Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Looking back on the past ten months, I feel like I have been a walking disaster. I broke my foot. By the time the foot was healed and I was getting back to a normal lifestyle, I broke my leg. I am just starting to get back to a healthy lifestyle again, but I'm learning it is important to take things slow.
Having my life back, I feel great. My attitude is positive, health improving, exercising is good-- I am back to running a mile for now- but still no tennis, I enjoy work, I'm back to writing in the evenings, and am realizing how blessed I am to have a great family, friends, and job. And to top it off, I have a few small vacations coming up that I am looking forward to. Yeah!!! :)
Though this may be my story, I ask individuals to look to themselves. How do you feel? Are things going good for you? And if not, why are things not good? It is surprising when you actually take a few minutes to breathe, take a step back, and take a glance at your life. Even when you think things are difficult there is always positive in the midst of doom. The object is not to focus on the doom but focus on the positive. Even though we all have our personal struggles, the struggles make us stronger and usually bring strength and positive outcomes to our lives.
As of late, I have come across many people that are struggling with a problem. These people get so down on themselves. They think they are the only person with problems. Reality check, talk to other people. Volunteer to help out with whatever is personally found interesting. Turn the frown upside down and find a positive each and every day. And don't give up on personal dreams and goals. We must remember, if we want something bad enough we must be willing to work for the final goal.
To conclude this short topic, what made you smile today? What was something you enjoyed or you feel successful accomplishing? Or what was something wonderful that happened in your day? I guarantee there has to be something, even if it is something small. And by thinking about a positive don't you feel happier, blessed, and successful? Remember, anything is possible with the willingness to work and the right attitude.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Recently, at my brother Andrew's wedding, I had a fantastic conversation with my cousin Sarah and my brother Tim that perfectly illustrates that there are always worse things that I could be doing and that apparently writing erotic romance is the lesser of two evils.
Sarah: I need to tell you something before you hear it from someone else.
Me: Holy shit - you're not pregnant again, are you???
Sarah: God, no!
Me: Whew. Okaaaay, what's up then?
Sarah: How do you feel about adult entertainment?
Me: What do you mean?
Sarah: Well, Jason (her younger brother) and I decided to open up a strip club next to the casino that just went in.
Me: (trying to close my mouth)
Sarah: Mom won't talk to us at all. We told her we're going to give ten percent to St. Mary's. She said, "Just don't let Father where it came from!" But I told her he'd probably figure it out since it would be covered in glitter.
Tim: (pats me on the shoulder) Hey! Check you out - you're not the biggest sinner in the family anymore!
Sarah: Yeah, I tried to think of a way we could market your books, but there aren't any pictures, and well, nobody in this county knows how to read.
I like to think these conversations take place in other peoples' families. But Chris informed me that she's pretty sure that they don't.
Can't wait to see what happens at the next family gathering
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Hot and humid weather tends to make people cranky, which can interfere with how much writing that actually gets done.
The increase in temperatures can require a change in how we write. Because my house doesn't have air-conditioning I had gotten to the point where I slept through the hottest part of the day and worked through the night with the fan blowing on me. But recently, a friend of mine let us invade their house and soak up the air-conditioning, so now I'm back on a normal schedule. With school around the corner, it's needed. But even in the AC there can be changes, for me there are extra people around and it's not my house, so I'm not as comfortable, which translates to not as much writing getting done.
I still find it amazing at what creatures of habit most humans are. I like my chair and my desk, I don't like the easy chair at my friend's house as well. I want to play music whenever I want and watch the TV shows I want, not the ones they choose. My habits make my writing a bit easier. It's also harder to write since my friend's mother-in-law shows up every day. And lately she's been sticking around so I can help them work on their family trees. Fun and interesting, but doesn't allow for much me time or writing time. One affecting the other. I'll be happy when the heat wave breaks and I can go home.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Yeah! It’s one of those nights where nothing moves, not a leaf, not a blade of grass. The heavy air holds you prisoner in its insidious grip so you feel unable to move. You can’t breath. Your chest rises and falls rhythmically, but no air comes into your starved lungs. I look at him, a dark hulking shadows that shatters my tranquility, my sense of self. The dark, murky emotions are too much. I look at him and feel the sweat rolling between my breasts. The fan completes it arc and fans my flushed face. He has a question in his eyes, the eternal question between a man and woman on a hot summer night and you long to answer the call, but dammit, you have to write this blog so the girls in your writing group won’t think you’re a total loser.
