March 27, 2017

Reactivating My Creative Self / Monthly Mishmash

Reactivating My Creative Self: 

I finished writing Flaming Crimes (Book 4) in November with the push of NaNo, but I haven't started book 5, or edited book 4. I haven't written anything (other than emails and blog posts) since mid-November. The reason for this is depression and stress, a deadly combo for creativity. 

But I've been working on reactivating my creative self slowly.

I've been doing a lot of reading and research on areas of interest:

- writing/writer's block
- organic cleaning
- how to make your own beauty products
- gardening
- Irish myths and lore
- Wicca

All of these topics have helped to awaken my brain. I still haven't started writing or editing my books, but I've acquired new motivation when I had ZERO motivational drive for months. This is GOOD news!


I purchased a digital camera from a pawn shop. It's a slightly older model, but it's the kind I've wanted for years. I've been learning the ins and outs of this camera and photography in general, another passion of mine (aside from writing).

Spring Cleaning:

I got a new desk. My old desk was wooden, and I couldn't move from side to side without rapping my knees. Ouch! My new desk is glass with room for me to move. 

To prep for my new desk, I went into a cleaning and organizing frenzy. I threw out A LOT that I didn't need. I often asked myself, "Why am I keeping this?" 

Looking at my desk now, I am amazed at how sparse it is. Doing this cleaning made me feel so much lighter.

My new desk.

I used the glass from my Hurricane Crimes Cocktail recipe for pens.

This box has the little odds and ends from my desk, like my calculator.

My new desk has three glass tiers attached to it. This is on the bottom.
The notebooks I need are organized in a mesh box I got from the dollar store.
That big binder is my mom's book, which I've been helping her with.

This lil guy has my computer paper, envelopes, and other office supplies in it.

I also used the same paper for behind my bookcases. And, yes, I do have two
witches' broom sticks. I made them for Halloween.
And, yes, again I do love pumpkins.

Note: I didn't put my old desk on the side of the road, though. I moved it into my living room. It now holds the books, board games, and school supplies I keep for my nephews. :)


I ended up shredding a TON of papers, which I stuffed into paper bags and put into my recycling bin. You're welcome, Mother Earth.

Do you have old ink cartridges? will pay for your used ink cartridges and the shipping, too! It's even free to sign up. I created an account, printed out my free shipping label (after verifying how many I had and the type through email), put it on a manila envelope, and sent off my ink cartridges. The kind I have is worth .25 each. You need to have a total of $5+ before they'll send you a check. They prefer to get 8+ when you mail in your empties.

Do you throw out your used pens?

I've known about The Pen Guy for years, and I've been saving up pens to send his way. The Pen Guy collects pens (even markers and highlighters) and creates amazing works of art with them. After my move a couple of years ago, I forgot all about the box of pens I had been saving, but I found them during my cleaning spree and I'll be sending them to The Pen Guy. I'll also start saving them again. 

Can you imagine how many pens writers throw away? Yikes!


I've been prepping for gardening (which I do in April). And I've started to build a spot in my backyard to use as a peaceful "getaway." It's been rewarding being outdoors and seeing the progress I've done.

Book Club:

I also created a book club for IWSG. You don't need to be an IWSG member to join. And you don't need to be a book writer, either. All types of writers are welcome. Join HERE!

QUESTIONS: What are you researching (for fun, work, or your book)? Do you recycle? Have you done any spring cleaning?

March 20, 2017

Diverse Characters - E + F + G


There’s been a lot of talk about adding diverse characters to fictional books. Most of the time, this is about including people of color if you’re a Caucasian writer, but all writers can add diverse characters to their books. And why stop at race? In this series, I’m going to list all sorts of diverse characters.

Note: I'm not knowledgeable about all types of people, so I'm skipping my usual tips in favor of letting others share their knowledge. See below 

**I won't be able to list them all, so here's a list of ethnic groups...with a list of even more lists at the bottom of the page. lol

Here are the diverse characters for E:

Ecuadorians (Individuals from Ecuador)




Estonians (Individuals from Estonia)


Exotic Dancers


Here are the diverse characters for F:



Filipinos (Individuals from the Philippines)

Finnish Individuals (Finland)

Individuals with Freckles

French Individuals

Foster Children/Foster Parents 

Here are the diverse characters for G:

Gay Individuals






Ghanaians (Individuals from Ghana)


Giants (Fantasy)




Gothic Individuals 


Guatemalans (Individuals from Guatemala)

SHARE: If you can come up with more diverse characters that start with E, F, or G, let me know and I will add them to my list.

