Pay Yourself First

IS A HABITThe idea of “Paying yourself first” is one my father tried to instill in me when I got my first job…notice I said “tried.”

All those years ago I just didn’t get the concept…at 52, I wish I had paid more attention. LOL

As most of our loyal readers know…this has been a year of change for me, and some habits definitely were in need of an upgrade, or an overhaul, depending on your perception.

I’m now working a full time job…and yes, I do pay myself first with every paycheck, just in case you were wondering.

But, this post isn’t about money. It’s about YOU and what your priority is, each and every day. Turns out when your life is turned upside down and you end up in therapy for 8 months, you learn a few things. The first thing I learned was that it is OK to want to be happy in this life, it’s okay to do something for myself. Knowing what I want from the second chapter in my life and how to achieve it weren’t often on the same page.

Until now.

I’ve decided to truly take to heart the idea of paying myself first.

My goal is to be a successful author (and yes, the idea is subjective…so don’t go there with me right now! LOL) and to achieve that goal, I have to actually produce written work, on a frequent basis! That means I cannot find a host of excuses and reasons why the words didn’t get on the page EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sure, I work a long day, spend way too much time in traffic, am exhausted when I get home…yada, yada. Let’s face it, some nights the chocolate mint chip ice cream is the devil and lures me away from everything else (You’ve been there, right? Right?)

I’ve been setting the alarm a little earlier and earlier each day. Now the first thing I do everyday is take care of my dream…I sit my ass at my computer at 5am and write. This is job number 1! (And it feels really good to check it off my “tasks” list at 6am! BooYah…go me!)

So, I’m not paying myself in dollars, I’m paying myself in words on the page. Each word taking me that much closer to the end goal of a published book.

So, now it’s your turn. Evaluate your life, your dreams and goals…what can you do tomorrow, first thing, to set yourself on that path? How can you invest in your future before you do anything for somebody else?

Good luck and let me know!

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

The Long Ride Home

Surprise, surprise…look who’s back on the blog! I’d love to be here today to share tales of adventures across the sea, of long lazy trips around the world or trekking through the jungles looking for long lost treasures to add the little authentic touches to my romances, but alas, I cannot. My absence has more to do with a divorce, a physical move, an emotional exploration and finding love…ahhh, now there is something I can spin a tale about *wink*

A year ago I took a chance and met a man for a drink after work, and if you’ve ever heard the expression, “you could be my long ride home,” it was a feeling that hit me as he sat down next to me that night. Something simply clicked and that “quick” drink after work turned into a 6 hour date that went from bar stools, to a sunset walk along the shore, and ended at a coffee shop over caramel lattes and a fudge brownie.

On the way home, this song came on my favorite country station and matched the beat of my heart as it warmed to the idea that I just might have met someone special…my long ride home. I hadn’t planned or expected to meet anyone that soon into my separation, but sometimes the fates have other plans and put people in your path at times you don’t expect, at times that may even seem like the wrong time.

For the first time in a very long time, I didn’t think, I didn’t try to reason or rationalize…I simply let the moment happen and absorbed it.

I hope he knows what he means to me…Enjoy the song and I’d love to know if you have  a song that reminds you of the moment you knew you found that someone special.

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Listening to the voices in my head

IS A HABITAre you a plotter? Are you a pantser? Do you listen to the voices in your head?

Unless you’re a writer those questions probably mean little to you…except that last one, if you’re not a writer and you listen to the voices please don’t tell me!

I tend to be a cross between the two, I have a lovely plot board covered with colored sticky notes with POVs and plot points for chapters, but I do leave myself plenty of room for the magic to happen organically.

I need to let the story unfold as I write, I need to be entertained along the way…because if I’m not enjoying the story as I’m writing, why would anyone enjoy reading it?

Hence the voices in my head.  I can hear my characters directing me, arguing with me if I go off track, or just babbling little bits and pieces about themselves that often help me push through a block.

I know lots of writers who interview their characters extensively before they even start writing, they know the hero and heroine inside out…for me this just gives me the hives. If I know all their secrets and what makes them tick before I’ve written a word, why do I care to write their story…I already KNOW them. Boring for me!

I’ve been known to sit and stare into space, listening to the hero rant. I’ve woken up from a sound sleep because the heroine has revealed a side of herself that I needed to write down. But my favorite thing to do is to ask them why they did something! There is nothing more satisfying than humming along and you look at your words only to scratch your head wondering where that particular tidbit came from…the best way to find out? Ask!

What an awesome way to unblock a plot point or take a scene to a new level.

As writers there are a ton of tools available to us, but I don’t think there is anything more organic than hearing the voices, letting them guide you to write their story and letting the words flow through your fingers to the keys.

So, tell me…do you listen to the voices in your head?

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Yes, I write romance!

