Category Archives: For Readers

FAQs

I know this is supposed to be a MondayBlogs post, but honestly? It’s after 8pm here, and I’d rather have a great post out that’s necessary instead of something thrown together. Besides, my husband/business partner has been on me to write these up so why not?

pexels-photo-221164.jpegFavorite author, book, writing place? There are so many authors I read, 99% of them indie, and they’re all wonderful. Likewise with books. How can anyone choose just one? My favorite writing place is a lot easier. My sofa. I’ve tried writing on the beach, too stressful due to the sand. In a coffee shop or Panera’s, bathroom visits mean packing up everything every time. So, sofa it is! 😀

Writing music, location, drink? Music is fun. I have specific music for writing, running, and sleeping. The writing music needs to be in a language I don’t know, and Bollywood worked for a while. Then, I looked up the word “dil,” and my learning Hindi began. Now I have to listen to Korean pop and happily, I can’t seem to learn Korean at all. It just won’t stay. Location is my sofa, and drink? Coffee in the am until tea in the pm, and more tea or maybe wine in the evening.

Best place for ideas? Shower, walking trails, and road trips. Really anywhere I’m in a distracted but busy headspace.

What does my office look like? Like a huge mess because I’m storing and not officing in there.

What’s my daily schedule? I wake up at 6am, meditate, exercise, drink lemon water, shower, and begin writing at 7am. I keep going until 2pm and start marketing until 6pm. That’s when my husband is home, and it’s quality family time until 11pm when he goes to bed, and I clean house until 3am. I catch a few hours of sleep and am up at 6am again. My goal is to wake up every morning before I go to bed.

No, really. What’s my daily schedule? Okay, you’re on to me. I’ll wake up around 8am, closer to 9. Coffee and PC games until I wake up. Glass of lemon water and playing on the Wii Fit games, shower, and settle in to work by 10:30am. Write to the daily word count goal, lunch, more writing, and then clean house until 6pm’s husband time. We go to bed at 11pm. I’ll turn on my background noise on my iPod. If something happens and my writing is taken over by appointments or my husband’s day off, I’ll push the writing time to the evening or weekend.

What hobbies do I have? Oh gosh, I haven’t factored in hobby time, but when I’m in an enforced waiting time like on road trips, I’ll knit or read. I’d like to sew more and scrapbook, but there’s too much to do around here for me to indulge.

How long have I been writing? For forever. I should be better than I am, considering I started writing for publication in 1991. There was a long hiatus between 1995 and 2013 while working and raising our kid.

When did I know I wanted to be a writer? When I started writing my first daydreamed story and people liked it back in 1990.

How many books have I written and why is this so tough to answer? Thirteen to fourteen and it’s tough because I’m always writing something and not everything is a book. I’ve published eight short stories, eleven books, and have just finished writing a rough draft. I’ve started another short story and am plotting another book, so there’s never downtime for long.

Have I written anything you’ve ever heard of? Probably not. I’m indie published which is DIY. I don’t have a way to get my paperbacks on those supermarket racks, so I have to hustle to get the news out about what I do. It’s fun and perfect for control freaks like me.

What is my favorite food? Yes. I love everything, but my comfort food is Indian. I grew up and love meat and potatoes, still, but Indian is a special occasion food. I like just about everything else.

Who would I want to co-write with? Good question and one of those I can’t answer. I really do have so many awesome writer friends that my answer would be yes. I’d love to write with all of them.

Do you have any other questions I’ve not answered? Ask in the comment section below and be sure to follow this blog to see the answer. 🙂

Alone vs Lonely: A #mondayblogs post

Alone is pretty easy to define. You’re by yourself, a party of one, and the time where a team does have an I in it.

Lonely? Not so easy after all. Where alone is a state of being and a tangible, lonely is so much more ethereal. Everyone has heard of being lonely in a crowd and has probably experienced the feeling at least once in their life. Very few have never been the new kid in a classroom, even if they have to wait until college.

