Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Muse

Well, as you read this I will be soaking in a lithium based pool in Buena Vista, Colorado! I am so looking forward to the above 100 degree waters, with the fall colors at their peak, and mountains surrounding us. Several times when we have been there, we have watched deer and mountain goats on the side of one of the mountains.

Our favorite is to go to the pools early in the morning, usually before the sun is up and soak with no one around. It is so quiet and relaxing. Then, when the sun starts to rise, we listen to the birds wake and can hear the rush of the water in the spring close to the spa. It is so exhilarating and peaceful at the same time.

After our morning soak, we get ready for the day and drive to town and have breakfast at the legendary Jan's cafe and then take off in any direction we choose to enjoy the mountains of Colorado. 

Last time we drove to Black Canyon and on the way we past by the biggest lake in Colorado that flows in to the Gunnison river. Blue lake. This lake is 7 miles long and a hot tourist spot for boating and fishing.

We love living in a state that in just a couple of hours drive we really feel like we are away from the everyday hum drum of life and can explore at our leisure. There are so many places to see and do here, you don't even have to leave the state to be on a wonderful vacation.

My goal is to return refreshed and ready to tackle the winter writing ahead of me. To finish the edits by December and to get my book published by the beginning of the year. Cottonwood Inn has never let me down. I always come back feeling like a new person with actual energy to spare.

So, until Monday, I hope that all of you have a wonderful week and weekend and we will touch base then!

Love, Lisa

Monday, September 24, 2012

Do You Sleep 8 Hours?

So, I'm just curious, how many of you sleep 8 hours straight through every night? What a actually hit the pillow and sleep...for 8 hrs! If you do, what's your secret? I'm dying to know! Please leave me a comment and tell me your tricks to this amazing feat.

Not only do I not sleep 8 hours straight, but I toss and turn. First, I'm hot, then cold. Or I have to get up to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, I need a drink of water, or find a new position because my back now hurts. 

The funny thing is, if I lie down for a nap in the afternoon, I sleep like a baby!  The only time I sleep in... when I need to get up early for an appointment. 

Although, I have to admit, I do have 'book brain'. You know that feeling when your writing a book and it runs through your mind 24/7! And, on top of that, I live with a man who could sleep standing straight up! I'm not jealous of that though, I wouldn't want to fall asleep the minute I sat down to watch a show, or read a book. 

In order for me to totally relax, I have to go to the mountains for a few days and hang out in the lithium based waters of Cottonwood and go hiking, or for a drive up the passes. Then, take naps in between soaking in the hot water again. Good thing I'm going up there this week, I need to rest and clear my mind for a winter of serious writing!

We have to finish this manuscript and get it to the editor by December, and then we have two more books to work on while we wait for the book to come back to us so we can publish it. I hate deadlines, even when I'm the one making them!

So, back to Cottonwood I go and I will (hopefully) come back feeling so relaxed that I can actually sleep 8 hours at night! Anyway, that's the plan.

Leave me your comments and let me know if you're like me and sleep in shifts, or if you have energy all day and sleep through the night. If it's the latter for you, make sure to tell me how you do it, coz I really need to know!

Have a great week everyone! Lisa

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mikey's Art

After a long trying morning of not being able to post, I managed to get a hold of someone who helped me through it! Thank you Dark UFO!

Anyway, back to the post. I met with Mike who will be the designer of my book cover and map last Monday, and I have to say I am very excited! In fact, I think he is too. After I explained that not only do I want him to design the first book cover, but I have other books coming and a trailer and a web site and a fan page, I asked if he wanted to be a part of it all, and he said Yes!

He loved the idea of drawing fantasy art and from what I have seen of his talent, he will be great at it. We discussed the world I have created and the races of this world and he seemed truly fascinated. He is all for it! 

So, on that note, I believe the art of my series and social media sites will be awesome in every respect. 

Mike is a wonderful artist, and the thing is, I've known him for years, since I think junior high. At least high school, and I never knew what talent he had until about 5 years ago. He is also one of the member's of my brother-in-law's band, so he has a range of talent. He designed the logo for the band, Ironwood Rain and the CD covers. He has also designed one other book cover, my sister's mother-in-law's book.

I hope this endeavour will help Mike to become the artist he wants to be, a successful one, who can live off the art he creates and not have to just find a job somewhere to survive. He deserves it and his talent speaks for itself. 

If you get a chance, check out his art on his blog: Mikeyzart

He is a fantastic artist in my book and I would love to here what you think. Leave me a comment and until next time, have a great weekend!

Love, Lisa

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Book Review - Witchy #2

The last book review I did a few weeks ago was the first book in a series titled A Discovery of Witches, great book by the way, and this review is on the second in the series, Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness.

This one takes you into the sixteenth century Europe. Great research done on her part and I loved it. She really takes you into the past and the way people had to live. She touches on all the historical facts we know that happened in England and France back then and mixes it up with Witches, Vampires and Daemons. Fun read and you really feel the danger that the main character has to face, not only in everyday life then, but also the outlying dangers of being a witch. 

