Monday, June 30, 2014

Balancing My Life

Stephanie flew in last week for her college class reunion.  She is spending a couple days with Ken and I before she flies back home.  This means that I've probably driven nearly a thousand miles in the last week with picking her up from the airport, taking her to her reunion, and picking her up from the reunion.  Some of the family stopped in yesterday to chat with her and get to see her. 

This morning she is off spending time with a friend and I'm home all alone.  I love having her visit but this alone time gives me a chance to work on whatever I need to work on.  I find myself balancing all the different aspects of my life. 

This morning I've approved time sheets for my day job, downloaded some music, and will be working on writing things shortly.  Once Stephanie gets back then my focus will shift to enjoying my time with her. 

Balance is a hard thing to achieve in life and to be honest there are times I don't feel very balanced.  About the time I think I've achieved some sort of balance something gets thrown into the mix to change things.

Lately my focus has been all about writing whether I'm working on writing, marketing, production, doesn't matter.  I've been very focused on writing.  This weekend I've stepped back from that because Stephanie is here.  This is what being balanced is about.  When Stephanie goes back home, I'll focus more on my writing and other aspects of my life.   

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mentors and Supporters

As a writer I’m often stumbling around trying to figure out how to do different things.  For instance as I’m looking at covers to assess which one I want, I try to look at them in different ways – across the room, on the computer, asking other people.  A writer friend of mine suggest I look at them at a smaller size (1 x 1.5) as that is how they will appear in a search on Amazon.  Changing the size creates a different perspective and one I hadn’t thought to do.  It changed my perception of the covers. 

Another writer friend told me how she organizes her to do list.  She is an editor / writer and uses a datebook binder to keep track of all of her tasks.  This is of course another area I struggle with.  I always have a long list of tasks I need to complete. 

The writer’s group I belong to has been helpful in knowing some of the tricks of the trade.  You can read tons of books but I’ve never seen a book written on these type of practical functions in the writing field.  Mostly I think you have to figure out what works for you.  It is nice though to have mentor type people who help you along as you learn and grow.

The flip side to this is I always try to be very careful to not take advantage of my mentors.  Time is a precious commodity and if they take time to help me I don’t want to infringe on it more than is necessary.  I prefer to give as to them as much as they give to me.  Obviously we are at different places for experience.  I happen to be wonderful at software so I offer up my experience in that area when they need assistance. 

There are also people who aren’t in writing who encourage, read, and kick my bum when I need it.  These people offer encouragement, read and comment on work, look at covers, and give me a good kick in the bum when needed. 

Without this support system, I don’t think I’d have accomplished all I have at this stage.  Often I find myself too close to a project to see what needs to be different.  A perfect example of this is a short story I wrote.  I wrote the story with the sole intention it was going to be just a short story.  A few thousand words and then I was going to enter it into contests and so on.  Several people told me I should develop it into a book.  I kept saying – no it is just a short story.  I was determined that I’d told everything that needed telling in the story.

When I took my Fiction Writing class, I submitted it for critique.  Almost the entire class thought it should be a book length with more development.  I grumbled at my daughter about it and she very nicely gave me a good smack the back of my head (I call this a Gibb’s smack).  Essentially she told me to stop and think about what people were suggesting to me. 

I did this and it is now in my development pile.  I was able to split it up into chapters and have even started filling out more details of each of the chapters.  As I thought about how I would split it up into chapters, I got more excited about the story and I could see where there was more story to tell. 

My process is very much let the story tell itself.  When it is done, I switch hats from creator to editor.  The problem with this – particularly in the case of the short story is sometimes I don’t see the additional potential in some of the work.  This is where my supporters and mentors come in.  They help me take that step back to a more objective place.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Project

Finished the second afghan I was working on. It was a quick one with a large hook and large lacy pattern. I think it turned out nicely with the pattern featuring the beautiful yarn. Next I'm moving on to the afghan for my oldest daughter.

I started it last night but may have to tear it out as I think the hook is not large enough to meet the gauge. The two rows I did are only about three feet wide. This will make it more shawl like than afghan.

