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Month: November 2017

Coffee Break, part 2

It’s almost December…how did that happen?  This time of year is full of holidays, family time, and looking forward to the new year.  2018 will be here in a blink and I have quite a few things to finish up before December 31st rolls around. So, grab a cup of warm coffee or hot chocolate and let’s dive right in. 

For starters I’m still working on the editorial revisions of The Art of Lying and should have those back to my editor by Christmas week.   It took me awhile to get back into my novel’s groove but I’m feeling very much in the flow now and should be finished early (with enough time to read through it at least twice and make sure I’m still totally in love with the thing).  Sarah, my editor, said I should have it back by end of January which will be amazing and give me enough time to hire a cover designer, work on and finalize the front and back matter of the novel (the copyright page, dedication page, etc.) and figure out the formatting software I downloaded.

A while ago I mentioned a story about a young man named Leo and I implied that I would be writing a short story to give away if you signed up for my newsletter.  That was the plan until I started working on it and really loved the characters and the plot and all of a sudden my outline was long – like novel-length long – and I decided I wanted it to be Book #2.  Great!  Except I still needed something to give away for my newsletter.  Well, I came up with a cool idea to write 3 mini stories that are based on the novels I’m either writing or have planned so I really need to finish the first draft of all of those by the end of the year too so I can start editing those over Christmas/New Year’s break.  Whew!  Anyone else tired yet?

The goal (as of right now) is to have my newsletter all ready to go with opt-in freebie short stories and welcome messages by early February and the novel ready to launch by mid-March.  I have the outline for book #2 almost done so once I get my book formatted and uploaded to Amazon I can start writing the first draft of that.  As of right now, that’s all I have planned.  I would like to get book #2 to my editor by the middle of 2018 and launched sometime later in 2018 but we will see how all of that works out.  Considering The Art of Lying has been YEARS in the making I might be thinking too big for 2 books in one year.

What’s on your December To-Do list?  What things are you hoping to finish up before 2018 rolls around?  What are your big dreams and goals for next year?  Are you working on plans or still concentrating on December? Let me know in the comments!

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Technical Difficulties

You might notice that things look a little different around here.  I’m hoping they look better, but I guess that’s subjective isn’t it?

Yesterday, I received an email from my web host that they updated some things on their end – this caused my old blogging platform and my web host to stop speaking to each other (family drama!).  After a little ranting and raving and crying and cursing the Universe I decided that this was actually a good thing.    See, I just created a fancy Facebook Author page, which just went live on Thursday, and then my blog blows up – I felt like the Universe was laughing at me.  Then I decided that the Universe was actually saying, “if you’re going to go BIG then go BIG – do it right!”

So, I downloaded WordPress, installed a fancy theme, and moved my old blog posts over.  I think it looks keen, but again your mileage might vary.  It’s my blog though, so I’ll do what I want. HA  Just kidding – but I do like the simple clean lines of this theme, the fact I can add pages easier than my old platform, and I’ll be able to incorporate my MailChimp newsletter sign-in form so much easier – which, is coming soon (like early 2018 soon).

And that’s the story of my weekend blog meltdown.  I still need to go through and check all the old links, pictures, GIFs, etc and make sure everything on here is linking correctly.  Then I need to go through said fancy Facebook Author Page and re-link the few blog posts I put over there, and then make sure Instagram and Tumblr are okay.  Oh…and Pinterest is probably going to need an overhaul as well.  I tried re-directing things, but it didn’t seem to work like I was hoping so I still have some work to do.   Please be kind, if a link doesn’t work – drop me an email (see that fancy envelope icon in the top left – you can use that to email me now) and let me know.  I’ll continue working and updating and re-linking, but since this week is also Thanksgiving and I’ll be out of town, well – it might not be perfect right away.

So, what do you think of the new digs? Is it as easy to read? Check out the new FB author page too and if you have any friends or family members who love YA novels (especially coming of age stories) and want to check out a new author on the cusp of self-publishing, send them my way!  Thanks, everyone!!!