She touched on things I had never heard of, and of course, some I had, but it reminded me why I am glad I didn't live back then. If you like to read fantasy, either urban or medieval, these are great books! They remind me of my books in the sense that they go between the two. 

I enjoyed these immensely! A fun read, filled with danger, action, romance, and historical information. The main character, Diana, finds out her heritage and that there are different types of witches. The writer describes their power and spells with extreme detail and really brings you into the story. You will hear about things that you would never think of, very craft-ally done, no pun intended! For example, have you ever heard of a firedrake? Well, you will have to read these to find out what that is!

Leave me a comment and let me know if you read the first in this series. I would love to know if you liked it! If you haven't read them and are looking for a good fantasy read, check them out and when your done, let me know if you will be like me, waiting for the third book...

In the mean time, I have a couple of announcements. I will be having more guests soon, one of them a young writer named Seth Hammons. He has a series of books, two of them finished and you can purchase them on Amazon. I look forward to having Seth on here and hope that you will welcome him with questions and comments.

The second announcement is we are working hard on the edits and are now on chapter 8! It's moving along nicely and I look forward to getting my manuscript to a professional editor. I did add the part I talked about in my last post and I personally think it sounds great!

Until Thursday, have a great week all! Lisa

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Editing Frustration

You would think that after two weeks of editing already that we would be further along than the prologue and five chapters, NOT! I am finding it almost as grueling as the rewrite. But, I did say, Almost. 

At first, we were proud how fast the first two chapters went. I had made a list, all be it a long list, but we had marked off two or three off the list and we were moving forward. Then, the thing happened. The, we need to change this and it will change a lot, thing! Now, I feel I'm back to square one and I'm not happy about it! 

Next, a few more major changes were found, will this ever end?

So frustration kicks in and I get a little pissy! We now know we have to add a piece to the book that could take a lot of work and I am not mentally prepared. Do I want to add this, or not? It could do a lot in enhancing the story, but it would take some serious work. 

I took a day to process this information and try to work it out in my mind. Thank God for my sister, or I would be lost in the fog of words and drift to never never land. She let me stew, (and vent) and now the day is brighter and I can move on to deal with the task at hand. Yes, we will figure it out, it will just take a little longer than I expected, but the book will be better for it. 

I knew, (deep down) that this could happen and again, my usually patient self is being tested. But, moving on, soaring higher, hoping that I can get this done before the end of the year. That's the goal anyway. Can I reach it? Should I worry about it?

I guess the point is, I can't always reach every goal on time. I mean, after all, it took over a year to rewrite the book, it could take longer than I expected to edit it. I feel better about it since I took a day to comb over it all in my mind and I am ready to get back at it tonight. It will come to its fruition and I will finish it, when I don't know, but I will finish. 

Has this ever happened to you? Whether writing a book, or anything else you had set a goal to? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts. I also love advice since quite a few of my blog followers are writers and I'm sure they've been where I'm at!

Have a great weekend and I will see you Monday! Lisa

Monday, September 10, 2012

No Time For 'You'?

Lately I have heard from different people in my life that they have no time for themselves let alone anything else. Such as writing, reading, blogging, even going out to have fun, meeting with friends, or anything else that takes extra time out of their normal day. Now, I'm not saying that their lives aren't busy, mine is busy too. In fact I'm not working now and I find myself asking how did I have time to work? But, the bottom line is there needs to be some organization in their lives so they can once again enjoy their short time here.

Now, I am far from having all the answers, and I know I have written about this before, but I believe there are a few simple steps that can help you find the extra time to do the things you want to do.

Step 1 - Get a calendar. Since I brought this little device into my life, I seem to be able to get a lot more done. But, don't over do your 'To do list', make it reasonable. Now a days, if you have a smart phone, you can even use the calendar on it. It will even notify you of what is happening on that day. 

Step 2 - Schedule ahead. If you fill in your calendar as things pop up, such as a children's play next month, or coffee with an old friend next week, put them in. Review your calendar on a regular basis so you don't miss anything. 

Step 3 - Make time for yourself on that calendar. Whether it's time to go for a walk or hike, read a book, get a massage, whatever it is that helps you to relax and enjoy life. This step, you need to do a lot. 

Once you find you are doing some things for yourself, you will begin to feel 'life is good'! You will stop to smell the roses, so to speak. 

I am sure a lot of you have calendars and are saying, I do this already and I still can't find the time for me. If that is the case, refer back to step 1. You are over doing your calendar and are allowing people, or just life in general, dictate to you what you must do each day. Be reasonable with your time. There is only so many hours in a day. There is this little word that would be appropriate if this is the case...NO! No, I can't do that today. 

Sure, there will be people that will protest, but stick to your guns. You know what you are capable of and what is important to you. If you don't take out time for yourself you will get frustrated and feel overwhelmed. But, if your life is so busy that even none of this works, you are over-committing your time. 

