Teaching An Old Dog ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers

Autumn-Tree-RS4Web-600x514There’s a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, I’m here to say that learning, be it a human or a dog, is a life-long experience and one that can’t be turned off. Fall is the time for new classroom beginnings. It’s a time to reflect on if a class will help you do something better. Writers by nature know that learning can enhance what they put down on paper, or screen in this case.

I love to learn and I love to help other writers do the same. This year, I decided that since my husband was going to be on a five, yes count them as I did say 5, week business trip spanning November and December.

At first, this made me want to cry because I’m in a city where I know few people and most of those are associated with his work. Many of those will be with him on that same trip. Then there was the fact that one of the most important holidays, American Thanksgiving, would occur when he was gone. It’s been years since I spent a Thanksgiving alone and I didn’t want to make this the first but again, I have little choice in the matter. So far, it’s just me and Pup Harry but I have hope that it will turn out to be something better.

By deciding to start taking some classes, I had to see where I stood and where I wanted to go. My field of study when I was in college was Nursing and Geology then I added computer science by getting a professional certificate and almost a Masters degree in Computer Management. I was just a couple of classes shy when I realized that being stuck behind a computer coding or managing the geeks, this is said in a good way with utmost respect, wasn’t really what I wanted to do.250x226

This time around, I knew that it had to do something with my writing. It could include writing classes themselves or classes on research. I signed up for a lot of them…probably way too many…but so far, it’s been fun. The first writing class was one where I had to write and revise a whole book in a month. That one is still going pretty well but I have to admit, I was totally burned out after the writing part and have been very slow in the revising part.

The other classes I’ve been doing are more on the science side since that appeals to me. The plan is to start going back to write the things I love and that is sci-fi/fantasy with or without romance. Then there’s all things paranormal as well. I can practically write those with my eyes closed but I have some ideas where I felt my science needed to be a little stronger. Therefore with that in mind, I’m taking Immunology, which is kicking my butt, and Epidemics. Both are reminding me of the things I’ve forgotten over the years about the human body and all the biology involved there. I’m also taking a water class, some planetary astronomy classes and a few more thrown in.

The point is that like I previously said, learning is a life-long process. Whether you know it or not, learning happens every day. You won’t notice it until you realize you’re doing something slightly different than before. Usually, it’s because it’s more efficient and your subconscious helped you to make it a part of your conscious being. Biology is interesting that way and immunology is reminding me just how interesting.Vienna-Fall-Resized-4-Web

If I can learn new things via the classroom route, anyone can. This can keep you more engaged with new things, reinforce older learning and keep one’s mind sharp, fresh, new. How are you all doing with your fall regime? Taking any classes? Truly, I’d love to hear about them. You can reach me at lynncrain@cox.net with all the great things you’re doing this fall. 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.

Unconditional Love

uncondlove

First off, I want to say thank you to Lori and all the ladies of the Heart Shaped Glasses blog for allowing me to post today.

Since its February, the month of love, I wanted to talk about what I consider to be the ‘big’ love. Love that lasts regardless of belief, words, looks, and endures all storms. I’m talking about unconditional love.

Unconditional simply means that there are no conditions, no stipulations. While I’ve had many people express love for me, not many can say they hold unconditional love for me. Somewhere along the way I make a decision they don’t like, chose to do things in a manner in which they don’t approve, or vote for a person they don’t appreciate. Once you begin imposing stipulations on your love for someone it’s easy to let those stipulations rule your feelings.

I believe in loving people unconditionally. I love my friends for their different beliefs, their different ideas or opinions, and their different styles. Political or religious, black or purple—the differences inspire my love versus stifling it. Now, I admit to be human and not perfect. So finding the way to love unconditionally wasn’t something I immediately grasped. As a grew I realized how much joy can be found to love without expectations. To appreciate every person for whom they are, even when some of the things they do may not be what you do, is rewarding and yields so many experiences.

In my book, What You Need, my characters are seeking acceptance and unconditional love; though they may not admit it at first. It’s not easy to find love without conditions and thankfully they’ve got Madame Eve, owner of the exclusive 1Night Stand dating service, to help them find the person who can love without stipulations.

My Question(s): How would you define unconditional love? And have you experienced such a love? 


1Night Stand Series

What You Need

by Landra Graf

WhatYouNeed200A sexual submissive, Royce wants a woman who’ll make his fantasies come true. The last thing he expects on his 1Night Stand is to be paired with Victoria, his ex-best friend. Haunted by their past, he refuses to deny his newfound attraction or his need for answers. This time, he doesn’t plan to let her go.

Victoria has loved Royce forever, but the sting of his rejection is not so easily forgotten. No longer the naïve girl he knew, she’s matured into a sexual dominant. This domme demands a chance to restart their relationship—on her terms. Knowing that one night will never be enough, she plans a seduction that will last forever.

Amazon | Decadent | All Romance Ebooks

About the Author:

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.

Contact Details:

Website: http://riseoftheslush.blogspot.com
Email: landra.graf7@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/landra.graf
Twitter: @riseoftheslush

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.