I'm using Patton Metallic yarn which I had a hard time getting and cost a fortune. However, it is worth it because the yarn works up beautifully.  It is a silver color and looks like spun silver.  It is soft and beautiful. 

Every time I start a new project I’m excited to try something new.  I think this is why I don’t often do the same pattern twice for the larger projects.  I do for smaller projects because they just work up nicely and multiples are more likely to be needed (like for dishtowels and other household stuff).

There is an anticipation and excitement of whether I’ll like the project, be able to do it, and how it will turn out.  It is exciting to see it develop.  It is generally only the projects that take forever that I end up getting annoyed with.

After this afghan I have one more to do and when they are both done I’m going to work on a project I’ve been wanting to do for myself (hopefully) as well as the smaller projects I need to start for gifts. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Reviews!

Moon Affirmations has its first review on Amazon!  Barbara Ardinger read and reviewed it.  She is a wonderful writer and the author of Pagan Every Day and Secret Lives of Crones.  Her website is 

Secret Past has two wonderful reviews on Amazon!  Both people gave it a five stars!  I'm very excited about that. 

Marketing is my most time consuming task right now.  I spend a lot of time sending out press releases saying my books have come out.  I send out review copies.  It is a lot but I try to do some each day.  At this point I've had small successes - Barbara's review being one of them. 

I don't have a huge budget so I can't afford an ad in national magazines to advertise my books.  These are costly in the realm of hundreds of dollars per issue.  As I was looking for places to put my ads, I discovered one publication wanted $300.  Since I don't make a lot on any of the books, I'd have to sell a heck of a lot of books to break even on that type of expense.

This is where I put on my business hat and have to weigh the cost vs the benefit of the expense.  Now a national magazine or publication can bring my books to the attention of thousands of people but how many of them would actually buy?  If it brought hundreds of sales then it would be worth it.  If it didn't, I would have wasted my money. 

Part of it is targeting the right audience.  With Moon Affirmations that isn't too difficult as it has a specific niche and a broader market but the other two books is more difficult.  It isn't like there are romance novel bookstores only.  I could target women's magazines but not all women read romance novels. 

As for the poetry book, it is even harder to find target specific places to send my marketing material to.  I keep researching and looking for ideas. 

This is why when I get accomplishments - like the reviews - it is wonderful news to me. 

Check out my books.  They are available:

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

Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:

Moments in Nature
Available at Barnes & Nobles:
Available at:
Available on Amazon:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

While the saying “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” is one I’ve heard numerous times, it is also one that most people don’t pay attention to.  The cover draws the reader in.  If the cover catches your eye amongst all the other books on the shelf (or on the web page) and gets you to pick up you are much more likely to buy than if the cover doesn’t draw you in.  It is the first impression of the book.  I want to make a great first impression.

In creating and selecting the cover, much thought goes into the process.  There is composition with all of its details like font, font size, font color and so on.  There is the picture and what it represents.  I’m sure there are probably studies out there that people who read X genre are drawn to X colors or whatever.  I only have my gut instinct to go by and the opinions of the people I trust. 

In looking at all of my covers, I try to be as creative as possible and practical.  I have two versions I have to consider whether it looks good or not – ebook and physical book.  In some ways it is easier to create an ebook cover because it only has to be an electronic version. 

Suzanne and Vicki have provided me with some incredible pictures to pick from for Moments in Spirit.  In looking over the pictures, I cannot narrow it down to just one that I like.  This is what led to twelve covers. 

I’ve spent the last three days looking at them electronically and getting opinions from Suzanne and Vicki.  Next I’ll be asking others randomly which one they like best. 

It is a balance of the right pictures, the words standing out, drawing the eye, and representing what is inside.  My problem at this stage in the game is I like several of them and have to narrow it down to just one.  I think I have it narrowed down to four but getting from four to one is causing me some difficulty. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Midsummer - Longest Day of the Year

Yesterday was the longest day of the year.  This is a day of celebrating the movement of the sun and the life it gives us.  For Ken and I it was about getting stuff done.

