Peaceful Sunday

While some folks are out there shopping for Christmas, we are chilling at home. Our favorite place. Everything we need is right here. It’s great. Being at a point in life where you can be settled is the best. It’s nothing you can buy, it’s nothing you can order from Amazon; it is a feeling inside of you that grows and makes you feel as if things are perfect. They may not be, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s the feeling things are perfect, because you know God is right beside you, guiding you, if you’d just listen. It’s the feeling everything will be all right. Things will work out. You can get through this.

It has nothing to do with age. Watch a toddler. Their whole world may be right in front of them. Given time and example, their imagination can take them anywhere. Read to them, and they will soar. They will learn how it can be enough to sit and read a book on a cold, Sunday afternoon. And it is. That’s what I plan to do later.

My current read is The Sewing Machine. It’s a lovely book. I put it down during the prepping for Thanksgiving then picked it up again yesterday. I was comforted by it, and now I have the feeling I will read a bit today.

This is Where I’ll Be This Afternoon!

And of course, it’s Sunday, so Yellowstone is in our future. The marathons are good to watch to refresh your memory. Hard to remember from season to season what things are referred to later. They’re important to the plot. The writing and acting is superb, in my opinion. I read a story about Rip’s famous scene where he plows into a bunch of bikers motorcycles, all parked in a row. It wasn’t in the script, but he checked with the director, the bikes were not worth much, they were just for show, and would be disposed of later. The reaction of the “bikers” was genuine, they had no idea he was going to run the bikes down. It was a spectacular move, a real Rip moment. How creative and effective!

I wrote some of my novel yesterday. 524 words, but it flowed freely. I was in a time crunch, so that’s all I did. I realized taking a couple weeks off was a good thing to do. Suspending my NaNoWriMo contest was a good thing to do. I needed the mental rest, not the mental fatigue. I’ve printed out all the chapters, and have them in a three ring binder, to begin editing later on. I have some more planning to do with subsequent chapters, and may do some of that later or tomorrow.

I plan to keep writing, counting the words. If I could get to 50K words by 12/31/2021, I’d consider it “won.” It’s just a guide, and I can keep going. We have some Christmas celebrations coming up, and I want to quilt a wall hanging to put up in the stairwell. No ladders will be involved, trust me! And I might start decorating little spaces in the house. It’ll be a good time to go through things again and donate anything I’m not in love with anymore. Great ideas! Slow and sure wins this Grandma’s race.

Have a beautiful day this sunny Sunday. Rest your mind and body. You’ll need it for the work ahead! See you tomorrow.

All Hallows’ Eve

So the other day when I was at the doctor’s office, he asked if I was giving out treats or not. I said I hadn’t decided yet. He told me they weren’t going to. He said it’s a perfect super spreader of COVID. When you think about it, he’s right. I’ve decided not to pass out any candy, then no one can pass things to us, either. It makes sense in this time of COVID.

Tomorrow is my big day, I’ll start writing 1,667 words a day for the whole month of November. I think it should be attainable. I’m already writing blogs a couple days ahead, then scheduling when to publish them. I love that about Word Press. The only thing is I still need to manually publish to my Jewell Publishing LLC page and my personal page, Kathy Jewell Raabe. It is all ok, at least I’ll pre-schedule the daily blogs, leaving more time for my novel. It’ll take a bit to put my mind back in the story, but we’ll get there.

When we were kids, it was perfectly safe to go out on Halloween, around your neighborhood, and collect candy from every house in the neighborhood. There were a couple houses that were pretty scary, and no one knew them well at all. We avoided that house like the plague. The old nuns told us we needed to dress like the saints, maybe our patron saint, it possible. We were told to especially avoid dressing in devil costumes. They may have even told us it was sinful to do so. Nothing could glorify Satan like the red devil costume.

Our costumes were pretty basic. For many years, my older brother, who was rather small in stature, wore a purchased skeleton costume. It had a hooded face mask that was cloth, and eye holes cut. We hated those plastic masks since we both wore glasses. Couldn’t see a thing through the fog! We had a box of old costumes from Mom’s sisters. An angel smock in white, all sorts of sashes, etc. My kids used many of those, too. Grandma sewed them and they were sturdy. I suppose I gave them to Goodwill after my kids were finished with them.