Those first days of summer vacation

For those in the U.S. today is Memorial Day, a time reserved for honoring all the men and women who passed away in military service. Parades, special ceremonies and cemetery decorations are often scheduled as a way to show our respect and to memorialize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect and preserve our freedom and our nation.

For many, this is also the final day of a three-day weekend and the unofficial first day of the summer vacation season.

This month we’ve been talking about firsts here at Heart-Shaped Glasses—everything from first kisses and dates to first adventures.
As for me, I’m eager to hear all about your plans for the first days and weeks of summer vacation.

After a particularly long winter, I’m excited to finally see the sun and feel these warmer temperatures. The school year has ended so we’re no longer helping the little ones study for final exams or state standardized tests. The smells of freshly cut grass and charcoal grills and grilling meat wafts through the air. Everyone seems to be gardening, so beautiful bushes and flowers are blooming everywhere and fresh vegetable plants are just starting to peek from the red earth.

We’re making plans to visit family and friends we haven’t seen in a while and a trip to the coast to swim in the ocean and build sandcastles isn’t out of the question.

These first few weeks of summer vacation are stress-free and full of promise and excitement as we make plans for our well-deserved and long-awaited summer vacation.
So what are some of your suggestions? How do you and your loved ones spend your summer vacation?

About Tina Vaughn

Tina Vaughn is an award-winning journalist and contemporary romance author who's always dreamed of being a writer. Her writing career began in elementary school when she wrote her friends' love letters to their boyfriends in exchange for Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. After spending nearly fifteen years as a journalist and newspaper editor, Tina remembered she preferred fiction to fact and began writing what she loves most...steamy contemporary romance. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with her husband and daughter, and is known for commemorating milestones with silver jewelry, tattoos and/or ice cream.

Bethanne’s Thirteen Firsts

Hello!! Welcome to our blog, Through Heart-Shaped Glasses. Everyone’s been hitting up the topic of Firsts. Firsts… life is full of firsts, isn’t it? When I found out the topic, I told my husband. He kind of looked at me funny, lifted a brow, and gave a small shake of his head. <grin> Ha!

But then, I thought, this is another first–group blog. And since not everyone knows me, I think I’ll do a Thursday Thirteen Firsts.  A cross between our theme for the month and a meme.

13. First move — 3 years old, from New York to Florida. There have been  many moves since then ranging from New York to Florida to Michigan to Pennsylvania to Ohio to Colorado to Ohio to Virginia to Illinois to Georgia, and finally, back to Colorado.

kiddie photo12. First day of Kindergarten — I had two of those, actually. Flunked out the first time.

11. First Detention — 2nd grade. I forgot my homework, which sounds sooo familiar now that I have two kids who are alot like me. It’s not intentional. It’s a thing…hopefully they get better at organization and remembering than I am.

10. First shot of insulin — November 23, 1988, my Diabetes Birthday

9. First written story — 6th grade, which my teacher loved, but suggested I not end with the cliche of waking from a dream. That was the first writing advice I ever recieved. I have never forgotten it. Later in life–high school, I read a smutty romance novel that actually ended that way…with the heroine waking from a dream. And I thought, “that book was so stupid!” And I knew Mrs. Richter had been right. Happily Ever After is too important to get fudged by a dream.

8. First College — Franciscan University of Steubenville, a good Catholic girl who wasn’t convinced to study nursing and did 3 years of an English Literature degree before getting pregnant, getting married, and moving on with her husband. 🙂

7. First Kiss — from the not-yet-hubby, a lovely asked-for kiss…the ultimate peck on the cheek. Heart racing, hands sweating. It’s a kiss you never forget.

wedding6. First Husband — And only husband! haha. Love that man so much. <3

5. First Baby — Her name is Virginia. She’s 13 now. OMG! THIRTEEN!

4. First Manuscript — A story inspired by Trixie Belden called Certain Suspicions. Well, now it’s called that. I can’t remember the original title.

3. First critique group — Charlotte Dillon’s Crit Group. A nice group, for the most part, yet too big, too anonymous. 🙂 I love my CRITIQUE group, Passionate Critters!

ForLoveorDuty 200x3002. First Book published, June 2012, For Love or Duty

1. First Contract — Wheeeee! With Entangled Publishing! A contract for my Christmas story, Letters from Home.

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.

First Words…

Hi, I’m Nina Croft and for my first post on Through Heart-Shaped Glasses, I thought I would say a little about how I first started writing and my first book.

I didn’t write when I was younger; probably because I was too busy reading. Then, at the age of twenty-seven, I found myself living in a remote village on the banks of Lake Kariba in Zambia. And almost totally bookless.Lake Kariba at sunset

For the previous few years, I’d been working in London as an accountant. I was bored and restless (I wanted life to be more like the books I read!) and in desperate need of some sun and some excitement. So together with my brand new husband, I signed on with a charitable organization sending volunteers all over the world.

img016Lake Kariba is a man-made lake formed when the Zambezi River was dammed in the 1950s. We were working for a charity helping the people displaced when the dam was built and their homes flooded. They were subsistence farmers and fishermen, living in villages dotted along the edge of the lake, and much of my time was spent whizzing around in boats (dodging hippos and crocodiles!)

