Friday, April 05, 2019

Creativity Flow

The Acer desktop in the dining room stopped working back in October, so I gave MiniBeast my new Chromebook. I was mainly using it for YouTube anyway, so giving it away didn't feel like a big loss. I've using my MacBook for general web browsing, but it doesn't work on some websites, so around January of 2019, I decided to save up and get a new desktop comp. The hunt took a little longer than I anticipated, but I'm better off for it.

I waited around to get myself a new comp until after taxes, and then after Mercury retrograde, and in the end, I'm comfortable with my choices. If anything, it's done me good being offline more. I've spent more time doing creative dabbling, reading, watching movies, and scribbling in notebooks. The other day I finished the outline for a new novella, worked on my current novel project, and created a vision board for 2019. I'm a couple of months behind the curve regarding the vision board, but I figure it won't hurt anything since I didn't know much about vision boards until I saw a video about it a few days ago.

I have everything set up now, and I'm "settling in" with the new machine. I have downloaded a few apps from the app store, including Pages and a graphics program that I haven't tested out yet. There's always a learning curve, but I'll get the hang of it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

New Computer - Yay!

Yay! I have a new laptop so all is right in the world again. I finished up a workshop not long ago, and I'm still kind of processing everything I learned from it. In the meantime, I'm trying to get a book written before the year is out. *fingers crossed* Rattle some beads and wish me luck!

I'm over on Instagram these days, uploading on occasion, but not daily. Mostly home life stuff, so if you're specifically looking for book news, you probably won't find what you're looking for there.

Also, I recently reset my Goodreads account. I deleted my old stuff from there, because I was worrying over it constantly, not being able to properly update it. It was distracting me in a bad way, so I ditched my lists there as well as my reading challenge, and I will no longer be adding book reviews there. If I like a book enough to chat about it, I'll do so here on my blog or at Instagram to save myself the headache of trying to keep up with fifty different social media sites. Hopefully, it will make it easier for friends and readers to keep up with me, too.

Gosh, I really don't know how to act, being able to capitalize when I need to on the keyboard. It's like an early Halloween sugar rush or something. Sa-weet! Ok, enough goofing, I need to serious myself  up and get to work. Love and kisses to all. xoxo

Monday, September 17, 2018

mid-september check in

geez man, it's hot as balls today. the ac can't seem to keep up with it. I've got my hair up, and I put on shorts and a tank top but it still feels like I'm melting. whew, anyhow, I decided to check in since I got a notice from google a couple of days ago that someone from outside my area tried to log in to my account. *grumble, grumble* so far everything seems to be ok.

back in august, I took a month long workshop, which was very good. I learned a lot from that, and I'm still trying to apply the stuff I picked up from there. It takes practice to balance out the new skills. Or at least it does for me.

I took the workshop on the Macbook, which is quite old, but is running ok still - knock on wood. at the moment, I'm on the red HP, and y'all, it's still a mess. some of the keys no longer work. It is what it is. I'm saving for a new windows laptop, something cheap just to go on the internet with. this really isn't the best time of the year for buying electronics. we're a month into the new school year, and they are aways needing twenty dollars here, fifty dollars there. I'm sort of shopping around right now anyway, though, before I get in a situation where I have no choice but to buy one, then I'm stuck with just whatever I can get with pocket change, know what I mean?

let's see, I also need a back tire for my car, which will have to come before the new laptop, because I'm without wheels right now. a week or so ago, rune and I took the car out to haul off the trash and had a blowout. luckily, it happened in a nice area, and I was able to pull off the road into an abandoned lot. It started to rain as we got out of the car, sprinkled about two minutes, the the sun came out in full bake. we walked talk two miles back to the house in the blazing heat. super fun. I had rune laughing, though, and counting  patches of shade we could walk in on the way. right as we were crossing to our street, the mailman and his wife saw us, and pulled over. they asked if we wanted a ride the rest of the way home. lucky us. we gratefully accepted the ride. that night, Hubz came in and picked me and rune up, and we went down to the car and I hauled off the garbage in the Kia while the guys changed the tire in the dark. we made it back to house, parked the car, then went out to eat at Panda. so there you have it, a new tale added to the tome of cora adventures.

that's all I've got for the moment. I have a couple of things to do before the kiddo gets home, so I better get to it. Until next time, y'all. best wishes. xoxo

Friday, July 27, 2018

full moon and what not

I originally, accidentally typed that title as 'full moan and what not'. Paging dr. freud?

sorry for the many typos in this post, but my comp is dying, and I can't afford to replace her right now. It's the only comp I have that works for updating blogger. Of course, some of the keys don't work, and it seems I can't capitalize certain letters, like d, g, and s. (go figure.)  t, apparently, as well. ah, the joys of windows 10. what more can I say?