QUESTION: Do you have tips or Do's/Dont's for one of the characters I mentioned above? Share your advice for writing about those characters in your comment.

Have you written about a character from my list?

March 13, 2017

Writer's Market / Books for Writers

The one book all writers should know about is…Writer’s Market. I have told many aspiring authors about this book when they ask me how they can get published. It truly is the “most trusted guide to getting published.”

Every year, a new edition comes out. Each book has a comprehensive list of book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents. In the beginning, there’s also articles from bestsellers and industry experts on how to develop your author brand and promote your book. The articles’ subjects are different in each edition.

One thing you can always count on is their sample query letters for fiction, nonfiction, and articles. They offer real query letters that worked or didn’t, and they explain what caught their attention or ruined the query for them. I love to see these query letters.

Another book like Writer’s Market is A Guide to Literary Agents that also comes out with an updated annual version. If what you’re looking for is an agent, this is the book for you! The agent section in Writer’s Market is tiny, but you can be sure that A Guide to Literary Agents lists all the agents in every genre. I’ve used this book many times to build my list of agents.

These two books are priceless for writers.

For UK writers, check out Writers' & Artists' Yearbook.

There's also:

Poet's Market

Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market Book
Novel and Short Story Writer's Market

Note: I don't buy these books. I check them out from my local library. ;)

QUESTIONS: Do you use these books? 
Will you be joining the IWSG Book Club? :D

March 06, 2017

Empowering Women - Lady Gaga

Every month I am highlighting an empowering woman. This month it is:


Lady Gaga wasn’t always understood when she first rose to musical power. Her outfits were crazy and her performances and videos were controversial. I always liked her, though, because I appreciated her creativity and what she was doing.

Remember the legendary meat dress?
“If we don’t stand up for what we believe in, and if we don’t fight for our rights pretty soon, we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones. And, I’m not a piece of meat.”
Then there’s her first MTV VMA performance for Paparazzi. At the end, she’s lifted into the air, bleeding and convulsing. 
“I just knew I had to bleed to death for four minutes on TV…I wanted to say something about how the celebrity sort of has this inevitable demise that we love to watch. But are we killing them or are they killing themselves?”
In 2011, she debuted her song “Born This Way,” a song about love and equality. From the beginning, she fought for LGBT rights. She wrote “Born This Way" in ten minutes and recorded it around the world on her tour bus. This song isn’t just for the LBGT community, though, but for people of all races.

 What about the video and that egg she journeyed in down the red carpet:
“…birthing a race within the race of already existing cultures of humanity—that bears no prejudice and no judgement.”
She started the Born This Way Foundation to help teens struggling with depression and to feel comfortable in their skin.

In recent years, she gained considerable recognition for her tribute to Julie Andrews, her National Anthem performance at Super Bowl 50, her tribute to David Bowie, and her role as the Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel, for which she won an Emmy.

This year she did the Halftime Show for Super Bowl 51, and in my opinion it was the best Halftime Show ever. She opened it by singing "This Land is Your Land" while a fleet of drones created the American flag behind her. And it was neat to see the dance moves from her music videos come back to the stage. 

At the 2016 Oscars, she performed “Till it Happens to You,” her song dedicated to victims of sexual abuse. Gaga was sexually assaulted when she young....
“I didn’t tell anyone for years because I didn’t tell myself for years. And my soul was burnt out until it was gone. And then you have to admit you were in pain, and that you died in a way, but you are in control to bring it back, and there are people in the world who’ll help you.”

March 01, 2017

Reworking an Old Story

MARCH QUESTION: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I certainly have. I've shared this story before, but I'll do it again. :) When I was twelve, I started writing a book that flourished into a series. At the age of seventeen, I had reached Book 4 when writer's block hit and hit me hard. I didn't write for months. I felt a total disconnect from my characters and my plot. It took me a long time to realize was because I had matured, and so did my characters, but I wanted them to be older than when they started. So, I set about rewriting the entire series from Book 1. 

For years, I slaved over these stories, and I have finished all 4 books. But I was never completely satisfied with the first book. I kept tweaking it, redoing the beginning, editing it and editing it. It wasn't until 2015 when I asked for beta readers to read the first 3 chapters and the wonderful Yolanda Renee helped me to whip the book into shape. I love it now! 

I actively sought representation last year and only received rejections, but I'm not going to give up on it. I do have to rework Book 2 to fit the changes, and I still have to revise/edit the final two books, and I will...when it's time. :)

OPTIONAL APRIL QUESTION: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Reminder: The questions are optional and meant as a prompt if you struggle with what to post. You don't have to answer a question if you don't want to. :)