed by responsibilities both personal and professional. With that in mind, I did a little research on just how to approach things this year and what I learned is amazingly simple.

This year, I’m planning everything around a series of goals without getting too much detail on how to get it done. Let’s face it…if you put a goal down…you have a very good idea on how you can accomplish it or it never would have made your list.

What I did was come up with seven categories that are important to me: Writing, Health, Financial, Family, Learning, Social and Other. Under each of those I put down 4-5 items I’d love to do throughout the year. For example, under writing I put down that I wanted to work on one big novel every month. I also want to work on and finish one short story, one novella, and write 2000 words a day. For health, I put down things like exercise daily, portion my food and so on. I did this for each of the seven categories.

I then went one step further to try and ensure I keep on track this year. I put together this chart for the current month and I plan to fill it out for two months at a time. This way, I can be flexible enough if a project has to run over into a second month. Plus I don’t feel so boxed in that there isn’t light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s an example of what I did for January:

Writing
Novel: HeartSword
Novella: Magical Intentions
Short Story: One True Love
Edits: Captive Illusions
Words: 2k per day
Health
Walk/Jog Daily
Log Food
Financial
Look at places to retire.
Family
Plan possible family trip for when you get home.
Learning
Finish the ‘Developing A Language’ online class          .
Social
Blog Daily
Plan a MSS boxed set.
Other
Don’t forget to crit!
Work up a workshop/talk.
Self-Pub 1 item.

Everything listed is something I want to work on for completion by the end of the month. They are specific enough that I know what I’m doing but general enough to be flexible should something need to change. Plus, I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t do everything on that list.

I am always looking for new and better ways to get things accomplished. I am also the type of person who has to stay busy in order not to be bored. And to be honest, so far it’s working very well. My novel is about to be turned into my agent, I’ve written more than 2k per day plus I have both my edits and short story nearly done. All the other goals have accomplishments in their area as well. This is a very good thing!

How do you approach the New Year? Do you set goals or do you just plunge right in, hoping it will all turn out okay?  I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Seasons Greetings & Happy New Year!

canstockphoto31686383

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

What I’m Thankful For ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers

 

canstockphoto4939441

Every year, we Americans frantically run around trying to get everything we need for our Thanksgiving dinner. Many times it involves just one or two women cooking while the men do whatever men do while the meal is being prepared. Yeah, I know, sometimes it involves sports.

In my house, the cooking duties are shared equally between me and my husband. He’s taken very well to reproducing some of my Mother’s more famous recipes with a couple from my Grandma tossed into the mix as well. Some of the times, I have to take over because I don’t think he’s remembering it just right…but he does well…for not growing up in my mother’s kitchen.

The past five years have been very different for us because we celebrate a holiday that no other country on earth does. Living in Austria has been fun and enlightening but it can be very lonely when all your family is in the States. We’ve made it a tradition to serve an American Thanksgiving dinner to friends that visit us here as well as invite colleagues to give them a taste of what they are missing.

This year though is very different than any of the other years. I am more thankful for what I have because every time I walk Pup Harry, I am reminded of what others have lost. See, I live right down the street from the French Embassy and not once but twice this year, I have seen the place under a deluge of flowers, candles and condolences because of events in their country.

However, this is the first time that Austrian police walk the perimeter with semi-automatic rifles to make sure that no one comes for the French in this country. Still, it’s a little disconcerting to see that much firepower so very close. If you want to read more about this, go check out my personal blog tomorrow as I am finally posting something on it. Had to get it right within myself before I could share with others.

So, with all this going on, I decided to do a simple 5 Things I’m Thankful For and 5 Things I Wish For The World…here goes…

5 Things I’m Thankful For

  • 1 ~ I am very thankful to have such wonderful friends and family. I couldn’t be who I am without you. You all know who you are and this does include my RWA friends from the States.
  • 2 ~ I am thankful for my Passionate Critters writing partners. I say partners because we learn so much from each other and again, I know that my writing wouldn’t be the same if you all hadn’t helped me.
  • 3 ~ I am thankful for Pup Harry as he makes sure I go out and face the world head on. He’s my constant companion when my husband is gone and I can’t wait to have a yard for him soon!
  • 4 ~ I am thankful that I will be going home soon. As much as I’ve fallen in love with Austria and my friends here, there is truly no place like home.
  • 5 ~ I am thankful that on tonight’s walk, it started to snow. I can’t think of anything more lovely than a Thanksgiving Day with some snow. Even if it doesn’t stay, the big flakes coming down were just awesome.

