Things I've Learned

  • Monday Musings

    My head is stuck in a strange place today. In the last thirteen months my life has taken quite a few big twists. Each one has scared the crap out of me and each one has taken me to a better place in my life. Most days I can see that it's all worth it. 

    Today I need to find a way to remind myself that there is good ahead. I don't know if it's a Rainy Day and Monday sort of thing, or just that I am overtired and wondering if the ability to turn the bad into good has been all used up and I am going to have to deal with that moving forward. All I know is that I'm focusing on everything that isn't working for me today and feel like a curtain has been drawn over the light at the end of the tunnel. 

    I know for a fact that this is not a feeling that is unique to me. I know that - especially for people who venture out on their own and put themselves out there - self-doubt is something that must occaisionally be battled. I've worked with enough authors to know that it hits even the best (the stories I could tell about some of your favorite authors deleting whole manuscripts because they think they're crap, or missing deadlines as they struggle to believe that what they have written is worthy to be sent in).

    I'd like to tell you that this is going to be a well written piece on how to overcome these feelings, alas, I am stuck in the midst of it right now and am having trouble believing I will overcome at this precise moment. So instead I will tell you that I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine, I'm going to watch some guilty pleasure reality television and I'm going to bed tonight with my mother's voice in my head, "This too shall pass."

  • What I am Loving Wednesday!

    I discovered the What I'm Loving Wednesday! link on a blog I love to read, Ramblings of a Suburban Mom. She got it from a blog called, this kind of love. I think, in our very negative world, it's important to spend a little time focusing on things we love. This kind of exercise puts our mind in a positive place and - for me - puts me in a better place to work. Positive views, positive outlook, positive day. Give it a try!

    I'm Loving...

    • Holiday teas. I am the biggest critic of how early we celebrate Christmas every year. I hold out until I see Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade before I even think about decorating or playing Christmas music. I'm a freak about this. Then I took a trip to Teavana yesterday. (I'm Debbie, and I'm addicted to Teavana teas.) Um, yes please I would love to try the White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos tea. And you have an Orange Chocolate Sweet Spice Herbal Tea? Don't mind if I do. Heck, I'll even sing along with Winter Wonderland while you measure some out for me. Oh, dear Lord, what has happened to me?? (Yes, wrap it up please in the beautiful Christmas tin. It just wouldn't be the same without it.)
    • Really great deals. Since we're already talking Christmas, I will admit that I can't pass up a really good deal, and lately a few of the places I shop very regularly have had some unbelievable sales and/or coupons. And I've been able to get them from the comfort of my own home. If this keeps up I won't have to worry about the uproar of stores being open on Thanksgiving Day (something I am TOTALLY against, by the way), because I will be done with my shopping. (OK, that's probably not really going to happen, but a girl can dream, and I am getting a good jump on it for a change. :)
    • Modern Family. I know that I'm a little late to this party, but I didn't start watching Modern Family until it went into syndication. This is a show that leaves me saying, "Dang! I wish I wrote that!" And I can't make it through an episode without laughing out loud. That can't be said for most sitcoms these days. I laugh embarrassingly loud. Seriously, this is one funny show. 
    • I recently posted somewhere that I had figured out that Siri might be the closest I ever come to having a minion. On a whim I ordered a new case for my iphone and it was recently delivered. Well, Eldest Daughter makes fun of me a little, but I like carrying my new minion with me. It might not fit into my pocket well, but for right now, it makes me smile, and that's enough.
    Well, that's it for me. What are you loving today?
  • Monday Musings

    It's so funny how some things we loved from our past really don't hold up to the test of time. In August I posted a wedding picture for my 27th Anniversary. My daughters are still picking on my hat (it was very cool in 1986 when I was getting married).

     Likewise, I've recently read a couple of books that i loved 15-20 years ago. It's so funny the little things that seem so strange now. Whether it was looking for a pay phone, or having a manuscript mailed or any of a myriad of other technical details that were perfectly up to date when written, but which brought a chuck to me today. 

    More and more authors are re-releasing their older works as ebooks. Should they update them when they do, or should books be left as is? I'm really curious because I can honestly see both sides of the issue. For the sake of new readers, why put them off by being so dated. For the traditionalist, do we really want to see Gatsby with a cell phone. OK, that might be overselling the issue, but I'm curious. What do you think?

