Power Words of 2019

No, this isn’t a goal writing post. I swear it. No one wants to read yet another one of those. Besides, it’s mid January, trendy goal-setting posts are not allowed past this point.

This is totally a motivating “set your intention” mindful living kind of post.

And I’m all about motivation!

This year, I didn’t want a set of structured goals looming over me. It’s not that the goals aren’t helpful – structured goals are a powerful tool – it’s that I tend to get carried away with the details and that causes anxiety. If I create all those details, then there’s the pressure that I might get it wrong. Instead of spreadsheets of detailed goal planning, I’m embracing a single word:

‘INTENTION’

As a busy mom, everyday brings with it a new set of challenges. Instead of fighting the never ending tide of changes and feeling like I’m constantly behind or missing out, or doing it wrong, the focus instead will be on what I want as the desired result.

It sounds super hippy, that’s why I like it. It’s not going to solve my problems, just my mindset. And a healthier mindset can move mountains.

In addition to reminding myself to live each moment with intention, I’ve created a series of power words to help focus that intention from day to day.

For this year, these words are the following:

  • Create
  • Strive
  • Serenity
  • Discover
  • Simplify
  • Vitality
  • Fearless

In the morning, somewhere between making breakfast and checking if everyone’s teeth are brushed, I take a moment and consider my day and the challenges I might face. One of these words will best encapsulate what I need to focus on and I stick it to my monitor as a reminder.

Stay tuned, every third Wednesday of the month is now power word day here on the blog, where I discuss what each word means to me and how it has helped me work toward my goals.

A huge thank you to Jenelle Stone for her class on power words and goal setting, I loved it!

Do you use focus words? What words do you find powerful? Share in the comments below.

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Love fantasy and sci-fi? Go check out the Fantasy and Sci-fi Reader’s Lounge over on Facebook. Everyday new authors visit the page to talk about their books and also their favorite fantasy and sci-fi. Even better, there are lots of contests and giveaways of the freshest fiction. Go check it out!

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Just posted today! My article “What to Expect when you are Expecting … a Book” is over at James Thomson’s blog, The Wayside. Go check it out!

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2018 Year in Review

Wow. What a year. While it’s true my plans for growing my blog readership didn’t happen which had everything to do with being overwhelmed with working to get my first book published, I’m very pleased with what I did accomplish this year. From books read, to posts written, to short stories submitted, to connections made, to articles shared, to podcasts recorded, I’ve been a busy little bee!


Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

Books read from the 2018 reading list

I totally flaked out on reading all of the books I wanted to this year and again I’ll blame it on the stress of the publishing process. Finding each title, and reading it, and returning to share about it here was too much to figure out when all my time and attention was focused on staying afloat while working to make Stonebearer’s Betrayal as good as it could be. The reading I ended up doing was self-indulgent escapism in the form of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series. No regrets there. The great thing about books is the list I made for 2018 will still be there for me for 2019. Yay!

Fiction:

Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Man from Shenandoah – Marsha Ward
Heroes of the Valley – Jonathan Stroud

Non-Fiction:

Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy – David Gerrold
Stiff: Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach
Power Cues – Nick Morgan

In addition to being a stressed out slacker, I learned that it takes me far longer than it should to read non-fiction. I do much better if it’s an audiobook because I can listen while I do chores and run errands.


Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Submission Statistics!

Yes, even while I’ve been working to get Stonebearer’s Betrayal out, I’ve been submitting things to places. Although this year, it’s been largely in the name of marketing. Every little bit helps. I’ll note here that I’m not including the soul sucking numbers from seeking out reviewers, and I thought finding a publisher was hard. Yikes. Here’s the stats:

  • 47 items submitted
  • 29 response received (18 still waiting)
  • 10 resulting in positive outcome

The breakdown of those 47 items –

  • 26 presentations
  • 7 panels/roundtable discussions
  • 7 podcasts
  • 5 short stories
  • 2 misc

2018 Blog Statistics

  • 3924 visits
  • 5887 page views
  • 21 posts

Top five posts of 2018

All said, it’s been a busy and wonderful year. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish and am looking forward to an even busier and productive 2019. To you, dear reader, I hope your 2018 was filled with wonders, challenges, and growth as well.

Here’s wishing you a fantastic and productive new year!

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In case you missed it this week:

Here’s an article I wrote about family game night over at Guild Master Gaming. Also, Mike Thayer over at the Calling all Nerds podcast and I had a great time talking about what it’s like to be authors and what inspires us.

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Why I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-CoverIt’s the end of October. For many writers it’s the time to sharpen our brains and finish up prep for this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I’ve done the challenge for several years in different ways ranging from full manuscripts and partial manuscripts, down to editing and revision goals. While I’d love to be in a good place to dig into the third and final book of my Stonebearer series this year, I only barely finished the very rough draft of the completed second novel last week.

