Stuffed

I began this week, thinking… uh, oh. Diet Sabbatical, here you come. With all the foodie inspiration popping up on Facebook, this holiday week is bound to be filled with every amazing dish known to mankind. And it was true… we had turkey and baked dishes filled with cooked down veggies and creams and sauces. Pies like you just can’t even do more than once a year!

I’m stuffed. My buttons are tight. I’ve run in an effort to balance, but let’s be honest…ain’t no running enough to counteract the Diet Sabbatical!! haha.

You know what else I’m stuffed with?

Good ideas.

I’ve had a great week of pulling back, spending time with family, and just listening. I’m returning home from Florida today, feeling refreshed and ready to go. Excited to end the year on a good note and carry it through to 2019. I hope this Thanksgiving has found you doing the same: eating, enjoying life, relaxing, and filling your soul with the next best selling idea!! Whether that be the burnt fried turkey…the fight Uncle John had with Aunt Maude…Cousin Frankie’s new tattoo…or your sister’s announcement that she is pregnant with number 12 [she does know how that happens, right?].

What’s one thing that happened this week that will definitely end up in a book someday?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Apathy…the death of a book

*waves* Hey everyone! I’m Jus and I’m new to the blog. I’ll be dropping by on the 17th of each month to brighten (or darken—results may vary) your day.

I read and write across the board. Everything from thrillers to young adult. All kinds of stories, all kinds of characters. I do it for the thrill of adventure, to visit new, exotic locations without having to leave behind my toasty fireplace and fuzzy socks. To meet fantastical creatures and solve the most diabolical crimes all while sipping hot chocolate and listening to my dog snore.

I also do it to feel.

Anger, joy, sadness, hate—emotion is a large part of what makes me want to read and write. I want to pick up a book and feel something. I want to fall in love. Be angry when the hero and heroine are thwarted. I want to Snoopy Dance when the bad get gets his due. Who wants to finish a story where you don’t feel anything for the characters? Be it reading or writing, no one is going to stick with a story that’s just meh.

Apathy is the death of a book.

No truer words have ever been spoken. When the reader isn’t emotionally invested in what happens, the whole thing becomes pointless. As writers, it’s our job to create characters that keep people riveted. How many times have you put down a book because you just don’t care? We’ve all done it. As a writer, this is my red flag. If I’m feeling this way about a work in progress, then I know something isn’t working. Something must change. Because if I’m not feeling it, the reader won’t.

It isn’t just about love, either. Hate is just as good. Hell, sometimes it’s more powerful. When you’re emotionally invested in a book, and you come across an uber-baddie, don’t you worry what devious plot he has in store for the hero and heroine?

We read to feel. To connect. As long as readers feeling something, then I’ve done my job. From cheering your favorites on as they pursue their quest, to screaming in frustration when the bad guy gains the upper hand. A handful of tissues, or the urge to yell at the page. If you walk away feeling, then I’m a happy puppy.

What about you guys? Is there a particular book or fictional character out there that’s evoked a strong emotion? Share! I’m always looking for a new read.

About Jus Accardo

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Romance and our Middle Grade

I’ve been dipping into other pools lately, and even though I still have no focused direction, I have lots of questions about what kids are reading now a days.

  1. who reads middle grade?
  2. who reads YA?
  3. What do kids want in a story?
  4. What makes a story compelling?

So, One at a time because I like how these questions have answers that also lead me into a deeper understanding of if this is something I want to do. Who would I be writing for? What is my target audience?

1. Who reads Middle Grade?  Word on the street is that 8-13 year olds are reading middle grade. That’s the standard, so to speak. And I imagine they are!! But I also remember reading a lot as a kid. When I pick up a MG book and it is about an 1/8 – 1/4 of an inch thick, I stop imagining it. Avid readers, at this age, are well beyond this story… A 5th grader is 10 or 11, and even my own kids had started in on Harry Potter by then. Okay…

2. Who reads YA?  This one is also broad, because we all know the twenty-something who loves YA. But technically, YAers are 14 – 20[ish]. I think the appeal of YA holds the readers into adulthood. [just an opinion, of course…maybe I need to do a poll!] I’ve never quite gotten into YA, so no matter what I discover about this genre, I can’t imagine writing it. However, is there an overlapping spot between MG and YA that I could squeeze a book into?