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Binge Worthy – Sitcoms Edition

Last time I wrote about televisionI talked about a hodge podge of various TV shows, mostly new and original series on Hulu or Netflix.  Today I want to concentrate on Sitcoms – seriously, I think sitcoms were my first love.  I grew up watching Punky Brewster, Facts of Life, and Growing Pains.  I own all 10 seasons of Friends on DVD and still watch them on Netflix!  I love that life’s problems can be solved in 30 minutes (or less) and that the situations (the sit part of sitcom) are over the top and crazy one second and totally relatable the next.  So…here’s the current* sitcoms I’m watching now (again with GIFs because they’re fun!).
*Current in this situation really does mean currently on the air right now – later I want to talk about old favorites that have found new homes online.
Brooklyn 99
Let’s start off with a seriously fun show with a lot of heart.  Brooklyn 99 has one of the most diverse casts I’ve seen on TV in a long time (in a sitcom, that is – although the next show I’m going to talk about does a really good job of this too).  It’s about a police station in Brooklyn, where over the years the cops have become family.  This show took awhile for me to get into – but about half way through the first season I just fell in love.   It helps that I actually do adore Andy Samberg (come on, Dick in a Box….comedy gold!) but the other actors are all phenomenal!    Also, bonus – my celebrity crush, Nathan Fillion, appeared in an episode.  BONUS!!!
The Good Place
This show is very odd, but sooooo good.  Our hero, played by Kirsten Bell, has died and has gone to the Good Place with Ted Danson as a wise old angel (?) who has designed this neighborhood full of wacky other dead people.  In this good place, people have soul mates and our hero’s soul mate is an ethics professor so when she tells him she actually doesn’t belong there, hilarity ensues!  Again, an amazing diverse cast with so many layers, that I don’t think I could unpack them all here for you.  Also – the gif is funny because in the good place you can’t curse, so the F-word comes out Fork…as in What the Fork?  Which is fun to say around my 6 year old.
Modern Family
This is an oldie but goodie.  We’ve watched this family grow up, leave home for college, return home from college (poor Haley) and even have new babies (cute little Joe).  It’s totally silly….and some weeks are sillier than others, but I still enjoy watching it every week.  The two from the gif are my favorites – Cam and Gloria – they are hilarious!  This show has two bonuses – one, a woman I went to college with plays Cam’s sister from MO, Pameron (What’s up Dana!?!) and my man, Nathan was also on this show as a weatherman named Rainer Shine – that’s funny right there.  DOUBLE BONUS!!! 
Ah, an old favorite is back.  I did not love the very first episode, it seemed too political, but I get it – that’s the world we live in today and some of the stuff needed to be said.  I did enjoy how they just kind of shoved the original series’ ending right under the rug so this series made sense.  Jack is still my favorite on this show followed super close by Karen – if the show were called Jack&Karen I would still watch, in fact I might watch it more.  The show and the actors haven’t missed much in the 10 or so years its been off the air – they picked right back up.  I felt like they were so in it that they had been living those lives off camera all along.  Two thumbs up for whoever decided to bring the show back. 
The Big Bang Theory
Another oldie, but goodie – this show has been around a long time and some people have issues with the sexiest nature of the guys…but I feel like the characters have grown and learned so much over the years – that they learned how to be better men, how to be good boyfriends and husbands in spite of being totally clueless jerks in the first few seasons.  And I don’t think they were being malicious about their issues – they were nerds, nerds who didn’t have game back in high school, who had never really dated much, couldn’t even talk to women.  And the inclusion of the women on the show has made it even better in my opinion.  You have three very strong, smart (in their own ways) women with careers and goals and ideas of their own.  Also, this show gets a bonus, because – you guessed it – Nathan Fillion played himself on an episode where the guys were debating whether or not to ask him for a picture.  Nerds, super cute!  BONUS!!!!
Bonus Nathan Gif – thank me later!
So…what sitcoms are you watching? Am I missing any good ones?  I wasn’t sure if I should include South Park on this list (being a cartoon and all) but we do watch that every week as well.  Besides the old favorites post I want to write I’m also planning a Binge Worth – Drama edition where I will talk Stranger Things!!!  
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Behind the Scenes: My Writing Ritual

I’ve been reading lots of publishing and writing business books lately and most of them talk about having a writing routine or ritual for getting in the mood to write.  Basically, a set of things you do before you start writing, and that got me thinking – do I have that?  