Ken worked is so hard yesterday that his t-shirt was drenched every time he came in the house.  He has been working on the yard and wood splitting.  He was very productive. 

In a different way, I was productive as well.  I worked up eleven cover samples which I have to narrow down to just one.  Suzanne and Vicki have made it difficult by providing me with some beautiful photos. 

I also started the next afghan.  As is normal for me, when I'm done with a long and time consuming project, I like to do a quicker pattern for the next one.  I am using a larger hook and a larger pattern so I can maximize the yarn I'm using and minimize the amount of time I'm spending on it.  At this point I'm about a third done with it. 

Today is all about the business of writing so far.  I've been downloading reports and setting up a spreadsheet to track information.  It has been about gathering the information I need to keep track of what I'm making and also about expenses. 

Plus I talked to Suzanne and Vicki about the covers they preferred.  They really helped me narrow down the number of covers as well as critiqued one where we liked the picture but not the other elements.  The two of them help me clarify my vision for the book and how the cover will represent the thoughts within the book.

Once I'm done with all the business side of writing today, I'll be going back to crocheting on the afghan I've got started.  I'm hoping to get it mostly done today as quick as it was working up.  If I could finish it this week, I would only have two left to do.  

Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy

Moments in Nature

Saturday, June 21, 2014

It Is Done

This morning at 2:15 I finished the afghan!  After work, I had a headache so came home to a dark room.  It felt good to just have quiet and dark.  I was a bit annoyed because I thought I wouldn't be able to work on the afghan. 

However, after supper my head felt better so I picked up the afghan.  I only intended to work a bit and then go to bed early as I've had a couple of nights with crappy sleep.  Instead, I watched Torchwood and crocheted until the afghan was done. 

I've made a late start today but I'm okay with that because the afghan is done and I can move on to the next crochet project.  Before I start the next crochet project, I'm going to spend some time on the computer working on production for some of my books. 

Suzanne got me pictures for the next poetry book cover.  I have to take some time to see if they will work.  She sent me multiple pictures.  This means I have to pick the ones I think will make the best cover and play with it to see if it will fit the requirements and work up into a good cover.  I generally make four or five and email them off to people for opinions.  Once people let me know what they like and don't like, I eliminate until I'm down to THE cover for the book. 

This all takes time and is one of the most time consuming.  It is also one of the most difficult decisions I make when it comes to my books.  Suzanne provides me with some amazing photos and I have a hard time narrowing it down to just one.  There are a multitude of decisions like font style and color, placement, size, and so on that all affect how the book looks.  Since there are almost limitless options for these decisions I try to be consistent but it still helps me to have other people's opinions. 

Don't think I'm indecisive.  I have a good eye for color combinations and other stylistic features but too often I'm just too close to it all.  This is where other people's opinions help me.  It isn't just a matter of them choosing cover A or B.  It is a matter of telling me what works and what doesn't work in the covers. 

Suzanne and my daughters are the four people I trust most but I've also asked other people to.  The interesting thing from this is generally one cover stands out as getting a consensus of being the front runner.  For Secret Past, I had opinions from at least a dozen people and they all liked the one cover - the one I went with - the best.

This means my day will consist of cover design, errands, and starting a new crochet project.  It will be a full day but hopefully a productive one.  Finally - the neverending afghan - is DONE!!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Determined to Finish

View outside my office window
The weather in Wisconsin has been a series of rainstorms washing through on a daily basis.  I love thunderstorms - the thunder, the lightning, the sound of the rain on the roof - all in trance me.  Watching a storm roll over the land is amazing. 

What isn't so amazing is how my body has been reacting to these storms.  I've got arthritis so generally everything aches when we are going to have a storm.  Mostly, I manage with the pain as it comes and goes with the weather issues.  This last week though, I've had throbbing sinus issues every time a storm comes.  Essentially the left side of my face feels like the pressure is going to make my head explode. 

This makes it difficult to do anything - edit, crochet, talk, breath.  I've been doing all the right things - eucalyptus, heating pad, tylenol, extra allergy meds.  Still the pain is there and I deal. 

