Friday, May 23, 2014

Empty My Head of Words

It was good to go back to work.  I got caught up on a lot of things.  I also couldn't stay the whole day as my foot was too sore.

Driving home was an adventure.  I did okay so long as I didn't have to brake too much.  Hopefully it will be a bit better tomorrow.

Tonight I was hoping to just drop off to sleep but that wasn't to be.  I watched a tv show and then read a book.  When those two things didn't work I played on the Kindle Fire - backgammon, scrabble and skipbo.  Still I can't sleep.

Insomnia and I are old friends.  Tonight my mind just won't stop rambling around to different topics from the writing tasks I need to work on to crocheting I want to get done to so many other topics.  Apparently there is no off switch to my brain.

If I thought getting up and working on something would help I would totally do that but I know it won't.  I just need to settle my mind and center my energy to balance out the chaos in my head.  Once I do that I'll have the peace I need to drift off to sleep.

I've taken Tylenol to help the gout and I'm writing this blog to help empty my head of words... I can only try these things to see if they actually help.  I know the words will pile in again but maybe by writing this small bit they will give me enough peace so I can sleep.

If none of this makes sense - blame it on the insomnia...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A View from the Recliner

It is difficult to be limited in what I can physically do.  However, I'm trying to be productive with my time.  Research and marketing have been top of my list while I'm laid up.

To this end, I spent a chunk of yesterday researching new age bookstores for Moon Affirmations and emailing a number of them to introduce my book.  Whether it will produce any sales only time will tell.  Next for me is to see what a good place to market to for the romance novel and the poetry book.

Great news for Moments in Nature - it is now available on Barnes and Noble.  Also Smashwords has connected with two more channels of distribution.  One of which is to get into libraries which are great users of ebooks.

Aside from book stuff, I've been crocheting.  I'm done with baby gifts and am now working on sponges.  I've had three requests for sponges so I'm working with my left over crochet cotton to make sponges for these three people.  After the sponges though, I'll probably go back to working on the afghan I've got started.  I have three more afghans to make after this before I start looking at other bigger projects to take on.

While crocheting, I watch tv.  I finished MI5 and have moved on to other things.  I watched a movie about World War II called The Couple.  It was interesting.  Then I watched a PBS series called Heat of the Sun which takes place in the 30s in Kenya.  That was pretty good.  Finally last night I started season 1 of Grimm.  I watched two episodes and it was okay.  It seems a bit darker than I normally like but I'll watch at least a couple more episodes before I give up on it.

My days seem really short because I've been sleeping in.  This is great for my sleep level but tomorrow when I am back at work and can't sleep in this could be bad.  Hopefully it won't be a problem.  I'll be glad to go back to work and catch up.  It will be nice to have a different view than the one from my recliner.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Pick Me Up

Tonight, I was feeling a bit glum about being stuck in my recliner.  Don't get me wrong I love my recliner, it is comfy and usually offers comfort when I'm in pain.  However, I have a lot going on but the doctor says - stay off your feet and rest - I pretty much have to.  Experience has taught me that resistance on this is never good.

Here I am feeling a bit down and out in my recliner.  I crocheted during the day creating a new pattern for a bag that I think I like a lot.  I finished off MI5 - damn them killing off my favorite character who had actually lasted ten seasons until the very last episode.  I was sitting in my recliner having answered emails and done a couple of other things feeling glum.

I look over and my Kindle Fire is sitting on the couch next to me.  I'm currently reading three books - Harry Potter 6 in my van as I drive; Lean In on my normal Kindle; and Wrede on Writing on my Kindle Fire.  I thought about playing backgammon on the Fire (another of my obsessions) but the book drew me in tonight.  I started reading and two hours later I'm feeling better about myself and about my writing.

Patricia Wrede is one of my favorite authors.  She writes fantasy and is fabulous.  I fall into her novels and don't want to come out even when she has finished them ever so wonderfully.  I almost always want more of her writing.  Last year she published a book on writing.

Writing books tend to be academic and well (apologies to all the teachers I know) boring.  I was going to give this book three chapters and move on to something else.  Well I can't stop turning pages.  I've read 15% of the book (it's an ebook so I don't know what page I'm on).  I LOVE her writing.  More than just her writing style though - she actually talks about writing in a way that isn't academic but is humorous and intelligent.

I said to one of my professors "You can't teach writing," to which I think she took a lot of offense.  You can teach parts of writing like grammar, syntax, sentence structure, and so on.  You can't teach where an idea comes from or how YOU as a writer will develop that.

