Five-Thing Thursday: April 14th

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: You create your own happiness.

Thing #2: We’re finally starting to string together a few days where I can look up and see blue sky. I’ve missed it.

Thing #3: The past is not necessarily an indication of the future.

Thing #4: Playing on the mental Jukebox right now: Zenith by Seven Kingdoms

Thing #5: On the 8th, Seven Kingdoms released a single off their upcoming album Zenith. It’s awesome. You should give it a listen.

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What am  I reading this week?

Grave Destiny by Kalayna Price

The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

Last Weekend I watched the England Women’s Rugby Team extend their unbeaten streak to 21. Not a World Record, yet, but they’re 2 matches better than the Men’s side (Go Red Roses!!)

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Take Your Shot.

Happy Sunday (Or whenever you happen to be reading this) Readers.

I’d like to start off today’s post with a Quote:

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

It was Wayne Gretzky who said that.

Now it may be that you’ve heard this before. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve heard it. It’s one of those sayings that kinda sits in the back of your head, waiting, until something brings it to the front again.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Origin Stories these past few weeks. From Victoria V.E. Schwab‘s No Write Way podcast to Mary Zimmer‘s VoiceHacks podcast (I highly recommend both) and if there could be said to be one underlying theme among the stories behind all these creatives it is this:

Take your shot.

To put it another way, each one of those creatives had an idea of what they wanted to do, they put the work in and, when the time came, they put themselves out there–took themselves out of their comfort zone, took a chance.

Taking that chance is the hardest part, because before you send that email, walk up to that person to introduce yourself, send that application, that query letter, that demo – you know what I mean–you face the largest obstacle to your success.

Yourself.

I know some of you are scoffing at that, but the reasons I come up with for why I shouldn’t “Do the thing” are brilliant. I’ve elevated them to an artform.

They’re also all bullshit and the manifestation of my anxieties and insecurities, but if you saw anything equally creative in any other form, you’d pause to admire the skill that went into it.

We are never more creative than when we are lying to ourselves.

Don’t take that shot. They’ll probably just say no anyway.

Statistically, if you’re a creative, this is true. But here’s the thing:

You only need one “Yes.”

In those interviews you’ll hear people talking about how lucky they got. And, to a point, that’s right. Luck most certainly exists, but each and every creative had put in the work that enabled them to be ready when the opportunity presented itself.

Luck = Skill + Opportunity

Sometimes the opportunities come around to you. Most often, if you look at it, you can trace that opportunity back to a “No,” to a time when you took a shot.

You may have heard the phrase “A no is the same as not asking at all.” I disagree. Getting a “No” means that you’ve put your hand up for something. You’ve let Someone know. It’s a smaller world than you think and that someone who said no, might recommend you to someone else, if you’ve got the skill.

Other times – and these are the things that look most like Luck on the surface – opportunities will seem to come out of the blue. You’ll get a call to collaborate on something, someone will ask if you’re interested in contributing a story, someone will ask if you’re open to commissions.

None of that is as spontaneous as it seems. Someone found you, or someone who is familiar with what you do recommended you to someone else. The point is that you had to put yourself out there before any of that could happen.

You take a piece of yourself and you shoot it out into the world. That’s hard. A lot of folk can’t bring themselves to do it.

We’ve all got false walls that we’ve spun around ourselves. Developing the skill (and it is a skill) to step beyond ourselves is uncomfortable. There’s new and uncharted territory out there. There is also opportunity. A new experience, a new direction, a new life, things you’ve never even dreamed were possible.

Go get them.

Take your shot.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

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Five-Thing Thursday: April 7th

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: Sometimes, it is the hardest, damned, thing in the world to move at your own pace. I know I said this last week, but it bears repeating.

Thing #2: This has been a really long week. And it’s not over yet.

Thing #3: On the bright side, tomorrow is a blank page that can take you anywhere.

Thing #4: Playing on the mental Jukebox right now: The Best is Yet to Come by Accept

Thing #5: Sometimes you just need to get up and step away from it for a bit.

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What am  I reading this week?

Grave Destiny by Kalayna Price

The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

I’ve been rebuilding, trying to get more sleep while also trying not to let one day blend with the one before. It’s kinda unfair that you can get off track so quickly and it takes so long to get back on track. Still even a little progress is progress.

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Rest and Reset

Happy Sunday Readers!

This is going to be a quick one because there’s still stuff I want to get done before I run out of weekend, and “Relax” covers most of the real estate on the list.

So gather round the fire, and hark ye well.

Phrases like “Take Care of yourself” and “I don’t feel well” apply to you mentally every bit as much as it applies to you physically.

It’s all connected and you can only get away with forcing your way through, as if there’s nothing wrong, for only so long.

That bill always comes due.