What frustrates me most is I've still got four and a half rows on the afghan to finish.  I've got all the yarn I need (finally) and all I need to do is sit and crochet.  The problem is I can't because my head is going to explode. 

I'm determined that this weekend those last rows will get done.  I will have the afghan off my to do list and on my DONE (finally freaking done) list.  It is gorgeous but I'm tired of working on it.  I want to work on something else - anything else at this point. 

Once that one is done I'll be able to look at the other three I have piled up behind it and start on one of them.  I'll also be able to look at smaller projects to get done for holiday gifts.  I have several things I want to experiment with - stitch sequences I want to try, patterns I want to try and there is always the colors and texture to consider too. 

Before any of that fun can start, I have to just finish this one freaking afghan!  It will be this weekend. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I've been asked how I come up with my ideas.  It is hard to answer that because in most cases they just come to me.  When I'm working on a story, it just tells itself. 

I reach moments in each story where I have to consciously make a decision about where the story is going.  Sometimes I think through all the possibilities but mostly I just follow where I think the story should go. 

In the fantasy novel I'm working on, I thought I was done with the first novel but there was one area which was bugging me.  I was considering either rewriting an entire chapter or adding in another chapter.  The problem - keeping the cohesion of the story and adding to it by the addition. 

I'm reading the Wrede's book on writing.  In there she talks about world building and the functions of scenes.  I'm trying to adhere to how she talks about the functions of scenes because to me she makes sense. 

In the fantasy novel, I've created a world where the genders have equality.  However, there is a scene where an older woman is talking to younger girls about "womanly things."  If this is a world of equality then I felt there should be a section where the younger boys in the story get the same type of talk. 

The problem - I didn't want the reader to be bored with a repetition of the same conversation.  I wanted there to be equality between the genders. 

For a couple of days I struggled with the issue.  As I'm falling asleep the other night, I come up with an origin myth for the novel.  Last night I'm thinking about going to sleep and can't.  I pick up my netbook to start writing at about 10:00.  I worked on a new chapter for the book.  I just started writing and it flowed so easily. 

My phone rang and scared the crap out of me.  Vicki called.  I hadn't realized it was 11:30 but I was nearly done with the chapter.  She told me she was just calling to tell me goodnight and make sure I didn't stay up too late writing.  This is a running joke with us. 

Before midnight, I finished the chapter.  I will edit it a couple of times.  I think it adds depth to the story without it feeling like it I'm doing an info dump.  It brings in the origin of the land, it creates the equality I wanted with the genders, and it teaches the lessons that are needed - I hope. 

Where did the inspiration come from?  No idea.  I just know it came to me, whether from sleeping on it or from talking about it with my daughter and others or from somewhere else.  The inspiration hit to help me overcome a problem in the novel. 

Secret Past

Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy

Moments in Nature

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Recurring Words

There are words which have very little function in our language but we use them a lot - or at least I seem to.  I just finished editing a manuscript of mine and discovered several I should not be allowed to use.

Well, so, then, now, are all words that I should ban from my writing.  I seem to use them a lot in dialogue.  I also don't like to use contractions.  When writing dialogue, it is easy to forget that we don't talk as formally as we write.  We also tend to not speak in full sentences.  This means contractions, fragments, and all the things your teachers tell you not to do - you usually end up doing. 

At one point, I looked at my edits and realized they were all words like "well, so, then, etc".  These are filler words really - like say "uh" when you are giving a speech.  Of course I had to take them all out.  I hope I got them all.  I might have to do a search just to make sure. 

The problem with having these words in there is they don't sound like real conversation.  Unless of course your person says "Soooo..." a lot. 

As for contractions - in formal writing almost never use them.  In dialogue though we all talk in contractions and not always the ones we commonly use like can't or won't.  There are contractions like "Go get 'em" or "Whacha doin?"  All of these are things I look at when I'm doing editing because my tendency is to write the more formal usage - "Go get them".  It isn't wrong but it makes the character different from the person who would speak more casually. 

One of the biggest pieces of advice I've been given for writing dialogue is to read it out loud.  People may think you are strange but it helps with the way you think a person will talk naturally.

