Sunday, January 27, 2019

Telling A Story

Last week, I took a break from my writing and did the more mundane things in life, like housework. A couple loads of laundry later and I was wrestling with my mattress, trying to put the fitted sheet back on the bed. I was at an awkward angle, and my shoulder let me know I'd tried to turn it in a way it was never meant to go. I relayed what had happened to one of my writing buddies and there was dead silence on the phone. Then she said, "That's it? You're a writer, Becky, and that's the best you could come up with? How about you were practicing your trapeze act and Hans didn't catch you properly?"

We shared a laugh about it, I put a heating pad on my shoulder, and took a couple days off from the gym. A few days later, I was back at the gym, going through the Easy Line weight circuit. When I got to the Fly machine, I couldn't go through the whole 90 seconds. My arm, not my shoulder, but the inside of my arm, began to hurt. The next day, I noticed a bit of a bruise on my arm, and I was experiencing pain. So, when the bruising got worse I went to the walk-in clinic. The nurse who took my vitals asked me what happened, so I told her the truth. When she didn't react, I told her the embellished version my friend had come up with and the nurse began laughing. When she finished her note taking, she stood and said "We'll get you back on that trapeze in no time!"

The diagnosis was a slightly torn bicep and the recommendation was to skip the weight circuit for a few days and then ease back into things. But the moral of the story is: When life throws you a setback, rewrite the script and find a way to laugh about it. You'll get back on your own trapeze faster.

So, what have you laughed about lately?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Buying Daydreams

People sometimes ask me why I write. My usual response is to quiet the voices in my head, but I like this quote from John Dos Passos better.

"A novel is a commodity that fulfills a certain need; people need to buy daydreams like they need to buy ice cream or aspirin or gin. They even need to buy a pinch of intellectual catnip now and then to liven up their thoughts, a few drops of poetry to stimulate their feelings."

The thought of providing daydreams for people appeals to me.
It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to write a novel. In fact, studies have shown that 97% of those who start a novel never finish. Some of the best authors I've bumped up against are still working on their first book, which will probably never see the light of day. Such a shame that those daydreams will only ever exist in the minds of the writers.

If writing a novel is a daunting challenge, knowing how to market it, how to reach new readers, is a slippery slope and the ground keeps shifting. So, next time you're at the grocery and are reaching for the aspirin or gin, stroll by the paperback book section and pick up a novel by a new-to-you author instead. As for ice cream? Well, everyone needs that in their cart.

My new-to-me author is Callie Hutton. I've known of her for quite some time, since she's another historical author, but have never taken the time to read her work. I'm now into her mail-order bride series and wonder why I waited so long to get acquainted with Ms. Hutton.

Who is your next new-to-me author?

Sunday, January 13, 2019


With each new year, one of the ideas that gets tossed around is, instead of making resolutions, to pick a word the embodies what you want to accomplish in the coming twelve months and figure out how to accomplish it. So, in the spirit of things, I've selected my word–GROWTH–and have begun to set things in motion.

The first item to take care of was to take inventory of what I want to apply the word to. Certainly not to my body. We don't need any more growth there. I'm continuing my three-times-a-week workouts at the health club to keep growth from happening. No, what I want to apply the word to is my writing career. I took a workshop last week that helps in that regard and am wrapping up the filling in the blanks and gaining perspective on where the career has been. Now, I need to implement a plan for where the career is headed.

To help with my forward progress, I hired an author coach to help me strategize. Already, I can see a way forward. When I regain the rights to Winning Violet, the first book in my Regency Flower Girl series, I will have books two and three finished and be able to present them as a package to a publisher. And, as a kind of offshoot on these stories, I am working on another story that takes place in the same time period, but in America. I'd like to work in some of the culture of my new home state, North Carolina. If for no other reason than an excuse to take some road trips.

And speaking of road trips–providing things move forward during the year, I am poised to take my first-ever European vacation late in the year. Can't believe it's taken me this long to cross the pond, but fingers crossed, this will be just the beginning of my growth there. You can do all the research you want, but nothing will add spice to your story line more than actually walking the streets you are describing, visiting the battlefields, or, for that matter, being on a ship in the middle of a vast ocean.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Friends Keep You Grounded

I complained last week to a friend about having to manually clean my oven and how much bother it was. She asked if I didn't have a self-cleaning feature on the oven, and I said the oven was older than I am. She pointed out that it would have to have been a pot bellied stove in that case! Leave it to a friend to tell it like it is.

But sometimes friends aren't the only ones to keep you grounded. I got a review from a stranger to me of Dance With Destiny, one of my books that was released a couple years ago. Here's a bit of the review:  "My advice: Ignore the cheesy stock-picture cover (the same that appears on half the Native American romance books out there!) and make the plunge. You won't regret it." I appreciate every review I get, but this one made me laugh, and I love it.

It's a new year with new opportunities, and I'm eager to get started with everything. And I'm counting on my friends (and acquaintances who have taken the time to read one of my books) to keep me grounded.