I’ve told my Halloween horror story many times. Here it goes again. In 1975, when I was very pregnant with my second child Nicholas, we lived in an old neighborhood, on a hill. Most of the neighbors we knew lived down the hill, where there were long staircases up the hill to the houses, then the houses had at least 6 – 10 steps up to the porches and front doors. Did I mention there were fences between many of the yards, and you couldn’t cut across the yards? My Frankie was just four years old and very shy. I held his hand up all 10,000 steps, down them, then up the next 10,000 steps . . . well, you get the picture. I was 24 years old and in good shape. I prayed not to have a Halloween baby all night. He wasn’t born for another week, November 7. What a relief! Gosh, he’ll be 46 next week. Where does the time go?

The days are pretty chilly now and look to be all week. It’s probably time to bring in the outdoor furniture, and batten down the hatches. More evenings by the fireplace, which is our favorite. So relieved we feel better and don’t have any lasting effects from COVID. We have some friends who have lung issues and memory/other issues relating to impatience, general personality changes, and some balance issues. We are very fortunate. More blessings.

On the Keto front of my life, I’ve done a little back-sliding. Quit doing squats and was careless with eating, so I gained 5 pounds. I’m back at it, before it turns into 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50. That is where people get in trouble. I’ll be too busy to think about snacks during November.

Once we’re finished here, I’m putting my plans into a 3-ring binder to get organized for tomorrow. Each chapter will have a divider, along with notes. Part of the writing has to take you where it goes. The outline/plan/scene descriptions help get you there. I believe it’s a combination of being a pantster (one who writes by the seat of their pants) and an outliner. My book coach, Sam Tyler, helped me see how much easier it was to outline. It lends a structure I didn’t have before.

My first NaNoWriMo in 2019 saw me crank out 40,000 words and I was ready to send it to someone to edit, print, and call it good. I believe most folks who do that don’t find success. I learned so much from Sam and from study on my own I cannot believe it. Sure, I’ll go back and see if I can resurrect what I wrote. Maybe there were too many characters to do them all justice. I went down a path where two brothers were in a moral/physical/and life struggle. One told the other he would kill him if he ever heard of him hurting another character. Truthfully, it scared me. I may need to talk with someone about that. I just find it interesting, and wonder where and how that conflict would have resolved itself. You almost never know what path you will find yourself on when you go the pantster way. I am probably now a Planning Pantster.

Friends, I hope you each find abundance in your lives during this Autumn Harvest season. The colors are so beautiful this time of year. I remember reading stories in our Grand School Literature class about Harvest. Living in Nebraska my whole life, I’m a city girl, but I live in the country now, sort of. Our little town of 4,000 + is seeing a building boom in the last five years. Many housing divisions are set to begin, a large chain grocery store, and several retirement centers are touting their future location. Something for everyone! Building homes, schools, community recreation areas are all great signs. My hope is they really build a new library in our neighborhood. It will be perfect for us (especially ME!).

Be careful out there tonight with your little goblins. I hope you all stay warm enough! Have fun, and we’ll see each other tomorrow! Be Kind.

Big News Coming!

Sometimes, the best laid plans get interrupted by life. In the words of John Lennon, whose birthday it is today;

“Life is What Happens While You’re Busy Making Other Plans.”

As I’m listening to Eric Clapton’s album “Pilgrim,” my mind is trying to plan next week. Mom needs a trip to Hobby Lobby (in anticipation of decorating for Christmas), and I have meetings with an artist and an illustrator. One is for an exhibit at the VFW for Veterans Day, the other talking about my kid book. It’s already going to be a busy week. Finally feeling better, so I’ll get more done than just resting and writing my blog.

Clapton is a genius. His songs inspire me to dig deep and get words from my soul. Whether they make sense or not is not my worry at the moment. I need to craft my novel again, I have about six chapters done, and I think I can study them a bit and pick back up where I left off. The fun NaNoWriMo is in November, as always. I will participate this year, after skipping last year. I think if I follow my plan, I should be able to make quite a dent in the novel. Best laid plans, right?