I'm currently blogging over at the cora zane website, which works well with my other comp that does have working keys. I posted over there today, mostly about writing and the full moon. but onward to the topic for today's blog over here...

Not too long ago, I said I'd write (here on this blog) about avoiding political posts on social media, even thought that's kind of a lit subject that pushes various hater buttons, but oh man...I have to say something about it because it's become so common place to see people ranting politics among their book release posts. I mean, say whatever you want. I'm fully onboard with that. However, be aware that you're alienating half your audience and be cool with that when you do it. No one goes onto social media because they want to get kicked in the teeth by their favorite authors over their political beliefs. why should they continue to listen to you or spend money on your books when they feel assaulted just by reading your posts? when they feel like you don't like them as a person?

It's felt that way with some authors and celebrities, and it makes me a little sad. Of course, I'm also of the mind that it's a good thing when people have their say and speak their minds bluntly, because whether we agree with them or not, we can at least see where people are coming from when they're shooting from the hip. as things have gotten so much worse about people tearing into each other online, I'd rather know where someone stands than not. It gives me the option of detangling myself from a bad situation before it starts.

I'm not saying it's necessary to ditch everyone you disagree with, but no one should have to put up with threats online, whether they are thrown out there in general to cover a blanket demographic they perceive as worthy of their anger, or something more deliberate and personal.

but, we can better judge whether we are that person's true, intended audience when they speak their minds bluntly about controversial topics: politics, religion, social mores, and topics like that. different strokes for different folks, yanno? I am hardcore pro-free speech. I'd rather know someone doesn't like me up front so I can choose whether or not to invest my time and money into their art.

and before anyone asks me directly, no, I don't feel that I owe anyone a follow or like, or to buy their product if I get the vibe that they would spit on me in public. Nor do I feel guilty about skipping their work. No shame. No excuses.

I've begun dealing with uncomfortable situations by unfollowing people who call for violence or who make threats based on political position, religion, or other hot button topic. that puts people up in arms, I know. It probably makes them feel less important, and that their voice is being cut off without being heard, but at the end of the day, hurt feelings aside, no one is obligated to listen to drivel that offends them.

If you're still following that one menace on your facebook or twitter who is constantly saying stuff that pisses you off, but you're trying to keep the peace by not saying something, do yourself a big favor: unfollow them. If you feel you need permission to do that, here it is: You have universal permission to delete the nuissance from your timeline and social media feeds. You are not obligated to listen to or support anyone else's opinions or personal beliefs.

Make your world online a more serene place, and you'll get more out of it. Of course, you may have folks unfollow you for your opinions, or simply because you unfollowed them, but that's perfectly okay. when you release everything and everyone who is not aligned with you, you open a space for someone or something right for you to come in and take its place.

In some cases, people are very funny about their social media followers. they want to spew their garbage, they want others to listen to it and agree with it forthright, but when they are unfollowed they get very bent out of shape about it. I'm not talking a normal glance at your numbers and saying to yourself, 'oh, 10 people unfollowed me.' I mean, they take that crap to heart. I'm talking about that type who will use apps to track down anyone who has deleted them, and send them a direct message to find out why. I had that happen to me. since they went to so much effort to find (and later unfollow me), I told them honestly why I stepped out. 'sorry, but I don't agree with your message. It's nothing personal. I simply didn't want to interfere or engage with it, so I kindly backed out.'

