Friday Fess-Up: April 20

Happy Friday Everyone!

We made it!!

Let me start right off with confessing that, regardless of how many of these posts that I’ve done, I ~Still~ have to go back and look at how I formatted the title.

Every. Friday.

You’d think that I’d have it memorized by now, but I’ve been expanding my power metal band repertoire and, apparently, the brain cells that would hold the memory of my Friday Fess-Up title Formatting are needed elsewhere.

I also confess to typing this post up early so, technically it’s a Wednesday Night Fess-Up post, but you’re not going to see it until Friday.

So this is still a Friday Fess-Up post.

Why am I doing this early?  Because, on Friday I will be at RavenCon!!

You can check out my schedule for that weekend on my Events page. If you’re in the Williamsburg VA area, stop by and say Hi.

If you can only show up for a limited time, make sure you show up for the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading. It runs from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Saturday the 21st in Room 5. There you’ll find 2 hours of awesome stories, chocolate, and we’ll even be giving away a few books. You just can’t beat that with a stick. Did I mention that there will be chocolate???

But it hasn’t been all fair winds and sunshine.  I’m kinda speaking metaphorically, and I’m kinda not. Mother Nature has been giving us the cold shoulder in my neck of the woods. I can describe last Sunday in one word: Ice.

And I’ve been feeling horribly deficient lately. I know that I’m not being fair to myself, and that – nearly universally – writing a second book is much harder than writing the first, but there it is, and I’ll get into more detail on Sunday’s post.

Until then:

Be Safe Y’All

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Out of (Your) Control

Before I get into today’s post, I want to let you know that my Ravencon schedule is up on the Events page. If you’re going to be out and about in the Williamsburg, VA area next weekend, stop by and say Hi!

If you’re a writer, then you know about struggle.

If you’re taking a serious, open-eyed look at doing this as a career, then you’re aware that there is a lot of work involved, and that none of that work will guarantee you any degree of success.

Sound harsh? Reality often does.

Don’t get me wrong: All of that work will certainly grease the skids for you. Teach yourself to write a great story, then develop the self-discipline to sit down regularly and write that story. That goes a long way. So does developing the skills to write a good pitch, a good synopsis, etc. Writing is a continuous stream of learning, trying, editing, and improving.

But it won’t get you all the way there.

At some point, if you want to do this as a career, you will need to take a leap of faith and willingly enter into a facet of the business that you have absolutely no control over, but will have a definite impact on your writing career.

If you follow writing blogs, or attend cons and workshops, you’ll hear about how to handle rejections, and unfavorable critique. Both of these things are out of your control and *Will* happen to you. You can’t please everyone all the time.

But go hang out in the bars and you may hear a horror story or two. Maybe a book does well, but the publisher folds before a second print run can be ordered. Maybe a price point gets set too high and the book fails to earn to expectations, which makes the next book harder to sell – or kills a series.

You’ll hear these stories, knowing that while writing is an art and a craft, publishing is a business. On an objective level, you know that these things are possible. Subjectively, though, it’s not something that can happen to you.

Until it does.

And it’s not like a rejection, where you can chalk it up to a difference in taste, or something like that. This is purely an ill turn happening. Bad luck, folk will call it.

What do you do when bad luck strikes?

You go back to the work. Back to what you can control. And you start again.


It can’t rain all the time and the more times you take a chance and step outside, the more likely it is that you’ll find the sun.



Want a taste of what’s out there?  Stop by the Freebies page for excerpts.


Time: 11:44 am – ish (it’s a two pot of coffee day)

Music : Sabaton – No Bullets Fly


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Friday Fess-Up: April 13th

Happy Friday Everyone!

Here we are, a Friday the 13th Fess-up Post and I confess to being later than usual with this post because it’s been a week…and I’ve felt damn near every second of it.

OK, that’s not exactly fair. I did get some discouraging news on Monday, which I’ll go into (somewhat) greater detail on Sunday but, overall, it’s been a pretty positive week.

I’ve made my daily word counts, and Wednesday Night Write Club gets me a bit of padding for when the weekend rolls around and I’m lacking in motivation.