When I'm done with a manuscript, I guess I'll have to make a point of searching out these words I use repetitively.  It is one very important step in my editing process when I've finished a manuscript.

The Frustration of the Neverending Afghan

Last night I worked on Vicki's afghan.  I made good progress with getting a row and a half done.  I went to start the next row and discovered that I didn't have enough yarn to complete the row.  This is the one variegated skein I didn't get over the weekend.  I was all set to keep crocheting but unfortunately I didn't have the yarn to do it.  I was very annoyed. 

Tonight after work I'll be stopping to get the skein of yarn.  Hopefully they have the variegated I need to do this one freaking row.  I grumbled at Vicki about it and she said to just skip the color.  However, it would look odd if I just skipped it - it would ruin the whole pattern. 

There I was last night in the mood to work on it and I couldn't.  The yarn failed me.  In most cases I typically buy extra yarn so I don't have this problem but with this afghan we didn't buy extra - probably because the yarn was sort of pricey.  It is beautiful yarn but a little pricey.

Once I have the yarn, I'm hoping to get that row done and start on another of the rows.  I'm to the point in the afghan where I just want it done.  For most normal rectangular afghans if I had five rows left, I would just finish it.  I'm frustrated because I can't just rush through the end of it to have it done and because I ran out of yarn. 

I'll have to be patient because there is nothing I can do about it - that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.

On the writing front, I've been working on editing.  I finished editing a fantasy novel.  I need to get the changes into the computer now.  I also have a poetry book edited.  I'm going to work on production of both of these so I can work on getting them out soon.  Then I will look at the third poetry book and the second fantasy novel.  They both have a lot of editing to go on them. 

With all of these I have to work on artwork / covers as part of the production.  I have wonderful people who help me create beautiful covers.  I'm looking forward to working on these covers and other artwork for the fantasy novels. 

Secret Past

Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy

Moments in Nature

Monday, June 16, 2014

Neverending Afghan

Yesterday was a full day of making things.  Ken and I made fruit salad, repackaged chicken for the freezer, and made turkey burgers.  After that we watched Longmire and I crocheted.  Believe it or not I only got a couple of rows done on Vicki's afghan. 

I am halfway through row 47.  The afghan has 53 rows in total and I can't wait to be done.  After this afghan I have three more in line.  Each of the rows takes about an hour and half to complete at this point.  Also because it is so big, the room needs to be cool enough for me to work on it or I get too hot.  It is time consuming but in the end it will be gorgeous.  I change colors every row so there is that goal.  Also it helps to see where the beginning of the row is with the color change. 

I had to stop crocheting last night as I had a sinus headache edging towards a migraine.  I pulled out the eucalyptus, heating pad, and tylenol.  They all helped eventually but by the time I was feeling better it was too late to do more crocheting. 

My goal at this point is to finish a row a night.  If that is the case it will take me six days to finish the afghan.  If I'm lucky I'll be able to do more than a row a night but I'll have to see how the week goes. 

After I'm finally done with this afghan, I'll probably plunge into another one.  I like to have a big project going along with a bunch of little projects.  I need to finish making some crocheted lace that I started.  It is made with a steel crochet hook which is very small.  This means I have to pay more attention to it when I'm crocheting and I have to have a strong light on it so I can more easily see it.  It is beautiful but hard on my eyes. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Anniversary and Other Things This Weekend

Friday was Ken and my thirty third anniversary.  We don't have a great track record when it comes to anniversaries.  Generally a lot of them have been bad - from our first where we fought to our eleventh where I broke my ankle and spent a lot of time in the hospital. 

Fortunately this one was much better than normal.  Ken had the day off and worked around the house.  I worked for part of the day.  The day started with a nice conversation.  I know that sounds little but it was pleasant to have that connection in the morning and the time to just say good morning and get ready for the day. 

We hung out together in the afternoon and then went out to supper.  We were going to try a new place.  This always makes me anxious because I don't know how easy it will be for me to get into the place and so on.  However, I was determined not to let that stop up.  We thought we knew how to get there but when we went out the way I thought we should, we couldn't find the place.  We turned around and came back to go to Olive Garden instead where we had a pleasant meal.