I am not giving up on the kid book. I can certainly have someone illustrating while I’m working on something else. We will just see how it works. More about it later. In between writing sessions, taking Mom out when necessary, visiting her, and having Gavin help me decorate our Christmas tree, it will be a busy fall and Thanksgiving season.

Tomorrow, we bid farewell to Joell, Monica and Blake. Today, they’re going to Lincoln to tailgate at the Nebraska game with Tracy, Addison, TJ and Gavin. They ought to have a blast. Food, fun, beverages, and the Huskers. When they beat Michigan, it’ll be the frosting on the cake. LOL. Gosh, I hope it’s buttercream.

Have you ever heard the John Lennon tribute “Working Class Hero” album? I have it, and bought it for just one song; “Grow Old Along With Me.” Finally today, after having it 23 years, I read the liner notes and listened to the whole thing. How silly to wait this long for the treasure chest that lies within. Blues Traveler version of “Imagine” is superior. Half of the proceeds of this album benefits the Humane Society of the United States of America. I can certainly get behind that cause.

The song, “Grow Old Along With Me” was a song at our wedding. It seemed appropriate, we were in our 40s and knew it would be different this time. And it has been. Different, Good, Hard, Worth It, and full of surprises. It’s going to be more of the same for years to come. Yay!

I received a message today that made my year! I can’t wait to share the news with all of you, and I need to wait a few days until it’s official. Hard work is always worth it!

The mail produced a new book. This should be good! Hope you all have a beautiful afternoon and good evening. Saying goodbye tomorrow to part of the family, and praying for their safe voyage home. Thanks for reading, be kind, and see you tomorrow!

Unrequited Infatuations? I Had a Million of Them as a Girl

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries!

I’m not sure where this saying came from, but I vaguely remember Mom singing it when my brothers were little. Here’s a snippet of the song, sung by the amazing Judy Garland. Judy was an incredible talent. We remember her as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, a beloved movie made in the 1930’s. It’s a classic we can all relate to. I apologize for the “black face” in the video. This was filmed in 1964, when that sort of thing was permissable. I’m glad we no longer allow that. I doubt Ms. Garland’s life was a bowl of cherries. Multiple marriages, miscarriages, bouts with pills and alcohol, and the studio chiefs doing what they wanted with her. No, it was certainly no bowl of cherries. At the age of 13 she was put on diet pills, the studio didn’t want her having any extra weight. She had yo-yo diets, more pills and booze, and died early in 1969, at the age of 47, from an accidental barbituate overdose. How sad.

She was the star in the first remake of “A Star is Born.” Barbara Streisand followed her; as Lady Gaga followed Streisand. I remember bits and pieces of the Garland portrayal. I saw it on TCM one night while channel surfing. Financial woes troubled many child stars in Hollywood, and she was no exception. Her daughter Liza Minelli had to pay the IRS, and many other agencies/businesses who were owed money. Living lavishly while producers and managers bilked your money were frequent occurrances. Sad.

I also remember Erma Bombeck (a favorite of mine), had a book titled, “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, Why Am I Always in the Pits?” All that aside, the Babe brought home these delicious, sweet cherries yesterday. I could eat the whole bowl, and regret it for days afterwards, I’m sure. The other favorite fruit this time of year is Black Diamond Watermelons, sold at local produce stands. It’s a real bonus of summer when you live in Nebraska.

We shall see!

So, I had to order this book. I have several more chapters already written for my novel, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” I’m still running Chapter One through software to help improve it. I find it maddening when they suggest a comma, then next time I check my work, it’s an error, and they want the comma removed. Sheesh! Make up your mind already! I may revert back to the original chapter after all.

I believe you have to be in a certain mindset, with the do’s and don’ts in front of you. Any writers out there who have used this book? I’d love a comment from you. Good or bad. I already see it was written in 2008. But I love the quote in the Introduction Chapter.