Otherwise, I’ve kept in Morpheus’s good graces this week and gotten the sleep I need to keep me going at 5:30 the next morning.

I do confess that I have a tendency to ruin all that come the weekend, and I end up starting all over on Monday, but this weekend, I’m going to see if I can change that.

Also, I’ve got my schedule for RavenCon from April 20th to the 22nd. Check out the Events page to see when and where I’ll be. Stop by and say Hi.

Be sure to check out the Freebies page for story excerpts, and be sure to stop by Sunday for the usual weekly post.

Be safe Y’All.

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Blog Stop: Jean Rabe’s “The Bone Shroud” Blog Tour

Happy Sunday Everyone!

This week I’ve got the pleasure of hosting Jean Rabe for a Q&A on her Blog tour for her new book The Bone Shroud

About The Bone Shroud:
Irem Madigan’s wedding trip to Rome turns into a desperate search for an archaeological prize, and a struggle to stay ahead of a killer.

Set in and under Rome, The Bone Shroud is a love story wrapped in a perilous relic-hunt.
Irem flies to Italy to be the “best man” in her brother’s wedding. He’s marrying an archaeologist bent on revealing the graves of some famous ancient dead. Irem, an archivist at the Chicago Field Museum, becomes obsessed with the centuries-old mysteries.
Unfortunately, Irem discovers there are other players in the game, and some of them are playing deadly. Can she survive and uncover the ancient secrets?

“Intrigue, romance, and danger amid the relics of Rome’s storied past, with compelling characters and building tension that will keep you turning pages!” Gail Z. Martin, bestselling author of Vendetta

“Strong characters, shady dealings, ruthless villains, a beautiful setting, an ancient mystery–The Bone Shroud has ’em all. Don’t miss it!” New York Times bestselling Richard Baker, author of Valiant Dust








There’s heaps of good stuff here, so be sure you read all the way to the end to enter a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate or a fused glass necklace.

And be sure to stop by the other stops on the Blog Tour! You can find them all here:

Jean Rabe’s Blog Tour – The Complete List

So, without further ado, here’s Five Questions with Jean Rabe!!

ME: What was your favorite part of writing The Bone Shroud?

JR: Creating a new set of characters. I love reading character-driven fiction, and so I try to write novels where the characters are key. I crafted Irem Madigan first. I wanted a main character who was on the young side, but who had a few years on her so she’d have some life experiences that would impact her choices.

I used some of my own memories to flesh her out–not a fan of fancy food or hoity-toity restaurants, hates flying (I really dislike to fly), loves Lake Geneva, WI, enjoys old movies, reads good SF novels, was mugged in a Chicago subway (not one of my favorite recollections), and turns off her cell phone frequently.

I think injecting some of my life made her a little more authentic because I could write about those things with feeling. And then I added wonderful bits that have absolutely nothing to do with me–a black belt in hapkido, parents who came from Ireland and Turkey, a passion for ancient documents (though now I am more than a little interested), an apartment in the Loop, and an affection for large cities. (Give me tiny towns, please.)

Levent, her brother, was wonderful to develop. I fondly remember trips to the Art Institute of Chicago and other art museums. I’d find a bench and stare at something abstract and often walk away flummoxed why such a thing was so valuable and on display. Picasso was another matter. Loved looking at all things Picasso. So I wanted an artist character with an abstract, adventurous, and romantic soul. “Back in the day” I studied art … and turned down an art scholarship to instead study journalism. I would have never been as good as Levent, nor would I have pursued portraiture and sculpting. I was interested in drawing for comic books. Probably a good thing I went after the journalism degree, eh?

Sister Sophia: I have a pen pal who is a 92-year-old nun. We share a love of adventure and thriller novels, including the occasional racy book. I put a nun in The Bone Shroud as a nod to my friend Sister Mary.


ME: What kind of research did you do for the Rome setting? Travel?

JR: The research: lots of it. I love to research. I love digging through books and websites and calling experts to chat about places my characters are going. In the case of The Bone Shroud, it required historical delving, which was even more appealing to me. I took some virtual tours of the bone crypts beneath the city, read people’s vacation pages, and inundated an old friend with questions while he was in the middle of touring Rome.