Yesterday we did all the errands - grocery store, pharmacy, post office, Hobby Lobby.  I have nine rows of Vicki's afghan left and ran out of her yarn so I had to get more yarn.  I'm hoping to finish her afghan today or this week.  It depends.  Nine rows doesn't sound like a lot but this is a round afghan so the rows get bigger each time.  I worked on it yesterday and only managed to get four rows done. 

Today is father's day.  The girls took care of Ken's gifts.  I find myself missing my father and wishing I could call him.  I know he is with me every day but there are times that I want him physically here not just spiritually. 

In our shopping yesterday we bought things that we need to process today.  We have to make fruit salad, turkey burgers, cut up onions, and repackage some chicken.  I'm hoping that won't eat up too much of the day so I can work on Vicki's afghan.  I'd like to be done with it. 

It has been a busy weekend which was not unexpected.  I was hoping to get some writing projects in but it doesn't look like I will.  I'm still working on one more edit for my fantasy novel and the second of my poetry books.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


At some point I'm going to have to cope with negative reviews.  I can only hope I handle them with grace.  However, for now I've got two reviews on Secret Past and they are both wonderful and positive! 

These reviews help promote my book.  If someone reads the reviews, they may decide to purchase the book.  This could lead to them looking for more of my work which could then lead to more sales.  Plus it could lead to more reviews - hopefully positive reviews.

I write reviews and try to be as informative as possible so the people who read them understand where I'm coming from and can make an informed decision.  If I list why I don't like or do like something then the reader of the review can say - hey I know that bugs me about books or that wouldn't bug me. 

Reviews are key.  It helps to get information out there about the item - whether it is a book or other item.  I know when I look at products I'm influenced by well written and insightful reviews. 

Here is a link to Secret Past on Amazon:

If you've read my books, please go out and take a couple minutes to review them on whatever site you purchased them from. 

Here the books I have available:

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

Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Moments in Nature
Available at Barnes & Nobles:
Available at:
Available on Amazon:

Monday, June 9, 2014

New Posting for Moon Affirmations

I've been working on marketing my books.  One of the things I did was a google search on New Age book stores.  This has been slightly successful in that I got two hits with one person requesting a review copy and one person offering to post it on her web site.

It may not seem like a lot but a posting on a web site could offer more traffic to my book.  If the web site has a lot of traffic, then the new item may show up to interest people.  If they like the one book I have, it could lead to them purchasing another of my books.

There are a lot of ifs in there but it is a beginning.  I have to start somewhere with getting my book out there for people to see.  To that end... has added Moon Affirmations to its website.

Thank you, Tara for adding me to your web site!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


A good chunk of my day yesterday was spent trying to figure out the order the poems for my next poetry book should go in.  It sounds like a simple task - just choose what order seems to make the most sense.

It isn't that simple.  For one thing, I'm not always the best judge of my poems.  I tend to be very critical of my own work.  One thing that helps is to hear them out loud.  It helps me hear whether they flow well or not.  That is completely subjective on my part.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out categories.  Once I separated them into categories, then I had to figure out what order they had to in.  I have favorites.  I always have favorites so it is hard for me to let go of one even if it doesn't fit.  I like it so much I want to share.  But I have to look at the overall book.  Is this favorite poem of mine going to enhance the book?  If it isn't then I shouldn't include it.

I called Vicki to grumble my way through a few decisions.  She is much more objective and being a librarian she can give me a perspective of other books.  Plus she isn't afraid to tell me I'm wrong.

The order for the next poetry book is set for now.  Sometimes when I'm working with the electronic file I find that oh hey this one actually goes really well with this group rather than the one I'd stuck it in.

In addition to working on the poetry book, I worked on one of my crochet experiments.  I also started a crochet spreadsheet.  I've always wanted to have a record of what I've crocheted plus Vicki was nagging at me about it so I started a spreadsheet.  She wants me to write a crochet book but I don't feel I'm in a place where I can do that.  The spreadsheet will help me see how many of my own patterns I'm creating and also get me taking pictures of my projects (hopefully better ones than I normally do).  If I find that I'm making up more of my own projects then I might work on a book.