It’s always too early to quit.” – Norman Vincent Peale

This is my current mantra. I have a fledgling kid book waiting illustration, and chapters for a novel. I’m submitting one chapter to the Nebraska Writers Guild search for writings to include in their Fifth Anthology book to be published in December, 2021. I’m excited about doing that. I may try my hand at a poem, song lyrics style.

This seems to be an interesting way to dissect your story, plan it out, and get it all told in an orderly fashion. It has elements my book coach, Sam Tyler, taught me last summer. Now, it’s all making more sense, Sam! I’m so glad we spent time working together last year.

Eureka! I forgot I need to put a program together for a presentation we’re doing at the Post on Sunday. I’ve done that kind of thing one other time in my life. It was for our Community College, the “Master of Ceremonies” took ill at the last minute, so I substituted for her. It was a good experience. This will also be a good experience. We’re presenting the funds we’ve raised for two Veterans organizations and the Nebraska Concerns of Police Survivors. I’m so proud to be associated with the good people who lead these groups, and with our Veterans at VFW Post 2503, who help support them. It’s going to be a busy, busy week!

With all there is to do, I will continue to do my 71 squats a day (at the sink) and 22 wall push ups. This helps me focus on part of my purpose at this point in life: Be a blessing to others. Get help for where it’s needed. Support our troops! Especially those in Afghanistan right now. Our Veterans need our support. Reach out if you know anyone who’s been in Afghanistan at any time during the last 20 years. They’re having a hard time right now. Thank you for praying for them all.

I’m off to re-edit my chapter, read a little of the “Book in a Month” book, write a draft of the program Sunday, and do some website work for the Post. It’ll be busy, for sure. Hope you have a great day, and that we see each other tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Some Days

Are just harder than others. It’s nothing in particular, things just don’t flow like they should. And every little thing bothers you. You know what I mean. And some days everything goes perfectly well. I like those days better.

For most of the summer, we’ve not watched the news. Of course, it’s reporting about the Delta Variant of Covid-19. 62,000 new cases are reported daily. Haven’t we been here before? This sounds too familiar. And the government has gone from “Go ahead and get out of the house!” to “Get your shots, get back into masks.” Yes, a messaging problem. And where is the truth? We’ll find it eventually. I think it’s time to click off the power button on the news.

At times, some days it’s hard to write. For the first time in nearly a week, I’m sitting down in the morning to write a blog. All week, it came easy to just write and pre-schedule the posting at 4 a.m. whatever day I want. It’s awesome! In August, I’m going back to writing my novel. I want to just concentrate during the writing time. I’m going over my notes from my work with Sam Tyler, Writing Coach. The mountain of “how to” books is now neatly organized within reach. The space is uncluttered, and I have handy the first chapters for a re-read before I dig in. It will be hard to get back to it, but by blogging ahead and scheduling them, it should work.

One way to keep focused on something is to make sure I eat right. Yes, it’s back to Keto for me. The Babe is intermittent with staying on it, it’s just him. I can’t be mean about it, or nag. That will only make ME frustrated. He has the right to stick with it or not. I’m cooking the way I need to, he’ll join in at home, and do his own thing if he wants.

It was as good as it looks! Keto bread with real butter, two eggs and a handful of cherries.

Probably a salad for lunch, and Meatballs and sauce for dinner, served with Heart of Palm Pasta substitute. We’ve had the fake pasta before, and it’s not bad at all. Takes three hours, slow cooker for sauce to start. Fourth hour, add the meatballs (they’re real!) and cook at least 60-90 minutes more. Done and done. Will post pics tomorrow.

Our butterfly bush is beautiful! The butterflies are just starting to swarm on it. All colors, all sizes. It’s cool to see them while writing. These old eyes sure need a break from the constant screen-images. It’s odd, without the iPhone, I’m relying again on Chromebook and laptop. My big fear 3 weeks ago was I’d lose all the contacts for the events I’m planning for the VFW Post, and all would be lost. Not so!

While it hasn’t been without flaws, the Sunday Car Show will is a go on August 1st, and all I have left to do it set up the Silent Auction items and create/print the bid sheets. That should be a little later and into the day tomorrow. And it’d be great to sneak in some more ideas to blog about/with next week. We’ll get there, baby steps.