It was a stunningly beautiful place, but very remote, with no electricity, no TV, no internet and very limited access to books (and this was way before kindles!). For someone used to reading a book a day, it wasn’t long before I was suffering severe withdrawal symptoms.

Even food was a logistical nightmare. A boat ride away was a small supermarket. Unfortunately, it rarely stocked food; on a good day you could buy toilet rolls and toothpaste. We could order beef locally, but it tended to arrive still warm and with the hoof still attached—a little off-putting. Then there was the local dried fish—kapenta—the most disgustingly smelly stuff to ever come out of the water…

Obviously, I needed something to take my mind off the lack of food and books. What I did have was an extremely large laptop provided by the charity (and powered by a solar panel) and it occurred to me that my only solution was to write my own stories. And that started my first venture into writing and resulted in my first partial submission to Harlequin (several years later) called, The Best of Intentions. Sadly (but not surprisingly) it was rejected but with a very positive letter and a compliment slip for if I wanted to try again.

That was my first attempt at writing, but definitely not my last. So are there any major changes in your life that have made you take up something for the very first time?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

First Rejection

No, no, no…I’m not talking about my first crush in elementary school that crossed his eyes and ran the other direction when I professed my true love. Although I have to say that it could’ve been worse if I hadn’t watched, with my tender heart in pieces, as he slid to a stop and ran into the monkey bars. My best friend’s giggles quickly helped to start the healing process as the teacher picked gravel out of his elbows. My true love today, besides family and friends, would be my stories. Every hurt, joy, stress I feel is woven into my writing. It can get pretty emotional and I sometimes feel the torture I put my characters through. My contemporary stories focus on real life drama and intense relationships in small town America. Rugged cowboys, oh my, and the strong women that fight back when life tries to buck and bully them. And with as much emotion as I put into my stories, can you imagine the anxiety I felt when I first submitted my work to a critique group, and then the pain when the first response was a woman blasting me with tons of red ink? I actually considered quitting as I’m sure many others have done after rejection knocked them for a loop. But I have been truly blessed with my current critique partners, and even a few from the past. They steer me in the right direction with constructive criticism and have taught me so much along the way. They cheer me on and supply chocolate and hugs when I get shot down.

The reason rejections are felt more strongly than normal is because writing is  personal. My stories are something I put my heart into and when they’re rejected, I tend to take it personally. It’s hard not to. I’ve been writing for publication for almost seven years now and received my first rejection letter within three months of submitting. That is a quick response considering I know several writers that have been waiting a year, or two, for an editor to respond. They say that no news is good news. Really? Hand me a silver bucket I can throw up in from the overwhelming anxiety every time the phone rings or bings with notification that I have an email.

I have to admit though, my first editor rejection was a good one as far as rejections go. It was a revise and resubmit. The story was ultimately rejected but the process wasn’t as heartbreaking as I’ve been through since. I think the worst I’ve received was a form letter that they just plugged my name into the greeting. A critique partner received one with her name but the wrong manuscript title. The hard part about those types of rejections is not knowing if you even had a chance. Is there something you need to change or did you just get the wrong editor/agent on the wrong day? When you are receiving multiple rejections, examine the rejection letters (or critiques) and see if you can find common suggestions, mistakes. Do you feel as though you can make the changes without losing your voice?

There are plenty of authors with success stories out there with bestselling books on the market that are proud of the hundreds of rejection letters before they found the one editor, or agent, that led them to success. My first rejection was hard to swallow though I’m sure it could’ve been much worse. I find encouragement when I’m down by reading about how other authors have struggled but they kept plugging away and persevered. My post today sounds like it’s geared more toward the writer, but anyone can apply this post to something they really want to accomplish. Make positive changes if needed, but don’t give up if you really want something. Success is always the best revenge.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

Chelle Sandell

About Chelle Sandell

Contemporary western romance author, Chelle Sandell, was born and raised in southern Oklahoma but has mostly traded her cowboy boots in for flip-flops. That is unless her cowboy feels the occasional need to go boot scootin' across a dance floor. A foodie at heart, leaning toward the sweet treats, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting on her family and friends. She lives out in the country with her very own cowboy, rowdy boys, Hank & Lilly (blue heeler cowdogs), rescue kitties, and a hungry opossum that loves to sneak up at night to eat the cat food on the back porch. An avid reader from way back when, Chelle first found her writing voice when her favorite aunt showed her a historical romance book that mentioned a Native American ancestor that she had been researching. She realized she could weave her own stories that could have the same impact on readers that she felt when reading. Most of her stories are contemporary western romances, but she also has a Western/Native American historical and paranormal romance waiting in line for attention. While Chelle hasn't published yet, she has met some success as a finalist in the Magnolia State Dixie First Chapter Contest, OKRWA's Finally A Bride, and two eHarlequin Editor Pitch contests.

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