Don’t Bury Me Yet!

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Age is a strange concept. I have never been very good at guessing how old people are, but that said, I know my sister does not look like a grandmother. At least not in the traditional sense. When I think of a grandmother, I picture Mrs. Claus.

Now granted, I know times have changed and not all grandmothers are plump, gray haired old women. My sister has thick golden locks (admittedly helped out by her hairdresser,) but she also has very few lines on her face, and vibrant blue eyes. She is full of life, and just as silly now as she has ever been. Thus the reason it blows me away when she discusses feeling old. I never feel old, and I’m a year older!

Sure, there are times when my knee hurts, or I have a backache, but there were times in my twenties when things hurt, too. Does it happen more often now? Probably, but age is never the first thing to pop into my mind. I just assume it will get better, and so far (knock wood) it always has. Perhaps the fact that I have yet to find my first gray hair, and have never held a nine to five job that I could take early retirement from is what sets us apart. Maybe when you become a grandma (no matter how thrilled you are about it), and you retire, you buy into the thought that you must be old.

I realize we can’t all live forever, but then that is all the more reason not to get hung up on age. I want to enjoy every day I have to the fullest. I don’t want to waste time worrying about something I have no control over. I realize time is ticking away, but so far I still feel young, and I plan on staying that way for many, many years to come. As far as I am concerned, I’ve only recently hit the halfway mark. I can’t wait to see what the future brings!

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Here We Go Again

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It’s a Monday morning in January, the kids are back in school, and it’s the first day of the rest of my life as the saying goes. I am doing my best to move forward with a positive attitude. I truly believe that you can choose to be happy, at least to some degree. Obviously life can throw unexpected things your way, but with any luck at all hurdles are just that, small bumps to be gotten over.

That said, I feel as if my concentration is a little scattered. I’m not sure what to do first. Do I market the photography business that has been our bread and butter, or do I write and explore ways to market my writing, because ultimately that could provide a much better pay off?  The reality is that I need to do both.

I guess for now I need to set aside time for both. I also need to rebuild my “Brand” as I have kind of fallen away from that of late. I have not given any time to Twitter except to promote my books. I think I need to have more personality.

How about you guys? How are you going to shake things up this year?

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It’s Been Awhile

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I haven’t posted anything for close to two months now. After posting on a regular basis for a couple of years, I reached the point where there were only negative things to discuss and I didn’t want to go down that road. As my mother always said, if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. So I stepped back and watched in amazement as other bloggers that I have followed for years, posted (and continue to post) at least once every single day, if not twice. I don’t know how they find the time, let alone come up with anything to say.

I chose instead to focus on completing my next novel, Hanging From the High Wire, and now I have. At the moment, it’s just over 250 pages. I am working on my concept for the cover. I’m thinking the main character should be hanging off the title. I have the perfect photo to use, so it’s just a matter of figuring out the proper graphics.

Of course, in the back of my mind I am already trying to work out how I can, and will, promote it’s release. Although sales have increased this year for one of my books in particular, I cannot decipher the rhyme or reason. I am not yet selling the way I want. I think, amongst other things, I am going to have to figure out that baffling maze that is Goodreads. No doubt it would help if our internet didn’t go out constantly.

Oh well, I am going to break through sooner or later. In the meantime, I hope you are all well and as always, suggestions are welcome. If you have some great promotional ideas, by all means, let me know!

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Things Got Real Today

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Life has been way too serious of late, and this morning it included calls and emails from my daughter’s school, informing us of threats made against the school, and/or the kids. Apparently there is a new social media app called Yik Yak, that allows anonymous posts, granting individuals the ability to bully and threaten with little to no recourse. I suppose it is fortunate that the kids on Yik Yak took this seriously. They informed the school of a threat warning that this person was going to “end things” and that they should stay away from the campus today, and of course the school informed the police.

An update came a few hours after the original wakeup call and said the following; This morning at around 9:00, a student confessed to having posted the concerning message on YikYak. Another update came about an hour later that said in part; I’m writing now to let you know that the security issue related to the post on YikYak has been resolved. Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, but we cannot discuss specifics, given restrictions of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The student came forward and took responsibility for this situation. Police interviewed the student and concluded that no threat exists and that the matter is now closed.

This should not be a part of our everyday lives, and yet this is just one of the stresses we as parents now live with on a daily basis. And lets be honest, our kids are living with it every second! After all, they are the ones on a 24 hr. diet of social media.

