Wow! So I was looking back at when I wrote my last blog, and it was exactly a year ago. This is because there have been a lot of changes in my life lately. Very big ones and a few small ones. These changes have totally eaten into my time for writing but man, do I have a lot of ideas for some great books locked up in my brain.
The Professor (the nickname I have given my husband) and I now have four kids in college and one that has graduated from college and got himself hitched in Jamaica back in April. I am now officially a 'mother-in-law' to a wonderful daughter-in-law who seems perfect for my stepson. The wedding was to die for, and I was so proud of the two of them navigating the family 'waters' that have been muddied over the years because of divorce, unfortunately. I will say that everyone seemed to be on their best behavior while in Jamaica, and I was so thankful for this. The Professor and I feared the Clash of the Titans not only on our side but on my daughter-in-law's side as well, but that didn't happen. Thank God!
My son was slated to graduate in December 2022 but has decided to stay on at school and get his Masters. I was a mix of emotions about this because I was looking forward to him getting his own life, getting off of my financial books, and finally taking his dang shedding, small animal-killing dog off my hands. Alas, I have to wait at least 2.5 more years while I vacuum dog hair daily and get my shovel out to rid my yard of small animal carcasses. Sigh. I am so proud of him, though.
My daughter just finished up her second year of college and is killing it, I mean killing it. I am so proud of her. She will require a Masters as well in order to be a clinical mental health counselor, so she has 4 more years. I can't quite believe how much she has grown up over the last two years. I'm such a proud momma.
My youngest stepson just finished up his second year at a community college and because he changed his major to finance, he has a few more classes to take before he transfers to a university in January 2023. I almost have an empty nest!!
From what she told us in Jamaica, my stepdaughter has changed her major to psychology. She is one smart cookie, and whatever she decides to do, she will kill it, I'm sure.
Because of that stupid idiotic, emotionally traumatizing COVID crap that the world went through 2 years ago, the Professor was sent home to work remotely, and it looks like he will stay remote until he decides to retire. This new development took some getting used to as we were together constantly because I was working from home in my OT clinic as well.
One of the most significant changes that I made over the last year is deciding to retire from being a 30-year Pediatric Occupational Therapist and closing my Dragonfly Pediatric Therapy practice. I honestly thought I would remain in my career until the day I retired, but life threw me a curve ball.
You see, I have been running my private practice for over 22 years. When you run your own practice, you aren't just treating the sweet children you get to see each day. That's the fun part. You also have to do the scheduling, the billing, the follow-up on insurance denials, advertising, keeping your website up to date, looking for and posting helpful things on your business Facebook page, paperwork out the butt, collections, paying the bills, etc., etc. I found myself being just bone-tired of it all. I had been restless in my career for the last 3 years, and one day, about a year ago, after crying my eyes out from the guilt, I decided I needed a new path. I even went to counseling because of the guilt of feeling this way. I needed someone else besides my family to tell me it was okay to feel the way I was feeling. I love working with the kids so much, and not doing that anymore broke my heart. This has been one of the biggest changes in my life and one of the most terrifying.
So, I made the incredibly difficult decision to retire from OT and find another career that would allow me to use my medical background but wouldn't require me to have to go back to school for years and years. I landed on medical coding.
I started taking my medical coding class through AAPC on November 1, 2022, finished in 3.5 months, studied for my certification exam for 6 weeks, and took my exam at the end of March. Thankfully, I passed it and landed a remote job a few days later. I cannot tell you how blessed I felt. I also feel blessed because the Professor has been so encouraging and supportive along this new and scary journey. I took a big pay cut, which also scared the hell out of me, but I have no regrets.
Now that things have settled down a bit, I am itching to get back to my writing. Honestly, this is the first thing I have written in about 2 years. During the COVID lockdown, my plan was to sit down and work on the third book (Going In Blind) in my 'Change' series, but I was so disturbed and bothered by what was going on in the world, I just wasn't in the right mindset. I know I wasn't alone. What I did accomplish over the lockdown was losing the last of the 52 pounds I have now lost, which took me 1.5 years. I have managed to keep it off for almost 2 years next month.
