Category Archives: Writerly Musings

Who Do You Want To Be? A #MondayBlogs Post.

I’d spent the weekend hibernating which means I’m playing catch up today.

I had this lovely blog post typed up with so many words to say in relationships, don’t look to others to fix you. Don’t look to others to complete you. Don’t look to others to improve you.

Or to put everything in a positive light:

Fix your broken parts first. Take care of your heart, mind, body instead of putting the responsibility on someone else. Unless…they happen to have letters after their name like MD, Ph.D and you’re not dating them. In that case, let them fix you because it’s their job.

Be an entire person for yourself. “You complete me,” is a lovely quote but in real life? No one should be another person’s missing half. Stronger Together is always better than Need Each Other To Survive. Another unless…unless you’re in a frozen wasteland like my backyard in the above photo and have only the two of you to rely on for survival. Then yes. No rules.

Self-improvement is best done by yourself. Not someone else’s self. My final unless? Unless you’re paying fees to a trainer, nutritionist, life coach, or doing another sort of expertise swap, your significant other isn’t your guru. In a perfect world, each person is improving and sharing the improvement instead of dragging each other along.

Bottom line? We aren’t puzzle pieces but whole human beings. Situations and people knock chunks out of our well-being and it’s up to each one of us to Spackle our own wounds. When you’re looking for a new relationship or trying to keep a marriage strong, go in as a complete person.

 

Thoughts or questions? Comment below!

#MondayBlogs and Leaving My Comfort Zone

This is going to be one of those short and sweet posts because I have words to write. Lots and lots of them.

pexels-photo-235922.jpegWhich leads me chatting about comfort zones and why they need to be crashed through sometimes. I’d read in Canadian Runner about how embracing the discomfort makes a better runner. Speed goes up, the mental outlook improves, and crossing finish lines are easier when someone accepts and ignores the desire to stop.

Tamed by Laura StapletonWhen I sit down to write on my latest story in progress, the article came to mind because Tamed, a paranormal shifter romance, is way way outside of my comfort zone. Not that writing had become easy. I don’t know if telling stories and fretting about my Shatneresc use of commas ever will be. What I’m sure about is researching a new genre to make sure readers’ expectations are met is not my usual work.

The best part about this project is interacting with the other authors in the anthology. I’m an extrovert (ENTP if you’re curious) and love people most of the time. Another enjoyable aspect is “having” to read paranormal romances by the other authors. My job is the best.

So now, while I’m here trying to figure out where the guy’s clothes go when he changes from man to lion and back again, I have a challenge for you. What is a comfort zone for you and how can you break out of the rut? Or add to the activity and make it tougher than usual? Comment below and tell me about your comfort zone.

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. 🙂

A #MondayBlogs About Smug Marrieds.

Single people and the theory of relativity. How are they related?

Very simple. There’s a reason the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side,” exists. Earlier in the week, I’d read something about married people being condescending toward singles. As if being married is the ultimate goal in life and you’re not a real person unless hitched to someone else. Add in the recent political remarks about some countries being much better than others, or some people weighing less or more than others, and the Theory of Relativity covers everything. No matter where you are, how low or how high, someone either wants to be where you are or would do anything to keep from being in the same place.

In my point of view, I think there’s a lot of jealous people out there trying to upsell being chained to one person. Seriously. No marriage is 100% wine and roses, and if someone says theirs is? They’re lying, delusional, giving in to their spouse, or all of the above. Married people see a single person and remember back when everything in life wasn’t a committee decision. They could eat what they wanted or not at all. Sleep the hours they prefer or not, and not be hassled about it. When you start counting everything else needing a “discussion” with a partner? You know what I mean.

man putting wedding ring on woman hand

With this ring, I chain thee to me forever. Get me a beer.

Meanwhile, singles are looking at marrieds, envying the whole partner setup. As a married, it IS nice having a best friend and business partner. There is a shared income, shared responsibilities, and a “In case of emergency” contact. I could add in the terrific sex part, but my husband would become flustered and turn nine shades of red. Let me leave it at he’s adorable and admirable.

Like everything in life, both sides have their pros and cons. I think the main thing anyone should do is embrace where they are right now. Things always can and do change, often when you don’t want them to.

Side note: All this assumes you are satisfied with your current situation. If there’s abuse, depression, or serious issues, get help and don’t delay. Life is short, and there’s no reason to tolerate the intolerable.

Next Monday: Answering Frequently Asked Questions.

Merry Christmas and happy #MondayBlogs!

There’s going to be so much in this post! Grab something to drink and get comfy because this’ll be fun.

First off, happy holidays! No more Christmas music! Yay!

Whaddya mean you're glad it's over?