Wrede talks about all of this.  She goes into the different possibilities and encourages the reader to find the way that works best for them.  I found myself in some of her descriptions which uplifted me because here was someone else who got what writing was for me.

Her humor and common sense shine through.  Her biggest piece of advice essentially is find what works for you and stick with it.  That isn't the only thing she talks about though.  She ranted (maybe a strong word but this could be because I rant about it when I read a book) about authors who need to improve their basic skills like grammar.  Here are two quotes from her discussion that I LOVE:

"A writer whose work is littered with sentence fragments and runons cannot make effective use of sentence fragments to increase tension, or pacing, or emphasis."

"If everything else is in standard English, dropping some unusual syntax, punctuation, or grammar into the text has an impact because of the change.  The less often the writer does it, the bigger the impact."

I'm a grammar nut.  I like to diagram sentences and I like to break the rules - all the time.  I know what proper grammar is - I just don't always like to use it.  I'd had this discussion with all of my professors with only one or two of them conceding that depending on the writing depended on the appropriateness of breaking the rules.

In academic and other professional writing, you absolutely must be grammatically correct.  However, when it comes to fiction, you don't have to be and when you aren't it can be a highly effective tool.

While I may be a grammar geek, I understand the effect ungrammatical work can have on the reader.  Oh and for those out there - if you find grammar (or other errors) in my writing - let me know.  I'll fix them.  I'm good but I'm nowhere near perfect.

If you're a writer and you want good advice, check out Wrede's book Wrede on Writing.  If you're not a writer, check it out anyways as it might give you some insight into your writing friends.  You could also check out her other books and stories.  She is an excellent writer.

Oh and no longer feeling glum.  She made me laugh, agree, and recognize myself in the way she talked about writers.  While I may be stuck in my recliner, I've still got things I can work on...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Moments in Nature in Paperback!

My first poetry book is now available in paperback.  I'm very excited about this one because it is an expression of how nature affects me on a deeper level.

Nature inspires me.  I watch it wash over all of us and how we all react to it.  It doesn't matter whether it is the season or the daily weather.  It affects people's moods and attitude towards everything.  It is awe inspiring and moves me regularly to put into words the affect it has on me.

In reading my poetry, you will find some rhyming poems but not too often.  Generally they are more free form and less structured.  I do like Haiku format which there are a few in this book.  Haiku is an ironic poem with a set format.  They are fun - at least I think so.

The cover for this book was shot by Suzanne Inez Jaillet-Isham.  It is from one of her hiking trips down into the Grand Canyon.  When she shares her photography, I get to go to places I wouldn't normally be able to go.  I truly appreciate her skills as a photographer.  More of her work is on display on YouTube, just search for LilyAZ to see more of her work.

This book is available at:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Laid Up

I've been stuck in my recliner for the last three days.  I'm heartily sick of my recliner but there is little I can do about it.  My ankle started bothering me last weekend.  I don't know why.  I didn't twist it, strain it, or anything like that I could point to but every time I put weight on my ankle I am in severe pain.

Is it my gout?  Is it something else?  No idea.  At this point I'm putting heat on it - ice doesn't work and only increases my pain.  I'm taking Tylenol as often as I can.  I've also doubled my arthritis meds.  I guess if this doesn't work then I'll go to the doctor but right now I don't have any faith in any of my doctors.

My ortho has moved to Minnesota and I've not found a new one.  My GP is reluctant to do anything with my joints.  This leaves me pretty much dealing with things on my own.

Even though I'm trapped in my recliner, I've not been idle.  I have been crocheting (of course) and have five baby bibs done and a sixth one started.  Vicki's co-worker is pregnant and she asked me to make these.  I've finished the baby blanket I was working on.  Once those are done I'll work on sponges for Vicki.  This pattern takes me very little time so I'll be able to crank out a number of them fairly quickly.

In addition to the crocheting, I've been working on writing stuff.  Flash drives are amazing.  My little netbook has been working hard.  Moments in Nature is going to be available in paperback within the week!  I'm super excited about this.  Next is to work on reviewing and sorting the next book of poems.  I have the print outs next to me and I'm hoping to get these sorted today.  Then it will be a matter of starting the organization on this manuscript.  Once I'm done with that I've gathered the other poems into one manuscript but I haven't decided whether it should be one or two so that will be the next step.

After I get the poetry taken care of, I will be working on my fantasy novel.  This one is still in the editing process so will take a bit of time to finish off.  Or it might not.  Every time I've said that recently I end up finishing more quickly than I expected.  This is a good thing and always takes me by surprise.