If you have read my 'Circus' series, you will realize that this weight-loss bit has been something I have struggled with for about 10 years, and I have finally conquered it. In the meantime, I have also completely turned my eating around and eat cleaner than ever before. This change has made me feel better than I ever have in my whole life. All the ailments that I was dragging along with me year to year have disappeared, and I am off all of my prescription drugs for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and high blood pressure. I am also pain-free, something that I NEVER thought would happen. Life is really and truly good.
So, there you have it. Life has been quite interesting over the last few years, and I hope it continues that way. In the meantime, my goal is to carve out some time to finish writing 'Going In Blind.'
I hope all of you are living, laughing, and loving and if you aren't, figure out how you can because life has an expiration date after all.
I have spent the last eight months of my life editing the 'Circus' series books, and I have finally finished! I can't quite believe that it took eight months to accomplish this, but it did. The thing that really chaps my hide is the fact that someone out there will find an error. It seems this can't be helped as I am human after all and have done my absolute best to prevent any mistakes from occurring.
I am addicted to reading, and I am currently reading three books at the same time. I have one out in my OT clinic that I read when I have a cancelation, or in between patients, I have another one that I am reading on my iPad at the dinner table, and a third one that I will pick up and read out on my front or back porch when the weather permits. In all the years that I have been reading, I still find mistakes in almost all the books I read. This lets me know that I'm not the only one who will bust their hump trying to make sure everything is correct, but it seems humanly impossible to catch every little thing. I have discovered that even the pro writers have errors.
The first book in the 'Circus' series is out now on Amazon. It is titled 'Welcome To My Blended Family Circus: In the beginning, 2015.' The second book in the series has the same title, with the subtitle being: 'Hello, 2016!' This one will be released on my 50th birthday, which is October 3rd, 2021. This is the longest book of the series and has so many hilarious moments sprinkled throughout. I laughed my ass off editing this book, and I know you will too. The third book in the series with the same title, with the subtitle being: 'It can't possibly be 2017!'
This last book in the series was the last year that I wrote about my blended family circus as life got very busy for me, and I had to stop. I hated to have to bring it to a close, but that's life, I guess. In the last chapter of this final book, I have outlined where we all are now in 2021. Soooooo much has changed since 2017, the last year I wrote in this series. Some have been good changes, but some have been very unpleasant changes as well.
I hope you will take the time to read the 'Circus' series, and not only do I hope you get a load of laughs from it, but I hope it will teach you a little about life and living that life the best way you can.
Soooo, I am on the fence about asking for someone to write a review after they have read one of my books that I have worked my ass off writing, editing, editing again, and editing again. However, I realize that this is the only way to get good reviews, therefore, getting more folks to read your books.
There are mixed thoughts on this subject all over the internet. Some say, "Yes, absolutely ask for book reviews at the end of your book. How else will you get them?" While others say, "No! Don't ask for them because if the reader wants to leave one, they will, and you asking may be viewed as rude. Plus, it screams desperation, which may be viewed as unprofessional."
So, what the hell does a writer do? How does she/he get reviews without asking? Will she/he even get a review by asking?
I've never been a begging kind of person. I'm also not aggressive, so this subject eludes me constantly. In fact, I laid awake last night for over an hour, pondering how the hell to approach this subject of book reviews. I also laid awake trying to figure out how to get my books out there in the reader's hands without going broke because advertising is very expensive.
You see, I have been trying to get professionally published for over ten years now, as well as the rest of the free world evidently, and I've come to the conclusion that it may never happen. Because of this, I have decided to go the self-publishing route because I was tired of being turned down—it breaks your heart— and tired of all the work that goes into getting all the crap they want together to present to them. It will wear a person plum out.
Someone suggested that I get on TikTok and advertise my books that way, but I have to tell you, I'm also funny about making videos starring me. It goes against everything that I am. The only video out there starring me is on my Youtube channel. It is a video I made of a yoga class for my pediatric patients. I've watched it a couple of times, and it embarrasses the hell out of me. So, as far as videos starring me on TikTok, I just can't stomach that.