A writer is a sponge, and you soak up all this information before you start to write. I soaked up a lot on Italy. I was fortunate to have studied Egyptian symbolism from an Italian archaeologist. He let me know that I got “Rome right,” vetted and corrected my Italian, and gave me insights into underground digs. I coupled all of this with travelogues featuring Italy and Sicily, connecting with an Italian policeman, and emailing a wonderful woman who lives two blocks from the museum where some of my story is set.



ME: What do you know now, that you didn’t know when you started The Bone Shroud?

JR: A lot about Italy. I discovered that Rome has an incredible garbage problem that threatens their drinking water. It’s scary stuff. I also learned that it’s relatively safe to travel alone in the city—though pickpockets can be a problem, and I discovered that the McDonald’s restaurant chain has an interesting history in Italy.

I dribbled some of those facts into the novel, but you never use everything…that would slog down the story. The McDonald’s across the street from the Pantheon is popular because it has restrooms. I also learned a lot about fountains throughout the country, Rome in particular. The story behind any given fountain is fascinating. So fascinating Irem has to stop at three fountains.The last fountain in the book has an elephant and is tied to mythology. An African elephant monument in Italy … interesting, eh?

ME: Post-its, spiral notebooks, or spreadsheets for story notes, etc?

JR: All of those. Mostly I use three by five cards. I buy the big color-coded pack of three by five cards. One color served for Irem scenes. Another for Benito.Another for my handsome Italian policeman.The fourth for the villain.

As I watched travelogues and documentaries on Amazon, the History Channel, Discovery, and National Geographic, I would get ideas where I wanted to take the various characters. I’d even take the cards to roleplaying game sessions, and I’d scribble notes about plot points while my character was magically held or unconscious … or dead. I play a game where my character dies frequently. Later, sitting on my wonderful back porch so my dogs could romp in the yard, I ordered the cards and fleshed out the ideas. I’d not done an outline like that before. Usually I extensively outline a book, chapter by chapter, in a Word file, sitting at the computer. But I tried note cards for The Bone Shroud. And my current mystery, I’m using the color-coded note cards again … I think I found what really works best for me.

ME: What makes a book a stand alone, rather than a series opener? Do you start off thinking one over the other?

JR: That’s easy. A stand alone has everything in one nice package with a bow tied on top. The saga/adventure/quest is presented and wrapped up. You don’t have to wait for the next installment. No loose ends.

I love stand alone books. I get frustrated with trilogies and the like. Funny, eh? I’ve written fantasy trilogies … four of them. And I’ve read trilogies. But they frustrate me because book one comes out this year, book two will come out next year, etc. You have to make a commitment of YEARS. Don’t get me started on Game of Thrones (which I’ve read so far), and I did not touch Wheel of Time, though I admired Robert Jordan’s writing. I love stand alones because they are a one-book commitment. There are sooooooooooooo many books I want to read… my to-be-read stacks are impressive. Stand alones let me tackle the stacks in any order, and I don’t have to drop everything to read the next installment of an x-part series when it comes out. I don’t have to remember where in the saga you were left hanging.

Now, let’s talk series characters. This is different than an x-part series or a trilogy. These are a collection of stand alone novels that feature a main character and supporting characters. These are my favorite. They are like a comfortable pair of shoes. Jane Yellowrock, Harry Bosch, Elvis Cole, etc. I can pick up one of their novels and see what they’re up to. I don’t have to read them all; I can jump around and not miss big plot things.

My Piper Blackwell mysteries are a series … but they are stand alone novels, each with a distinct plot that features Piper Blackwell and a supporting cast. And some of that cast changes. You don’t have to read them all. (Gee, but I hope you do.)

When I outlined The Bone Shroud, I intended it as a stand alone book, which it is. But I like Irem Madigan and her brother, Levent. If people like The Bone Shroud and I sell enough copies, I’d like to take Irem on another adventure. A stand alone, maybe to Poland, as there are some nifty historical things there I’d like to wrap into fiction.

Anyway, that’s my take on the difference between stand alones and series/trilogies. There are blurred lines. I guess that’s my convoluted way of saying I like one-shot books with repeat characters.