Um, yeah, even worded kindly, it rarely goes over well. you may get called any number of slurs, but after the temper tantrum is over, and they've had their fun putting you on blast, and they've blocked you, (and you've blocked their lackeys that felt it was their duty to attack you on behalf of the queen) things will settle down. your timeline will look much nicer, and you feel less stressed out by what you see rolling through your feed. It's not an easy process, but it is 100 percent worth it.

sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in our own lives, that we forget there are people who disagree with us about whatever it is we believe in. It used to be that authors, celebrities, etc wouldn't post about controversial topics, but then that all changed. seemingly overnight, in my opinion. what used to be said in close company now goes on one's social media page, front and center, anyone else's feelings be damned.

In my opinion, if you're going to go full rant with anything uber hot button and shovel a bunch of crap that's bound to stir up a large swatch of people, why not create an alternative account? One outside of your work, writing, acting sphere so you won't alienate the people who otherwise love your work? I don't understand why more people don't take that approach. then again, I guess with the way people get doxxed over the most trivial bullshit nowadays, it might seem counter productive to have an alt. However, it is still an option. One I wish more celebrities I used to love would take.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day 2018

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful Dad. He was the one who read to me when I was little. The Little Golden book version of The Gingerbread Man was a bedtime favorite. He would change up the story as he was reading to me to see if I would catch on to the silliness. I was a sassy pants from the start, and I would give him the skeptical eye whenever he'd change up the story. And he would totally get a kick out of being caught. Such great memories!

It was moments like this that fostered my love of reading and storytelling. Later, in my early teens, I would get into my Mom & Dad's book stash and read all Dad's Stephen King, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Dan O'Bannon novels. 

My dad has always been there for me, and for my cousins, and for my friends. He was the "dad of the neighborhood" when I was growing up. The guy being the dad to the village, so to speak. He was the one who took us to the park, tossed us around at the lake, fixed all our bikes, assembled and filled up our plastic swimming pool every summer, and grilled all those burgers and hotdogs. 

I still get emails and posts from friends I grew up with asking about my dad, wanting to know how he's doing and so forth. There have been so many who have said that he was the only fatherly influence they had in their lives, and that it made a difference. That's very special to me. I don't think my Dad realizes the number of lives he's touched or the difference he has made. I'm blessed and grateful to have him in my life. 

I try to honor the immeasurable impact he has made everyday, but I often fall short. Just know that I will forever cherish your presence and guidance. I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Writer's Block and Revision Tip

I actually wrote this back in January, but wasn't able to access blogger without my comp crashing. Then I forgot about the post entirely until I needed to use the techniques again.

I thought it might help others who are either struggling to get words down on the page, or who need help revising a piece. I began doing this toward the end of my revisions for Chasing Moonlight, around the time I began to suspect I'd never get it finished. It helped me pick up the pace and complete the revisions much faster. I continued to use this method from the beginning of the revisions for Dominant Territory and it greatly sped up the re-editing process.

The Revision Hump

I have the worst time revising scenes with sex in them, and I tend to save those scenes for last when editing, because I know they're going to be a headache. In addition to that, I also have this general hangup with revision, this fear that I will tinker with a paragraph or some specific element of the story and bork it beyond repair. Is it even possible to revise a story beyond salvaging? Cue the anxiety attack. It's a part of my process. Just kidding, sort of.

Anyway, I have tried copy and pasting text from my manuscript over and over into a cluttered mess of word documents. It's really too much to keep track of, and the anxiety of ruining something vital in an otherwise good story is still there. To get around that, when rewriting or revising troublesome story sections, I've taken to writing those sections in long hand on foolscap (yellow legal pad) or construction paper in large scented markers.

Why Markers?  Why colored paper?  

The markers are colorful and messier to write with, so it is impossible to get all weird and perfectionist while writing long hand with them, the way I would by writing with pencil or pen on lined paper, or with a transferred section of text I'm editing in a word document. The markers and colored paper are a cue to my brain that now is the time to get creative and messy.

I print up a couple of paragraphs I want to focus on in my manuscript, and I rewrite them in longhand on junk paper in colorful marker. Oh, and I write it out fast, in BIG comfortable letters. Front side of the page only. Write to the end, grab another paper and keep going. No trying to write nice and neat. Mistakes and corrections are going to be made here. If something isn't working, cross it out, grab another sheet and write it out again until you like what you read. Once you have it to your liking in marker, it's ready to be typed back into your manuscript.