Now I’m left wondering if the child who set this all in motion is truly disturbed, or just thought it was a joke. Is this a cry for help, or a prank that got out of hand? I can only hope that this will be a wakeup call that gets the attention of students, teachers, and parents. Clearly we need to do a better job of monitoring kids, and teaching them to think before they act.

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A Year of Lasts

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Tessa is seventeen today, and it is a bittersweet occasion. As happy as I am that she is as fabulous as she is, this may well be the last time she is home for her birthday. Next year she will be in college. This is our last Thanksgiving and our last Christmas and, and, and…

Okay, so that might be a little melodramatic, but it is still a little jolting to realize how much everything is changing. She is quickly rushing towards adulthood and although well equipped, I think it’s safe to say we would both like to slow things down. I hate having to share her with the world but the fact is she is an amazing person and the world is lucky to have her. So Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people of all time!

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The Teach Your Talent Project

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I was approached about this project and decided to give it a go…

I was never a big fan of school. I found it confusing, overwhelming, and at times, downright boring. I spent most of my time in high school thinking about where I could go to get away from school. Now, as a so-called adult, I have high-schoolers of my own, and if the truth be known, I still fight with school. I have, however, come to appreciate that every once in a while you come across a really great teacher who cares about both the students and the subject they are teaching.

I think what sets these teachers apart is their ability to share. They don’t lecture or stick rigidly to text books. Instead, they share their enthusiasm and the personal experiences that have caused them to love the subject they are teaching. When your teacher includes you in their passion, it fuels your own curiosity.

I have been a writer since before I could write. Growing up, I shared a bedroom with my sister, and from a very early age, I’d make up stories to entertain her (as well as myself) before we fell asleep. When I write, I approach it like a letter to a friend, at least to begin with. This works regardless of if you are writing a report or a novel. After all, what you are doing in both situations is conveying information. I think about what I need to say, and once I am clear, I can go back and add more detail.

Admittedly, for me the details generally come naturally. This is particularly true when writing a novel. I am fortunate enough to write on auto pilot, following whatever pops into my mind. As the story progresses I can be just as surprised as the eventual readers by the twists and turns, and yet it all makes sense in the end.

For others, I have often been told it’s a little different. Many have a tendency to get overwhelmed, but there are questions you can ask yourself. For example, what is it I am trying to tell? If my best friend were telling me this story, or giving me this information, how might she explain it? What part might I not understand? And of course, what has become invaluable, can I Google it? Google can be a Godsend when it comes to filling in some of the finer details. The hardest part is usually just getting started.

If I were to teach a class, I would urge people to write anything at all, even if they think they couldn’t possibly use it. Say, like my oldest daughter recently had to do, you had to write an essay for your college application. I think her given prompt was to tell who she was, but she had been given so many cautions about what not to do or say, that she was paralyzed. I told her to get their attention by saying she lived in a land of leprechauns. Now granted, I was joking, and she walked away shaking her head, but she wrote down, “I do not live in a land of leprechauns.” She didn’t really think she’d use that line. She was just fooling around, but then she went on to say, when asking for advice, this is what she was told. She wound up leaving that first line and proceeded to write an incredible essay about being raised in a family of dreamers. She not only let it be known who she is, but how she feels about it who she has become and who she hopes to be in the future.

The bottom line is this, writing should be fun. The more you do it, the easier it will get. The trick is to not allow yourself to get so stressed out about it. Nothing you put down on paper or screen has to be seen by anyone but you. If you hate it, you can start again. But, maybe, just maybe in the nonsense, or in what you think is awful, there will be one line that you can build on. The most important thing is to write something, anything! Like the Nike commercials say, “Just Do It!” Someone had to write that, you know? I’ll bet they feared they’d be laughed out of the room when they presented it, too.

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A Big Search

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When I released my first novel, Searching for my Wand, I set up a Facebook page because that was one of the many steps that was advised. You can access it here; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Searching-for-My-Wand/103456133105764

 I posted reviews and updates for a while, but as I continued to write and publish new novels, I frankly forgot about it. Every month, Facebook sends me an update that reads like that in the photo above.

A few weeks ago I received a notice on my homepage that 128 people had looked at my Searching page, and yet still my monthly statement read no new likes, posts, etc. I figured it was a mistake and told myself I should really come up with something new to post over there.

Today I received another notification that 16 people had looked. What the heck is going on Facebook? Why the messages all of a sudden if nothing is reflected, and why are people only looking in mass and not one at a time? It’s weird. So I’ve added something just to see if it makes a difference.

Any suggestions of what else I could try?

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