Jean Rabe is the author of three dozen novels and more than a hundred short stories. When she’s not writing or editing, she tosses tennis balls to her dogs, indulges in fantasy football leagues, and fuses glass jewelry in her basement.


You can find The Bone Shroud here:

Jean’s Amazon author page is here:


And you can find her online at:

Or on Goodreads:

Jean also has a newsletter filled with tidbits about her upcoming books, reviews of things she’s reading, and writing advice. You can subscribe here:



Click here for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate or a fused glass necklace.


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Friday Fess-Up: April 6th

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Welcome to the inaugural Friday Fess-Up for April.

Um…Ironically, there isn’t much for me to fess up to.  If you’ll recall from last week, I was going to do math.

Ok, so it wasn’t gratuitous math. I mathed for a purpose. I was going to break down a long term goal into 90 day chunks, then break it down further and further until I had a day-to-day breakdown of what I needed to accomplish to reach this long term goal.

I won’t rehash the details but, since the turn of the month, I am not only on track, I am ahead of my pace. This weekend is going to be a real test, because I usually take the weekends off. I’m still on the fence about working 7 days a week. I know that I can do it, and the daily word count goal is kinda low – I’ll probably break it typing up this post in fact.

But there is something to be said for unplugging and refilling the well.

We’ll see how it goes.

One thing I did want to mention:

I started re-reading World War Z by Max Brooks this week. As might be inferred by the title, it’s a zombie book.

Here’s the reason I felt it was worth mentioning. I had read – ok, I listened to the audio book – several years ago. Without giving anything away, the book is a series of short stories (Interviews – being documented by the author) beginning prior to, going through, and even going a little bit beyond the Zombie Apocalypse. It’s entertaining, read by a full cast, and worth your time, if my opinion counts for anything.

There was a reference in the book that went completely over my head the first time I listened to it. It wasn’t even about zombies. It was a rugby reference. This was before I had discovered, and subsequently fell in love with, the sport.

This time around, I caught the reference, and the realization that I had caught onto something that had eluded me in an earlier reading added a new dimension of entertainment to the book. The story hadn’t changed. I had.

So if there’s a story out there that you have been thinking about revisiting, after a significant spell has gone past, I encourage you to take the time.

You never know what you might find.

Be safe Y’All!


Be sure to check out the Freebies page for story excerpts.

Also, be sure to stop by on Sunday when I’ll be hosting Jean Rabe on her book release blog tour for The Bone Shroud.

Stay tuned…My RavenCon Schedule should be finalized soon and I’ll post it on the Events page.

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Long-Term and Short-Term

Before I get into anything today, I’d like to say a HUUUUUUGE congrats to the fine folk that are up for a Hugo Award this year.

You can find the entire list of nominees here. You should go do yourself a favor and pick yourself up a heaping helping of awesome from that list of stories.

This is not going to be one of those posts that’s going to end with “Just Kidding!” or “April Fools!” I indulged myself a bit in that regard at the Million Words blog where I’m also posting today. If you’re interested in a little bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, you can pop on over there for a bit.  I’ll wait.


So today I’m going to start off the blog with something you don’t often hear when a writer talks about word count:

I wrote 300 words and some change today. And I’m ok with that.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think that we hear enough about days when the words don’t come as easily as we’d like. Just about every day we’ll see posts about how someone’s A-Game day resulted in 7200 words, or 10,000 words. Most of the time these folks are full time writers, and again, this is an awesomely productive day for anyone.

There are some days where I see that and really wonder who the hell I’m trying to kid by calling myself an author. 300 words? In an hour? I’m going to be uncharacteristic and do a little bit of math here. It would take me 33 hours to reach 10,000 words at that pace.

Depressing, right? I suspect that there are some of you out there that sometimes feel the same way.

One thing I want you to take away from this post is to not to compare your less-than-perfect productivity with someone else’s Grand-Slam accomplishment. Your situation isn’t the same as theirs, and their situation isn’t the same as yours. We’re talking apples and oranges here.