Doing this has stopped me from overthinking the process of writing and revising, and I believe that's because it's impossible to look at mark up with markers on foolscap or construction paper and see that as a final draft. It takes away the pressure of creating a clean copy on the first, second, third or even tenth try.

This is especially helpful with tough scenes. When I'm finished rewriting in long hand, I can then take those pages to my computer and type them in with confidence, print them out, and reread them. If I find something that is still not working, take that small section and go back to using the markers and colored paper. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

This process of revising or working through tough sections of a story might not be for everyone, but I thought there might be someone out there like me who has had a difficult time finding everyday, working advice for revisions.

Using markers and construction paper also works for breaking a creative block when drafting. The only difference when working on a draft is that you're writing from scratch. If you reach a stuck point and don't know where to go next, or you do know but you're not sure how to phrase it, take a break from the computer and reach for the markers and colored paper. As messy as you like, and as fast as you can, jot down whatever you can think of to connect to the scene you're stuck on. Maybe something like this:

I want Anna to go from the bakery to Mark's house, but I'm not sure how she should get there. By taking the bus or she runs into him when walking home and he offers her a ride in his car. I like the idea of the car ride. A red Mustang pulls up beside her on the street and the window rolls down, "Anna?" Startled, she looks in the window and sees Mark. He says, "What are you doing out in the rain? Get in." She hesitates for a second, glances toward the corner, considers taking her chances carrying a heavy bag of groceries, but with a sigh, she gives in and reaches for the door handle.

From there, you have the basis for your "missing" or stuck scene. It's not perfect, but it is something to build on. If you don't like that one, you can set that page aside, grab another and jot down a quick alternative, fleshing it out in a breezy way that can be expanded on later.

Either way, it gets your characters and story moving again, breaking the block. The worst thing about writer's block is that you're sitting idle, not creating, waiting for an epiphany or lightning to strike. Who has time for that? You don't have to put yourself through that kind of worrisome struggle.

Step back from the piece, take out your markers and colored paper and play around with your words instead. Be messy. Make mistakes. Cross words out and throw them away. Try again. Do that until you find something you like, until something moves you forward and you pick up the flow again.

The sad truth is that if you stop once you're blocked, the "writer's block" (double entendre intended) just sits there bungling things up until new words are actually flowing onto the page again. You have to chip away at it word by word.

Okay. Back to using the markers and colored paper for the revisions. A last little tidbit. I probably wouldn't use this method for full scenes that are like, 20 pages or something, unless I broke them down into much smaller chunks. But for shorter, focused areas that need work, it has been a life saver for me. The same is true for breaking blocks. Focus on manageable chunks.

Once again, I'm out of time! There are some other things I want to talk about here on the blog as soon as possible, some of them are probably controversial, but what isn't these days?  Look for future blog posts touching on the topics:

  • being your authentic self and setting personal boundaries online
  • knowing when it's time to leave a writing group
  • not everyone is going to like you and how to deal with that fact 
  • navigating social media as a writer in an increasingly political landscape
  • knowing when to walk away from a project that isn't working and how to cut your losses
  • the fairy tale method of getting a down a basic synopsis or outline for your story
  • and a list of my current favorite writing help books. 

Oh! One more thing before I close. I received another newsletter signup request yesterday. I no longer send out newsletters and I haven't for some time. I'm very sorry for any inconvenience. If you want to know when I've released a new book, I recommend following me on Smashwords and subscribing to my author alerts. It serves pretty much the same purpose, and you have better control over the mail you receive. The author alert email is the closest thing I have to a newsletter right now. I do sincerely thank those of you who want to connect with me over there or elsewhere.

Now I better skedaddle before the puppers have an accident. They're wanting to go out and trying their best to be patient about it. #gooddogs Have a blessed Sunday, y'all!   

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Life Updates, Mostly Boring

Image Courtesy of Open Clip Art
I'm happy to say I've been dwelling in the writing cave for the past two months. I spent most of May studying, planning birthday parties, and working on an extremely detailed outline. The stuff of life. I'm now finally getting around to the actual "writing" part of the writing. The draft is coming along nicely, and it seems to be working up faster than if I had not prewritten it in expanded outline form. That's a perk.