Those Canadian wild fires are sending smoke our way again. This morning, it was very hazy it’s now cleared quite a bit, but I’m sure the smoke will be back. My brother in law in South Dakota said they left windows open yesterday while at work, and their interior smelled just like smoke. Hate when that happens! I remembered my inhaler today. Love when that happens!

However you spend the rest of the day, make it a good one. Make it a positive one. Hold the door for someone. Smile at them. Take the time to say, “Good Morning,” or “Good Afternoon.” It will give you a pause from your thoughts for a moment. You’ll like it. One person at a time, we can make the day better for all of us. See you tomorrow!

Don’t Be a Spectator in Your Life

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian Author (The Medium is the Message), Philosopher, and his studies formed the cornerstone of media theory. He died in 1980. One of his concerns was the electronic marvel of television. He thought it would become less than marvelous for human development. I wonder what he would think of our Smartphones and their capabilities? One of the effects of television he predicted was the spawning of voyeurs. People who would rather watch than participate. Oh my goodness. Tik Tok is making him roll over in his grave.

We were meant for connection. Not artificial, like through electronics, but through face to face, sitting together over a meal, or attending an event in person. Don’t get me wrong. During the Pandemic, I have used electronics heavily through my studies during the past year for writing, establishing my LLC, and connecting with my artist who will illustrate my children’s book. Those connections have been both electronic and in person, and they have each served the purpose. I’m lucky to have made friends through media and joined groups with similar interest.

In doing those things, I am participating in my life. I’m following my plan, which has changed substantially since working with my book coach, Sam Tyler. I had nearly 80K words of a very complicated story, with lots of human growth, lots of dysfunctional characters, and several antagonists. Sam helped me realize one character and her growth could stand alone as a novel. It can, quite well. I went from being a pantster (writing by the seat of my pants, whatever spoke to me at the moment,) to being a planner, (lists, decisions, groups of scenes to play out). It changed everything. Thanks again, Sam. Get in touch with her. You’ll be glad you did.

Sure, I could have quit and sunk into the couch, giving up. I could continue reading other people’s books. I could shirk making decisions and taking risks to do something I’ve dreamed of doing forever. Living vicariously through others won’t do it for me. While I still read, a lot, now I do it through the eyes of a writer. It’s totally different. “Wow, I like how he described this.” or “She did a great job setting this scene up.” Good stuff. Real stuff is in the trenches, writing and learning. Real action is not passive. I can’t fully experience it through other authors. Years from now, will I look back and see I played the game, or that I played it safe.

It takes courage to be involved in your own drama (I don’t mean hyped up stuff, I mean the details of your life. Living your story.”). I thank God I wake up every day and get to decide how to spend my day. I’m learning to put the least favorite thing first (housework, laundry). I split up tasks and do them different days. The days we vacuum and dust, the Babe helps, which I need due to the condition my spine is in. I’m so grateful his Mama raised him to own cleaning up and cooking. He’s the best!

Keep Dreaming. And Start Doing! You can do it! It’s exhilarating! Take baby steps if you must. You get more comfortable with it. You’ll be surprised. Get over not wanting to look foolish. You can and you will before you’re done. It doesn’t matter. Really. At least you tried. And you learned what to do and what not to do next time. Failure leads to success. Just don’t give up. Live your life as a participant, not a spectator.

Thanks for reading today. You know how I appreciate it. Today, there will be more Kid-Lit videos to watch, and some domestic tasks. Once we get more organized, life will be easier. I’m so glad I started this un-cluttering and organizing things I have a long way to go, but life will flow better. Proud I attacked the job of Income Taxes earlier. I suppose I should check on our refunds and stimulus money. My share is going into the Jewell Publishing, LLC checking account. How exciting! Stay safe out there. Be Adventurous! Be Brave! Take a calculated risk! We can all do better in living our stories. Begin Today.

Suddenly Saturday Again!

There is a lot going on here at the Home Office at Raabe Ranch. I need to make a list about making a list, and categorizing everything we need to do in the next week. Not only are there blogs to write, I vow to begin again on my novel, The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.