    About the book thing. Please don't ridicule the hat. It seemed like a good idea at the time...
  • Sunday Social

    I’m linking up with Ashley and Neely today for Sunday Social.

    This Weeks Questions:

    1. Name 4 jobs you've had in your life.

    Waitress, Administrative Assistant, Retail (sales and merchandising), Editor

    2. Name 4 movies you would watch over and over.

    Pitch Perfect, The Princess Bride, A Knight's Tale, The Big Chill

    3. Name 4 places you have lived.

    Plattsburgh, NY, Homestead, FL, Rochester, NY, Miami, FL

    4. Name 4 of your favorite foods.

    Gummi Bears, Steak, Caeser Salad, Pad Thai

    5. Name 4 things you always carry with you.

    Cell Phone, Book, Chapstick, Business Cards

    6. Name 4 places you have been on vacation.

    Scandanavia (Norway, Sweden & Denmark), Disney World, OBX, Italy

  • Saturday Sabbaticals

    The history of Sabbaticals goes back to biblical times. It has always been known that all work and no play is a bad combination. Unfortunately very few can take a year off of work every seven years to revitalize themselves, but it is vital to take some time. 

    For most writers, writing is not a full time job. It's easy to work your full time job and try to write in every free moment you have. The problem is you still need to feed your soul, re-charge your battery, revitalize. You need a Sabbatical. And to make sure you take one, it's a good idea to document what you're doing that takes you away from your computer. 

    Saturday Sabbaticals is my place to share some of what I do to re-fuel. Feel free to link up what you are doing to re-fill your tank. 

    • The smallest - and perhaps easiest - way to accomplish some re-fueling struck me today. I tell authors all the time that they need to be reading. You need to keep us to date and reading good books truly motivates you to do the same. The problem is as you get busier, reading is usually the first thing that falls by the wayside. I carry a book with me in my purse. No matter where I go, if I have a couple of minutes I read. But it's not enough. I told my DH this afternoon that I have decided to block out one hour a day in my schedule for reading. One hour that I won't think about work or the internet or my cellphone or anything else. I will read. I guess what we've been told forever is true -- Reading is Fundamental!
    • Last weekend I went with my DH and a good friend to Marathon, Florida for a special event at the Dolphin Research Center. If you've never been there before, go. It's a remarkable place. And it moved me to watch these amazing animals. My favorite, was getting to see the new baby. Four days old when we were there. Warms the soul, let me tell you. :) Look closely at the picture and you will see Mom and baby. Babies are born dark and slough off skin at the beginning until they arrive at the lighter gray you are used to seeing


    • Last night I had girls night out with my daughters. It was...wonderful. Talking, laughing, drinking wine, eating an amazing dinner. I had a great time. And we talked about the tough stuff - futures, hopes, dreams. I sat there at one point looking at these beautiful young women and thought, 'This is why I'm here.' It's been a rough week, some things crashed and burned on the home front and we're examining some new options, but sitting there last night none of that mattered. What matters is that my life is full because I am with people I love, in a place I longed to be and everything else will work itself out. 
    So, see that, my sabbaticals did what they were supposed to do. I was drained this week and the little things fed my heart and helped me to see that life is good. Even when it isn't. 
    What did you do this week to keep yourself going? Feel free to link up below and maybe we can learn a little something from each other. 
  • Five Question Friday

    I have been a long time fan of Inside the Actor's Studio, and my favorite part has always been the questionaire at the end. That is my vision for Five Question Friday. I have come up with a list of five questions, and I will have different guests answer them each week. As a new idea, you might see some tweaking - at least at first - as I try to come up with the right formula. Your input is greatly appreciated.

    This week, answering my five questions is friend and author, Kristi Ahlers. Kristi has published ten novels and, I'm sure, has many more up her sleeve. Check out her webiste and her Amazon Author page for more information on her work.

    For now, here are Kristi's Five Answers...

    1. What are you reading? Right now I'm reading The Queens Fool by Phillipa Gregory

    2. What do you do for relaxation? I take bubbles baths.

    3. What is playing on your iPod? Nelly, Florida Georgia Line, Les Mis soundtrack, and Katy Perry

    4. What is your current guilty pleasure? Wandering around B&N with a pumpkin spice latte and browsing. Total detox time for me.

    5. What do you want to share? I recently just celebrated my tenth book release - so exciting. Her Highland Rogue is second in my Clan Ross series. I did a TON of research up in Scotland when we lived in England. It's fun to put it all to use.