Be good to yourself, take time out for you. I have met quite a few people in my life that never stop, they become so busy that they forget important things that they really needed to be there for, and the next thing they know, sickness takes over and forces them to stop. So, the next time you find yourself saying, I don't have time to read, or write my blog, or take a walk, stop and ask yourself, shouldn't I make time for me?

Until next time, have a wonderful week and leave me a comment and let me know what you are doing to change this in your life!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Learning Curve

Over 5 years ago, while still waiting tables, I met Lizzie. She was having breakfast with her editor, going over her manuscript and I stopped to talk to her about her writing. Once I told her I always wanted to write a book, well, that became the beginning of a road I am still traveling.

Lizzie took me under her wing, so to speak, and guided me in the right direction, only I didn't know it at the time that it was the right way to go. After meeting with me for coffee and I purchased one of her books, which she signed, she suggested to me the path I should travel in order to fulfill my dream of one day becoming an author, instead of a person who just talks about it.

I didn't take Lizzie's suggestions seriously, at first anyway, and it led to a longer path to fruition. I wish I would have listened to her because I would probably be published by now. Oh well, live in learn. 

I finally came to my senses after several meetings over coffee, a trip to the library with Lizzie, my first attempt, and then second at writing a novel, to take her advice and learn how to write. 

What do I mean, learn how to write? I am talking about the rules, the proper way to take a story and turn it into a novel. Not a journal type writing, but a novel type. What does that entail exactly? First, it means to understand what POV shifts and head hopping mean. Where you put your tags, and when. What are the different tags? Do you put a period after dialog or a comma? Where do you put a comma? The list goes on and on.

Now, I am sure to most of you, (that aren't writers) are saying to yourself, "What is she talking about? I know how to do all those things." But you would be surprised. Creative writing is different than journalistic writing, or business writing. In a few of my classes there have been people who were journalists, and they were amazed that the rules are not the same.

Maybe there are those of you that don't believe that is a big deal. Well, it most certainly is if you are attempting to write a novel that is tight, flowing, and brings you into the story. So, why am I bringing this up? The reason is simple. I have now been introduced to a new writer, who's first chapter I am critiquing, reminds me of the early days. The days of learning not only the 'rules', but also to either go to the library and check out books on writing, or buy them. To join classes, either at a community college, or on Meetup. Maybe even hire a writing coach, like I did. To join a group with other writer's for support and advice.

Now, how do I tell this new writer that she needs to do these things? Will it encourage her, or leave her feeling that her writing is hopeless. I pray that doesn't happen. Even though she has a long way to go, I want her to continue. See, she has the heart of a writer and the last thing I want to do is stifle that passion.

As I critique her chapter and find mistake after mistake, I began to feel bad and unsure if I should continue to tag each and every mishap, as it were. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but at the same time, I appreciated it when I was shown the correct way. (My first chapter was critiqued by Lizzie and she tagged every sentence!) Will she be as appreciative? Or, will she think I am a know-it-all? 

I am so far from knowing it all, and I don't think I am ready to teach writing, so I am not really sure what to do. I will be meeting with her for the first time on Saturday and have to face which way I need to approach her. I want her to continue, but she needs to go down that path, the learning curve path. The same path I had no choice but to go down if I ever wanted to publish a novel. 

What would you do in this situation? I really do need some advice on this one. I want to be honest and I want to lead her, just as Lizzie led me. Please leave me a comment and suggest how I should handle this, because it is weighing heavily on my mind.

Thanks for all you do! Lisa 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

The last 35 years that I was in the work force, I usually would work on this day. Labor day was one of those days that was a mandatory work day in my line of work, restaurants. Not a fun business, you had to work most holiday's and Labor day was considered a major one, along with Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc..

Those of you that had the pleasure of staying home and having your family over for a BBQ, or maybe a mini-vacation probably never thought twice of us poor lugs who had to put on our stupid uniforms and serve you breakfast, but not any more!

I have to say, it feels good not to have to worry about that. I think even if I had to work outside of home again, it would not be waiting tables. In fact, I would rather have a tooth pulled out!

Labor day was supposed to be a day all us hard workers got to have a day of rest, not a day of running our arse off! Instead, all the 'desk' workers are the ones who got the day off. Even when I was in the restaurant business, the main corporate offices were closed, how is that fair? 

Did you know that Labor day became a Federal holiday in 1894? A machinist was the first person to suggest it. His name was Matthew Maguire. Kind of ironic for me, my husband is a machinist. But of course the retail industry took full advantage of all the people off work and turned it into a 'National' shopping day. In fact, not only did people have to work on this day, but usually longer hours.

So on this day when you go out to breakfast, think of me and all the hard work I had to endure all those years so you can have a nice day off with your family, and leave a 'Big' tip! Those people out there taking care of you would rather be home spending time with their families or having a camping weekend, anything than working, believe me! 

I am grateful that I am home today and not having to serve eggs. I am having my family over for a BBQ later and I look forward to it! Appreciate the work force out there that give it their all on this holiday, a holiday celebrating the hardest workers in the world, the American workers!

What line of work are you in? Have you had to work on this day? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts. I would love to know!

Thanks for everything, Lisa