Saturday, May 7, 2022

My Biggest Challenge Ever

When I published my first novel back in 2012 and had to quickly develop a website and find a readership, I thought I'd never done anything so challenging, so life changing. I could honestly refer to myself as an author. Well, now /i can add another moniker to my name. I am now a stroke survivor.

It happened  last October, right after I had written a scene for my current WIP. I'd like to say my writing knocked me off my feet but it didn't happen quite like like that. So now you know the reason for my six-month absence Long months in various nursing homes, working with physical therapists to get my right side to respond, two months spent with my sister from another mother, Linda, and yet some more therapists, and now, finally back home and more therapists. I still can't walk properly and I can't sign my name with my right hand like /i used to. I've come a long way but still have so far to go. But routine is returning and I'm starting to feel normal again.

I won't be posting every week like I had done for years, but it's part of my recovery process. See you soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Grocery Shopping 101

 Since my best friend moved close by, I've had the opportunity to go grocery shopping with another person for the first time since my move to NC. And, being the keen observer of people as I am, I've noticed two things that set us apart. 

One is I love grocery shopping and she hates it. While she considers it her biggest chore, I love finding new items to try out and encountering new ways to tempt my taste buds. My rationale for these opposing views is because she has a husband at home who wants fully cooked three course meals a minimum of three times a day, so food in the house means she now has to cook. On the other hand, I don't have anyone pulling up to the table a couple times a day demanding to be fed. I can skip breakfast and steer right to lunch if I'm not in the mood. Or I can have dessert first and then, if I feel like it, fix something more substantial. For me, shopping for groceries means I have a wide assortment of food available and I can eat at leisure, instead of it being a chore. 

The second observation is not so easy for me to understand. While I toss things into the cart willy-nilly,  with the exception of eggs, bananas and, at least for now, pumpkin roll, she carefully lays her food into the cart, keeping the produce separate from the meats, etc. Then, she brings separate bags for frozen foods, and another insulated bag for meats, because, God forbid, the food groups should touch one another. I thought I had an orderly mind, but I think she has me beat. 

So, what kind of shopper are you? Does a tidy, neat grocery cart mean you have a tidy, neat mind? Does a scattered cart reflect the inner workings of a creative mind? Or do you feel none of it matters as long as you bring home the bacon? Inquiring minds want to know. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Ready To Hunker?

 My furnace guy paid his semi-annual visit on Friday, getting my house ready for the upcoming winter. It seems like only yesterday he was here to get the unit ready for spring. Where has the year gone? 

2020, with all the Covid shutdowns and restrictions, seemed like the longest year I'd ever lived through. Maybe that's why, by comparison, 2021 has moved with lightning speed. I'm not ready to pack away my porch swing just yet. 

But, with the approaching winter season comes the time to get some serious writing done. There are contests to enter, long-neglected works tugging at my conscious for their moment in the sun, which is ironic, since this season doesn't include a lot of sunny days. I'll keep up with my pool regimen and come up with brilliant scenes while floating which I can use in both my ghostwriting stories and my own manuscripts and try to stay warm. With a newly inspected HVAC system, it shouldn't be too hard. 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Am I Entering Hyperphagia?

Lately, I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos from a man in Asheville, NC who encourages black bears onto his porch while he's sitting in his rocker. My friend, who also lives in Asheville, has a healthy respect for the wild bears in her neighborhood, but this guy's boundaries are very loose, although he seems to know a lot about bear behavior. Recently, the man said he was closing the entry gate to his porch since the bears were entering hyperphagia, the period of time when bears prepare themselves physically for their winter hibernation by eating and drinking nonstop. Seems the bears get a bit cranky when they don't find food. 

Fall's coming, without a doubt. The local news is filled with tips on where the most vivid fall foliage is each weekend. 

My freezer is full of food and I've got plenty of work to keep me busy. We don't get a lot of snow here, but enough cold weather to make me cranky. I'm ready to snuggle under my comforter and not come out until Spring. 