But now, Valentine’s Day is looming. All that red and pink reminds some of us how lonely being in a partnership can be. Surprisingly, I never felt one second of loneliness in the time during my husband’s deployment to Kuwait. How did we manage to stay in touch and still feel the love? Communication.

Chitchat during a war is different now that it was as recently as a couple of decades ago. In 2003, we had international phone calls once a week and email all the time. Skype and other video conferencing were new, and mail was okay but slow. I did happen to send him care packages of things he mentioned missing. With the once a day check-ins and weekly chats, we probably talked more than most busy couples have a chance to under the same roof.

How to combat this? In knitting (one of my fave hobbies), there’s a saying of “Take time to save time.” We’re supposed to do a test knit to make sure the stitches per inch is accurate. For a marriage or any other relationship, I’d say block out your time to interact with each other. Make doing so a priority and necessary for each of you. Both people must care because nothing’s sadder in a couple than being the one hand clapping.

If you’re the one initiating and not getting a response, there are a few things to try on your own.

  1. Kick it old school and write a letter by hand. Then rewrite in case you were angry about having to write one at all to get their attention. I know I’d have to.
  2. Text them a kiss. Emoji or your lips in a kiss, either work.
  3. Stop off on the way home from wherever and grab their favorite anything. No reason or occasion necessary.
  4. A phone call can be a problem for some to give or receive. We’re lucky because I’m my own boss and my husband’s workplace isn’t a pain about phone calls. I know I always love hearing his voice instead of a robocall or telemarketer. So speed dial if you can.
  5. Sex it up! Oddly enough, this wasn’t effective for me in the first couple of decades of my marriage, but this third decade is turning out to be very unusual. <-not a complaint! Everything I do now is a turn on when it never was during the early years. What do I mean by turn on? Well, for you, it may mean wearing the sexy clothes as a normal instead of a special occasion. Wear the boxers with lip kisses or the red teddy in the evenings. (Now that I think about it, our kid is older and not around as much. Sexy is a lot easier with just us in the house. LOL! Light bulb moment, right?)
  6. To get around the kids might know/hear sexytimes issue, letting your significant other pick the sexy unders you wear. This makes the undressing time after the kids are asleep a lot more fun, too.
  7. Find a similar activity you enjoy. We like long walks in the park and watching Canadian television shows, but our finding these likes didn’t happen overnight and haven’t been constant. In the beginning, we liked the Civil Air Patrol and dining out. Clearly, our tastes have changed through interest or necessity. We still have separate activities, but the ones we share are a lot of fun, too.

 

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It’s all fun and games until someone needs CPR.

Finally, if none of these ideas brings you closer together or you’ve been there, failed that, you know what to do. Talk to a professional. My job is to write about a fictional couple’s conflict and communication problems. So far I haven’t had a character seek counseling, but you never know. A story might make it necessary someday and if you need it, take advantage of the help.

Next Monday: Answering FAQ’s because my husband needs me to do so on my new website. You won’t even notice the switch except everything is much prettier.

Where’s The Love? An #amwriting post.

Okay, so I didn’t come up with anything romantic for yesterday because there was a little too much romance in my own life. Lunch date with my husband, grocery shopping together, a nap because it felt like -10F outside and 10F is my limit on coldness when it comes to walking in the park.

So, what now? Writing! The MLK holiday is over, and the house is quiet. I’m smashing everything I should have done yesterday into today’s schedule. Laundry, dishes, writing 6,000 words, which seems a little much. Fair warning, I might not get to my word count goal.

What am I working on? A historical romance set in Liberty, Missouri during the 1870’s. Alice, a lovely young woman from New York City, is bringing three young children to their new parents, Jack and Ellie Dryden. Only, they arrive at the Liberty depot to learn Ellie has gone back home to Boston. Does the adoption go through, or does Alice turn them over based on Jack’s promise to be a good single parent? ::cue dramatic music::

I love this story. My only problem with it is there’s not enough about the orphan situation overall. The romance needs to be front and center, and there’s nothing romantic about children selling newspapers by day and sleeping in the streets at night. In an era where birth control wasn’t as easy to find as it is today, the amount of abused, neglected, or abandoned children was incredible.  There’s no definitive number, but it’s estimated that 250,000 children and babies were sent west to new homes.