5 Things I Wish For The World

  • 1 ~ It goes without saying…world peace…I just wish for one day, either Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever holiday is celebrated in December, that the world will stop trying to destroy each other. Maybe something truly amazing can happen to us all.
  • 2 ~ People need to remember we’re all the same species. There is no difference between a black human, a red human, a yellow human or a white human. Our blood all runs red and we need to remember that every day. I mean, really, if dogs get it, you’d think that humans could too.
  • 3 ~ That we all share with someone who is less fortunate than ourselves. I have seen some wonderful sharing recently with the refugees coming through this city and it is heartwarming to see it in action. I just want more of that attitude to happen in my own country.
  • 4 ~ A world without fear. Peace isn’t enough. We need to treat each other with respect and kindness. Every life is important.
  • 5 ~ That we all treat the Earth more kindly. There are millions of us and only one of her.

What do you do at Thanksgiving? Are there any family traditions that you have and plan to pass along to your kids? I’d love to hear from you and learn just what you do special for the holiday. And if you don’t do Thanksgiving, how do you prepare for the December holidays? Can’t wait to hear from you all.

Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Autumn Magic

Vienna-Fall-Resized-4-WebThere is something magic about fall, which is hard to explain. The green leaves turn into brilliant shades or red, orange and yellow. The air is rich and crisp, sometimes even foggy here in Vienna and that reminds me of being in London or in a US west coast city.

As a kid, Halloween intrigued me to no end and as an adult, the books I love to write the most are paranormal in nature. Today, I write about witches and warlocks, sorcerers and sorceresses, angels and demons or even the common person who somehow has the inside scoop on keeping us all safe and sound.

While some people are bothered by what I write occasionally, I know it’s the product of my hyperactive imagination and the never ending question of what if…what if demons really did exist? What if God needed help in keeping them in check? What if my heroine had to travel back in time to right a wrong without disrupting the space-time continuum? You know, typical writer-type questions.

For whatever reason, like I said in my last column, I tend to be rejuevenated during the fall. I plan stories, I start writing more and I keep to my plans better. I am a lifelong learner and have decided to add some classes into the mix as well. There is nothing wrong with a writer learning about things that will make their writing stronger.

Along with those classes, I’ve been reading more craft books than usual as well. By craft, I’m talking about the craft of writing books. I recently read a great one from Steve Windsor about the fear of writing called Authorphobia. Yeah, the title is exactly how the book is and if you don’t mind a rather sarcastic approach, I’d say check it out because the author has some good points. I’ve continued on with his series with a book on writing a complete novel in nine days. That’s even a little fast for me but I’m sure there are techniques in the book that will help any writer.Tree-Alley-at-Praterstern-F

I’ve also discovered Udemy where you can find a lot of online courses, some of them even free. So far, I’ve found ones on proofreading and designing your own book covers. There are hundreds to choose from and since I love taking classes, this is another win-win for me.

Then there is one more place I love to look for classes and that’s at edX. Here you can learn all sorts of things from leading university’s such as Berkley, Harvard or Rice University. I took an incredible course in Genetics from Rice University as research into on zombies. Basically, I was looking into if zombies are actually possible. Guess you’ll have to wait to see what I learned on that one…LOL!

With all this planning and class taking, I’ve also found time to write more, faster and in my mind better. I love fall with all the newness it brings to learning and doing more to enhance my writing.

What do you do in the fall to enhance your life? I’d love to hear from you and see how autumn is special to you.

Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

End of Summer Funk ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #amplanning #PCers

By this time next month, fall will have begun and summer will be fading into memory. But in this moment, I can say I have what I call an end of summer funk.

It’s the time right as school starts, when one is planning out their next moves and how to accomplish them. It is also the time of new beginnings, maybe it’s the end of a special summer or even just starting a new school. Every fall, something begins and something ends.

This year, it has made me reflective and almost sad. My kids are all grown and out of the house, we’re in Austria as life moves on. I noticed it in the pictures of my grandkids at their first day of kindergarten. They were full of happiness for new adventures. Full of those things that had somehow slipped away from me over the hot summer.