I know the story will come back to me, after all, I lived with it the whole time I learned to craft the chapters, scenes, character development, and all sorts of things. Sam Tyler is not only my friend, but I hired her last summer and fall as my book coach. She does a marvelous job. I learned so much from her about good writing. She is tough, but very respectful about it. She won’t dash your hopes; to the contrary, she will encourage them along with your confidence. It’s worth the fee. We met at a Nebraska Writers Guild Conference over a year ago. That was before COVID. Here is her contact info if you would like to learn more about her. After an intense summer and fall of hard work, I took one month off (December) and somehow it extended into January, 2021. That’s OK.

I have a 2 p.m. Masterclass today about “The Build a Better Brand Method.” I need to update my “About Me” information. It’s necessary to build a community and a following. I’ve experimented with Tags and Categories, and since I started to blog about being on the Keto Diet, I’ve gained a lot of followers just on that point alone. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not sure. I have nearly 300 followers for the blog alone. I’m happy with that, since I started at zero nearly two years ago.

Any part of life is dynamic, you never reach a static existence except maybe in death. Nothing happens much after that on this earth. We must change with the times about some things. Communication, actions, networking. All of the brand building is simply 2021 talk for marketing. So there we go. No one talks marketing any more, although that is what we do. I’m interested in finding out how to do that. Since I’m an Indie Author, I need to learn about all of these things. I would learn about them even if I had an agent and a publishing company interested in me. I may look one once I publish a couple books on my own, but I do enjoy this whole process.

The future is ahead of all of us. From this point on, I believe I can pick and choose where this career will take me. The opportunities are about the best they’ve ever been, and the authors I’ve met are all generous people who seem to genuinely want to help each other. Many creatives are like this. They are particular about their circle of people, and will help in any way they can. It amazes me.

How are you spending your present and your future? Are you thrilled to wake every day and do something you love? I’m there, and it’s just too bad I can’t be at a desk, sewing machine, or an easel for longer periods of time. I’d probably be a creating machine! It’s ok, we all can only do what wee do. At any moment, a person my age could have a stroke or another medical mishap and not be able to create anymore. That would seriously hurt me no end. I’m praying for good health and longevity together. Hope springs eternal.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading today. I hope it’s a beautiful day for you. Be kind, be safe, be on the lookout. Help someone out. See you tomorrow!

Now, What Were Those 2020 Goals?

Hey! You out there! So much said about how terrible 2020 has been; I’m wondering if anyone even remembers what your goals were for the year? Any goals, about work, hobbies, life, etc.? I unearthed an email from my friend LeAura Alderson of I Create Daily, on December 30, 2019. It was about Pre-Goals followed by decisions and order and monthlies/90 day steps, everything to be precise and measurable.

Those were the innocent days. We were still living our lives without concern for COVID. We only had the nasty political division in our lives and families. Neither has been desirable. Who let them in? We did. Enough said about that. Let’s love each other again; politics be damned!

I was ambitious with my goals, were you? I had four major points; Publish, For Each Book, Website/Blog, and Other Marketing. As if life is that tidy, am I right? I honestly aspired to publishing my first four books, three of them children’s, one a novel. Then I was going to re-write another child’s book, Bonus Grandma’s.

For Each Book, I had headings of tasks to manage; writing, editing, EDITOR, Blurb, Cover. Sounds easy enough. I did a lot of writing and editing. Trouble was, it wasn’t on any of the four books on my list! I wrote, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” instead. It’s a prequel to “These Walls DO Talk.” It’s been a real learning experience about the process. I’ve loved and hated all of it, to be honest. It’s all melding together to make sense now. Things I didn’t even consider are now blips on my radar. I needed those blips. Now they’re part of the process. I never considered quitting, however.

2020 Goals, Anyone?

I think you’re reading my best accomplishment; my blog and website. I’ve added some pages, changed the look here and there, and once I’m further along, I’ll add a page about each book. I look forward to that. It’s hard for me to talk about my life, but they kind of force you into it when you create an “About Me” page. It’s hard. And photos? Never enjoyed being photographed, I always took the photos of the kids.