In this book, like all the other historicals I write, I’m researching to the nth degree. I have plans to photograph the depot where the kids arrive, to not use the word “kids” no matter how tempting it is, and to research 1880 farms near Jack’s fictional place.

There are three more books planned for this Pioneer Romance series. Next up is the Pony Express based story, the Santa Fe Trail story, and the Northwest Shipping story. They’re all plotted. I just need to park my butt and write them.

African lion

This guy? He’s a hint for an anthology story I’m also writing at the moment.

Meanwhile, if there’s a romantic topic you want to be researched between now and Sunday, comment below! I personally LOVE researching stuff, especially romance.

Valentine’s Day in December? #MondayBlogs

Oh. My. God. This year is already on greased skids. We went to the grocery store the day after Christmas, and some proactive goobers had the Valentine’s Day merchandise on shelves. Seriously?

Happy New Year!

By the time this posts, I’ll be up five pounds and face down recovering from New Year’s wine. There’s so much pressure out there to make every second count, to share every moment with a special someone. Even worse? Society expects people to create this perfection on as little sleep and food as possible.

I happen to know a couple of people who can accomplish the feat of a sparkling life. The talent is natural to them. For all of us with tarnished lives, keep reading, and I’ll share some ideas for coping with the romantic pressure.

The crafter side of me understands the need to be on top of the next holiday. Nothing is more fun than knitting Christmas gifts on Boxing Day. I’m working on a gift for someone’s 2016 Christmas. I know, I know. As close to being done as I am, he’ll get his gift Christmas 2018 for sure.

The side who had spent a bunch of Valentine’s alone still feels that “No,” feeling when the aisles start filling with red hearts, roses, and sappy everything. It’s hitting all the lonely buttons when the whole world seems to be full of happy couples, and you’re a sad single. If you’re not glum and want a significant other for February 14th, I’ve written the solution already. Click here.

My solution for when you want to spend the holiday alone but not lonely? Don’t, because you don’t have to. Everyone has a single friend. Have a Valentine’s celebration with your best unattached pals. If I weren’t married, I’d call up my knit group friends first. They’re all fantastic people, Happy New Yearand each one makes everything much more fun. Dinner, clubbing, going on a yarn store crawl, whatever you all enjoy will work.

What if, like one of my V Days (because ‘my’ and VD don’t go together, sorry), you’re in a new town with zero single friends? Be your own date. Do something fun and esoteric just for you. Every married person knows that nine times out of ten, you’re compromising with your spouse over where to go, what to eat, what you watch on tv or movies. Enjoy your singlehood by being as wild or mild as you’d like for the day.

Bottom line? Plan now to eat all of the chocolates and toss the yucky ones without guilt. Drink all the bottle of wine whether it’s sparkling juice or the hard stuff. Watch the sappy or action-packed movie you enjoy. Go to a fancy place for dinner and dress up for the occasion. Treat yourself like the great person you are.

Next week? What to do when you’re stuck with the anti-romantic spouse on Valentine’s Day and how it’s probably too late to ask for a refund on them.

Make Time for Love

It’s Christmas! No matter if it’s the most wonderful time of the year or a colossal bah humbug to you, I know everyone’s busy with gifts, parties, and end of the year activities.Laura StapletonIn all the craziness, my husband and I made time to reconnect and remind ourselves of what’s truly important.

Our Decembers tend to be like everyone else’s, rushed and focused on others instead of each other. So how do we cope? There are several ideas and here are just a few:

  1. Go on a date night! Ideally, couples should already be doing this. Even if it’s wandering around looking at Christmas lights or going for a twilight stroll in the park, anytime can be a date night with the right attitude.
  2. No time for even a dinner out? Shop together! My husband and I do all the time. It’s a great way to make sure we get milk AND butter. Two brains are better than one when it comes to remembering to pick up cat food. Plus, he buys snacks, and I buy produce, providing balance in our pantry and fridge.
  3. You have to sleep sometime. Even if you’re too tired to tango, go to bed together for quality pillow talk. Laura StapletonSet aside the devices for better sleep unless you’re like my guy and me. We go to my Twitter feed, getting angry or laughing together at what people post online. A mutual foot massage would be terrific, too. Bath and Body Works has some wonderful anti-biotic lotions available. I went on a shopping spree several years ago and still have some stocked up.

