Wednesday, February 1, 2017

ISWG post February 2017

It's the first Wednesday and time for the ISWG post! Can't believe it's already February! You can find the link

It has been non-stop at my house lately and I this is the first time all day that I've had a chance to pause and write this blog. I've been trying to blog every Wednesday but I got behind in that too.

The prompt for ISWG this month is how writing has changed me as a reader, and I know there are a couple of big things. One is that I don't waste my time with bad writing anymore. There are just too many good books out there to spend time with ones that are a chore to wade through. I have my favorite genres but I'm open to try new ones as long as the writing and storyline are entertaining or informative. Another thing that has changed is that as I read, I pause and think about what I liked and how the writer was able to convey that successfully to me as a reader. I use those tidbits in my writing.

I'm in the process of writing my daughter's story, and I passed the 20,000 word mark. Not as fast as I would like to go but steady progress, none the less. I also sent the first ten pages off to a group that would help promote the book and it was passed on to yet another person to have a look. (They already have a book published for children about the work they do but the memoir would really be a boost)

I also wanted to give a shout out to Alex Cavanaugh for his book CassaFire, which I finished reading recently.

I think I have a bit of a crush on the main character Byron, and trust me, if they ever made a movie based on his series I'd be in line to see it! Really well written, definitely on par with Star Wars and Star Trek. I'm not even a sci-fi fan but I enjoyed both books so far and will be getting the rest of his books.

Finally, I take a minute to breathe and read quotes from my Daily Peace book from National Geo. The theme for February is Healing, and the quote for today is:

"What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us." - Rainer Maria Rilke

I think of my daughter with this quote, because working through a traumatic experience is hard and difficult. I watch her struggle every day, but the strength she finds to get up and keep trying is inspiring. If anything, I've learned that all that matters in life is family, friends, and love, because those are the friendly forces that are there when the going gets tough.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


"Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." - George Bernard Shaw

I actually really like this quote. Who hasn't at some point realized that everything they thought they knew was totally wrong? I've kind of gone through life learning this lesson over and over again. Guess I had to learn the hard way!

I was hoping to have a book review to post on but because of technical difficulties I still haven't finished. This is why I still prefer the good, old-fashioned paper books. First, my credit card expired, so when I tried updating it, I went into an endless loop on the website and had to play around with it until it finally went through. Then, my charger broke, so the tablet died and I had to wait until I got to the store to buy a new one. Finally, I just consistently forget to charge things, so I pick up my tablet to read only to find it's almost dead and I have to wait until the batteries charged again. Aargh!!

I still just really love the feel of real books anyway. It's comforting to me- like having a cup of hot chocolate on a snowy day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

ISWG post for January 2017

A writer's group that supports one another every first Wednesday of the month in all our fears and insecurities. Click on the link to join.

The prompt for this month is what writing rule do we wish we never heard of. Mine would be to not switch point of view. I don't get that one because I've read so many great novels that switch and I think it adds depth and fullness to the story. It must be done with care, but I think that rule needs to be tossed!

I have been continuing to work on my memoir, thanks to all the support and encouragement I get here every month. I'm up to 18,000 words, and my goal is to hit 50,000 before I start tweeking it for submission. I've been preparing for that moment for years, and had some dry runs, but this time around I have a lot more at stake. I just have to keep working at it, and this month I'm proud to report I have been.

Every week I post a quote and inspirational picture to try to stay positive. I get my ideas and quotes from National Geographic's Daily Peace book. The great thing about the book is it's not date related, so every year I can just start over again. January's theme is Transition, and the quote I chose for this week is,

"True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice." St. Francis de Sales

This applies to much more in my life than just writing!

Look forward to seeing you on the ISWG rounds this month.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

When all else fails. . .