Overall, I feel like both of the labels are skewed and depend too much on the markets and namecallers to be valid. What do I mean by that? I mean people–kids, teens, young adults, and adults–are never going to be pigeonholed. So, what do we do? We balance between writing what we want to read and writing for the market. Selling the book is important if we want people to read it. And publishers want to know WHO is going to buy your book!!

3. What do kids want in a story?  This one is tricky. I know what I want in a story. I know what I wanted when I was in 3rd grade and reading trixie belden mysteries, when I was in 6th grade and reading Agatha Christie…and in 10th grade and reading Michael Phillips. Part of me hopes that kids still want a riveting story, characters who bring depth, and emotions that jump out from the page and make us feel. And something fun. I found a blog post answering the question “Can my middle grade book have politics?” Besides the fact that the answer is YES, I would question, why? I’m bored already and I haven’t even read the book. The matter of a book should be so ingrained in it, we don’t see it until we’re done and we step back and go…wow. For me this is where Christian Fiction goes wrong. There are a few good Christian fiction authors who can put a story on the page without slapping me with the dos and don’ts. [hey, Beth…you’re rambling now!] Ooops.

4. What makes a story compelling?  Nothing like asking a question that has a million answers!!! However, I’m going to wrap it up in one word, CONFLICT. Emotional, moral, relationship, external…no matter what you choose to highlight, there better be the idea that something better or worse is out there, waiting to ruin everything.

 

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Happy Birthday, ME!

Every time I hit a new decade, I hear the sweet whispers about how awesome this decade is going to be. Well, so far, 40s have been awesome.

The 20s were uncertain and scary, but in a good way! The adventure of becoming an adult, striking out on my own, having sex for the first time, learning my limits and expanding my boundaries. Questioning everything…and not always learning.

I spent my 30s tired. Seriously tired.  Matt was working his tail off to support a growing family. Yet, our 30s were where we came into our own. We started the decade drinking on the weekends and smoking, working to pay the bills, and wondering what the hell we were doing. But as our 30s came to end, we’d made concrete goals for the future, joined the Army, quit smoking and drinking, and had our last kid, too. Our lives had finally melded into one, and even though we were exhausted in those goals, we were happy…and still married! I was writing. He was soldiering. Two dreams made into a reality.

So, here I am at 42 this year.  It has taken me two years to understand what this decade would be about. But this one is mine. All mine. This past year, especially, has made me realize that I need to take care of myself as well as everyone else. My writing is important. My health is important. I’ve lost 30 pounds this year. I’ve written more since 40 than I have in a long time. I’m driven to do so much more. I volunteer for Sunday School classes, am president of the Catholic Military Woman’s group, and also [sorta] help out with the FRG–family readiness group. In my 30s, relationships with other women wasn’t a key that I needed in order to unlock anything important in my life. Now, they are. I crave strong, independent, opinionated women–like myself, like the friends I have here at Passionate Critters and Through Heart-Shaped Glasses. I have eight more years in this decade. And I can’t wait!

Life is like our books. We start with an idea. We develop it and work at it for a long time. And we might even hit that point where we just want to throw it all out the window! But if we keep going, keep searching, keep learning, keeping loving, we reach the other side and suddenly the book makes sense again and we actually like it! Ha!

Share with me: What decade are you in? What is the theme for your life right now?

With Love,

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

On Being Late… #LynnCrain #HeartShapedGlasses #PCers #OnWriting

Yes, I’m late posting this…as I’ve been a few times…but there are many more things that I’m late to in life. See, I’m a person who’s chronically late. So today, I’d thought I’d looking into reason just why that happens because as a writer, I must follow a schedule with deadlines. If I can do it there…why can’t I do it in real life?

I am not late to everything, just certain things. This can drive me crazy some days because I do have the best of intentions. Rarely am I late for an appointment entered into my phone scheduler. The reason for this is I always put appointments in at least 15 minutes early. Meaning, if the appointment is scheduled for two, I will put it in for 1:45.