These are my favorite things to stay connected with my guy. How about you? What are ways you keep the bond going with your significant other during this time of the year?

 

Collaborations and why I’ll never do it again.

October 1st is when the third Hunt anthology is published and we’re all excited. Some of the authors, like me, have been there from the first Hunt, and then Hunt 2. Overall, the three books showcase some of the finest authors in the thriller, paranormal, and mystery genres today. I’m extremely proud to be included with the others. They truly are amazing.

But never again? I don’t like saying never, but after writing my own paranormal, it’s not going to be one of my ongoing genres. The Hunted: Welcome to Whitbridge was such a challenge and one I enjoyed. We were given a world and characters to play with. It’s a lot easier to boss around people in your own mind versus those created by others. Still, while I had a great time playing around in the paranormal world, I feel like my story, Return to Whitebridge is a dead end until finishing a few other book series I have planned.

Collaborations themselves? I happen to love them. The extrovert I am loves interacting with other creatives. There are so many brilliant people out there. I feel fortunate they consider me a friend and someone they want to work with. So if a paranormal group comes knocking, I’ll open the door to reading anything and everything. Writing my own paranormal book or series? Um, outlook not so good.

Treat yourself to an amazing book of quick reads in the link below and don’t be shy about getting a copy of The Hunt and The Hunt 2 from my Amazon page. Sure, I have stories in there, but the other authors are amazing. I love every story.

#MondayBlogs and are you worth the effort?

Happy Monday!

I know. Two words that rarely go together. I think we can all agree on happy Saturday and certainly happy Friday. But Monday? Okay, maybe it’s happy because YOU are here.

Down to business and my personal opinions.

Are you worth the effort? Do you shower, shave and spit shine every day, or do you even bother? Every time I go to the grocery store or a big box store, I see them. Women and some men who are overweight and who have given up on themselves. For the gals, their hair has grown out to where a couple of inches of gray show, there’s not a speck of makeup, and those yoga pants were so last decade. In my case, some pants are last century. For the guys, their tshirts have food stains, those knee holes in the jeans aren’t intentional, and their fingernail dirt could grow fishing worms.

These are people who have given up on presenting their best face forward, and let’s be honest, everyone has been there at one time or another in their life. I’d let myself go when becoming an authorpreneur. Being at home all day, chained to a keyboard meant no one saw me shoveling handfuls of gummi bears into my mouth, OD’ing on diet soda, and skipping this year’s workouts.

What was my personal epiphany? Photographs, high blood pressure, and getting my nails done professionally by Glitter KC’s CEO, Kim Trentham. Photos told me my clothes weren’t shrinking as much as I was expanding. The high blood pressure after a lifetime of “Are you even alive??” low said the lifestyle needed a change. And finally? Getting my nails done reminded me of how good I’d felt with a fresh coat of polish applied by a professional. Like I was worth the time and cost it took.

Do you know what? Everyone is. Everyone is worth the time and cost to make themselves feel and look good. My grandma had a saying, if you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you do good. A lot of word echoes in this paragraph, but it’s true. Your thoughts affect your feelings, and both affect your actions.

Bottom line? Do something nice for yourself today. It doesn’t have to be a marathon in the time it takes or a fortune in expense. Something simple and self-improving just for you. And then? Do something nice for someone else. Anyone and anything as long as it’s helpful.

Tell me what you love improving your appearance, and how you give back to others and the world. I walk several miles a week, paint my nails, and skip dessert. I also give to various charities and volunteer at my American Legion unit. Comment below on what you did in the nice area today, or if you’ve already given back before hanging out with me here.