While I'm stuck in the recliner and damn annoyed about it, I'm not being unproductive.  I feel bad because it is errands weekend and Ken is doing all the errands.  He doesn't seem to mind but I do - these are tasks we usually share.  I know I need to rest the ankle but I have to live too.

To occupy my brain while I'm recliner bound I've been watching PBS Crafting in America and Cosmos both of which were good.  I was a bit disappointed that Crafting in America didn't include any crocheting or knitting.  While most of the people they interviewed and profiled were making a living crafting, I'm sure there are people who make a living with their crafts.  I feel like they touched on a couple of important things about networking and running a business that is craft based.  It is definitely not a field that you are likely to make big bucks in.

I've also been watching MI5 from the BBC.  I think I'm to a point where I am more waiting to see which characters get killed off.  No one is safe.  They either get killed off or crack up.  This is probably similar to how it is in real life spy craft.  I also am enjoying seeing the cliche's of British television.  The more I watch the more prominent they become.  It adds to the layers of perception I have by watching the shows from other countries.  It shows how America is considered arrogant which is a bit hard to take but not necessarily untrue.

If you have time, check out my books:
Secret Past
Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:

Moon Affirmations:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:

Moments in Nature
Available on Amazon:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Moments in Nature

Since the late 90s, I've been jotting poems down in all sorts of places and at all sorts of times.  Some of these have been published (see my credits page and my poetry page).  Poetry for me is something I get in a flash.  It is a word or phrase that sticks in my head and won't go away until I write it down which of course leads to more words.  Poetry is experiencing some moment in my life whether in nature, life, or spiritual. 

After years of gathering these poems, I've decided to share these moments.  In looking at my two binders full of poetry, I picked out the nature ones first.  These are generally positive, uplifting, and descriptive.  They are about what I've seen or experienced while out in nature. 

Over time I plan to do more books of my poetry to make a series incorporating different aspects like spiritual moments, and moments in life.  Please go check out my latest publication. 

Moments in Nature is available:
Available on Amazon:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

My daughters have all contacted me today.  We may be far apart physically but I think we are getting closer every day.  They are the most amazing women I know.  They are strong, compassionate and loving.  I’m very proud of them. 

With my daughters being out of town for Mother’s day, I have the day to do what I please.  This is always a bonus for me.  Yesterday I finished part of a baby gift and started the other part.  Last night, Ken and I helped my nephew move.  Ken did most of it – I drove.  We got home late last night and we both slept later than normal. 

Ken made me breakfast this morning.  It was sweet of him to do it as the girls aren’t here to do little things like that.  Since I’m moving slowly today I don’t know whether I will spend my day crocheting or work on book production.  Right now I’m putzing on the computer and don’t have a lot of energy. 

I turned fifty this year and maybe that is why but I’ve spent a lot of time just looking at my life and reflecting on my accomplishments.  My three biggest would be my daughters.  I’ve managed to raise three incredible women who are responsible members of society.  (yup mom bragging again).  However, they aren’t my only accomplishments. 

Since December, I’ve graduated from college to get my third degree since high school (associates in business, bachelor’s in business, and finally my bachelor’s in English).  I’ve also just published two books and should have a third book out soon.  I’ve managed to maintain my marriage for thirty three years (next month).  It isn’t front page news but I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished. 

Since I was seventeen, I’ve had people tell me I will fail.  I would accomplish nothing.  Actually in high school, I had a counselor who was very disparaging about my future so it began even earlier.  I go back to my parents though – my dad in particular - made me feel like I could be and do anything I wanted to do.  I may not have taken the path they wanted me to, but I’ve gotten there in the end.  Against naysayers and even against some pretty tough odds, I’ve managed to attain a level of success I think most people felt I would never reach.  More importantly, I like who I am and what I’m doing.  I’m proud of myself and pleased with my work.  At fifty, I finally feel like I’ve come into my own. 

On this mother’s day, I’m grateful for those who have helped me along the way.  Ken, who is more than just my husband, he is my best friend.  He’s learned to give me space when I need it and be there for me when I need him to be.  Virginia, Vicki, and Stephanie, my wonderful and amazing daughters, have encouraged me even while they were growing up.  They give me encouragement and support as I work my way through life.

While my daughters may be far away, they are never far because – as corny as it sounds – they are in my heart.  They are a part of everything I accomplish and everything I do.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Damn that Inner Critic

Poetry is personal.  My short stories, novels, essays, while personal aren't a microcsope of how I was feeling in a particular moment.  My poetry is an insight into how I was feeling in one particular moment.  It exposes sometimes raw emotion to whoever reads it. 