Another thing that I want you to take away from this post is that progress is progress – and progress is good. It doesn’t matter how far along you got. What matters is that you’re farther along now than where you were when you started. And I’m not talking about positive word count. Sometimes progress means less word count. Editing will most often get you that result – which is why I make the shift from word count to page count when I’m in editing mode.

Progress is both a long-term and a short-term game. Let me tell you about that three hundred word count.

I’m not as far along with the book I’m working on as I’d like. So I decided to see if I could change that. I took at look at the remainder of the year and the goal I had as of January 1 that I wanted to have a book written by the end of the year – A long term goal.

Now I’m shooting for 100,000 words (a mere 10 days at 10,000 words a day…see how unrealistic that kind of standard is for someone with a day job, a family, outside interests, a need to eat, sleep, live…). I can’t do this all at once, so  I set a shorter-term goal to have half of that – 50,000 words – by July 1.

As of today, that’s three months from now. I took a look at those three months and I broke it down into three individual months. How many words would it take, per month, to reach that 50,000 words – a shorter term goal.

I won’t replicate the uncharacteristic math here, but I took that number – The number of words I’d need per month – and I broke it down farther to find how many words a week I would need to hit that word count goal for the month.

Again, I won’t replicate the math, but once I had that number, I broke it down even farther to find out how many words per day, I would need to get down in order to make that weekly goal.

300 words and some change was beyond that number.

So, not only am I on track to reach my 50,000 words by July 1 goal, I’m ahead of schedule.

And that’s an awesome feeling.

Now the point here isn’t to toot my own horn (about 300 words, no less). The point is to remind you that setting long term goals is a good thing. It’s essential to getting what you want out of life. You need those long term goals.

But having them isn’t enough. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a number of long term goals out in front of you, and if you’re just looking at the long-term part of it, you can get overwhelmed trying to instantly jump from where you are now to where you want to go.

How do you write a book? One word at a time.

So you set your long term goal. Your very next step should be to figure out how to break that task down to smaller and more manageable shorter-term goals. See if you can break it down – and I’ll bet that you can – into a series of small, daily tasks that’ll net you progress.

You don’t need to keep the entire task in your head. You can keep the idea of the end goal in your head to pull out when times get tough, and you need a boost to get the daily task done. You can also keep the memory of all of the previous times that you did get the work done. You can see how far along you’ve come from where you started.

That’s how you get from here to there. One step at a time. Some times you may be capable of more steps than you thought. Celebrate those times. Use them to stretch yourself a little. But keep taking those steps.

You’ll get there.

Time: 12:32 PM – ish

Music: Um…none. How weird is that?


Be sure to check out the Freebies Page and, in case you missed it earlier, I am also posting on the Million Words Blog today. If you’re looking for something else to read, you can check that out.


See you on Friday!


And GO Leinster Rugby!!!!

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Friday Fess-Up: March 30th

Welcome to the final Friday Fess-Up post for March.

While it might not be a serious confession to say that I’m looking forward to it (finally) getting warmer, I am SOOOO looking forward to it getting warmer. Even if it means wading through the inevitable mud that the April showers will unleash, I’l take it.

There isn’t much to fess up to this week. I got my writing done. I got the extra blog post done (Hint: I’m up on the Million Words Blog this Sunday.  Come check it out here – then come back on Sunday for more awesome), I even got extra writing done at the Wednesday night Write Club.

I can feel things starting to pick back up. I’m not going to try and blame it completely on the weather, but I think there is something going on with me and this time of the year that slows me down.

Speaking of slowing down, I confess to not keeping up with some of the goals I set for myself this year. Some of them I’ve knocked out of the park. “Read something you wouldn’t normally read this year” was one of them. I’m going through biographies and I’m digging them. Granted, I’m reading bios of writers, actors, and musicians but, then again, those kinds of folks are my jam. I’m actually surprised that it took me this long to start picking them up.

Of the things that I haven’t been keeping up with is the Work.  I’m not as far along as I’d like to be on this book. A big part of that is (as I’m pretty sure I’ve covered before) that I’m stretching myself. I’m not doing the same thing that I did before so, of course, it would be unreasonable to expect the same daily output as last time.