I could try doing the afghan contest that Herrschner's has every year.  I've thought about it in the past but I don't like that they get to copyright on the pattern.  However, if I were going to go into writing craft books, it would be a good credit to add to my portfolio, especially if I won.

It is summer and if you are looking for some good books to read check out mine:

Secret Past - a romance novel full of adventure, mystery, and romance
Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:

Moon Affirmations - Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:

Moments in Nature - poems inspired by the power and awe of the nature around us
Available at Barnes & Nobles:
Available at:
Available on Amazon:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Fresh New Day

My husband is a morning person.  This is wonderful in that by 10 am in the morning he accomplishes more than most people all day.  However, as a night person it means I'm often woken earlier than I want to be.  This was the case today.

Now that I'm up though, I'm noticing the beautiful day.  The temp is reasonable and the humidity low.  The house is opened up and the birds are singing.  If it weren't for the traffic noise, I could almost go back to sleep just listening to the birds.

I'm up though and I have too much to do to waste time when I could be working.  I didn't accomplish anything yesterday except to get rid of a nasty headache.  After work, I made a phone call about getting books in a chain bookstore.  I'm not holding my breath but it would be really nice.  Today I'm prepping my books to send to the chain for review.  That is top of my priority list.

Once I was done with that phone call and typing up the letter, I pretty much did nothing the rest of the afternoon and evening.  I'm watching Flashpoint on Netflix so I watched that and then crashed.  My head was hurting so no crocheting.

Today will be more productive I hope.  Prepping the books for mailing, organizing my poems for the next Moments in book, and fixing two spots in my fantasy novel.  I have to decide if one area needs more description or not and if the other section could do without a transitional paragraph.  After that it is one more read through and then I begin the production part.  For the poetry book, I have to make final cuts and arrange the poems before starting the production part.

My two crochet projects are calling to me so when my brain is about to explode from the writing stuff I will work on the afghan and the experiment.  Yes I am experimenting with a new stitch and yarn.  I like how it is working up so I just need to finish it.  I also want to try another pattern in this book before I review it because the one pattern I am working with had errors in it and I had to fix it.  Before I review it and add in that bit of information, I want to see if the error is consistent.

If I get to working on Vicki's afghan, it will be a good time to have a couple of movies to watch.  Each row takes so long it is good to have a distraction while I work on it.  I was talking about Kevin Costner movies to someone so maybe I will see what Netflix has in the way of his movies and do a Costner weekend.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Weekend Looms

With it being a non-pay week, I have absolutely NO plans for the weekend.  This may sound like an abysmal weekend but for me, it is heaven.  It means that I can work on writing, crocheting, or whatever else comes to mind. 

The difficulty will be in narrowing down what I do from all my options.  I'm working on production of another poetry book, editing a fantasy novel, and looking at short stories for submission to a contest.  In addition, I'm also working on the third book in the fantasy series.  I'd like to finish writing the story. 

On the marketing end, I've been sending emails announcing my book coming out.  I've hit several local papers, bookstores across the country, and sent out review copies.  Now all I have to do is hope that someone pays attention and purchases or the newspapers do an article.  Marketing is not my strong suit though I do know about it as I worked in it for a small amount of time for one of my jobs.  I do know I can send out hundreds or even thousands of emails and only get a few hits on it. 

This is also one of my more difficult things to do because marketing tends to be over the top for claims and I don't believe in doing that.  However, it doesn't grab people's attention if I just say - hey here are three good books try them out.  This makes marketing difficult for me. 

On the crocheting side of my life, I'm working on Vicki's afghan.  It is slow going because it is octagonal and each row takes a long time to finish.  I started a different project with some of my new yarn as a short project but I have a logger jam of afghan requests right now.  I have four in my queue. 

It is time for me to start thinking about what I want to do for gifts for winter so I have them done in time.  I have an idea of what I'd like to do but it is a matter of time. 