Plus, the detailed outlining has helped me get past that annoying mid-book collapse point where so many writing projects go to die. Any tool that helps keep a beloved story idea out of the boneyard of dead writing projects is worth its weight in gold to me. So, yeah. Detailed outlining is awesome. You can quote me on that.

Social Media Updates:

Onward to another topic, I've had friends searching for me lately, asking where I've been, and I've received quite a few questions about where I'm hiding out online these days. My health is doing much better, but I'm not active in the usual writing circles anymore. That being the case, here's a quick update for where to find me online.

The top spot: My blog is still alive even though I don't post here as often as I used to. If I'm not posting, it's because nothing much is going on.

Second is my website. It's there. What else can I say about it?

More places? Okay.

If you don't often visit blogger but you want to see my new posts, they appear on google+ and Goodreads once they're published. If you're active on either of those sites, you can follow me/friend me, whatever it's called there, and my posts will end up on your timeline. You can also follow me on Amazon and Smashwords. My name is the same wherever you go.

I like to add the books I'm currently reading to Goodreads, and I do welcome book recommendations there that are not 100% spam or self promotion, but lately the app has been giving me fits on my ancient iPod. I have the app on my Kindle, but it functions differently, so we'll see how that works out going forward.

I don't go on Facebook often anymore. I had an issue with the privacy there before the story blew up about it. But it's more than that. I'm specifically talking about the type of people on your "friend list" who haven't spoken to you there for 10 years until one day, out of the blue, they see one of your posts they disagree with. Suddenly they show up on your wall, nothing good to say, and stick their opinion under your nose like a steaming pile of dog shit as if they genuinely think you will care what they have to say about this particular subject, no courteous preamble required. Make no mistake: I don't care. Period. That's not friendship and it's 100% not worth the cortisol or paroxetine. I've culled my list down from a little over 5000 (yes, the system lets you go a little over 5000) to around 400, and now I avoid the place 99.9% of the time, unless I need to get in touch with one of the ten or so people on there I'm actually related to or grew up with. Other than that, the cattiness and politics at FB completely annoys. the. shit. out. of. me. It doesn't matter to me if it's coming from a famous writer or someone's grandmother. Why put myself through that? When I started going to FB, I just wanted to connect with authors, see something cute, and find out what everyone was reading/writing. To be honest, if I didn't have so much crap tethered to my FB, I'd delete my account there faster than I did my old Myspace page.

I do have an instagram that I post to very infrequently. Feel free to follow me there, but know that I do not autofollow back, especially accounts that are meme-heavy rather than photography. It's nothing personal. I don't care at all about follower/friend numbers. It's just that I can find memes anywhere, with any search engine. I'd rather see your pets, family vacation, socks, missing tooth, gold fish, bookshelves, broken dishwasher, new manicure, or whatever it is you're eating for dinner. I don't care if it's the same socks, dinner, or broken dishwasher from a different angle every day. I get more out of that than a snarky meme.

Lastly, I have a Quora account. I never post anything there, and I don't intend to. Instead, I eat popcorn and read through some of the crazier questions and responses, but that's usually on the rare occasion I have nothing else to do or I'm waiting at the doctor's office. Same with Gab. Those sites simply don't post enough about books, writer workshops, or cute pets for me to invest my time in it. Those accounts are pretty much parked. It is what it is. I'll try and abandon anything at least once. Meh. *cackles*

Alrighty, then. Before I settle down to work on my draft, I'm going to grab lunch and check on McBeast, who is out of school for summer break and at this very moment trying to set up a tent in the back yard. The free-range neighborhood cats are out there helping him, so he's in good hands...paws... mitts. All of the above.

That's pretty much it for now. OH! I do have this majorly rockin' writers block tip to discuss on the next post and it involves scented markers. You know you love scented markers. I do. I'm itching to share, but I'm out of time!

Happy Summer, everyone. Stay cool, drink plenty of water, avoid the mosquitos if you can, and always slather on the sunscreen. We'll chat again soon. xoxo