Does that mean I'm entering hyperphagia? 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Getting My Groove On

 I had an idea months ago for my ghostwriting client to produce a series about four guys lamenting the lack of ladies in their town. The client gave me the go-ahead, but then realized he needed Christmas stories more than he needed the Lonely Hearts Club series (or whatever he'll end up calling it.) So, I put the idea on the back burner and focused on Christmas. 

Now, I'm resurrecting the series idea and getting back to work on it. I'm nearly 2/3 done with the first book, and am enjoying this concept and the characters, who will appear intermittently throughout the entire series. This should keep me busy until the end of the year. When I sit down in the morning and reread the previous scene in this book, I'm enthusiastic about where the story is headed. It should be a great way to wrap up the year. I'm in the groove.

As for my own story, which was mired in the mud portion of my brain, it's still stuck. All I'm doing is thinking about story lines for books I'll never write. For example, yesterday there was a young couple sitting across from me as I waited for my dinner partner. The guy glanced over at me and told me he was ten days sober. I congratulated him and told him I liked his tats. The woman he was with laughed off my comment, as if someone my age shouldn't even know what a tat was. There's a story line there, if someone wants it. As for me, I'm in the writing groove, but I'm living in the 1860s in Colorado, not modern day North Carolina. Far safer, from my perspective. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hopelessly Lost

 As most of you know, I'm a plotter who works from a sketchy outline when I compose my manuscripts. None of this writing out of sequence stuff or coming up with a plot twist willy-nilly for me. I like to know where I'm going and how to get there. Some surprises might show up along the way, or the plot line might alter a bit during the writing phase, but I usually have a good idea of the how the story will progress before I start. 

Not so, this time around. 

I wrote the outline and sent it to my writing buddy, who shot it down, starting with the first graph. There were still parts of it that were good, so I took her critique to heart and began again, ironing out the problems. I got the first part of it written, and then looked at my outline again to see where the path was to go from here. 

It was like I was reading a totally different story. Nothing about the manuscript matched any of the outline, except for the name of the hero and the fact he began the story wearing an eye patch as a disguise. 

So, I've spent the last week splashing around in the pool on a floatie, staring at the ceiling and trying out various scenarios in my head. Usually, this works and I come away from my physical therapy sessions with hips that don't ache and a solid idea for the next scene. This past week, though, all I've come away with are good hips. 

How do I get my H/H out of the south with a runaway slave and a belligerent horse? How do they get to participate in hanky-panky while hiding said runaway? What mode of transportation will work? Will the hero give up in disgust and ride off into the sunset on the belligerent horse without a backward glance? 

I'll keep staring at the ceiling until the answers emerge. Or maybe I'll break down and write a new outline. That would definitely make life easier. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Back To School Time

 I'm no parent, but once upon a time, I was a child, and the Labor Day holiday meant the fair was over and your new school shoes had been adequately broken in after two weeks of wear, so you were set for the school doors to open the day after Labor Day. The final week of summer spooled out in long, hot days, lying in a field, staring up at white puffy clouds racing by overhead, as if to escape the walls of school that were closing in on us. 

It wasn't so much that I hated school. I would have rather just been outdoors instead. With my nose in a book, one of my own choosing rather than being told what to read. With my feet bare rather than in ill-fitting shoes. But, I must admit, some of the lessons I learned in school were unexpected and have helped formulate the adult I've become. Case in point:

My best memory of high school was my first day as a sophomore, when I was on the committee to select our class jackets.

A few of us wanted to push the envelope and try a new style but the majority went with the teacher's recommendation and decided what had been popular the last ten years would once again be the norm. I elected not to order one. And for that, the teacher labeled me a rebel. 

I've tried to live up to his assessment of me ever since. Here's to you, Mr. DeMarco. 

And, to anyone who started back to school this week, I offer this advice. Take a breath of the outside air, keep your nose in a book of your own choosing, and run your naked toes through the grass. Keep that rebel spirit alive. You're going to need it as a grown-up.