This means the weekend is an open book.  It will be nice to have a quiet and hopefully productive weekend at home. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Halfway through the Year

It just dawned on me that we are halfway through the year.  My first six months of 2014 have been incredibly busy with writing, family, and work. 

In January, I was disappointed I didn't get the grant I'd tried for.  I was very disappointed to the point where I thought I'd never have the time or ability to publish my work.  The year started rough for me in other ways too.  Vicki injured her shoulder so I spent a lot of time helping her. 

Between these two things, I thought I would delay more of my writing activities.  I thought it would be the end of the year before I would have any progress at all towards publishing. 

Here we are though halfway through the year and I've managed to help Vicki get better and publish three books.  It astounds me that I've accomplished so much. 

At the same time, I'm not just sitting back and waiting for the money to roll in - because it won't.  I've been very busy working on marketing material, contacting independent book stores, and doing research on marketing.  I've also been editing one book with a second one in the lineup.  I also have two more poetry books I'd like to get out there.  Plus I have two short story books I'd like to compile. 

My daughter also reminded me to go out and google my name to see who was using my material.  I did and contacted several people to have them remove copyrighted material from their web site.  I had a discussion with one gentleman about whether his taking my picture and material and linking to the original site of the material was an infringement of copyright.  Needless to say we did not agree. 

On the plus side I found a very nice site that talked about my article on Dutch Ovens ( in a very complimentary way.  I was surprised and pleased by his glowing review. 

I graduated college in December, turned 50 in February, and will be celebrating 33 years with my husband this month.  I have to keep reminding myself that I'm progressing in the right direction and some things just progress at a slower rate than I would like. 

Overall, I'd say the first half of my year has been pretty good.  It has had some rough patches but the high points out shine the low ones.  Wonder what kind of mischief I can get up to in the second half of the year?

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 at Barnes & Nobles:
Available at:
Available on Amazon:

Sunday, June 1, 2014


For the last week, I've been traveling.  Ken and I went to visit all three of our daughters.  We had a wonderful time and enjoyed our family time.  I was very worried about not being able to go with all the problems I've had but I checked with the doctor and she said it was okay to travel.

Our southern girls gave us great hospitality and entertainment.  We played games, shopped, went to a movie, and visited an aquarium.  Since we don't get to visit them often it was wonderful to meet their cats - two of my grand fur babies - Moo Shoo and Gus Gus.  They are adorable, of course.  The girls have a lovely apartment and we had a good visit.

Our midwest girl gave us great care when we showed up on her door tired from driving.  She took care of us, made us food and talked a lot.  We also went to her ortho appointment and her shoulder is on the mend.  We also went shopping and I found the shoes I love at a great price - saved myself about $50.

I was thrilled to come home though.  It has been a long week with driving and visiting and all the activities.  All of my daughters were careful about my foot issues which are doing much better.

As I drove home yesterday, I thought of all these things I need to get done.  I've done some of them this morning but my foot will soon drive me back to my recliner.  One last thing I want to work on is updating my todo list I have on the computer.  I have to cross off all the stuff I've gotten done and add in all the things that came to my mind when I was driving yesterday.

I wasn't completely unplugged for the last week.  I did check my home email a few times but it was good to be mostly unplugged.  It was fun to focus on family and let the phone, email, and all the technology go for the week.

At the same time, I've been working on the computer this morning and it is like coming back to an old friend.  I've gotten a lot done including paying bills, submitting written work to different places, and checking on all my different publishing avenues.  I cleared a couple piles off my desk which is always a good thing.

While I was gone, I crocheted several scarves and slippers.  I enjoyed wandering around in JoAnn with my youngest daughter and Beth.  All of the items I crocheted stayed with my daughters.  My oldest daughter got the scarf she liked and my youngest got slippers she's been nagging for and several scarves.  My middle got two scarves.

All in all - it has been a really good week.  Tomorrow I return to work and am looking forward to seeing my faculty and student workers.  I'm sure I'll be stressed with all the emails I have and with catching up but that will pass quickly.

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...