So how to refocus your thoughts. You wipe the sweat from your upper lip, fan the back of your neck with a list of character names and pray for inspiration. In the dead of night, when there are no stars and no breeze, when you can hear yourself sweat, there is no answer, no easy out. You just have to slug along and pray whatever words you use to fill up your page will make sense to someone else.
You think about your characters, do they suffer nights like this? Do they ever feel turn off by the heat, the crying children, the bitch playing the radio too loudly next door? No, they have castles in dreamy locations, like an enchanted island in Ireland. There are no crying children and if there were, there would be a nanny, a wet nurse and various other servants to do your every bidding so when your king comes home at the end of a long hot day, you’ve just finished with a cooling, scented bath, your chores are all done, the meal is served, the children are put to their little beds. Peace reigns, so of course you have time to abandon yourself to his breathtaking lovemaking. You can think of fantastic things to do to him, but I deal with reality.
I need to finish this love scene. The dog just threw up on the floor, the temperature is rising, the barometer is doing the same. I carry a towel around with me to mop my face and between my breasts. My brain can’t come up with anything new and exciting. It’s been fried from the heat.
So what happened to those hot, sultry, summer nights when two people find each other and their mingled sweat is an aphrodisiac to their sensual longing. Reality. Excuse me while I wipe the back of my neck. I have a brilliant idea. I’ll use the weather, almost as another character, as part of the background, a motivator. Now let’s see----- It’s one of those nights where nothing moves, not a leaf, not a blade of --
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
My brain may be melted (the heat and humidity were no fun), and my body may be a bit crispy and dried out, but it was all worth it. First I got to spend the day getting to know some of my fellow writers even better - wild, crazy, fun women writers. Thanks Andrea, Sidney and Jennifer for making the day even more colorful!
Not that color was lacking at this event. On the contrary, color was in abundance, from the rainbow flags to the pretty boys and girls walking about, and the sparkly nail polish on more than one Queen, it was a gorgeous and hot (in more ways than one!) day.
We saw an amazing young man perform scarf dances and belly dance with a troupe of amazingly talented belly dancing women. One of whom danced with a python and inspired a new story idea that Jen will hopefully run with. One of the dancers was a large Nubian goddess who puts my feeble attempts at undulations to shame. The following pictures show off the belly dancers and the scarfs...but don't stop there, there's a few more pictures yet.
I apologize for the quality of the pictures, I only had my Blackberry with me today.
We - as in GRRWG - were a sponsor at this year's Network Neighborhood Bash. It's the second year for this event and is put on by a local LGBTQ support group that is doing amazing work in the area. And I am most thankful that we were able to be there. We met a lot of new potential members, and were able to promote our upcoming conference to several people excited about the prospect of joining our group.
In addition to the dancers there was a fun Drag show complete with Queens and Kings. The King was absolutely adorable, with fun songs, great moves, and attitude. Isn't he just too cute?
The Queen's were all fierce, with amazing moves and were in full Diva mode. They were all fab-u-lous, but my vote for fierceness goes to April Evangelista. Not only can she rock this amazing leopard jumpsuit, but her short blond do that she wears with a mini-dress is the bomb!
If you're ever stuck with a bad case of writer's block, I suggest you take a trip to your local Drag show. Energy, color, and life is in abundance. The variety is bound to give your imagination a spark, and if nothing else, you may learn some new fashion tips.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I haven’t heard the term “writer’s block” in a long time. Since I began writing regularly a couple years ago, I haven’t had anything occur in my writing process resembling what could be called “writer’s block.” In fact, my best ideas occur when I’m not at the keyboard at all. There are other tools I use to keep my words flowing.