In many ways this is what makes it good (and dare I hope great) poetry.  I've been working on gathering up my poetry to publish.  I think I'll have a few volumes of it.  I have two large binders full to choose from so I think I can come up with a couple different.  The first step for me in gathering my poetry was of course to go through to make sure all my files matched up - my binder with my spreadsheet of poetry with the actual typed files of poetry. 

As a writer, I have to tap into personal feelings often. I can't tell you how many times I've cried or laughed or gotten angry while I wrote a scene. When I write my poems, I literally scrawl down my feelings - raw and real - that I'm having in a whatever moment is going around me. Sometimes this is the beautiful scene outside my window. Sometimes it is a social injustice I am railing against. Sometimes it is just a magical moment that needs to be remembered. 

As I was working on cleaning it up last night and looking through my work I started to hear that nagging annoying inner voice telling me the poetry wasn't up to par and I should pick something else to publish.  I trust my instincts.  This grumbling voice is not connected to my instincts.  It is connected to my wish to remain private and protected.  If I share the poems then people will know what I think and what I feel.  This is dangerous because I am opening these thoughts and feeling to ridicule or rejection.

Now if I could just use some duct tape on this inner critic I would be in much better shape but I can't.  She pops up when I least expect her.  Fortunately I'm very familiar with her tricks and tantrums.  Last night when I heard that voice telling me I shouldn't publish my poetry it hit me hard as I was very excited about this project.  I'm working on the cover and thinking about how I want to organize it all.  The details are all in my head and I just need time to get it together. 

There I was working on the first step and my inner critic starts in with that poem isn't good enough or who is going to be interested in this.  It made me pause.  It made me pause long enough to turn the page and look at a different poem and know I need to share.  Not every poem in my two binders is good enough to be published.  Some just don't have the depth or are too personal.  There are many reasons to reject them but there are just as many that are worth sharing.  The sentiment in the poems will touch people I believe.  For that reason, I need to share them. 

I'll work on shoving that inner critic into the back of the closet in my head.  I'll work on the poetry books and will let the readers be the judge.  All I can do is put the work out and let the readers decide.   

Moon Affirmations
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:

Secret Past
Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Moon Affirmations is on Amazon!

The paperback of this book is now available on Amazon!  It looks a bit raw as I think they are still working on the page but it is available - see the link below.

Now I need to start working on how to create an audio book because that is the next step for this book.  I want it available in all formats that I think the end user will find helpful.  It is a matter of figuring out how to create an audio book. 

I know that sounds ambitious but I think for this book an audio book will help the reader to perform the meditations.  It will become like a guided meditation rather than having the reader memorize what they are supposed to be meditating on. 

Check out the paper copy here:

Monday, May 5, 2014

It Was Worth the Wait

After doing and redoing Moon Affirmations, it is finally available in paperback!  Late last night the final review of the file was complete and now this morning it is available on! 

I think it looks beautiful!  I'm very proud of this meditation book.  It is simple and easy to do but at the same time can bring some pretty deep results.  I'm deeply moved by the moon energy and during the full moon I feel overloaded with all the energy and during the dark of the moon I feel peaceful. 

The artwork inside is magnificent.  TJ did a wonderful job capturing the feeling of the meditations.  The simple drawings match the affirmations and meditations wonderfully.  Additionally, Suzanne took a beautiful photo for me of the moon.  It was exactly has I've envisioned for several years. 

I'm proud of this book.  Laura and I lay on the ground at a county park near my home.  We talked about how the moon's energy affected people and lives.  The idea popped for me and she encouraged me to write and develop this book. 

Several publishers have nibbled at this manuscript over the years.  Several have expressed an interest in the concept and the manuscript but none followed through.  It is here - published in both ebook and paper format. 

If you want to purchase the ebook:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:

It should be on Amazon in about a week.  Currently the paper format is available here:

Check out Secret Past too:

Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Need a Weekend to Recover from My Weekend

Yesterday was exceedingly productive.  Ken got up early to collect firewood from his brother’s house.  On the way home he stopped at Sorg’s to pick up our order.  I made sure I was up, dressed and organized by the time he got home. 

We went to Schnuck’s grocery store as they were having a 10 for 10 get the 11th free sale.  We bought only sale items and saved about $94 dollars between sales and coupons. 