"Smile, breathe and go slowly." - Thich Nhat Hanh

After a rough week, things are looking up. It has been 2 years since my daughter was diagnosed with PTSD and the fight to help her recover has been marked with ups and downs. Part of the process is dealing with the grief and unresolved loss, because when a family member suffers an illness and resulting disability, there is no moving on. You are just stuck in this endless cycle of coping with what at times is a very overwhelming situation. Unfortunately, like most mental illnesses, there is no cure for PTSD.

But I am grateful for the small things, like the fact that I still have her after someone tried to kill her. I believe that it was the power of her families' love that helped her survive that situation, and it is our love that is supporting her now.

I'm grateful for other things, like having a job I love, friends that listen when I'm overwhelmed, kind and good children, a husband who loves me, my animals and their blind devotion, bookstores, coffee, wine, and good cheese. I'm grateful for nature- trees, animals, mountains, beaches, and streams. So for 2017, I'm just going to "Smile, breathe, and go slowly."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Just a thought

I'm not gonna lie, it's been a rough week, which is why this quote resonated with me.

"Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath, and a glass of wine." - St. Thomas Aquinas

With that thought, we will soon be wrapping up 2016 and looking forward to a new year. What will it bring? Sometimes that can be too overwhelming to contemplate, so I'll take each day as it comes.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


"The best things in life aren't things." - Art Buchwald

Animals bring me such comfort. My whole life I've been an animal fanatic, and now I watch them slowly begin to heal my family from a difficult situation. Both the animals in the picture are rescues from the humane society, and that cat has more personality than any animal I've ever owned. They are both very spoiled and loved, but especially him.

Recently I started watching a series on Viceland call Abandoned. I marathon watched the entire season. This is the kind of television that I like to watch because it explores social changes and digs deeper into the changing world around us. A lot of people from outside the United States have been watching what's happening here and are confused. To them, they have no idea why people are wanting "to make America great again".

I lived in South America for 3 years doing volunteer work, and being an American there made me a bit of a rock star. Just because of where I came from, people admired me. After the 3 years of living there, I came back to the U.S. and was grateful for the simple things, like reliable, clean, running water. But life in the U.S. has changed in the mere 20 years since I've moved back, and while it is still much better than many other countries, Abandoned shows a shocking side of the American life style that most people abroad don't know about, and has been very hard to explain.

That being said, I think the reason people here are unhappy here has nothing to do with who they are blaming, and watching the rising wave of hatred, distrust, and violence is alarming, to put it mildly. It's giving me anxiety that's for sure. To balance it out I spend time cuddling my animals and being outside, loving my family and having faith in God.

Sometimes, you just need to breathe, and be grateful for that!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ISWG post

Time to share our progress and insecurities again!

I have not completely stalled while writing, but pretty close. The memoir I'm writing is the second version- the first one was scrapped at about 50,000 words. I have about 13,000 words right now, but it's just really, really hard to set aside the time to write, especially when my family is scrounging through unfolded piles of laundry for underwear and socks!

Despite where my writing is right now, this blog has been a great way for me to practice, experiment, and connect with other writers, and it's still evolving.

One thing I've been thinking of, and wondering, is how other writer's view the responsibility and impact of WHAT they write. The reason this is important to me is because my daughter was the victim of a violent crime, and the perpetrator was directly influenced by things that were written on the internet. (They were classmates) Imagine writing in the horror genre, and inventing stories of gory violence, only to find out that a crime was committed linked directly to what you wrote.

Just curious as to how you writer's out there feel about this delicate issue- because where do we draw the line between entertainment and just plain sadistic and disturbing stories?

December's ISWG question is where do we see ourselves in five years, and how do we plan to get there?

In five years, I hope to at least have a book in the process of being published. In other words, the memoir is finished and I have an agent. Maybe it will already be done! I just want to get myself out there and be established as an official writer, instead of how I feel, which is like a wannabe.

On the lighter side- my quote for the day is

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong." - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Taken from the Daily Peace by National Geographic. December's theme is simplicity- who couldn't use simplifying in their life?