This has worked well for me over the years. Yes, I subconsciously know that the appointment is later but for most, it works because I’m only 15 minutes from anywhere in the town I live in.

When I have travel to an appointment that is at least 45 minutes away, as is Santa Fe, it doesn’t work so well. I still put in the appointment time correctly, BUT I always forget to schedule the travel time. I know that one mile roughly equals one minute. I haven’t wrapped my head around the fact where I live that isn’t true because of the curvy nature of the roads I must travel to get to where I’m going. Here, twenty-five miles is going to take a minimum of about 40 minutes. Don’t ask me why science doesn’t work here as it still has me baffled too.

So, that’s me and I thought I’d do a little research as to why people in general are late. I found that some people are late because they don’t like to be early, they don’t think it polite to be early, or they like the adrenaline rush created by that last-minute dash.

There are also those who have overbooked their time as well rebel against being on time because they enjoy people waiting for them. There are those who think they are excellent multi-taskers when they aren’t as well as those who get distracted by something when they are rushing out the door. Then there are those who avoid being on time because they are struggling with getting things perfect before they go, whether that be themselves as in multiple changing of outfits, or their surroundings as in the house needs a final check because they might have forgotten to turn off their curling iron.

So, what does that really mean? It’s funny but I think I’ve been those people in the list above at least one time in my life. It doesn’t take science to tell me that it is my personality that leads to my lack of punctuality, not any external force.

Further reading showed me an alarming statistic, and I imagine this to be my overall problem at least some of the time, 40% of the time people will underestimate just how long a task will take. This is known as the planning fallacy because people have a hard time accurately judging just how long something will take to complete.

As a writer, I’ve had to learn just how long it will take me to write an article or a blog post versus a short story or novel. I try to plan accordingly. I do know that some deadlines motivate me more than others. School deadlines motivate me more now than when I was younger. I’ve spent time trying to figure that one out.

Another trait or problem mentioned above and it certainly a sign-of-the-times, we have all become multitaskers in many ways. This is known as polychroncity. Unfortunately, along with this comes a lack of awareness of what you are doing because people aren’t meant to focus on multiple things at once.

I’ve been a multitasker since I was around eleven when I first noticed that I could watch TV, listen to the radio and do my homework at the same time. This irritated my parents until they asked me one day what I was listening too, what I was watching and what homework I was doing. I answered their questions correctly and from that point, they left me alone to do what suited me. However, I do think that three things at a time are the most I can do accurately. Add another and I just get too fragmented thus not doing any of them well.

What can a person do to regain their punctuality? It’s all about figuring out how long each task takes and schedule accordingly. First, it’s all about changing the way you think and not just what to do. Also, learn to love your downtime, so that when you have extra time, you have a plan on what to do between appointments or when you’re waiting.

A few last things for those who know and have to deal with people chronically late.

Most of us in this category don’t think our time is more important than yours. Some of us have trouble managing our time due to our home life, our work life or other factors. In my case, I manage my time quite well, what I don’t do is accurately reflect how long it takes to do a task especially when it involves traveling a small distance.

If you complain about our tardiness, it will more than likely slow us down because then it becomes a control factor. Just accept that some people are late and move on. I know that personally, I will dig in my heels and stand my ground if you complain to me about my lateness.

Understand that feeling frazzled all the time for being late is no fun for the person being late. Those of us who are late get annoyed with ourselves, but we also understand it’s part of our personality and we can only change it in slow increments.

Mobile phones are our saving grace. Many of us have phones hooked to our cars and we can call when we’re on the road to let our appointments know we’re late. If we’re on public transport, we can text to let you know we’re on our way.

For the flip side, don’t judge us when we’re late because you annoy us when you’re early. So, this problem goes both ways. The easiest way again is to remember, tardiness or lack thereof is only a part of someone’s personality.

And if you do want to change your lateness, remember, the first thing is acceptance of your tardiness must happen before you can change it.

See you next month! I promise to be on time in June!

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.

Reinventing One’s Self – #LynnCrain #AmWriting #NewRelease #MysticRealms

Yes, I’m back again and this time, I hope to continue to add a blog post a month. I’ve told anyone who would listen about how horrible last year was for me and my writing career. Since January, when my husband of thirty plus years was declared cancer free, I’ve been struggling to get back into the groove of things.