Back home, Ken had fixed my chair sort of so I worked on Moon Affirmations – the paper edition.  It is in the review process and I’m obsessively checking every hour or so to see if it has finally made it through review.  I also wrapped three of the graduation gifts I had finished crocheting. 

In the evening we wandered out again to go to Walmart.  Ken found the last graduation gift I wanted so he picked that up.  Then we went to Target for Stephanie who wanted Brewer’s sunglasses.  Sadly they didn’t have any.  Finally we stopped at Woodman’s to do the last of our shopping.  We only got about three or four things that we didn’t have a coupon for and we saved $21.25 in coupons. 

By the time we got home Ken was done.  I came back to the computer and did a few things on the next project.  I’m organizing my poems.  This means I have the electronic file, paper copy, and it listed on my spreadsheet.  I got through A’s and B’s last night.  I also obsessively checked on Moon Affirmations.  Moon Affirmations made it onto Barnes and Noble this week as well.  

I played on the computer for a bit before I settled into the living room to read a book.  I’m reading Lean In.  It is a very good book.  It is about how women struggle for acceptance and equality even in today’s supposed enlightened era.  I recommend it for all people.

Unfortunately I slept poorly again.  This is about three weeks of sleep being elusive to me.  It would be nice to go to sleep easily and actually stay asleep for four to six hours. At this stage I’m lucky to get four solid.

Today is process food, obsessively check on Moon Affirmations, and relax at some point.  I want to get food prepped for me to easily grab it during the week for breakfast and lunch.  If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know I’m not a morning person so it has to be exceedingly simple or I won’t remember in the morning.  I’ve got dip, turkey burgers, and coleslaw to make.  I have to prep cucumbers, peppers, and other items to go in the freezer.  If I have time, I want to work on the poetry project as well.  You would think with all we did yesterday we could sit back and relax today but that won’t be the case.

Moon Affirmations is now available at:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:

Secret Past is available at:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Technical Difficulties

Every day this week I’ve worked on cleaning up images and getting the document ready for print format.  Unfortunately I’ve had technical difficulties. 

First I had to learn how to change the dpi (dots per inch) of each image.  Fortunately it was fairly simple once I had the right program. 

Second I had to take the new images and clean it up.  Because my images are drawings that have been scanned there was a lot of gray surrounding the lines.  For a digital image that has to be cleaned up as well which I did but when you increase the dpi then more imperfections appear.  In print , the gray surrounding the lines makes the image blurry or fuzzy.  With 45 images for the entire manuscript it is time consuming to pull each one up in Paint and use the eraser to go along each line.  However, every spare moment I’ve had this week I’ve been working on them.

Unfortunately, I’ve had additional technical problems.  I sat in my office chair early in the week and one of the wheels broke off.  Now if it had just fallen off, duct tape would have fixed it but it actually broke.  This meant I didn’t have my comfortable chair.  At first I was using a dining room chair which is okay for short periods of time.  When I spent any amount of time in it though, my back and legs hurt worse than normal.  Ken brought up an old office chair from the basement last night and it is okay but still not as comfortable as my chair. 

This mean after I worked on fourteen pictures last night I couldn’t stand to be in the chair any longer and had to give it up for the recliner.  With the precision work I have to do, I need a desk and solid surface for my mouse to be on.  I’m down to eight pictures with each one taking about an hour or so depending on how complex the picture is. 

Since I had to redo all the images, I made a point of double checking that they were working.  I uploaded a partially finished manuscript to CreateSpace to see if their system liked the new photos.  This gave me a double check that all was well and I just needed to finish the images.  I was thrilled to find that the document had no errors and the images looked amazing.  Plus by doing that I was able to rearrange images so they worked better. 

Images in a digital format have to be in line with the text.  There is no creative placement.  With print I’m able to move them around and place them where I think they look the best rather than where they work digitally.  While it has been a lot of work to change up the images, I feel like it has been a good lesson learned as it has allowed me to produce a better product.

At this stage, all I want to do is work on finishing the images.  Unfortunately, I have a lot to do this weekend.  My todo list is filled with grocery shopping, errands, gift wrapping, food prep and so on.  I’ll still carve out time though.  Barring any more technical difficulties, I’m hoping to have a paper version ready by the end of the weekend.  Fingers crossed and chair situation resolved, I hope to accomplish this.  Then I can look at poetry books next.   



While you are out shopping, take a look at Secret Past too.  It is available here:

Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:https:
Available on Amazon:

Back at the Grindstone

With nine days off, you would think I got a lot accomplished.  I did when it comes to spending time with my girls but off my to-do list?  No...