Currently, I wake up and get my son ready for school, then come back up to our apartment and write my morning pages and mindset, I then exercise, eat breakfast, have coffee, and then I’m ready to start my day and my writing.  If I’m putting down new words I put on music, read through my scene notes or look over my outline cards in Scrivener (my writing program of choice) and start writing. 
If I’m revising or editing, then usually it’s quiet.  I grab any notes I need, look through the scene I’m working on, read through it and get to work.  If I have lots of day job stuff to get to, I’ll put a timer on for my writing sessions, but I like it better when I can just drink my coffee and write until I feel done.  Usually, that’s at the end of a scene or chapter in both instances.  Lately, I’ve been working on revisions for my debut novel and I like to get two chapters done before moving on with my day.  If I’m working on my short stories (which don’t really have chapters) then I like to write at least 750-1000 words for the day.  

That’s it, really.  I’ve been thinking of adding some other things to this ritual or routine such as candles or my new Essential Oil diffuser, a writing warm-up exercise (although I find these distracting if I’m revising, but might be a good idea for when I’m working on novel #2), or somehow using my writing totem.  I have a Figment figurine from Epcot that I bought many moons ago that sits on my desk and reminds me to keep my imagination front and center, to keep asking questions, and most importantly to have fun with my writing.  But I just look at him, I don’t really have any ceremony or ritual with him.

I think the thing that has helped me the most is lately in my mindset practice I’ve been writing: Words flow easily when I sit down to write.  I make every scene I edit better.  I am a master wordsmith.  I am a wizard with revisions.  These things get into my body and when I sit down to write, I just start to write.  I don’t necessarily need a bunch of fanfare to get up and running.   

If you’re a writer, what do you do to get ready to put words on the page? Do you have a writing routine or ritual?  If you do something else creative, like knit or draw, do you have a warm-up that you do before you start?  How do you start your day?  
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Writerly Fashion – Fall Edition

It’s fall here in New York City which means pumpkin spice lattes, Thanksgiving, and fuzzy socks!  I love fall fashion in general but I especially LOVE fall fashion as a stay at home writer type person.  Here are just a few of my favorites and a bonus picture of me right now – today!

Leggings and Yoga Pants

Yes, yes and yes! Leggings as pants are a bit controversial and I would have been on the Nay side just a few years ago, but then I discovered LuLaRoe and soft buttery leggings and now I say Yay! (With the caveat, for me, at least, that my shirt needs to cover my butt).  Leggings and Yoga pants are a staple of my everyday wardrobe but especially in the fall.  Yes, I have jeans.  Yes, I wear jeans if I’m going out and about, but if I’m sitting on my couch or in my chair all day writing and working (Virtual Assistant to the rescue!) then I’m going to be comfy.  Step #1 for me is always comfort. Then color, then style.  

Tee Shirts and Tunics

Next on the hit parade is soft, colorful tee shirts and long tunics. Nothing better than throwing on leggings with a tunic – easy breast cover girl! Or a bright red tee shirt with black yoga pants – yes, please!  I feel pulled together and comfortable (remember step #1 from above?).  I don’t have too many shirts with sayings on them, although I do have a Muppets Tee shirt I like to wear, I do have quite a few patterned tunics from LuLaRoe that I like to wear with my solid color leggings.  I feel a bit like Punky Brewster and that’s all good with me.

Hoodies, Flannel, and Cardigans…oh my!

I am usually pretty warm (unlike my Mom who’s always cold) but there are days when the chill in the air is even too much for me and that’s when a 2nd layer comes in handy.  I have a few cardigans, one hoodie that I love, and a big black and white flannel shirt that are my go-to’s when I get cold.  I also have a white snow leopard print blanket that comes in handy if I’m sitting in one place and just need to throw something over my legs and/or feet.

Fuzzy Socks

I saved the best for last, I think.  Fuzzy socks are amazing.  They are soft, comfy, cute, and warm.  I recently bought a bunch more off Amazon because I had a feeling this fall and winter were going to be all about the fuzzy socks for me and so far, I’ve been right.  Right after a shower (I like to do mine at night) I put on some lotion and wrap my toes up in a foot sweater and bam, instant comfort.  It’s like a hug for your feet!  Okay, that was silly, but seriously – fuzzy socks are the best!

So, what is your favorite fashion item for the Fall?  Leather? Velvet? Cashmere?  If you are just chilling or working from home, what do you like to wear?  The one thing missing from my wardrobe right now is a pair of flannel type pjs – you know the old kind with a top and bottom – but I have a hard time finding pants long enough for my 5 foot 10 inch frame but this year I might look again.  Happy Fall everyone!