My real reason for not doing NaNoWriMo this year is simple – experience. I know my working habits and how much I can do before developing a serious case of writer burnout. It’s taken a few decades to learn I’m a hugely competitive person with myself. If I set a goal I kill myself to go get it.

For my first NaNoWriMo in 2010, I crossed the finish line an exhausted wreck. At that point in my life I had one fewer child and more free time and energy than I have now.  Immediately after finishing, I continued to blog and did an editing pass of my first manuscript that I had finished a few weeks before NaNoWriMo started. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it.

I learned I am not invincible when baby #3 came around in the Fall of 2011. All my time disappeared and with it, most of my energy. I stopped writing for over a year. When NaNoWriMo rolled around I watched wistfully as other writer friends whipped themselves into an excited frenzy to work on a new project. I would still set a goal, goals are good, usually to finish the revisions on my first book baby and for years not much happened.

It wasn’t until 2015 when I felt ready to attempt writing the sequel. I had both older kids in elementary school and the youngest in preschool. It was literally the first year since 2010 where I had a handful of hours free during the week.

It wasn’t enough time. I stressed myself out. Four free hours a week isn’t enough to do NaNoWriMo. My writing crept into family time and evenings and occupied every moment it could like an overfed goldfish in a bowl. But, apparently I’m very competitive. I had to finish the 50,000 words. And I did. And then I shelved the uncompleted project for nearly a year.

This year, I’m okay with working at my current pace. I have projects underway that I like and am moving at a pace that I can keep up with while maintaining a good work/life balance. If by next year I haven’t started the third book of the trilogy, which I doubt, then perhaps I’ll make it my 2018 project.

And that’s totally okay.

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Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? I’d love to talk about it in the comments!

Reading List for 2015

Last year at about this time I announced that I was going to read twelve books from the BBC’s Big Read List of 2003. I had so much fun plowing through these gems that I intend to challenge myself again, but with a much different list.

This year I will read some of the best that speculative fiction has to offer. Some of these books have been around for awhile and I’m ashamed that I haven’t picked them up sooner, and some are still fairly new.

Either way, I’m excited to dive in!

Here’s is this year’s list:

  1. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones
  2. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
  3. Everneath – Brodi Ashton
  4. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  5. Redshirts by John Scalzi
  6. Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  7. Under Heaven – Guy Gavriel Kay
  8. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  9. Existence – David Brin
  10. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
  11. Going Postal – Terry Pratchett
  12. A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K. Le Guin

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What are you planning to read this year? Share in the comments!

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Also – I’m still taking names for feature posts in the future, this includes writers, artists, cosplayers, and musicians.  If you, or someone you know, would like some shameless self promotion, let me know!

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Related posts and websites:

Surviving Being Off Track – Week 2

The second week of being off track is now over and we are all getting a little stir crazy. With only one week to go there is still time to make some memories and have lots of fun. The moaning about having to go back is already in full swing, especially from my oldest who hasn’t warmed up to his teacher and at this point probably never will.  I chalk it up to helping him build character by doing things he doesn’t like. He doesn’t agree.

Here are last week’s highlights –

  1. The Library – We finally made it over to the library and grabbed a bag full of new books to read and a few DVD’s to watch.  Oldest son would only grab science books, and that’s okay because that’s what he loves. The rest are Spongebob and Barbie books. Nothing for me this time, Baby D started acting out before I dared venture into the grown up section. Next time I’m planning on reserving a little something for me so it’s super easy to grab.
  2. Playing in the snow – it snowed two days last week which meant sledding and snowmen!  IMG_2234
  3. Movies – We love movies around here and almost watch one everyday.  It gives the kids a chance to wind down for a while and gives me some much needed peace. Our favorite titles this week were “The Lorax” and “Cloudy and a Chance of Meatballs 2.”
  4. Planetarium, again – This time we went to the dome theater and watched “Ultimate Universe.”  Did I mention that having a membership is really awesome?  My son is already planning our next trip.

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    My three little monsters on Mars

  5. More Minecraft! – I’m now hoping that the novelty of playing together is starting to wear off.  I’ve spent way more time mining imaginary rock than a sane person should.  It’s still pretty fun, but so much screen time is starting to put a kink in my neck and back.

As for me, I’m still pretty happy about how the break has gone.  I’ve managed to keep the house under control and have started a new goal with my writing using the Giveit100 website where you work on something for 100 days straight trying to improve.  Most people have health and fitness goals, mine is to work on editing my book and get into a habit of working on it everyday.  So far it’s working for me and I think it’s fun, I hope it lasts!

2013 Year in Review

2013 has been a fantastic year, I’ve had a great time with this new blog while continuing posting over at my blog for writers, My Literary Quest.