I also confess to being unreasonable with myself occasionally.

So starting this April 1st (no Foolin’) I’m going to take the goal I’ve got the for this book (write one book this year) and break it down into three month chunks. I want to have 50,000 words by July 1st.  I’ll figure out what I have to do per month to get that, breaking it down further to what I have to get done per week to get that done, and then finally breaking it down to what I have to get done per day to reach that goal.

Then I will get that shit done.

If it works, I’ll apply it to other projects that I’ve got on one or more of the various burners.

I’ll be sure to post updates here.

Be sure to stop by on Sunday for the usual update.

Also, be sure to check out the Freebies page for story excerpts.


Be Safe Y’all!

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Perfect is the Enemy of Good

Happy Sunday folks!

I’m afraid that this is going to be one of those “Do what I suggest, and pay no attention to what I’m actually doing” kinds of posts.

First, let me explain what I mean by the title of this post. Perfect is the enemy of good when the pursuit of perfection gets in your way so completely that you are unable to move forward. You go back to that part over and over again, editing and polishing and tinkering because it isn’t perfect. Perfection eludes you (as it eludes us all), and you lose your momentum. Maybe you start to lose confidence, then maybe you lose why you wanted to write this thing in the first place. It’s a downward spiral.

So, for reasons that still manage to completely elude me,* I have taken a huge step outside of my comfort zone and am incorporating romantic elements in what I’m currently working on.

This week, it finally happened. After 11 chapters and a bunch of what I hope was effective build up,** I reached the point where my two characters kiss for the first time.

Here is where I got hung up. You never get a chance to redo a first kiss, and this one had to be “Perfect.” I had to convey the appropriate mix of excitement and uncertainty. I wanted to bring to my reader’s minds memories of their own first kiss. I wanted that moment in the story to latch onto something in my readers and put them in that scene.

Easy, right?

I worked on that scene for several days. Sometimes, I’d go back to what led up to that moment and try to set the stage more completely. Sometimes I’d rework that single moment.

I used every trick in the book to get the right “Feel” for the scene. I might have gotten a little obsessive about it.

What saved me was the realization, one morning, that I was going in the opposite direction than what I’d wanted. I had written something that was trying so hard to be “Perfect” that it was becoming a parody of itself. That was the wake up call.

I stripped what I hope was most of the cliche away. I try not to edit as I write, and I’m mostly successful. Here, I think, I needed the editor to take a cold look at what the scene was doing, compare it to what I wanted it to do, then roll up the sleeves and make with the cutting. When I was done, I had something that I was happy with and it’s one of my favorite scenes so far.

On those days I was struggling with it, my word count sometimes was in the low 90’s and my need to “Nail” this scene knocked heads with my need to make progress. Sure I was ending the day with more words than I had when I started (sometimes – there was a -23 word day in that stretch), but it wasn’t where I thought it should be.

I’m happy to say that I’m making progress again and I’m trying to keep in mind that, while the story probably won’t ever reach “Perfect,” the first draft is not where that chase happens.


Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story excerpts.

Time: 12:16 Pm – ish

Music: Poison – Nothin’ but a Good Time


*Not really. I’m pushing myself on purpose. Complacency is the leading contributor to stunted growth.

**Time, and beta readers will tell.



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Friday Fess-Up: March 23rd

Welcome, folks, to the penultimate Friday Fess-Up post for March. One more of these and we’ll be in “April Showers” territory. Now I can’t say I’m a big fan of the mud that’s coming, but it’ll be a bit of a relief to get the heck off the freeze-thaw cycle we’re on, and will continue to be on for a while.

What is there to Fess Up to this week?

Not much as it turns out.

I got some good stuff down this week. Well, time and a re-read or two will tell whether “Good” is an appropriate descriptor, here, but I got some stuff down that I’m currently happy with.

So the week started off strong. One day I had fallen into “The Zone” so completely that I was nearly late for work. Let me tell you, it was rough to drag myself away, but you do what you gotta do.

In relation to that, this week was the second stretch of consecutive late days at the day-job. Two consecutive 12-14 hour days.