I have been advertising on Instagram, and that seems to be going pretty well. I've also connected with other authors/writers and have learned a thing or two about how they do things. I did advertise some on Facebook, but Instagram seems to be the way to go as the traffic was a lot more compared.
The point of this blog, I guess, is that I am going to gently ask that if you do happen to read one of my books that I have poured my heart, soul, and time into, and you want to make my freaking day, please take the time to write a review. Reading reviews is so validating for all the hard work you put into a book. If you do decide to write one, know that I am so grateful and thankful, and if I could dole out a hug to you, I would.
Editing can be ridiculously tedious and time-consuming, yet it is necessary for the reader to understand what they are getting themselves into. Not to mention those elusive commas that I don't seem to have a clue about how to use. I must have blacked out each time I arrived at English class all through my school career because, damn it, I can't write one paragraph without about a hundred errors in it. Again, I thank my mom, daughter, and Grammarly, on this front, for correcting my English and grammar ignorance.
Book two of the 'Circus' series is currently in the editing process. It's done being written, yes, but those damn commas will be the death of me. Having dyslexia also poses a challenge as I can never recall if it is 'its' or 'it's,' as well as about 5000 other things that elude me grammar-wise. Although editing is a pain in the you-know-where, I am having a ball re-reading some of the hilarity I call my life. The funny thing is, I find myself falling in love all over again with the Professor. He puts up with more crap than most people should, mainly me and my insanity.
This "blending business" is some of the most complicated layering of crap around. I mean, you have the extroverts (my two kids and me) versus the introverts (the Professor and his three kids.) It can be like the Clash of the Titans when you bring this mixture into the actual blending of a family, trust me.
In this new series, you will learn that I believe my kids are on crack, not that they are, but they sure act like it with the things that they say and do. I will also discuss the art of shagging. This is a most interesting chapter, believe me. You will also read a story about when chest hair attacks. And one of the funniest things you will read is about me and my mom's experience called 'Punk'd At The Drive-Thru.'
I'm so freaking excited about its launch on October 3, 2021, which just so happens to be my 50th birthday. I can't quite believe that I will be 50 as, in my mind, I'm still 23. I saw myself turning 40 with no issue, but turning 50 is a whole other ball of wax. I hope that in my 50's I will start writing the ten book ideas that I have and actually finishing them instead of dreaming about them every damn night, making sleep quite difficult.
Book 2 has got to be my most favorite, and I believe it will be your favorite too. Thanks in advance to all you sweet souls who will hopefully download or purchase this book as you are in for a rip-roaring good time!
Well, it's almost out! Just two more days!! This is my blog turned book series. The blog was called 'The Blog Blender,' and I had so stinkin' much fun posting several times a week for three years. I wrote so much that I had to break it down into a three-part book series. I guess I had a lot to say during those early blending-of-the-family years. Well, let's be honest, I did have a lot to say because it was something I had never done before. I had also been through a helluva lot. I mean, divorce, trying to raise two kids virtually on my own, moving, meeting the 'Professor,' falling in love with him, remarrying, moving again, and then blending a family. It was a lot to take on, and looking back now, I can't quite believe we pulled it off as we had a lot working against us.
As I read back over my work while editing and trying to figure out what to keep and omit, I found myself recalling all of it. I went through a myriad of emotions that caught me by surprise. I laughed, cried a little, and had to suppress some anger that tried to escape, though I am over most of the anger. Thank God.
The thing that amazes me is the number of people who read 'The Blog Blender' every time I posted something. At one time, I had nearly 3000 followers across the globe. This floored me as I'm just me and don't feel like I have that much to add to society. Well, I was wrong. I received more comments in those three years than I would have ever expected. I was so honored that folks would take the time out to read what I was writing.
One day, I was reading a blog turned book, and I thought, "Well, hell, I could do this too!" So I did, and I am pleased to present this book to you in a few days. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy reading!!