So take care of yourself, physically and mentally. Listen to what you’re telling yourself and take the time you need for self-care.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking the time you need to rest and reset. The very fact that I feel the need to include that statement shows that it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should.

I’m going to work with myself to change that and you start with you.

You’re the only you there is.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Posted in LIfe, Mental Health | Tagged , | Comments Off on Rest and Reset

Five-Thing Thursday: March 31st

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: Sometimes, it is the hardest, damned, thing in the world to move at your own pace.

Thing #2: Last Saturday, the England Women’s Rugby team stretched their unbroken winning streak to 19 consecutive matches. This is across Multiple years and is a considerable feat.

Thing #3: You never know until you try.

Thing #4: Playing on the mental Jukebox right now: The Best is Yet to Come by Accept

Thing #5: Doing something nice for someone, will have a positive effect on everyone involved.

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What am  I reading this week?

Grave Destiny by Kalayna Price

Klutz: Phoenix Secrets by Sedona Ashe

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

I…well, I haven’t been. Well I have, but unplugging and refilling the well has been stepping on the toes of sleep, so I’m trying to catch up on that front. It’s a juggling act.

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Too Much of a Good Thing.

Happy Sunday, Readers! If you happen to be reading this on a day other than Sunday, well, I hope it’s a good day whenever you are.

I discovered something this week while I was working on a scene that wasn’t, you know, working.

The scene was from the point of view of the antagonist, who was supposed to be reacting badly to one of their minions failing.

I’d been over it a few times and every time it seemed like it worked, but something just wasn’t clicking into place.

I came at it from a number of directions. Was it the dialogue? Was it the movement of the characters (There were three in this scene)? Did a character disappear? What was I missing?

Now to be fair, there were things I could tweak in all of the above–there’s always something you can tweak. But I couldn’t put my finger on it…until I could.

I’m not going to pretend to be able to tell you where the answer came from. I don’t know. Maybe it came from any number of things that had been stewing in the old mental cookpot, back there on the back burner. Maybe it came from The Muse–and yes, I do believe in her. Maybe I’ll get into that one day, but one moment, I had no idea what was going on…and then I did.

Or, again to be fair, I suspected. So perhaps The Muse didn’t give me an answer. She gave me a Question:

Is this really the way they’d be in this scene, or is it the way *You* would move through this scene?

I’ve said it before–maybe not here on the blog yet, but I’m going to now:

Answers are easy. Asking the right question is the hard part.

This was, of course, the right question. I was inserting way too much of myself into the scene.

Once I’d realized that, I went back and, of course, changed dialogue, movement, gave a few more lines to a character who had, in fact disappeared a bit.

The difference was that I did it with the characters foremost in mind.

Now before the idea takes hold, let me tell you that you will *Never* be able to keep yourself out of your work. Not if it’s you doing it. You’re always going to be in there, and that’s a good thing. The one thing that makes your work different from all the other stuff out there…

IS YOU

You Need You in there.

But, you can overdo it. It’s a balancing act, and it’s hard to spot when you’re off balance in this regard since everything seems natural to Reader You.

The good news is that once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to find it.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

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Five-Thing Thursday: March 24th.

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: The Spring Peepers are Awake and Peeping!!!

Thing #2: Last weekend, in the Final Round of the Six Nations Tournament, Italy won their first match in thirty six attempts. They did it at the expense of my beloved Wales, so it’s a bit of a bittersweet thing still, good on you, Azzuri. Well done, indeed.

Thing #3: The weekend walks have recommenced – Make sure you stretch out first 🙂

Thing #4: Playing on the mental Jukebox right now: Fall into Your Hands by Trivium

Thing #5: In just TWO DAYS (Saturday, if you’re reading this on Thursday), the TikTok Women’s Six Nations Rugby Tournament Kicks off. This is a big Deal Because:

  1. The tournament has it’s own sponsor.
  2. It is being held independently of the men’s tournament – for only the second time. Here’s hoping that this trend continues
  3. It’s another 5 weeks of International Rugby

Come join me in cheering them on!

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What am  I reading this week?

Grave Destiny by Kalayna Price

Conan (The Collected Works) by Robert E. Howard

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

Three Words: Movies, Video Games (Yes, that’s a single word), and Rugby!

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Silverpike and Fishguts

Happy Sunday, Reader. If you happen to be reading this on a day other than Sunday, well, I hope that day is a happy one too.

So, about that title. If you’ve read the Wheel of Time books, or if you’ve read beyond the first few books, you’ve read one, or possibly both of those words. Over the course of the series, you’ll read them often, as they are some of the favorite sayings/exclamations/curses of one of the major supporting characters.

The words themselves aside, these stand out because this particular character is the only one among a truly massive cast of characters who uses them.

They’re hers.