And in the meantime, working with my FBIL (favorite brother-in-law) Brad, he built a new website for the VFW Post 2503. It’s beautiful. I’m learning a lot from him about what’s good and what isn’t. Good practice for a worthy cause.

Other Marketing? I am now on Facebook (Kathy Raabe, Author), Instagram @AuthorKathyR and Twitter @Author_KathyR. So is VFW Post 2503. Baby steps, but learning, still. I’m not sure I’m up for Pinterest, I’m on Social Media a lot, for myself, my author page, and the Post, I don’t want to add another commitment yet. Our Nebraska Writers Guild is active there and had training, but I didn’t keep it up.

I will not complain about how bad 2020 was. It was hard. I learned so much about the craft of writing and have much more to learn. And that’s why I’m here, doing this every day, keeping in touch to the folks who will buy my books and read them, gift them, and help me realize my dream. It’s never too late!

I thoroughly enjoyed the months I studied and wrote with Sam Tyler, my book coach. It was money well spent, and I had quite a few revelations happen in the last month while I took off from working on my novel. Things fell into place, and now I know I’m ready to dig in again. Looking forward to writing more!

Over the next few days, I’m going to make a new list of things I want to accomplish in 2021. Some items will simply carryover from last year, but they will be closer to being accomplished. It’s going to be a significant year as far as writing goes, I’m sure of it. Are you ready to come along with me? I hope so, you’ve stayed this long, let’s see what happens next. Maybe we’ll both have a surprise! It happens, you know.

Thank you for reading today; I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Realize what you’ve done you didn’t set out to do. I learned a lot. I lost twenty pounds. I didn’t plan the Keto diet a year ago. It sort of happened in early November. It’s working! I’m continuing on that path, too. I feel better.

Continue being safe until we’re all vaccinated. The Babe and I will take it when our doctor advises us to. If he doesn’t think it’s safe, he won’t advise us to get the shot(s). It’s simple. Wear a mask. Be Safe. Wash Up.

Thoughtful, Full Thursday

After the day at the VFW Post 2503 yesterday, I am so happy to know those good men, women, members, friends, and the public who stopped out. The dinner was exceptional, and the clothing drive was an enormous success. The Babe and I have Honda Pilot and a Honda Passport, two fairly good sized SUV’s. From behind the driver’s seat clear to the back hatchback, we stuffed our vehicles with coats, boots, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, hats, scarves, and other items for our homeless vets in the Omaha Nebraska area. Ron Hernandez from Moving Veterans Forward will distribute to the homeless he deals with every day, as they wait for their housing to open up. We are beyond happy about the success of the drive, and the generosity of the people who donated. It restores hope in humanity, and we sincerely thank everyone involved.

On another note, it’s amazing how much writing changes. Certain rules used to dictate “Said is dead,” meaning you should not use the word “said” to show – well, that someone said something. It was a fad. The directions now are to use action beats. What is a beat, exactly? It keeps you from info-dumps. Info-dumps are backstory in excess, which don’t add to the story. Action beats break up dialogue and are useful in revealing information about your characters. They can show body language, emotion, and other useful things. After setting out to add some to two chapters I already wrote, I like my story better. Amazing. Now, I need to reduce the number of “he said, she said.” Action beats also convey setting, or build a world.

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I tried a different writing schedule today, as you may tell, since this is so late tonight. I wrote my novel chapter when I was freshest this morning. It was good for a couple thousand words. I remember when I was just throwing out words, there could be 4K in a morning. And I’d have to edit them laboriously. (Word of the day?) I like not proceeding until I’m happy with the elements of my writing. It may seem to take longer, but I will bet over all, it takes less time. I’ll take copious notes and let you know my findings.

Wow! This Writing Stuff IS Complicated!

The meme above is a brief glimpse into how complicated it really IS to write a novel. And not only do you have to be the writer and a character, you must be all the characters! And reading as a writer is wayyyyy different from reading as a reader. Sam, it’s beginning to make sense! Clear as MUD!

Maybe I should take up drawing? Go back to quilting? After I finish out this month. Not before. I’m kind of on a roll which I think will take us through the next few chapters right up to the defining moment. My character has a huge life event happen. She must decide what to do to keep her children safe. And it’s not a normal defining moment. I’m eager to see where we go. Stay tuned!