I am so stinking happy to announce that 'Something Dreamy This Way Comes' is almost ready!! In the next week or two, you will see this book out on Amazon, and I will be advertising it wherever I can. I had so much fun writing it and even more fun re-writing it. I am so horrible with editing, and this book required a lot of it, I'm afraid. I guess we all can't be good at everything.
I was telling one of my friends the other day that I seem to go into a different place in my mind when I write and often can't recall most of the details of the books I have written if you were to ask me outright. It's the weirdest thing, but she said she does the same thing. I know we don't use all of our brainpower, but I'm thankful for the pocket of my brain that I go to for writing. It's very secretive, even a secret to me at times because, as I said, I often forget what I have written.
With the relaunch of this book, I have changed the cover. I absolutely love what my book cover designer did. (Rebeccacovers on Fiverr) I pick out a picture, tell her the title, etc., and she does the rest. This cover blew me away, and I'm so proud of it.
I will also be doing an Amazon deal where you can get this book for free for a week. If you happen to get it and like it, I'd sure appreciate a 4-5 start review to help move it along.
So, I'm taking this writing class from 'The Novelry' on the classics, and I must say, I'm impressed. It's a 45 lesson class, and I'm 75% of the way through. I have learned so much and am so appreciative of this class.
I'm was not a 'classics' kind of girl in my early reading years. I never really got into Peter Pan, Narnia, The Hobbit, The Little Princess, The Princess and The Goblins, or Alice In Wonderland. However, I did see the Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland movies. That was about it. I remember thinking Alice In Wonderland was one of the freakiest movies I had ever seen and was not watching it over and over again like some of my childhood friends did, believe me. I'd also seen The Hobbit play when I was young and was so bored that I thought it wise to spit on the people below me as we were in the balcony. Yes, a crappy thing to do, but I was insane with boredom—though I wish I could apologize to the people I did this to. Plus, my dyslexia and ADHD got in the way of reading, as I have mentioned before. Some of the classics are written in old English, and that just did not compute in my brain at all. I mean, I was barely hanging on to regular English as it was.
I had to read 'The Odyssey and thought I would lose my mind trying to get through this book in school. There were probably many more books we had to read for school, but I only remember this one in particular because it is considered a classic.
To say I never appreciated the classics is an understatement until now. This class has taught me how to write magical fantasy, much like the classics have been written—especially children's classics—it has also taught me how appreciating the classics is incredibly necessary to help you become a better writer.
I have now read The Little Princess, The Secret Garden, The Princess and The Goblins, The Princess and Curdie, and I plan to read the Narnia series when I can find the time. There are a ton more classics, and although I may never get around to reading all of them, I have a new appreciation for our classic writers.
This class has been the catalyst for an idea I have on a young adult fantasy book, which is way out of the way of my usual style. Now, if I can just find the time to sit down and start writing it, that would be something.
Soooo, my first book titled 'Something Dreamy This Way Comes' was my first attempt at a novel. I launched it on Amazon rather hastily and didn't do a great job of editing it—part of that had to do with my extreme excitement of actually finishing a novel and my ADHD. My impulsivity got in my way, I'm afraid.
Fast forward six years, and I have now written several novels and a couple of parenting books. I'd like to think that my writing has improved with more practice. In the meantime, however, I've taken a couple of writing classes that have taught me loads. I wrote my first novel without an outline, having never taken a course, and it shows.
I decided to rewrite and edit it, and boy, was I green back then. The story itself is good, but I got my tenses all screwed up, and good Lord, I wish I could spell better and had a better grip on commas. My regular comes-with-my-computer spell check doesn't catch everything, I'm afraid. Hence me investing in Grammarly, which catches pretty much everything. There was no Grammarly that I was aware of six years ago.
In rewriting this book, it has been brought to my attention that my style was and has remained playful and funny, even if what I'm writing about may be intense for a time. I have a lot of humor in my two parenting books, which is very different from most parenting books that I have read. They tend to be dead serious, I find. I believe in humor and will probably always use a dash or more of it in all of my writing. I'm just not a serious person, so writing in a serious manner just doesn't feel right.
