#SaturdaySeven on THSG Blog

This isn’t a writing post or a reading post or even an industry post [but I bet I can make it one]. It’s just a fun way to make fun of the old people in your life. There are probably a gazillion ways to identify with aging. [And here you go…] Maybe this can help you create a secondary character your readers will relate to!

Seven ways you know you’re old.

  1. You get excited when your kids come home.
  2. You’re the one paying for your kids to come home.
  3. Random people call you ma’am.
  4. Gray hair.
  5. 20th wedding anniversary.
  6. You don’t care about stupid studies that tell you not to wear jeans.
  7. Naps are fun.

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.

Playing with Passion

In our last post, Jennifer talked about her word for the year. Finding our words for the year has become a bit of a tradition with our crit group and I wanted to do the same. Something to pull into my life, every day, to shade all my interactions, to push me a little bit further, to give a little bit more.

My word for 2019 is passion. In the last year, I started a new day job and I love it. I have wonderful friends there, I feel good about what I do, and I’m damn good at it.  All the same, my crit partners can tell you, I all but disappeared. No new writing, no new crits, nothing. I was desperately trying to find balance and I think I’m getting there. I’m writing every day again–even if it’s only a little–and I’m prioritizing the things I let fall away.

But I want to do more than that. I want to approach each new project, each new day, each moment with passion.

Wish me luck! I’m hoping you have the very best year, filled with success in all your endeavors.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

When Innovation Runs Rampant

In the 2010s I’ve noticed a lot of trends.

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

First up, the everything old is new again. From Magnum P.I. and McGuyver gettings facelifts to Target’s attempt at acid wash jeans and hi-tops it seems like the 80s have come home to roost. There are some things I’m still hoping make the big come back – come on scrunchies. But I’m okay with the past staying in the past.

Second, the bigger, badder everything. Starbucks has this going with their Witch’s Brew and Unicorn drinks. Then there’s the Chicken as taco shells, and the McDonald’s breakfast all day, every day. Being able to buy Egg McMuffins any time of day makes me an extremely happy.

Now, I bring into the downswing of things. When innovation starts getting a little crazy. Crazy as in, upside down Christmas Trees. It started with the Dress Form Christmas Trees and now it’s moved on. Seems a regular Christmas tree isn’t the thing. Reminds me when Aluminum Christmas Trees were all the craze… wait, that link shows you can still buy them.

Truthfully, trends will always come and go. Some are more appealing than others and some never seem to disappear (Pokemon still going strong). What are some trends you love? Ones you despise? One’s you regret trying?

Next month, plan on the greatest hits of National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) paired with pictures from either my Thanksgiving dinner or Black Friday shopping (we’ll see what I pull off).

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

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.

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.

Choosing Your Destiny

It’s the 7th and that means your monthly dose of Lori. 🙂 Hi, y’all.

I’ve had a lot going on the last two weeks. My father was in the hospital for several days (he’s doing much better) and my youngest daughter had an extensive surgery that has left her in a wheelchair for the next 6 weeks. I’m overwhelmed.

And then I checked my email and I have content edits (that I’m paying for, by the way, so I’m on a tight deadline) and a galley to proof for a whole other book. On the plus side, this means the last Viva Las Vegas book, My Vegas Comeback, will be out in late summer and the second Infamous book, Ambitious, will be out later this year.

I know those things are going to happen because even though I have so much stress right now (seriously, I’m just a big ball of it), I choose to continue my journey. I choose to be a writer. I choose to focus on what matters to me. I choose.

And you can choose, too. Because there’s never a convenient time to chase our dreams (unless, like, you win the lottery–maybe? I think most of us would still find excuses.). You either choose this day to be a part of your success, your destiny or you choose to put it off one more day. And the problem with that, of course, is that we run out of one-more-days.

Anyway, I’ve got to get back to work. Remember that the first two stories in my Viva Las Vegas Series are fresh and available now!

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

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