    Please check out Kristi and all her great work and stop back next week for another Five Question Friday!

  • Thursday Thoughts

    It's time for another Thursday Thoughts. I link up through Ramblings of a Suburban Mom. Feel free to check her out and do the same.

    Here's what I'm thinking about today...

    • It's been a rough week. My DH has had to work nights this week (filling in for someone and getting the lay of the land on the night crew) and it has thrown my schedule all wonky. First off the pup doesn't know when he should be mellow and when he should be ready to go nuts (always fun when he gets loud and playful at 12:30/1 am when DH gets home). And my own work schedule has gone off a bit. Add to that a work project that is a bit messy and my blog has fallen short this week. Normally I would get upset, or be embarrassed and just keep missing days. For all I know I'm the only one reading this anyways. But no. Today I will pick up and move forward and - in the immortal words of Dori - "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."
    • Fall has hit Miami. Want to know how I know? Last night when the temp dipped all the way down to 73, while I was still out in sandals, most people around me were in sweatshirts, long sleeves and even coats. Struck me funny.
    • Authors are scanning their older books when the rights revert to them and selling them as ebooks. Problem is they are not checking them before uploading and scanning is not perfect so books are going up with horrible errors that are easy to fix. I've read reviews on Amazon that say, the story was interesting, but I couldn't finish because I couldn't get beyond all the errors. Don't let that be you. Read your work before uploading. Hire someone (heck, I may be able to recommend someone) to fix and format it. Just don't be careless and lose future readers because once they go, chances are they won't be back. 
    • I am having a girls night tomorrow with my daughters and possibly another girlfriend. Truth be told, i am soooo looking forward to it. It is the main reason I made the move to Miami and right now I'm needing a girlie fix. Woo-hoo! Maybe I'll tell you about it (if we don't do anything too crazy) in my Saturday Sabbaticals Blog. Girls Night Out is a perfect sabbatical! Think about it!
    And that's about it. What are you thinking?
  • Sunday Social

    I’m linking up with Ashley and Neely today for Sunday Social.

    This Weeks Questions:

    These are all about Thanksgiving memories!

    1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory
    Growing up we went to Brooklyn every year for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful. We'd stay with my grandparents and have Thanksgiving dinner with my Aunt and Uncle and six cousins and various and sundry other people. It was always wonderful!

    2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
    Stuffing and Creamed Onions (I couldn't pick one. I actually wanted to add Red Cabbage, but that seemed like I would be pushing it)

    3. What is a Thanksgiving tradition you and your family have?
    Much to my younger daughter's chagrin, I would have to say that it is watching the Macy's Parade - especially the very beginning where the Broadway Musicals perform. And all the way to the end where Santa makes his appearance. It reminds me that when I was younger, seeing Santa in the parade was the beginning of the Christmas season, not September the way department stores would like us to believe now.
    4. Show us a favorite Thanksgiving picture from years past
    I am super depressed because I just realized that I don't have any recent Thanksgiving pictures. I guess I'll have to get better at this. Must just be too busy cooking and eating. :) 
    Luckily my son took a pic last year of the table set at my mother-in-law's house. It's one of the things I like best about the holiday - seeing the nicely set table. Must be because we're not always the family sitting around the table and seeing the "good dishes" makes the day feel special.
    5. What are you most looking forward to about this Thanksgiving?
    It's our first Thanksgiving as Miami residents. And one of two things is going to happen - either of which will be exciting. We will either go with family friends to Disney for the weekend - which would be amazing - or, we will have Thanksgiving with my parents - which we haven't done since the twins were in elementary school (and they're one and a half years out of college now.) Sounds like a win/win. :)
  • Five Question Friday

    I have been a long time fan of Inside the Actor's Studio, and my favorite part has always been the questionaire at the end. That is my vision for Five Question Friday. I have come up with a list of five questions, and I will have different guests answer them each week. As a new idea, you might see some tweaking - at least at first - as I try to come up with the right formula. Your input is greatly appreciated.

    This week, new author Judy McDonough will be answering my Five Questions. Judy was published for the first time in 2012 by a small publisher, but her experiences there...well, I should let her explain that to you. Visit her website for her full bio (a fun read in itself, in my opinion). I can tell you that her book, DEADLINE, will be out next week, and you should check it out! 

    For now, she's here to answer my questions...