I'm halfway done with the rewrite and editing of my first book and hope to have it relaunched in the next few months. It's a humorous book about a girl growing up and what that can look like. There are many hard lessons learned, a lot of tripping, falling, and then getting up again. Most girls/women will relate to the words spoken in the book, and yes, there is a thread of truth to it. Some of the portions you will read did indeed happen to this girl, but the book is mostly fiction, well, okay, half fiction, okay, maybe 30% fiction but I'll never tell.
I'm excited to get it back out there. It may never be a best seller but I sure had fun writing it and I hope the readers have fun reading it!
Inspiration is defined as 'the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do with something creative.' I see inspiration all around me every day. For example, my mom inspires me with her unwavering passion to create the most beautiful quilts you have ever seen. She even added a quilting/sewing room onto her house a few years ago. It is the coolest space you have ever seen. She literally has one long wall of shelves filled with more material than a material store, I kid you not. She never stops buying material because patterns, colors, etc. inspire her to create.
My dad is another person that inspires me. He started a very successful company well over a decade ago and even though he has semi-retired, that company is still going strong. My dad is one of the hardest workers I know next to my mom.
I am an avid, okay not avid, more like an addict when it comes to reading. The Professor comments nearly every day that he has never met anyone that reads as much as I do. I read because I love being immersed into another place, time, life, etc. It also inspires me to become a better writer and I am always learning from the books that I read. Reading is some of the best teaching for a person to become a better writer. Words are beautiful and powerful and when strung together in the right way, can evoke a myriad of emotions. I want to be that person that moves a reader, opens their mind up to something they may have never thought about, or opens their mind up about a completely different take on life.
The inspiration for several of my books have been some of the things I have managed to 'survive' throughout my life. You may ask, "Survive?" Yes, survive as my life has not been as easy as it may appear. I take snippets of my life and string them throughout all of the books I have written so far, though this is about to change in some of the new books I have ideas about writing. I also sprinkle in the various life patterns of some of the stories that other people have told me or that I have heard on television, social media, etc. I have heard it said that writers are story thieves and I now know what that means.
Inspiration is all around us all of the time, we just have to stand still long enough to drink it in, mold it, make it our own, and then write about it.
One of the hardest parts about being a writer is getting those rejection emails that say something to the effect of, "Thanks for your query but your project is not what we are looking for." Sometimes, well most of the time actually, you get nothing back meaning, "No thanks and I don't have time to let you know that you have once again been rejected."
I once had a literary agent email me back with yet another rejection but he had the decency to actually give me some tips on my book. To get any sort of feedback is absolutely unheard of I have discovered so this was a very rare occurrence and you better believe I took his advice. I wish I could remember who he was as I dumbly misplaced his information and could have sent him some of the other books that I have since written.
I was on a vacation getaway with the Professor this past weekend, and I got another rejection email-don't ask me why I checked my email while on vacation. I told him about it and he immediately walked over to give me a hug telling me how sorry he was. I've been rejected so many times I have lost count but each time I mention it to him, he always takes the time to give me a hug. He's just sweet like that.
Now, a writer's only saving grace is in the world of self-publishing, which I have done with all of my books. However, there are millions of people doing this so trying to get your book to be on the top of the downloaded or purchased list is incredibly hard.
Each month, however, I end up with a royalty payment. Now, it may only be fifty cents but by golly, someone wanted one of my books and read a few pages of it so yay!! The most I ever made in a month was $100. That was shocking to me but man was I proud.
I am one of those lucky and blessed people that have accomplished almost everything I have set out to do in my life so this rejection stuff is a bit new for me but so commonplace in the world of books. I'm not sure how many times JK Rowling was rejected or Steven King but I know they had some rejection, which just floors me. Now, I'm no JK Rowling or Steven King, they are masters of their craft but I push on writing, learning, reading, and writing some more. Even though I am rejected, I will never stop writing, it's a part of me that I just can't stop and I don't ever want to. Call me crazy! :)