This evening, maybe some reading by the fireplace while the Babe takes in yet another football game. How many can you guys watch, after all? I know as many as we can. You have to love those men when they hone in on something like a sport. It always amazes me when they can recite sports stats from thirty years ago, yet they quickly forget something simple like a gallon of milk. I know I do too. It’s still pretty amazing.

Have a beautiful evening, dark as it is and only 6 p.m. Dinner is ready, and I believe we’ll have a slice of cheesecake tonight. The nicest gesture, our new neighbors brought a cheesecake over for the Babe, to thank him for his military service. How very thoughtful! Although it’s not KETO, we had to eat a piece. It’s glorious! Thank you, sweet neighbors. We’re so happy you’re here.

Off to do some more reading. Feeling good after having a good day writing. Now to figure out a way to get a bunch of blogs written, then publish them later. Might be worth it. That’s a decision for tomorrow. Blessings on all of you and have a good night. See you tomorrow. Be safe. Be kind. Be courteous.

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Monday Morning, Beautiful Day

As I’m listening to Steven Van Sant and the (also a member of the E Street Band!) Disciples of Soul, I’m feeling pepped up. It could be the coffee, but I just feel energized and good. That’s a glorious thing on a Monday when the week and our souls are still fresh from the weekend. The Babe finished carpet cleaning with his new gadget. It looks great, and the dogs are glad we’re moving the furniture back where it rightfully belongs. They don’t like disruptions in their world.

This CD has it all. Party Mambo reminds me of our beautiful daughter-in-law, Monica. She is Puerto Rican and really has the beat going on. She taught Blake to salsa dance. I wish we had a dancing family, my people didn’t do that. Except for wedding receptions. We weren’t Polish, but all weddings had Polka music, and at a certain point in the night, they attempted the Flying Dutchman. Chaos ensued. The more alcohol consumed, the more chaos. It always looked liked people had such fun.

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If you’ve been a reader for a year, you may remember I entered NaNoWriMo last year. At first I thought I would not enter this year, but I decided why not? I’m writing anyway. Some very prolific writers from the Nebraska Writers Guild are journaling about the pandemic, and about the political climate. I might do some of that, and I want to do something meaningful to me. Last year’s project finished at over 50K words, and I was glad. It requires editing, and I had a couple people read it. It was pretty raw in its writing. It needs polish and perhaps a different point of view. The proposal is good; the execution needs work.

While I ponder this, I think I need to take some notes, they just may spark some ideas. Any written, typed, and scribbled words “count.” You don’t want to vomit words all over the page. You want some purpose, some intent behind them. I’ll be looking for people to BETA read for me. I’m still pretty green on what that entails some folks saw my criteria last year and complained they “weren’t being paid to edit,” and I excused them from volunteering. Note to self: Clarify EVERY task needing people’s input for. Beta read, Edit, Copy Edit, etc.

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If you’re an author, you probably love words. You love putting them together to create scenes in your head. If you have too many words, you may defeat your own purpose. I’ve done this. Put way too much detailed description where I think it’s necessary, only to find out it’s unnecessary. It’s something you learn. The work I’ve done with Sam has been so worth it. If you might work with a book coach, try it for a month or two. I’ve learned so much more than I thought possible. New things, Baby steps, you’ll get there nicely.

One year ago, I foolishly thought I could just publish what I had. I thought I was “done.” Nothing could have been further from the truth. I worked like a Pantster. A Pantster wings it. No outline, no character development on paper, no scene construction, no checking anything over. Just do it, like Nike says.

I am now planning what to say, write, and do next. This is working much better. I am focusing on exactly what belongs in every scene and on every page. Nothing else. It has reduced some stress I was feeling. Self-induced, really. Not that it won’t happen again. Humans are hard to break bad habits, you know. And writers are probably worse!

Have a beautiful day and thank you for reading. I appreciate it. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here again. Don’t forget to vote, deliver your ballot properly to a ballot collection box. I do not care who your candidate is, just vote. It will make a difference. Every vote counts. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Patriotic.

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