With the heatwaves here in Europe, I felt a little more defeated and aimless in my efforts. Then I saw the boys and realized that maybe I wasn’t so aimless but more lost because of my lack of focus. Heat with humidity does that to me. And I just didn’t realize how much until this year. But somehow, somewhere, I know I was thinking along the right path because of a few steps I’d taken earlier in the month.

Before any of the above happened, I had a moment of clarity where I ordered planning materials designed to help me focus and maintain my momentum. I have a lot of writing to do this fall through next spring and unless I can keep on task, it won’t get done. Now this is hard because I can’t use anything from here because it’s all in German. I don’t know enough of the language to think in it and that’s what one needs when using a planner.

I was in luck as my husband’s work was having a working group where a lot of Americans come to Vienna for updates and training. These are people I knew well and who frequently deliver things I can only get from the US. So I went on a hunt for a planner that would do a writer justice. Now, this will help me plan my time, my projects and my priorities, which always seem to get skewed this time of year. When I do a plan then work the plan, I stay focused and on track.

While I’m a pantser at heart, doing this type of focusing will always help me write better. Once I’m on this track, I will start doing outlines that help me in general. I tend to deviate away from most outlines because my characters talk to me differently when I actually do the writing but at least I have an idea of where I’d like them to end.

Yeah, characters sometimes – wait, revise that – many times will not go where I think they should go. That is the number one reason I will remain a pantser because I can’t force them to do what I want any more than forcing my kids to do something either. Characters are living things and if I can just plan little things, names or likes or dislikes, I’m at least ahead of the game.

For me, it is the life planning of my day, what projects I want to do and how I plan to do them is what keeps my writing career on an even keel. And I was extremely blessed to have found something at Amazon from the group Tools4Wisdom called a Month-Life-Planning-Agenda because that’s what I needed. I was immediately impressed with the cover because it’s a trail through an autumn forest. I love walking through places like that.

Planner-Cover

Then I looked at the pages and saw a Goals page where I could put in my individual projects, namely books, into perspective. This would help me tremendously because I could plan for the whole year. And for me a year runs from September to August because I guess I’m still on the school year or government plan. It just seems to work better for me.

Goal-Page-#2

The next page I saw was the Essential Goals page. This page is gold because it lets me name a number one priority for the month then I can add some other smaller items to be finished. Every item is accompanied by a why and how accomplishing that goal will add value to my life. While I’d never thought of my writing in that manner, I could see where it would be beneficial to my overall plan.

Goal-Pages

Then comes the daily pages where you actually set out to do the work. The time increments are in 30 minutes and start at an early 5 am then don’t end until 9 pm. Just perfect for a writer since we do work at all times of the day. Now, you can also flip that so it starts at 5 pm and doesn’t end until 9 am. It all depends upon when you work best. I work best first thing in the morning then I get a second wind later in the afternoon. Normally, I need my coffee first before I do anything. Weekends you have hour increments and not as many.

Day-Pages

Each day has a place for Top Priorities, Secondary Priorities and other. You also have a section for Vision, Purpose and Action. All these are necessary if you want to remain focused and totally on task. This is something I definitely needed as I’m always at my best when I plan. So I ordered it.

Priority-Page

The bad thing was that I had to wait a couple of weeks before it would be hand delivered to me. I decided I’d use those weeks for reading, watching movies or shows, critiquing and trying to do some organization. This plan worked pretty well since it was still very hot. At least for a while, then the rains came. Sigh.

Finally, the day arrived where I was getting my planner. My anticipation level was high and I wanted to get my hands on it to get planning. The first thing when I got it was I marveled at its size as it was twice as big as I thought it would be. This is good since I wanted lots of room to put items down. I felt energized and somehow accomplished. I was holding in my hands the instrument needed to take my writing career to an even higher, more focused level. I loved the feeling just holding it gave me.

I thanked my friend for delivering it and put it in my backpack. Pulling it out once I was in my office, I realized I needed to clear a larger space for it. When my planner is open next to me is when I get the most from it so that I can frequently refer to it when I see myself deviating from it. Yes, there will be some days that it’s going to be too structured for me as I’m more of a free-bird type person. But for the long haul, this was definitely the way to go for me as it has already pulled me out of my funk, forcing me to embrace a wonderful well-planned future.

What about you? Do you need to plan major things out or can you accomplish your goals with little forethought? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I’ll keep everyone updated at my weekly blog column just how using the planner is going, My So Called Writing Life, and hopefully, some of you will join me there.

Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

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