1. I write. I have several writing outlets, from a daily journal, using an “old-fashioned” pen and notebook, to my personal blog at http://penandplow.wordpress.com, guest-blogging here at the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group, editing my final draft of Talking to Strangers and working on my new project, Thicker Than Water. If I’m stuck in one area, I go to the next. Since I made the commitment of daily blogs at penandplow, I find my words and ideas sprout overnight.
2. Walking opens my head. If I spend forty-five minutes to an hour walking my dog, I have the perfect opportunity to spend undistracted time thinking about plot lines and character development.
3. I attend a weekly critique group. With a variety of writers offering opinions and suggestions about my work, I end up with a collection of comments and ideas.
4. The Grand Rapids Region Writers Group meets monthly and there are presentations on a variety of topics, the most recent being How to Pitch to an Agent or Editor. Hanging out for a couple hours with other writers, finding out the latest news, challenges and issues, it’s only natural that I find the writing part of my brain reinvigorated.
If your ideas aren’t flowing in a particular area of writing, try something else. Write haiku. Begin a blog and make a commitment to post on a regular basis. Surprise an old friend by hand-writing a letter and mailing it – the old-fashioned way. Find five random words from the dictionary and combine them into a short story.
You’re a writer. Do whatever it takes. Write.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Happy Birthday to the great U.S. A.! I know I’m a day late but the sentiment bears repeating. I’m still recovering from the long weekend that was filled with great weather for the water and just enjoying the outdoors. For the Fourth we always go visit family at a lake. This year was no exception except it was a bit different. In the last two years I have had books that just came out and were able to parlay the party into book sales. This year I do have a book coming out, but not until later this month so I was able to relax. But was I?
The thing about being a writer is you are always in promotion mode. You need to pass out business cards everywhere. While the party was pretty much family who has to be a fan (not really but they don’t say they aren’t), no real talking about the new book.
So I thought I would fix that here. My third book in the Mitch Malone Mystery Series is called A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES. Mitch gets rooked into going to his hometown and sharing his reporting experience with the local paper. What he finds is his high school crush who was the homecoming queen who dated his cousin the bully. He renews old ties and almost comes to fisticuffs with his cousin over the still beautiful queen. When she comes up dead, Mitch is the prime suspect in a town where he doesn’t want to renew any ties and his high school years are haunting him making him remember secrets the could put him on a slab next to the woman of his dreams.
So while I celebrated with family at a reunion of sorts, why don’t you celebrate July with a great read. It can be a birthday present to yourself! http://www.amazon.com/W.-S.-Gager/e/B003U5OADU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Monday, July 4, 2011
Thank you to all the American soldiers past, present and future who keep our country free.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
I've belonged to writers' groups for at least ten years. I've been in a wonderful critique group for over a year. I’ve taken several online writing classes, and spent hours parked in front of my laptop. So I am so relieved to finally have some news to crow about! My short story, The Legacy, will be available at Astraea Press (www.astraeapress.com) sometime this month! It will be part of the Japan Relief Novella series. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to charity, which means I won't get any royalties. But that's okay! I am being treated as a regular author, complete with a book cover (I am so pleased with cover artist Elaina Lee's creation, above) and blurb, which was supplied by GRRWG's talented Stephanie Michels.
So now I'm having a great time ordering promotional materials to hand out to friends and family members who have promised to hand them out to their friends. I'm setting up e-mail addresses and a website, and lining up techies to help me with them. I'm notifying people via e-mail and facebook. Maybe I'll even work up the energy to tackle Twitter.
And I'm writing. "Success breeds success," they say. But in this case it's more like "Success motivates one to continue to succeed." I'm not going to go anywhere as a writer on the basis of one short story. I need to create more dialogue, more conflict, more interesting characters. So I sit here in front of my laptop, writing, polishing, and writing some more.
It's a lonely job. It's kind of like Woman's Work - it's never done.
But I love it.