    1. What are you reading?

    Unfortunately I've not been able to start a new book because I've been slaving away with final revisions of my manuscript, but I love a good ghost story.  I will probably curl up with Heather Graham's latest paranormal creation and lose myself in it once my book is published.

    2. What do you do for relaxation?

    Other than reading, I am a sucker for massages.  I went to massage therapy school and love, love, love it. Those help me relax more than anything else.

    3. What is playing on your iPod?

    My iPod is stocked with upbeat running music (which hasn't been used much since my final revisions started) *whistles and innocently looks away*

    4. What is your current guilty pleasure?

    Coffee with flavored creamer, fudgy brownies, and prime time television. I DVR my favorite shows: NCIS, Bones, Criminal Minds and The Voice, but my biggest guilty pleasure is probably The Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo.  I love her!

    5. What do you want to share?

    Besides my book and all the crazy stories buried within me?  Believe in yourself, join a writing group, go to workshops, read a lot, laugh a lot, and keep trucking right along.  The biggest thing I'd like to share though is probably the hardest piece of advice I've had to choke down this past year.  Don't.


    - Quit

    - Be afraid to ask for help

    - Give up on yourself

    - Assume you can't improve

    - Rush yourself

    - Get discouraged

    and (most importantly)

    -     DON'T trust a contract until you have an attorney look it over really well.  No matter how much you think you know the person or how good a friend he or she is.

    I'd also like to let you know that my first book in The Bayou Secrets Saga will be available next week, on November 14th, and the second is in the editing/revision process.  Previously published, Deadline has been under construction for a while now with a new editor, graphic designer, and restructuring, but it's finally ready for it fresh debut. 

    The Bayou Secrets Saga is a paranormal romance series that takes place in the haunted Louisiana bayou.  In Deadline, Caroline must use the clues her grandmother slips into her dreams to solve a mystery from over a century before.  Pressure from her fiancé to rush into nuptials, a forbidden desire for a friendly Cajun, and a series of freak accidents plague her.  When Caroline finally embraces the possibility she's being haunted by a ghost, what she learns directly affects her current day life in ways she never imagined.  

    Lifeline, book two in the Bayou Secrets Saga, will be ready for release in 2014.

  • Thursday Thoughts

    It's time for another Thursday Thoughts. I link up through Ramblings of a Suburban Mom. Feel free to check her out and do the same.

    Here's what I'm thinking about today...

    • Social Media. I'm putting together a proposal for a client, and social media plays a big part of any marketing plan these days. I am regularly on Facebook and Instagram. I go through spurts on Pinterest. i post on Twitter, but almost never go there (I post through Instagram or when I'm filling out forms on other sites). I have signed up for but haven't really delved too deeply into Google+ and LinkdIn. In addition, I have a Goodreads profile. Wow. That's a lot. So when I meet someone who doesn't use any of these, I'm a little surprised. What are you involved in? Where do you find the best forums for your writing world? What can't you live without and what can't you be bothered in? I would really like to know.
    • Life has far too few surprises. I have been wanting to see the movie About TIme. I got a little teaser a few weeks ago, and have since seen several ads. Today I suddenly noticed a ton of details I'd never seen before, and now I feel like I've seen too much to enjoy the movie. Reviews of books too often give away things I would rather discover for myself while reading. We get spoilers for what is coming in our subscription boxes and find out the sex of our babies before they come. It seems like these days the only surprises we have are bad ones. I would like to be genuinely, happily surprised at some point in my life. Seriously.
    • Tagging on to the too few surprises, the same is true for books. I really want to find a plot twist that makes my head explode. In the past year - out of the books I have purchased - this has happened once. Now, I read a lot of books, and may be slightly jaded because of it, but I am forever guessing what is going to happen right before it does. And while this amuses my family greatly at movies, it gets sort of annoying while reading. I am longing for my mind blowing plotlines this year. Is it too early to ask Santa?
    • I'm looking forward to going to the Dolphin Research Center out on Marathon Key this weekend. First, it's going to be great to be with friends. Second, I love the DRC. And third, a new baby dolphin was born this weekend and I'm going to get to see it. It must be my luck because last time I was at DRC, about year and a half ago, they'd just had a baby. (and speaking of surprises, the sex of a dolphin baby is not typically confirmed at the time of birth, sometimes taking weeks.)
    And that's about it. What are you thinking?