Whaddya mean you’re glad it’s over?

I know. I’m one of those people who dread the music every year. I do try to like it, but nope. I’ll let others enjoy the tunes. Even better than the lack of Jingle Bells sung a million different ways? Free trash pick up! That may be for only our city, but it’s wonderful and I love it. Trash men are magicians, no kidding.

My writing is my life, but my publishing is my business and I have goals for 2018. Readers will be happy to know I’m expanding a beloved series and adding more to a currently in progress series. If I stick to plan, I’ll have at least eight novels and three short stories drop in the next year. They’re all plotted and waiting for me to write them. Along with all the writing, I’ll be creating  another spin off series and maybe launching it late in 2018. Everything depends on God not laughing as I plan.

Meanwhile, 2018 will find me upping the romance in my life and hopefully in your life, too. I’ll be researching and posting practical action items we all can take to help add love and romance to our day. I don’t intend for my posts being all for married people. I want to help singles find their best match possible or how to enjoy being on their own.

I hope you either join or continue on this vastly fun journey with me in 2018. Click subscribe or follow me on the various social media outlets I play on right now.

 

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?

 

How to Fire an Employee in 5 Easy Steps.

Firing someone isn’t as easy as some reality shows might depict. Sure, it’s fun to think about being a strong executive able to dismiss someone on a whim.

In reality? Your showing someone the door has real world consequences that those with empathy know all too well. I’m assuming your employee has a problem OTHER than a terminally ill relative, or they were the one with a terminal illness, a serious loss in the family be it a person, pet, or home, or a severe injury meeting all of the above criteria. I would add, as a former military spouse (he retired from the Army Reserves and is great, thanks!) that losing a loved one to deployment could affect your staff member’s work ethic as well.

All of the above may not be legally protected by Labor Laws, and that doesn’t really matter until step four. I’ll assume you don’t want to be a Worst Boss of the Year by firing your employee after their father dies of cancer on the same day as their dog was run over on their way back from saying goodbye to their deploying spouse.

How does someone let a problematic employee leave for “greener pastures?” Here you go.

  1. If empathy and caring about your employees are problems for you, don’t worry. There is a real and legal reason for NOT skipping step one’s empathy and emotional quagmire. Start a paper trail now, because if the person really is a liability to the company, a paper trail will keep you from being sued for unemployment. You’ll want to sit the problem person down and have a talk with them about what’s going right and what’s going wrong. Emphasis on the wrong. Have a checklist, a signable checklist, for how the awry behavior will change in the immediate future. They sign, you give them an atta girl or atta boy, and the behavior is corrected, profits rise, and we’re all happy.
  2. But, if nothing changes? You will yet again sit them down in a private area and ask what was unclear about the first meeting, in a kind and direct way. They explain or excuse, you listen and reintroduce the checklist as a reminder.
  3. And then that didn’t work. Fine. Bring them in again, again ask what was unclear and is it clear now that they’re on a probation of sorts? They’ll probably mumble yes, promise to change, you shake hands and voila! Problem solved.
  4. When nothing has worked so far? You gave the person three chances/warnings and documented what was said and promised. I would say you bring them in and give them two weeks. Except, I was in Information Technology for most of my cube farm life and forewarned gives an angry employee a chance to set up retaliation. Instead, follow your company’s procedures for termination. If you are your own CEO of a large enough company for Human Resources, why are you reading this? You’re too busy, and it’s why you have an HR. If you’re like me, the CEO of a tiny empire, the legality of terminating is a problem. Especially when it comes to being sued. Review the termination for cause for your state because no two states are the same. Set up your legal defense and reasons for showing your employee the door.
  5.  The firing itself. By this time, what kind of person your employee is won’t matter. They’re a detriment to the company and must go. Which is fine. Some people are round pegs trying to fit into a square hole and need to be pushed to find a new place. Others are problem children with no desire to grow as a person. Either way, you’ve tried to warn them in steps one through three, done the legal homework in step four, and now have to meet with them privately. If necessary, have your boss or HR rep sit in. Again, if you’re the head of your company, have a plan for your safety when terminating a hot headed employee.

I’ll admit, I’m a small business owner and firing someone would mean they all but begged to be fired. My empathy is off the charts. For this post, I’ve kept in mind that larger business owners might not know everyone and even if they do, they don’t care what happens when a person is pink slipped. Everyone is different, and that’s fine.

Even if you don’t care about your terminated people, you’ve spent time and money training them. There are anti-discrimination laws. Hiring new replacements hits you again in the time and money department. No one wants to waste their resources or be sued. Follow the first three steps, set up by following the fourth, and help your company’s growth and profits by following through on the fifth step.