Like everywhere else, sleep continues to be the priority. Everything else on those days gets compressed, and I confess to getting overly down on myself about it. Going into this stretch of long days, I got depressed knowing that I was going to lose writing days.

One of the things I am learning–well, relearning, actually–is that I need to figure out how to put that behind me and make do the best I can with what I’ve got.

I also need to be aware of (and accept) is that the amount of what I can do with what I have won’t always be the same from day to day.

The important thing is the progress and the discipline to make progress regularly. Myself, I’m up five days a week (usually). I realize that may or may not work for you, but if you’re out there making progress–and making progress regularly, you’ll get there.


Be sure to stop by the Freebies pagefor story excerpts.

Also be sure to stop by on Sunday for the next post.

Until then…

Be Safe Y’all

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Be Honest with Yourself

Welcome to Sunday everyone!

I hope you all had (and will continue to have) an awesome weekend.

Before I get into the meat of today’s post, let me show you something related to it:








(Image courtesy of the NatWest Six nations Website)

First off: Well played Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.

If you’re curious, you can watch the matches here*:

Scotland v. Italy (This one was *VERY* close)

Wales v. France (This, too, was a nail-biter)

Ireland v. England (Not so close, but England and Ireland at Twickenham is always a show)

Now you might be wondering how this relates to the topic of today’s post: Being Honest with One’s Self.

In answer, I would like you to take a look at the second, and third place finishers – particularly second place.

At the start of the tournament, ~Nobody~ saw that coming.  Certainly not Scotland who got absolutely overwhelmed by Wales in round one** and there’s something to take away from that, which I’ll get to later on.

Here’s my point: Wales – and I admit that I’m drifting into metaphor here – got up in the morning, put their heads down, and got to work. They did the one thing they had complete control over: the work. They didn’t listen to folk saying how good, or how poorly they were doing. They didn’t pay much attention to Ireland’s consecutive wins (Wales lost to Ireland in Round two, after that, there wasn’t much need to pay attention to what Ireland were doing). They took stock after every match. They didn’t fiddle with what was working, and they corrected what wasn’t working.

They were honest with themselves. And, while it didn’t happen overnight, look where it eventually got them: Runner up to the second best rugby team ON THE PLANET. That’s not nothing.

Let me talk about Scotland for a moment. They took an honest look at themselves after that first match, and they got to work too. They didn’t listen when folk said that they were done in the tournament already. There may have been self-doubt, but they got back up and, they too, did what they had absolute control over. The work.

Next week, Scotland beat France. The week after that, they beat England – which they hadn’t done in A DECADE.

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering what the hell this has to do with writing.

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I hadn’t been honest with myself. I’d let in the thoughts that told me that I wasn’t doing enough. What I was doing wasn’t happening fast enough.

There was more, but you get the picture. On top of that I was struggling with a scene. Really struggling, and that just made it easier for those thoughts to take root.

That wasn’t me being honest. I was overlooking what I had done. Glossing over the effort. I had gotten up every morning to write. I had even gotten home late one day because I’d stopped to meet with my writer’s group and WRITE MORE.  AND I had figured out that scene.

I didn’t fiddle with what worked, and I corrected what didn’t. I was doing the work. The one thing that I had control over. I started being honest with myself again. Put my head down, do the work. It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll improve. There will be setbacks, but there is no setback so large, no defeat so complete that I can’t get back up and beat France next week***

It will take honesty and effort, and maybe it’ll take a decade of tries, but there’s always a chance if I keep working.



And, for those of you that think that writing and sports don’t mix:

First, let me say that writing and anything else that you’re passionate about, or enjoy, certainly do mix. They should mix. Take anything that recharges your batteries and use it.

Second, allow me to present to you this photo of J.K. Rowling hanging out with (left to right) Scotland players Greig Laidlaw, Stuart Hogg, and John Barclay.







Time: 12.55 pm – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – The Last Candle


*For those of you that have lost 6 hours of your Sunday to Rugby..I regret nothing.

**I was glad for Wales, don’t get me wrong, but that loss stung, almost as much as the eventual loss to Ireland.

***absolutely have nothing against France, I just thought that line would be funny.

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