Even more important, you can trace them all the way back to where they came from – in this case, the character was a fisher. Their early childhood and the experiences therein have colored her vocabulary. These are words that she grew up with. even when everything else about that little fisher girl had changed, those words, among other bits and pieces, stuck.

They’re part of who she is.

We all want our characters to be memorable, to be relatable, to feel real. One way to do that is to give them something that only they do. Ideally you’ll want to tie it to their history so that it feels organic.

That’s not to say that you need to drop it onto the page whenever they appear, this is like a spice. a little goes a long way and you don’t want too much of it.

Much like fishguts.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Posted in Writing | Tagged | Comments Off on Silverpike and Fishguts

Five-Thing Thursday: March 17th.

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: You are never too old, nor too set in your ways to find something new to enjoy.

Thing #2: I have come to really appreciate the band Trivium, and such appreciation has opened a whole new branch of Music for me.

Thing #3: Speaking of new stuff, Sabaton has a new release out. Every song a good one.

Thing #4: Playing on the mental Jukebox right now: The Phalanx by Trivium

Thing #5: This week, as it turns out, is all about music. That’s good. Music is important.

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What am  I reading this week?

Grave Destiny by Kalayna Price

Conan (The Collected Works) by Robert E. Howard

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

As I mentioned above, I am exploring – and finding – new music, and it’s been great. I’ve been making sleep a priority, and it goes beyond hours in bed. It’s keeping in mind when I’m going to bed, limiting food and drink before then, all sorts of little things. And it’s been working, I think.

###

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Follow the Outline?

It’s been a while since I posted something more or less exclusively about writing. I suppose that’s kind of fitting, since it took me a while to realize something about my current project relating to the title.

I’ll bet you can guess what that is.

This project, titled Queen’s Will has been such a departure from other projects. First, I interrupted it for about 6 months to start, then complete a novella. That’s not something I would have even considered before, but when opportunity comes knocking, you answer.

So there was that.

Then, as I tried to get back into it, I thought I’d be able to pick it up right where I left off.

That didn’t work out so well.

I decided that I needed to do a read-through, which produced mixed results. Part of that was my Editor brain kicked in, hard, and I gave it its head.

So where does the outline come into play?

Typically, and I fully accept that each project is going to be different from the ones before, I do a bare bones outline. This is just me telling myself the story. There’s a lot of internal shorthand and brief mentions of things that would normally stick in my memory during the drafting process.

Enter the six-month shelving of the project.

Much like a note written to yourself in the middle of the night, in the morning, said note, which made perfect sense at 3 AM…made less sense.

One other thing I’ve noticed about myself, subconsciously, I will recognize when something doesn’t make sense, and I will gradually put on the mental brakes. Drafting becomes increasingly harder and harder until my conscious mind, wondering why things have gotten so damned hard, comes to realize that something isn’t working.

When that happens (and I am actively working to shorten the amount of time it takes for me to recognize that point) I go back to the outline.

This time, I looked over the outline and I spotted several points where my mental shorthand was the equivalent of “Fix it in Post.”

But so much time had passed, I didn’t have any idea of what I’d had in mind to “Fix it” with.

So I started over.

Not completely, but almost. I created a new project file in Scrivener and I started over, first rebuilding the outline.

That Bare Bones outline turned into a 29 page document.

At this point, I confess, I probably should have just started over whole cloth, but there was good stuff in the old version. So I did a lot of copy and pasting and, somewhere along the way, I did manage to pick up where I’d left off, but not in a good way. I’d gone off script and fell back into what I was doing before.

Again, I recently (and slowly) came to the realization that what I was doing was trying to drive a square peg through a round hole.

Again, I went back to the outline, and I read it through, and it still made sense, start to finish.

So this project has, for me, very little wiggle room. Strangely, I don’t find that odd at all. I think that Past Me might have balked at the idea. Indeed, when I printed out the Outline, so I could have it (kinda) side by side, I saw that I’d added (in huge, bold, italicized letters no less) “You are Not locked into Any of this!”

As I go through the project, with the outline right next to me, that page – that reminder – is long gone.

I kinda see that now as Past Me resisting what might turn out to be a bit of growth on my part. It’s hard to tell. Again, every project is different. Maybe this will be an anomaly and I’ll go back to a skeletal structure, or maybe I’ll continue on with a more robust outline. I am noticing that I’ve still got plenty of room to explore, despite there being a definite “You need to get to point C, then you can go to point D, etc.

I still consider myself a hybrid writer. It might just be that I’ve slid closer to the plotter side of the “Plotter-Pantser” scale on this project.

Maybe the next project will see me slide more toward the plotter side of the scale, maybe it’ll take me in the opposite direction.

Only one way to find out.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

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

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Posted in Writing | Tagged | Comments Off on Follow the Outline?