Here are the most popular posts from this blog this year:

spongebobEverything I need to know about life I learned from Spongebob – As with most popular memes, this post was inspired by a random spur of the moment idea.  School was out for my kiddos and I’d overindulged with them on Spongebob. While watching the thought struck me that the show has a lot of positive ideas.

summer 13 giveaway hop[1][1]Summer Giveaway Hop 2013 – It’s not surprising that this post got a lot of hits, as part of a one of the biggest author hops and including a free giveaway  there was good incentive to drop by.    I had fun being a part of the hop and I am considering doing it again, although I might wait until I have a book to offer.

alfie01The Search is Over – Back in the beginning of the year I had a series of posts introducing my cast of characters.  In this post I introduced Jarand, one of the protagonists, and compared him to the popular tenor Alfie Boe. To my surprise the Alfie Boe fan club dropped by and said hello!

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While I would love to say I’m happy with my current traffic, it’s really quite puny.  I guess that’s what I get for not posting as often and not having a strong platform.  The biggest problem is that I really don’t know what to say here.  I don’t have that regular news about the current book I’m working on that I’m willing to share, yet. And I haven’t published yet so I can’t really post updates about that either.

One of my goals for 2014 is to find a better focus for this blog and then reach out to that audience and bring them in.  I’d love this blog to serve as a brilliant way of attracting fans to my writing.  Hey, a girl can dream right?

Here’s to another great year of blogging!

The Road Not Taken

This weekend, as my family and I explored the mountains, I was reminded of the all time classic poem,The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost.  This poem has found a special place in my heart.

Everyday I’m presented with choices. Endless. Unrelenting. Choices.  It starts the second I wake up.  Do I sleep in today?  What should I wear? What should I feed the kids for breakfast?  For most, choosing the better choice isn’t hard.  Well, except with sleeping in, that’s a beast.

Then there are those choices where the outcome isn’t clear.  How should I discipline the kids? Should I eat artificial sweeteners? How much time should I spend writing instead of being with my kids?  Having to choose when the path is unclear is troubling.  If I discipline incorrectly am I creating monsters?  Will I get cancer from my Diet Coke? Will my children resent me as adults because I chose to write?

When things are rough and I’m feeling overwhelmed I know I choose the easier path, even when it is heading in a direction I don’t want to go.  I sleep in, eat brownies, and (gasp) yell. The problem with the easy path is that it is so enticing.  I’ll admit, I don’t want trial in my life. I hate confrontation and discord more than heights, snakes, and spiders combined. However, hating trials don’t mean that they don’t seek me out.  I have battles everyday, just like everyone else.

In the end, I must decide on where I want go.  Having a goal helps to steer in the right direction.  If I want to trim my waist line I have to stop haunting my kitchen hunting for treats.  If I want my children to speak kindly to each other I have to speak kindly to them.  If I want more time writing and working toward finishing my book, I have to spend less time watching TV and browsing the internet.

I have to take the road not taken.  Even when it’s hard.  Especially when it’s hard.

road-not-takenThe Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Holding on and Letting go

IMG_1624Hubby and I spent time this weekend cleaning out the vast graveyard that is our closet. It seems that whenever there isn’t an obvious home for something somewhere else in the house it ends up being shoved in the corners and on the upper shelves of our small walk in.  In time the habit of squirreling things away in there starts taking its toll and it’s time to purge.

For some things making a decision about whether they should stay or go is easy;  especially things that aren’t expressly mine like the old GPS, a boardgame, and a set of sheets that are no longer used.  Lots of broken, outdated, and useless things were sorted and dealt with without a second thought.

Then there are the other things that I don’t want to make decisions about, the things that had goals and dreams attached to them.  I’ve been meaning to craft a quiet book for my children as a special family gift, made with lots of love and thought.  The basket holding all the fabric, buttons, zippers and other odds and ends for this project has been sitting on top of the bin of off season clothes for the past year and a half, untouched.  I still want to finish it, but I struggle to find a bit of time where I can get out the sewing machine without being ambushed by curious children. Taking the bin to the basement makes me feel like a failure  and have given up.

The same feeling goes for the expensive running shoes that have been kicked around the floor for the past year.  At one time I had a dream to be a distance runner.  I trained and ran for about a year before the pain and injuries caught up to me. Turns out running might not be my thing.  Even though I’m ok with not being a runner, getting rid of the shoes has a finality to it that is hard to swallow.  

Things like these were the hardest things to make a decision on.  It is as if by saying it’s time to go I’m abandoning a dream, I’m giving up on something I’ve been excited about. There are things that are worth holding on to, the things that make us smile, the things that excite us.   These are the things we should surround ourselves with.  For everything else, it’s time to let go.