Writing is my life and I thought I had found some creative ways to keep the inspiration going but now, I’m not so sure. Since I’d always done writing in my days at home, my whole routine was thrown out the window when my husband would be home every other week for at least three, sometimes more, days out of the work week.

The work week was always my reprieve to do what I needed to do be it research, writing or promoting as I was wont to do daily. When he was home, he would kill my writing day, and sometimes the inspiration too, for long stretches of time. Now, I could always handle the weekend as I figured I could use a break as well. During that time, I would severely cut back what I did but would always get back into my writing routine once the weekend was over. Since he was home more during his treatments, my writing time was in shambles.

During his chemotherapy, I decided to keep the writing alive by taking classes that required me to write a lot. And I mean a lot. In both the history classes I’ve taken, I had to do a weekly paper, a mid-term, a presentation and the final. In the folklore and fairy tale class I’m taking currently, there is a weekly reading response where I talk about archetypes or the hero/heroine’s journey, a written in class response, a mid-term, a presentation, and a final that consists of me retelling a fairy tale. All I can say at this point is thank goodness I have to re-imagine a classic because as the saying goes…I’ve got nothing.

While I’m not one to despair, I’ve decided to pursue an MFA and the research on that alone is enlightening. But I have to say that running across two books by author Jeff Goins is a life saver. In his book, You Are A Writer (so start ACTING like one), he talks about how to fall into love again with writing. While there are many profound things within this book, the one that struck me most was in the very first chapter: ‘It ‘s a choice, writing is. One that belongs to you and me. We get to choose it (or not) every single day. So whether the world hears your message – whether you leave the impact you were born to make – is entirely up to you.’

Now the perfectionist in me wouldn’t quite agree with all that is said there BUT the realist knows it’s true. Sure, I didn’t cause my husband’s cancer nor did I necessarily like that he had to be home every other week, making my concentration lag. While I don’t have an office with a door yet, I do have rooms where I could have shut myself away and wrote, regardless of him being in the house. He might have found it rather mean, but it probably would have been more productive than burying my head in books just to make it through a hard time.

Good writing is born from trials and opposition many times and I missed my chance to use those to my advantages. The perfectionist in me wants to beat myself up for lost chances and things I can’t change now but the pessimist knows I’ll have other chances to make my mark with my writing. Frankly, I know that if I tag myself with anything but writer, I’ll procrastinate forever.

As I’m regaining the life of my writer self, I go back to an old adage I learned long ago: fake it until you make it. Jeff Goins has just made it a little easier for me by giving me a whole lot of inspiration in the book I mentioned above and the one next in line…Real Artists Don’t Starve…both books can be found on Amazon at very reasonable prices. And no, he doesn’t even know I’m plugging his books but I am also going to plug one of mine.

Earlier this month, I had a release within the anthology called Mystic Realms, and my story was called Avenging Aingeal. Now this story wasn’t written last year but several years ago and it was finally edited at the end of last year. Here’s the blurb for the anthology and my story as well as buy links. Also, I do believe that there’s still a $50 gift certificate up for grabs and all you need to do is to comment for you chance at one of these two blog posts:

https://darkestcravings.blogspot.com/2018/04/win-50-gift-card-with-mysticrealms-and_0.html

and

https://11threalm.blogspot.com/2018/04/win-50-gift-card-with-mysticrealms-and_80.html

What goes bump in the night? What causes you a fright? While the answers for each may vary, I promise that these stories will not leave you wary.

From vampires and demons to shifters and creatures that you’d never suspect, this set will leave you breathless in the best possible ways.

So, don’t be afraid. Come, step inside our realm. Allow the mysticism of romance in many shapes and forms fall over you like a veil of sweet, soothing, spine tingling comfort.

We promise…you won’t be sorry.

Aingeal Cochran is on a mission to save humanity from itself when suddenly she’s staring head-on at her forgotten past. Lukas Everhard must bring her up to speed regarding the real enemy before allowing himself to love her completely. In learning about her past and mission, Aingeal realizes the best is yet to be and she will do anything to protect those she loves. For Lukas, Aingeal is the mission.

Amazon   

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.

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