CupckaesandCupid 200x300Last month, during an informal interview of sorts, a man asked me, “so, you write romance…why?”

It would have been easy enough to answer with the standard canned response, “because everyone loves a happy ending.” But honestly, it’s so much more than that.

There is no such thing as your average, run of the mill, romance novel, no matter what the critics of the genre spout. Stories range from sweet to scorching hot and can take place in any time…even in the future or a paranormal world of the authors creation.  There is truly a romance for every taste. Like shapeshifters and vampires? We’ve got you covered. How about a cowboy or a pirate? Yup…they’re here too.

But at the heart of every romance is a story anyone can relate to, they are stories about the human condition, about being accepted and loved. Romances have the ability to cross cultural lines, they transcend social classes, and they have the ability to strip even the most alpha hero down to his soul. A romance can warm you heart and make you believe that good really does exist in a world that can often feel cold. (And I ask you, who wouldn’t want to make people feel good?)

The exhilaration of falling in love, of being loved, and sharing love, is a universal emotion, it’s part of being human. Young or old, looking for first love, hoping for a second chance at love or holding the hand of the love of your life after sixty years of marriage…don’t we all really want the same thing – to find someone to share our world with?

And isn’t that worth celebrating everyday?

That’s why I write romance. I may never be a household name, I may never win any awards or top the NY Times bestsellers list, but if I’ve made someone smile and spread a little bit of joy…that’s success enough for me.

Happy Valentine’s Day. May love be your journey not just your destination. 🙂

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

It’s only a number…

PartyToday’s my birthday. It’s a milestone birthday for me, it’s a number that in some ways has intimidated me and seemed a little scary not all that long ago.

Somewhere between the birthday wishes, the cakes and the presents…I’ll probably find a quiet little corner to reflect on the number of years that have gone by. I keep telling myself, “It’s just a number.”

I’ve spent more than half those years happily married. I have three wonderful children. I’ve moved across country from the east coast to the west and then back again. I’m blessed to have friendships that have lasted since elementary school and I’ve also been blessed with the pain of letting of some friendships go – they’ve all made me who I am today, so I’ve made my peace with that.

I’ve had successes and failures. I’ve had money and been broke. I’ve had my share of fights and wonderful memories that could fill dozens of scrapbooks. And every single moment becomes the threads of a rich tapestry that defines ME.

Those moments in time shape my characters, weave through plots and allow me to tell a tale that is uniquely mine.

It’s my voice. So tonight, while I sit at my dining room table surrounded by my family, I’ll attempt to blow out my candles before the fire department needs to be called to douse the blaze. Today I celebrate not only a number, but all the moments I am grateful for that have crafted the life I love.

“I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life, than on the nature of those events themselves.” ~ Baron Alexander von Humboldt

  So what do you think? Do the big number birthday’s scare you or do you embrace them?

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Traditions to Keep (& a gingerbread recipe!)

2013-12-15 18.38.05Twenty-one years ago we invited my best friend and her two little boys over to make gingerbread cookies with our 1 year old son. It’s a holiday tradition that has continued in my house every year since.

Our families grew, the cookies changed from innocent creations to being pulled apart on the trays and mutated into whatever was popular at the time and for their ages. We’ve had cookies that were anatomically correct and a few years, instead of men the cookies became guitars and swords.  And I have pictures of all seven kids growing up around my dining room table – smiling, happy and enjoying something together that they’ll remember forever.

This year, the oldest child is engaged and asked me if he could bring his fiance – because they want to continue our tradition and “it just wouldn’t be Christmas without coming and baking cookies!” Wow…I cried, and my heart swelled with pride – I’ve certainly done something right. This is certainly a tradition worth keeping and passing down.

Here is the Gingerbread recipe that was given to my by my mother-in-law twenty-one years ago and used every year since:

1 Cup margarine

1 Cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 Cup dark molasses

2 tbs vinegar

5 Cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp all-spice

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

Beat margarine until creamy. Beat in sugar and salt. Stir in eff, molasses and vinegar. Beat well. Sift flour, baking soda and spices together. Stir into molasses mixture. (Dough will be STIFF) Chill dough at least 3 hours. Roll dough to approx 1/8 inch thick (up to you, really) on a lightly floured board or pasty sheet. Cut shapes with cookie cutter, decorate if desired (we load them up with all kinds of candy!) Place on a greased cooked sheet one inch apart at 375 for 6 minutes – or until light brown and puffed up. Cool slightly and remove to wire rack. If you prefer, you can decorate with royal icing after they’ve cooled. This same recipe can be used in molds to make houses and trains too. Makes approx 8 dozen.

What traditions did you start years ago became permanent parts of your holiday celebrations?

And don’t forget…every comment earns a chance to win ONE of our holiday books up for grabs this month! Including mine:

MuffinsandMistletoe 200x300

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.